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New Brewing Prep

I intend to post weekly, and this has been revised at least five times.  I hope it is still a coherent post.

I have been figuring out what I need and what I want to do relative to actually brewing beer, and with the help of various posts on various forums, I think I figured out that I am going to start with a starter set that includes a fermenting bucket, bottling bucket, glass carboy, and I think all the tools to make things work.  I had settled on it a few days before Labor Day and while browsing the Reddit homebrewing forum late on Monday night I saw a post that indicated most things at that particular webstore were 10% off, so I ‘pulled the trigger’.  Happy birthday to me a few weeks early :-).  For whatever reason, the “in stock” item didn’t ship until 9/4 late in the evening.  It took so long for them to ship the in-stock item that I thought maybe they know that my birthday is around two weeks away and they’re shooting for that to be delivery day.  Truthfully, for a first experience it isn’t good (which is why I’m going into great depth to NOT give away who they are, although if they screw up twice the gloves are coming off).  I will probably give them another chance, as it’s my first experience and whatnot, but I might be apprehensive of ordering something that I need in a week and probably reserve their second chance for something that I can order two or three weeks out.

There is one shining spot of it – UPS has been getting the 43 pound set from the middle of the country to Ohio at a record speed – within 16 hours (which includes an overnight), they made it from the origin to Toledo, Ohio.  They’re trying like Hell (and will most likely be successful) at getting it to me on Monday.  Conveniently right after the weekend. Of course it could have been here Friday if it was shipped a day sooner.

In addition to the supplies, I stopped by a local retailer (I don’t want to call them a homebrew shop, since they’re a large eclectic grocery store that happens to have some homebrewing supplies as well as one of the best beer stocks in the region).  I quickly located and purchased the LME, DME, yeast, and hops.  However, I was a bit disappointed in the hops selection.  I was able to find Soriache Ace (bittering) and Cascade (aromatic) hops, but there was a lot of Cascade and some other varieties of almost all aromatic hops – very few bittering hops.  Their refrigerator was mostly bare.  I’m going to check them again and see if it was just that they had a lot of purchases prior to Labor Day.  I also want to check another local homebrew shop or two.

In the meantime, I’ve been saving and washing a lot of bottles.  I’ve been on the lookout for “Grolsch Style” bottles, but haven’t found any Grolsch lately (and the last place I bought it at appears to no longer carry it, although they do have the bottle in the picture below).  I think I’d prefer those to having to cap bottles, but I know I’m probably going to be using normal bottles for the first batch.  And the second.  Probably the third too.  Most likely even the fourth.

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I did wash and remove the painted labels from four Stone bottles.  Using the hint provided on Home Brew Talk, I soaked the bottles in Star San (prepared according to the label on the back) for around 22 hours.  I was able to wipe all the paint off the Stone IPA bottles with a damp rag.  Same with everything that wasn’t blue on their Self Righteous IPA.  And the same with everything that wasn’t gold on their Ruination (there is, unfortunately, a lot of gold on those bottles).  However, I decided I’d try something abrasive (which happened to be a bar of Lava soap since I was at my utility sink) and it started taking gold off a Ruination bottle, so I took a dish scrubbing pad to those bottles and that took the remaining paint off.

I’m up to around 30 bottles currently, and I probably won’t be bottling my first batch until early October, so I’m probably going to have enough by the time bottle day rolls around.  And I’m already dreaming of a keg system and one of those conical fermentors that I’ll probably never actually get in real life.

I’ve already decided my first brew will be the Cincinnati Pale Ale as included on John Palmer’s Website.  First off, I live in Cincinnati (a wonderful place to live if you like beer, thanks to Rhinegeist, MadTree, Moerlein, and other breweries), and I like Pale Ales.  I will use extracts (mostly because this is my first and I want to make it easy on myself), but I likely will not be using a kit for ingredients because I want control over what I get.  I think at some point in the future I will go all-grain, but walk before run.

