Brew Day – Bunsy Burton Ale – 11/20/18

Being sick kind of blows. I don’t get sick a lot, but when I do, it makes me really miss not being sick. Caught some type of sinus cold/infection and have been under the weather since Friday (this is my 4th day sick). It was my first time taking care of Baby Breaking all by myself when I’m ill.

Guess what – that really bites.

I love watching my kid, but he doesn’t care that I’m sick. He still wants all of his baby wants, exactly when he wants them. He doesn’t care that it feels like a elf is banging a tambourine behind my right eye, and chiseling cartoons with a dull ice pick into my skull. In fact, the little guy actually would giggle when I’d sneeze, hold back my tears, and then shake out my head like Mike Tyson just clocked me.

The best part is I can’t really sleep. Being horizontal just increases the pressure. I’ve accepted that Ibuprofen is now a dietary supplement for me until this passes. According to the internet, that should be any day now.

As the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, I took 1.5 days off work because its a ghost town in the office during this week, and I’d rather be home with the family and brewing some beer. We are hosting Thanksgiving this year, so we’ll spend a majority of Wed/Thurs prepping food. So, that means I get to commandeer the kitchen for a batch of beer today (I had to look up how to spell commandeer – tricky). Don’t worry – I’ll try not to add any phlegm/hop additions.

I first read about Burton Ales in BYO (a great homebrewing magazine if you’ve never heard of it). The style of beer is named after a town across the pond in merry ol’ England. Here is an interesting article from the interweb about the style. In a nutshell, you need to make some adjustments to your water profile, you should use a burton strain of yeast, and the beer itself is on the darker/sweeter side with the hops (of course). While checking out a plethora of different ways to brew it, I saw people adding brown sugar, molasses, and some other darker fermentable adjuncts. For this beer, I’m slightly adjusting a recipe from BYO. Rather than hop blast at the end of the beer, I’m just going to put the hop blast additions (.16 oz of each East Kent and Pacific Gem) in at zero minutes, and let it set for 5 minutes before cooling. The darkest IPA I’ve ever made was the Hop Dump, and I thought that was a touch on the dark side (it used Crystal 60). I can only imagine the color this will have with crystal 80 AND chocolate malt in it.

I’ve had a Burton style ale before – it was the Burton Baton by Dogfish Head Brewing. It was amazing. That certainly was a one and done type beer because it was right around 10% (bordering on Barleywine territory). As you can see below, this will be slightly less potent if I hit my numbers. Overall, looking forward to this one. That seems silly to say – I look forward to ALL OF THESE!

The Recipe:

bunsy burton ale

Brew notes (I’m not going to regurgitate all of the steps – just the ones that are important):

  • Add water adjuncts into mash
  • 75 minute mash
  • Hops at 60/15/10/1

Target numbers:

  • Pre boil SG: 1.056
  • OG – 1.073, FG – 1.017

This will be bottled once it reaches its final gravity.

Bought ingredients at my local homebrew store (Bacchus & Barleycorn).

Brew day notes:

  • Date: 11/20/18
  • Stovetop BIAB setup
  • Total time (including cleaning): 4 hours
  • Brew day beer of choice:
    • Homebrew – El Hefe
  • Brew day A/V stylings of choice:
    • “The Office,” season 8
  • Actual OG: 1.076
  • Final OG: 1.020
  • Final ABV: 7.4%
  • What went well:
    • Nailed pre-boil gravity
    • Nailed post-boil gravity
  • What went bad:
    • had to add water to top off again – need to adjust my boil metrics in BeerSmith
    • original recipe called for Northdown Hops, but I used them in another recipe, so I subbed in Pacific Gem as the 60 min bittering hops (since the alpha acid was in the ballpark of Northdown).
  • Fermentation notes:
    • 11/20 – in to the tank – MAN, this thing is dark brown
    • 11/21 – slight bubbling
    • 11/22 – BUBBLES!
    • 11/27 – 1.020 gravity, added dry hop addition
    • 12/4 – bottled
      • Sample is dark and sweet but bitter. Doesn’t have much hop aroma. I’m enjoying the flat/room temp sample. Certainly a different beer.

