Rambling Thoughts from a Wandering Mind


Warm Weather Wanted

The snow is melting and the weather is warming up. The sidewalk is bare and the roads are dry.

It looks like spring may be on its way.

I am very happy about that. I’m not normally one to complain about the weather but I am ready for winter to be over. I’m done with cold. I want to pull the grill from the garage and throw some burgers on. I want to hit the road on the Vespa.

I want to be able to walk around without wearing a bulky winter coat.

I am ready for spring to arrive.

Sure, it’ll mean that summer is around the corner, with it’s long, hot prairie days. And, sure, that means that I’ll need to find a way to keep my fermentation vessels cool so that my beer brews properly. But I’m ready. Bring on the heat.

I am ready for winter to be over. I am ready for spring to arrive.

Bring on the heat.

A Successful Brew Day

Today was brewing day. I brewed the St. Patrick’s Irish Stout refill I mentioned in my previous post.

Everything went according to plan and I managed to transfer the wort from the pot to the LBK without issue. Unfortunately, I have a habit of spilling the wort during the transfer, resulting in a loss of future beer and a sticky mess all over the kitchen. I’ve been on the search for a 3qt. (or larger) pot with a spout to avoid this problem.

While I didn’t manage to find a pot today, I managed to avoid spilling by first transfering some of the wort from the pot to the LBK using my sanitized measuring cup. Once I had the volume down a bit, I carefully poured the rest directly from the pot into the fermentation vessel.

My stout-wort is now sitting on a shelf waiting for the yeast to wake up and make beer. I’m really looking forward to tasting this when it’s ready to go.

In case you’re interested, I’ve posted the recipe below.

Interestingly, QBrew pegs the ABV at 3.3% even though the published materials from Mr. Beer put it at 3.7%. Based on my measurements, it may come in as low as 3%.

Regardless of the alcohol content, I’m happy as long as the final product tastes good. As they say on the forums: don’t chase ABV; shoot for flavour and ABV will naturally follow.

St. Patrick’s Irish Stout
Brewer: Adam Snider
Style: Irish Stout
Batch: 2.00 gal Extract

Recipe Gravity: 1.034 OG
Recipe Bitterness: 49 IBU
Recipe Color: 42° SRM
Estimated FG: 1.008
Alcohol by Volume: 3.3%
Alcohol by Weight: 2.6%

Mr. Beer/Coopers St. Patrick’s Irish Stout 1.87 lb, Extract, Extract

Mr. Beer/Coopers St. Patrick’s Irish Stout 1.00 oz, Pellet, 5 minutes

Mr. Beer Dry Ale Yeast 1.00 unit, Yeast, Temperature Range: 68°-76° F 2.0 GRAMS

Recipe Notes:

Batch Notes:
Actual OG = 1.031

Brewing Beer in a Little Brown Keg

I’m a home brewer. I’m very new to the hobby, and I definitely don’t do all grain or even partial mash brewing.

I’m an extract brewer and I’m fine with that. Because I’m just a beginner, and because it fits into my small home, I use a Mr. Beer Home Brew Kit for brewing my beer.

So far, all of my actual beers have been made using Mr. Beer ingredients as the base, but that will probably change as I gain more experience. I’ll continue to use the Mr. Beer little brown kegs (LBK), though, because they’re a convenient size and fit nicely onto the shelves in my office.

I received my first LBK as a birthday gift from Sara and I was hooked on homebrewing immediately.

Recently, I ordered a second LBK. It arrived today and included a Classic American Light (CAL) refill. I also ordered a St. Patrick’s Irish Stout refill.

I’m really looking forward to making the Irish Stout as-is, but I think I’ll add some light malt extract and sterling hops to the CAL to beef it up a bit, since I’m not really a fan of light beer.

I’ve put something together in QBrew, based on the ingredients I have at hand, and have come up with something that I think should turn out pretty well. I’m calling it Adam’s Lawnmower Ale.

