Picture of the ?


Pumpkins–Photo of the ?


Pumpkin Beer

PumpkinBeer_18Ost2011_DSCF0084The image on the left is of roasted pumpkin puree and I used for my Pumpkin Ale.  I really have no idea why I am making a pumpkin beer as I really do not like pumpkin, fruit beer, and spiced beer.  I think I see this as more of a simply odd thing to do. 

The brewing process went fairly well, though because of the mass of pumpkin puree, I had a stuck sparge – twice.  The only way I could continue the process was to blow into my mash tun from the bottom.  It worked, but with the constant stirring and such I was surprised that my wort was so clear.  There was very little sediment when I racked to my primary after my boil.  This should be an interesting experiment that I hope is drinkable in the end.


Boil Size:  7 gallons
Batch Size:  5.5 gallons
IBU’s:  13.4


69.6% – 10 lbs Brewers Malt (2 row)
9.1 % -  1 lbs 4.8 oz. Caramel Malt – 40L
7.0 %  – 1 lbs Rice Hulls
7.0 %  – 1 lbs Biscuit Malt


1.00 oz. Hallertauer Hersbrucker – (pellet – 11.2 IBU’s) – 60 Minutes
1.00 oz. Hallertauer Hersbrucker – (pellet – 2.2 IBU’s) – 5 Minutes 


2 – 29 oz. Cans Libby’s Pumpkin Puree – in mash for 60 minutes. 
2 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice* – Flameout
1 lbs Brown Sugar (grain 7.0%) – 60 minutes   


1 pkg – Wyeast Labs #1056 – American Ale – 2L Starter

* Pumpkin Pie Spice:

1  Tbsp ground cinnamon
2  tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/16 tsp ground cardamom

The process was mash at 154, sparge with 168 gallons of water.  A 90 minute boil.  I added the starter afterPumpkinBeer_18Ost2011_DSCF0082 cooling and racking, and two hours later there was activity.  For those that think that yeast is somehow weak – I made the starter 3 weeks ago as I planned to brew this recipe two weeks ago.  It has been sitting in my refrigerator for two weeks waiting patiently for me, and it worked well when needed.  I have done this a few times, when brewing was interrupted by life.  I have never had any issues with my yeast or the resultant beer.  I will post an update when I taste this beer.

The picture on the right is of my brew prep.  This makes sure I have all of my ingredients.

And for the chickens, the image below left is their reward – grain with pumpkin puree – plumping them up for egg laying, or soup if they don’t start laying eggs faster!


A New Bread

Bread_17Oct2011_DSCF0064Made a new bread today. I have no idea where I took this recipe from, but I think that is one of the better sandwich and dipping breads that I have made in a while.  It was simple to make, but I did bake it a bit too hot. for some reason I left the oven temperature at 375 (my pre-heat temperature) instead of lowering the temperature to 350.  Not that bad of a temperature, but still high.

So far, while the bread is good for sandwiches, its best use is dipping in a good olive oil.  The slight saltiness and sweetness of the bread, as well as the breads texture, compliments the olive oil quite well.  I usually do not soak my bread in the oil, but with this bread, I do.

Recipe for two loafs


1/2 cup warm water
3 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 Tbsp brown sugar


Proofing mixture 1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups water
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
5 cups unbleached white flour (approximately)

Instructions: Let the proofing mixture “proof” for a half hour (a few minutes is fine also), and add it to the bread ingredients. Mix until dough passes window pane test. Let rise in oiled bowl until double. Form and place in oiled pans. Let rise until about double. Brush top (lightly) with water and sprinkle with rolled oats, or whatever else you want. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35 – 40 minutes. Cool and Enjoy!

Picture time:


The Last of The Garden, and Eggs

Garden_16Oct2011_DSCF0054Our 5 chickens are laying about 2 – 3 eggs per day now.  Two of the chickens have not started laying, but hopefully will start soon.  It is getting darker, so I plan on installing lights in the coop and the run.  The coop light should add a bit of warmth and hopefully keep the coop dry, while the pen light is just to keep the chickens outside and busy, instead of inside the coop all day.

