Archive for category Home Brew

Brewing with Strawberries and Apples

Remember Mustache Cat? If you go digging through the blog archives you’ll see it first show up in April 2011, when I brewed up a combination of Canadian Blonde ale and a lot of strawberries. Six pounds of strawberries, to be precise. It was my first try at full-sized brewing, and it tasted like someone’s first time brewing. Not a bad beer, per say, but what my wife and I kept calling a very “sharp” beer. A little more bitter than either of us liked. A little more alcoholic sting. No real strawberry flavor.

Funny thing happened the other day. I found a few bottles of Mustache Cat hanging out in the basement, and as we were looking to create some empty bottles for the batch I’m about to talk about, we stuck them in the fridge to give them a try. The resulting beer was smooth with a very pronounced strawberry flavor, both on the front end and in the aftertaste. Like some slow working magic trick, it took only two years for a beer we weren’t all that fond of to turn into a fantastic strawberry ale. This is the kind of funny patience that’s necessary for home brewing. I’ve heard people say no stout should be touched for six months, and even then it should still be thought of as immature. Meads, which I hope to get into one day, take years to even approach complete. Part of the fun of home brewing is finding that old bottle from the less than stellar batch and discovering a decent beer inside.

So, yeah, Mustache Cat rocks.

We were emptying bottles, however, ahead of another batch I brewed based on an Austin Homebrew recipe called “Apple Peeler.” Most of the beer I make is through a process called a “partial boil.” This means I don’t boil all the water that goes into the fermenter, instead only boiling about two gallons. This is then topped off with water until there’s about 5.25 gallons (20 liters, actually). Apple Peeler was different. Oh, there were the normal steps of steeping the grains, adding the sugars, bittering with the hops, but when the partial boil went from the pot to the fermenter, it wasn’t topped off with water.

It was topped off with apple juice.

There’s a subtle brilliance to this change. More so if you, like me, are a fan of a pub cocktail called a Snakebite. In its simplest form, a Snakebite is a shandy that mixes equal parts beer with non-alcoholic cider. Or, even better, alcoholic cider. It’s refreshing, and in the shandy form makes a fantastic drink with a pub brunch. This recipe struck me as a pre-made Snakebite, so I couldn’t resist. It’s fermenting in the basement now, and will bottle sometime in July. Hopefully it’ll be ready for a taste before the summer is over, as this strikes me as a late summer, early fall type of beer. If not, it can always wait until next summer and get all the tastier in the process.

Tasting some of the wort, an odd habit of mine, it was more bitter than I expected, and I’m already prepared to dial back the hops if I try the recipe again. It’s fun to have a few go to recipes to double back on, tweak a little, and turn into better and better beer.

I’ll also need a name. Apple Peeler isn’t a bad name, but what fun is it to use the pre-assigned name? I’m thinking just Fall Ale as an allusion not just to the season but the Fall of Man, which feels like a required reference with the combination of apples and snakes. What’s up with all my Biblical beers?

I look forward on reporting the flavor.

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State of the Writer: November 2012

Picture released under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported by Wikipedian Someone35.

What do you mean it’s the second?

2012 Goal: Query Nickajack. Last night started a new phase for Nickajack that will see my wife and I find a half hour, even if it’s in two fifteen minute chunks, to read at least one scene of Nickajack out loud a night. It’s a great way to hear the adjectives, the filtering, and the misworded dialogue. The intent is to fix these on the fly and to identify spots where props appear or disappear, character motivations aren’t as strong as they could be, and other plot weaknesses that we can then go back and fix up. This is the novel moving forward in a substantive way for the first time since the birth of our daughter, and it feels good to be back into it. If we push hard and have a good product on our hands, we hope to be ready for the first round of alpha readers by January. No later than March is my hope.

