Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Now I'm in the mood to brew something else...

Mead, the drink of Vikings, comes out of the Dark Ages and into America

This has me thinking of brewing a cyser, but the Mrs. would probably string me up if another bubbling carboy showed up around the house.

Chris Matthews: Why Doesn't Obama Just Release The Birth Certificate?

Chris Matthews: Why Doesn't Obama Just Release The Birth Certificate?

2 reasons come to mind. First and foremost, the Birthers are right; Obama is a foreign national here in the US illegally. Obama won't release a document that would get him sent to Gitmo. The second, and probably more likely, reason is that His Royal O-ness just can't stand the idea of people challenging him. Don't they know that he's simply beyond such pedestrian concerns? How dare this rabble question The One?!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Privacy and "The Cloud"

Katherine Noyes has a round up of blogosphere responses to Richard Stallman's comments to The Guardian regarding privacy and "cloud" storage. Stallman's Cloudburst: Prudence or Paranoia? details responses from Oh-Stallman-is-overreacting-again to "He's absolutely right,". Personally, I think that the bearded, blind squirrel has found a nut.

Google's ChromeOS is the object of Stallman's ire this time. The system minimizes local storage in favor of "cloud" storage. This is OK if you want to access data from multiple machines and if you pay attention to what you're tossing out into the aether. Putting Granny's oatmeal raisin cookie recipe on "the cloud" is one thing, but your tax records are quite another.

"Cloud" storage is well known to those working in a Windows Server environment; even if they're unaware that it's happening. Do you work in an office where your "My Documents" folder is there no matter which computer you use? It's there because the folder is stored on your company's server, not on the local hard drive the way it is on your home computer. This little, local "cloud" is OK for company data because it's only available in-house. No one from outside the company can see it. (Assuming, of course, no security farts from Redmond!) However, if you've been keeping a diary of what you really think about your boss in My Documents, that file is probably visible to your boss. Do you see now how "cloud" storage can be bad?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Most vigorous fermentation ever!

That batch of the American Stout was minutes from blowing its top this evening. The bubbler had filled with yeast and had turned from bubbler to cork. It's now clean and refilled with a little Jack Daniels.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

...and a happy brew year!

It's brew day again. This time I brewed an American stout. "Ol' Curmudgeon" looks like this...

Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU     
11.25 lb      Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)            Grain        81.82 %      
0.75 lb       Roasted Barley (700.0 SRM)                Grain        5.46 %       
0.50 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)     Grain        3.64 %       
0.50 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)     Grain        3.64 %       
0.50 lb       Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)                Grain        3.64 %       
0.25 lb       Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)           Grain        1.82 %       
1.00 oz       Warrior [17.20 %]  (60 min)               Hops         53.2 IBU     
0.50 oz       Chinook [10.60 %]  (30 min)               Hops         12.6 IBU     
0.50 oz       Amarillo Gold [7.40 %]  (30 min)          Hops         8.8 IBU      
0.50 oz       Amarillo Gold [7.40 %]  (0 min)           Hops          -           
0.50 oz       Chinook [10.60 %]  (0 min)                Hops          -                                  
8.00 gm       Baking Soda (Mash 60.0 min)               Misc                      
14.00 gm      Chalk (Mash 60.0 min)                     Misc                      
8.50 gal      Los Angeles, CA (West)                    Water                     
1 Pkgs        American Ale II (Wyeast Labs #1272) [StartYeast-Ale]
This was pitched onto the yeast cake from "Pooh II". Pooh II, by the way, looks like an improvement over the last batch. I was able to maintain much better temperature control this time. (Despite a few 80° days!) It also looks closer to the color I had in mind. This stout, on the other hand, will be as black as the ace of spades.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Is it wrong...

Is it wrong to drink scotch while you're brewing beer?

It's Brew Night again

It's cooled off here in So. Cal. so it's time to brew. I've been putting this off for weeks now. Every time I think of brewing, it's gotten hot this fall. Now I think that it's finally winter. (I really need to invest in a 'fridge; however, She Who Must Be Obeyed frowns upon the notion.)

Tonight's brew is an improved version of Pooh's Blustery Ale. I am tweaking the recipe with Simcoe and Amarillo instead of using just Chinook. I wanted more of a citrusy (Is that a word?) character. I've also added a little lactic acid to the water for a light color. If I've done this right, the SRM color should be ~5...


