Just a little cleaning up

I just did an update on my WordPress install, and I was lamenting the fact that I have a crappy Drupal Install and looking just a bit into how I can convert it, when I noticed a couple of things just out of whack on this blog.

1. My blogroll – It’s pretty outdated. So I changed it a bit.

I see that my long ago blogging buddy Phil Stolle hasn’t done much with Thought Sparks in awhile, so I’m going to move that link to the bottom. I’m sure he’s just in the same boat I’m in, not enough time or motivation to blog away his days and nights 🙂

Looks like Phil gave up on Tech Fires, so I removed that one all together.

Scott Blitzen is still going strong. Go Scott Go! Well, if not going strong, at least he’s beating me out by a long shot. Scott, I just went to Red Rocks again a few weeks ago to see Cake, and I thought about when I took that picture there as a salute to you. Happy days!

My other primarily ignored and abandoned blog is Geeks on Tech, which although it changed from Two Guys Tech years and years ago, I still hadn’t updated the link in the blog roll. So I did that.

Since two blogs wasn’t enough to ignore, a good while ago I started yet another, called Good Homebrew, so I added that link. Yes, it’s being appropriately ignored as well.

Kudos to the following bloggers who are still going strong. Pearl over at Interesting Observations, Steve Wilson Marketing, Simple Help, Teckh, and Kelly at Kellementology (What happened to Sass and Veracity?).

I hope I’m not too hasty in my decision (feel free to appeal it if I am) but I also relegated Ghosts in the Machine to the bottom of the list.

2. Brewing Links – The tab at the top that says “Brewing” leads to a page, that has 3 links that lead you to pages that say, this page has moved. Who’s great idea was that? Oh, yea, I did it. Anyway, I changed those to go to a page that has the correct info on it.

3. Comments – About a week ago I noticed that I was getting quite a large number of spammy link farming comments. I quickly grew tired of spamming them, so I made a bit of a change to comments on the site. Now, once a post is 120 days old, comments are disabled. It’s sad to say that I effectivly disabled comments on the site since my last post was over a year old. Of course, now that I’ve posted this, you can comment to your hearts content.

So, does all of this activity mean I’m going to start posting again? Probably not. I still get creative spurts, but life is as busy as ever. Let’s just leave it at, we’ll see what happens.

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Cake at the Ogden Theater



Tuesday night (6/14) the wife and I went to see Cake at the Ogden Theater. We saw them once before in Denver, and were really excited to hear that they were coming back to Denver. The announcement was sometime in March, and we bought the tickets right away.

They went without an opening band this time, playing 2 sets. I didn’t realize that they weren’t going to have an opener until we got there, which was almost a disappointment. The last time we saw them they had a Bluegrass band named “The Hackensaw boys”, a rockabilly band named “The Detroit Cobras”, and “Cheap Trick”. Of course, since they didn’t have any opening act, they played two sets, which was great.

My only complaint is about the Venue. The Ogden is broken down into several "strips”, each raised a little higher than the one in front of it. The strips were absolutely packed, and it was near impossible to get in and out of there. If you left where you were standing, you had to really squeeze by people, and I saw a number of people with drinks in cups spill them all over the place. If they could somehow keep the back of the areas clear for people to walk in, it would probably help with that issue.

There’s also an upstairs to the theater, with some seating. Unfortunately we didn’t get there too early, and all of the seating was taken. If we go back there we’ll have to show up a little earlier so we can nab some of those seats.

Overall, great show. John McCrea is hilarious, and he has a lot of fun with the audience. I’ll also have to say that I’ve never went to a concert where they gave away a tree (a Red Delicious Apple Tree). You can check out the “Cake Forest” google map to see where all the trees they have given away are.

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The traveling cooler


We recently went to Disney World, and visited some family in Georgia. The entire trip, I had my trusty 68 Quart Igloo cube in the back, filled with ice and beer. I started out by filling it with Colorado beers that weren’t available in Georgia, those were given to relatives and friends. I then started filling it with beers that I haven’t seen here in Colorado. Pictured above are the ones that survived the journey back.

Although I’m a fan of tasting new beers, and can tell you what I like and don’t like, I don’t feel qualified to give a really thorough review. All of the beer I had there was very tasty, and I liked all of them. Here’s what I had to sample.

Orange Blossom Pilsner – Brewed by “Orange Blossom Pilsner LLC”. This was just plain delicious. I stopped in a large liquor store, and I could only find 2 beers from Florida, and the other one was Landshark which I’ve already had. Highly suggest this one.

Sea Dog Blue Paw – Wild Blueberry Ale – Brewed by Sea Dog Brewing – Strangly enough, I found this beer brewed in Maine in the Florida liquor store that I mentioned above. If you don’t like fruity beers then you may want to skip this one. As it turns out, I’m finding that I really enjoy a fruity beer, especially in hot weather.

The blueberry aroma and taste in Blue Paw is so strong that it’s almost like a blueberry soda. The weather was extremely hot, and I found this beer to be very nice and refreshing. I think I’m going to have to find a clone recipe before next summer.

Georgia BrownSweet Water Brewing, Atlanta Georgia – MMmmm Malty.

Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale AleSweet Water Brewing, Atlanta Georgia – Nice pale ale. I sampled this one at a restaurant.

Sweetwater BlueSweet Water Brewing, Atlanta Georgia – Another Blueberry beer, not nearly as strong as Blue Paw. Very tasty.

