Monday, October 18, 2010

Moving. Kinda.

First, I told myself I'd blog tomorrow. Then I told myself I'd blog when I made a new batch. Then I just got busy with other things.

Such is life. Ultimately, I've made the decision that as much as I love beer, and as fun as it is to blog about beer, it's just not fitting in to my life right now. I enjoy a lot of different things, and blogging about just one of them is...stifling. It didn't help when I realized I didn't particular enjoy writing beer review because drinking is kindof antithetical to thinking. And writing about beer every night meant drinking beer every night and I don't want everyone to think I'm an alcoholic.

So yeah, I don't expect to do too much updating around here anymore. I'm leaving the blog up for now, because it did serve as the high-tech record book for my early batches. Going forward, I'll continue to write about beer; I'll just also be writing about a lot of other things, too.

In the last month, I've developed a blog that fits my personality a little better. So I'm taking all of my beer-related musings, combining them with my interests in girly things like scrapbooking and crocheting, adding what I like to think of as my unique brand of snarkiness and wisdom, and scattering in a few cute pictures of my dog.

If any or all of this interests you, I hope you'll stop by my new little home on the internet. See you there.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blasphemy Easter Stout - Bottling

Brewed - April 4
Secondary Fermentation begins - April 18
Bottled - May 31

So I had that one in Secondary for 6 weeks. Hope that wasn't too long.

OG - 1.046
FG - 1.017

I messed up and took my hydrometer sample after I'd added the priming sugar, so the FG should probably be a little bit lower. As it is now, the abv of this baby is looking to be about 3.25% (is that even worth drinking?)

I'm looking forward to tasting this one. The countdown to June 14 begins.

In the mean time, I'm planning to brew a Wheat beer this week. I love a good wheat beer in the summertime, so I have some motivation to not leave this one sitting in the fermenter for way too long.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


The drinking done in this house isn't limited to just beer. One of the great benefits of living in California is the abundance of fresh citrus.

I may have mentioned before that my husband is a bit of a citrus connoisseur. At last count we had 11 varieties of fruit trees in the back yard. I think he's acquired one or tow more since then.

Whenever we get a big harvest of fruit, we make limoncello (or kumquatcello, or Buddhacello, or whatevercitruswehavecello).

Today, we happen to be having a cooking marathon that involves several recipes calling for several lemons. Unfortunately, we didn't time our marathon to coincide with our own fruit ripening, so we had to buy lemons. It always hurts to have to buy something we normally get for free, and when we do we make an extra effort to squeeze every drop of usefulness out of it.

So, before my husband got cooking, I zested our six large lemons for a new batch. I also have two bottles that need to be finished. The buddhacello we have has been conditioning for about 4 months, and the kumquatcello about half that long.

Our recipe is adapted from Alton Brown's.

Phase 1:
About 2 lbs of the citrus of your choice
750 ml bottle of vodka. At least 80 proof, but 100 is better. Some people use Everclear.

Phase 2:
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water

1. Drink some of the vodka. Some people buy separate jars or larger bottles for their limoncello, but we like to recycle just use the original vodka bottle. Since you're going to eventually need to add a little under a cup of simple syrup to the mix, you need to make sure there's enough room in the bottle for it. The easiest way to do this is to pour yourself a drink to enjoy while you do your zesting.

2. Zest the citrus. I use a Microplane to get a really fine zest. Some people just use a peeler.

3. Add the zest to the vodka bottle. This is easier said then done, especially if you're like us and using the thin-necked bottle for your conditioning. I find it easiest to pour the vodka out of the bottle, then put the zest into a funnel and pour the vodka back over it. The zest will flow easily with the vodka back into the bottle, and voila! You're halfway there.

4. Wait. The zest has to steep for at least 1-2 weeks, though most recipes I've seen suggest much longer. A friend of mine conditions her cellos for 6-9 months. I'm not quite that patient. We just have ours sitting on the counter in the kitchen. Any cool, darkish place will do.

5. Once you've waited long enough, make a simple syrup from the sugar and water. Some people use anywhere from 1-2 cups of sugar. Make it as sweet as you want, just use a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. Boil the mixture until the sugar dissolves completely, then allow to cool. Pour the syrup into the bottle, shake a little to mix, then store in the freezer for at least a few hours.

6. Enjoy. Cellos keep in the freezer for basically as long as it takes to drink them which won't be long, especially in the summer time. You're going to love this stuff.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birthday Beer

My birthday was on Saturday. My present was a box full of beer, all of which I'd enjoyed thoroughly by Monday morning. Unfortunately, what this means is I can't provide coherent reviews of any of them. I can tell you that I can't taste the apricots in Aprihop (which I consider a good thing), I still like Hop Stoopid (which I thought I had reviewed but looking back maybe I haven't. I need to get better at naming my posts), and stouts, while delicious, are not intended to be consumed in the quantity in which I consumed them.

Speaking of stouts, I've got one that's been sitting in secondary for a loooooong time. I need to get that baby bottled.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I've been in denial

about how long I've gone since posting. But I'm back now, so never fear.

Tonight I'm reviewing Hoppy Brewing Company's Liquid Sunshine Blonde Ale. Hoppy was my very first follower on Twitter, and for that I'll be ever-grateful. I'll also be grateful for the fact that they make delicious beer. They're based in Sacramento, which is only a couple hours from where I live, and I've been wanting to drive up and check out their pub. Hmm, come to think of it, my birthday is Saturday. Are you reading this, husband?

