It’s that time again. Christmas is right around the corner and tradition states that it’s time to brew. This year I’ve once again stayed with Beer-Wine.com (Beer & Wine Hobby) recipes:
I brewed Saturday, November 29, 2008. I had a beautiful day for November. I had the first batch (Celtic Red) boiling by 9a.m and was finished and had both batches pitched by 4p.m.
I think both batches seemed to go off without too much of an issue. I think that I’ve really got my process down. One thing I need to concentrate on though is cleaning and sanitizing. I’ve been pretty successful with both up to this point but as I’m listening to the Basic Brewing Podcast I’m finding that there’s places I can fix a few things. One episode that I listened to talked about the proper amount of BTF sanitizer to use. I’m so glad I listened and can’t wait to apply what I heard.
One thing I want to look into is that the recipes for both of these batches had different processes than what I’ve done in the past. Neither used the standard “steep grains for 30 min, add extracts, bring to a boil and start hop additions” that I’m used to. The red had me steeping the grains along with the first hop addition, removing the grains, boiling, then adding the extracts during the last 15 minutes of the boil. The wheat actually had me boil the wheat grains for the first X amount of time. This one I’m most concerned about, this just seems very strange. Anyway I’ll see what happens.
Somewhere back in the early 90s mostly likely before I got out of High School I got the bright idea that I’d rip apart all my guitar magazines and collect the sheet music into a giant binder. All these years later I’m not sure if that was a good thing or not. First, 3 hole punched sheet music in a binder doesn’t hold together well, something I learned really quickly. Second binders fill up pretty fast. Third, the paper they use in magazines, isn’t so great, and finally it’s an organizational nightmare.
What do you do all these years later? I guess hope that all those songs that you wanted to learn back in 1992 are not songs that you’d even consider playing in 2008. Which of course is a problem for me, since much of my musical listening hasn’t really progressed much since 1992. Now that’s not to say that there’s not some pages that can’t be burned before anyone finds out that I ever tried playing them. After looking through the binder and sorting through 3 folders of random pages I found quite a bit of music that I had to wonder why it was there.
There were a few gems though, I found a copy of Pantera – Cowboys from Hell from Guitar School – September 1992. A few Megadeth songs and a few other things that I should really noodle around with. Most of the pages will probably sit for another 20 years waiting for me to finally just cast them away to the recycling bins.
So what’s the plan, well I’m going to scan and PDF all that interest me for the moment, not going to be a quick thing but if I do one or two a day I’ll get through them. After all they’ve been around this long what’s another 15 years.
Do you care? Didn’t think so, go do something useful.
It seems today that everyone is into passing around YouTube clips of various guitar heroes. Well I’m trying to avoid that thread because, well I’ve seen people iTunes shares, you guessed it a dozen emails with EVH playing Eruption. The musical depth and variety here is tragic.
Here’s a few tasty bits that I happened to track down on YouTube. Warning lots of hair and spandex in the following links…
Spread Eagle – Switchblade Serenade
Possibly one of my favorite guitar songs of all time, this band was totally out of place back in 1990, they gave us 2 albums, one of the few bands from that era that I can still throw on and actually listen to without wanting to turn it off halfway through.
Roxxi – Drive it to ya hard
Okay I’m putting this one here because watching this today is only the 2nd time I’ve ever seen this video. It aired once on HBB and was never seen again. Great band (for 1990) great album.
Ha this is turning into a “holy crap I forgot all about them” kind of post…
Heaven’s Edge – Skin To Skin
Yeah I remember these guys, decent 1990s shredding glammy kind of stuff. Some crazy solo work on this album, I think I may have it on CD, if not it’s in one of the 3 16′ cube boxes of cassettes in my storage area.
