Off topic: Brewmaster Fail

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My passions include bikes, cars, motorcycles and drinking beer, but let me make it clear that I never ride or drive while having had a few beers, that is what Uber is for.

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Since RL’s Xmas budget is not big enough for bikes, cars or motorcycles, he decided to give me the next best thing: A Mr. Beer Kit. Yup, I can make my own beer! After checking a few videos online and having read the instructions, it would take roughly a month to make my own beer. Screw that, I opted to go to the market and bought some that were already made.

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Time went by and the kit sat in a little corner of my dining room, always reminding me of RL’s kindness and that it was time to go back to the market and get some more beer. So one day my wife caught me looking at the kit and finally put her foot down and told me that it was time for me to make the beer or store the kit downstairs in the little dungeon where my Christmas decorations wait an entire year to get used again. Fine I said, so I grabbed the kit, read the instructions and headed to the market to buy the most necessary ingredient: Water.

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So I went thru the steps: Clean the barrel, heat the Hopped Malt Extract, add water to the barrel, add the Extract and then add the yeast. Easy enough, now I had to store the barrel away from light for about two weeks so the fermentation can take place.

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Once the fermentation was completed, it was time to bottle the “beer”. This process took longer than what I was expected, I had to sanitize all the bottles, dry them and finally fill them. Once the bottles were filled, it was time to add some sugar to the beer so it can carbonate. Now it was time for the beer to seat another couple of weeks for additional fermentation and carbonation.

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I was really confident at this point, I did everything by the book so I was rather excited to taste the final product. I placed a couple of bottles in the fridge and once the cooled, I took them to RLs to try out.

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Interestingly enough, RL liked the beer, although I thought he was way too kind. I’m no beer connoisseur but I know when a beer tastes like crap; and mine did. It was flat, sugary and had a funny taste. I’m not sure where I went wrong, but I think it was somewhere at the end… my beer had no fizzle so the carbonation step was a total failure.

The nice thing about this kit is that it is re-usable, all I need to do is buy another can of the Malt extract refill and I should be ready to go. Come to think of it, screw this, I’m gonna go to the market and get some beer….

Off Topic: Cigars!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by this post represent my own and not of the entire site. You may disagree with my opinion and I’m OK with it. I’m also not a professional writer and I’m OK with that too.

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So what do cigars have to do with Mountain Biking? We at MtnBikeRiders.com do have other hobbies other than ripping the trails, taking names on XC, SD and DH races and being semi-famous. We have decided to shake it up a little bit by adding a new section to the site called “Off Topic”, although we know that 99% of our lives revolve about Mountain Bikes, these articles will be musings of that 1%.

Although I’m not a smoker, I’ve been known to enjoy a good cigar now and then. My interest in cigars grew when RL started to smoke them and I’d ask my wife to bring some “famous place” cigars from Mexico.

As with Mountain bikes, you have “big box store” bikes (Cheap, low quality) and Local Bike Shop bikes (pricier, better quality). Cigar shopping is the same, you have liquor store cigars and smoke shop cigars. Cigars also vary quite a bit in price, from below the $10 mark to almost $100 bucks!

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Cigars also need special care, storing cigars is like storing your beloved bicycle; you just don’t leave your bike out in sun nor rain. Storing your bike away from the elements keeps your bike fresh and ready to be ridden without worrying about rust or crumpling saddles. In order for a cigar to keep “fresh” it has to be stored in a humidor at a certain humidity point and temperature.

Cutting a cigar also needs a specific “tool”, cutting it wrong could influence on how the cigar burns and it will eventually affect the taste.

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Another interesting tidbit is how you light a cigar; using sulfur or paper matches or regular lighters are a no-no, a cigar should be lit with a torch lighter and hold the torch so that the tip of the flame can barely touch the cigar.

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So you maybe thinking “Smoking is bad for you” and yes, you maybe right… but I have roadie friends that think that Mountain biking is bad for you… I mean, I’ve never broken my shoulder smoking a cigar but I did Mountain biking! So just like Mountain Biking, Cigars are not for everyone and I’m not advocating that you smoke cigars but if you do, do it with moderation.