Archive for January, 2006

Homebrew 101

Posted by Nate in Homebrewing.
Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 at 8:06 pm


Laurel recently asked:

This may sound like a dumb question, but what does 1.047 OG mean???

Well, I’m glad you asked. OG, as everyone knows, is short for Original Gangsta. 1.047 OG means that a beer has an Original Gangsta rating of 47, which is sort of around Vanilla Ice — not that strong. Make sense? Good.

Ok, really, here’s the deal: OG in this context means Original Gravity, with "gravity" being the density of a liquid – in this case unfermented beer, or "wort". John Palmer defines it thus in his homebrew glossary:

Gravity - Like density, gravity describes the concentration of malt sugar in the wort. The specific gravity of water is 1.000 at 59F. Typical beer worts range from 1.035 – 1.055 before fermentation (Original Gravity).

So maybe 1.047 isn’t so bad (it’s not), but all the really kickin’ beers come in at 1.060 or more, with some strong ones hitting over 1.100! But that’s a lot of grain for a five gallon batch – my current system I think will max out at about 1.080… (Time for more gear!!) Anyway, by measuring the OG and the FG (Final Gravity), it’s easy to compute how much sugar has turned into alcohol, and how strong a beer you’ve brewed. High OG beers are commonly referred to as "big beers", and lower OG beers as "small".

For all of you considering getting into homebrew, realize there are many levels of the hobby – the simplest is really just that: simple. Here’s a basic equipment list, and a crash course in extract brewing. More fun cannot be had!

Faucet update

Posted by Nate in Home Improvements.
Monday, January 30th, 2006 at 2:15 pm


The old faucet turned out to be all pretty up-to-date hardware, and the replacement was about as easy as it could have been. The under-sink shutoff valves were tight and needed some coaxing, but actually did the job perfectly. Until I’d looked under the sink in detail, I was worried the hardware might be old enough to not even include shutoff valves… Eek. At left is the "before" shot, you can see the single handle faucet and the black sprayer – apparently just for show, the sprayer’s not hooked up. (I know, what?)

Here’s the "during" shot. There was a bit of plumber’s putty and corrosion residue that had to be cleaned up and scrubbed down, but not too bad. You’ll note the nice length on the old water connection pipes – the new faucent had about 2" less, and, of course, the existing flex hoses didn’t reach. They were short by one miserable inch. But they were this crappy plastic and the replacements are nice SS braids, so that’s good… Extra hardware store trips: 1.

And finally, the "after". Ta da! I’m actually looking seriously at getting an under-the-sink in-line water filter instead of that hanging one. I mean, it’s nice to not have to use the filter for everything, but I think aesthetically it will be much nicer to have it out of sight. And it will prevent accidentally sending hot water through the filter…

Also notice the shiny new sprayer! It’s hooked up and works great. I didn’t even replace the base stand for it, since it was tight and hard to reach, and doesn’t look out of place with the new setup. Sweet. I’m still adjusting to the split hot / cold valves, but I definitely like to look and feel of the new setup.

New Brew and Project: Kitchen Faucet

Posted by Nate in Home Improvements, Homebrewing.
Saturday, January 28th, 2006 at 8:27 pm


So I’m launching into a new era of brewing: I’ve been doing all grain (i.e. "from scratch") brewing for almost a year now, and I’m about to order some kegs and a gas canister for the kegerator. I’ve also started ramping up production again after a big lull due to the move, dog, grad school, etc… Tonight was the first brew of the series, a delicious American Amber Ale with Wyeast 1056. It’s a smaller beer, coming in at 1.047 OG, but it’s perfect because when I brew the big (1.073) Rye IPA next weekend I’ll have all that good yeast to rack onto and the beer should ferment like a rockstar. I also made a yeast starter today for a Biere de Mars I’m brewing tomorrow – pretty big as well, hence the starter. That one I plan to ferment with Wyeast’s Ardennes yeast til it’s almost done and then rack onto their Roeselare Blend, hopefully to give it that crazy hint of sour and "something" that it should have. A decent brew day, all said.

