Author Archives: Mark

New Synology DS1513+

DS411j Storage Manager
DS411+ Storage Manager

I have two Network Attached Storage units. In case of a disaster at my home, I keep one of them at work. The first one is a Synology 411j. The second one is a Synology 411+. And I have finally almost run out of space on my first drive.

So I bought a new NAS built from the following parts:

And now I have:

DS1513+ Storage Manager

So I will now relegate the first NAS (the 411j) to be a media server.

Kombucha with Brett Trois

I got a vial of Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois from Ryan (which is sold by White Labs). They describe it as: “This Belgian strain, used traditionally for 100% Brettanomyces fermentations, produces a slightly tart beer with delicate characteristics of mango and pineapple. Can also be used to produce effervescence when bottle-conditioning.” And, supposedly, White Labs grew it from Geuze Cuvée Joost En Jessie Blauw Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen.

I poured it into a one gallon Central Market Organics Apple Juice bottle, put an airlock on top, and let it motor boat away.

For my first use with kombucha, I replaced the cap on the bottle, shook it up really well, and then poured half of it (1/2 gallon) into my version 14.0 kombucha. The bottling gravity wass 1.013 @ 77.26 = 1.015, and the pH was 3.5 @ 77.26. I consider this to still be too high in gravity as the yeast will certainly bring it down to 1.02 or so. And that much CO2 makes for quite the bottle rocket when warm.

For the second use with kombucha, I poured another half gallon into the conical after the kombucha got to a desired tartness level (the gravity was 1.012 @ 72.26F = 1.014, and the pH was 3.4 @ 72.26). I will let it motor boat in secondary fermentation until it quiets down. I will then add 64 ounces of R. W. Knudsen Organic Just Tart Cherry juice. According to the label, there are four servings of 24 grams of sugar. Which should come out to 96 grams of bottling sugar.

Flying Saucer Festival

So the Austin Flying Saucer had its yearly festival.

And I drank the following beers:

Brouwerij Rodenbach Classic Red
Avery Rumpkin
Timmermans Oude Gueze Lambic
Thirsty Planet Double Buckethead Double IPA
Stone Farking Wheaton WOOTSTOUT
Ommegang Duvel Rustica
Deschutes Armory XPA
Green Flash Hop Odyssey Symposium IPA
Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Cripsin Cider Prepare To Die
Brouwerij Rodenbach Grand Cru
Sixpoint Autumnation
North Coast Class of '88
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence
Sierra Nevada Fritz & Ken's Ale
Southern Tier Warlock
Buffalo Bayou 1836
Sixpoint Spice Of Life
Harpoon Octoberfest

Bottling with 750ml bottles

I have now started bottling with 750ml glass bottles. Given how many Jester King bottles I have bought over the years, I have quite a supply of them. And removing the labels is somewhat of an easy task. And it goes quickly if you do it with a friend.

So I bought a Red Baron bottle capper, 29mm bottle caps, and a 29mm capping bell for Agata cappers. The capper actually supports two different sizes in its crimping mechanism. So you can slide out the metal plates and then rotate them 180 degrees for the 29mm size.

Sixth lunch set for a number of days

The first dish was roasted asparagus, spaghetti squash, and sliced shallots. I liked it.

The second dish was where I got creative. I made up a sauce of soy sauce, sherry cooking wine, peanut butter, shin-shu aka miso, and grated ginger. To which, I added tempeh. The sauce turned out good. I don’t think I like tempeh though. I did have one unmitigated disaster though. I roasted two vegetables which were new to me. The first was jicama. The second was yuca root. Little did I know that the yuca turned out to be covered in parafin wax. Which melted and made a mess in the toaster over. Sigh. What a CF. And then, when I cut them into cubes, the edges turned into a really tough substance and was unpleasant to eat.

With the third dish, I added some diced mango and apples to beans from Snow’s BBQ. I think that turned out good. It kind of made the beans more of a sweet dish while still being savory.

Switching teas

So I’ve switched from using Lipton decaffeinated iced tea bags to using loose leaf decaffeinated Darjeeling black tea. It is easier to measure out an exact amount. And the tea is stronger and tastier. The trick is to use a plastic mesh paint strainer bag from Home Depot. Who would have thought?

I have now moved brewing outside…

I have now changed how I brew kombucha. I used to use an 8 quart enameled Le Creuset stockpot on my gas stove. To cool it down from boiling to 80F, I would fill my kitchen sink with ice water and let it sit. This takes a while and all of the ice in my freezer.

I looked at Academy for outdoor propane burners. But they were incredibly flimsy. Sigh. People buy such cheap crap. Fortunately, Austin Homebrew had a Bayou Classic Outdoor Propane Burner which was pretty solidly made from cast iron.

The next step was to use my 36 quart Coleman ice chest. I can just barely fit two 16 pound bags of ice for $3.00 in my corner Ice House America. I then bought a pool pump from Home Depot and a hose to connect to a BrewVint Wort Chiller (30 ft) on loan from Ryan (NOTE: I don’t think this is an exact match).

40 quart (10 gallon) Stainless Steel Stock Pot Steamer Brew Kettle

The next step was to buy a large kettle. I went with 40 quart (10 gallon) Stainless Steel Stock Pot Steamer Brew Kettle w/lid BA76-40 from eBay for $76. I now buy 5 gallons of reverse osmosis water from Glacier Water Dispenser next to my Super HEB.

Kombucha is popular now

So, kombucha seems to be hot right now. There are a lot of new brands out there. So I decided to buy a bunch and have a taste test.

Kosmic Kombucha / Stay Home Brew – A little sweet. Cannot taste the kombucha at all. 7g sugar/serving. 100 Calories/18 oz.

ThéBÜ Kombucha / Melon – A little sweet. Cannot taste the kombucha at all. 56 Calories/16oz.

Reed’s Culture Club Kombucha / Hibiscus Ginger Grapfruit – A little more sour with some sweetness. 50 Calories/13.5 oz.

holykombucha / Blood Orange. Kombucha taste was muted. 60 Calories/16oz.

Buddha’s Brew Kombuca / Tart Cherry Melon – Much more tart. You can taste the cherry and the melon. 112 Calories/16oz.

My tastes lean towards sour and away from sweet. So Buddha’s Brew is still my favorite.