Noisy ASCO valves

homebrewing — commander flatus @ 7:54 pm January 29, 2012
Is anyone else experiencing this? I’m a little concerned something may be wrong.
Thanks.

Online/cloud financial software with sync…

tech — commander flatus @ 2:40 pm January 17, 2012

In 2012 we ought to be able to do this:

iPhone/Android financial software + Cloud platform for entering transactions from desktop computers anywhere. Why can’t we? Let’s review the contenders:

Mint.com – I still cannot figure out how to enter transactions and get them to consistently reconcile correctly. Anybody know how to? Feel free to post below. Otherwise, it’s a lovely platform to keep track of things.

Clearcheckbook.com – They have a great online interface, support import/export in a variety of formats, but their iPhone client is garbage – very crashy and unstable. Look at the app rating – two stars at the time of this writing. I’ve also used their Android app and it’s a bit better. Overall, the whole platform is usable on Android, but unusable on iPhone.

iReconcile – This is what I’m currently using, but the online interface is SLOOOOOOOW. Lacks import/export features. No support for your memorized transactions on the iPhone via the web interface. Clunky (and again, SLOOOOOOOW interface).

Also (added later) – toshl.com – tracks expenses, but can’t split things up into accounts (weird).

Loyal reader (singular) what are you using?

Sports: Saints figure out how to turn the ball over while on defense

stupid — commander flatus @ 4:39 am January 15, 2012

Exploiting a little-known NFL rule, they hope to increase future turnovers by focusing on all 3 phases of the game.

Quick review: Bazooka Screens and their ilk

homebrewing — commander flatus @ 8:28 pm January 12, 2012

Recently purchased this. Short version is that it works, but it gets clogged when using it in the boiler. I have not tried it in the mash tun.

Long version is that for beers with highly-converted malts and low/no adjuncts and (probably leaf hops) it performs well. For adjuncts, less converted malts, and pellet hops, it has to constantly be scraped off with a spoon or paddle.

Previously, I just ran from a 1/2″ NPT nipple to a 90 degree elbow in the pot and just used a stainless scrubber/sponge stuck on the nipple to strain. This is cheaper, but can still clog.

I remain unsure of the proper answer. I really don’t want to spend the time and energy and (lotsa) money to setup some kind of whirlpool. However, when the kettle gets stuck and the wort is coming out of the counter-flow slowly life sucks.

Anybody have a cheap and easy setup that works?

Recipe review: Trappist Crappist

homebrewing — commander flatus @ 9:09 pm January 2, 2012
I based this off of a reciped found here. With the exception of software screwups (I usually brew 10 gallon batches and wasn’t paying attention to the volumes I was being handed…)
Tasting notes will follow.
Batch 1 of Trappist Crappist
Dates
Date Brewed: 1 Jan 2012 Date Racked: 1 Jan 2012
Date Packaged: 1 Jan 2012 Date Ready: 1 Jan 2012
Selected Style and BJCP Guidelines

