Saturday, June 15, 2013

Boulder Happy Hour Hikes

My wife and I want to hike more. The problem with having friends who live in Boulder on Facebook is that they post a lot of pictures of hiking – and  not just in Boulder. Every week we have some friend post of hiking in Moab, Arches, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Sand Dunes National Park, etc. You start to feel like you’re letting Colorado and the American southwest go to waste. The problem is that we have just not had (okay, made) time to do some of the most fantastic hikes and we certainly cannot do them every weekend. So instead of going far and wide, my wife and I are exploring hikes that short (3 miles or less) and close (within 20-30 min) that we can do in the evening – even after work.

Anne U White Trail

Trailhead: 40° 3.564'N 105° 19.184'W

This trail was a 20-minute drive from our house. We turned off of Broadway just before it got to Rt. 36 to Lyons. The parking area was small (4-6 cars) and we grabbed the last spot. The water was high due to some run-off from snow that we had received earlier in the week.

Apparently the trail closes in the afternoons during the summers due to the danger of flash flooding. The trail is certainly never far from the stream that it follows. In fact, in crosses it 22 times (by our count) on the way up. There is a nice picturesque falls partway up.

The end of the trail was a little anti-climactic. It could potentially connect to some other trails were it not for the pesky private land thing. We did have a fun moment at the end where we set up my camera to take a picture of us and a butterfly started trying to get nectar from my orange Nikon.

Bald Mountain Preserve

Trailhead: 40° 2.862'N 105° 20.478'W
Time from our house: 20 min

This one had great views for a pretty low cost of hiking (not a lot of vertical). There are some nice picnic tables right near the parking area. The route is a lollipop, we got to the divide and went counter-clockwise along the fence. Around the corner are the remnants of a forest fire that went through the area a few years ago. When you come around the corner you find yourself on the top of the mountain. There is a bench there with a great view of Green Mountain. This would be a great picnic area for a Friday.


Sugarloaf Mountain

Trailhead: 40° 1.504'N 105° 25.490'W
Time from our house: 30 min
Distance: 0.7mi one-way, 500m elevation

Our guidebook that recommended this one cited the amazing sunrises and sunsets that can be seen from the summit. This was a bit long on our driving time limit, but it was well worth it. There are actually several ways that you can start this hike – but they all lead to the same place. We started up the trail with the two poles connected by a chain. About 0.4 miles up there was a park bench that would be perfect for watching the sunrise. I was a little surprised when at 0.7 miles we were at the top – just in time to catch the last of the sunset. There were some amazing views. I would love to do this one as a sunrise hike at some point.

Walden Ponds

Trailhead: 40° 2.635'N 105° 11.023'W
Drive Time: 20 min

This was a fun easy walk among some beautiful ponds. It kinda gives you hope about the damage we do to places to think that these used to be gravel pits. This walk also has great views of the flatirons.  The one downside is that there were some decently intense mosquitos. The trail was level gravel – it would be perfectly walkable for my mother who has Parkinson’s.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Brauerei Hermanski: Peachy Number Nine

Brauerei Hermanski has been silent for a long time. But I found a quiet Sunday afternoon this past week and finally got around to bottling a peach wheat beer that I have had on the fermenter for a while.


This was batch number 43. Some in the homebrewing community recommend brewing the same batch until you get it right – I have never pulled this off. While I have occasionally re-brewed the same base recipe it is hard to fight the urge to experiment. In this case the base beer was the Original Pyramid Wheat recipe from Charlie Papazian’s Microbrewed Adventures (I have never brewed a recipe from this book that I did not like). The first time I used it as the base beer for a honey-wheat. This time a good friend of my wife gave us two one-quart bags of peaches and Aita and I agreed that they would do well in a beer.


5.5 lbs.  (2.5 kg) wheat malt extract syrup (50/50 wheat/barley)
1 lb         (454 g) Crystal Malt ( 10-L)
1.25 oz. (35 g) Cascade hops 5% alpha (6.3 HBU/175 MBU 60 min.
¼ Oz.     (7 g) Perle hops 8% alpha (2 HBU/56 MBU)-15 min
½ oz.      ( 14 g) Perle hops- I minute boiling
1/4. tsp. (I g) Irish moss
Safebrew T-58 Dried Yeast
1/2 cup corn sugar (priming bottles)

I steeped the grains for 30 min at 155. The peaches I put into the secondary fermenter. I have used dried yeast for the last two beer and it always takes off fast but also seems to taper after about 24 hours. I left the peaches on the secondary for almost two months – this had nothing to do with how long I think the peach should have been left on the beer – I just did not have time to bottle. The OG was 1.045. This was the first time that I tried a hydrometer that my brother-in-law got me for Christmas. The hydrometer read 1.042. Not too bad.


 I am still a stove-top extract brewer. We moved into a new house almost a year ago and gained a lot more kitchen space as well, but I have still found one of the best investments I made to be a collapsible table. This is where I stage most of my brewing equipment. The area by the stove is the queue for ingredients waiting to get into the wort. The area by the refrigerator is sanitizing buckets, tubes and used ingredients (hops & grains, etc.)


I was expecting to see the yeast demolish the peaches and was a little surprised to see them mostly left in the beer. I had put them in sliced and if I did this again I might chop them up a little finer. The beer finished at 1.010 for around 4.5% ABV. I was pleasantly surprised that there was no harsh sourness in the beer – so I do not have to tell my friends that it is a lambic when I give it to them. Of course, the final word will come in two weeks.