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Moving day!

The blog has QSY'd to here.


A Sunday In November

Temperatures have dropped here in eastern Kansas, off the Missouri and Platte Rivers. Morning temps are getting down to the high teens but we've had generally clear skies - so no snow yet.

Been having a problem with my Toyota Tundra. I had the shocks replaced about two months ago, but I am still having a suspension issues. Often when I drive over uneven pavement I hear a type of popping or low banging. I'm dropping the truck off tomorrow morning at a garage in town and I hope they identify and fix the problem.

I popped the first cap on the KC Ale this past Thursday. One word: Tasty! I was so happy with the results that I brought in a 12-pack to distribute to my small group at CGSC. We will see what kind of feed back I get tomorrow. The KC Ale batch has a great cooper color, medium head, slight hoppy aroma. The taste is crisp and smooth, no off-flavors.

The California Common batch went into secondary fermentation last Tuesday (18 NOV). I'll try to get it bottled up this coming Wednesday (26 NOV). Then it should be ready for a first by 11 DEC... a good day to celebrate my last night class for this term.

While the CGSC program here at Fort Leavenworth is considered a Masters-level program, it does not award a degree at graduation (unlike the Navy's program in Monterey or the Air Force in Alabama). Therefore, in order to get a masters, I signed up to take two night classes a week and then by graduation I'll get the degree. It is a bit of pain now, but this is really the only opportunity I am going to get to earn a master's degree.

Back to beer: I need to get crackin' and cook up the batch of Raspberry Wheat. If I am able to get it into primary fermentation today, I should be able to hit secondary fermentation by next Sunday (30 NOV) and then bottle by 14 DEC. It should be nice and tasty by New Year's Eve.

I need to put together a sample pack for my Team Jedi brethren (Team Jedi are the fine folks I spent my last year in Iraq with). So it looks like the pack will consist of ESB, KC Ale, California Common, and the Raspberry Wheat.

I've also had a request from the 7-land Inbound QSL Bureau back in Oregon. I received an email from Marc, NC7M, who let me know I had 200+ QSL cards headed my way. I need to also replenish my postal funds for the bureau. And next week - I will answer all the YI9MI QSL card request that I have... which is quite a significant pile.


KC Ale & California Common

KC Ale update: I racked the KC Ale to a carboy for secondary fermentation on 31 OCT. Last night I bottled it (finally figured out how to use the "wand" for filling the bottles). Bottling went well and the KC Ale should be ready to try by Thanksgiving.

California Common: cooked a batch last night. This recipe is suppose to be similar to Sierra Nevada... I've got high hopes. I'd like to get it to secondary fermentation by this weekend.

Next in line is a Raspberry Wheat - it is suppose to be similar to a version that is served at a local Leavenworth microbrew: The High Noon Saloon. After that, I've got a request for chocolate stout. That should be tasty.

Speaking of tasty... the ESB turned out pretty nice.

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KC Ale & ESB

It took the KC Ale a while to start fermenting - I thought there might be something wrong. I had it in the fermenter on Saturday but didn't start seeing bubbles (i.e. the start of fermentation) in the airlock until Monday. Looks like it is progressing nicely now and I'll probably rack it to secondary fermentation Friday night.

I sampled one of the ESB bottles tonight. The ESB was cooked on 10 OCT, racked to secondary fermentation on 13 OCT and bottled on 18 OCT. It was pretty good, but I'm probably going to let it sit for another week.

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Batch in the bucket

The KC Pale Ale is in the bucket (aka primary fermentation). I want to strain from the cooking pot to the primary fermentation as well as doing some aeration. I hydrated the yeast, but I think the water I used was to hot - we'll see. Still have not used the hydrometer - I need to figure out how to take a small sample and use the hydrometer. Maybe between primary and secondary fermentation?

It took about 15 minutes to cool the wort down to 70F. I used the kitchen sink and lots of ice.

We will see if the airlock is bubbling tomorrow morning.