Which looks more Pooh-ish to me. My last two shots at this recipe were darker than I wanted. I also messed up the water salts. I'm using a spreadsheet from John Palmer this time to set the amounts as well as the acid amount.

The grain bill is unchanged. The hops are now ½ oz. of Chinook for 75min., ½ oz. of Simcoe for 30min., and 1 oz. of Amarillo at knock out. I've also bumped up the honey to 1¼ pounds.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Space Madness!!!

The Mystery Missile, which was really a jet's contrail, was caught by a weather satellite...

The "missile" was really an eastbound flight coming up over the horizon toward observers in the L.A. area. The blue arrow above shows the contrail. Note that it is fatter on its west end and narrower the further east it goes. Obviously, the source of the trail is moving from west to east, not east to west as some missile maniacs would have you believe.

In this view...

You can see far more twisting and distortion at the "base" of the "plume" than would be seen from a missile. The trail at the bottom of the image could not have been left seconds earlier, as would be the case for a rocket motor. It was laid down minutes earlier and upper level winds have had time to blow it around. We see this with jet contrails, not rocket motor exhaust. Also, the "plume" never got out of the reddened light of the sunset. Missile plumes get bluer as the rocket gets out of the light of the sunset.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

It gets worse for Democrats

The Washington Post reports that, as a result of the Party's strong performance in State legislative contests, the GOP can draw nearly half of new House districts. The 2010 census numbers translate into new Congressional district boundaries next year, after new legislatures have been seated. The GOP dominates far more State legislatures and Governorships than ever before. Making things worse is the passage of Prop. 20 here in CA. This proposition takes the redistricting process out of the hands of the Democrat dominated legislature and puts a non-partisan commission in charge. The Dems won't be able to Gerrymander districts like they did in 2001.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Reid won, but who lost?

Fox News is projecting that Harry Reid has beaten Sharron Angle in Nevada. But who's the real loser? Why none other than Chuckles Schumer! I'm sure that Chuckles was measuring Reid's office for new drapes, but those plans may be dashed. Also dashed are any hopes Chuckles had for advancing new anti-gun laws as Senate Majority Leader.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Redcloak's California Voter Guide - Senate

U.S. Senate: Carly Fiorina

What can one say about Barbara Boxer's long term of service in the Senate? Pretty much nothing. She's kept the dust bunnies off of her chair, but that's about it. She's been a big nothing; a waste of space; a zero.

Redcloak's California Voter Guide - Statewide offices

Governor: Meg Whitman

I'm old enough to remember Jerry Brown's first turn at the wheel... Never again!

Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom

No, I haven't been smoking crack. Abel Maldonado is a whore. He's one of a handful of Republicans who helped to pass the largest tax increase in American history. While the rest of the GOP in Sacramento stood firm against the tax increase, Maldonado sold us out. (If you just can't bring yourself to vote for "Any Threesome" Newsom, vote for the Libertarian candidate, Pamela Brown.)

Secretary of State: Damon Dunn

Controller: Tony Strickland

Treasurer: Mimi Walters

Attorney General: Steve Cooley

Kamala Harris is an anti-gun wingnut. Cooley isn't all that friendly to gun owners, but he isn't openly hostile.

Insurance Commissioner: Dave Jones

As with Abel Maldonado, Mike Villines is a whore. He's another Republican turncoat who voted for the largest tax increase in US history. (And if you can't stomach voting for a Democrat, vote for Libertarian Richard Bronstein.)

Redcloak's California Voter Guide - The Propositions

OK... So it's been a while. I hope, however, that you will find this worth the wait.

Some of these are no-brainers and some will require some explanation. But first, a few general rules...
  • Rule 1: A tax increase or bond measure, no matter its supposed purpose, gets a NO vote. We're all taxed more than enough and the State already has plenty of our money to wallow in. Two corollaries to this: Anything that makes it harder for the whores in Sacramento raise our taxes gets a YES vote. Anything that makes it easier to raise our taxes gets a NO vote.
  • Rule 2: Any tax cut, no matter who benefits, gets a YES vote. Taking money away from the whores in Sacramento is a good thing, even if your tax liability doesn't change.
The Propositions

19 "Legalize it!" YES

Your opinion of recreational drug use isn't what's at question here. The real question is whether or not the State should continue to participate in the Nation's failed drug war; but only with regard to marijuana.

