Monday, October 29, 2007

in-depth article

I found this article in GQ Magazine about Brian's beer. Check it out!
GQ: So! Beer, huh? How's it going?

Brian Carter: Woohoo! Home brew!

GQ: Uh okay. How's it going? How's the BEER going?

BC: The beer's ready. I'm drinking it right now.

GQ: Well, holy shit. Now, I know the bottles are supposed to sit for something like 2 weeks, right? How long has it been and how do you feel about the results?

BC: The recommended bottle conditioning time is one to two weeks. It's been eight days. Ummm, I'm really impatient when it comes to homemade alcoholic beverages.

GQ: Of course, of course. Has the carbonation problem sort of taken care of itself? We heard there was... gushing.

BC: That's right. The bottle I opened after three days at room temperature exploded on me a little bit. After some reading, I figured out that the temperature was a factor, and refrigeration solved that problem. Ale yeast works at a very specific temperature, and the colder conditions rendered the yeast inactive.

GQ: And how's the color? How's the head?

BC: Color's perfect - exactly how an amber ale should look. Head's perfect - head retention is what's really important, and it's a nice, light, tightly-packed, bubbly head, which is what you're looking for.

GQ: Rock on brother. What's next on the horizon?

BC: My brewing partner and I have been talking about making a brown ale.

GQ: Kinky!

BC: Given that the temps have been dropping, we figured a darker brew is in order. GFY, on the kinky.

GQ: Good for me!

BC: Uh, no. The other one.

GQ: This interview is over. Give me a beer.

BC: [laughs. drinks.]

Saturday, October 27, 2007

kem cho

happy weekend-before-halloween. i love halloween... and i couldn't really tell you why. same reason i love scary movies, playing dress-up, and going to parties. see. it all comes together. i have a beautiful costume this year. i'll try to post some actual pics this week, but here's a preview. i'm sure you can imagine how my night went: get dressed up, go to a party, sample some spectacular sangria, spend more time playing jenga with the 2nd graders than chatting up the adults i don't know, leave kind of early, pick up a bottle of wine on the way home, love on some very competitive and needy dogs, take some pictures, send some drunk facebook messages, go to bed. enjoy.

by the way, 'kem cho' means 'hello' in gujarati - one of the eight languages my fabulous friend and colleague jyo speaks. this is her sari. did i mention she's fabulous?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

breach of beer

the seal has been breached! someone busted open a three-day old bottle of home-brew.

and i think they
tasted it.

item #1: the bottle
notice the bent cap, which is clearly labeled "#1," and the bottle, completely devoid of BEER

item #2: the case
notice anything? something MISSING??

there is one suspect in custody.
SOMEone may have some explaining to do...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bottling Day!

And on the Sixth Day, there was homebrew.

Matt, Hannah, and I bottled the homebrew yesterday. It was quite fun :)
Here are some pictures!
Clean Bottles - These were dishwashed the night before, and at this point were awaiting a final bath in the sanitizing solution.

The wort! This is the "raw" beer. The yeast has done its job, and now the beer is ready to be transferred to the second tub, where it will meet the priming sugar.

Siphoning the beer into the bottling bucket. We had already added our dissolved corn sugar/water mixture to the bottom of the bucket. This priming sugar is what the yeast will use to create new CO2 in the bottles, carbonating the beer. This method is called bottle conditioning.

Transferring the beer to the bottles. We used an auto-siphon device, which when fully depressed at the bottom of the bottle, allows a perfect, steady stream of beer to fill the bottle, and as soon as you lift up, it cuts off the flow. It's great!

The first bottle!

Now we have to wait 7-14 days for the yeast to do its thing. I can't wait. The beer we made was a pretty straight-forward amber ale. Since it was our first go at it, we used a kit, which contained all of the ingredients and supplies, everything perfectly measured out, etc. If it's tasty, we will be making a brown ale from a recipe next. If it's not tasty, we'll probably need to try a kit beer again to make sure that we can get one of those right :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

my two cents

as the unexpected co-author of this blog, i figured i should at least say, "uh, hi."

and now that i've deleted and restarted this sentence five times, i'm going to walk away until i find something useful to talk about.

hey, husband, do we need to come up with sassy nicknames for ourselves? like "ms. carter" and "cellofan"? that seems like a blogger-y thing to do.

Here goes nothing.

Okay folks. We know a lot of people with blogs. It's our time now. If I can make a prediction: Hannah and I will post about wildly different things, in wildly different styles. She's a better writer than I, and she also thinks these type of things through more than I do.

Anyways... back to my first post.

As many of you know, I quit my hotel job (finally) about a month ago. I am teaching cello lessons in 3 different parts of NC, and I have been doing a lot of playing. I hated my job with a passion that I was unaware of until I left. I just got another part-time job this week. Apparently, it takes a while for a private cello teacher to attain true, real financial stability. I will be the A.M. counter person/barista/smiley morning person at the Delicious Bakery. I can't wait. I love coffee, and they make the best damn cakes I've ever tasted! There is no "dress code," there is no stuffiness, there is only cool, hippyish bakers, tasty treats and coffee.

In the meantime, I've rekindled my interest (obsession) with detailed, effective practicing, I've done a lot of dog-walking, and I've made a batch of Amber Lager with my friend Matt (we're bottling on Sunday!!). I've also done quite a bit of lazing around. I'm pretty far along in Metroid Prime, I've read a few books, and I've had time to read about 1,000 blog posts (hence the blog).

So, here's to actually attempting to maintain a blog, and to staying busy, and to enjoying my life now that there is no more stupid job that I hate involved.

Oh, and here's a video of insane cello playing, courtesy of Rostropovich.