Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nectar of the Barley

Well, I have been gone for a while. First let me apologize to my HUGE following, all 3 of you. Flight school is taking its toll and I have been in the books in a big way.

Now that that is over with, on to the new happenings in the world of me. As anybody who personally knows me knows, I love beer. I don't mean I like to get tipsy and beer is one way to do it. I mean I love beer; the way it tastes, smells, looks, and all that, a beer connoisseur if you will. In my family, we love to try and make things ourselves. In fact, we recently attempted cheese (you can read about it at Mel's blog). I wanted to try my hand at making my most favorite beverage. After dumping some casholas on the equipment, I finally go to brewin' my first batch of barley juice.

I knew the up front cost would be little high if I was going to do it right. Small time "canned" kits are available for around $100 but I wanted to go all out and do my own grain and everything. I bought two glass carboys, a 7 gallon bucket, 160 glass bottles, 1600 caps, a capper, siphon gear, cleaners, a 7.5 gallon aluminum pot, lots of copper tubing (that didn't turn out so well), and other sundry pieces. Once I got it all together, I purchased my first "mini-mash"kit.

The kit was only partial grain. I wasn't going to go all out on my first go. The process went really well and took about half a Saturday. To justify the cost, I am using the process to school my kids in math, chemistry, history, etc. They are doing a presentation on American beer history and the process of brewing. The beer is an amber ale and should be ready in about 4 days (Yippee!).

My next brewing adventure is going to be all grain and a little more complicated. It will be a Mack n' Jacks clone (for anyone who knows that beer). So far, I love this hobby and think it will be a lifetime passion. I am already looking at 6,000 gallon, stainless steel tanks for my brewery, much to Mel's dismay. She keeps me in check though, reminding me that I should make sure I am good at it and like it before I go all professional and stuff. Thanks hon!

Oh yeah, flying is a lot harder than it seems. A lot of stuff to pay attention to! I had my fourth flight in the T-34C and felt like I got ran over by a bus. But, I did land the plane 7 times, to approach turn stalls, power off stalls, turn patterns, and the home field pattern. Busy, busy, busy. So far, however, I have the highest score in the class. Even though I may not be the Chuck Yeager of the world, at least I can be the Tom Cruise of my class (to my wife's chagrin).

See you up in the sky!

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