The Drug War is a failure, pure and simple, and we all suffer as a result. Do you feel safer having to obtain permission to purchase decongestants? How many times have you read of botched drug raids that ended in the deaths of innocent, law abiding citizens? And what have we gained by surrendering our freedoms and safety? Nothing. Drug use continues unabated. Let's at least get the State out of the marijuana prohibition business.

20 Redistricting YES

You simply cannot trust elected officials to draw their own district boundaries. This has never been true in the American experience. The 200-year old term "Gerrymandering" is taken from the name of a politician, Elbridge Gerry. Today, some California Congressional districts make for stranger beasts than any Gerry may have envisioned.

21 Save the parks or Bambi, or some such line of bull crap NO

It's a tax increase. See rule 1 above.

22 Prevent raiding of local funds by Sacramento YES

This is kinda like a rule 2 situation. Keeping Sacramento's dirty fingers out of the cookie jar is a good thing.

23 Suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Suicide Pact. YES!!

This is the most important proposition on the ballot and a no-brainer. Religious fanatics in Sacramento expect the rest of us to present ourselves a sacrifices to their goddess Gaia. AB 32 would crush the State's economy. It kills jobs. It hurts people. And for what? The myth of Man-made Global Warming. While it would be better to repeal AB 32 altogether, at least this gets the razor a little further from our wrists.

24 Increase taxes on businesses NO

See rule 1 or rule 2 above. Sacramento, in an inexplicable fit of sensibility, cut taxes for some businesses in the State, helping to save or create jobs. The public employee unions want those taxes reinstated. Call it saving a tax cut or preventing a tax increase, but the effect is the same. By keeping your boss from getting screwed, you save your own job.

25 "Balanced" budgets NO

The flaw with this proposition is that it makes it easier for the whores in Sacramento to spend our money. It now takes a 2/3 majority to pass a budget. The whores love to pork up the budget with all manner of give-aways to their whore-mongering friends in the public employee unions and other special interests. When they try this, it becomes harder to get 2/3 of their members to go along. Getting 1/2 to bend over is a much easier task.

26 2/3 vote to raise "fees" YES

"Fee" increases are the latest way the whores in Sacramento have of sneaking around Prop. 13's 2/3 vote requirement to raise taxes.

27 Let the whores in Sacramento draw their own district boundaries NO

Does this really require an explanation? See Prop. 20 above.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Useless but hysterical...

I just noticed that YouTube has added a new control to their viewer. There's now a little soccer ball on the control panel. Click it and you get droning vuvulzelas added to the video's soundtrack.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Per existing California law...
834b. (a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.
(b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following:
(1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status.
(2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States.
(3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.
(c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.

So it looks like Arizona was merely copying their trend-setting neighbor to the west. What's next Gov. Brewer? A bill to change the Suns' colors to purple and gold?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is it asking too much?

Could Mr. Holder do just a little reading before he shoots his mouth off?

It's a quick read.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

It's official... I quit

...quit the GOP that is.

I'm looking at this sorry crop of candidates we get to choose from here in California and I decided that I don't want to be part of the aforementioned "we". They're a bunch of RINOs all claiming to be the most conservative candidate in the room. Whitman is Aaaahnold in drag. Poizner? I didn't even know that he was a Republican until a few weeks ago. I kid you not: I thought that he was a Democrat! Would a "conservative" give money to John Kerry and Algore?!? Fiorina? Didn't she support Barbara Boxer last time around?

In Sacramento, the biggest tax increase in US history passed because a Republican governor and a few GOP turncoats in the legislature wanted it. Now that governor wants one of these tax hiking stooges as the new lt. governor.

So that's it... No more.

I've been a Republican since I turned 18. Back then, the word "Republican" had a face...

Where did that party go? Where is that GOP now?! Reagan was once a Democrat. He said that he didn't quit the party, the party quit him.

So, perhaps I didn't quit after all...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Brother, can you spare a dime...

Perhaps Obama can part with a little BP Bling to help clean up his mess in the Gulf of Mexico.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Algore's new digs

HotAirPundit reports on Algore's new digs. It seems that St. Al the Warm has entered the California real estate market in a big way... a $9,000,000 way. Nearby Santa Barbara has a very nice airport that should be more than adequate for Al's private jet.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

That strong ale... stronger!

