Courtesy of the excellent Brooklyn BrewShop's Beer Making Book, I'm following a recipe to create what's called a "bourbon dubbel." The recipe they describe is mellower than regular bourbon-based beers, but I won't hold that against it. It might even be an advanced experiment and I might be underqualified, but in many ways I've let go of my ego and am willing, even eager, to make mistakes, thereby to learn.
What I like about homebrewing is what I like about stationery, absinthe, or smoking pipes: the ritual. I take it very seriously, perhaps to a degree others would find ridiculous. To prepare the kitchen I chased the cats out, put away the dishes, washed the counters and scrubbed the floor (my wife doesn't mind this at all).
I picked up all the malts at Northern Brewer yesterday, but I was so excited to be gathering my own ingredients that I totally forgot to get the grains crushed there in the store. I've crushed my own grains before: I use a wooden mallet that I roll back and forth, with considerable force, over a plastic bag filled with small portions of the grains. Is it sufficient? I hope so, but when I poured it all into the stock pot of 160° water, some and maybe a lot of them looked perfectly intact. Just like with my last project, I hope this isn't as bad as I dread, and I hope it doesn't ruin the batch.