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.
“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.
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.
A shot of the pre-bottling CHAOS:
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.
*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.
Dying Set Me Free.
I was nine when I died.
I trembled while lying in bed,
wide awake, suddenly the door opened.
He slithered in, fueling his needs,
and did the unthinkable by taking
his son’s life. Once I felt
his touch, my soul fled from
my body. I tried, but could
not stop it. I watched as the
carcass of my body gasped for
oxygen as the demon left my
sanctuary. My mother, she knew nothing.
I dared not mention such things.
Awake, or asleep, it always persisted.
When it ended, unknown, but I
was reborn, more evil, more angry.
I’m thirty-nine now. My soul
sleeps with the fishes, while the
mental war rages, even a generation
could not save. I lie in
bed, awake and trembling, searching for
the nine year old helpless me.
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HOWARD COUNTY, Md. — A Howard County police officer saved a drowning 9-year-old girl whose foot was trapped under a rock in the Little Patuxent River near the Savage Mill Trail last weekend, police said Wednesday.
Police said Sgt. Michael Johnson, a 16-year veteran, was walking foot patrol with a park ranger at 4:15 p.m. May 25 when they heard screaming near the river. Police said Johnson ran toward the screams and saw the girl in shoulder-deep water being pushed by the current.
He called dispatch and asked for the Howard County Fire and Rescue Services department’s SWIFT water rescue team, police said. While awaiting their arrival, Johnson saw the girl, who said her foot was stuck under a rock, struggling to stay above water, police said.
Sgt. Johnson then jumped in the river to try to save the girl, police said. As he was swimming toward her, the current picked him up, but he was able to grab onto a crate jammed between two rocks, police said.
Police said he was able to move himself in front of the crate and, with one hand on the crate, was able to lunge toward the girl and free her trapped foot.
Police said he then pulled her to the edge of the water where a bystander helped her onto land.
“This is an example of the ways in which our officers put their lives on the line every day,” Police Chief Bill McMahon said. “We are very proud of Sgt. Johnson for all that he did to ensure this situation had a good outcome.”
|McClatchy-Tribune News Service|
Copyright 2014 the Howard County Times
THANKS FOR YOUR EFFORTS FELLOW BROTHER IN BLUE
I was at the local coffee shop grabbing a cup of joe, hold the half and half, and noticed a homeless man kind of loitering in the street nearby. He seemed out of place, lost maybe, and disoriented. Several of the patrons in the store were snickering and making snide comments about the man. I’d seen him before, but he was never this bad off. I was about to order my breakfast and felt something inside me saying, this just isn’t right.
I went outside and began speaking to the man. Instantly I see he’s prideful and agitated. His clothes are dirty and his shoes are torn and ragged. I looked him in the eyes. What I saw was sadness and desperation. Nevertheless, a man in his shoes, unlike many other homeless folks I’ve met, would not and has not ever asked for money. He cannot work due to physical injuries. I have no idea if he collects welfare. I have my own opinions about the welfare system. I feel I have to pay for everyone who doesn’t work as well as for myself and family, but when you’re right there in the moment, you can’t think about that because it really doesn’t matter then.
I offered to buy the man some food and drink. He refused and became agitated further. Obviously I’d disrespected him. Now an audience had formed at the coffee shop. I felt the stinging glares on my back and heard the giggling. I resisted the urge to identify myself to him and ask him to kindly move along. That was the easy route.
Finally he asked, “What do you care?” When I’d asked him if there was anything I could do to help him.
Hmm, great question I thought. “Because someone has to, right?” He just looked at me funny.
“Listen, bub, why don’t you just leave me be?” He asked. I could tell he was hungry because the people who came outside with muffins and bagels caught his attention. He stared at the food as it went by.
I replied. “I can’t. You might get hit by a car. Why don’t you take a seat,” I said as I pointed at the bench in front of the store. He looked at me and we stared at each other. I could only imagine what was going through his head. He finally went to sit down. He stumbled and began to fall. Without hesitation I grabbed him and dropped some cash on the ground right where he was. No way anyone saw that. A lady came out and helped me stable the man and get him seated.
Once he was content, I pointed to the money and said, “Hey, you dropped some money.” The man looked at the money, at me, back to the money and shook his head.
I shook my head. “Me either.” Obviously this wasn’t going to work. I was frustrated, but determined to find some way to help him. As I struggled for another idea, a man exited the coffee shop and asked if he could help.
“Sure,” I said.
He began speaking to the seated man and he listened intently. The man from the coffee shop offered the man a place to stay and wash up and said he could pick from his clothing and shoes to get him back on his feet. I was shocked. More importantly, the man agreed! I was pretty happy for him, and thankful the stranger came along to help. They turned to walk away.
I shook both of their hands and patted the homeless man on his back. At the same time I slipped some cash in his coat pocket. I’ll never know what happens with him or the money, but it seems by just talking to him, reaching out to him, he will have at least a decent rest of today. And, isn’t that all we can ask for? Just live day by day and try to be happy.
Anyway, I’m a cop and there were several other ways, perhaps even less friendly ways, to have dealt with this situation. However, hiding problems is not the answer. Taking them head on, in my opinion, is the only way to deal with them effectively. Just remember there are plenty of compassionate law enforcement members out there trying to do good things for people.