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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bottle Rocket

Good morning/afternoon/evening/night dear reader!  It has indeed been a few weeks since I posted something here on my blog, and I have had a good reason.  I'm close, very close, to finishing up my current rewrite of my novel.  I just want to get it done.  And after that, I have a few touch-ups I want to make, then it will be sent out for editing by others!!  Well, more editing by others, at least.  Once I am satisfied, I will begin phase 3: researching agents and publishers!

I my time away I ran into another author in about the same boat as me, though a little further along.  She had this piece of advice to give me: write a blog.  Of course, I have one, but she told me that in order to get the RIGHT audience, I should start writing short stories that are related in some way to my novel.  And you know what?  She's right!  So I will soon start posting up a special series of short stories that will be dedicated to promoting my novel.  They will not BE my novel, they will not reveal the PLOT of my novel.  But they will take place in the same WORLD as my novel.  So I hope you are as excited as I am to see what is going to show up!


In other, completely unrelated news, I was able to experience a unique and fascinating act of science today.  In case you don't know, I brew my own beer.  I have been doing it for about... 4 years now?  Maybe 3?  I have a lot to learn, but I'm willing and eager.  Time? That's another matter.

I've been trying to bottle my latest creation, a black lager, or schwarzbier, for about a week now.  And today we had some friends over and I got some help, so finally I was able to bottle it!  However, I needed about 50 clean bottle to put it in (I bottle condition).  Sadly, after scouring my basement, I came up short of de-labeled bottles.  I do not know where they went, to be honest. I never recycle my bottles, and I do not have anything else brewed at the moment.  Well, that's not entirely true. In order to make up the missing score or so, I discovered that I had a cache of beers from my last batch which I had forgotten about.  And this beer?  Well, it is something.

I call it "Russian Yeti."  My brother and I decided to give our beers all gross-sounding or monstrous names. One was Snot Rocket, another Phlim-Phlegm, another Skellington Scum... you get the idea.  Yeti was a witbier that had been fermented with blueberries.  Sadly, it blew its top during primary fermentation several times and took two weeks to stop bubbling (instead of the normal 24 hours). To say the least, it was a very active yeast.  It had a bit of a vodka bite to it as well, as I soaked the blueberries in vodka to sanitize them.
Anyway, the beer tasted fine... until a few weeks back when I brought some over to a friend's house. When he opened it, the entire contents of the bottle instantly converted into a semi-gaseous form... it erupted and sent beer foam a good 3 inches from the top of the bottle.  The next bottle, the same thing.  All of them are like this. I cannot save this beer.  So I decided to use THESE bottles for my lager.

In order to use these bottles, I needed to clean them. In order to do that, I needed to empty them.  So, the first thing I did was put one in the sink, point it away form me, and very carefully pop the top.  Instead of spewing outward into the sink... it shot back along the bottle (the cap stayed put) and sprayed me, and my just-brought-home-from-the-dry-cleaners vest.  My friend had a brilliant idea: put the bottles in a bag and then open them.  He used a piece of paper towel to prevent the bottle opener from tearing the bag, and it worked for the most part.  Beer tried to escape. It was MUCH stronger than before.  However, the bag would just pop up a good half foot before sinking back down.  That is, until the LAST bottle.

He started to open it and it sprayed down like the first one had. It let out quite a bit of pressure this way. But when he started to open it the rest of the way, the cap and opener crimped the plastic bag in such a way as to build a bubble, a bubble that was building up pressure fast.  A second later, the cap POPPED through the plastic bag and struck the ceiling, sending a spray of boozy goodness all over the kitchen and my friend.  It was actually quite glorious.  If only we had filmed it, we could have won a spot on America's Funniest Home Videos.  C'est la vie.

So the lager was bottled and named (Dark Helmet, in honor of the Spaceballs-sounding style name). 50 bottles in all.  But I will always think back fondly when I drink it and remember the time we discovered a new way to make a bottle rocket.