Sunday, July 31, 2011


Waiting for a friend of my wife and I to come over and have dinner tonight.  We're going to a lovely Thai restaurant that's fairly close to us.

Cut the grass, had a few beers...

No real update so instead I bring you this:

Bon boire!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Skyy Dragonfruit Vodka

Before anyone else asks, yes, there is such a thing as Dragonfruit, and yes it is delicious.  They are nearly impossible to find unless you're willing to dish out some cash.  I think a 3lb batch of dragonfruit will run you somewhere in the neighborhood of about $40.

But that's all besides the point.  Why buy fresh dragonfruit and have to do all that exhausting chewing, when you can just drink it?  AND NOW YOU CAN!!!

Skyy's latest addition to their line of insanely flavored beverages (along with blood orange and pineapple), is what I actually believe to be a REAL flavored vodka. For only about $14.99 you can pick up one of these bad boys at a store near you.  Most of these flavored vodkas seem as if they are just trying to go off the deep end with flavors like bubblegum, cotton candy, bacon, gummi worms, pink lemonade, and a plethora of other children-attracting abilities, but sticking to a natural flavor like lemon and orange is getting a little overdone.  

Skyy Dragonfruit is very smooth for a flavored vodka but there is no, absolutely not a single hint of any artificial sweeteners or additional starches/ pectin to increase the body.  It drinks just as smooth as Skyy Vodka itself, but the taste is only second to none.  The flavor itself is a small cross between a  lime and strawberry, hinted with just a little bit of pink grapefruit and melon.  The nose is full of fragrant of Bird of Paradise flower and makes for a very beautiful cocktail in any fashion. but try this simple recipe I indulged in last night.

Dragonfruit Tonic Sour
3oz Skyy Dragonfruit Vodka
1oz Sweet and Sour (I use a personally mix of lemon, lime and cane sugar)
Tonic Water

This will be interesting for most, because I love implementing method on the cocktail, not just the quality of ingredients.  You are not going to shake this cocktail, but rather layer and not stir.  Fill a rocks glass with ice, pour the vodka over the ice first, followed by the sweet and sour, and using whatever room you have left in the glass to top with tonic water.  As you sip on the cocktail whether from the rim or a stirring straw, gently shake the glass every few minutes to get a little mix going over a longer period of time.

Another cocktail I can amuse you with is this bad boy here:

Cajun Ten Speed
1oz Skyy Dragonfruit Vodka
3/4oz Midori Melon Liqueur
½oz Old New Orleans Spiced Rum
½oz Malibu Black 70proof Coconut Rum

This is my modified version of a classic cocktail known as the Jamaican ten speed, which contains cream in addition to the other ingredients, but I've found little to no difference in omitting the cream.
Shake well over crushed ice and serve in a martini glass, garnished with a wedge of citrus.

Like always, I hope you enjoy this tasty beverage along with my recommendation for the cocktail. 
And be sure to check out the new brewing blog over at THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS BREWING COMPANY

Bon Boire!

Hey!  Creating another blog just entirely for the brewing deal.  Everyone go check it out and don't forget to follow it!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Herbs and Grains!

Got my shipment of grains and hops from midwestsupplies.com.  The only downside about it is that 90% of the grains were not milled but one of the guys, Micah, is currently constructing a grain mill as we speak.  So not a really big deal, but still a pain.

Oh well, hopefully by the end of next week, we'll have this Amber Ale in the fermenter and brewed up in no time.

Till then, it's morning and I'm drinking a cafe au lait made with New Orleans coffee and chicory and eating some banana nut cheerios.  These bastards are delicious.

Bon Boire!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homebrew Update

So the boys and I decided on a few business moves with the brewing situation and I think we covered nearly everything from grain cost to storage facilitation.

One of our original intents was to go with one company's mini-brew system which included a 6.5gallon conical fermenter for a little less than $300 but now it looks like for about the same money, we can invest into 2 - 6gallon STAINLESS STEEL FERMENTERS!!!!

So this is exciting.  Like ice cream on a hot day exciting.

