Saturday, December 31, 2011

Android Synth software

Gizmodo dropped a link to some software to play with on that new Android tablet you know you got for Christmas.

The tool called Audiotool Sketch looks like it could be pretty cool for those beat nerds out there.

On the market page there appear to be several related synth tools in the market so don't feel like this is the only one, it was just the first one I'd heard of.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Saveur is trying to kill me

I've suspected it for some time now, but this post proves it.  Saveur is trying to kill me. With food.  Dead.

Hot Crab Dip with Pita Chips


3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cored and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely diced
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan, separated
Juice and zest of one lemon
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. Old Bay seasoning
¼ tsp. celery salt
1 lb. lump crab meat, cleaned
1 scallion, finely sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter the inside of a 8" x 8" baking dish. 
  2. In a 12" skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the bell pepper and shallot until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring, to make a roux, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream until the mixture comes to a boil, about 1 minute. Reduce to a simmer, cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add 1/3 cup parmesan, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, Old Bay, and celery salt. Gently fold in the crab. 
  3. Transfer the mixture to the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining parmesan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is browned and the dip is bubbling. Garnish with the scallions and serve with pita chips. 

 NOTES: To make your own pita chips, cut fresh pita pockets in wedges and toss with 4 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook at 400° for 12-15 minutes.

Compare and contrast

I heard the Ghostland Observatory song today, and swore it was a cover of a Queen song. I heard Freddie Mercury in there so loud and clear, it was startling. I don't know if this guy has the chops for it in other ways, but tell me if you hear it too.

Ghostland Observatory, sad sad city

Queen another one bites the dust

For the international set


Another one bites the dust- Queen from Franco Belharch on Vimeo.


I waffled for quite sometime, but finally decided that I want to have this.  I choose to fund this kickstarter project as an alternative to building a dual-temperature logger for my friends basement.  Should he choose, he is welcome to get the moisture sensor at his own digression.

I'm pretty excited that I will likely see this relatively close to my birthday in 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

To understand is to perceive patterns

Sort video post and the dude is a little breathy, but this is what it means to be passionate about technology and research.  The minutia will eventually reveal itself as useful, we just need to be persistent in our pursuit of these advancements.


Questionable Content AI bill of rights

I read a lot on the internet.  Probably more than is healthy, but every now and then you stumble on something really unique and passionate.  One of the comics that I follow is Questionable Content, and it has it's moments of mindlessness and others of angst, but the author wrote out this whole speech as support to a comic that he drew.  He envisioned a world with an AI, and envisioned what it would be like to live side by side with that AI and wrote a speech about equal rights.

I thought it was pretty interesting, I hope you enjoy the comic.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Not indie at all

Nerdy music that Sub-radar will probably like.


I think I've mentioned it before, but given how unbelievably poorly this law is shaping up I thought it was time to post a little round up and information on what you can do should you find this proposed bill as abhorrent as I find it.

First Gizmodo has a pretty solid run down on why this bill is murderous for the internet as we know it.  The gist of it is that because sites that host infringing content typically are not US sites, court orders and take down notices do not have force of law.  To make it so rights holders have a way to see their interests looked after (keep in mind who the government works for here kids) they can have that sites DNS records blocked or erased without due process (remember foreign entities) with no appeal process.  This fundamentally undermines the way that DNS and the internet works and is from an infrastructure point of view a very bad way to implement this.  We would be following in the footsteps pioneered by The Great Chinese firewall.  Not the best role model, I would say.  Next up there is third party transfer of liability, that is a legal way of saying that if the search engines don't expunge records that rights holders get taken down fast enough they can be sued for the infringement that they are "facilitating".  Finally the whole framework amounts to a tool that can and in the hands of companies like UMG will be used to stifle free speech.  It literally blows my mind that a congress that claims to be in the business of lessening the power of government would like to handover such a huge power grab to private companies.  Or it would blow my mind if it wasn't business as usual over in congress.

Gizmodo has a link to a petition you can sign to ask Obama to veto the bill.

Gizmodo also has a story up of all the companies that are supporting this bill so you can know if you still want to give them your patronage.  The most notable of them is the Registrar GoDaddy, they have caught a decent amount of flack for this so I don't feel the need to pile on any more.  I will note that I have chosen to take my business elsewhere.  Yeah broken websites for a little while, but I think it is important enough to take the time to do.