… But in my standard procedure, I cool the wort with an immersion chiller – cold water running through a copper coil set into the hot wort. This means changing out the faucent adaptor on the kitchen sink, usually a pretty lightweight process. Tonight I decided, you know, while I’m in there, I might as well tighten this thing down a bit and stop the leak we’ve been getting through our water filter. I’ll just grab these pliers and give it a good tu… crap. It’s a stupid metal thread set over a stupid plastic nub, and I just broke the metal. So… Looks like I’ll be hitting the Home Depot tomorrow for a new faucet. Stupid everything.

Broomball Ninja

Posted by Karen in Broomball.
Friday, January 27th, 2006 at 3:46 pm


I just realized that we left out one amaaaaazing thing from our game. By far my favorite play ever. Someone popped the ball up, and Scott unexpectedly jumped up and did the most wonderful soccer header, perfectly centering the ball to Peter L., who then smacked it in for a goal. Definitely the first assist of its kind for the Grim Sweepers. I’m glad this guy’s on our team. For anyone who doesn’t know Scott, he’s the ninja-looking fellow in this picture, duh, like he could be anyone else.

Hard fought

Posted by Nate in Broomball.
Friday, January 27th, 2006 at 10:12 am


That’s about what we looked like during Wednesday’s broomball game: in the zone. We played our toughest opponent yet, and every goal, every defensive clear, every scuffle on the boards was life or death. They were a really talented team – very fast, good passing, good shooting, and good positioning. I think we won in the end simply because we wanted it more. Captain Peter was running himself ragged every shift on the ice, I thought he was going to die. Karen made some great saves – as usual – and Peter L. knocked in two sweet goals with his patented from-the-knees-stick-drag. Awesome.

And even though I left Karen plenty of time to post this entry and save me from having to brag, she didn’t. So now you get to hear about the Best. Shot. Ever. Seriously. We’re talking a nice crossing pass from their team to the left boards (our left). Peter K. and I both take off to get there, trying to beat one of their Fasty McFasterson players, and I realize we’re going to be way out of position if we miss it. So I call Peter off, tell him to stay center to either cut off the pass or be ready for my pass if I get it. After a big collision and some aggresive stickwork, I pop out with the ball, drifting away from the boards. We’re in their half of the ice, but barely, and everyone down-ice is calling for it: "Center!", "Boards!". I quickly surveyed the scene while settling the ball, and one thing stood out: The whole game, they’d plugged up the lane to the goal, pushing us to the boards in their zone – but now the lane was open. A single out-of-place defender was all that stood between me and the goalie…

I couldn’t resist. I wound up – keep in mind we’re almost at center ice – and let go the exact shot I wanted. Great speed, nice loft, a bit of drift… The defender reached for it and missed. The goalie moved into position and dropped to field it on the bounce… and it bounced / rolled right over his leg!! Goal!! Goal!!!!!!!!

It was the nail in the coffin for the other team. They’d come back strong and narrowed our lead to 4-3, but with that shot and only minutes left, we finally had them where we wanted them.

Go Sweepers!!!

Sweeping Grimly

Posted by Nate in Broomball.
Thursday, January 19th, 2006 at 8:26 pm


Sweepers win! After a hard-earned 2-1 lead at halftime, there was some nervousness on the Sweeper side: they’d come out playing really hard in the first half. This was an older, bigger team with good passing skills, but in the end their age was their downfall. In the second half we managed to knock in 3 more goals, including one by yours truly – my first goal as a Grim Sweeper! They were unable to convert on some good chances, and we walked away with our second victory…

Overall a really fun game. Two highlights: Scott got a hat trick(!), and Sierra played like she was born wearing broomball shoes. :) Karen was solid in goal as usual, but after the game confessed she actually liked it better last year when she was taking more shots! Our middle line and defenders have gotten much better lately at keeping it on the boards, poor Karen has been standing around a lot and getting cold! I have a hard time feeling bad about it, though, since it means the rest of us are just doing our job better… Go Sweepers!

Pinolera reporting from Duo Team HQ

Posted by homebrewer in Family, Homebrewing.
Monday, January 16th, 2006 at 8:56 pm


LOVE FROM THE MALL OF AMERICA

I am very excited to have this opportunity for a guest entry on Duo Team’s awesome blog!! This is your friend the Pinolera, I have left my tropical climate to come and spend the winter in the extreme cold of the midwest in Minneapolis! In addition to all the winter fun (broom ball, ice skating, snowball fights, donuts in the parking lot, hot chocolate, coffee and baileys, freshly fallen snow, watching nate and karen shovel the side walk, and catching snow flakes on my tongue) we have also enjoyed lots of indoor activities. We visited the mall of america and camp snoopy. We rode 2 indoor world famous roller coasters and the ghost blasters ride (ratings as follows – peter: 683, karen: 600, nate: 572, sierra 500 . . . i had to go easy on them since i am a guest!). And last but not least, i sampled some more of what the midwest is famous for . . . ROUND FRIED THINGS!!!