 

Have you ever brewed this style beer before? Please let us know about your brewing experiences. If you enjoyed this post, please like and share. Thanks!

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Core de Force – FULL PROGRAM REVIEW

I spent the past month and a half of my workout life sampling the Core de Force workout program published by Beachbody. For the most part, I’ve been a bodyweight workout guy for a long time now. Every once and awhile, a workout program I’m doing will integrate weights, but, overall, I’d say that a majority of my workouts are bodyweight based. Since Core de Force is advertised as a no-equipment workout that focuses on fitness through martial arts inspired moves, it seemed like a fun and different way to approach fitness for awhile. So, I dug in…

Equipment and Space:

I started the program in a hotel room in North Carolina. I was pleased to see that it’s a 100% portable program, and you can do the basic workouts anywhere. The required “footprint” is relatively small. All you really need is enough room to punch, kick, and sprawl to the ground. A couple of the moves have you shift forward or back, so having a little room around you is a good idea.

hannibal lecter
Even Dr. Lecter has plenty of room to do Core de Force.

And, as the program promises, you don’t need any equipment to do the base workouts (note – you need an agility ladder or need to tape off an agility ladder on the floor to do the 2 “agility” workouts in the deluxe package). Oh, and you need a way to view the workouts, so I guess you need a streaming device or a TV/DVD player. Hmmm – liars. I guess some equipment IS REQUIRED.

Time investment:

In terms of time, you are only investing 30 days to complete a round (you will have something programmed every day), and the workout time investment varies from 27 minutes at its shortest to about 1 hour, 2 minutes for the longest session (a 47 minute workout + 15 minute core workout). As it is MMA/martial arts inspired, the workout formats center around the idea of a 3 minute round. The shortest workout is 6 rounds, the medium sized workout is 9 rounds, and the longest workout is 12 rounds. You get programmed rest between rounds, and little mini micro bursts of rest as you transition moves.

Workout Structure:

The majority of the workouts follow a VERY SIMILAR pattern:

  • Skill work for 60 seconds
  • Spike move for 30 seconds
  • repeat skill work for 60 seconds
  • repeat spike move for 30 seconds

That is the pattern for most of the workouts in the program. The exceptions are power sculpt and dynamic strength. In those workouts, it goes like this…

  • 1 move for 60 seconds
  • 1 move for 45 seconds
  • 1 move for 35 seconds

The moves progressively get harder in that stack, so the 35 second move is supposed to be harder than the 60 second move.

Oh, and the core workouts (core kinetics, and 5 minute core on the floor) go to the beat of their own drummer. 5 minute core on the floor is 5 plank varieties for 1 minute each, and core kinetics is 7 moves done for 1 minute each (and you do the circuit twice).

List of workouts in the program:

  • MMA speed (I’ll do this again)
  • MMA shred
  • MMA power
  • MMA plyo
  • Dynamic Strength
  • Power Sculpt
  • Core Kinetics
  • 5 Minute Core on the Floor (I’ll do this again)
  • Core de Force Relief
  • Active Recovery
  • *MMA Mashup
  • *MMA Speed 2.0
  • *MMA Shred 2.0
  • *Agility Strength (I’ll do this again)
  • *Agility Power (I’ll do this again)
  • *MMA Kick Butt (I might do this again)

The basic DVD program has 10 workouts. That is actually pretty darn good value for the $$$ you are spending. My only beef is that even with so many different workouts, it felt kind of stale towards the end. I think if they varied the structure a little more, it might have helped. Then again, there is only so much variety you can create when your tools are punches and kicks.

My overall thoughts:

cdf workout review chart

In total, I’d say this program is about 3.5 out of 5 ass-kickings. I thought the effort they put into making the modifiers accessible was great. Beachbody has really stepped up its game in trying to make its programs accessible to all fitness levels. Good trainers (and good programs in general) should show how to modify moves and break them down into progressive moves. CdF does that very well.