Now I would like to post a link to a video that has a pretty decent attempt from one of the bills co-sponsors on what they want the bill to do.  They are trying to extend a physical metaphor to police the internet is the short story.  Once again Congress just doesn't understand the technology they are trying to regulate and should not be allowed to work on it.

Not covered in this post is the related and already passed 2008 Pro-IP law used to take websites down currently.  This is a really strange use of ICE and Department of Homeland Security, (read excessively broad interpretation of the Patriot Act powers).  Some people have gone as far as suggest that the current USAG should face criminal charges for his mis-use of laws.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Frozen Banana desert

Sometime ago I stumbled on a recipe for making a healthful 1 ingredient cool desert.  I probably should post this in the summer, but what the hell it sounds good to me right now so here you go from

  1. First freeze some bananas,
  2. Slice said frozen bananas and pop them in the food processor or blender
  3. Blend until smooth
  4. ?
  5. Profit!

I have made it a few times so I can attest to how close to ice cream the texture is, and for a "healthful" desert it is pretty good.  My problem now is my food processor is broken so I haven't been able to make this in a while, but it's fun and usually surprises people with how good it is.  To make it less healthful I would add some Nutella or just straight up chocolate syrup.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011 Movies

I've seen a couple of these types of videos, but here is the one I'm going to roll with for today.  I looked over the Wikipedia List of 2011 films and was surprised by how many I had watched.  A years is a really long time apparently so.  The video has samples of all the movies and this Tumblr link has the list of them as they appear in the movie and the music they used.

What did I watch this year?

The Green Hornet and Rango, from totally legit sources ;) are the two movies I couldn't bring myself to finish opening 15 or so minutes of each.

In the theater I watched The Lincoln Lawer, Xmen: First class, Captain America, Money Ball, and the Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

At home I watched The Kings speech.

Movies I'm embarrassed I watched all the way through but sure as hell didn't pay to watch: Thor.

Movies I hope to watch sometime maybe when they show up on Netflix otherwise Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum I tell you.

The Mechanic, Adjustment Bureau, Sucker Punch, Paul, Water for Elephants, Drive, The Rum Diary, Harold and Kumar, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Melancholia, and Warrior.  I also want to watch Sleeping Beauty (totally for the art reasons not because I want to see Strawberry Fields naked I swear).

How about you?  Anything I missed that I really should have given consideration?

Friday, December 23, 2011

You kind of knew it had to be true

So I'm about to spoil a great movie for you and I have to apologize for that.  It's not that I want to, but the video shows Raiders of the Lost Ark is a shot for shot recreation of another movie.  I had to stop in disgust after about 5 minutes.

Damn you Indy!!!!

Source: Binary Bonsai.  This guys is a huge star wars fan, his archives have fan made documentaries about the Star Wars movies that are better than anything Lucas would produce himself.  If that's your gig, you should really give this guy a read.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What the what?

I really have no idea what I am looking at here, my mind is busy pooling on the floor below my desk.

Soup and pictures

A little late but fuck it we'll do it live!  First off the soup recipe

3 slices stale bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 T olive oil
1 T fresh herbs chopped each: 

  • marjoram leaves/stems
  • rosemary leaves
  • savory leaves/stems
  • tarragon leaves/stems
  • thyme leaves/stems
  • oregano leaves/stems
3-5 heads garlic, roasted and pureed
2 bay leaves
1 t black peppercorns
Kosher salt
1 C dry white wine (drink remainder while cooking)
8 C Basic Vegetable Stock (see below)
4 C cream
8 oz Gruyere cheese, grated for garnish

Preheat oven to 550 F and sip wine.
  1. Toss bread cubes with 2T olive oil. Spread out on baking sheet and toast until golden/crispy for 5-10 min. Sip wine.
  2. Add herbs, pureed garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, pinch of salt, wine (continuing to sip the remainder) and stock to soup pot. Mix well and let it reach boil over med.high heat. Once boiling, lower heat to med. low and simmer 30 min.
  3. Pour soup slowly through strainer and into storage container. Discard herbs from strainer. Clean out soup pot. Refill with strained soup. Add cream, stir well and let soup reach a simmer. Sip wine.
  4. Serve topped with few croutons and nice portion of grated cheese.
  5. Open new bottle of wine to serve with soup.
So first up some pictures of roasted garlic and thoughts.  If you read around on the internet you find people recommending your roast your garlic in muffin tins.  I will say that it does make the cleanup pretty easy, but the garlic cloves in contact with the outside edge gets over done and very brown.

