Friday, July 10, 2009

Almost Time

I am amazed that my trip is in two weeks. I ordered a new set of light rain gear which will serve to keep me warm in the early morning and dry in case of any storm, but won't take up as much space in my saddle-bags.

I also ordered my leather concealment vest, some small hand warmers and an AC power outlet that I can mount on my motorcycle to charge my ipod and cell phone with.

I'll be picking up my motorcycle from Burton tomorrow, and will need to install my cruise control before the weekend is over so that I have ample time to test and adjust it.

The week that I leave I will be working an earlier shift at work, which will require me to ride to the Bainbridge terminal every day. That will give me an excellent chance to test out the new tires and gear thoroughly before the real trip.

I started a batch of beer last Saturday, it was a great way to spend my Fourth of July. No traffic, crowds or firework worries to speak of, just a quiet Saturday.

The recipe I chose was a revisit of one that I tried to use as one of my first all-grain beers. It's called Miss America Pale Ale, and it's taste is supposed to be similar to Mirror Pond or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, it has a strong hop flavor, with a bit of sweet richness to the grain flavor.

The first time I made this, it turned out more on the bitter side, since I was not as good at sparging my grain and getting all the sugars out. Subsequently it didn't have as many sugars in the fermentation and therefore had less sweetness to balance out the hop flavor. I still liked it, but it wasn't what I was aiming for, which is why I'm giving it another shot to mark the improvement of my skills.

At this point, I feel confident in saying I should definitely hit my mark this time since the gravity came out at a perfect 1.51, showing that I extracted exactly the amount of sugar I should have from this batch. When I tasted the wort after the boiling process, it had the bittersweet taste I would expect, wheras the last time I tried this recipe it had a puckering taste.

I have to transfer it to it's secondary fermenter this weekend, at which point I'll save the yeast slurry at the bottom and have plans to make a batch of porter or stout, since it is that time of year.

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