I'll let you all know what turns out but we're still waiting on a shipment of grain to get here......
In the mean time, I'm eating a burger stuffed with bleu cheese and bacon!
Bon Boire!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yay! More Work Drama!

So my hours are down to about 32.5 hours a week and things are getting crazier.
They expect me to be there from between 8am and 4:30pm in order to deal with vendors so my orders are accurate and approved personally on Monday and Thursday.  On Tuesday and Friday I have to check in the trucks to verify my order and then stock the shelves.  And most of the day Saturday, including all day everyday, I am a salesman but I'm expected to be there until about 7pm when the downtime finally arrives.  

So basically I'm expected to be there 5 days a week from 8am to 7pm but only for a total of 32.5 hours.  Also, I'm going in on Wednesday, tomorrow, to make everything look nice for company coming.


I kinda feel like this:


Drinking a pretty damn good Margarita right now though!
Gran centenario Tequila and On the Border tequila mix with a fresh lime added.
not bad for only 30seconds of prep!

Bon boire!

Monday, July 25, 2011

7:28am? I need a beer.

So I'm getting ready for work the usual way this morning: making coffee, checking out Facebook.
When all of a sudden, I come across this noise on youTube:

Opinions?  not on the video, but whether or not I should even consider living in this God forsaken world anymore.  Also, I need a beer.
Bon Boire!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm Dying Over Here!!!

So work's been a real killer for me, and I'm finally able to update the blog because I have a day off!  But besides that, I'm prepping up for school which starts August 15th for me, the brewing, and my third anniversary to my lovely wife.  (It's the leather anniversary!)

As far as school goes, I'm up for another exciting semester filled with Chemistry and basic courses, along with a list of different ways I can drink in class (or at least in the library).

We have some more grains coming in hopefully before the end of the week so we'll be brewing our next batch of American Amber Ale soon along with the introduction of a new potential brewer!

And for my wife, I can't post some of the things I'm getting her on here because she might read it, but I'm handmaking a few arts-and-crafts type things for her to show my love and devotion.

Well, I'll have some reviews and cocktails posted later in the week.  Stop on by!
Bon Boire!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Homebrew: How-To!

So the brewing is coming along a lot better than the first couple of trial runs and I see high hopes for this towards the end of the year and with the colder weather, we can expect better results from the yeast being able to survive.  Our Lager and Dobbelbock should definitely show amazing results by then as well.

Currently we have a Honey Wheat and a Lager fermenting, but I'm worried about two things with these. The first being that we are experimenting with secondary fermentation conditioning.  By this I mean we are adding a flavoring agent (or fining agent) while it is going through it's second cycle of fermentation and I'll explain why this is necessary later on in this post.  but the point I'm trying to get at I guess is that we are coming closer to what I guess you could call a "Beta" version of our drink.  We're sorta at an indev or alpha stage right now...

How To Homebrew Your Own Beer!

The first thing you need to figure out is what kind of equipment you'll need and you have to base that on two things: How much space you have and whether you decide to pick All-grain brewing or Extract Brewing.

All-grain means you are going the hard route and doing it the professional way and the old fashioned way.  But that doesn't mean it's any better than extract, just a little bit more refined.  Extract is done using malt extracts that are already mashed and sparged to the perfect consistency for instant usage.
As far as mashing and sparging, I'll explain that later.  Just sit tight and I'll break everything down.

The next step you need, is finding a recipe.  before you even come up with the insane idea of making your own recipe, try someone else's for a change.  The way I made my gumbo taste so good was perfecting my great-grandmother's recipe first!  There are plenty of places around the incredible edible internet but I've found that some of the recipes out there are not 100% reliable and even though you can't trust every site, I've found these guys over at TastyBrew.com  to be pretty safe!

The recipe I'm going to walk you through, however, is actually from a well respected magazine that I frequent called Brew Your Own.  Their website, too, is full of useful info along with recipes, clones, and etc. 
This is a recipe for what they are calling Weed Puller Cream Ale and I find that to be perfect for a brew virgin and not to mention the unbearable weather we've been having in the South....