Here is some of the garlic peeled and getting ready for the soup pot.  I roasted the garlic the night before so that I could get the soup done more quickly for company.

Once the soup and bread crumbs are in the bowl I put the cheese on top and put it into the oven on broil.  It turned out less bubbly than I like but I had to turn down the oven to do my candied pecans for the salad and didn't wait for it to heat back up to melt the cheese.   The salad was a spinach salad with craisins, candied pecans and a strawberry vinaigrette.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Anthony Bourdain

Chef Bourdain is getting a graphic novel?  If you're a fan of No Reservations or have read any of his books you probably know who this guy is.  If not, I really enjoyed his show on traveling and world cuisine.  He really, really wanted to be an author and call an the cool roots of various writers with dark personalities, but over time his own voice came out of the experience of traveling the world and finding people's culture through their food. It is great to see him progress as a person, and interesting to see how experiences can change you.  I would definitely read the novel for novelty sake alone, so here's hoping its good.

Fun trivia fact, I had tickets (not cheap tickets mind you) for a show Anthony did here in Seattle a few years ago, that happened to land on the night of the wedding of a good friend of mine.  We never managed to find anyone to use the tickets and we never left the wedding so I've already spent a good deal of money to not watch a show by this man.

I'm making the Garlic soup so I will post pictures and the rest of the recipe tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holy swollen throat batman

Yesterday was a total wash for me, and I hope tomorrow is a better one.  First we have all staff meetings with the yearly instruction on how to effectively sexually (or otherwise) harass you co-workers and a recognition lunch.  Well you would think it being my 5 year anniversary I would be excited to get my little attaboy plaque to hang up, but instead something in my lunch tried to kill me.  2 sweet benadryl later and give or take some EMT's and my building's security officers standing around watching if I'm going to kick off or live to see another day and I decided to go home rather than slip into a benadryl coma at my desk.

So in short Fuck you Fennel (I think it's the fennel otherwise fuck you mystery allergen).

Monday, December 19, 2011

The 90's were 20 years ago

I'm sure you know this empirically, but has it hit home for you?  It did for me on Sunday I watched the PJ20 Pearl Jam's Twenty year documentary on netflix.  If you haven't yet DO IT.

Jesus it makes me feel it today, talk about a band that was a part of your life for such a long long time, part of your College, part of your High school memories, part of your Middle school memories that great white buffalo that you never got to see live even though they are from what feels like your back yard.  Songs I sang and still sing with my wife before she was my wife.

Fuck yeah talk about a great night, also my son is going to be a complete bad ass.  He slept through that whole one hour twenty minute documentary turned up way too loud like a boss.

I hope this video works for most of you, I have a different version for the international people but this song just cuts me up inside.

International version

Pearl Jam - Footsteps (live video) by melkome

Friday, December 16, 2011

Arcade Fire

I think this qualifies as another just ignore the video type of song, but I think the song is pretty solid.  Infact just ignore the youtube version and check out the international version, that video is sick

International version

Arcade Fire - Sprawl II from marina i on Vimeo.

Beer books for random interest

I have a huge glut of links for books related to beer, if this isn't interesting to you move along nothing to see here.

Homebrewers Companion is a general purpose book that has A-Z on brewing beer and gives you an introduction to beer, beer science, the equipment and process of making beer.  There are plenty of other books in this vein, this is the one that I started with so it's the one I recommend.

Clone Beers  sounds like a pretty simple premise, a book that has the extract, mini-mash and all grain equivilents of 150 commercial beers.  If you see it on the store shelves and want to try your hand at making it (and fail at using the internet to search for these yourself) a handy book has those covered for you.

Brew Ware seems like a book that I should own but the reviews make it sound out of date. I'm mostly using this as a placeholder to look for an updated version of this book.

Brew Like a Monk is a future looking book for me.  It is about informing you about the Belgium style of brewing.  I think the style I brew is more in the British tradition of brewing, and the contrast to the way the two schools approach their beers is radically different.  Beer as we know it that descended from the English tradition evolved because of taxes and regional flavor preferences.  The Belgium tradition was more about the yeast and what it could do, and coaxing the flavors out of the

Designing Great Beers is another future looking book, it's for that time in my life where I stop modifying recipes and take the plunge to creating my own beers. I look forward to the creative process, and hope that in a few years when I feel confident enough to try my own recipes parts of this book will feel like old knowledge for me.

The Homebrewer's Garden . Nuff said.