The instructor cueing was exceptional. Aside from how they teach push kicks, I felt that I got a great explanation on every move I was expected to do. And, along the way, Joel/Jericho explained what you should be feeling, and/or what the subtle nuances of the move should be. For example, on roundhouse kicks, it should come AROUND and be aiming for the side of your opponents’ rib cage. For sidekicks, your heel should be up and your toe should be down. This type of instruction helps you get the most out of the session. In addition, there are tutorial videos available that give you an immersive experience into the world of the fighting stance, and the various arm/leg movements you’ll be doing. This is a very nice addition.

The production values and music didn’t disappoint, and were up to usual Beachbody standards. They really are an industry leader in this department. I love watching these videos as I workout.

The overall cardio impact isn’t on par with some of the more advanced programs in the Beachbody universe, but it isn’t intended to be. Giving it a ranking of 3 out of 5 doesn’t mean it sucks, it just means that if you want a cardio ass-kicking, don’t use this program. Go do Insanity Max 30.

enjoy cardio.JPG

I’d say the cardio is on the intermediate scale, but slightly to the beginner side (rather than the advanced side). I wasn’t sucking air vigorously at any point during this program. I did sweat a lot though – especially on the longer sessions that were punctuated with core work as a finisher. I will give a shout out to the agility ladder sessions, and Jericho’s MMA Kick Butt. Those three workouts were probably the biggest cardio burner in the program. Too bad they aren’t part of the base kit.

Same thoughts regarding strength – don’t view this program as a holistic way to build a massive body. That is not its intention, and it doesn’t pretend that it will deliver that. You will get stronger in your chest. You will get stronger in your legs. You will strengthen your arms as a by-product of the chest work. Note – if you don’t supplement back work on your own (rows, pull ups), you will lose back strength. There are not any moves that work “pull” strength. BUT, I have to give CdF credit for introducing me to sphinx blasters. Those babies are intense, and will really challenge your triceps and shoulders. Honorable mention goes to jumping fireflies. If you want to do a crazy chest/shoulder/tricep stack, pair those two exercises together.

Here is where I think Core de Force excels, and it is for this reason that I’d recommend at least trying it…

Your hip strength and mobility will improve greatly.

Your core strength will improve greatly (if you do all of the prescribed extra core work).

In my first week, I was embarrassed by how poor my kicking was. I mean I could barely do a side kick above knee level (with good form). By doing kicking movements every session for 30 sessions, this cured itself pretty quickly. My hips/hamstrings are much more flexible now, and my kick technique is leaps and bounds above where it was. I’m not about to go join the MMA or anything, but having good range of motion with kicks means I have good range of motion with my hip flexors, which means I’ll have better athletic performance in any mode that requires hip flexor mobility.

I can also say that my core strength has improved. This is two-fold. First, you are doing tons of twisting moves during every session. With the moves you are doing, you hit your core in three planes of motion. That alone will improve your overall core fitness. Couple that action with the core kinetics and 5 minute core on the floor workouts, and you have a recipe for some serious core strength. If you’ve read the posts, you’ll know how much I hate core kinetics. But, despite my visceral distaste for it, I can say its a challenging workout, and gets the job done. Moving forward, 5 minute core on the floor is probably the core workout I’ll keep in my arsenal for a rainy day. Its quick, easy to remember, and is very functional (you are basically planking for 5 minutes). The first time I did 5 min core on the floor, I went to my knees between transitions – now, I’m on my toes the entire time. Boom!

abs of steel
Okay, not quite steel, but certainly not abs of pudding!

Final thought:

I’m glad I did the program to get the core and hip strength benefits. I probably wouldn’t do the full program again, but I can certainly see myself cherry picking a couple workouts here and there to mix it up once and awhile.

Check out my 30 day experience with the program here!