NO YOU CANT HAVE THE LAST DEEP FRIED OREO!!

Yes, in preparation for the (in)famous MN state fair i tried a plate of deep fried oreos. I loved eating it at the time, but later i had a stomach ache. So much for my new year’s resolution to lose 15 pounds!! We have also visited pretty much every brew pub in the twincities and i have tried the most delicious selection of beers ever! There has been a pretty serious shuffle puck evening as well as some air hockey and bowling. Highlights of the game night for me include: accepting a bet to go hit on a group of mexicans, resulting in 10 minute boyfriend enrique and becoming famous for my final puck fury in shuffle board! I haven’t even mentioned my guest suite (AWESOME!!!) or the day i joined the 21st century (got new credit card, bought a cellphone, laptop computer, scanner/color printer, maxed out new credit card . . .yes, all in one day!) but i think it is time to get to one of my most valuable experiences here at Duo Team Headquaters.

DRINKING BEER AND MAKING BEER AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Yes, we are brewing a Loft clone, here we are measuring out the hops. I have some experience in amateur wine making, but this was taking it to a whole new level. Stay tuned for the "Summer?*&%?#@ Winter?"

YEP!! IT’S FREAKING "SUMMER?*&%$#!@WINTER?"

This is a pretty powerful schroeder team combo, brewing up our own killer beer! Watch out usa!! I am already sad to leave, i really like the town and have had nothing but a complete and total BLAST here! Que Viva Minneapolis!!

Grim Sweepers Rule!

Posted by Nate in Broomball.
Thursday, January 12th, 2006 at 12:16 pm


We had our first broomball game last night – the season was supposed to start last week but our freaky heat wave has been wreaking havoc on the ice – and we totally kicked ass! I think we scored more goals last night in one game than we scored in our whole last season. Everyone was passing well and having fun, our two new recruits were amazing on the ice (even the rookie who had only been on the ice once before for practice!!). I felt a little bad for the other team, since the schooling was so brutal, but then I realized we used to be them. We used to be the ones out there unable to pass, run, turn, shoot, or even get moving on the ice – we’ve served our time as that team, and now we get to start scoring.

… of course, saying that probably jinxes us and we’ll never score again this season, but seriously if everyone stays healthy and positive, I think we’re going to rock! And if not, we’re still the most fun-having-ist team on the ice!

Local fire

Posted by Karen in Day to Day.
Tuesday, January 10th, 2006 at 1:58 pm


This morning when I stepped outside to take Bruno for his morning walk, I immediately noticed that the park and everything in front of me was filled with smoke. I could tell that it was coming from the south, and my first thought was that the park building was on fire. We started off in that direction, and right away I saw fire trucks at the end of the next block. The four-plex apartment building on the corner was ablaze! The entire roof and upper story was engulfed in flames and they were shooting water at it from several directions. There were emergency vehicles, firefighters, news reporters, and bystanders filling the streets. We kept walking, and about a half hour later when we passed by again on our way home, the fire didn’t look any closer to being put out. Apparently the fire started around 7am, and it was probably about 8:30 or 9 when Bruno and I got done with our walk. Here is a local news story describing the fire. Apparently the smoke could be seen for miles. I just returned from lunch with Nate, Cody and a couple of the Chicago boys who were in town, and this time when I passed by all but one smaller emergency vehicle were gone and the fire appeared to be out. But now what? I can’t stop thinking about those families and how their lives just changed so drastically in the blink of an eye. All of their possessions gone, the roof over their heads literally gone. You see or read stories in the news about house fires from time to time, but it’s funny how much more you think about it when it happens so close to your own home.

Hockey Game!

Posted by Nate in Day to Day.
Thursday, January 5th, 2006 at 7:09 pm


Well, at least one of us was happy – Wild: 2, Avs: 4… Actually, I think we all were pretty happy, it was a great games and some awesome goals. My first live hockey game, in fact! Good stuff…