Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Don't Drink And Compute

A word of warning: Use extreme caution when handling your laptop after consuming alcohol even if it's just home brewed beer. I've just spent the last couple of weeks and a few hundred dollars trying to replace a damaged hard drive and recover and reload all of my files. I've always thought of myself as more agile when drunk but this incident has proven that I can be very awkward and inept. At this point I would say that I have 99% of the information back on the new hard drive but the 1% that is missing is important. I was using a book publisher called Blurb to create a practical pictorial of the malt extract and all-grain brewing processes. I spent uncounted time and effort to produce what I thought was a pretty good book. Now, it's all gone.

But, being a homebrewer is all about tenacity and perseverance, so I start again with nothing but a renewed determination brought on by a tall cool glass of homebrewed IPA. I've still got all of the photo's that I used and the general outline is printed out somewhere. These should get me started.

In the mean time, I just finished racking a clone of Seabright Brewery's "Blur" IIPA to the kegs. I plan to submit a few bottles for sampling at the brewpub in a competition they've put on that compares how close homebrewers in the community can get to duplicating the one on tap at the bar. If you are chosen as the closest example (judged by patrons of Seabright Brewery), I guess you get to brew it on a large scale at the brewery. I'm not sure if this prize is a good thing. Brewing on a large scale seems like a lot of work. In any case it's cause for brewing more beer.

Finally: What's with fermenting in a roll up storage unit off the highway? Yeah, that's right, I'm on my second ten gallon batch of homebrew that's fermenting in a six by ten storage unit and it's got me coming up with all types of creative ideas to make it work. I've already built a shelving unit to accomodate several ten gallon fermenters and have plans of enclosing this with insulated hinged walls and installing a thermostat to control temperatures. Shhh! Don't tell the management, I'll be running some electrical conduit off of the overhead light to power this idea. Talk about renegade, backwater brewing.
The brewing will happen at home on my little enclosed concrete condo patio. Then I chill and transport the wort in 2, seven gallon buckets (to make it easier to lift), and then at the storage unit I pour those together into one larger fermenter and hope for the best. During the day the ambient temperature is fine but it gets too cool to ferment at night. The remedy at this time is a 75watt. light bulb positioned near the fermenting vessel.
But wait there's more.
Beer tasting class is happening this Sunday at Cabrillo College and I've selected nine beers to sample. I thought I would start with a comparison of a dry, sweet and imperial stouts followed by a variety of Belgians and finish with a homebrewed weizenbock. Should be fun. Next month I begin the five week brewing course.
Back in the States for two months and I'm exhausted!

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