I’m back at it again! … procrastinating, that is. So, I’ll just combine all the teeny tiny little anecdotes I was thinking about posting into one big post, so they don’t seem so wimpy. In part 1, I’m happy for more sun. I survived the winter, and actually got in decent shape, without much sunlight. But I sincerely dislike mornings. So having more sun when I get up is quite a nice change.
Round 2 goes to: Brewing! I haven’t had much on here about my other activities, so I might as well start on this random blob, er blog. Recently two of my friends got married, and I decided for their wedding present I’d make them a beer. But not just any beer, a belgian style tripel/golden strong ale that will age well… so they could have anniversary bottles (I know, I’m the best. You should probably be my friend). I was pretty stoked. Also, to all my friends who are not yet married, don’t get too excited. Andy and Jen just win the prize as the first (and probably only) ones to get beer. Snooze you lose.
As I was doing my research, I learned that the belgian strong ale typically uses additional sugar to bump up the starting gravity (read: give the yeast more sugar to eat and convert into alcohol – woo strong beers) instead of just malt. In addition, yeast don’t always love starting in this much sugar, and can produce off flavors. So I decided to make not 1 but 2 different starters – little mini-batches to let the yeast get used to malt sugar and basically have lots of sex and propagate like mad so that you can pitch a good amount into the wort (starting beer). I needed 2 starters because… I decided to use 2 different yeasts. At the same time. I don’t know how common it is, but I figured I wanted to make Andy and Jen a truly unique beer, and throwing in a bunch of random (ok, not totally random) yeast strains and hoping they play nice would certainly be different. And hopefully taste decent.
So, as usual, during the brewing process some things went wrong. Mainly, the mash process took a long time (it always takes longer than you expect), but then I couldn’t get the wort to strain out. Peat came over to spectate/’help’ (I don’t think he was really interested, but I convinced him to at least sit in a hot, beer-smelling room for a bit… what a guy) and was a bit confused by all my cursing and fanagaling hot grains and liquid to try to salvage what I could.
The posting of all of this has been delayed many many months, because Andy and Jen’s wedding was just at the beginning of June! (ok, so that was also a while ago). Not that it really matters, but I figured I’d save the details until they had beer-in-hand.
The super neat thing about making a belgian style beer as a gift, is that I decided to go all-out. I got big (22oz) bottles and corks and cages. My friends at alpha brewing co downtown were nice enough to let me borrow their corker (turns out it’s really expensive and I don’t plan on corking many beers).
In other news, I’ve been procrastinating pretty bad on all accounts, and have probably half a keg of said belgian beer in my basement. Whenever I finally get around to re-filling my CO2 tank, you can come taste the goodness yourself (see above, you totally want to be my friend).
Round 3: Indian Camp Creek!
I raced a race. It was on mountain bikes. I won the 9 hour. I also fell. Thrice. These are the interesting things, so I’ll elaborate:
– I tanked directly into a big rut on a downhill. Note to self: rigid carbon forks do not, in fact, flex enough to pop over ditches.
– I knocked my handlebars on a tree. Because I was being lazy (I’d hit the straps of my backpack on the tree every lap, thinking to myself ‘wow, that was closer than I thought…’ apparently I finally decided to get on with it and knock it good). Hit it so solidly that the handlebars swung around and scratched my top tube. This is why we can’t have nice things.
– I fell in the dirt. No really, that’s it. I was riding one moment, the next I was spitting dust. I count it as extra sunscreen.
I also dropped my chain once, which was a bummer. Stupid race brain couldn’t figure it out for a while (I was getting ready to pass people, so I was bummed). But it’s all good.
Overall – I wound up with 10 laps, which was fun, and some super sweet bruises (I also managed to swing my handlebars around into my knee somehow when I went down on the dirt). I’d like to say I would have gotten in 2 more laps if I wasn’t cut off due to rain, but that’s pretty optimistic. Still, I was very happy with finishing, and enjoyed far too much food afterwards at anatoly’s first “going away party” (aka, we need excuses now to hang out at the bar?). I will say, I was a little bummed they started giving away all the prizes and raffle stuff before I was off the course. The weather was probably a factor… but I barely made it to my ‘podium’. At least I won some cash back? I suppose I’d rather have that than whatever they were raffling…
Psych! I’m not THAT good at catching up, duh. But to keep your interest, you can look forward to: heatwave, phone tirades, vampire century, moto, gardening, Boston. And whatever random crap I do in the next few days.