Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Holiday Running (and Homebrewing)

Happy Festivus!
I'll just post about running and homebrewing over the holidays. The rest of the family stuff was pretty darn awesome, and there was even a little bit of time to relax, as well. I also got what I really wanted for Christmas; a lot of time with my family and a new burr grinder for my coffee. (I'm easy to please). My old coffee grinder, a ten year old rotary mill-type unit, was held together with tape...really. My kids couldn't stand seeing me use it, so they got me the new unit. Thanks, kids!

Running News:
Last Thursday night, just 3 of us ran on the trails at SM Park: Good Ben, Christian and me. The trails were covered with "Kansas City Slime-Mud from Hell." Christian took a tumble part way through our jaunt, but wasn't hurt. The next morning, Kyle and I hit the whole park's worth of trails out at SM Park. We probably ran 16 or 17 miles at a slow pace, and we took it real easy. "Easy" is a relative term when you have 3 pounds of mud on the bottom of each shoe, though.

I didn't run or work out on Saturday, but on Christmas day (Sunday), my son and I went to the gym (at work) and hit the weights for ninety minutes. It was a family activity, after all, right? The kid still has some catching up to do, because I can still out-lift the healthy 23-y.o. by a big margin. He's slowly working on getting back to his old strong self, though. And he can still out-wrestle me; he's got some great technical skills in that department.

Monday morning, three of us hit the trails for a little 10 or 12-mile run. The mud was partially frozen, so it was actually very easy going. We ran through a stream crossing in the last 20 meters or so, just to get any residual mud off of our feet.

This morning, I hit the weights again for a nice 80-minute workout. Tonight, our group will do two five mile loops after dark, at the old same place, as per our Trail Nerd schedule.

HOMEBREWING News from the Bad Ben Nanobrewery:
Monday at noon, I started working on my latest batch of homebrew. I finally had the time to brew my most recent version of an Imperial Stout. The weather was perfect and the brewing session went well. Alex came over to keep me company for a while. He had brought some munchies, and we commenced having a good bullshit session. I was on a time deadline for brewing this batch, because my wife and I were going over to the next door neighbor's for a friendly game of Uno at 6:00 pm. A 10-gallon all-grain batch usually takes me every bit of 6 hours to complete, especially when there is so much grain involved (for an imperial-style stout). I got finished at 6:03 pm, and just had the brew kettle left to clean. Alex helped me haul the heavy stuff back into the house before he left for home.

I changed the recipe of this stout somewhat from my last posting. I didn't add the cocoa, and I jumped-up some of the other ingredients for an even larger grain bill. I'm also going to split the batch after primary fermentation into two 5-gallon batches (for secondary fermentation). One batch will age in whiskey-soaked French oak, and the other I will leave alone to it's own devices. The final wort starting gravity was at 1.084 (20.23 Plato), which was a little lower than I expected, but I had cut my boil time to only 1 hour, instead of a planned 80 minutes, due to the time constraints.

I also finally transferred my Imperial Rye IPA to it's secondary fermenter. I ended up dry-hopping the batch with 6.5 ounces of leftover Zatek-Bor (Bohemian) hop pellets. Zatek-Bor hops are really hard to find outside of Eastern Europe. It will be interesting to see what kind of aromas and tastes prevail with this fun brewing experiment. (Remember that I used the last of my homegrown hops in the original boil). It is already down to 1.014, so it's almost completely finished with fermentation. It might eek down to a final gravity of 1.012, I figure, for an alcohol percentage of 9.3 percent (by volume)!

Happy Trails and Cheers!

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