Weed Puller Cream Ale
(5 Gallons/ 19L, All-grain)
OG = 1.050 (12.4°Plato)
FG = 1.009 (2.2 °Plato)
IBU = 18 / SRM = 3 / ABV = 5.4%

4.41 lb. (2kg) Pilsner Malt (2°L)
4.41 lb (2kg) American Pale Ale 2-Row Malt (2°L)
1.76 lb. (800g) flaked rice (0° L) 
3.36 AAU Liberty pellet hops (0.84 oz./ 24g at 4% alpha acids) (60mins)
1.68 AAU Liberty pellet hops (0.42 oz./ 12g at 4% alpha acids) (1min)
White Labs WLP001 (California Ale), Wyeast 1056 (America Ale) or Fermentis Safale US-05 yeast


Weed Puller Cream Ale
(5 Gallons/ 19L, Extract)
OG = 1.050 (12.4°Plato)
FG = 1.009 (2.2 °Plato)
IBU = 18 / SRM = 3 / ABV = 5.4%

5.84 lb. (2.65 kg) Pilsner liquid malt extract (2°L)
1.14 lb. (520g) rice syrup (0°L)
3.36 AAU Liberty pellet hops (0.84 oz./ 24g at 4% alpha acids) (60mins)

1.68 AAU Liberty pellet hops (0.42 oz./ 12g at 4% alpha acids) (1min)
White Labs WLP001 (California Ale), Wyeast 1056 (America Ale) or Fermentis Safale US-05 yeast


So what does all this mean? Plato? SRM?
Let's go through all of it.  

Malt.  By malt, I'm referring to malted barley or other grains that have been malted through the process of forced germination in order to wake up those deliciously fermentable sugars. Malts come in many shapes and sizes and are widely available online and possibly at a homebrew supply near you!

Hops. They are a leafy, green, and pinecone-like cousin of marijuana and the primary bittering agent for beer. although most people like to think that these are required for beers, there are several types of beers that do not include them but they are one of the four ingredients required by the German Purity Law of 1516 known as the Reinheitsgebot along with Water, Malts, and Yeast.

OG and FG. They stand for Original Gravity and Final Gravity and refers to the density of a liquid, or in this case, density determined by alcohol and sugars.  The initial gravity is the density before the yeast begins the alcohol conversion process, and the final is what the density should read after all fermentable sugars are converted into alcohol.

IBU.  This term stands for International Bitter Units and this is determined by the amount of hops that are used in the recipe and for how long each addition of hops is present.  As you can see from the recipe, it calls for two separate amounts of hops and the usage is for two different amounts of time.  The introduction of hops to the boil counts for about 90% of the IBUs and most of the flavor whereas the second addition, only being about a minute, is primarily for aroma and only accounts for a small amount of the IBUs.

SRM. Standard Reference Method.  This is the most complicated and the simplest term when it comes to brewing.  It is a system of reference for the color of the beer and is determined by the attenuation of light at 430 nanometers through one centimeter of beer contained in a 1x1cm cuvette and the measured reading is then multiplied by 12.7 to produce the SRM.  I DID NOT COPY THIS FROM WIKIPEDIA.  I love Chemistry...  But basically it's saying "How dark is your beer on a scale of 1 to 80."  Just for reference here, Bud Light is like a 6 or 8 whereas Guinness is about a 60.

Lovibond Units (°L). Lovibond is another color reference for beer and although some people (like myself) use it to describe the color of the beer itself, it is primarily used for the color of the grains.  This scale is more or less like a scale of 1 to 300.  The darkest being a newer type of malt called Carafa-III which is about 280°L.

ABV%.  Alcohol by volume.  If you honestly didn't know what this meant, please don't even both ever drinking again.

