Monday, January 9, 2012

The New Brew

Sometimes when I do something I jump in feet first, well ok I always do that, and I did it this time too. Well when you do that, you get so excited and moving so fast that you make mistakes. At work we say that if you're not making mistakes than you're not doing anything and that's true but usually I do enough research to minimize the mistakes. Not this time, this time I jumped the gun. The mistake came while making the decision on the carboy. My friend was at the brew store buying a carboy and I told him it would be ok to get a 3 gallon carboy, I was wrong. Yeah it works, and it did work for the first batch of beer but it wasn't enough. So I was going to buy another carboy, a 5 gallon carboy... Then I thought about it, and decided that I needed to do more research before I buy it. So I did the research and I found out that I don't really need to spend a ton of money on the carboy when I can buy two fermenting buckets and, from what I read, it will turn out exactly the same. Then, I went to the online brew store to buy one when I realized all it is is a food grade bucket with a hole drilled in the lid and a gromet installed. This would have cost me about $18 dollars a piece, or I could go to Lowes and make the fermenting buckets for about $6.50 a piece. That's what it would have cost me, but it cost me an extra $1.50 because I drilled the wrong size hole for the gromet. It happens.

After getting everything ready and the stuff showing up in the mail it was time for another brew day. As I said the last time this needs to be done on a day when you don't have to worry about working the next day, this way you can enjoy a few beers and not have to be in a rush. We did take our time, and we had a 6 pack of our first beer left over to drink while we were brewing. I think that I'll try to turn this into a brew day tradition. There's something gratifing about drinking your own beer while working on the next batch. Below is the last of the Centennial Blonde.

So this time we did a kit. The first time we did a recipie and it turned out great, the main difference between this batch and the last was that last time we used powdered malt and this time it was a syurup. Oh, and last time we had to add dextrine to give body to the beer.

The Wort

The Fermentor

Chilling The Wort

Starting The Year Right

Eastern PA
Western PA
Since I was in touch last, I have managed to fish twice, drink all the beer I made, and brew some more. Lets start with the first fishing trip. I went over to Spring Creek on new years day to meet up with a couple guys from Eastern PA and Western PA, we had the state diversely represented that day. It turned out to be a great day, even if I was out-fished by both of them. It was chilly when we first got there but really warmed up as the day went on. I really can't complain about the temperature I think it hit 50 degrees on the the first of January. We stuck pretty close together had some laughs and caught some fish, it didn't take long at all before we all had a fish to hand. This makes the rest of they day easier because getting skunked sucks. I mean yeah it's great to get out and fish and enjoy the scenery, but the whole purpose is to catch fish. It doesn't have to be a lot of fish, as long as it's a fish. We fished the whole day and had a great time. After that, we ended the day at Champs for something to eat. I really enjoy eating there, the food and atmosphere is good and they may have the best beer menu in the area. It's kind of funny, I don't remember what I ate that day (I think it was a burger) but I do remember that I had a couple Stone IPA's. Yum! This was a great way to finish off a tremendous day, and a perfect way to start the new year.

Second Biggest (not caught this trip)
The next trip came to a local freestone stream. This stream is close to home, maybe 4 miles, and reminds me of Slate Run so much it's scary. I think that if others found out about this stream it would be in big trouble, thankfully they haven't. This trip kind of came out of nowhere, I just got a hold of one my local fly fishing friends to see if he wanted to go. The plan was to fish the river for stockies, but when we got there it was too high and dangerous to wade. After talking it over we both decided to hit a stream we had fished many times. Now, I have fished this stream above, (caught the biggest native of my life 12") and below (caught second biggest native of my life 11" picture to the left), and he had fished the top end, but neither of us had fished the middle section of this stream. Man have I been missing out! If I were a trout this is where I would live, it has all the perfect ingredients for a stream to hold big and numerous fish. And being a fly fisherman this is the perfect stream. Ok, so after talking it up I have to point out that we both got skunked, but I learned a couple of lessons. First, there are places close to me as good as places that I have traveled across the state to fish, and second, don't fish for brookies when the water is 38 degrees. I know the fish were there, they just weren't moving on anything that I was offering. I think that if we would have went in the afternoon instead of the morning we would have been ok. But..... that's why they call it fishing and not catching. Either way we had a good time and some some beautiful sections of stream. Needless to say we will be going back.

One Of Many Nice Runs
A 15' Deep Pool

Yesterday was also brew day and I was going to put that into this blog too, but I can only do so much on my break and I have run out of time so I'll add that later.