18B-Belgian Strong Ale-Belgian Dubbel

Minimum OG: 1.062 SG Maximum OG: 1.075 SG
Minimum FG: 1.008 SG Maximum FG: 1.018 SG
Minimum IBU: 15 IBU Maximum IBU: 25 IBU
Minimum Color: 10.0 SRM Maximum Color: 17.0 SRM
Recipe Overview
Target Wort Volume Before Boil: 24.30 qts Actual Wort Volume Before Boil: 24.30 qts
Target Wort Volume After Boil: 21.13 qts Actual Wort Volume After Boil: 21.13 qts
Target Volume Transferred: 21.13 qts Actual Volume Transferred: 21.13 qts
Target Volume At Pitching: 21.13 qts Actual Volume At Pitching: 21.13 qts
Target Volume Of Finished Beer: 20.08 qts Actual Volume Of Finished Beer: 20.08 qts
Target Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.064 SG Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: -No Record-
Target OG: 1.074 SG Actual OG: -No Record-
Target FG: 1.010 SG Actual FG: -No Record-
Target Apparent Attenuation:: 85.5 % Actual Apparent Attenuation: 0.0 %
Target ABV: 8.5 % Actual ABV: 0.0 %
Target ABW: 6.7 % Actual ABW: 0.0 %
Target IBU (using Tinseth): 19.0 IBU Actual IBU: 33.9 IBU
Target Color (using Morey): 37.8 SRM Actual Color: 37.8 SRM
Target Mash Efficiency: 65.0 % Actual Mash Efficiency: 0.0 %
Target Fermentation Temp: 64 degF Actual Fermentation Temp: 64 degF
Fermentables
Ingredient Amount % MCU When
US Pilsen Malt 12.00 lb 73.8 % 2.3 In Mash/Steeped
German CaraMunich I 2.00 lb 12.3 % 13.2 In Mash/Steeped
Sugar – Candi Sugar Dark 1.00 lb 6.2 % 52.1 In Mash/Steeped
Belgian Special B 1.00 lb 6.2 % 27.8 In Mash/Steeped
German Carafa I 0.25 lb 1.5 % 15.9 In Mash/Steeped
Hops
Variety Alpha Amount IBU Form When
Slovenian Styrian Goldings 4.5 % 1.00 oz 12.9 Bagged Pellet Hops 60 Min From End
German Hallertauer Hersbrucker 3.5 % 1.00 oz 6.1 Bagged Pellet Hops 20 Min From End
Other Ingredients
Ingredient Amount When
Yeast

White Labs WLP550-Belgian Ale

Water Profile
Target Profile: No Water Profile Chosen
Mash pH: 5.2
pH Adjusted with: Unadjusted

Total Calcium (ppm): 0 Total Magnesium (ppm): 0
Total Sodium (ppm): 0 Total Sulfate (ppm): 0
Total Chloride(ppm): 0 Total Bicarbonate (ppm): 0
Mash Schedule
Mash Type: Full Mash
Schedule Name: CAP (50-66C/122-149F)

Step Type Temperature Duration
Rest at 122 degF 15
Raise by infusion to 151 degF 1
Rest at 151 degF 60
Mash Notes
Boil Notes
Fermentation Notes
Packaging Notes
Tasting Notes

Reviews: BeerAlchemy and BeerAlchemy Touch

homebrewing — commander flatus @ 8:13 pm January 2, 2012

I recently switched back to an iPhone from Androids. Why did I switch? Crappy battery life. That’s another story for another day. Around the same time, my Dell laptop (which was only a year old) crapped out, so I bought a Mac. I had previously had a Mac but sticker shock drove me away. Anyhoo – I had been using BeerSmith (which is great) but found myself wanting for some OSX brewing software love.

Beer Alchemy has been all the talk lately, so I gave it a whirl. It has the distinct advantage of having an iOS app that can sync with the desktop version (or work on its own). The price is a bit steep at $29.95. It has the usual feature set – nice builtin ingredients list, mash profiles, etc. One thing that BeerSmith has that Beer Alchemy lacks is builting equipment profiles (dead space, thermal mass, etc.).

Clearly, the sync feature is great. The iOS application is very full featured with lots of builtin calculators for refractometer calculations, ABV, etc. One thing that’s maddening about the iOS version is that adjustments of recipe parameters (IBU, OG, SRM) are all done with slider bars in the software. This makes it very difficult to get it set to the exact number you want. Also, it lacks a builtin countdown timer which I think would be an awesome addition (and one that I believe some Android brewing software has).

Also – note to others – if you’ve not used brewing software recently, make sure that the volumes that it’s feeding you for your recipe are accurate for your equipment.

I learned this the hard way yesterday when I (ahem) made 3 gallons of dubbel.

Fortunately, topping up with water still got me close to my intended OG.

Would I recommend the software? Yes. Major limitations I’ve hit are above and workable.

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