The ultimate plan is two rounds of external readers, the first likely drawn from those who have seen the novel as we’ve crafted it, and the second drawn from those who have no knowledge of the plot or the twists. Each will be followed by a round of editing based on comments. After both rounds are done, then we’ll be querying this bad boy. We likely wouldn’t have made the 2012 query goal even if we hadn’t had a kid, even if we did work straight through, but I’m still glad I set the goal so high. Occasionally you need something completely out of your grasp to keep you jumping.

If you fall into either of the camps that we’re looking to draw readers from, keep an eye out. I’m not looking for volunteers yet, but I will be soon.

In other writing news, I’ve accepted final edits of my story for Old Weird South, and the publisher is hoping that the anthology is out by December 1. I know that dates like this frequently slide, we’ll see about when it will actually come out. If it does hit that date, or up to 30 days later, that will be three short stories published in 2012. Which is awesome. I’ll need to get my ass in gear if I want to match or top that in 2013, and set my sights on some professional rate sales.

State of the author’s beer. Man…I’ve got to bottle that stuff. It’s okay to hang out in the fermenter, but yeah, I’ve got to get that bottled. Maybe that’s a this weekend thing.

State of the author’s bees. They survived the storm in one piece, and now we’re focusing on winterizing them. This means keeping them fed with sugar syrup and pollen so they have reserves to make it through the hard months ahead. That’ll probably be its own post in the next month or two.

State of the author’s baby. Eight weeks old now and super cute. She should start “hatching” over the next few weeks, but she already looks at us and smiles. This is all part of the process by which she’ll learn what is and isn’t a face, and what is and isn’t a person. So while she smiles at us, she’ll also smile at the cats, the wall, and random spots in the middle distance. Still, any smiling is smiling, and it’s awesome to see.

This month is Nanowrimo. The editing I mentioned above is my primary project, but I think I’m going to pick two other goals.

  • Redraft Vampire of Mars
  • Finish draft of Antioch, 1098

That’ll be a great start if I am going to try to top this year’s three published stories. Jen Brinn, sage leader of the Cat Vacuuming Society, always cautions to not make sales a goal since they’re beyond the writer’s control…but it would still be nice to at least match this year’s output.

If you’re doing Nanowrimo, best of luck with your projects!

Update: Earlier version of this post stated my baby was eight months not eight weeks old. They grow up fast, but not that fast.

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State of the Writer: August 2012

SPQR, Baby

2012 Goal: Query Nickajack. We’re on a similar pace as I mentioned this time last month, with a hope that we’ll be ready to step away and let alpha readers at the project by this time next month. Things are not going as quickly as they could, but that’s entirely because we’ve had other things on our mind, what with the baby now due in a little over four weeks. We’ve been working on both for roughly the same length of time, but one is going to be far more insistent on when it makes its debut to the world, so the shifting of priorities is unavoidable.

This morning I reached the end of Act Two in the novella I’ve been writing on the side, mostly during the mornings. I forgot to grab my morning writing total for the month before working on this blog post, but I know it’s lower than last month as I lost the first week of July to power outages and some vacation time. Still, July did see me push past 10,000 morning-written words, and tomorrow should see me cresting 15,000. I’ve averaged around 300 words a morning across all mornings, averaging in several zeroes, and closer to 350 on the mornings I’ve actually written. In the last few days I’ve also surmounted a block I discussed on Unleaded wherein I was only working in the morning. The evenings have seen me working on the novella, and even starting the outline of a new project of currently unknown length.

I am, if I am honest with myself, not being quite so productive a writer as I would like, nor nearly so slothful of a writer as I have at times been. The summer tends to do that to me.

State of the Author’s Beer. I should arrive home today to a shipment from Austin Homebrew featuring their oatmeal stout, which I will combine with Boysenberries to make the infamous Pi Stout. It’s irrationally good. I’m hoping to find some time this weekend to set up the small television in the kitchen and brew while watching the Olympics.

State of the Author’s Bees. After the scare at the beginning of the month, the hives look happy and healthy. They’ve nearly stocked up enough honey for the winter, though a little more certainly wouldn’t hurt. We’re going to thoroughly inspect them this weekend, make sure everything is a hunky dory as it appears. If it is, each might get a new super.

