Thursday, February 27, 2014

You can Brew Beer in College too!

You can Brew Beer in College too! cover

Introducing our first eBook, "You can Brew Beer in College too!: The Logbook and Recipes used by a college student in his first year homebrewing". This 51 page recipe book is a recollection of all the beer I brewed back in college, including:

Ahab's Stout 
Red Rye IPA
Centennial Pale Ale
Vanilla Porter
And More!

Both extract and all grain recipes are included in this book. All my beer making experience from the past year is now conveniently compiled and organized into 1 pdf, so you can enjoy it all at once or when you're not connected to the internet. Follow along with over 160 photos of homebrewing excitement!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Will the Rain finally come? -- 2/25 Garden Update

Sunny Garden Feb 25
Bright and sunny today
This past week has been great spring weather... except we are still in winter. The forecast says rain will be coming tomorrow and continuing through the weekend. That's good for us in CA, any and all rain this year is much needed.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

How to make Swiss Chard Chips

Are you ready for the next health food craze? I'm willing to bet that Swiss Chard will become the next superfood people will flock to (after kale and cauliflower) once they realize how delicious and nutritious it is. Chard is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables available on the market. Plus its brightly colored leaves are much more attractive than those of kale. I should also mention that Swiss Chard tastes better raw than kale does (my brother likes it raw, I don't know how he handles it).
Swiss Chard Chips Ingredients
All the ingredients
Since I have quite a few Swiss Chard plants in my garden, I've always been thinking up of new ways to prepare them. Those plants produce so much, I'm often overwhelmed. My favorite way of cooking them way was to stir fry them on the stove, but I am usually never in the mood to do that anymore. I decided it might be worthwhile to try baking the chard into vegetable chips, similar to how I like to eat kale.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bottling Day: Vanilla Porter

1 week after adding in the vanilla beans to our vanilla porter, it was time to bottle. I was pleased that the beans did not introduce any harmful microorganisms to our brew. The first wiff I took from the fermenter was sulfury, but it dissipated quickly to give strong chocolate and vanilla scents. This is one of the better smelling beers we have made and are proud of it.
Vanilla Porter lid off
Yay the beer made it

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cabbage is back -- 2/17 Garden Update

I haven't given a garden update this month yet, mostly because the it's been raining really hard for the last week. The weather this week feels like spring has finally arrived though; the forecast predicts a few days above 70 this week. I only think this is going to happen because of the cloud cover. Because of this though, nighttime temperatures are predicted to be in the 40s. Let's go through the garden.
I love my cabbages
Aren't they so cute?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Expect to hear these 6 commonly asked questions from non-Homebrewers

Homebrewing is a great hobby to take up. Trust me, I do it and I love it. It's especially fun if you can get your friends to help you out or encourage your brewing. There are a lot of thing that everyday Joe doesn't know about brewing,  so you'll be bound to answer their every little question about your brew. I've had to answer plenty of questions, and many of them being the same from person to person. Here is my list of  6 commonly asked questions about homebrewing.
Jimmy Carter
Homebrewing is Jimmy Carter's favorite hobby

Friday, February 14, 2014

Vanilla Porter to Secondary

Racking Vanilla Porter
Yay for no infected beer!
Today the Vanilla Porter was moved to secondary. There was some speculation as to whether or not the beer would be infected after its near explosive fermentation, but it was kept under control. To continue the process of this beer, the vanilla beans were added in to flavor the beer (can't have a Vanilla Porter without vanilla beans)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Soap Dish Mold Part 2

View Part 1

In this episode I put the finishing touches on the die casting mold for the soap dish.
Evidently, the reamer I had used in the CNC machine was not exactly .500", quite smaller, so I had to re-ream the dowel holes with an actual 1/2" reamer.  Amazingly, the dowels lined up on both sides unlike what I had predicted.
Its bigger than my table!

Beginners Guide to Bottling Homebrew

Now that your beer has finished fermenting, how do you store it? There are two paths you could take, kegging or bottling. If you are starting out, you're most likely going to be using the cheaper option of bottling. How do you get your beer in the bottle and what must you do to ensure your beer gets carbonated?
Bottling Beer 101
One of the brews we bottled
Empty Bottles & Sanitation
Priming Sugar & Carbonation
Filling & Capping

Monday, February 10, 2014

True Siberian Kale

True Siberian Kale

Kale is one of those plants like Swiss Chard, except it is in a completely different order. It's more similar to a cabbage than it is spinach or chard. This variety of kale is really easy to grow. As long as it gets water and some nutrients, the leaves will grow large. My favorite way to prepare kale is to make chips; shred the leaves, drizzle with olive oil, and cook in the oven at 275F for 25 minutes.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Some Elementary Bicycling Tips

Most new bicycles come with warning stickers on them saying things like "WEAR A HELMET", "DO NOT RIDE AT NIGHT", or "CHECK BRAKES".  Obviously this is to protect the manufacturer from liability if something terrible happens, but I think it would be helpful if they also had a sticker that said "Make sure seat and handlebars are high enough" or "Remember to inflate tires"

I say this because it disappoints me to see people riding on uncomfortably adjusted bikes or with tires half inflated or even worse yet, with the fork installed backwards.

Not saying that I am the master of all things bicycle related, but I have learned some things from experience that I wish I would've known much, much earlier.

I feel that some of the following things are what separates a bicycle from being a slow, inconvenient way of getting around from a legitimate form of transportation.  The following is a list of the most important things I would recommend to a beginner cyclist:

Flatbread Waffle Buns

When I was looking through my fridge today, I thought it would be a good idea to have some hamburgers. However, I had no hamburger buns, meaning I had to improvise. My waffle maker was on the counter, so I decided to use that to make some flatbread buns while my oven was occupied by the burgers.
Flatbread waffles plain
They look like waffles -- but it's flatbread

Friday, February 7, 2014

How to Start a Container Garden for Less than $25

Have you ever wanted to grow some vegetables for yourself? Here is a short summary of a quick and easy way to start a reasonably sized container garden for less than $25.
My container garden
My garden last spring
There is no one method to start growing food. You don't need to be a farmer to do it. You can have a vegetable garden in nearly any location, no matter how little space you have. There are cheaper ways to start a garden than the one here, but it this method provides plenty space for the cost and is basic enough to adapt to different budgets, materials available, and climates.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Brew day: Vanilla Porter + Recipe

Introduction Vanilla Porter

Hooray it is time for another brew day! Today we are making a porter to redeem the one we lost last time due to infection. Since I still have vanilla beans, I decided it was time for a vanilla beer. There are a few things that we have decided to do different today. First we are using less grain, 11.5 lbs, as we have learned the upper limit of our mash tun is around 13 lbs. Second, to achieve better starch conversion and not have a repeat of the IPA, our mash will last for 90 minutes instead of 60. Finally, we will be reusing some of the Burton ale yeast from the brown ale we made last time.