Continue reading Core de Force – FULL PROGRAM REVIEW

Core de Force REVIEW – Day 29 & 30 – MMA Plyo, MMA Shred 2.0, Core Kinetics

MMA Plyo + Core Kinetics…

checkmark

…done.

That left one fateful day to complete a full 30 session cycle of Core de Force. Rather than bore myself with another session of MMA Power, I decided to sub in the last CdF workout that I hadn’t sampled yet – MMA Shred 2.0. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know I was VERY disappointed at the lack of intensity in the prior “2.0” workout.

I’m happy to report that this 2.0 wasn’t bad. It wasn’t crazy hard or anything like that, but it certainly felt a little harder than its predecessor.

I will say that the workouts in this format (skill move, spike move, skill move again, spike move again) all seem to bleed together. Aside from varying the number of rounds (6 rounds versus 9 rounds), I fail to decipher one from another. For example, in the Insanity program, when we did “cardio” or “plyo” I knew exactly what I was getting. The “pure cardio” was a non-stop workout that assaulted your cardiovascular system. When we did plyometric cardio circuit, I knew that we were going to fry my lower body with a bunch of plyometric hell. In this program, I see no difference between a “shred” workout or a “speed” workout. Just throw a bunch of kicks, punches, and elbows into a blender and hit puree. That is how you come up with one of these workouts.

But, it felt like there were A LOT of elbows in this workout. So, maybe we can honorarily call this workout ELBOW SHRED!

elbows

In all honesty, the only exercise that got me sweating and got my heart rate “up” was the spiderman climbers. You get to do them in round 5 and round 9. Throwing this in twice is what really saved this workout. Otherwise, I might have been more critical. Overall, didn’t love it or hate it – just very blah about it.

Oh, and one more session of Core Kinetics. I still hate core kinetics.

Move of the day: slip back, slip forward, hook, cross, and spiderman climbers

Check out the rest of the Core de Force workouts HERE.

Continue reading Core de Force REVIEW – Day 29 & 30 – MMA Plyo, MMA Shred 2.0, Core Kinetics

My Experience with Identity Theft

Update 12/1/18:

I’m not going to say that this is over, but it is certainly down to a “2” on my 1-10 worry scale. For a couple of weeks after writing this post, I still received some notices in the mail from companies where lines of credit were attempted to be opened. However, all of the fraud work that I had done in the week prior to this post paid off in spades. Not a single application got past the first stage of the process because all roads ended with the company checking in with me. I got a phone call, told them it was fraud, and then got a piece of mail a few days later stating the application was denied/closed. I guess the system works once you get ahead of it. I think the key to this was the 7 year fraud alert on my credit report. 

I’m still checking my credit report at regular intervals, and I’m still enrolled with InfoArmor. But, I did upgrade my service plan to cover all three credit bureaus. It cost a few extra bucks but it’s well worth it. The benefits team at work was very interested to hear about my experience, and how InfoArmor played a role (since the benefit was provided through work). Based on my feedback, they got with InfoArmor, and were able to get the higher level protection added as an option for people signed up for the benefit. THANK YOU WORK!

Once this post came out, I got a couple of pings and comments that talked specifically about the value of an Identity Theft Protection Service. One commenter pointed out that you (personally) can do everything that these services do, and you don’t have to pay for it. To a certain extent, that is true. But, that is time you need to set aside and dedicate EVERY MONTH to this process (FOREVER). In my mind, it becomes a value proposition. If you sign up for a service to facilitate this process for you, is it worth the $6-$15 per month that you’ll spend for piece of mind? I can’t answer that for you – that is something you need to figure out for yourself. For me personally, I do see value in the service.

BUT.

And this is a big BUT.

I realize that having a service like this in your stable isn’t a “set it and forget it” proposition. You still need to check on stuff and be vigilant.

Let me say that again – EVEN IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THESE SERVICES, YOU STILL NEED TO BE ACTIVE IN MANAGING YOUR CREDIT AND CREDIT REPORT.