Golden AleTerrapin Beer CO, Athens Ga – Yummy

Rye Pale AleTerrapin Beer CO, Athens Ga – Very nice pale ale. I had made a Rye beer not too long ago which was similar.

Gaelic AleHighland Brewing Company, Asheville NC – Got a good laugh doing my Scottish impression saying that “All the other Gaelic Ales are crap!”. This was delicious, although I was a little confused that it’s described as a “amber American ale”, yet is named Gaelic Ale.

Laughing SkullRed Brick Brewing Company, Atlanta Ga – A very tasty and respectable Amber Ale.

Unfortunately, I took too long to write this post, and I didn’t take any notes about the beers I had. So my descriptions are lacking. I’ll have to remember that next time for sure.

After this trip, I realize how lucky I am to have the beer selection that I have here in Colorado. Although things are getting better in the south, selections from local brewers, as well as microbrew selection in general, is still pretty limited.

Remember folks, support your local brewers!

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Crimson Corps Bulldog Ale – The botched version

IMG_5347   Here we are boys and girls, the recipe for the Crimson Corps Bulldog Ale that I botched on that fateful Brew Day.

As you can probably tell from the color, I don’t think it’s going to come our red, like it’s supposed to be.

You can find the original recipe here on Homebrew Talk. What happened to me was that when I transcribed it into Beersmith, I entered 5 Gallons. Beer smith showed it coming out black, so I adjusted the grain bill to make it red.

After I bought all the grain, I realized that the recipe was for a 10G batch. Once I adjusted that, it looks like it’ll come out yellow. I may brew the correct recipe at a later date, but for now, I’ve got 10 gallons of this. I’m sure it’ll be tasty.


12# Maris Otter (I used Colorado Malting Company’s 2 Row)

4# Vienna Malt

.75# Roasted Barley

.28 Crystal 120

2oz Fuggles at 60 Minutes

1oz Goldings at 15 Minutes

Wyeast 1272 American Ale Yeast (I used this for 5G and 1056 American Ale for 5G)


Mash at 150 Degrees F for 75 Minutes.

I’ll let you know how it comes out.

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Bad Brew Day! Go lay down.

IMG_5261 I managed to squeeze some more brewing in this last weekend, but it turned out to be a bit of a disaster though. Well, kind of.

A seasoned brewer will see pretty quickly that these are all rookie mistakes, so I’m kind of ashamed to admit them, but hey, you live and you learn. In the interest of furthering the knowledge of others, to help you, I’m going to commit these mistakes to the blog. That’s right, I’ll take one for the team.

For this brew day, I had kind of shuffled back and forth between what to brew. 10 gallons of this, or 10 gallons of that, 5 gallons of this, etc. I finally decided I would make it a regular brew day, and went with two recipes at 5 gallons each. The two recipes I planned on brewing were for the Marine Corps birthday on Nov 10th, and I wanted to get a head start. First up was "Crimson Corps Bulldog Ale", followed by "Semper-FI(PA)!" Not too ambitions right? I mean, I’ve brewed up to 15 gallons at a time before.

Part 1: The Brew store debacle OR Why you shouldn’t be in a rush

I get to the brew store, and I realize that I printed off the stuff I needed for both recipes on a single piece of paper. This isn’t good. I usually mill my grain together so that I only have one bag to dump into the mash tun. This time, I had 2 different grain bills, plus I was planning on roasting some of the barley, which should have been kept separate. So I called my wife, and asked her to list off the ingredients for the recipes. She was nice enough to help me out.

Only problem is, I messed them up on the list. Somehow I ended up with a bag of 20L when I should have had a bag of 120L, or at least I wrote 20L on it. Was it 20L, or was it 120L? If it is 20L, then where did the 120L go? Who knows? I sure didn’t.

Crimson Corps Bulldog Ale:

Started out with this Irish red recipe. When I was entering it into Brewsmith, I noticed that it was going to be almost black. Not exactly what I expected. So I adjusted the grain a little bit to make it more of a Red.

Then, after I got back from the brew store, I started calculating the water volumes and temperatures I would need for the mash and sparge. That’s when I started realizing something was wrong. I had an awful lot of grain for a 5 gallon recipe. Want to guess why? It’s simple really, it was a 10 gallon recipe.

When I was transcribing it into Brew Smith, I mistakenly entered 5 gallons for the batch size, when in fact it was a 10 gallon recipe. That also explains why my color was off.

I’m fermented 5 gallons of this with the American Ale II yeast that it called for, and 5 gallons on the American Ale (Wyeast 1056) yeast cake from my Sweet Mutt batch.


This was another minor debacle. I think I got all the correct stuff, of course there’s still the matter of the missing 120L, but it too had a ton of liquid. I didn’t see that it was a no sparge or super low efficiency on the recipe, so I just mashed and sparged like I normally would.

I ended up boiling it forever to get it down to 6 gallons, which is about where I start my 60 minutes. It was pretty think, and I think it’s going to end up being something like 8.5% alcohol.

I put this wort on top of the Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast cake from one of the Sweet Mutt batches.

As you can see, I had 2 Carboys of Sweet Mutt Honey Brown Ale that I needed to bottle. So all in all, I was brewing and bottling for about 13 hours that day. It was a productive day, but I had really hoped to go hiking or something else too, so it was kind of a bummer to use the whole day up brewing.

This was the second brew day in a row, and the second brew day in a 30 day window, where I brewed 15 Gallons at a time. I’m hoping to brew some lambics next, which is going to tie up my fermentation equipment for a little while, so I don’t want to run out of tasty beer to drink.

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