The Science of Beer is a popcorn type of book. There probably won't be a lot of knowledge to glean from it, but the read will be fun. It's sort of a history book on when advances in technology made parts of brewing better or more efficient.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Roasted Garlic soup round 1 - The stock

A few years ago we discovered an amazing soup at a local restaurant that really knocked our socks off. It is presented much like a French onion soup with Gruyere melted on the top of it. We where very enamored, but they only server it during December so we set out to make it ourselves. It turns out that the mother of friend of mine had a copy of the now out of print cookbook that this restaurant had put out so we went to work recreating it. I've made it several times now, and everytime we learn something about the process and how to make the final product better. The stock is the most labor intensive part of the process so decided to make a tripple batch of it recently so we could make it for ourselves during the winter and spring.

The recipe is as follows:

2-3 yellow onions (skins on) washed and quartered
2 shallots (skins on) washed and quartered
2 med-large leeks, including green parts, washed and roughly chopped
2 heads garlic (skins on) washed and broken up
6-8 bay leaves
1 bunch each, including stems,washed:
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • thyme
2 T kosher salt
1 T black peppercorns
2 C dry white wine (a third bottle in this process)
3 carrots, washed
1 bunch celery, washed, leaves, heart and bottom included
1 parsnip and 1 turnip, washed and quartered
  1. Assemble 10-quart stockpot, colander/strainer, cheesecloth and 6-8-quart storage container(s).
  2. Place onions, shallots, leeks, garlic with 2 C cold water in stockpot. Cover pot and place over high heat until water begins to boil. Reduce heat to med and simmer 15 min or until vegetables become soft.
  3. Add herbs, salt, peppercorns, and wine to pot (take a swig). Once water is boiling, reduce heat to med-low, keep partially covered and allow to simmer 2-2-1/2 hours.
  4. Once liquid has turned dark brown color, remove from heat and strain through colander into storage container(s). Allow contents of pot to drain a few minutes before discarding remains from colander.
  5. Clean soup pot and place strainer lined with cheesecloth over it. Slowly pour stock through cheesecloth. Stock is finished. Have some wine!
  6. You can use stock now or cool in an ice bath, whisking until it cools sufficiently for storage in refrigerator or freezer.

Here you can see my 7½ gallon pot loaded with vegetables and getting ready to boil.

To make the processing more effective I choose to use a stick blender to break the vegetable pieces down for straining.  I started straining around 8pm and while I wasn't "finished" I was done working on it around 3am.  It is probably close to 3 gallons of stock, not all of it is fully processed the lightest color in the bottle is what you are aiming for, the darker colored containers on the left are still in need of processing.  I froze everything and will strain the dark ones as they are thawed, but I estimate that each stack of broth should feed 4 people.

I'll post the recipe for the soup later, I was trying to find a picture of the finished product somewhere but apparently I didn't ever take a photo of it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Beer Labels

I had an experience this weekend where I had a few leftover beers from a batch in bottles but I had not labeled the caps the way I normally do.  I was pretty sure it was leftover crap pale ale aka the not so pale ale, but without a label I had no way of knowing what I was about to drink.  I've been thinking about labeling for the flare, but every label adds to the amount of time it takes to clean bottles, so I've stuck to labeling the caps.

Lifehacker posted a link to a service that is offering a simple layout tool for making beer labels, and I'm tempted to give it a whirl but purchased labels are not going to be nearly as convenient printed at home.  For one you will have to try hard to get the correct number of labels with can be a pretty big guessing game, and for two it will make blending and trying different things as you split batches harder.

If this helps you, or you have a use for it more power to you.  I think I'm looking for a print at home solution for the time being.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chest Freezer Conversion

So one of the pieces of equipment that I consider most important to my brewing process is the chest freezer I have running on a temperature controller.  I could not brew several styles of beer without the ability to precisely control the temperatures during fermentation, but the way I did it cost me about $60 on top of the cost of the chest freezer.  I found my 7 cubic ft chest freezer on Craigslist for about $125 it was only 1 year old and the people that owned it had to get rid of it because they where moving.  To control the temps I bought a Johnson temperature controller from Amazon for about $60, I sure wish I had seen this Instructable project back when I was considering this purchase it might have saved me $40.

The project neatly integrated the temperature control unit into the body of the chest freezer, and it is a different style than the one I used but it is cheaper and a cleaner finished project than mine turned out to be.

Monday, December 12, 2011

500 Actual Posts!

So time for me to revel in some sort of a personal accomplishment here.