One thing I think I will be doing prior to brew day is figuring out every little detail for brew day from where things will sit and what will be where when it is used.  I figure it might be a smart thing to make sure I don’t get into a position where I have to carry a 30-pound+ vat of boiling wort halfway across the house to dump it into the fermentor… or have to hunt for the fermentor.


620 Miles…

…is how many miles I’ve logged this year.  620.56 to be exact.  I love that I have Endomondo to track that for me.

Today was a 9 mile run in preparation for the Hudepohl 14k (this is “Running on Beer”, after all!).  The H14k is probably my favorite run.  One reason is because it is meant to be fun.

Another two reasons why it is my favorite are that the wimps all run the 7k, and the real runners run the 14k (we lose the 7k runners about 2 miles into the course where they turn back) and the route.  The route has many breweries marked (many in places that are no longer breweries or even buildings at this point) and that we get to go through the Dalton Street Tunnel under Union Terminal.  Also, there are only two decent hills that are not killers – Brighton Bridge and Liberty Street.  These are easy compared to going up Gilbert in the Flying Pig Marathon!

This year I might be prepared a little early, but I’m ramping up mileage because I want to break 1,000 miles this year.  I decided on this in June or so, when I only had 418 miles in.  With recent increases, I expect I’ll likely break 1,000 miles around Thanksgiving.  Also, having a good long run (which will probably be around 10 miles) will put me in a very good position for whatever half marathon I run next year, whether it be the Pig (where my 2:17 is unfinished business because I KNOW I can do better) or something else.

Anyway, below are some pics from last year.



New Blog: What You’ll Find Here…

…is a lot of stuff about running.  And a lot of stuff about beer.

I am a runner.  I became a runner at around 30 years old, so a bit late to be any sort of champion, prodigy, or coach.  I may never run Boston, I’ll probably never win my age group in a race (unless I’m the only runner in my age group).

Running somewhat caused me to become a better beer drinker.  For a few years, the only race I ran was a memorial run in mid-August.  After some downright horrid times (by my standards), I decided to actually compete and improve in running.  I had one failed attempt where I started to run 9 weeks before the August race and stopped running after the race.  The second time I kept going through the winter.  The following year, I branched out in terms of races (more on that in a sec).  At the same memorial run, I won my class- the “Clydesdale Class” for people heavier than 220 pounds.  The following year (we’re up to 2014, BTW), I was no longer eligible to defend my title because my weight had fallen to 216 pounds.  I ran a 27:01 5k.

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Little Kings Mile. No Cream Ale to be found at the finish, though.  Had to ‘settle’ for Hudepohl Amber.

Running into Beer Drinking

When I started branching out in races, I stumbled on the Bockfest 5k.  It was a cold day and I knew nothing of the sweetness of bock beer on a chilly spring morning following a great 5k.  Later that day, I went out and purchased two 6-packs of Bock Beer (Yuengling Bock and Hudepohl Bock).  The spiral of drinking less Yuengling Lager and Budweiser and drinking more craft beers had begun.

Beer Drinking to Beer Exploration

I had, over the course of a handful of months, went from a beer drinker – one who drinks beer – to a beer explorer.  I made it a goal to unlock badges in Untappd based on how many unique beers I’ve drank.  I realized that my pallet, which at one time was apprehensive of Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale because of the text on the back of the bottle, now looked forward to trying different styles of beer and different brewery’s take on those styles.  I had attained the level of “I fear no beer”.


…and I’m 23 away from 200…

Fast forward to now, I’m beginning to get into brewing my own beer.  I may at some time grow my own hops (growing peppers and carrots in the garden has worked well for me, and hops are much more useful 🙂 ).

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“Make your own 6-pack” has quite a ring to it when the bottles in the holder are ones you’ve brewed!


So What Is This Blog About Again?

Beer brewing and running.  I’m an expert at neither.  I’ll be posting about my experiences – successes and mitsakes.