The latest batch of my strong ale tips the scales at 8.5% ABV. It's still hoppy and sweet; a good balance.

Upgrading to Lucid Lynx

I've been using Kubuntu for quite a while now. The latest long term support release is 10.04, Lucid Lynx. I just let the automagical update do its thing and updated my box. It went without a hitch, for the most part. I did have one small problem with Thunderbird, however.

When I tried to start Thunderbird, I got an error saying that "Thunderbird is already running...". Of course, it wasn't. The problem seems to be when the update process tries to set up a new profile rather than using an old one. The old profile gets stored as /.thunderbird.upstream. A new /thunderbird sub-directory is made, but the profile.ini file in mine referred to the old profile that now resides in /.thunderbird.upstream. The problem was fixed by copying the old profile directory into the new /.thunderbird directory.

This is the only glitch I've had thus far.

By the way, I really like what I'm seeing in the latest T-bird.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

You know...

...this used to be a political blog.

Perhaps the beer is a manifestation of my libertarian streak!

Taste test

OK... The Pooh's Blustery Ale has been kegged and under CO2 for 4 days. It's pretty good! I'm trying it out a little too warm, but the flavor's very good. More malt-forward than my previous beers; ~45 IBUs. It still has a lot of residual sweetness despite fermenting out to 1.005 (O.G. was 1.056.) Some honey bite to it as well and the color is where I wanted it; Pooh-bear colored.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Two beers in secondary

I've never had this before: Two beers in secondary fermentation...

On the left is the Pooh's Blustery Ale and on the right is the Strong American Ale

There's just under 5 gallons here...

...and roughly 6 here!

I'm gonna need another keg!

Friday, March 19, 2010

I like this...

I pitched that AB clone onto the yeast cake from the Blustery Ale and it's taking off like a rocket! I pitched it about 45 minutes ago and the airlock's already bubbling. Another plus, I only end up cleaning the primary fermentor half as often this way. Ditto for the secondary.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another brew night!

Pooh's Blustery Ale has been racked off to the secondary and now a second batch of that AB clone, in this case "A Modest Strong Ale", is bubbling away on the stove. The Blustery Ale does smell like honey, so that little twist seems to have worked.

The dogs really love it when I brew beer. My wife takes the spent grain and make dog biscuits with it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pooh's Blustery Ale

Odd how the mind wanders about some days...
"If there's a buzzing-noise, somebody's making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee."

Then he thought another long time, and said: "And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey."
And then he got up, and said: "And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it." So he began to climb the tree.
OK... So I really like that strong American ale I made about a month ago. I want to make another batch, but part of the "secret sauce" is the ginormous starter I pitched the beer onto. Last time, I used an unhopped wort from DME to make a big starter. I racked off the resulting unhopped beer and I set aside about a gallon in a vented jar. I poured a little vinegar with live acetobacter in it and now it's turning into malt vinegar. I don't need another gallon of the stuff, so why not make an actual beer instead?!

So today's recipe started out as an excuse to grow some more Wyeast 1272 American Ale II yeast. However, I also got a hanckering to make a pale ale. Thus far I've been making darker beers; nothing really appropriate for summer. So I decided to make an American Pale Ale with a twist. I decided to add some honey for a bit of spice and aroma. This is a recipe that's come straight outta my own oddyknocky. If it doesn't pan out, I have no one to blame but myself!

So today's brew day and I wake up to the sound of the wind blowing. What goes thought my mind? The phrase "Blustery day"; an occupational hazard of being a parent I suppose. So what comes next? Well, it's a blustery day and I'm making a golden bear colored yellow ale with honey in it. This must be "Pooh's Blustery Ale".

From Beersmith...
Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Size: 6.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.057 SG
Estimated Color: 5.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 44.5 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU
8.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 78.05 %
0.75 lb Honey Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 7.32 %
0.50 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 4.88 %
0.75 oz Chinook [13.00 %] (60 min) Hops 35.4 IBU
0.25 oz Chinook [13.00 %] (30 min) Hops 9.1 IBU
0.25 oz Willamette [5.50 %] (0 min) Hops -
0.25 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
1.00 lb Honey (1.0 SRM) Sugar 9.76 %
(Added at the end of the boil)

1 Pkgs American Ale II (Wyeast Labs #1272) Yeast-Ale

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 9.25 lb
Single Infusion, Light Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
75 min Mash In Add 11.56 qt of water at 164.9 F 150.0 F
10 min Mash Out Add 7.40 qt of water at 201.6 F 168.0 F

I've been writing this as I go. The software predicted the mash temperatures very closely. I like this program. I've been trying out Promash, but I think that I like Beersmith better. For those of you using Linux, Beersmith, like Promash, runs well under Wine.

