From a jar of peanuts. 

I guess this is for stupid people (i.e., liberals and lawyers):


Christmas Treats

Christmas_2011_DSCF0997Just some images of some of the treats I made for Christmas. We gave most of them away, but we did manage to eat out share.

Made two types of Chex Mix.  One of the batches was an old recipe from my mom that is labeled “Mexican Tidbits”.  It is a bit more salty and spicy, and is my favorite Chex Mix type treat.  When I was overseas, my mother would always send some in my care packages.  I also made a “regular” batch, though I do vary the ingredients, using all three types of Chex cereal, along with a few extras.  I also leave out a thing or two.  Christmas_2011_DSCF1031

I also made two types of caramel corn.  One of the recipes was simply caramel corn with pecans, while the other batch was coated with milk and white chocolate.  The chocolate coated caramel corn was simply great.  It will be my standard caramel corn in the future, though the regular corn is also very good. 


I have tried walnuts and almonds in caramel corn, but I prefer pecans.  Walnuts are sometimes a bit too bitter, and almonds are too hard.  The pecans are usually soft and sweet; a perfect match for the caramel corn.

One last treat was date nut bread – again two batches, but both batches were the same. 

With the above, we constructed gift packages that also included home made Merlot wine, home brewed beer, and fresh eggs from our five chickens.  Overall, I went through over 4 pounds of butter, and about 2 pounds of brown sugar.Christmas_2011_DSCF1047

Happy New Year!

Albert – The Assassinator Killer

Albert_22Dec11_DSCF1053Albert, AKA "The Assassinator Killer", spent the day practicing what he is best at – killing the innocent!





After a few warm-up rounds of Call of Duty, The Assassinator Killer was seen choosing a new shotgun that was just a bit more efficient in killing all the “bad” guys.  Albert also managed to make Captain today, and came in third on one map with a total of 28 kills.

Here Albert can be seen getting his blood pressure checked after the stress of fragging over 150 people today.  Albert_22Dec11_DSCF1056





Visit frequently to see who Albert kills next!

Bearded Hen German/Belgian/American Amarillo IPA

Beer_09Dec11_DSCF0982It is a long name for a beer, but in a way, it fits.  Because of an accidental double order, I have about 100 pounds of German and Belgian Pilsner in storage, and I thought that it was time to use them.  While the grains are still in great condition because of the cool, dry storage conditions, they are a year old.  So, for the next few beers, I will be substituting Pilsner for regular brewers 2-row.   

This IPA is one of my favorites.  I have brewed it two times in the past, and have always found it easy to drink.  The beer is not too bitter, and has a hint of grapefruit/citrus.  The first time I brewed this beer I use whole hops.  The entire house smelled like grapefruit; basically, like a citrus orchard.  The past two times I have used pellets, and the aroma has been disappointing.  The pellets simply have not had the beautiful Amarillo aroma that the whole hops had.  The taste is similar, just not the same.  If I brew this again, I will use whole leaf hops. 

Recipe: Bearded Hen German/Belgian/American Amarillo IPA

Boil Size: 7 gallons
Batch Size: 5.5 Gallons
Boil time: 90 Minutes
SRM: 6.4
IBU’s: 69.0


51.9% – 7 lbs. Pilsner – German 
44.4% – 6 lbs. Pilsner – Belgian 
3.7% – 8 oz. Crystal – 40L


2.0 oz. – Amarillo (pellet – 49.7 IBU’s) – 70 Minutes
1.0 oz. – Amarillo (pellet –14.6 IBU’s) – 20 Minutes 
1.0 oz. – Amarillo (pellet – 4.8 IBU’s) – 5 Minutes
1.0 oz. – Amarillo (pellet – 0 IBU’s) – 0 Minutes 
1.0 oz. – Amarillo (pellet – 0 IBU’s) – Dry Hop – 7 Days


1/2 tsp. – Irish Moss– 10 Minutes


1 pk – Wyeast Labs #1332 – Northwest Ale – 1600 ml Starter – Stir Plate

No problems with this brew – hit my numbers spot on with my usual 75% efficiency.  What is nice is that for the Beer_09Dec11_DSCF0971last few months, I have hit my mash temps and my post boil volumes exactly.  It took a while, but they are finally there.  Now, if I can just figure out how to carb consistently.  I am not sure if it my cool garage temperatures, or something else, but some beers are over carbed, some fine, and some way undercarbed.  My Hefe, carbed to 3.5 volumes, is almost uncarbed.  My sugar measurements are exact, so the carbonation is my next project.

As usual, spent grains going into the freezer for the chickens. 

Egg count for last week – 33 eggs!  Not bad for 5 chickens.

It Is Porter Time

Beer_4Dec11_DSCF0968I did a post on the 8th of October where I reviewed a Wheat Porter that I sampled, remarking about how bad it tasted.  My remarks included the issue of the severe band-aid taste that the porter had, making the brew undrinkable.  I mentioned that I was going to let the beer sit for a month and re-sample.  I had my sample over the weekend, and it was wonderful, though a bit unusual because of the wheat.  Very drinkable with a nice head, and carbed the way I like.  The band-aid taste is gone, as usual when I let my porters sit. 

Did a Robust Porter last Saturday. Actually, it is more of a “look at what I have left over and use it” Porter.  I did not have several of the grains that I used in the previous version of this beer, but I do not want to buy any additional grains until I finish what I have.  The same goes for hops.  So, I mixed and matched, and substituted grain and hops, and hopefully will have a good finished dark beer. 

I mashed at 156, did a batch sparge, and went with a 80 minute boil.  The Fuggles were about a year old and in an opened package -I just wanted to use them.  Managed an 83.5% efficiency on this one, which is a bit higher than I have been getting recently.  The more I consider it, the more I don’t even know if this is a porter anymore, but when transferring to the primary, it was very nice tasting.  Should be good, and since I made it I can name it.

Recipe:  Bearded Hen Coop Scraps Robust Porter

Boil Size:  7 gallons
Barth Size:  5.5 Gallons
IBU’s:  35.4


59.7% – 8 lbs. Pale Malt (2 Row)
14.9% – 2 lbs. Munich Malt
7.5% – 1 lb. Flaked Oats
4.2% – 9.0 oz. Carafa II 
4.2% – 8.0 oz. Black Patent Malt
2.8% – 6.1 oz. Crystal Malt – 80L
2.8% – 6.1 oz. Crystal Malt – 20L
1.4% – 3.0 oz. Special B Malt
1.0% – 2.1 oz. Crystal Malt – 120L


1.0 oz. – Styrian Goldings (pellet – 28.9 IBU’s) – 80 Minutes 
1.0 oz. – Styrian Goldings (pellet –10.8 IBU’s) – 20 Minutes
.40 oz. – Fuggles (pellet – 5.7 IBU’s) – 50 Minutes


1  Cup – Malto-Dextrine – 20 Minutes
3.5 oz. – Milk Sugar (Lactose) – 10 Minutes
1/2 tsp. – Irish Moss– 10 Minutes 


1 pk – Wyeast Labs #1028 – London Ale – 1600 ml Starter – Stir Plate

Next up is an IPA made with Pilsner, Crystal 40L, Amarillo Hops, and Wyeast #1056 – American Ale.