Jim's Blog Ramblings about novels, comics, programming, and other geek topics


Attack of the Clones

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clone-trooper-helmet Well, I finally re-enlisted, but this time I'll be shipping off to a galaxy far, far away. I've been wanting to join the 501st for a long time, so when a friend said he was selling a Clone Trooper armor and helmet, I jumped on the chance. The armor requires a lot of work including removing the flash, sanding, painting, and cutting/fitting, and finally assembling the pieces together. I'll need to fully finish my armor before I can become an official 501st member. I hope to finish the armor by the end of summer/fall, so I can attend the Vermont Comic Con.


Homebrew Batches 25-36

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I've been slacking off way too much. One of my new 2015 goals is to post at least once a month to my personal blog. I've spent most of my free time researching and writing about Vermont beer instead of personal entries. Here's an update at what I've been brewing since my last entry. As you can read, if you've read any of my homebrew entries, it's mostly about how I screwed up my homebrews. I learned that I need to use more restraint with ingredients (such as spices), which is hard for me to do, especially when brewing Belgian styles.


Homebrewing, Small Batch Numbers 22, 23, 24

I've been seriously slacking off on my personal blog posts and I'm hoping to get back into posting a few entries a month. Here's an update on my recent homebrew batches. I've purchased a 3 gallon glass carboy, so I've increased my batch size from 1 gallon to about 2 to 2.5. My current kettles max out around 3 gallons, so I'm limited to the batch size based on the amount of grains used in my mash. I'm looking to upgrade my mash and boil kettles later this year (and possibly the rest of my tools), so I can more easily handle a full 3 gallon batch. Hopefully, I'll buy some small kegs and start kegging my beer, too.


Homebrewing, Small Batch Numbers 16-21

I held off a bit on publishing the next few small batch homebrews, because I was entering them into the Green Mountain Masher's annual homebrew competition. The full competition results can be found at 5th Annual Greg Noonan Memorial Homebrew Competition results.

1st Place2nd Place


Homebrewing, Small Batch Numbers 14, 15

I really need to post more to my personal blog, so I'm going to try harder this spring and summer to get back to posting here. Here's an update on homebrew batches 14 and 15. I've brewed a couple more batches since then, but I'm holding off posting information about the newest beer since I'm trying to decide whether or not to enter them in the local homebrewing competition in May.

Small Batch Number 14
Cranberry Gose - I'm still on a Gose kick. I just can't get enough of that style and I totally blame Lost Nation Brewing. One of the things that I enjoy most about homebrewing is experimenting with new ideas and creations. I wanted to make another Gose, but use some sort of sour/tart fruit, so I realized we had some cranberries and so I made a Cranberry Gose. Overall, I think it tasted pretty good. HOWEVER, the beer was over carbonated and were gushers. I felt really bad, because I believe it would have been a good pairing since the cranberries would have given it a good tartness to compliment the already tart/sour taste of the Gose. After stopping by and talking with the brewer at Burlington Beer Company, he recommend adding fruit to the primary instead of the secondary. I believe I'll try that next time, since I believe it was over carbonated due to the introduction of sugar from the cranberries added into the secondary.

Small Batch Number 15
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Porter - I was really excited about this idea. I ordered some PB2 (peanut butter powder) for this idea and used some Chocolate from a local chocolate company. This was my first porter and I really enjoyed the roasted malts cooking in the mash. The final verdict on this one was that I used too much chocolate and not enough peanut butter. The beer came out a bit too bitter (assuming from the chocolate), so next time I'm doubling the PB2 and lowering the chocolate. I'll definitely work to improve and tweak this recipe.


Homebrewing, Small Batch Numbers 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

I've still been a bit busy, but I've been able to continue my homebrewing. Here's a quick rundown of my last six completed small batches.


Homebrewing, Small Batch Numbers 5, 6, 7

I've been busy of late, so I haven't had much time to post blog entries about my home brewing. Luckily, I've been able to continue brewing and learning about home brewing. Here's a quick run down of my next three completed small batches.


Hill Farmstead Brewery

Part 10 of many. View the start of my Vermont Brewery Challenge here.

Hill Farmstead Brewery is located in Greensboro in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Hill Farmstead was our original destination for driving this day, which we stopped at Rock Art Brewery on the way. I had never been to Hill Farmstead and based on beer snobs enthusiasts, the brewery is a required pilgrimage for all beer connoisseurs. Shaun Hill, head brewmaster and founder, was featured in Vanity Fair last month and has been called the best brewer in America by several organizations and articles. While many of their beers are ranked in the top 1% of both US and World beers (by style), I've only sampled the few available on tap in Burlington (Edward, Abner, Anna).


Rock Art Brewery

Part 9 of many. View the start of my Vermont Brewery Challenge here.

Rock Art Brewery is located in Morrisville, just north of Stowe. We picked up a pair of free tasting coupons after donating some money towards the UVM Extension's Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS) Retrofit charity drive. Along with the free tastings, we got a free tour of the brewery, two glasses, and two beer cozies.


Homebrewing, Small Batch Number 4

My fourth home brew was a Cranberry Wheat beer using fresh cranberries. I had hoped to make a seasonal beer using fresh, seasonal fruit, so I decided to try this recipe.

During my last batch, I missed by original and final gravities and I assumed it was related to my sparging process since I had a rather low mash efficiency. So this time, I increased the boiling, but... I later found out that wasn't my problem.

With home brewing and experiments, there's always a chance for the brewer to over compensate the wrong way and that's exactly what I did. I overcompensated in the wrong direction and on the wrong process.