Back to the matter at hand.

This is a very pretty beer. It pours a deep gold with a slight haze, has a generous 1-finger head, and is nice and effervescent. I love watching all the tiny bubbles float up through the glass, don't you?

The aroma is well-balanced. I'm not knocked over by any single smell. It's a little floral and a little citrusy.

The flavor is definitely citrusy. Funny, because as I poured I thought the haze made it look like a very light wheat beer. The flavor does the same. So I Googled and found out this one is made with barley, rye and wheat. Then I Googled further to find out if all Blonde Ales are made with both barley and wheat, because I realized I don't actually know what a blonde ale is. From what I can tell, it's any ale that looks and/or tastes like a lager but is not a lager. So wheat is not required, though it seems to be at least a fairly common ingredient. Glad we cleared that up. Back to the issue at hand: this beer has some wheaty characteristics, but doesn't taste like a full wheat beer. For what it's worth, it doesn't necessarily taste like a lager either. Though it does have the nice crisp finish that my homebrewing research tells me comes from the lagering process (which can be done on both lagers and ales).

But crispness is more a matter of mouthfeel, which is...crisp. And carbonated. We'll call it light-to-medium bodied.

As for drinkability, I'm classifying this as a good dinner beer. At 5% abv, a glass or three won't leave you feeling too loopy. However, the sweetness and the carbonation I'm guessing wouldn't be too kind to my stomach after more than that. Quality over quantity though, right?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This is embarrassing.

I haven't drinken? dranken? drunken? had a beer a couple weeks. I'm seriously off my game.
I keep think of things to blog about, but none of them are beer related and I'm like, my blog is called The BEER Bitch, not The RANDOM THINGS THAT I THINK ABOUT Bitch.

But whatever. I'm just going to write about the random things that I think about, and one day when I start drinking again we'll get back to beer. K?

And of course now all the wonderfully random things I've thought about in the last two-ish weeks have flown right out of my head, so this post is just getting worse and worse.

I locked myself out of my house this afternoon. You know that awful feeling when you wish you could just go back to two seconds ago before you did something really stupid? If I had the ability to time travel I wouldn't waste it on seeing the future or going back to witness history. I would save my time traveling powers for emergencies when I just need to go back two fucking seconds.

I was trying to walk the dog. To be honest, I've been kindof slacking off on walking her because now that she's growing up she's a lot less hyperactive and not walking her no longer leads to things like her chasing me around the kitchen and eating my shoelaces. But today I was going to change all that. I was going to take her on a long, glorious walk so that she could be a happy and balanced dog just like Cesar Millan wants her to be. Also I didn't want her flipping out when we got to Puppy School tonight.

Unfortunately, back when I was walking her regularly, I did a little too good of a job leash training her. Now she expects treats every 5-10 steps, and if she doesn't get them she stops dead. I guess that means I actually did a horrible job leash training her. Anyway. I made sure I had my phone and my keys when I left the house. We have one of those front doors that locks automatically when you close it, so I always double and triple check that I have my keys before I close the door.

But since Herbert wouldn't walk without treats, we had to go all the way back inside so that I could supply her with a variety of delicious bribes. I grabbed a handful of bacon bits and went back out. And realized just as the door was clicking behind me that the key's I'd been so careful to take with me were on the counter, next to the bacon bits container.

I did still have my phone with me, so I called my husband. He was stuck in meetings for 2 hours. I was so despondent that I didn't even feel like walking anymore. I took Herbert around the block, and then we went and sat in the back yard. I kept thinking of things I could do to kill time, such as:

1. Take the dog to PetsSmart. Oh, except no house keys means no car keys.
2. Walk to Starbucks. Crap, my wallet is inside.
3. Use a credit card to get the door open. No wallet, no credit cards.
4. Look in my car for some sort of credit-card-like, door opening device. Fuuuuuuck no keys. 
5. Sit on the porch and feel sorry for myself. That sounds like fun. I'll do that.

Luckily, the day was saved by my friend Julie, who happens to live around the corner. She noticed my pathetic tweet about being trapped outside, and called to invite me over. Shelter and human conversation! That's better than a normal afternoon safe inside my house.

I guess the moral of this story is all's well that ends well. Also, it's a good idea to live around the corner from a friend who's a teacher and whose students are on a field trip so she gets to come home early the day you lock yourself out. Also maybe when you're getting married, consider whether your husband's job will allow him to come bail you out of stupid situations, at least until you master time travel.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Slow Week

I'm going to have to start a Diet Coke blog, because that's all I've been drinking lately.

I'm going to blame my recent spring cleaning binge for the fact that I haven't been posting. This place has never been cleaner, but it means I've been spending significantly less time on my ass in front of the computer than normal.

I did rack my Irish stout to secondary last Sunday, so that should be ready to bottle in another 2-3 weeks. Now I just need to decide what my next brew will be. I've got a double IPA and a wheat waiting in the wings. I want to use the IPA to experiment with yeast starters, and that makes me nervous. So most likely I'll be brewing up the wheat beer next. Either way, there will be no brewing this weekend, as the husband and I are once again headed to the east coast for a wedding. That will be the last one until June though. Then I need to start focusing on getting a real job, or something.

Until I get out of my posting rut, I give you this. It should keep you busy, and laughing hysterically for at least a few days.