The Ask-O-Matic

What Is "Curiosity" Anyway?

“Off-Season” Training for Outdoor Adventures

First of all, there’s no such thing as the off season in my book. There’s either outdoor sports I prefer or outdoor sports that are only slightly less fun. If you’re lucky enough to live in a climate where there is no winter, then this article won’t be as much use to you, however, I intend to focus mainly on injury prevention which is widely applicable.

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Vader’s Special Sauce: Imperial Black IPA Recipe

After tasting a number of local homebrewers’ fantastic big beers Lex and I decided to make one of our own. It might also have had something to do with the new kegging setup we just purchased and want to try out.

Since we had recently blessed our pallets with Firestone Walker’s Wookie Jack Black IPA we decided on that style for this weeks beer. This is also our first all-grain big beer which is exciting on it’s own.

The original recipe was going to be a smoked black IPA but the local homebrew supply store was fresh out of smoked malt. We decided to replace it with victory malt to lend a nice baked bread/biscuity sweet undertone to an otherwise harsh flavored beer. So without further ado, here’s our recipe complete with pictures of the brew day!

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Clearing Beer Made Easy

The article entitled Dusseldorf Altbier, A How To Guide discusses my recipe and process for making this style of beer. Well that beer has now been in the primary fermenter for 2 and a half weeks and the specific gravity has dropped from 1.052 to 1.011 which is pretty close to my target. There is just one problem though  yeast is showing zero signs of flocculation. We are talking totally opaque beer. And worst of all it tastes so yeasty that it’s almost undrinkable!

Not to panic, I research things remember? It’s kinda my thing.

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When Liberty Met Saazy: It’s Not a Kolsch or a Pilsner

I have to give full credit to that name and the label to JWalk4 on His puns are truly masterful. And a thanks to m00ps for the quote that became the second half of the beer’s name!


It pretty well sums up what I made this past weekend.

I sometimes have totally unrealistic expectations for me beers.

I have an exact combination of flavors in my mind that I’m hoping to achieve, which is usually a very good thing. My problem is that they can be mutually exclusive, or at least damn close. This weeks brew was based on my recent jonesing for good crisp pilsners and kolsches… kolchen…kolschi? Whatever.

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How to Choose a First Banjo

Jon S. In Washington asks:

“What are the most important qualities to consider when making a banjo purchase, and what is a happy medium between price and quality?”

Well Jon, I didn’t know anything at all about banjos other than they are usually played by moonshinin’ hillbillies in overalls so this one took some research!

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Backpacking Gear for Beginners Part 6: Miscellaneous Items

Welcome back for another installment of backpacking gear for beginners. I want to apologize for how boring these lists have been. I can do better, and I will. So lets step up the entertainment game!

Last time, I talked about the sleep system and trekking poles. That pretty much finished up all the major gear items. There’s just a few small things that are pretty vital and will make your stay in the woodlands a bit more enjoyable, but not as enjoyable as that trailer bar in the picture. First lets make a handy list, and I’ll say a little something about each item. There won’t be any extensive gear reviews here, just a quick and dirty “what’s all the rest of this junk?” type blog post.

Here we go!

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Backpacking Gear For Beginners Part 5: Packs, Bags, Pads, and Poles

Welcome to part 5 of my beginners backpacking series. In Part 4 we discussed the tools used in the camp kitchen to filter water and cook our food. In this episode we’ll talk about our sleep system, backpacks, and the ever controversial trekking poles: useless or a lifesaver? These items also are very much dependent on personal choice and preference so I’ll just lay out the facts and leave the rest up to you! As always, look for “The Quick and Dirt” for my basic no frills recommendation, but keep reading  The Nuts and Bolts if you want more information.

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Dusseldorf Altbier a How To Guide

Hi all!

This week we are making an Altbier. Altbier translates from German as “old beer” which is an allusion to the old style of brewing. In Germany, the “old style” was the ale and the “new style” is the lager which was invented in Bavaria in the 16th century. (Yeah I totally knew that off the top of my head. It’s ok to be impressed. I’m lying). Altbier is one of the only surviving true German Ale styles.

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Backpacking Gear For Beginners Part 4: Camp Kitchen

Survival experts always say find water first, then shelter, then food. These blog posts have been a little out of order for one big reason: if you think of backpacking as an exercise in survival, you’re doing it wrong! Backpacking is about enjoying the trip, enjoying the destination, and knowing that you have everything you need to be comfortable on your back.

After reading Part 3, you hopefully know where you’ll be sleeping, now lets figure out how you’re going to get fresh water and prepare your food.

We’ll start with water since that’s arguably the more technical subject. Scroll and look for “The Quick and Dirty” if you just want the bottom line, keep reading The Nuts and Bolts for a complete explanation!

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