To give you a foggy idea of our campus:
I was first introduced to the world of home brewing in my friend’s hatchback during my junior year of high school. As we drove to the diner, I heard a glass clink underneath my seat. A large, clear bottle containing a cloudy, orange-yellow liquid was rolling around the car.
After a second or two of horror, I ruled out the possibility of urine. The guy was weird, but not that weird. Also, urine doesn’t usually have cloves floating in it.
“Dude, what is that?” I asked.
“Oh, I made some mead,” he stated nonchalantly.
“Mead? Like, Beowulf, medieval shit? You made it?”
“Yeah man. You should try it. Watch for cops though.”
After a hesitant sniff, a brief consideration of various open container laws, and ample assurance that I would not, in fact, go blind from the stuff, curiosity overpowered my better judgement and I did. It was sweet. It was alcoholic. It was pretty good.
The coolest thing about homebrewing is that it’s actually surprisingly easy. You get some equipment, brew for 2 or 3 hours (during much of which the process doesn’t have to be supervised), and let it chill out for a couple weeks. Then you bottle it, wait another couple weeks, et voila! You’ve got your very own beer. Most homebrew batches are five gallons, so you get between 40 and 50 bottles, too. And it’s pretty educational: you learn a lot about different types of beer by making them.
Anyway, my brewing buddy and I recently started a batch, and I documented the process for your viewing pleasure.
The Equipment: Homebrewing involves a few different pieces of equipment, so I’ve compiled them here for your ease of use.
- Carboy: a large glass bottle, pictured below. Mine is 6 gallons, which works nicely for 5-gallon batches (due to the krausen, which I’ll explain shortly). If you have a 5-gallon one for a 5-gallon batch, you’ll need to set up a blowoff system for the krausen, which can marginally improve the taste of the batch. This is apparently not very hard, but it’s beyond my experience.
- Carboy #2: for Step 11. 5 gallons. Can be plastic.
- Siphon: food-grade tubing plus an auto-siphon, which allows you to pump. Make sure the tubing fits the auto-siphon.
- Pot: Metal. 5 gallons.
- Floating thermometer.
- Bleach or some other sanitizing agent for homebrewers like Starsan.
- 40-50 empty bottles. You can buy empty bottles from homebrew stores, buy returned ones from liquor stores, or just wash well and reuse ones you’ve emptied. Good for the environment, man. Just make sure they’re not the twist-off kind — you can’t cap those properly.
- Bottle caps to match.
- A bottle capper. There are tabletop ones and cheaper handheld ones like the one I use.
- One-way airlock + drilled stopper. Make sure the stopper is the correct size for the carboy.
- Grain bag. Keeps the hops and the grains out of your wort.
- Spring-tip bottle filler. Makes bottling so much cleaner and easier.
- Specific gravity meter. Taking measurements with this before and after fermentation allows you to determine the final alcohol content of the batch.
- Carboy brush. Sometimes hard-to-clean deposits get stuck in the carboy. You don’t want those in there.
Step 1: Sanitize.
This is probably the most important part of homebrewing. If your equipment isn’t clean, you risk introducing bacteria into your brew, which will make it taste gross. (Never fear though, the pH and alcohol content of the resulting beer renders it inhospitable to pathogens, so it really is just the bad taste.) Throw a little Clorox into your carboy (the big glass guy), pump it through your siphon, let it sit a few minutes, then rinse a couple times and you’re good to go. While you’re at it, mark off 5 gallons on the carboy. Measure it out with a Nalgene or something, then mark the water level. You’ll need this later. Note the duct tape in the picture above.
Believe it or not, ’tis the season for tanks. Yes, the sun has decided to stay on Spring Break (come back, please?), but Spring Week is quickly approaching.
Once again, the Senior Class Gift Committee is sponsoring this limited-edition tank contest for the graduating seniors. The artist of the winning design will get free tickets to Spring Weekend (!!!), and the design will be printed on hundreds of tanks that members of the class of 2015 can obtain if they donate to the Senior Class Gift. Haven’t made a donation yet? You can make your contribution at gifts.brown.edu.
Here’s where you come in: Exercise your natural right and vote for your favorite design below. Determine which one of these designs (made by your very own classmates!) gets sent to the printer and ends up on a sick SW tank. Democracy! Choice! The right to bare arms! Get to it, because the polls close on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Which design would you like to see on a Senior Spring Week tank?
