One of our ladies has left us for the big chicken coop in the sky

Sadly, when Justin went to close up the chickens yesterday evening and found one of our old ladies had died. It looks like she laid down her head and peacefully closed her eyes for good. I’m pretty sure it was the chicken we had living in our house when she was sick. Good bye chicky, thank you for all the eggs you gave us.

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Front page of the local paper

http://wareham-ma.villagesoup.com/p/fond-memories-facebook-bring-angel-to-wareham/936120

My tribute to my brother has turned into a Pay it Forward event that has exploded locally and even gone across to the other coast.

Floored.

scottMarcSchluter

You Brew Your Own Beer? Pretzel beer?

I am taking a break from brewing starting January so I can prepare for my Professional Engineer exam in April. I have some backstock ingredients so I have been working them down. Today I brewed an experimental beer that I hope reminds me of pretzels.

Here is the recipe for 1.5 gallons:
10.00 g Sea Salt (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 1 –
1 lbs 10.4 oz White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 2 69.5 %
4.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 3 10.5 %
4.0 oz White Wheat Malt-toasted (2.4 SRM) Grain 4 10.5 %
2.0 oz Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 5 5.3 %
0.30 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] – Boil 90.0 min Hop 6 23.1 IBUs
1.6 oz Cane (Beet) Sugar (0.0 SRM) Sugar 7 4.2 % post krausen

I did a step mash, biab, stovetop. The first rest was 122F for 30 minutes. The second rest was 152F for 60 minutes. I did a 90 minute boil. I didn’t have any beer yeast, so I used a packet of Montrachet. Hopefully it rips through the sugars, I’m not looking for yeast character on this one anyways. Hopefully the acid malt gives the hint of sourdough, the salt, well salt, and the toasted wheat that toasty outer crust of a pretzel. The wort tasted pretty good going into the fermenter.

I used a 5 gallon paint strainer for this BIAB on my stovetop

The mash, really light with the white wheat

Sleeping bag wrap for the rests

Almost the scale of steeping grains in extract brewing…

Back to the kitchen sink cooling

While I was brewing, some other things were going on at Little House on the Sandpit…

Panels for gingerbread houses were made

I tried some pine needle and spruce tip tea

and our sick chicken started to feel better, she can stand without falling over now.

You Grow Your Own Food? Harvest 11-17-12 Cold November Lettuce

Low tunnels still producing.

You Brew Your Own Beer? (and Cider) Stovetop Pasteurizing

Got my Wee Scottish 60 shilling into the fermenter and happily bubbling away.

The Recipe
Type: All Grain
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.25 gal
Boil Size: 8.75 gal
Boil Time: 90 min Equipment: BIAB
Est Mash Efficiency 82.0 %

Ingredients
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
4 lbs 6.1 oz Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 1 80.0 %
8.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 2 9.1 %
4.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.6 %
4.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 4 4.6 %
1.5 oz Pale Chocolate Malt (200.0 SRM) Grain 5 1.7 %
0.64 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 14.8 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) [50.28 ml] Yeast 7 –

Est Original Gravity: 1.031 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.035 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.008 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 3.0 %
Bitterness: 15.3 IBUs Calories: 114.8 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 9.5 SRM

Then I pasteurized my Caramel Apple Cider
View the recipe here: Caramel Apple Hard Cider on Homebrew Talk
The cider is finished high then more sugars are added (back-sweetening) and it is bottled. I watched closely as it carbonated up by putting a couple in plastic bottles to check for firmness and by opening a few along the way until it appeared to be carbonated enough. Once ready, I put 10 bottles in 190F water for 10 minutes to kill the residual yeast, thus preventing bottle bombs. Apparently the sugar striated some or I have older bottles because 4 bottles burst in the process. Three blew in the pasteurizer kettle, and one on the counter cooling. A little bit of a mess and a scare, but I had a cover and towel over the kettle just in case and the counter one burst in the back of the bottle line so nobody was hurt.

I preheated the bottles in 100F tap water figuring it would lower the temperature in the pasteurizer less.

The bottles in the pasteurizer under the towel, the bottles preheating in the kettle, and bottles on the counter cooling.

The cider came out really good, a little sweeter than I had hoped so next time I will backsweeten a little less. Also, I think this would taste great aged a bit on oak and/or with a little bit of amber malt. This goes on the “to brew again” list for sure.

PS Sorry no in the glass picture, I keep forgetting to take one, I guess I get caught up in the yumminess.

Gold Toe G Collection Review – Bzzagent


Today I tried out the Gold Toe G Collection crew neck tshirts I got from Bzzagent. Comfy t-shirt. The tshirts are tagless, nice touch. However, there is a little black “G” tag on the bottom hem that was a bit irritating to my skin. Fortunately it was easy to take off without damage to the tshirt. The fit was a little on the large size (not a ton, just slightly more than I am used to). I also found the sleeves were a it short; they rode up on my arms while I was working in the yard today. The construction of the tshirt is very good, you can tell these are high quality which is nice for a change for me. The seams are really well thought out; they are hardly noticeable like a lot of tshirts are. I am interested in finding out if these tshirts are available in different colors.If you want a $5 off $25 coupon to use at Khol’s, let me know.