MonthJanuary 2007

beer in bottles, now we wait.

Last night I moved the beer from the carboy (giant glass bottle where it ferments) into the bottles. The beer at this point was totally flat, and very dry tasting, but my book says that’s the way it’s supposed to be so I’m not too worried. The only thing I’m worried about is that it tasted a bit too hoppy for a hefewiesen (which is what I was trying to make) Now we just wait 2-4 weeks for the extra sugar I added to get turned into bubbles by the yeast, and for all the flavors to develop, then we can drink it!

I meant to get cool pictures of the process of brewing and bottling, but I couldn’t find the camera on either occasion. As a consolation I present you with this picture of the beer all wrapped up:

beer in bottles

And for the interested here is my ghetto brewing log:

beer log

batch 1.
brew date: 13 jan 2007

“hefewiezen ale kit”
6 lbs. Wheat dry malt extract
1.5 oz Tettnanger hops 4.0 alpha acid
.75 oz Tettnanger hops
1 whirlfloc tablet
3/4 cup corn sugar

put duct tape on 6 gal carboy marking 1-5 gallons

began heating 3 gal water 11:30
at 12:00 added bittering hops
at 12:30 added irish moss tablet
at 12:55 added aromatic hops
at 1:00 put in bath tub to cool,
added a gallon cold water to wort
at 1:35 was at 80 degrees, funneled into 6.5 gallon carboy, added gallon cold water, put on fermentation lock

21 jan – all sign of foam on top is gone

22 jan, 8pm – bottling

dipped the 24 (new) 12oz bottles

siphoned out of the carboy basically until the top of the layer of sediment, although there was a lot more liquid in there… it seemed like the right thing to do. once it was in the bucket, added 3/4 cup corn sugar
dissolved in 1 cup boiling water (then cooled) for carbonation. Siphoned it into 24 12oz bottles and 12 22 oz bottles, for a total of 4.3 gallons of beer. Seems shy of my 5 gallon recipe, but it could be that I overfilled
the bottles or was too conservative about leaving the sediment in the carboy and lost beer with it.

the semester begins; also, making beer

This was the first week of class in my 6th (!) semester at Berkeley. Here at Berkeley EECS they believe in making grad students take plenty of classes, and I’ve got a few more to get through before I’ll be done. I’m taking one class that’s a full-blown lecture setup, with problem sets, a project, and even a midterm and a final. Yuck… but if I make it through I will have completed my inside minor in “Theory,” and I’ll have just one more class left to take. I’m also in a “reading” class taught by James, which basically consists of reading a paper or two every week and discussing it in a group–much lower work load. If only I could find a theory class that fit that same mold, I’d be a happy camper. I’ve got a paper deadline in April, and also around that time I’ll be giving my quals, which if I pass I will be “ABD” (all but dissertation), very exciting.

Also exciting is the 6-gallon glass jar on the floor in my kitchen that is filled with fermenting beer. Now, lest you think too much of me, brewing beer is not, as far as I can tell, cool to do anymore. No, it’s squarely in that awkward stage between being cool and retro. I know this because whenever I mention that I’m doing it to someone the response is usually “You too?” or “Oh yeah, I used to brew beer a few years ago,” or something along these lines. But ponder this, hipsters: beer for $0.10/bottle in raw materials never goes out of style. My first batch is a wheat beer, which has been fermenting for about a week and is ready to go into bottles. After it’s in there, I’ll have to wait a couple of more weeks before I can try it. I’ll be sure to give a full report, assuming I’m not killed by some super bacteria I’ve bred along with the yeast.

it’s like having christmas twice

We’ve just returned from Christmas in Texas, which we capped off with a Utah ski adventure. It was a complete vacation. Besides exchanging a few emails, I didn’t do a lick of work the whole time I was gone. I did, however, manage to bowl over a hundred (in real life, second time ever). I think I owe a lot more to Marc’s coaching expertise than any intuition gained in Wii bowling. If someday I can make the ball go where I want consistently, maybe I can put that knowledge to use.

bowling scores

Not only this, but I survived three days of snowboarding in Utah with no serious injuries, which for me is always a success. Again I have Marc to thank for conceiving the trip and making our condo a home, and Matt for tackling the logistics of where, when, and how much. Here we are in the tunnel they’ve drilled through the mountain at Snowbird so you can get to the backside without waiting for the Gondola:

snowbird tunnel

And, as if all of this isn’t enough, I also decided not to try to publish my latest research in SIGGRAPH, but to wait instead for a later conference deadline. Which means that instead being greeted in Berkeley maelstrom of stress, I’ll instead be able to ease back into work as is proper after such an excellent break.

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