The last vegetables have been harvested from the garden.  The carrots were the last to go, Garden_16Oct2011_DSCF0053and they look great.  It was a good garden this year, with the exception of the potatoes, which had a lot of scab for some reason.   Everything else was fine. 

Planning for next year already, and plan for more carrots, less lettuce, more snow peas with less shelling peas.  While I still plan to plant a cabbage or two, I will plant no more than two.  More Swiss Chard and Kale, and a two week rotation of spinach and baby Bok Choy in order to keep a steady supply of those two vegetables throughout the summer.  Also, the squash will migrate from pots to raised beds again. 

Cream Stout

CreamStout_14Oct2011_DSCF0046I thought that I had posted about this beer earlier this year, but I had not done so. This is a Cream Stout, and the best beer that I have ever brewed or have drank.  I brewed this beer on 2 July 2001 with my daughters boy friend that was visiting from Arizona.  This was version 2 of this recipe, and included a few tweaks that were a result of the first brew that I did in December of 2010.  Additionally, there was a few errors in the brew that I think actually made it better than the first brew.

I use BeerSmith 2 to formulate my recipes and to print brew sheets. CreamStout_14Oct2011_DSCF0050The problem was that though I thought I had configured the program properly, it calculated my boil gravity at 8 gallons – this for a 5.5 gallon batch.  This required that I do a two hour boil!  That long of a boil did some interesting caramelization that I think substantially improved the beer.  This was totally my fault for not actually thinking about what I was doing, but the result of the error was entirely positive.  I also did not have any Crystal 60L on hand, so I subbed Crystal 80L.  Again, an improvement. 

What I changed from the original recipe, other than the above, was increasing the CaraPils from 4 to 8 ounces, added DAP, added .25 ounces of Magnum at 5 minutes in order to use the entire package, and increased the coffee from 2 to 3.5 ounces.  The result?  Good beer!

Drinking this beer is like drinking a carbonated, creamy, dark chocolate iced coffee.  Barely any alcohol taste.  Just dark coffee and chocolate, with a bit of dryness towards the end.  The head is like a foamed iced coffee.  If the beer was just foam, I would be happy.  The best beer I have ever made or had.


Boil Size:  8 gallons
Barth Size:  5.5 Gallons
IBU’s:  34.2


58.6% – 7 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row)
12.6% – 1 lbs 8.0 oz. White Wheat Malt
10.0% – 1 lbs 3.0 oz Caramel Malt – 80L 
6.3% – 12.0 oz. Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) 
4.2% – 8.0 oz. Cara-Pils/Dextrine 
4.2% – 8.0 oz. Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)


.75 oz Magnum (pellet – 32.0 IBU’s) – 60 Minutes
.25 oz Mangum (pellet – 2.1 IBU’s) – 5 Minutes


8 oz. Milk Sugar (Lactose) – 15 Minutes
3.5 oz. Coffee Beans – cracked – Flameout
1/2 tab Whirlflock – 10 Minutes
1 Tsp. DAP


1 pk – Wyeast Labs #1332 – Northwest Ale – 2L Starter

Upcoming brew:  Pumpkin Ale

RSH 9102E and Picture of the ?

Juneau_08_Oct_11_DSCF0036The image on the left was taken on the 8th of October, 2011. It is the Gastineau Channel looking from Lemon Creek to the Airport.  I have decided that the best way to continue posting to this blog is by taking a picture every day of two, and posting it.  So, here it is!

I am now half way through RSH 9102E (Research Design).  Half way completed means that I have to make a decision within the next few weeks as to whether or not I am continuing on with the program with the goal of obtaining my PhD in Educational Technology, or simply obtaining another Masters degree with the completion of this course.  Part of me is tired of school, and the other part knows that if I stick with it, my PhD is, potentially, only a year and a few months away.