Don’t think that this is your invisibility cloak. AND, don’t think you can just be sloppy and careless in your credit/internet life. Hackers and criminals still can get to you if you make yourself the low hanging fruit.

But, having one of these services is like having a sherpa or guide along the way. And, if something does happen, some of these services offer help along the way to recovery. The best thing you can do as a consumer is look at ALL of the players in this market, see the services/protections that are offered, and make a purchase based on what you see as the value proposition.

If you are in the market for such a service/product/program, here is a website you can reference to get information on some more companies (not listed in the original post). This site (by lendedu.com) discussed the pros/cons of some of the larger players in this space. In addition, they also provide some nice bullet point information on what you can do to keep your identity safe.

Continue reading My Experience with Identity Theft

Core de Force REVIEW – Day 27 & 28 – MMA Shred + Core Kinetics, and Active Recovery

To condense posts, since I don’t really have a lot to say about active recovery, I’m just going to tack it on to my MMA shred + core kinetics post.

I did active recovery. Hooray.

Don’t let my perceived lack of enthusiasm let you think that I don’t appreciate this part of the workout. I really do. Recovery days are essential to any training program. You can’t go balls to the wall 24/7. Gains are made when you rest. It’s that simple. Stuff like active recovery sessions gets the blood flowing to the muscles, and helps aid recovery (and make you feel a little looser too).

Knocked out MMA Shred and Core Kinetics while Baby Breaking was in the basement with me cheering me on. It’s fun to have an audience. I felt like I had to work a little harder so he didn’t think daddy was a slacker. Because, you know, 11 month old babies are certainly judging your workout intensity. The Breaking Dog Pack was outside again because it’s 50 degrees (December 1st), and all of the snow from last weekend’s blizzard has melted. Worry not – the weather is going Jekyll and Hyde again, and promises to snow again tomorrow. On a somewhat related note, I read this week that we are heading towards a mini ice age due to a lack of sunspots. If ever there was a movie waiting to be made its that one. Just shoot Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck to the sun, and use a nuke to create a “spot” that will end the mini ice age. Note to Michael Bay – This time, let Ben stay behind to melt in the blast. PLEASE.

I’m not sure if it was the yoga that I did this week or what, but I absolutely killed MMA shred today. My kicks were amazing, I was going at a high pace, my form was good. I really felt like I got a good workout. AND, I only complained about Core Kinetics about 5 times. That is a huge improvement for me.

Move of the day: reverse lunge + clinch knee

Check out the rest of the Core de Force workouts HERE.

Continue reading Core de Force REVIEW – Day 27 & 28 – MMA Shred + Core Kinetics, and Active Recovery

Core de Force REVIEW – Day 26 – MMA Speed 2.0 + Core Kinetics

In the home stretch – still a couple workouts I can sub in to get me to the end. Today I subbed Speed 2.0 for the regular speed. I was psyched because its only 6 rounds, but then I saw that I have to do core kinetics and I started pouting.

I really hate Core Kinetics.

To be honest, until round 4, I really felt like this workout was a total waste of time. I don’t know if my conditioning is just that good, or if the workout is just that weak. But, I didn’t break a sweat until the spike in round 4. Heck, even the modifier was keeping pace with the normal workout. In total, I give this one a big shrug and “whatever.” I was expecting the 2.0 version to whoop me. But, alas, it was just a fart in the wind. I guess the plus is that I felt completely normal going into Core Kinetics.

So, to sum up Speed 2.0 – I won’t be coming back.

Let me just note – it’s not that I find Core Kinetics to be impossibly hard. It isn’t. I just find it to be tedious, mundane, and ick. I can think of about a hundred different things I’d rather be doing for 15 minutes…

  • shovel snow
  • pick up dog crap
  • put away the dishes
  • fold clothes (I really hate folding clothes)
  • sit in traffic
  • …and about 95 more – you get the idea

Move of the day: ground to fighter stance

Check out the rest of the Core de Force workouts HERE.

Continue reading Core de Force REVIEW – Day 26 – MMA Speed 2.0 + Core Kinetics