Well the weekend was successful, though not without its hiccups. For example, when digging out my all-grain brewing equipment for the brewing session on Saturday (equipment which has been in storage for a few years), I discovered that I could not put my hands on a false bottom. Now I owned at least 2 of the things but they were just not among the equipment at Bob’s. Still in storage, or still in my old house’s basement? Hard to say. But after a call to Bev Art revealed that they didn’t have any in stock (and there were no other homebrew supply places near enough to Bob’s to make a trip worthwhile), we had to resort to old fashioned American ingenuity.
After my description of the form and function of a false bottom, Bob pulled out an old popcorn tin and wondered if it would work. Well, it was too deep of course, but the lid looked just right. I was quickly able to verify that it was just the right size to fit in the bottom of my lauter tun. We had a winner.
Bob drilled a bunch of small holes in the top of the lid and one larger one in the side for the runoff tube to pass through. I cleaned off the burrs and washed away the metal dust and prepared for the sparge. But then when we tried to pull our first bit of wort to recirculate, we weren’t getting any flow. We carefully pulled the mash back out and put it back in the mash tun to get a closer look at the problem. We had made the holes too small and they were getting clogged with bits of grain. So I picked a drill bit that was about twice the diameter and made a bunch more holes. This time it worked like a charm.
We were brewing an Oatmeal Stout and I am confident that it will be an amazing success. Even with all the hiccups, the fantastic smell of the wort and the surprisingly high efficiency of our mash give me a lot of confidence. Initial Gravity reading was about 1.055. Shooting for a final gravity in the neighborhood of 1.013 or so.
Man, all-grain brewing is a lot of work though. After a pretty grueling day, neither of us wanted to bottle the brown ale, so we just got some drinking done. We capped off the night with one of the bottles of Dark Lord 2008 we’d acquired the previous weekend. Oh so thick and tasty.
I got up early the next morning and cleaned bottles and by the time everybody else was moving I had pretty much gotten everything ready for bottling. Bob and I bottled the beers and in a week to 10 days I’ll have some tasty brown ale ready for drinking. Psyched.
SUPER psyched about the oatmeal stout though. I wish I could drink it now. What? It’s breakfast time!
Sunday went and saw Iron Man with Aaron. Man was the casting of Robert Downey Jr. ever perfect. Now admittedly Iron Man was never one of my obsessed-over characters so I don’t know Tony Stark inside and out, but I thought Downey was pretty fantastic. There were a few cliche moments in there but that is almost unavoidable in a superhero origin story. Also, throwing in terrorist bad guys does seem to be pandering a little bit, though you could also say that makes the story more contemporary and relevant. It makes me uneasy but I’m not sure I can articulate why.
But the good stuff is the armor, the effects, the action. The training sequences provide some very nice comic relief. Gwyneth Paltrow was very cute as Pepper Potts. The climactic battle between Iron Man and Iron Monger was satisfying. Lots of explosions too, and as you may know I am a fan of explosions. (I judge movies based on the AWE scale. AWE=Ass Whuppins & Explosions) A brief scene after the closing credits which will tent the chinos of many a nerd. I will admit that my eyes crossed and I had to cover myself while exiting the theater. But tying it all together is the personality that Downey put into the role of Tony Stark. Also, explosions. (I mentioned explosions, right?)
It was a damn fine weekend, all told. Now, back to the grind.