State of the Author’s Education into World History. This isn’t quite enough for its own post, but I’m quite thrilled with the amount of online material I’ve found in my quest to learn a little more about World History. I’m currently working through Richard Bulliet’s Columbia course “History of the World to 1500 CE,” watching Crash Course World History as it updates, and listening to A History of the World in 100 Objects while commuting. In the wings I’ve got Open Yale’s “Early Middle Ages,” and University of Houston’s “The Vikings.” That should keep me going for quite some time. If I still want more, I’ve been looking at another Open Yale course on the American Revolution, and UHouston’s course on the Normans. Big help was finding this page, which compiles free online classes offered by several universities. Phew, that was a lot of links.

That’s me. I hope to finish the first draft of Ghosts of Venus this month, do some good outlining and get started on a project currently called “Untitled of the Fourth Planet,” and see Nickajack through to a point that it’s ready for alpha readers. That’s an ambitious month, but I think we can do it. This week or next I owe my next Ace Double review. Spoiler: it didn’t contain my favorite individual story, but it was probably my favorite combined double.

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State of the Writer: July 2012

Right now the state of the writer is just glad to be in the air conditioning. More about that tomorrow. Ahem.

2012 Goal: Query Nickajack.  We’re now halfway through 2012. The current project involves revisiting the first few chapters and making them mesh with the tone and voices of the end of the book, which we like better. Then we need to go back and change one character from a nurse to an anti-technology reactionary and slip her into a few more scenes. Remove a MacGuffin we weren’t using. Little things like that. After those two fixes, we will consider the book a first draft and ready for beta readers.

Then we’ll take a month away from it. No getting around that step, it’s a vitally important one, even if it’s going to happen later than expected.

At this point, I’m not going to kick myself if I don’t have a query letter away by December 31. That’s not to say I’m giving up on the goal, I’m still pushing forward as hard as I can, but this is the first time I’ve really revised a novel. Top-down, end-to-end, major updates and changes, rewriting entire chapters sort of revising. So I didn’t know how long to give it. Plus, the whole having a baby thing is changing things. My wife/coauthor was pregnant when we set the goal, but neither of us knew it yet. I suspect if the goal does slip, it will by at most a quarter.

We’re also starting to talk about books two and three, and what things might happen in them. Working titles: Mogollon and Columbia. That’s all you’re getting for now.

In other writing, I’ve continued to work on my novella Ghosts of Venus, I’m most of the way through a short story that will be heading off to an anthology as soon as I have power back, and I wrote another of the background flash pieces for the Nickajack universe. Actually, there was a point this month that I was working on a flash piece while taking a break from the short story that I’m writing as a break from my novella that I’m writing as a break from my novel. While I find Russian nesting dolls charming, I’ve got to stop doing things like that. It’s nice to know I can multitask, especially as my wife has her changes to work on Nickajack, but multitasking only really counts if I finish things.

Morning writing has been a major boon. It’s a project I started after the Memorial Day holiday, and during the month of June I totaled 7642 words written between 7:15am and 7:30am.  That’s over 7500 words that I might not have otherwise written. If you want to know more about the project, I introduced it here, then talked about the power of doing a little bit of work everyday here.  With 21 weekdays in June, that meant an average of 364 words a day, which compounds out to nearly 95k words if I managed to do that every weekday for a year.

State of the Author’s Beer: Had intended to brew this month for the first time in a while, but then Austin Homebrew started a state-by-state sale on their website, so I’m waiting for Virginia’s sale date to buy…which is July 26th. So hopefully brewing first weekend in August. I did finally track down the boysenberries I needed. Only had to buy an 8-pack from Amazon.

State of the Author’s Bees: Got my first sting this weekend, learned that I’m not deathly allergic. Also learned that stings on the cartilage of the ear hurt like a bastard. More on that when I talk about the storm.