This dear reader will be my 500th post!  I thought I had passed it before, but that is because the new blogger interface is kind of confusing.   The short story is that I had 500 posts and drafts the last time, now it is 500 honest to goodness posts here on this bloggy blog.

Next up for reveling, I recently-ish passed my 100th follower.  Trish ish I think was number 100 so here's a shout out to her blog.  I trying to get through the back catalogue of her blog to catch up on what's going on.

And finally things are shaping up to look like another rhymes with Froogle Madsense check coming my way so thanks to everyone that comes by and tolerates the things I choose to write about!  Also, I was reviewing my "labels" I saw that I have one for Mudkips.  I find that hilarious.

That is all.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sugar High

So this is a little old but I have to clear out these gd drafts that haunt me.  Gizmodo posted a gallary of images for keeping your sugar high going.  One called to me with the power of a thousand fat kids.  I give to you:

I know what your thinking, my arteries screamed out for mercy too, but damn it I love me some mini-doughnuts.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Karate, appropriate anytime

If you don't get why this is so damn hilarious, well you have no sense of humor.

International version hopefully

Band of Skulls - The Devil Takes Care of His Own (Official Video) from Vagrant Records on Vimeo.

international version 2

Band Of Skulls - The Devil Takes Care of His Own by BangOn

Rocket Stove

I'm not much of an "outdoors" type, but this project on how to build a rocket stove piqued my interest because I recently finished my keg of IPA and will need to brew again in the near(ish) future if I want any more beer and buying Propane is annoying. My trouble is that I frequently need a second pot of water getting hot, or staying hot for some of the silliness I've been working on while brewing. When I try to do large batches of grain I have to take all sorts of steps to ensure I don't waste leftover sugar that is in my grains. My thought is I could build a medium size one of these and use just a little bit of kindling to keep the second pot hot for when I need it.

This project (video below) is for a fairly small and compact version, mine would likely be a bit larger in finished form but the principles of  the design are very similar as you scale up.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Cider Syrup update

After I wrote about it the other day, I decided to try my hand at making cider syrup.  The first lesson I learned is that you don't have to be afraid of applying heat, I had it at a fairly low boil and after an hour it was not even reduced by half.  After turning it up and letting it get to a rolling boil things progressed faster, but it still took me about 3.5 hours to get 1.75 gallons reduced.  I ended with more than 32oz of syrup so I'm only at 1/8 or so.  It's a little runny, very sweet and packs a heck of an apple punch.

And now for some strange boiling pictures.

In the first picture, if your crazy like me you will see a huge monster mouth, and see that this pot was really full when I started.  (this is a perspective shot)

Now you cannot see anything because the damn pot is boiling and steam is hard to see through.

Finally you will see the end product, the reduced cider cooling down so I could pour it into something and not burn the F#ck out of my hand.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Pointless but entertaining.

And it comes to be

And it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel is just a freight train coming your way....

Metallica and in particular James this is the way I choose to remember you.

A hopefully working international version

Metallica - No Leaf Clover by metallica

If not another one for good measure

Metallica - No Leaf Clover from mert ataol on Vimeo.

Cider is bubbling away still

From humble beginnings I started this little cider journey I'm on.

But a heavy hand with the acid blend gave me a cider that was still.

Patience, planning and hard work paid off and you can now see the milky and cloudy color as evidence the yeast is working away.

I've been a bit of a lazy blogger and not getting pictures as I go, so here you go, pictures of my cider in process. It's been bubbling away pretty actively so it may be several weeks before it's ready for the bottle. From the one gravity reading that I took of 1.071 on just the raw juice, and I was 1.066 or more on the brown sugar water the final product will be in the range of 7-9%abv. The first gallon of brown sugar water I measured really nicely by weight and after that things got a little loose.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dual temperature logger

So I updated my poor neglected Project blog with one of the things I'm thinking of working on.  This is really just a post to let you know you can read it over here.

I don't know if I'm going to post often over there or not, the posts there tend to be really iceberg type of posts. What I write only encompasses 3% of the work I'm talking about undertaking, so they become huge time sucks as I work on finishing what I talk about starting or actually start.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Puppet movie

This looks kind of creepy and pretty interesting.

The Narrative of Victor Karloch [Official Trailer] from Kevin McTurk on Vimeo.

Also, I'm sorry.  You'll know why.