So now that the Chemistry and Algebra lesson is out of the way, let's talk about Culinary Arts.
In order to make beer, you go into simple steps:
Collecting Fermentable Sugars - Mashing then sparging grain or buying Extracts.
Boiling Sugars - Waking up those sugars.
Adding Hops - After the pot comes to a boil, hops are added then boiled for up to an hour
Chilling Wort - Very important so no microorganisms survive and yeast does not die
Primary Fermentation - Addition of yeast cells
Secondary Fermentation - Straining and clarification of beer
Priming (Optional) - Adding a corn syrup dilute to sanitize for bottling
Bottling (Optional) - Making portable and profitable

So with all-grain brewing, the first thing you would do is mill the grains.  If they are not milled (cracked and crushed through a milling device) then you will not be able to get all that sugary goodness out of them. 
Mashing is the process of steeping them in hot water (about 150°F) to release these sugars and about one liter of water is required for each pound of malt or grain.
After mashing is sparging, which my homosexual friend Zane refers to as a "nnnnnnasssty word."  Sparging is the process of running the remaining required amount of warm water (this time about 175°F) over the grains after they have been strained, in order to catch all the sugars left behind. In mass production (and small time too), this is done in a Lauter Tun.

With extracts, you simply open the can and boil that baby on in.

Now with both methods, you will bring your pot to a boil and you must make sure that you have a total of six gallons of initial water in order to produce five gallons of wort.  The wort chilling process like I stated before is vital.  Many homebrewers use systems and devices such as counter-flow heat exchange or cooling coils made of copper in order to reduce the temperature drastically.  You can be creative with this, but reducing the temperature down to about 75°F in less than 30minutes is essential.

After cooling, the addition of yeast is require to turn that boring liquid into our favorite chemical: Ethanol.
About two packets of Safale S-05 would be required for this or 9grams of yeast total.  Pitching the yeast is an important factor, where you dilute the yeast in water (preferably warm, about 95°F) and adding it to the chilled wort.

Storing it in an airtight container with a lid and airlock is also a must, along with keeping this fermentation device in a nice and cool environment (about 75°F).  Your best choice is to buy the Ale Pail and the Airlock from MidwestSupplies.com.  The instructions are simple and the success rate is about 95%.

After about a week of resting in the fermenter, strain the beer of any impurities into a temporary location, clean the pail, and strain back into the fresh pail with no or little sediment along with it.  

After another week of resting, the beer is ready to chill and drink.  You can bottle if you like by diluting 3/4 cup of corn syrup in 1/2 cup of boiling water and adding to the ready beer.  This process is called priming and is another necessary step in sanitation when it comes to bottling.

So my advice to you: make sure everything is clean, practice makes perfect, and have as much fun as possible.
Pictured from Left to Right:
Lawrence, wielding a pot cover and whisk
Me, wielding a pot cover and wooden spoon

Be sure to share this info with your friends and if anyone needs advice or a recipe or anything, please send me an email at ChuckMac2005@gmail.com!
Bon Boire!

Update Tonight!

So I've convinced my lovely friend Lacey to update her blog tonight and I said I would reference her in mine therefore forcing both of us to post one tonight!!!

You'll like this one.
Tonight: Homebrew Update! "Progress and How-To!"

Bon Boire!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Devil's Tea

Another hard day at work in the wonderful heat and humidity of Louisiana.  It's a shame that I work indoors and am still exposed to the elements for most of my day....  But there is a very minuscule amount of time outside of the work day that is commonly classified as "off" where I am exposed to the elements 100% of the time.  Even now as I'm sitting in the comfort of my home with the air-condition running, I'm still craving something to satiate my body which has been drained of energy till this point.

Although I would not consider this an evening drink (something rich and sophisticated) the Devil's Tea is a common summer drink for me and a very interesting spin on your average Firefly or Jeremiah Weed cocktail.

Devil's Tea
1½oz Cruzan no. 9 or Kraken Black Spiced Rum
Twist of Lemon
Mint Sprig, for garnish and flavor

This is another one of my favorite cocktails that it's flavor is mainly derived from the technique as opposed to the actual ingredients.  You want to fill a rocks glass with ice, twist the lemon on top, add the tea then the rum, and gently stir with the mint sprig (leaves faced downward).