XYZ – inside out
Yep, crazy tapping solo going on here somewhere, decent guitar tone, ha I know I don’t have these guys on CD..Heck I remember learning this song at one of my guitar lessons back in umm…1990ish? My guitar teacher at the time used to hate when I’d bring this stuff in for him to play. Wow it’s kind of strange that I could remember there was a crazy tapping part at the end of the solo but I can’t remember what happened yesterday…
Roxx Gang – Scratch My Back
Okay here’s another band’s CD that I can throw on and rock out, this and Spread Eagle never leave my iPod. There are some great examples of 1990 guitar on here. I think this is the video where the trash the Gibson SG…drag it around behind a car on a chain or something.
HFS!!! See this is why I love YouTube…
Vain – Beat the Bullet
A few years ago this CD was going for $100 on amazon. No I didn’t sell it. I’m not sure I can make it through this whole album, there may be a track or two that I’d skip but you know it was the 1990s, they all had the same thing going on. track 1&2 rockin, track 3 was usually a ballad, track 4 would rock again, 5 or 6 would most likely be a ballad, flip the tape, track 1 hit or miss, could go either way, 2-3 more rockin tracks, another ballad and possibly finish it off with another rocker.
Hey another one I fogot about, Tom loved this band, can remember much about much about them.
Sea Hags – Half the way Valley
Salty Dog – Come Along
Ha, I remember these guys, I think I remember hearing that the singer graduated from one of the local high schools. Decent album, couple of ballads, #6 and #12, even some banjo in this album if I recall…
Roxy Blue – Rob The Cradle
Just for fun. I think they were trying to be Van Halen…
Okay enough, more trips down memory lane later…
I’m not sure how I missed this, then again I’m not really paying too much attention to what’s coming out these days. Too much other stuff that I need to do.
To me, Pennywise is basically the AC/DC of punk. It’s familiar, it’s consistent and it sounds like an extension of there past 10 albums. You know what. I love that. I hate when bands decide to “explore”, 99.9% of the time it’s too jarring for the fans. I love that even without hearing a single track from the new CD I can pay my money and feel confident that I won’t regret it.
So as always, Pennywise delivers. You know what to expect, you get what you expect and it’s good. “Reason To Believe” feels like a natural progression from their previous work. They introduce new elements in small doses that don’t make you forget that you’re listening to a Pennywise disc.
It’s on repeat and getting plenty of spins. Thanks guys. Money well spent.
I’ve got a few things on my list for the next month or so…
Black Tide – Light From Above (03-18-08)
I picked this up last night, I kept hearing “Shockwave” on Sirius 27 Hard Attack and Black Tide is pretty much in every magazine I’ve picked up recently. While I was thinking it’s worth skipping a lunch to pay the Best Buy price to check them out. ($7.99). Here’s how it went trying to listen to it this morning for the first time.
Track 1 – Shockwave. Made it through no problem,
Track 2, considered skipping halfway through,
Track 3, almost skipped before it kicked in,
Track 4, skipped halfway through,
Track 5, skipped halfway through,
Track 6, ejected the cd halfway through and put on Bury Your Dead…
Here’s the deal. I’m all for that anthem chorus kind of thing but a verse or two would be nice. I mean really I can read the title of the song on the back of the cd case. You don’t need to repeat it 100 times in the song.
Bury Your Dead – Bury Your Dead (03-18-08)
Picked this up last night also. Gave it a listen on the train, much better then above.
Children of Bodom – Blooddrunk (04-01-08)
Testament – The Formation of Damnation (04-29-08)
I’ve raved about Line6′s GuitarPort and guitarport.com in the past. I’ve recently reactivated my subscription and have actually been playing a bit again. While I have a million things that I should be doing it’s just a great feeling to be back to playing guitar a bit.
As I mentioned a few posts ago, there were quite a few years where my playing time was minimal. While I’m never going to get to play as much I’d like, I’m hoping to make sure I can log a few hours each week from now on.
Watch for more reviews of the latest Guitar magazines to start up also. I’ve got a subscription this year so I won’t miss any issues. I’ve got a back log of issues, I’ll try to throw some more info up here about them.