Summer is almost gone.  A few pictures from August of this year:


How come I can never remember:  <p style="text-align: center"> ?

4 weeks–17 Pounds

Chickens_9_Oct_11_DSCF0024So far, the raw "diet" that I have been on has been more or less, a success.  In the past 30 days, I have lost a total of 17 pounds.  While initially, my strength and endurance lessened, it is now going back to normal.   An example of the variation in my strength is my chest exercises.  For the past 5 weeks, by total poundage per workout was:  20,900 – 15,760 – 12,940 – 14,680 – 16,467.  Mainly, it was an endurance issue, with me being unable to complete the 3rd or 4th set.  Now, however, things are returning to normal.

My intent for the next three weeks is to remain on my “diet” 6 days per week and attempt to loose another 15 pounds during that time.  Friday nights will be a cheat night, where I will be able to eat whatever I want.  This coming Friday’s dinner will be an old Swedish meatball recipe that I made when I catered my fathers weeding.  The meatballs and gravy will be served over pasta.

Last Friday I went off my diet and had a real meal.  Braised country pork ribs with spicy stove fried potatoes, and corn on the cob.  Dessert consisted of Whoppers and Milk Duds as well as Hoddeok, which is a sweet (brown sugar and cinnamon) filled Korean style pancake. The ribs were braised along with three onions, in beer and chicken stock.  Vinegar and honey was added for the last 15 minutes.  Cooking the ribs took two hours, and they were excellent – very tender.

The image above is of Beans and Bossy, two of our chickens. 

Beer–Good and Bad

Cream_Ale_8_Oct_11_DSCF0004The image on the right is of a Cream Ale that I brewed on the 6th of August.  The recipe is at this link:  Cream Ale.  This beer turned out good, but not great.  Interestingly, there is a slight Belgian banana taste to the beer.  It may be the corn or the rice, but there is definitely an unexpected taste.  Saying that, it not an unpleasant taste.  The beer is a slight bit sweet and refreshing.  It is over carbed though.  Then again, I like bubbles.

The Wheat Porter that was bottled on the 10th of September and brewed on the 2nd of Wheat_Porter_8_Oct_11_DSCF0009August.  The Porter is undrinkable at this point.  It has not fully carbed and has a serious band-aid taste.  This is my third porter, and all of them have developed a band-aid taste while in the bottle.  The taste ages out, but it is irritating, especially since the taste is not present in ANY of my other beers, including my stouts.  If you can get past the band-aid taste, the beer is good, and I anticipate that my Christmas, this should be a great tasting beer.  I will invert the bottles to hopefully put the yeast back in suspension now that the garage is warmer, though it should not have been a cold issue that causes under carbed bottles. 

Hefeweizen_8_Oct_11_DSCF0008Now, for the Hefeweizen.  This beer was brewed on the 8th of July. I bottled it on the 4th of August, and was letting set for a bit.  The beer was carbed to 3.5 units.  But, like the Wheat Porter, it is under carbed.  The opposite of the other beers, this beer conditioned in my computer room, which is always 65 degrees or warmer.  This under carb issue is something that has happened once before, but that was over a year ago.  That time was due to a sugar miscalculation.  This time the appropriate amounts of sugar (7.9 oz. for the Hefe) were added to both the Porter and the Hefe.  Like the porter, I inverted the beer and will wait another month to see what happens.  It is drinkable as is, as it quite tasty.  However, I do not like to drink a nearly flat beer. 


Now for my IPA – This was, and still is, a great beer.  Boil and dry hops were all Amarillo.  Sadly, I only have 3 bottles left, and am not sure when I will have the chance to brew this beer again, as I still have a list to do before I add new brews to the que. 

Interestingly, I stored three of the IPA’s on their sides in my beer fridge,  Upon opening, half of the beer foamed out.  Not an infection type of geyser, just a gentile foaming.  My remaining three IPS’s will be resting in an upright position until next Friday, when hopefully, they will have quieted down a bit.