An addendum: Beersmith also nailed the estimated starting gravity. The estimate was 1.057; I measured 1.056. I can't be sure with all of the foam kicked up in the fermentor, but it also looks like the program nailed the post-boil volume as well.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Wow... That keg's almost empty!

I didn't think that I could go through that much beer so quickly!

I just bottled some of that AB clone using a homemade beer gun; about 2½ 6-packs worth. I picked up the keg and it almost flew out of my hands. I guess it's time to make more!

The beer was well received at last Sunday's meeting of the Maltose Falcons. I used Wyeast 1272 American Ale II which doesn't attenuate as much as the dry English ale yeasts that most people seem to use for a beer like this. I ended up with a beer with more residual sweetness that played well with the hoppiness of all that Chinook.

Have I mentioned how cool this is having beer on tap? OK... I may have.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Beer on tap...

OK... It's only been 24 20 hours, but I really like the way that beer turned out. And did I mention how cool this is having beer on tap?

Friday, March 05, 2010

Kegging time

And by that title, you ought to be able to guess that I took the plunge and bought kegging gear.

I took that AB(-ish) clone and racked it off into the keg. There's roughly 4.5 gallons. I'm playing a trick that I read about to speed things up a bit. I've got the keg on its side and I'm shacking it until it stops loudly taking gas. This exposes more of the beer's surface area to the gas and speeds up absorption. The ideal keg, from a carbonation standpoint, would be one that's very broad and shallow such that a thin film of beer would cover the bottom. In that case, all of the beer would be exposed to the gas. In a real keg, however, the beer at the bottom of the keg is, in essence, protected from the gas by what's on top.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm an engineer?

If I do this right, the beer should be ready to go by Sunday.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mmmmm... Beer.

That AB clone is turning out nice. I just transfered it to the secondary. The ABV is ~7%, the color is good, and the balance of hops and sweetness is good...

I know... AB isn't really an all-Chinook recipe. But I had a freezer full of the little lovelies from my over achieving plant.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

And now, let's get back to the beer

Enough mocking the Church of Warmingtology... Let's talk about beer! (OK... so the COW will have a cow over my CO2 footprint, but that can't be helped.)

After way too long a pause, I've started another batch of homebrew. This time I'm going for an American Strong Ale (an Arrogant Bastard clone). Tonight, I got the yeast started and I plan to pitch the brew onto that yeast cake this weekend. I brewed up a gallon and a half of unhopped wort to get the wee yeasties going. After I rack off the liquid, I may try my hand at making a malt vinegar. The recipe I'm using is...
  • Grain
    • 12 lb. two-row malt
    • 1.25 lb. Crystal (120L)
    • .75 lb DME (I added this when the SG didn't end up as high as I wanted)
  • Hops
    • 1.5 Oz. Chinook (whole), 60 min.
    • 1.0 Oz. Chinook (whole), 30 min.
    • 1.0 Oz. Chinook (whole), flame out (I added a wee bit more that was left in the bag.)
  • Irish moss at 15 min.


This week, the gurus of glorrible warming were forced to cancel a hearing before a U.S. Senate committee due to "inclement weather"...

UPDATE: The following Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearings have been postponed due to inclement weather this week:

- The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife, will hold a hearing entitled, "Collaborative Solutions to Wildlife and Habitat Management."

- The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing entitled, "Global Warming Impacts, Including Public Health, in the United States."

(Yes, I bolded that last part.)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

This makes no sense...

Sure, the Dems have wished for decades to impose universal health care. Each of them since Franklin Roosevelt has recognized that they'd have every American by the short and curlies if they could just pull this off. Obama is no different. He says that he's not giving up on health reform; even after the drubbings the Party has taken in elections where Republicans made health care an, or the, issue. One would think that at some point they'd realize that this is a suicide mission. I guess not.