Guitarworld.com now offers free access to their beta Tabs area. An exciting combination of “Premium Tabs” and user submitted tabs. Premium Tabs are of course from Guitar World and so far I’m impressed with the offerings. I’m hoping the continue to add to the site and keep it free.
This is the thing about the internet, if I had the amount of information available to me 20 years ago as beginning guitarists have today, I’m sure that my playing would have been vastly better then it ever was. Also the tools offered by having access to the computer give guitarists today many more opportunities to learn.
Cover Gallery is also online from Guitar World. Featuring every cover since their first issue. I noticed one thing while heading back through years. I didn’t buy very many issues from say 2000 to 2005. I’m sure that’s because I wasn’t playing many of those years. Sad, very sad.
Check both out, very good stuff.
This past Sunday I brewed two batches of the traditional Xmas beers. I’ve brewed beers for the holidays pretty much every year that I’ve been brewing and since last year I only had 3 bottles left, I decided to make two this year.
A few interesting things for these batches. It’s the first batch that I didn’t support Jasper’s. I purchased everything during a visit to Beer-Wine Hobby. It’s also the first batches that I used the pitchable yeast. I’ve been using the Smack Packs prior to this.The vial of yeast is perfect for those last minute brewing sessions, much like this weekend. Smack Packs seem to usually require at least 24 hours notice prior to brewing.
I used Beer-Wine Hobby’s kits for both batches.
Nutty Brown Bear
Smithwick’s Ale Clone
So both beers were sitting in the basement by 8pm Sunday, the Smithwick’s clone was happily fermenting away by the time I was home from work Monday, and the Nutty Bear took a bit longer and finally was going by the time I got home last night (Tuesday).
My only problem with this batch is that the last few batches I’ve been using pellet hops and not bothering with using hop bags. Then once my wort is cooled and I pour it through my strainer I need to scoop the hops off the strainer pretty much constantly. This really slows down getting the cooled wort into the carboy and I’m a bit concerned that I’m exposing the wort to potential problems. I’m going to have to do some research about how to deal with this.
This morning I was greeted with a faint smell of fermentation when I walked into the basement. I’ve got to say it’s much better then the smell I usually have in the basement since it’s where the cat boxes are.
More Later on the results.
This past week I racked, tasted and did a bit of a flavor experiment with the mead. The batch I brewed back in November gave me over 5 gallons so I pulled 2 gallons off and did a bit of flavor testing. The first gallon I flavored with Blackberry Beer flavoring, it should be fine and the initial taste was actually quite satisfying. For the second gallon I mixed the mead with an unmeasured amount of pure pomegranate juice from Trader Joe’s. It was pasteurized, so I wasn’t sure what to do, I didn’t add any yeast nutrient or any additional yeast. I’ll have to see where that goes.
All the meads tasted great. The unflavored mead was a bit on the citrus side, probably due to too much acid blend, but I think it will make a decent tasting mead. I’m going to research ways to sweeten that up. Again the Blackberry mead tasted good, the flavor masked a bit of the citrus taste. The pomegranate was obviously very sweet since it wasn’t fermented.
I noticed a few strange things, my basic mead is still cloudy. The two gallons have cleared rather well, though there’s a loose layer of sediment on the bottom of the jugs. Speaking of jugs, I was able to acquire 5 – 1 gallon glass wine jugs over the past few months. The family loves making homemade sangria and use the burgundy. I like to think of it as saving money and keeping things out of the landfill. Back to the mead, the pomegranate mead had a few patches of small bubbles and almost looked like it was starting a mild fermentation. Not sure, I’m hoping that there’s nothing potentially harmful that could happen using juice this way.
Also, it’s apple season or just past apple season but either way it means fresh cider from the local farms, I’m thinking of making a 1 gallon batch of apple cider / mead, can’t recall the name for that at the moment, just need to pick up a pack of yeast and some honey. I’ll let you know how it goes.