love

Losing Bella and Light-Ale Bottling.

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Hey folks. Been tied up at work and family stuff so I slipped on posting the latest blog.

Sadly, we had to put Bella, the greatest dog we’ve ever had, down. She had terminal lung cancer and it seemed like she was telling us with her face that she was ready. But we weren’t. It was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make. We miss her dearly. If I ever get any good at making beer, the first one will be named after her.

 

img_4516“Bella-dog.” aka, “Bellisimo.”

 

 

Alas, it was time to take baby steps forward. The following is my recent home bottling of a super light ale with a slight hop aroma. Enjoy. I’ll post back on how it tasted. Out of the fermenter, it was superb.

PREP:

CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN. If you are home bottling and brewing and you don’t get into the habit of cleaning and sanitizing your process, from start to finish, you are killing the opportunity to create superior beer. DON’T BE LAZY. PBW is the best cleaner I’ve used. Once you clean the bottles, tubing, caps, bottling wand, and everything that is involved in this process, it’s time to bottle.

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A shot of the pre-bottling CHAOS:

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BOTTLING:

I like to set my bottles aside. If I’ve made some adjustments with carbonation tablets, i’ll keep the bottles separated. For example, the bottles with four tabs on the left and the bottles with three tabs on the right. Hook up your tubing, remove the air lock and lid, and insert the bottling wand into the tubing leading from your bottling/fermentation bucket.

If you aren’t giddy at the sight of the tubing charged with beer, well, I don’t know what to tell you!

Most bottling wands have a built-in mechanism that will release beer once depressed (or pushed down on the bottom of the bottle). Once the bottle begins to fill, it will (obviously) rise. As the beer makes it to the top, you stop. Once you remove the wand, it leaves some room in the neck for the carbonation process. THIS IS A GOOD THING. If you spill some beer while bottling, I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU DO NOT LICK IT OFF THE FLOOR>>Don’t ask….

You’ll get to the bottom of your bucket and the entrance point of the spigot. There is usually a good amount of beer left lying above the trub. Gently pull the bucket toward you and allow the clean beer to fall into the opening of the spigot. This beer will fill the tubing and wand and you can normally get 2-3 more bottles before the yucky stuff. The picture below shows nearing the bottom, pulling the bucket toward you to get more of the beer, and then the layer of trub, aka “yucky stuff.” DOING ALL OF THIS WITH TWO HANDS IS SILLY, BUT WHAT OPTIONS DO YOU HAVE? I’ve spilled some beer trying to manage all of this, but it’s kind of funny and a challenge, so no worries.

 

CAPPING:

*NOTE* Make sure your caps are clean before capping the bottles.

There’s plenty of different options on the market, but I use a very basic bottle cap press that features a magnet to hold the cap in place. Pressing a cap on a bottle sometimes feels like the bottle or capping device are going to break. They likely won’t. Just use some elbow grease and get the darn caps on. Once that’s over, place them in the cardboard bottle box or on the counter and keep them out at room temperature for at least a week, maybe two. After that process is over, called “bottle conditioning,” throw those bad boys into the refrigerator. In two weeks, start “sampling” bottles. Pour and enjoy.

 

I hope this was informative and helps with your journey into home brewing. Shoot me an email or comment if you have any questions.

Remember to listen to people who care about you enough to speak to you.

-Chris

 

Free form poetry.

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The Shallows

I can’t turn away, let my eyes drift with the sea.

The beauty, her complex levels,

her almost letting go completely,

yet close enough to be rescued pulls me deeper.

In the water, on land, wherever my weary heart travels,

she is there. Bubbles mingle with timeless boulders,

intertwined like new lovers, drawing me into the current.

My heart, a ship searching for land, and comfort,

somewhere to throw an anchor, somewhere to finally settle down,

swells. Today, right now, I’ve finally found the courage

to tell her how I feel.

(c) C. L. Swinney 2016

From my upcoming chap-book: Gloves Come Off

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Real Talk

 

Your tainted mouth kills

my ears, my heart, my weary

soul and words have failed.

(c) C. L. Swinney 2016

He’s there when you look away.

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He’s There When You Look Away

 

In a pool of his own urine he sleeps,

homeless, scared, and lacking food or shelter.

Then along comes the law, this sight he weeps.

People turn away, all helter-skelter,

while the rest of us throw most of our scraps

away, cast long and menacing sharp glares.

For what? What does your heart see as he naps?

Your soul and heart should burn wild like flares.

Pretending he is not there, no answer,

but strife. Remember he is still a man.

Most fought to protect and came home with cancer.

Some fraud, not he, looking for an open hand

and I’ll be damned if I didn’t get involved

while you sit there…a conscious un-evolved.

(c) C.L.Swinney 2016

free form poetry

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Policing a Community

A salty policeman struggles to hold a

stranger’s hand. Spirited skateboard park

meetings force him from the comfort

of a cruiser along an uneven path through

downtown streets- wearing muddy boots

that crush his aspirations. They can

manage the stress, but where trust once

existed media stripped completely away. Recall

when police risked their lives for “strangers,” yet

you knew them and they knew you, back when the

word “neighborhood” held meaning. You’d call us

during an emergency and wouldn’t dare to ask

me to raise your kids or scare them straight for you.

Civil disputes between childish adults tear

at the very foundation of our society.

Yes, we’re wired for scary things: to

hunt active shooters, protect the innocent,

and enforce the law- no matter how antique.

But, integration hoping to crush robots lies

in another galaxy. Handle your human problems

and we’ll chase then confront evil, head-on,

so you can pretend it does not exist.

Haiku Poetry

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Break Up

I thought watching you

walk away would bring closure.

Clearly, I’m a fool.

HAIKU

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Sweet Nothing

Carmel drips from her

perfect lips, but her sour

words kill the flavor.

C. L. Swinney (c) 2015