Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Going to Bat

I won't make any comments about either his service in the US military or the rest of his congressional record, but John McCain is sort of my hero this second. It's dull to watch for sure, but he introduced legislation to force cable companies and network operators to offer a la carte programming (choose just the channels you want) and prevent local market sports blackouts when the venue or team publicly funded. Both of these things are awesome, and chances of passing are about nill. The third point of the legislation should sound like an awesome victory for the startup Aero.

Source: The verge

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Blackberry Wheat and Hopville goes down

A few weeks ago I finally managed to get back on the brewing horse and get a beer done. It's in the barrel soaking up some oak, and that sadly means I need to start dreaming about the next batch to put in the damn thing. For the curious until May 6th you can see the recipe here on Hopville.

I'm starting to think I need a bigger primary fermenter as the nearly 6.5 gallon barrel requires just a tad bit more beer than I can fit in the space my bucket provides. So far I've been managing that by using my 3 gallon glass fermenter to hold the excess needed to top up the barrel, but it's introduced lots of racking to my process. For normal beers that's probably fine, but when you brew weird beers with fruit and other crap that plug up racking lines it's less fine. When you do have all that crap and want to filter some of it out...it's a lot less fine. I have an idea for how to do a great job filtering out stuff, but it would mean putting everything into a second vessel before transferring it into the barrel; racking is stressful enough without introducing an extra resting stop. I'm pretty sure I managed to get way too much oxygen into it the way I went about it this time so I'm probably going to revisit the intermediary filter vessel.

Shit like this makes me want a conical fermenter, even though it wouldn't take care of the the floating fruit conundrum. Maybe a conical with a false bottom? It would catch the largest particulate, but the meshing would have to be pretty fine to make the whole thing work. Oh equipment, you are a never ending conundrum.

To my next point, Hopville. So recently Hopville got purchased by another company, which makes me a bit sad as I've been using it as my recipe storage and brew process assistant. It looks like the new company BrewToad is going to be a good steward, and I have hope that their recipe manager will be an improvement over the buggy beta limbo Hopville has been trapped in for the 8 months or so. It did inspire me to checkout other pieces of software again. Hopville had been a relatively painless way of managing stuff, and my short trial of beersmith was around the same time I started brewing so I found the process cloying as a novice brewer. It asked for a lot of information to even get started, and on the whole wasn't how I wanted to spend my limited amount of hobby hours. I'm tempted to give the Beersmith 2 android app a try though. It looked kind of slick for brew day, as each step had a timer you could hit start on to help keep track of time.