This week on the blog: The DC storm and my next Ace Double review.  See you then.

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State of the Writer: December 2011

Is it really December?  There have been some really long days and weeks this year, but the months have been just flying past.  I’m writing just one week removed from Thanksgiving, and Christmas is rapidly approaching.  Which makes me think I really should do some shopping.  But that’s not what we’re here to talk about.  We’re here to talk about what’s happened with my writing in November, what I hope will happen in December, and a few other bits and pieces.

November saw my wife and I embark on a rather grand journey as we attempt to collaborate on a novel.  It’s my first foray into novel-length story telling in two years, and it really is nice to stretch the legs a little and get back into long form narratives.  But not too leg stretchy.  I think my flirtation with short fiction the last few years has been beneficial, and left me understanding better how to structure stories and how to look at scenes and chapters as short stories of their own that tie together into a long narrative.  Right now we have an outline that goes through six chapters and a first draft that goes through two.  We’ve also got a real map of our city from only 5 years after the novel takes place, a fake map of the state and surrounding bits of the US, 20 years of real and alternate historical timeline officially written, and another few centuries of unofficial timeline sitting in our heads.

Plus we’re still married and haven’t even had any major argument!

December is going to see us continue down the path.  I have some pie in the sky hopes of finishing an outline before the end of the month and maybe five more chapters drafted.  I’m trying not to get too far in the draft because I don’t want to catch up with the outline.

On the anthology front, Steam Works should hopefully be available before the end of the year, per information from the editor.  Memory Eater is still a little farther out, but that’s due to the editor still exploring publisher authors.  However, a post made while I’ve been writing this has some decently good news about everything but the timeline.  It should be well worth the wait, however, even if the only story I have direct knowledge about is my own.

But mine is pretty awesome, and will probably be worth the cover price alone, especially if you’re my parents.

State of the Writer’s Beer.  Stagnant.  Not the beer, my brewing.  I’ll probably do a batch in December, though, as soon as I have 24 empties.  So if I’ve given you a bottle, the quicker you drink it and return the empty, the sooner there’ll be another batch.

State of the Writer’s Blog.  See that to the right?  That was the hit I got from Dover, Delaware this month.  That’s significant, because it was the 50th state to visit the blog, which means I’ve now collected them all, along with DC and Puerto Rico.  That really was my big goal this year with readership, and I accomplished it with about seven weeks to spare.  I actually came close to collecting all 50 states just in the month of November, due to my Scrivener files driving a lot of visitors this month.  I’m going to keep those coming because I’m addicted both to the process of making the files (as I talked about earlier) and, maybe a little, to the readership numbers they bring.  November blew any other month out of the water, and was only a disappointment because it ended with 999 hits.

So welcome any and all new readers of this blog.

Onward into December, and into winter.  The days will get shorter for three more weeks, then the solstice will hit and we’ll head back into the sun again.  It can be a tough month to write, but I’m in this for the long haul.  I’m glad to have y’all along for the ride.

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State of the Writer: November 2011

After an interminable summer, October absolutely sped past.  Anticipation of Capclave and Flashathon likely spurred much of that.  Looking back, both feel like they were more than a few weeks ago.  Someone needs to harness time’s ability to speed past while being experienced but dilate when being remembered and turn that into a viable method of time travel.

October turned into a great month of micro-production.  The week of the 22-28th alone I wrote 15 bits of flash fiction, something I wasn’t entirely sure was possible.  At least four of those are stories that I can get longer, or at least better polished, pieces out of.  I call this an absolute victory.  I’ll probably take some time in November to sort them out, and give them a more prominent place within my flash fiction Scrivener database.

The month opened with me working on one novel project, ripping apart the tangled novels Capsule and Post Apocalypse, and ended with me ramping up another.  I talked about that yesterday in my Nanowrimo Eve post, so I’m not going to rehash that here.  I hadn’t thought about it while writing it, but that really ended up scooping a lot of my typical State of the Writer post.  Half an hour a day working with my wife on the project, probably another half hour translating that into Scrivener, and poking around the flash pieces I want to turn into short stories.  Sounds like pretty good goals for the month.

