Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Auntie Brew Day & Docs

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Saturday, we met up with Izzy’s aunts Nan & Sue for our first shared Brew Day. See… a few years ago (like 7 or 8) they were given a Mr. Beer Brew Kit with a fairly simple two gallon system… but they hadn’t used it. Obviously just about everything in the kit had expired except for the plastic barrel with a spigot, but we picked up fresh malts & hops at the Oak Barrel and started making an attempted clone of one of their favorites… Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra Pale Ale. Was it a completely flawless situation? Of course not. We had just bought a new 11-gallon brewpot for a big batch like this… but their stovetop had a microwave directly over it, so we had to improvise with their 4 gallon pot… and the only problem with that was that it was a LOT of malt sugars for what would ultimately be a 7 gallon batch (5 for us, 2 for them) but we made it work. Here are some pictures…
You can tell they're related... because all
the eyes are closed simultaneously...
After boiling for an hour & adding the hops… lots of them… like a half pound (8 oz) in total for this 7 gallon batch where our previous record was 4 oz by accident with our Honey Amber… we then did a little bit of an odd cool-down process… because we knew we had to add more water, etc anyway… and transport into a larger brew pot (fit in the sink), we sanitized the larger pot (we’ll call him Bayou Billy), put a few bag of ice from the grocery store into the pot, then poured the hot wort directly into the pot with the ice. Not traditional… but the thinking behind this was that the boiling wort would quickly kill any nasties that might be in the ice (made sure that no plastic was involved), it would chill the wort quickly and turn into the water that we were going to add anyway… and then any additional water needed, they had a nice little hose setup on their faucet that we topped it off with. The result: The wort chilled MUCH faster than usual… in fact, there was still some ice floating at the top when we were transferring from the kettle to the fermenters… so we actually had to warm the wort up a bit to room temperature before adding the yeast. So yeah, real good & we’ll see how that method works. Sure beat the wort chiller or our standard methods… but there are variables in there too.

So after the quick cool, we loaded up their two gallon plastic fermentor which they placed in their basement… and we filled up our fermentor, drove about 40 miles across the bay back to my place, & then topped off the fermentor, pitched the yeast and set it up in the dark corner. Overall, I think it was an incredible success… and hopefully we get the ladies a little excited… and then we can set up another brew day in the future if they like the results… or they may just want to see us do it some time. Great ladies… hopefully we can give them something fun to do during their retirement… and two gallons should be small enough for them to move around easily since it’s less than 20 pounds I think.
Saturday night, Izzy & I watched some documentaries. First up was “Let The Fire Burn” which is about the radical group MOVE in Philadelphia during the late 1970’s until… what essentially became the craziest eviction ever on May 13th, 1985. Now… I knew NOTHING about this… so this was really interesting. Basically there was this group of people who were essentially a “back to Africa, back to nature” movement… but decided to do it in downtown Philadelphia because… it’s the strategy of their prophet John Africa (just about everybody changed their last name to Africa BTW). To live by their beliefs, they tore up the sidewalks in the city to make gardens, walked around naked everywhere, brandishing firearms that may or may not have been operational, and frankly… it just didn’t seem like the safest, most hygienic way for people in a civilized township to live… but I digress. In 1978, the mayor of Philadelphia was a former police chief & he had received the complaints… and wanted to clean up that neighborhood. Well, they didn’t want to move… the police had to move them… and there was conflict & of course… shots fired… and eventually eviction… and a dead police officer during the scuffle. Who was found responsible? Apparently nine members of MOVE were convicted… and sentenced to 30+ years. WOW, right? Well… this is basically act one of the documentary… and the last chapter gets f**king nuts as the title might imply. I highly recommend that everybody watch this documentary. It’s well done… basically all with found footage & interviews done no later than the committee shortly after the “final event” in 1985 so it’s all testimony & footage in the moment, not diluted through time. It’s informative, controversial, and it’s really not a story where there’s good guys & bad guys… but differing points of views… different moral codes… and a LOT of gray area that’s open to your own interpretation… and over an event that like I said, I had NEVER heard about before this documentary but was extremely interesting. Check it out.
Next up was “20 Feet From Stardom" which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary this past year… by the way, all of these are on Netflix so check them out. This one is about backup singers and how they have been an integral (and pretty much exploited) part of the music industry… but with today’s technology & tastes… they’re losing a lot of ground in that department. Apparently it’s hard to make a living as an actually talented singer while certain individuals with little to no musical talent are constantly on tour racking in that dough. The film was very provocative & interesting… but let’s face it, the main reason to watch is for the soundtrack. All the classics from the 60’s & 70’s… and just meeting the people who you knew before as “that girl that answers Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder” or “that girl that outshines Mick Jagger on Gimme Shelter” or something like that. So yeah… check it out… you may learn something.
We then followed that up with “The Whale” which is about a young killer whale named Luna who is separated from his family and befriends the town of Vancouver Island in British Columbia… and narrated by Ryan Reynolds. Sound like a horrible Disney flick? IT’S A DOCUMENTARY TOO!!! Yeah, apparently this really happened… and this young orca would come up along the passing ferries & boats to saw howdy & try to get the attention of the people… and then he gets really aggressive so the wildlife protective agencies have to step in… which makes him even more aggressive but still playful. Let’s face it… the reason this movie exists is to show amazing footage of orcas & Canadian wilderness… and it delivers. Check it out now… your girlfriend will love it.
SF Homebrewing Guild BBQ & our first competition results are on Saturday in Golden Gate Park!!! Also this weekend, Adam Carolla at the Palace of Fine Arts… and we’ve got great tickets for it!!! I'm gonna get these signed...
A week from now, my mom & stepdad are coming to visit for a few days… before we all go on a cruise to Alaska… so yeah, LOTS of fun things going on the next few weeks… but I’ll keep you posted in due time. Have a great day everybody!!!

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