Friday, May 17, 2019

#GCCUSA 2019 Great Cycle Challenge

I'm doing the Great Cycle Challenge again this year.

Yes I am.

I've done this every year since 2016. The Great Cycle Challenge is one of those ride-to-raise-money-for-charity events that pop up from time to time.

The charity I'm riding to raise money for is the Children's Cancer Research Fund.

The difference between this "event" and others (sort of) like it is that this one lasts the entire month of June. The riders pledge a number of miles to ride over the month. Other people donate money in support.

I am blessed to have extremely generous friends and family and co-workers, and I've helped raise a pretty significant amount of money over the past few years.

$960 so far this year. Almost $5,450 over the time I've done the Great Cycle Challenge.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Big Brew Day 2019

You may remember from "Overnight Cook" that the 2019 AHA Big Brew Day was last Saturday (May the 4th be with You).

You might also remember that we were hosting this year.

We invited our homebrewing friends "Doc" and "Du" and each of them brought along their wives to "assist".

The Beer Model and I also invited quite a few non-homebrewers who were interested in learning about the brewing process.

Or at least were interested in drinking and eating while we homebrewed.

We had no idea how many people would end up showing up, but we were prepared to feed a small army. Between the pulled pork and some smoked mac & cheese, and other various snacks, we had food covered.

Luckily, Saturday's weather was perfect.

Our friend "Doc" decided to brew a partial-mash Yuengling Amber Lager clone. Our friend "Du" decided to brew a Mexican Lager.

I decided to have my first 10 gallon brew day, and split the batch into 2 fermentors. The first fermentor would be a Blood Orange Saison. The second would be a Mango Pale Ale.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Overnight Cook

So, this year, the AHA Big Brew Day was Saturday May 4th.

We actually hosted this year. (more on that later ... see Sheppy's Blog: Big Brew Day).

Because we were hosting, I thought it would be nice to have something smoked for our guests to eat. A pork butt seemed like a great candidate.

The only problem with pork butt is that it always takes me right around 12 hours to cook and at least an hour to rest. To be ready by noon, I'd have to start the cook before midnight.

On my older smoker, I would not be able to get much sleep.

But ... as I mentioned in I bought a Weber Kettle, one of the things I wanted to try was an overnight cook with the "snake method". This was a perfect opportunity to see how it worked for me.

Sooo ... I set up my "snake" Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

I bought a Weber Kettle

A few weeks ago, I bought a Weber Kettle. One of the "original" 22 inch kettles with the "one-touch cleaning system". One very much like this ...  Weber 14407001 Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Green.

When it arrived, my wife asked me ... "what can you do on this that you can't do on your other smoker?".


She gave me a weird look and might have said something like "then why the hell did you buy this?"...

It might have just been her eyes that said it.

Well ... of course I didn't need another grill / smoker. I still don't NEED it. I like having it, though.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Easter Ham

You may remember that I (double) smoked a ham around Christmas.

The ham turned out good. Not great.

My wife (aka the SheppyBrew Beer Model) really liked that the ham didn't take up oven space, which helped with the cooking logistics.... one less thing to have to coordinate in the oven.

So for Easter, she told me that I was making the meat for the holiday meal.

I was leaning towards Rib Roast ... as it was on sale at my local grocery store, but the kids both really wanted ham.

Silly kids.

So, I ended up making another Double Smoked Ham.

One of the things I thought last time was that I didn't give the ham enough time on the smoker. Because it was a pre-cooked ham, getting to a "safe" internal temperature wasn't as big of an issue. But, the smoked flavor just didn't seem as developed as I thought it should.

So, this time, I gave myself significantly more time for the smoking.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

232 ... Blackberry in Bed (Bam-ba-Lam)

I brewed my 232nd batch of beer on Good Friday.

232nd all-time. 7th of the year. 1st of the quarter.

Sadly, my closest home-brew shop is closing. While I was in there looking for going-out-of-business deals, I saw they had some Blackberry puree and flavoring.

The Beer Model had mentioned that she thought a Blackberry Beer would be good, so I decided to snag the puree and flavoring.

I also picked up a new 15 gallon brew kettle pretty cheap from the closing shop. Friday was the first brew day for my new bigger pot.

Because I had a much bigger pot, I decided to do a 7 gallon batch this time to take advantage of the extra capacity.

I considered a few names. Most had to do with song lyrics.

"Back in Blackberry" was a strong possibility ... derived by AC/DC's "Back in Black".

I almost named it "Never Go Back".

I went with "Blackberry in Bed" after listening to the Squeeze song "Black Coffee in Bed". I have fond memories of college days drinking and listening to that song with friends.

For the recipe, I went with my standard "Summer Lovin" base. I'll add the puree in secondary and the flavoring at kegging time. The formula works for me. I don't really have any reason to change it up.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

3 Saisons

If you follow this blog, you've probably picked up that generally, I brew 4 saisons a year Winter / Spring / Summer / and Autumn. I call these my Seasonal Saisons.

It is rare that I have more than one saison on tap at the same time. I usually finish drinking the previous season's saison before brewing the next one.

However, this year I decided to add a 5th Season

At the beginning of April, my 2019 Melting Stream Spring Saison was ready to drink. 

I still had a little of my Arctic Vortex Winter Saison left, and I had plenty of the 5th Season Blood Orange Saison too. 

3 Saisons at once!

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