Adam’s Lawnmower Ale
Brewer: Adam Snider
Style: Premium American Lager[1]
Batch: 2.00 gal Extract

Recipe Gravity: 1.056 OG
Recipe Bitterness: 25 IBU
Recipe Color: 6° SRM
Estimated FG: 1.014
Alcohol by Volume: 5.4%
Alcohol by Weight: 4.3%

Light DME 1.00 lb, Extract, Extract
Mr. Beer/Coopers Classic American Light 1.87 lb, Extract, Extract

Mr. Beer/Coopers Classic American Light 1.00 oz, Pellet, 5 minutes
Sterling – Zpicy, herbal hop with a hint of citrus. Can be used as both a bittering and aroma hop 0.25 oz, Pellet, 37 minutes
Sterling – Zpicy, herbal hop with a hint of citrus. Can be used as both a bittering and aroma hop 0.25 oz, Pellet, 23 minutes

Mr. Beer Dry Ale Yeast 1.00 unit, Yeast, Temperature Range: 68°-76° F 2.0 GRAMS

[1] This beer is not actually a lager; I’m simply aiming to make an ale that is “lager-like.”

Living in the Mountains

Even though I am not looking to change jobs any time soon, I am subscribed to a number of job alert emails. Generally, these are things that I signed up for during times when I was actively seeking new opportunities that I simply haven’t bothered to deactivate.

It’s also interesting to know what opportunities are available in my field, even if I’m not looking.

I recently saw an ad for a web communications specialist with the Town of Banff. It was hard not to immediately apply for that one.

Even if I were looking for a new opportunity, moving to Banff wouldn’t be feasible for Sara and I right now. But the idea of living in the mountains has great appeal to me. And, while I tend to find Jasper a more relaxing town, I think Banff would be a good place to live. It’s a bigger community and it has more amenities. Plus, it’s a lot closer to Calgary than Jasper is to Edmonton, so getting to the city when necessary would be easier.

Mostly, though, I like the idea of living in the mountains.

Despite semi-regular church attendance and an occasional penchant for meditation, I’m not a particularly spiritual person. But when I am in the mountains I always feel a profound sense of wonder and connection to something larger than myself.

To be able to live in that environment would be wonderful. I’d love to be able to go hiking or canoeing right after work. Spending my weekends on mountaintops would be great.

Of course, the novelty would probably wear off pretty quickly. Like most people, I tend to have a love-hate relationship with my home. I’d undoubtedly develop such an attitude about a mountain town.

On the one hand, I imagine thinking, I love living so close to nature. On the other hand, I hate that I have to drive all the way to Calgary to catch a football game.

I think it’s that second part, that “on the other hand” aspect, that makes Whitehorse so appealing. There are other reasons, too, but the fact that I’d be able to access most “big city” amenities while still living in a fairly small community in the middle of the wilderness appeals to me. It would fulfill my adventurous side and my city-slicker side.

The fact that Yukon is the most stunningly beautiful place I’ve ever been doesn’t hurt, either.

For now, I’ll continue to call Edmonton home. It’ll probably always be home, to some extent, even if I leave. But the dream of living in the mountains persists. One day, maybe, it will cease to be a dream.


Playtesting a New Shadowrun Game

I recently learned that Catalyst Game Labs is seeking playtesters for a new Shadowrun miniatures game. I talked to the other guys in my gaming group and asked if they be interested. After getting a “yes” from most of them, I wrote a little 250-word application and submitted it.

About 8 hours later there was an email in my inbox from one of the game designers: we were accepted!

I can’t say much about it, because there are non-disclosure agreements involved, but I am allowed to mention that my gaming group will be playtesting Shadowrun: Sprawl Gangers and that I’m pretty excited to be in on the ground level, helping to develop a game that’s part of the Shadowrun universe.

This is hugely nerdy, but I think it’ll be fun. Sure, there will probably be frustrating moments—we’re essentially beta testers, after all—but I think the overall experience will be enjoyable. If nothing else, it’ll be memorable.

A New Beginning

I’ve been contemplating starting a new blog at this location for a long time—for nearly as long as I’ve had this domain.

My other website, adamsnider.com, has been my online home for years. And it will probably continue to be the place that I direct most people to visit if they want to know more about me. But it will likely become more of a static site.

I’ll likely convert it to a professional portfolio/online resume rather than maintaining it as a blog.

Separating my personal and professional lives online is tough, since so much of what I do for a living involves online activity. I’m a blogger, social media guy, and general online communicator by trade. My online “hobbies” and my online work overlap almost by necessity.

I’m hoping that, by using the kellysniderfamily.com domain I can add a bit of separation between the two.

So that’s the goal. A new blog that is less connected to my name—albeit only by a small amount—so that I’ll still have a place to share my thoughts online without it being the same place that I send people if I want them to get a sense of who I am in my professional life.