Time for another batch

Although I've not yet sampled the fruits from my initial Kansas brewing efforts (the ESB batch), I'm going to get another batch going. Each batch is 5 gallons, of which I plan to give away a good portion - assuming it is potable. This batch will be Kansas City Pale Ale. I've had a taste lately for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. So I'm attempting to see if I can replicate the Pale Ale goodness here in the basement.

As I prepare for the cooking, there are three things I want to accomplish this time that I failed to do during my last batch:

(1) Actually use the hydrometer.
(2) Filter and aerate the wort prior to fermentation.
(3) Hydrate the yeast prior to pitching.

Next week I'll do my first taste of the ESB and see how it turned out. This batch of Pale Ale should be ready before Thanksgiving.


Megaphone Diplomacy

We get many interesting guest speakers at the Command & General Staff College (CGSC)... and a few that aren't so interesting. However, today we had the privileged of hearing the Deputy Supreme Allied Command Europe (aka the 2nd in-command at NATO). General Sir John Chalmers McColl is from the British Army and has served in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. His main point was NATO is not just a military organization, but also (and most importantly) a political organization. Every decision (if made at all) is a compromise. And like all political decisions, the best way to reach a compromise is through face-to-face discussions, rather than through the media. He noted that "Megaphone Diplomacy" was more often than not counterproductive - that it usually ended in the recipient nation's public opinion turning further against whatever issue was attempting to be pressed.
An example might be how the US has pressed in a public forum that our NATO partners need to send more combat troops to Afghanistan. Attempting to address this issue through the media or other public forums will not, in the end, result in the desired outcome of getting the commitment of more troops. The best way to gain results is to work with each country and take advantage of what resources they're willing to provide. Overall, public opinion in the other NATO countries is against sending forces to Afghanistan. The US needs to understand this - and also understand it is not something we are going to change.
We've had some other great speakers within the last three months: the President of Uganda who gave an excellent talk about how to wage an insurgency, GEN Petraeus, and Dr. P. W. Singer. Dr. Singer is from the Brookings Institute and spoke about the role of the contractor and the military - he was probably the best guest speaker we've had. We also had a panel of reporters that included Noah Shachtman from Wired magazine. Noah represented the new media: blogs.

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The Columbus Day Surprise

My Dell Mini arrived! I'm using it for this entry. I like it so far, but there are draw backs. The keyboard is tiny. Performance is a bit slugish, but it plays video without issue. I've been able to configure it to access my network drives, that went fairly well (... once I remembered the Linux commands).

It is small! And light weight. So far the battery is doing well. The screen is sharp and the speakers are pretty loud when you crank them up. There's an SD card reader on the side. I also opted for the webcam, which seems to work nicely.

Now I need to stop procrastinating and write my history paper that's due tomorrow. :-)

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TS-930S - no display and on the bench


I've got no frequency display on my TS-930S! I've had this problem since I arrived in Kansas (note to self: I need to pack in rig myself next move). From what I can tell, the display is probably not broken but the PLL needs to be adjusted. The problem - how do I adjust the PLL? I've been unable to find the service manual and I'm hoping I can find someone who has the knowledge of how to do this. I've popped the top, but I'm not seeing anything that looks like I should be adjusting. While I don't need this rig to operate (I have my Icom IC-7000), I really like this this Kenwood rig. It has a wonderful sound and great sensitivity. I hope I can bring it back to life.

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Travels With Barley

travels_with_barley

I started reading this book, by Ken Wells, on my Kindle. Great read that covers the history of beer - which I knew started in Iraq but ironically you are not allowed to drink it there now. The story follows beer to America, the development of the brewery system, the ascendancy of the big breweries, and the explosion of microbrews. The backdrop for the story is Ken Wells journey along the Mississippi River, from north to south, in his attempt to locate cool beer joints.

Wells even mentions the first recognized microbrew in the US - Bert Grant's place in Yakima, Washington. I've been there and was a big fan of Bert's brew. I think it is closed now and been replaced by the Yakima Craft Brewing Co. Grant's was a great pub with wonderful brew. Although my favorite Washington microbrew is the Ram Big Horn Brewing Company.



I'm really enjoying Ken's roadtrip but it's making me thirsty.

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