Homebrew with your kids

A while ago Lifehacker posted an article that really makes me excited for the future when my son is older.  The thrust of the article is that by taking away the mystery of alcohol you can help destroy some of that allure that draws kids to start drinking.  If their attitude is, "hey that's just a crappy version of the stuff my dad makes" they won't be trying it in unmonitored situations.

My hope is that I can give some sanity to my son, I know that I never really had a problem with underage drinking and where I lived the attitude was pretty relaxed.  The parents didn't encourage us or buy it, but we had a safe place to be and no one was allowed to leave if they drank so we didn't get into situations with driving.  Personally I really only got "drunk" maybe 2 or 3 times in all of High School, and it wasn't really a big part of my friends agenda.  I'm not saying we didn't play cards and drink beer or booze, but almost never was it a blackout fest or do stupid shit.  Just that we did it for the most part sober.   I think that the group of kids that was 4-8 years older than us partied so hard, we didn't want to end up like them so we where all pretty mellow.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Weekend

I'm not sure who to blame for this artist being in my head, but I call this artist the writer of "cheater anthems".  Seriously I don't think there is a single song I have listened to that is about being faithful to someone, so enjoy if that is your thing.

The Weeknd - The Knowing (Official Video) from xoxxxoooxo on Vimeo.

1.5 mile wifi booster

This sounds a little like snake oil, but I'll bite Engadget posted a link to a Wi-fi range extender.  The claim is that is can boost the signal up to 1.5 miles!!!!  For the price of $180 I'm inclined to give it a whirl (Though from my understanding of wireless you would need one on both ends of the connection to make this work).  My parents have a few acres and the shop that is far enough from the house that it doesn't get signal from their access point in the house.  I had considered a number of solutions for this, but the one that was the least work was burying some fiber in a conduit and getting 2 fiber to copper adapters (I am actually qualified to terminate fiber so this is less insane than it might sound).  Wireless would be a hell of a lot less work, but something about this makes me not believe it will work.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Chris Brown Parody anybody?

I'll just leave this right here....

Airlock monitoring project

So hack-a-day had a project up that perked my ears right up the Airlock monitoring project will measure the frequency of the bubbles in your airlock so you don't have to check so frequently on your fermentation.  This project combines 2 things I love electronics and beer!

There are two parts an optical sensor that measures the passing of a bubble and a pressure sensor.  I don't think the pressure sensor is all that useful, so the optical sensor should be sufficient for the purposes that I envision.  No just need to scrounge up some free time.

Oh shit! it's alive

Don't count the kid out yet!  I came home to the glorious sound of my airlock bubbling away, I got anxious in the rapid cell growth phase and was going to dump out the cider when I got home!  Turns out the stuff took off and is happily bubbling away at about 13 bubbles a minute or one every 4-5 seconds.  This is pretty good and solid fermentation.  It was probably both lowering the PH (even only slightly) with brown sugar water, and adding a hardier yeast.  The champagne yeast is a higher attenuating yeast tolerant of up to 18% abv, and grapes are naturally somewhat acidic anyway.  I started this little experiment with some Nottingham ale yeast, that attenuates to about 8% abv, but I was hoping for some more complexity than the champagne gave me last time.

This batch is out there and may not be the most drinkable thing I've ever made, but damn it the yeast lives and that just makes me smile so hard right now!  I had been researching additives that would lower the PH, and found calcium carbonate and potassium carbonate are relatively cheap ~$5 and used to balance highly acid grapes, the brewstore guy warned me that the calcium carbonate would add an earthy flavor to the finished product.  I bought some, but when I got home and heard the fermenters bubbling I could hardly stop smiling.

So the good news, I didn't freak out when it wasn't working and kept the process clean, sanitizing things as I went.  There is a really good chance that this batch will turn out as good as it is able to because I was levelheaded in my dealing with a bad situation, and sometimes a funky brew is fun.  If it is as sour as I think it is, and attenuates all the way it could be in the 8% range it will be like a sour kick in the face for drinking.  Champagne yeast ferments with a dry finish, so sour with a dry finish might work out to be kind of fun.  Good thing I only have 8 gallons of the stuff to play with.  Maybe I'll get freaky and brew something else to blend it with, I have all that pumpkin in the freezer that needs to be used for something or even open up some of the cider from last year and blend them.  Aged with young and sour?

In all it was a fantastic day, the boy only screamed at me for like 45 minutes, and Tuesday night I got to sleep for about 9 hours uninterrupted (love you honey), minus the stupid truck needing to get repaired (yeah I didn't need those $120 dollars any way right? sob.)