October also delivered to my email a proof version of one short story and an edited version of another.  So anthologies are moving full steam ahead.

I want to get meta for a moment and say I like these State of the Writer posts.  The same writers’ group discussion that gave rise to Friday’s post about mission statements as writers drove home the need to keep abreast of what you are doing, and what you want to do.  That’s what this series is about, a monthly chance to really look at what I did the month before, what I’m hoping to do next month, and what direction I’m moving with my writing.  They’re a way of keeping me focused, and they’re a way of keeping me honest, since I’m putting them out there for all to see.  Or all who care to see, at least.

So the state of the writer?  Anticipatory.  I’m getting back into novel production.  I’m starting a project I’ve been churning for several months.  And I’m seeing if I can work a novel and short stories at the same time.  Should be an interesting month.

State of the Writer’s Blog: Anyone who has been following these State of the Writer posts knows I’m trying to collect views from all 50 states.  The numbers are dwindling.  At the end of September, I only had North Dakota, Arkansas, and Delaware left to collect.  This month saw the first visit from Arkansas, leaving just two.  I’m hoping to wrap up all 50 by the end of the year.  That’s just one a month.  That’s not so hard, right?  October was also the 4th straight month of blog viewership growth, fueled largely by Flashathon.

State of the Writer’s Beer: Still working through a backlog of suds before I get the next batch going.  Might brew at some point this month.  Pulled out bottles of both batches for the Flashathon crowd.  Mustache Cat got generally positive reviews, Lazarus Ale was more of a specific taste.  Responses ranged from hatred to asking for seconds.

So join me as we move into another month.  Tomorrow, it’ll be another trip to A Writer Reviews focusing on, of all things, apples.  Bonus points to anyone who can guess which two television shows that’ll cover.

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State of the Writer: August 2011

July was a month of submission, waiting, and maintenance.  It wasn’t nearly as productive as June, but that’s to be expected.  June was about setting myself up in a position where I could have five submissions out, and July was the month they were out.  So far those submissions have resulted in a short listing, a rejection, and three I’m still waiting to hear back on.  The short list thrilled me, I thought it was probably the strongest of the five submissions, and the rejection didn’t surprise me, as it was the weakest.  I’m wrapping up a huge reedit of that story, and looking for another good market for it.

July also saw me put a few new projects together.  My wife and I are in the initial stages of noodling out what we’re hoping will end up as a trilogy of steampunk novels based in 1870s America.  In fact, my last writerly activity for the month of July, completed around 10:30 last night, was assembling an alternate map of the American south to use as the main setting for the first novel.  There’s a big unfamiliar state sitting in the middle of the south that I’m going to have to get used to staring at.  Step one is to stop thinking of the capital city as Huntsville, Alabama.

But that’s a future novel project.  July also ended with me getting slowly back into the right frame of mind for Capsule.  My optimistic goal is to finish the first draft of it in August.  My realistic goal is September.  Either way, it’s a story I’ve been talking about returning to almost since the day I stepped away from it, and with several short stories making the rounds, this feels like the right time to finally do so.  And I’m excited.  I remember the last scene, know the next scene, and have a clear path through to the end of Act Two in what should be a nice three act structure.

State of the Writer’s Beer:  Mustache Cat gets better and better with every bottle, but there’s a clear upper limit.  It’s crisp, a little more bitter than I’d like, but certainly drinkable with a nice strawberry finish.  And that’s really about as good as I expect it to get.  We have started sharing, so we’re about halfway through drinking the batch.  Tonight the first bottles of Lazarus Ale go into the fridge, so we’ll be drinking lemongrass ginger ale next weekend.  I’ll not be started a new batch until a significant amount of the current beer is gone.  Good target will be having enough empties to bottle the next batch without buying more.

