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Back in the Saddle

June 18, 2010

Well, we’ve been home for 10 days, and things are settling back into place.  The vacation was great.  We were able to meet up with several old friends and spend lots of good time with both sides of the family.  Good times for all, but arriving back home, life hit full speed right away.  We’ve been in the search for a new vehicle, since our old minivan has been without air conditioning for a year now, the cost of which to repair is commensurate with the value of the vehicle itself.  Time to upgrade, and thus this has been taking much of my free time lately.

While we were down in Texas, I was able to try some of Texas’ newest up and coming craft beers, the highlight of which was a couple of offerings from Souther Star Brewing.  I was able to obtain some of their Pine Belt Pale Ale and the Buried Hatchet Stout.  This round on the Pine Belt Pale tasted different than I recall, but it had been a year in between tastings.  Looking at their web page, it appears that the hop regimen has changed.  I recall that they were using Sorachi Ace nearly a year ago, but now no longer.  I still enjoyed it, and as I recalled, it is still a breath of fresh air in the pale ale category.  They depart from the standard Cascade hop in this style. Buried Hatchet Stout was excellent.  It was robust, rich and malty.  A perfect (IMHO) amount of roastiness paired with a slightly creamy finish.

Now that we are back in action, with a vehicle almost purchased, it’s time to brew again.  I know.  It makes me giddy just thinking about it.  I had just kegged my (Triple-Hops-Brewed) IPA just before leaving, letting it carbonate.  It’s bitter (from Magnums) at around 60 IBU’s and plenty of hop aroma (from Centennial and Amarillo).  I have only just begun to consume it, yet the fellas are itching to brew again.  Twenty gallons of pale ale for a wedding reception, and ten gallons of porter (supposedly a Rogue Mocha Porter clone) will begin the slow journey from barley, hops, water and yeast tonight.

The porter, in which I am sharing:

13.00 lb    Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.2 SRM)
2.00 lb    Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM)
1.00 lb    Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L
1.00 lb    Chocolate Malt

1.50 oz     Pearle [8.00 %]  (90 min)
1.00 oz     Centennial [10.00 %]  (45 min)

0.50 tsp    Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min)

2 Pkgs      London ESB Ale (Wyeast Labs #1968)
or Windsor English Ale
or Safale S-04
or Rogue Pacman

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2010 7:37 am

    I hear ya on the van front! My 2001 Nissan Quest has 160K…I want to take it to 200K, but that only gives me two more years, so I am on the prowl. Looking for perhaps a sprinter van. My wife is hinting that she wants another girl, so just in case I’m considering a Sprinter, or even a Suburban.

    I didn’t know the recipe for pine belt had changed…I am going to have to give it another whirl.

    • Big Tex permalink
      June 21, 2010 7:43 am

      We got a Suburban… used. I like the way those Sprinters ride… pretty sweet, for a van. They are just too expensive (at least for what we were able to afford).

      I took my new “rig” (to use north west lingo) out to the brew night… ended up being another 50 gallon night with a leftover batch to boot! The porter is fermenting away at a nice pace right now. Contemplating cocoa nibs for secondary fermentation.

  2. June 21, 2010 11:25 am

    That’s a lot of beer! I used cocoa nibs in my chocolate Saison…haven’t tasted it yet though. I bottled it on thursday.

    • Big Tex permalink
      June 21, 2010 11:34 am

      Yeah. 🙂 One guy was “filling an order” for 20 (10 x 2) gallons of his pale ale for a wedding reception. Basically, they bought ingredients for him to make the beer for them. Ten gallons of mocha porter. Five gallons red ale. Five gallons scotch ale.

      As for the cocoa nibs, I’m waiting to taste it when I rack it to secondary. I want to find out if the aroma and flavor hops are a bit too much. We really didn’t measure the doses out. Could be interesting. If the hop flavor and aroma is on the stronger side, then I shall resist the temptation of cocoa nibs. Otherwise, it’s on.

  3. Don permalink
    June 21, 2010 12:37 pm

    I don’t have much to add on the beer front, just good to have you back, and I enjoyed the Gene Autry crooning as I read! On the vehicle front however, might I suggest a warranty for your Suburban if you didn’t get one from the dealer. After I bought my second suburban, and purchased the dealer warranty, it promptly had $5,000 worth of transmission problems. Best $1200 I’ve ever spent on a vehicle! Knock on wood, the thin has run like a champ ever since, just routine maintenance, and it now has over 200K miles. Two things you will need to factor in. I can only get about 50K miles out of a set of tires. It needs its fourth full set now. And I have had to replace the fuel pump twice, and its an expensive sucker. Not sure about your year but for a time they have put the fuelpump directly in the fuel tank! That is right it is in there corroding and breaking as the fuel continues to work on it. It was a helluva bad design, so I have replaced it twice, and if I have the rig a few more years, I’ll probably have to replace it again.

    • Big Tex permalink
      June 21, 2010 3:29 pm

      I know all about the fuel pump in the tank. Had that repaired on my 2001 Silverado recently (after 80k or 90k miles). Save for that, nothing really except for a water pump. It’s been incredibly reliable. Based on our finances, we went with an older one (wanted to pay cash rather than finance it)… 1999. It’s the last year they put the Vortec 350 in it. It’s in rather good shape except for a few minor issues… old gaskets etc…

      The kids love it. Frankly, I do too. And so does my wife, which is what really counts since she’s the primary driver.

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