Brew Day - Scottish 80 Shilling

Monday, October 31, 2011

With all of the things that require a decent amount of fussing-over when brewing beer, including the 4 - 4 1/2 hours to actually brew, chill and pitch the yeast, one would think that brewing is stressful or at least a pain in the ass.  For me, it's anything but.  All the fussing, all the things to be hauled, cleaned, sanitized, stared-at and stirred, is relaxing.  Plus, there are great spans of time in which I can peel away and still be an active member of my household.  It's like a two-fer for Mrs. Smitty; she gets beer, and still gets help with kids!

At Mrs. Smitty's request, this weekend's brew is a Scottish 80 Shilling.  That's their "export" beer, meaning its alcohol content and general malty robustness makes it travel-worthy (a lot of beer actually doesn't travel well).  The name refers to its cost Way Back When; 60 shilling, 70 shilling, 80 shilling - the price went up as the beer got stronger.  This, given old Scottish culture, was not designed to deter the consumption of higher-alcohol beer; rather, it reflected an increase in the amount of grains used.  More grains, more expensive beer.

Cracking the grains
A Scottish 80 shilling is a malty beer, but a balanced malt sweetness.  It's not a malt-bomb in the same sense as a Winter Warmer of a Barleywine, which is that syrupy-thick cloying kind of sweet.  A Scottish 80 is just...malty.  A hint of botterness from mild hops, and a slight roastiness from a scant handful of darker-roasted grains rounds out the palate of this crowd-pleasing style of ale.  Not a lot of complexity; in fact, it's sort of "boring" as that goes.  But it's an easy-drinking beer for sure, though on the upper end of sessionable.

The grain bill only weighs-in at about 10 pounds (9 pounds of a nice biscuity  malt called British Golden Promise, and 1 pound of English Medium Crystal for some color and roasted flavors), and the recipe only calls for 1 oz. of Fuggle or East Kent Golding hops (I used Fuggle), making the beer just barely bitter.  Fuggles and Goldings are extremely mild hops and are really there as a natural preservative and to remind you that this is a beer and not just grainy sugar-water!

Boiling wort
I am pretty happy with the mash, and despite the 43-degree temp in my garage, my mash tun kept the mash steady at about 155 degrees for 45 minutes of the hour it needed.  A quick addition of near-boiling water (about 3/4 gallon) brought the temp back up to 155 for the last 15-20 minutes of the mash cycle.

The beer is happily fermenting away in its dark little cabinet thanks to the big fat yeast starter I made.  I added Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale Yeast to a little bit of wort - made from 2 cups of water and 1 cup of dry light malt extract, which was happily fermenting by the time I pitched the yeast into the cooled wort.  2 weeks primary, 2 weeks secondary, and a few days as I force carbonate it; we're drinking it by December 3!


And I Was Just Starting To Like The Place

Thursday, October 27, 2011

We're hosed, as a people:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Weathering Fights - Science: What's It Up To?
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook


Republican War Policy Explained...

Monday, October 24, 2011

...If its profitable, its a good war.


Freakin' awesome.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Click to enlarge.


H. Clinton in 2012? Why?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I don’t normally like linking to the Huffington Post, whose articles and guest columns, often drafted by celebrities, seem to just promote knee-jerk stereotypical opinions of the left. I saw this article linked by a bookface friend and had to make fun of the content.

It seems that Hillary Clinton supporters (AKA a cult.) are donating $20.12 to her to get her to run for president against President Obama.

Hey HCR-lovers: She lost!

Why would any legitimate progressive want her to run anyway? Because Obama is less progressive? I don’t think so.

Maybe it is not fair to judge HRC by her husband's policies, but it is a measure we cannot ignore. Let me remind her supporters that her husband (and HCR) was unable to get health care reform done. BC signed the repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act, which partially led to the banking crisis of today. He also promoted the anti-government policies of the Republicans, signed onto their welfare reform proposals and bought into the foolish, Wall Street-driven trade policies that have helped decimate the middle class. He also signed the “Defense of Marriage Act.”

As I have posted before, I cannot think of a single progressive policy he accomplished.

Let us also remind everyone that as it started to become clear she would likely lose the primary election, she started running the “white people will vote for me” campaign as a last ditch effort to pull it out.  Why the hell is she even Secretary of State?

If I want another Clinton in office, I will vote for Romney.


GOP’s ‘seven biggest economic lies’

Friday, October 14, 2011

As told by Robert Reich and printed at RawStory.



Quote of the Day (But not every day)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then
they fight you, then you win.”

