Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More Yogurt

Well, you may remember that a couple of weeks ago I made homemade yogurt. using a recipe from my sister's blog. See Creamy Homemade Greek Yogurt for her recipe. My blog entry is called Making the Bluefield Yogurt. If you missed it, you should go read it right now. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Frozen Mixed Berries

I really enjoyed that first batch. I liked to fill a pint mason jar half with frozen berries, fill the rest with yogurt, store in the fridge so that I could take it to eat for breakfast at work. Yummy. Of course, the berries would thaw and the fruit and yogurt would blend some. It was nice.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


We went sledding during the day on New Year's Eve this year. There is a Jefferson County Open Space Park called Meyer Ranch. We've seen people sledding there, but never tried it ourselves. This time, we decided to head down 285 to try out this hill.

Not sure why it took me so long to share these photos and videos, but here they are ....

Monday, January 19, 2015

Making the Bluefield Yogurt

If you follow the SheppyBrew Facebook page or my twitter feed, you likely know that I made Greek yogurt this weekend.

I was inspired by my sister, Mrs. Bluefield, and her blog post Creamy Homemade Greek Yogurt.

Actually, she also blogged about homemade yogurt back in August, at which point I decided I needed to give it a try. I'm not sure why it took me so long. If you followed the link to her posts (which you totally should), you probably know that the process is ridiculously easy. It is time consuming, but all but about 15 minutes is waiting for the magic to happen.

Seriously simple. Heat the milk. Cool the milk. Inoculate the milk. Wait. Those are the steps. If you want Greek yogurt, you need to strain off some whey.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Snowball's Brew Day

In 2013, when I did my little SheppyBrew Styles project, my Category 1 Light Lager beer was Snowball's Chance (in) Helles. The beer was a disappointment mostly because I bottled it and the carbonation was very inconsistent. Some bottles were practically flat and some were way too carbonated. I tried to fix some of the bottles by adding more priming sugars and that just made things worse.

The beers that were close to the right carbonation level were pretty good. I did enter this beer into a competition, and it did fairly well on its scoring, but I never felt I enjoyed the beer as much as I thought I should.

Obviously, I knew that I would have to brew this recipe again so that I could find out how it would be when properly carbonated. I thought I would have gotten to this re-brew quite awhile ago. I never did....

.... until this past weekend.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Missing Taco Pterodactyl?

I'm afraid my travel bug, Taco Pterodactyl has gone missing.

Taco is my second oldest travel bug, and until recently, the oldest one still surviving.

For quite awhile he was traveling across Florida with one geo-cacher. On December 31th, this geo-cacher said "good-bye" to my little Taco Pterodactyl and dropped him off at "Want a Steak, Want a Shake, or will you get Gas?".

On January 5, a log on this cache says, "Nice cache no trackable inside tho".

Assuming that the January 5th log is correct, and that cacher did not just miss Taco Pterodactyl in there, either someone picked him up and forgot to log him, or someone picked him up and didn't know to log him, or someone stole him.

Of course, I am hoping that someone just forgot to log him. Perhaps by the time you read this, it will have been logged.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

SheppyBrew X-Mas vs Breckenridge Christmas

I've mentioned a couple of times that I think the 2014 version of my X-Mas Ale was based originally on a clone recipe I found (years ago) for Breckenridge Brewery's Christmas Ale. I don't know where the recipe would have come from, and it may be that I imagined this memory. Of course, even if it started as a clone, I would have made significant changes to it. That is just the way I do things. I never copy recipes completely.

Even so, I knew that I would be trying a side-by-side tasting of the two beers, just to see how they compared. I've done it a few times this year, and if you follow the SheppyBrew Facebook page, you may have seen pictures.

Until today, though, I have not gotten around to blogging about the comparison. Here we go ....

They are certainly not the same. They are both winter warmers, but I don't think anyone who tried them both would confuse the two.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

2014 Year-End SheppyBrew Stats

2014 has ended. SheppyBrew Brewery was pretty busy last year, although not quite as busy as the past couple of years. Since the Brewery likes to post quarterly updates on how much we have brewed, it is time for another Brew Stats post.

If you are interested, can see all these past updates (including the one you are reading right now ... and if any I do in the future) by following this link: http://blog.ericshepard.com/search/label/Brew%20Stats .

Unlike the past couple of years, I did not break the 100 gallon mark for beer brewed in 2014.  This doesn't come as a surprise to you if you've been following my quarterly reports this year. I did get to approximately 90 gallons of beer for the year, though. After the second quarter, I didn't think I would get anywhere close to 90, so things really sped up in the second half of the year.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

First Brew of 2015: Arctic Vortex

The lovely and sexy SheppyBrew Beer Model purchased me a refractometer for Christmas this year. I've always thought that it would be nice to own refractometer, but it is not something I ever felt I would buy for myself. I've always been able to brew without one, after all.

However, getting one was very exciting for me. The nice thing about a refractometer is being able to take gravity readings with a tiny amount of wort, which means much less time cooling the sample down. This means a much quicker pre-boil gravity reading. It also makes it much more practical to take readings throughout the boil. This flexibility allows adjustments during the boil to make sure that the beer follows the plan.

Of course getting this meant that I had to brew to try out my new toy.