Saturday, October 15, 2011


Anyone who knows Coz and I will know that we like books. Hell, Anyone who's passed me in the street on the way to work knows I like books. A fact probably much less-known is that I hate bookshelves. I don't hate them for what they do, I hate them for how badly they do it.

Most bookshelves are boxy things that are too deep - so you end up piling the books in in two rows, and can't see the ones in back. Or you just pile miscellaneous crap on the otherwise-wasted front of the shelf. And the shelves are too tall, so you stack them two rows high and then they collapse in a heap whenever you take anything out. And they waste all the space above the unit as a whole, while taking up more space than they need out from the wall. In short, they end up looking like this, which we just moved out of our bedroom:

I've been saying for half a year now that I wanted to just make my own, and last weekend I finally got to it. They're just pine, and they're a bit knotty, though straight. And the finish is a little rough, because I got some sawdust in the urethane. And the wall brackets are unevenly-spaced, because one of the studs was crooked. And I don't care; they're perfect:

They go floor-to-ceiling, and 10 feet across the whole wall. They're 8 inches deep, so they don't eat much of the room, and they alternate between just taller than a paperback, and just taller than a hardback. 100 feet of bookshelf, all for us! Apparently we don't own enough books... yet.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pale Ale

A personal recipe from the guy down the brew shop - which kindness I have repaid by losing the bit of paper with his name on it, so I can't even give him credit for it. On this blog that nobody really reads but me when I'm trying to remember a recipe. Which is either consolation or insult to injury - I'm not entirely sure.

Anyways, no final SG for the last one, or any SG for this one, because the hydrometer got broke. I reused the yeast from the previous cream ale on this guy, and it got almost two weeks in the fermenter - partially because I had no hydrometer to tell when it was done, and mostly because I was sick as a dog and didn't want to deal with it. Fermenting was so vigorous that it blew the lid clean off the fermenter at one point, so hopefully it didn't get contaminated. But seriously? When the yeast is going _that_ gangbusters I don't rate the chances of your average bacteria...

11 lbs. 2-row pale malt
0.25 lbs Crystal 20L
0.25 lbs Crystal 90L
1 lb. Munich malt

1 oz. Amarillo Gold @ 60 mins.
1 oz. Cascade @ 10 mins.
1 oz. Centennial @ 10 mins.
1 oz. Cascade @ 0 mins.
1 oz. Centennial @ 0 mins.
Just cracked the keg on this one; very nice. Got some hops to it, but not in the rip-the-back-of-your-head-off way that seems to be getting more and more popular with IPAs these days. I mean, don't get me wrong; I love a pint of Arrogant Bastard, but I'm not sure I want nothing but it in the keg in the garage, yes? Give the taste buds a chance to come reeling to their senses every once in awhile...

Anyways, this is a nice brew. Make it again.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wolf Creek Cream Ale

Bloody hell; I haven't logged a brew since August? I am getting slack.

I made a whole slew of things. Got far enough ahead of myself to cellar things a bit more, which seemed good to me, but since I almost never do the same thing twice it'd be hard to say how much difference it really made. I did drink through most of the aging stuff without replacing it over Christmas though, so its just as well it was there. I'm thinking I did a red and a scotch ale, among a couple of others, but I may be making that up. One of the side effects of having more things in the cellar is that I can never remember whats what; need to label the kegs. In amongst there I had a chat with the Beer Guys at the brew shop about re-using yeast cultures, and did a couple of batches back-to-back that way. Seemed to work pretty well. Apparently it keeps pretty well, but its harder to go from something really hoppy to something less so (or really, to reuse the yeast at all after really hoppy things) and also harder to go from high alcohol to lower.

Oh and back in July I did a batch of red wine from a kit (they were on sale for half price at the shop.) It was fiddly, but seems to have worked pretty well; I'm drinking the first of it as I write this, and I'm not dead yet (bit bland flavoured though.) Re-used screwcap bottles but dipped them in melted wax to seal them better for aging.

So this weekend I'm doing the first of another double batch, re-using the yeast culture. The weather said to make a lager, but they need more keg time, and I've got a bit behind in the brewing over the hols, so I'm going to do a couple of quick-and-easy's first. This is a cream ale (no actual milk sugars in it though; just the name) from the Homebrewers Outpost Wolf Creek Cream Ale full grain recipe. It has corn in it? Weird. Hope its not too sweet.

5 lbs. 2-row pale malt.
3.5 lbs. 6-row pale malt.
1 lb. Flaked corn (maize).
0.75 lb. Cara-Pils Dextrine malt.
3.5 gallons H20 @ ~180 F.

mashed 1 hour @152 F

sparged @ 168 F to ~6.5 gallons, brought to boil, added:

1 oz. Tettnang (4.8% A.A.) for 1 hour.
0.5 oz. Saaz (3.9% A.A.) for 15 mins.
0.5 oz. Saaz (3.9% A.A.) for 5 mins.

initial S.G. 1.040
pitched yeast packet at ~80 F
Just finished this. It was ok, but kinda pale and bland. I did a cream ale as kind of an experiment - not really knowing what one was - so when it turned out kind of pale and bland, I looked them up; apparently, cream ales are kind of pale and bland. Yay, I made it right?