-Mohandas Gandhi


Obama's Assault on Civil Liberties

Saturday, October 08, 2011

I voted for Obama and think that he has done some significant things. I also think that he has failed in some regards and as time goes by, he is reminding me more and more of Jimmy Carter, in that he is a decent person and not a great president.

This op-ed is a week old, but I still think it makes some great points. First of all, I agree that he portrayed himself as someone that would correct some of the Bush era infringements on liberty. While I understand that for many voters, this isn't a top priority and with the economy struggling, he has his work cut out for him. That being said, I don't understand why he has expanded many o Bush's worst programs. The author doesn't pull any punches:

It's almost a classic case of the Stockholm syndrome, in which a hostage bonds with his captor despite the obvious threat to his existence. Even though many Democrats admit in private that they are shocked by Obama's position on civil liberties, they are incapable of opposing him. Some insist that they are simply motivated by realism: A Republican would be worse. However, realism alone cannot explain the utter absence of a push for an alternative Democratic candidate or organized opposition to Obama's policies on civil liberties in Congress during his term. It looks more like a cult of personality. Obama's policies have become secondary to his persona.

What will happen? The GOP certainly doesn't have any better alternatives. Will Democrats that care about these things call him to task? What about moderate voters? The author feels that civil libertarians may have had enough:

This calculation may be wrong. Obama may have flown by the fail-safe line, especially when it comes to waterboarding. For many civil libertarians, it will be virtually impossible to vote for someone who has flagrantly ignored the Convention Against Torture or its underlying Nuremberg Principles. As Obama and Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. have admitted, waterboarding is clearly torture and has been long defined as such by both international and U.S. courts. It is not only a crime but a war crime. By blocking the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for torture, Obama violated international law and reinforced other countries in refusing investigation of their own alleged war crimes. The administration magnified the damage by blocking efforts of other countries like Spain from investigating our alleged war crimes. In this process, his administration shredded principles on the accountability of government officials and lawyers facilitating war crimes and further destroyed the credibility of the U.S. in objecting to civil liberties abuses abroad.



Friday, October 07, 2011



Let me back up, and tell you a tale of negligent beer-icide.

I took a trip to my favorite beer store to buy a gob of beer for a cookout I was attending.  To nobody's surprise, I was asked to bring the beer.  It was a fine selection of Michigan beers to fit all beer preferences; Atwater Block's Bloktoberfest, New Holland's Mad Hatter and Full Circle, Oberon, Founders Porter.

But then I came across a 4-pack of holy manna, hidden behind rows of other, lesser beers.  Something I haven't seen for months:  Founders Breakfast Stout.  My #1 beer.  My favorite beer forever and ever for all of time.  One of the best beers in the world, according to Ratebeer and BeerAdvocate. I staggered.  I swooned.  Then I pulled my shit together, grabbed the 4-pack, and made my way to the checkout.

I hid the Breakfast Stout myself, jealously guarding it like a dragon and its treasure.  I put it in the cargo containers in the back of my van, closed it, and set the rest of the beer on top of it.  I was then off to the cookout.

Fast forward 3 hours.  The cookout is over, and like a good guest should, I left the remaining beer at the host's house.  Folks, you never ever leave with the beer you brought.  Bad taste.  Leftover beer is a gift to your host. I got home, and started unloading my van; dirty grill aprons, messy grill tools, a few other odds and ends.

I returned to my van for the last item:  my hidden treasure.  My Breakfast Stout.  But here was my mistake:  I treated the 4-pack nonchalantly.  Instead of treating it with the reverence normally due the Eucharist, I carelessly half-lifted my cargo container lid, grabbed the 4-pack handle without looking, and hit the bottles on top of the very same container lid that I didn't lock into place.  The force of it hit the tops of the bottles, which forced them out of the bottom of the 4-pack, where they fell 3 feet to their doom on the cement floor of my garage and driveway.

There, they died a horrid, messy death.  Rivulets of dark-black ichor forming puddles around the shards of broken dreams, running down my driveway like the remains of some horrid murder in a back alley.  Oh, but this was murder.  My own negligence committed this crime.

My screams and cries woke neighbors from their comfortable slumber.  My bitter weeping conveyed a soul-deep wound that no amount of sympathy could ever repair.

I force myself to look at this picture again and again to remind me of the consequence of carelessness and devil-may-care attitude.  Let this be a lesson to us all.  Let my suffering serve as a warning to the rest of you.  Let this never happen to anyone or anybeer ever again.


