Poem for these times

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

Back in the olden days

Walking in to work this morning I noted that the Board of Regents for the University of Maryland is being held at my campus today. It reminded me of something that happened 26 years ago, a few months after I started. The story in the Baltimore Sun the next day says it all:

An animal rights activist in a full-body, yellow-feathered chicken suit shoved a cream pie in the face of poultry magnate Frank Perdue today during a wild demonstration at a University of Maryland Board of Regents meeting in Baltimore.

After a 10-minute chase around the University of Baltimore campus, police finally cornered the chicken impersonator and hauled her off to the Central District lockup, along with three other activists who interrupted the regents’ meeting.

Big Brew Day

This past Saturday, the homebrew club I belong to spent a lovely day brewing variations on an IPA for the National Homebrewers Conference taking place next month here in Baltimore. In case you are interested, my variation to the base recipe used rye. And because “Pics, or it didn’t happen,” here are some of the pictures I took.

My Rye PA, using the brew-in-a-bag method
Club president getting ready to. sparge
This will turn out to be a very dark (ninja) IPA, using darker malts
Gravity setup for a wheat-based IPA

Jim Harrison

My favorite author, Jim Harrison, died last week. I thought I’d post the bookmarks I’ve collected over the years so I’d have them all in one place.

The Hammock Papers blog has a ton of great Harrisonia.



































Yearly post?

Haven’t posted in a really long time. Shame on me.  🙂   I’ll try to post a little more. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I’ll fire up my brew kettle and regale you with my attempts at brewing drinkable Weizen and Belgian-style beers.

In the meantime, check out  Books I Have Read page, which I have been updating on a regular basis.

Baltimore Tool Brew 3

The Third Annual Tool Brew was held this past Saturday at Baltimore’s Tool Library in Station North. Brewers from a couple of the brew clubs around the area, including mine, got together to brew a bunch of different beers and listen to some bluegrass.

I went in order to learn how to brew using all grains instead of the mostly extract brewing I have been doing. I teamed up with our club president to brew an English style brown ale.

Our temporary setup. Water boiler on the top, mash tun ((AKA a tricked up cooler), and the brew kettle on the floor.
Our temporary setup. Water boiler on the top, mash tun ((AKA a tricked up cooler), and the brew kettle on the floor.

He took apart his home brewing setup and devised this on-site setup. The water kettle at the top was heated to a temperature of slightly above 170 degrees Farenheit. We then ran it to the mash tun – a cooler fitted with a pipe manifold – to mix with the crushed malted grains our recipe called for. This water was kept above 165 degrees for about 45 minutes, by which time the grains had released their sugars into the water. The water was then piped into the brew kettle. We also rinsed the grains with water from the boiling kettle – enough to create 13 gallons in the brew kettle. This sugar water is more commonly known as the wort and was a wonderful brown ale color.

Bringing the wort to a boil in the brew kettle while chatting to some of the other brewers
Bringing the wort to a boil in the brew kettle while chatting to some of the other brewers

We brought the wort to a rolling boil and added the bittering hops (for flavor) and boiled the wort for about 45 minutes before adding in some aroma hops. Five minutes later we added som more aroma hops. Ten minutes after that we turned off the flame and hooked up our wort chiller in order to bring it down to our fermentation temperature of 70 degrees. When that was achieved, we siphoned the wort into 2 separate 5 gallon fermentation buckets and added some English ale yeast. 9 days later I’ll transfer it (rack it) to a fermentation carboy and dry hop it.  A week or so after that comes bottling/kegging day. It should be ready to drink by the first week in May.

The rolls royce of homebrew setups
The rolls royce of homebrew setups
Listen while you brew ...
Listen while you brew …
More brewers
More brewers
Even more brewers
Even more brewers

All in all, a very good day

Trip to Bavaria, teil 3 and 4 months after the fact

When I visit my relatives my trip, like Gaul, is divided into 3 parts. I usually spend the first part with my relatives in Oberammergau/Bad Kohlgrub, with a side trip to Munich. The second (usually short) part is spent with relatives near Augsburg. This year I saw the Augsburg relatives when they visited my aunt in Bad Kohlgrub, so I skipped that leg. I usually end my trip visiting another cousin and her husband near Mühldorf. In a bit of good fortune, one of her sons was having his son baptized that weekend, so I was able to go to that.

The family gathered outside the chapel











The Taufe was held in a itsy bitsy chapel within walking distance, so we walked.

Walkin' to the chapel ...
Walkin’ to the chapel …









The ceremony was lead by a deacon and not a priest and was absolutely lovely. Afterward, we gathered at my cousin’s son’s house for some Leberkas and Alte Liebe

Taufe Lorenz  18.10.2014 025
Mmmmm, Leberkas u. Kartoffelsalat.










My last evening in Bayern was spent at the Unertl restaurant in Mühldorf, where we had a lovely dinner, great conversation, and a Weissbierlikör that was pretty amazing.

A Weizen and a weizen Likör. Guess which is which?
A Weizen and a Weizen likör. Guess which is which


A perfect day to homebrew some medicine

Since it was cold and rainy here in Baltimore, I decided to make some chicken stock and to brew some medicine to counteract the kidney stone attacks I’ve been having lately.  Back in the olden days, when I was working in Munich, I first experienced the joy of kidney stones. I ended up having an operation at the Klinikum Rechts der Isar, because one stone had gotten so large and had lodged itself in a place where they couldn’t use shockwaves to break it apart. After the operation, my doctor (who was Czech), told me to drink at least one Weizen per day to prevent another one from getting that large.

Flash forward 27 years. I stopped drinking my weizen in a misguided attempt at getting healthy. Lo and behold, I start feeling the twinges in my kidney that tell me I have made a BIG mistake. So today being cold and rainy, I decided to brew a Weizen. I found a recipe from a brewery I like:

My anti-kidney stone recipe
My anti-kidney stone recipe

Homebrewing works best if you clean and sanitize everything. Here you see my brew kettle making the wort, and my cleaning bucket and fermentation carbuoy.

Wort's a-brewing, airlock, siphon hose are sitting in a sanitizing solution, and my fermentation carbuoy is drying out
Wort’s a-brewing, airlock, siphon hose are sitting in a sanitizing solution, and my fermentation carbuoy is drying out

A peak at the wort (mashed grains):

Wort in the kettle, keeping a constant temperature of 150 degrees Farenheit
Wort in the kettle, keeping a constant temperature of 150 degrees Farenheit

After 30 minutes at 150 degrees Farenheit, Add water. Bring to a boil. Add the malt and the Bavarian hops. Boil for an hour.

Hopfen u. Malz, Gott erhalt's.
Hopfen u. Malz, Gott erhalt’s.

Cool to 70 degrees, add more water to bring it to 5 gallons. Pitch your yeast, take your specific gravity reading and siphon into the primary fermentation carbuoy.  Next week I’ll transfer it to the secondary fermentation carbuoy.