Day 30

I’m not going to lie. Last night was tough. The sun was up, the temperature climbed and the grass is showing signs of greening after a long winter of cold and discontent. It’s grill time.

We arrived home after work and spent time outdoors with the sun on our faces, lighting the path to a wonderful day. The boys spent time with our dog, Tucson, and I test drove the Adirondack for the first time this spring. With about a half-tongue’s worth of new taste buds, and with a beautiful day on tap, Illuminator has turned a corner for me. While the monogamous relationship has worn me down, I’m back to a true excitement for each pour. It’s a brew of great character, and I’m proud of it, so am pleased to have beaten boredom and found this libation anew.

While my tongue is the bright spot in the day (though Michelle wouldn’t describe it visually in that way–there’s still a lot of unflaked dead crap on it (“Don’t you dare post a picture of your tongue.), the rest of the evening was perhaps my biggest challenge.

It’s freaking beautiful out! You know what that means, don’t you? The grill!

Desperately, I wanted to fire some coals, to ignite our new badmotorfinger of a smoker. The boys and I are itching to smoke some meat, and tonight was the only night where I’ve found myself pacing like a caged tiger. Meat. Smoke. Q. The weather threw down a gauntlet I hadn’t expected.

But I pulled out the intestinal fortitude, to use the words of Gorilla Monsoon, and emerged victorious. That said, I really want some pork. I really, really do. And I will have that pork, and much more. When the time is right.

“He who cannot obey himself is commanded,” said Friedrich Nietzsche. And so I won the battle of the weather and desire. But I don’t like it. The atmosphere is too right for the fruit of animal, smoked with love and happiness.

To change the meaty subject, today has been work, work, work, but I received a pair of motivating emails (in contrasting styles) from Alex from the Benedictine Volunteer Corps and another from Chris from Ohio Wesleyan. Alex is doing a little stateside monastic homebrewing, which is exciting to hear about, and perhaps we’ll carve out an opportunity to meet at some point; Chris dropped a few f-bombs in his description of my championship undertaking as he and some of his brothers in tankards take on a (somewhat) similar project.

With 30 days in the rearview mirror, the light at the end of the tunnel emerges with brilliant clarity. Let’s hope it’s not a train as I work out reasonable details of menu planning, which with 17 days remaining don’t sound so farfetched.

And thank goodness, it decided to turn cold and rainy this afternoon. Tonight will be easier that way.


142.5 pounds



I’ve been planning a contest over on brewvana to give away a copy of Beginning Homebrew, and since I’ve been caught up in this project and other obligations, it’s not really come to fruition. Since folks seem interested in my weight, I figured that this might be a great way to give away that prize. Be the first to shoot me an email with my correct finishing weight, and we’ll get you a copy of the DVD as soon as I get my final weight at the end of the project.

(Shoot me an email at jwmongrel [AT] yahoo DOT com or post a comment in this thread.)

Stateside only! And cheers!


About Wilson

J. Wilson is an award-winning homebrewer, BJCP judge and pretty good dad. View all posts by Wilson

18 responses to “Day 30

  • Stephen Blazynski (Leeds England)

    I’m guessing 144 pounds as your closing weight? Good luck with the remainder of your challenge.

  • n1i2c3o4l5e

    I’ve read some of your last blog and see that you are fasting, or on a diet and talked about how you felt better because of it. I can relate to that since I have fasted a lot in my life. Yes it seems that all the misery in our life has to do with food. I will put your site in my favorite and try to understand it better when i have more time this evening if you dont mind me checking.

  • Brewer's Mom

    Weight at end 130. Done a 46-day Lenten fast twice. You are doing great…stay in the Spirit. Broke my fast on Easter Saturday with an apple and a tear trickling down my cheek. A blessed mix of relief and sorrow the experience of peace, contentment, and unbelievable connection with God was coming to a close. Be careful coming off your fast…your stomach and intestinal tract are not ready for “prime” time. Easter dinner was a bowl of broth with potatoes–while everyone else had ham and scalloped potatoes.

  • Jerry Davison

    134 … I’m going to miss this blog when you’re done. Would you ever do this again?

  • Outsider friar

    Unfortunately, your historical source is wrong. The Minims (Paulaner) lived Lent all year round. But they do not eat meat or eggs or dairy, which, though tolerable in southern Europe, was particularly hard on cold regions of Central Europe. Therefore, their beer was a suitable dietary supplement. Nothing more.

  • Judson

    Keep it up buddy what you are doing is truly awe inspiring!! I’m rooting for you and will be paying close attention on your last 16 days. I just had to write a response in my Beer class @ Arizona State University and titled it “Doppelbock You Are My Rock”. Will be doing a home brew doppelbock in your honor. Good luck brother.

  • ATJ

    Have come late to this but it’s fascinating stuff — fasting of any manner is not something I have ever done (though my wife does it now and again) and I don’t think I could. Looking forward to the book.

  • Keith

    Very inspiring to read your daily updates. My guess is 133 lbs. I will think of you the next time I brew a doppelbock.

  • Elaine

    Not sure if this will help: my understanding is that Lent, which lasts 40 days, goes from Ash Wednesday till Palm Sunday ie: it ends one week before Easter Sunday! I send this info because the idea of your Easter Sunday meal being something like guacamole and chips is too sad for words!!!

  • Wilson

    Jerry: I’d definitely do a fast again, but likely not more than a week or so, and I probably wouldn’t do it beer-style next time around.

    Outside friar: Thanks for the comment; I realize that you are right about that. The story that we hear about these monks is very broad, so I’ve learned a lot over the last few months, even more in these last 30 days of intensified exploration. They appear to have been the original vegans, but I’ve not read anything that says they subsisted only on liquid year-round. I’ll hammer out everything I can and strive toward accuracy when it comes time for the historical elements of the book.

    Elaine: My understanding is that Sundays don’t count, and that’s how the 40 days are calculated. And what are you talking about? Guacamole is awesome!

  • Brian

    Got to be 139.5. I’ll be drinking my Spring Bock this weekend thinking of you and your journey. Keep the faith brother!

  • Todd Southworth

    I’ll say 133.5.

    15 days to go, you’re just about coasting now!

  • Dan V

    Okay, I’ll give it a shot. I’ll say 137.5 – and keep up the good work!

  • Merna

    137 even, good luck! Hope the tongue gets better.

  • NewHomebrewer

    Best of luck!


  • Seth

    Love what you’re man, what a fantastic thing to do for Lent. I can’t even imagine pulling this off, you’re a better man than I! My guess is 137 lbs. closing weight. Good luck. You’re in my prayers.

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