You delicious bastard....

See, not really difficult, and I can absolutely guarantee that it will put a smile on your face.  The tart of the lemon, aroma of mint, zesty fun of the spiced rum, all bond together with deliciously sweet tea brings out the best in all of us.

Don't be afraid to make a big batch of it to take out to the beach or golfing or even to a family funeral.  good times for everyone!

Bon Boire!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mojito Time

So once again I am fully content on doing nearly nothing with my day except lounging around and watching the television.  I decided to grab my bottle of Appleton Estate VX and mix up a few limes and mint and just be a layabout for a while.

Appleton's premium is some pretty good stuff.  Crisp and dry that is a good definition of what a dark, non-spiced rum should be.  Very sweet and spicy on the nose and light bodied, smooth with good notes of oak and toasted spice.  But not spiced.  Tis a curious bastard it is.

But muddled with some mint and lime it can be such a relaxing beverage for a miserably hot Louisiana night.

Hope you guys enjoy something nice and sweet and cold today.
Bon Boire!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jewbelation Vertical

He'Brew's latest little gem to me is a little bit of a let down but then again it just really wasn't what I was looking for.  I was more or less expecting something more like Arrogant Bastard's Vertical but it was WAY too malty for me.  It honestly had a serious undertone of Rye Whiskey that had been sweetened beyond belief and then blended into a almost porter/ stout like consistency.  Some of you might find comfort in a brew like this, but I really could not handle the sweetness of it.

I would recommend it for anyone who likes American Wild Ales like Arrogant Bastard or Dead Guy but not so bitter.  Otherwise, I don't think it would be worth the $10 a bottle.

Bon Boire!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Strawberry Daiquiri

Nothing really special today but it's been so damn long since I've had a real, made from scratch, strawberry daiquiri.  Not the kind of sloppy and sugary thing you get from a machine at a second hand liquor joint, but something that is lightly alcoholic (or not) and full of fresh flavor.

Fresh Strawberry Daiquiri
½ lb Fresh Strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1oz Simple Syrup
2oz Lime Juice
4oz Cruzan Aged White Rum
1½ cups Ice
Whipped Cream and Cherry, for garnish
Whipped Lightening Passion Fruit Flavored Whipahol (optional)

Throw all ingredients into a blender and pulse for several passes until ice is chopped finely.  Then blend on high until smooth and uniform. Add garnish if desired.

Cruzan has also recently come out with a brand spanking new strawberry rum which I've recently tasted but I don't currently own a bottle so it's hard for me to make a recipe without being 100% sure it will be good.  We're going to pick it up from work tomorrow and I'll play around and let everyone know how it is but in the mean time, go get some strawberries before they become too expensive.

Bon Boire!

Monday, July 4, 2011


Happy Fourth of July everyone!
Going to a baseball game with my wife so here's a little youtube clip to fill in for my laziness today!

Bon Boire!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wheat Beer Review

It's summer and a little intense for heavy beers but thanks to SCIENCE we have discovered a few wheat beers that are not too heavy to drinking in such miserable heat and humidity.  So I figured I could do a quick run down of some of the most available wheat beers out there that won't weigh you down as you go.

Baltika #8 Russia Wheat Beer

A pretty nice and full brew that was very heavy in wheat flavor.  Almost to the point to where is was scented with hints of Rye whiskey and flavored like a yeasty bread roll.  About as light as your average pilsner, it drinks with the body of a Belgian double or tripel.  Just a little trivia about Baltikia, it is the second largest brewery in Europe, second only to Heineken.

Cucapa Mexi Honey Wheat

From the mystical land known as Baja California, Cucapa is more or less known for their Dark and Pale Ales, but they have a pretty interesting honey wheat beer that is less focused on the typical coriander and citrus peel taste and really does focus around the honey.  Drinks smooth and light, perfect for a summer day.

The guys and I plan to start brewing our Honey Wheat on Wednesday.  Slow and cold fermented, we expect it to be light and drinkable but have a nice ABV.

Bon Boire!