My Polyphasic Adventure

Sleeping Lion
Image Credit: wwarby

[Update: It has been a while since I posted to the blog. Everything is fine. Life has a habit of getting in the way. Also, at the time my initial desire for the blog was finished. I didn’t know what else to write. Now, I have something to write about. Several things in fact.]

Before getting to my current experiment, here is my previous article about polyphasic sleep.

For years I have toyed with the idea of living on a polyphasic sleep schedule. Wondering what it would be like to convert to the Uberman and sleep 2 hours a day. I would draft up a sleep schedule. Tell myself that I would do it. Then, life would happen and I would make an excuse. In the end, the excuses won out.

All that changed on December 3, 2012 when I finished my first day of polyphasic sleep. After weighing several options I decided on the Everyman 2-nap. This schedule is also known as the Everyman 4 due to the 4.5 hour core sleep period. In addtion to your core sleep you have two 20 minute naps during the day. From the reading I have done it seemed to provide the best balance and flexibility. Listed below is my schedule:

Core Sleep: Midnight to 4:30 AM
Nap 1: 10:30 AM to 11:00 AM
Nap 2: 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM

I block out 30 minutes for my naps, because it takes time to get earplugs in and get settled.

I am only two days in, but the transition has not been too rough. Waking up at 4:30 is not the problem. Getting out of bed is the problem. While it is a bit early to give my overall impressions I do want to post my notes from the past two days. I will also be writing more articles as I adapt to the schedule.

Core: Sleep solid, but felt a little groggy when the alarm went off. After getting up and making breakfast I didn’t feel any different than on a normal morning
Nap1: I was tired when the nap window happened, but was unable to get sleep during the 20 minutes. However, once the alarm went off I felt rested
Nap2: Better than nap1, but kept waking up because I thought I was snoring. I remember seeing hypnagogic imagery, but estimate that I was slept only 5 min.

Core: Got into bed a little late so my core sleep period was a bit abbreviated. It took a while to convince my body to get out of bed. However, I was fine once I was up.
Nap1: Had trouble getting to sleep and believe the culprit is my morning tea. I am going to move it after tomorrow. Once again only got about 5 minutes
Nap2: Was able to relax faster, but felt like I was still awake. However, I remember jarring myself awake right before my alarm would have gone off. Possibly asleep for 10 minutes.

I would like to point out some resources that have been great for me in getting started. The first is the article by Dustin Curtis. Its a great place to start and is the bulk of the information relating to polyphasic sleep in Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Body. The second resource is the website/blog/forum Try Polyphasic. I read for weeks to determine how to space out my naps, what worked, and what to expect when adapting.

That’s it. Let the experiment begin!

Homebrewing – Your First Boil Over

A Typical Boil Over
Image Credit: Ryan Shepard

It’s only a matter of time before you have your first boil over when homebrewing. My recent experience was not bad. No one was injured and the beer was not ruined. In retrospect I am glad that it happened because I learned some valuable lessons. Before we get to the lessons learned, its story time.

It was a warm sunny day in Georgia. All the brewing equipment had been cleaned and sanitized. My sister was hanging out after her recent trip to London. She brought Neha and I goodies. My friends, Tim and Sarah, were also hanging out. Tim was also there to help with the homebrew, and learn about the process. Once everyone arrived we got to work.

The brew day progressed. The specialty grains had been steeped, and removed. The liquid malt extract (LME) had been added as well as lactose. The brew of the day was a chocolate milk stout. The kit was from Northern Brewer. It was my first stout, and my first boil over.

I had heard of boil overs like the one pictured above. However, I was always very careful in controlling the boil and adding hops. My friend, Tim, had been watching and helping. All was good. The wort was approaching a boil, and we ready for the first hop addition. One once of Cluster hop pellets. I told Tim to add them as I continued stirring. I had just finished setting the timer to the next addition at 30 minutes. That’s when it happened. The speed was the most amazing part. Boiling foam exploded over the edge of the kettle instantly killing the flame on the Blichmann burner. Chaos ensued, but was quickly contained. Tim quickly shut off the gas. We¬†assessed¬†the situation, got the burner fired again, and continued with the brew day.

In the end, we all had a bit of a scare. The beer is fine. It finishing out with a original gravity of 1062, and is happily fermenting in the closet. In two weeks, I will be racking it to secondary and adding the cacao nibs. Two weeks after that it will be racked to bottles. I am thinking the 1 liter EZ caps for this beer.

Lessons Learned: The Boil Over

1) Always Be Prepared For A Boil – This is similar to the always be ready for a kitchen fire. Safety first. The more you do something the higher the probability that something will go wrong. Make sure you are always prepared for the event of a boil over. One piece of advice I will be following from now on is to keep a spray bottle handy to spray the foam down. That tip is compliments of Chip Walton (Brewing TV). Safety first applies to this and the other items listed below.

2) Kill Your Heat Source – In my case the boil over killed the flame on the gas burner. Tim’s quick reflexes saved the day here. He killed the gas feed which prevented excess gas and possible fire in the garage. This is your first priority regardless of the heat source.

3) Safely Move The Kettle – Your kettle has probably been over heat for a while when the boil over occurs. Also, boiling hot wort has just flowed over the edge of the kettle probably landing on the handles. Don’t just grab the kettle to move it. Use heat resistant gloves or mitts will allow you to safely move the kettle.

4) Inspect and Clean Your Heat Source – The Blichmann started right up with some jets not firing. In retrospect, we should have cleaned it before continuing. I would recommend putting the lid on the kettle, inspecting and cleaning your brewing area before starting again.

5) “Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a homebrew!” – To quote Charlie Papazian, once you have dealt with the boil over proceed with your brew day. More than likely you will be able to salvage your batch. Once you are back on track remember and follow Charlie’s advice.

If you have experienced a boil over share your lessons and tips on dealing with them. I would love to hear about it.

Adventures in Meatspace