State of the Writer’s Blog:  July saw this site have it’s biggest day, week, and month since relaunching.  I don’t normally talk about actually numbers, but I’ll pull back the curtain and show how low they are.  The big day was the 28th with 22 visits, the first time the blog has topped 20 visits in a single day.  That lead to the week of the 24-30 seeing 73 hits.  Month total just passed 200 for the first time.  Yeah, there are blogs out there where my monthly totals would be a lightly traveled day, but things are growing around here, which excites me.

My quest to collect visits from all 50 states has now reached 40, with first time visits from Wyoming, Nebraska, and Maine during the month of July.  That just leaves Alaska, Nevada, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Vermont, Rhode Island and Delaware to go.

Coming this week:  Speaking of best month ever, I made a promise in Twitter that I’d do a bonus Fortnightcap today if the site hit record monthly views.  I don’t think anyone actually saw that promise, but I’ll still follow through.  Also, look out tomorrow for the first details of the #flashathon that I will be hosting in conjunction with Unleaded Fuel for Writers in October.  Well, the first details other than “cohosted with Unleaded” and “October” that is.  It’s an event that I’m excited about.

Edit of the Writer:  Seems every time I do a State of the Writer, I end up doing an edit to it.  Just got in my email the cover for Steam Works.  Still needs all the text on it, so I’m probably not supposed to share it yet.  But there is a cover.  And the anthology is still happening.

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New Peculiar Bottle Day 2

Oh what difference the correct hardware makes!

When we bottled mustache cat, we were stuck with tubing that was too wide bore to fit on to either the auto siphon or the bottling wand, which meant a lot of flying by the seat of our pants.  Since then, I took a trip to Home Depot and found the right size tubing (yes, food grade tubing, it’s intended for ice makers).  And then…it’s like magic!  When you can get a vacuum seal everything works so much faster.

Oh, and when you remember to add your priming sugar and don’t have to empty all the bottles and starting over, it also works a hell of a lot better.

As for the beer itself?  Lazarus Ale is, to remind, a lemongrass ginger ale with a pound on honey thrown in to boot.  It smells strongly of ginger, which is not something that I’m used to beer smelling like.  I suspect it’ll be a fantastic beer to try the next time I do sushi.

I did take a sip of it, it’s just something that I do when I’m bottling a beer.  Yeah, the end product will never taste quite the same as that taste, but it can give an indication as to where the beer is heading.  The sip wasn’t very bitter at all.  The flavor…was interesting.  That’s the first word that both my wife and I used to describe it.  Interesting.  Which isn’t always the best of words.  But after that sip, after I thought about it, I wanted more.  I wanted a full bottle.

Patience.  August 1 is the earliest I’m going to put a bottle in the fridge.  I’ll have to bide my time with Mustache Cat until then.

So what’s next?  Well, there are two directions I’m thinking about going.  The first would be to attempt to recreate my greatest success from my Mr. Beer days, a boysenberry stout called Pie Stout.  But I’m also thinking about taking a break from beer and instead going for a hard cider.

On a side note, we got some wormwood today for the garden.  Wormwood is used for vermouth and absinthe, so I was curious if it was ever used for beer.  Well, I knew there were other ingredients used to bitter beer before hops became the primary go to.  Apparently wormwood was one of those.  Does that mean I’ll eventually brew with home grown wormwood?  Not necessarily.  But it’s tempting.

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State of the Writer: July 2011

I’m going to come right out and say it: the state of the writer is good.

On a writing front, I’ve got three stories out the door to anthologies and contests that had deadlines at the end of June, and plan two more submissions this coming week.  That will mark the first time I’ve ever had five stories out for consideration at once.  Hell, this marks the first time I’ve had three stories out for consideration at once.  Out the door already are Face of the Serpent, Beyond Light, and Vampires of Mars, and getting ready to head out the door are Sleep and Home Again.  I have high hopes that one of those will land in its current market, with a potential ceiling of three of them landing.

