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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Many years ago, my brother Cory got me interested in brewing beer. In fact, in 1993 he bought the ingredients from Austin Homebrew Supply to make a dark ale of some sort. Why he lost interest, I'll never know. Starting in 2001, I brewed a few beers, mostly learning from then, co-brewing with Mike Duffy. When we moved to all grain brewing, we started the Xeno-Duff label (left).

Wednesday (the 9th) I brewed a big batch of beer at the request of Christine which brought out all of my brewing equipment out of the garage. I even bought a few more things (like a bad-ass reverse flow wort chiller). With all of this equipment out and ready to use, Cory became interested in brewing a "quick" 5 gallon mostly extract batch. So on Saturday night, I sent out an e-mail to a group of people who might be interested. Around 1:00 a decent group to showed up and help with the brew.

Fortunately for us, one of the ingredients Cory purchased back in 1993 survived for 15 years. It was a dark malt extract that, over time, had reduced down to nearly 2/3s of it's original weight and had been contaminated with airborne yeast. So, when the lid was removed, it smelled of dark malt and alcohol. When it was poured, however, it smelled like more like soy sauce but, it was too late. We had already committed to making Cory's "Forgotten Ale".

While we brewed, Bo, Frank, Rick and Josh threw the football around the backyard. As Cory and I were inside cleaning the brewing equipment, we heard a crash. Bo had smashed my grandmother's beautifully painted ashtray (left). So, now I've lost the thing that really defined my Grandmother in my mind. Sad.

As the brew kettle boiled the brown sugar, added grains (that we steeped like tea leaves) and the 15 year old malt extract, the smell became more pleasant. However, we are still not sure what the end results are going to be. The final step is adding yeast (White Labs British Ale Yeast YLP005) and agitating the wort to aerate the beer. So, Cory picked up the carboy and sloshed it around.

We should be able to see if this beer is going to be any good in about 5 to 7 days when we move it to the secondary fermenter. We plan on kegging this 5 gallon batch just in case it ends up being fertilizer instead of good beer.

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