- Design 1 (38%, 128 Votes)
- Design 3 (36%, 122 Votes)
- Design 2 (26%, 86 Votes)
Total Voters: 336
A new semester brings new beginnings and, of course, new Blog writers. We’ve got a rambunctious crew this time around and we can’t wait to see what the new Blog Babies will bring to the proverbial table. They’re already writing up a storm, so be sure to keep an eye out for their new content! BlogDailyHerald presents to you our latest additions to the staff:
Jack Parker: Jack Parker (great name, right? such a “first-y last-y”) is the coolest Dad to be joining BlogDH this semester. Mr. Parker, as his kids’ friends call him, is currently a floating freshman, not having decided what to study. A lifelong New Yorker, he loves all New York sports teams, especially the Yankees (as a Boston native, it was painful for me to write that). A true “cool dad,” he has his finger on the pulse: he loves Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, in addition to every Will Ferrell movie ever made. He plans on attending “Brown Only Karaoke” every week for the rest of the year.
-Lana del Foreplay
Lana del Foreplay: To quote Shakespeare: “What’s in a name?” For Lana del Foreplay, the answer is everything. Dedicated to the study of all things sex-related throughout her time in college, Lana felt truly awakened after her semester in FemSex. When the opportunity to write Sextion came about, she could not resist the opportunity to embrace her inner Samantha Jones (not Carrie Bradshaw, she sucks). As a second semester senior, she may not know what she’s doing next year, but she does have plenty of jobs lined up (get it?). Despite her love of casual hook-ups and sex, she is still looking for someone to kiss under Soldiers Arch at midnight.
-Lana del Foreplay Continue Reading
One snowy Saturday, three bloggers decided to get drunk, sober, and high and go to Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park. Upon arrival, they were informed that the wait time was over two hours. After contemplating bribing small children with candy for their special orange Sky Zone socks or sneaking into an 8-year-old’s birthday party, they decided it would be best to put their jumping plans on hold. What was Plan B, you might ask? No, not ceramics painting, or attending the Providence Children’s Museum. The bloggers decided to venture to Wickenden Street’s own sex shop, Mister Sister. There, they stumbled upon a variety of edible sex items and decided to try–or in this case just taste–them.
High: I’ve been to Mister Sister before (guilty), but never bought anything. I think I might want to touch everything. I hope the employee working there can’t tell I’m high. Wow, I never realized how many random fucking fast food restaurants there are in Rhode Island.
This place is awesome and freaky at the same time. If you’ve never been in, you should go. I’ve always wondered why we have a campus sex shop and not, like, a chopped salad restaurant. I know those things are completely unrelated, but I think I’m still angry about Skewers. Such a waste of space.
Drunk: I didn’t realize just how many shapes could be transformed into a vibrator. Some look like small pebbles that you could skip across a river, while others resemble Gumby. Christian’s Grey’s character makes more sense after flipping boxes to find the price tags – most “toys” were $60+. My budget doesn’t really cover kinky at the moment.
Sober: Drunk is giggling to herself. High keeps touching everything, which for some reason makes me uncomfortable even though I know the display products are clean. Some of these vibrators are so small and cute!!!
*SPOILER ALERT: Fifty Shades of Grey pretty much sucks, no matter how intoxicated you are*
Also, this is our first ever virtual Drunk/Sober/High. The writers saw the movies in separate locations (due to the long weekend), but still, of course, remained faithful to their respective substance (or lack thereof).
Before the show
D: I sort of failed at pre-gaming for this film, so my friend and I took a ¾ full handle of vodka into the movie theater. Somehow, despite sitting in the front row, we did not get booted out of the theater. We also didn’t boot. The latter might be more surprising.
S: I can’t believe I’m actually at a movie theater on Valentine’s Day waiting to watch Fifty Shades. Is this real life? I look around and the theater’s pretty empty; I get there about 15 minutes early, thinking that it’ll be packed because the hype was so real, but there are probably less than 20 people there, most of whom are couples who, I’d guess, have been married for at least ten years. I’m suddenly extremely paranoid–what if parents that I know show up? What if they’re already here? What if they see me? What if I see them? I glance down the aisle and notice one couple my age sitting a few rows up and I ask myself the following question: in what world would anyone ever see this movie as a date?
H: Upon arriving to the mall, we made a bee line to the food court, snuck Chinese Food combo dinners under our coats, and found our seats in the way back of the theater. I saw quite a few other Brown students there, and I tried calling their names to get their attention but apparently I was only whispering. We smoked again in the theater; we realized we had great neighbors when we heard, “get it girl” after my friend stifled a cough.