Not Necessarily News

Thursday, October 06, 2011

I love science. Besides for providing insight into even the deepest questions, a lot of the time science is just fun. The discoveries scientists uncover are often vastly entertaining.

Take for instance this lovely article I stumbled upon yesterday that for me was the perfect confluence of 3 of my favorite subjects: science, beer, and sex: Beetles Die During Sex With Beer Bottles.

From the article:

Besotted beetles are dying while trying to get it on with discarded brown beer bottles, according to research conducted by Darryl Gwynne, a University of Toronto Mississauga professor.

It's a case of mistaken attraction, because the beer bottles happen to possess all of the features that drive male Australian jewel beetles wild. They're big and orangey brown in color, with a slightly dimpled surface near the bottom (designed to prevent the bottle from slipping out of one's grasp) that reflects light in much the same way as female wing covers.

"Ha," we all think, "them bugs is so stupid!"

But it turns out, it is probably "men" in general that are so stupid:

As a result, the beer bottles are irresistible to the male insects

Who knew that the male of a species would find beer bottles irresistible?


Fuck It. Food.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

I mentioned yesterday in a comment to my "Fuck It.  Beer" post that we have a top-notch foodie in our midst.  But it bears repeating and extra attention ought to be drawn to it.

Take a look at the "Beer Buddies" link list to the right.  You'll notice a new one:  George Eats.

George is a long-time friend of Around The Keg.  Unfortunately for George, long-time friend sometimes means someone whom you think of fondly but often just forget to check-in on.

Well, no more.  We're back to the basics here at ATK, and George hits one of our sweet spots (pun intended):  food.  George is to food (and damn good beer, wine and spirits) as this blog is to beer.  He cooks good food, knows all the chefs who cook good food, and has been bestowed a grand gift from his local Santa Barbara, CA news rag:  the mandate to write about all the good food he eats.  And not only does George write about food; he writes about it with interest and passion.  Lads, he doesn't just write about a plate of fucking pasta.  He damn near makes you want to fuck a plate of pasta.

Go check out his site.  And then gnash your teeth and shake your swords at the abyss that you don't live in fucking California and have the every-day access he has to culinary delights we only drool over on Food Network.  But it's OK; we can all eat vicariously through George.  He brings a dish to your senses without you even having to be there.

On top of it all, George is a radio show host, beer afficianado, live-music enthusiast and fellow part-time political hack.  George, in a nutshell, is one interesting motherfucker, and I encourage everyone who reads here to check him out.  Welcome to the blogroll, George.

(yes, I know I put this in the comments section yesterday, but I know at least 3 of you who are too lazy to click through to the comments page, let alone actually fucking comment)


Christian Nation?


Fuck It. Beer.

Monday, October 03, 2011

OK, I can take a hint.

The last several posts I've tried to toss up here of an intellectual nature have fallen flat.  Perhaps we're all stressed-out and tired from shennanigans at the national level.  Or perhaps the depth of these topics takes along time to research and form an educated opinion.

Or, perhaps, it's way over our heads and we just want to talk about beer.

If we want to be all intellectual, we can go to Streak's place and wax philosophical with a dude like Streak who's qualified to actually be intellectual.

Here, for now, let's stick with our true qualifications and discuss beer.

It's official!  The winners of the 2011 Great American Beer Fest Pro-Brewer competition are in!  And this year, the Big Winners didn't include a brewery I've heard of (beyond Firestone Walker Brewing Company in CA, which is a damn fine brewery).

I was a bit disappointed this year, in that for the past several years, Michigan has had a very strong showing.  Maybe The Man is worried that Michigan's surge in breweries is gonna topple the almightly Californians  from their top-of-the-heap roost, or maybe we just didn't bring our A-game this year.  But the few Michigan beers that won include:

  • GOLD! Mangalitsa Pig Porter, Right Brain Brewery (Traverse City); Category:  Experimental Beers
  • GOLD! Expedition Stout, Bell's (you better know where Bell's is); Category:  Aged Beer
  • BRONZE! Pin-Up Blonde, Bastone Brewery (Royal Oak); Category:  Belgian/French-Style Ale
  • SILVER! Cream Stout, Redwood Brewing Company (Flint); Category:  Sweet Stout
And that's it for the Mitten State this year.

Check out these fine beers at your local beer mecca; all but Right Brain enjoy pretty wide distribution, and Right Brain, though rare, can be found.

Congrats to Michigan's breweries, and though it seems Indiana, Illinois, fucking California and Colorado ran away with medals this year, we'll be back.



Potential Drunks

Search This Blog

  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP