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Time sure flies

I can’t believe its been almost 2 weeks since I posted. It doesn’t seem that long, but for whatever reason I just haven’t gotten here to do it. In that time I’ve brewed 20 gallons (only 15 of it is with me), etched more circuit boards, written some code for BrewzNET, and lots of other things. I have certainly not been idle.

First, lets talk about brew sessions. I gave an all-grain brewing demonstration at HDYB back on September 28th. We brewed 10 gallons of my Amarillo Pale Ale recipe, and had about 10-12 participants there. They asked lots of great questions and seemed generally pleased with the demonstration, so I would declare it mostly a success – the only reason it wasn’t 100% successful is my own damn fault – at 5 minutes I was running around like a madman trying to get things clean, do my hop additions, and in the flurry of activity – FORGOT THE WHIRFLOC. Its not a total disaster, but I do expect this batch will not be nearly as clear as my beers typically are. Joe and Marlana once again were very generous in their appreciation for my time and effort, and aside from 5 gallons of the brewed wort I also left with 3 vials of White Labs yeast and 2 certificates for additional free vials.

This past weekend I brewed 10 gallons of Porter. It started as an attempt to use up alot of the miscellaneous grains I have lying around, but after I looked at the resulting recipe a little more closely I realized it was actually a very close grain billl to my most recent brown porter, “Twilight”. I therefore modified the hop additions to closely mirror that original recipe and now have another 10 gallons of something that I expect will be very tasty. One key difference is I fermented this one with WLP039 Nottingham Ale, one of the vials I got from doing the HDYB demo. It should be interesting to see how it differs.

I have been slowly chipping away at a new component for use in BrewzNET, namely a class that converts the standard multiple document interface (MDI) provided by Visual Basic into the tabbed format that users of Visual Studio will be very familiar with. It is essentially a subclassing wrapper hack around the standard .NET MDIClient class, but it looks great and works fantastic. My version has alot more features than the Visual Studio version, and incorporates awesome when I did a quick test run in the BrewzNET screen designer…. My thought was the tabs would provide a nice and easy way to not only switch between screens, but have things like graphs/charts and session notes just a quick click away. I’ll have to post pictures and code for it sometime soon… not that most of you care at all about anything programming related.

I’ve been working on stir plates alot recently, trying out alternate components and figuring out what works and what needs improvement. This has results in a new set of etched control boards…. the previous one works great and all, but I ordered in a few 12V wall warts to power the circuits and found that the voltage on them is actually closer to 25V!!!! As such, I needed to either etch an auxiliary board for a 7812 voltage regulator circuit or just rework and re-etch the entire control board… so I chose the latter path for several reasons (same amount of work, looks better, etc). I hope to get the component artwork on the tomorrow and solder one up for my buddy Brian… He recently dropped by a good quantity of the acrylic welding solvent, so I’ve got everything I need to make some more stirplates.

I also received a couple more 1/2″ stainless swing check valves after winning them on E-bay. I really only needed one more for the other pump, but they were being sold as a pair and the price I got them for was still pretty good. Buying these new two would have run me almost $200, and instead I got them for $45 plus shipping – not as good as my first one, but acceptable. I need to get a couple stainless nipples in order to use one on my transfer pump, and the other will be good to have on hand as a spare.

Another big activity that is totally not brewing related is shown in this picture. No, not stacking the wood, you dillweed…. splitting it with a sledge hammer and wedge. We had a tree come down in our yard a few months back during the high winds, and I talked my neighbor into letting us keep the tree after the arborist dropped it and cut it up. Green wood is pretty tough to split with a sledge hammer, and has given me at least 5 hours of good cardio working on it. We also recently had a full cord of wood delivered, so we’re all set for a nice cold winter with lots of fires in the fireplace… the stuff I just split won’t be ready until next winter.

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