Yup, I’m getting all excited and optimistic, but I already wrote that post.

July is going to see a change of direction.  I’ve been working on short stories for awhile, and I’ve really enjoyed it.  But I’ve left Capsule languishing for far too long now, and it’s time to get back into it.  Especially since I’m already starting to world build my next novel, and I don’t want Capsule to get steamrolled and forgotten.  I like the story too much to let that happen.  So it’s going to be back to work on that, trying to keep a strong pace going.  Really, I’d love to have the first draft finished by no later than the end of August, and then it’ll be a process of figuring out what to do next.  That might be turning right around and editing Capsule, that might mean making another go at Conqueror Worm, or it might mean starting Nickajack.  Really, that’s going to be more a subject for September’s State of the Writer.  I hope.

It’s an exciting point in my push to be something more than just an amateur writer.  First short story is still due out soon-ish (though I’m honestly thinking July is unlikely, even if the anthology hasn’t officially said so), and so much more hopefully on the horizon.

State of the Writer’s Blog: June was a great month for readership.  I didn’t quite hit the record views of May, but I didn’t miss by much.  This was aided by the last day of June being the best single day for viewership since the relaunch of this blog back in December.  So yay!  Google Analytics also tells me that I collected my first views from six states this month: Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Ohio, and South Carolina.  That leaves 13 states that have never visited my blog: Alaska, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Delaware, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maine.  I’m hoping to hit all 50 states before too much longer, so look for me to start pandering!  Woo!  Do you Dakotans know just how sexy and intelligent you are?

But seriously, I’m going to try to set my two July Fortnightcaps in states that have yet to show up, just to see if I can’t push viewership.

Update: Hello, Omaha!  That’s another state down.

State of the Writer’s Beer: We have now drunk 4 of the 24 bottles of Mustache Cat, and it’s getting better with each bottle.  A few more weeks, and I’ll be glad to share some.  The bitterness that it had when brand new is mellowing out nicely, and there’s a very strong strawberry aroma and aftertaste.  This weekend it’s going to be bottling time for Lazarus Ale, which I’m going to try and have the self discipline to not crack a bottle of until August.  Next batch is still being planned, but I may take a week or three just to give us time to catch up on the drinking process, because this is becoming a lot of beer.

So.  We’ve passed the solstice, the days are getting shorter but no cooler, what better time of year to avoid the outside, and instead write?

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Beer of the Living Dead

First batch of beer I did fermented like crazy.  That’s what happens when you take all the sugar already in a beer kit and add in six pounds of strawberries for flavor: yeast go insane.  The end result was a blowout, which means the fermentation was going on so hot and heavy that yeast backed up into the airlock.  Some serious crazy fermentation, but made for a nice drinkable beer with a strawberry aftertaste that’s only getting better with age.

The new batch?  No so much.  I was concerned about the yeast before I started.  The cold pack meant to keep it at refrigerator temperatures had melted by the time the kit was delivered, and the whole box sat on my porch on a 90 degree day for several hours waiting for me to get home from work.  But I followed the directions, put the yeast in, and hoped for the best.  That was Saturday.  Sunday?  Nothing.  Monday?  Still nothing.  Tuesday?  Still nothing.  Now I’d read online that fermentation can take several days to start, and may not show up in the airlock at first, but lacking a hydrometer, the airlock is the only proof of fermentation I have available to me.

So I started to worry.  It’s an easy solution, non-fermenting beer, just add in another dose of yeast.  But there are some things that could kill any yeast added, and I was worried I’d killed my beer.  On Wednesday, however, the beer finally came to life and the airlock is now happily bubbling away, letting out all the yeast farts so that my wort can become beer.  It’s back from the dead, and as such, I think needs a new name.  Originally it was going to be called Space Ale, but now it needs some acknowledgement of the fact that it went down that path, saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and at the last moment came back.  So, a poll:

Happy drinking!

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