Wulf's Webden

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Tuesday 12 March 2019
by Wulf
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Almost Hotter Than July

I’m not sure if my latest homebrew, Electric Bass (now renamed Shark Fin Bass), is going to be a master blaster or another one for the slug pubs. When I got home tonight, I glanced at the Inkbird temperature controller and realised that the brew had got to about 32°C which is substantially warmer than the 17°C I was aiming for!

What happened? It turned out that the temperature rise I observed since starting it going on Sunday wasn’t the gentle warming of the brew belt but just the natural, exothermic reaction of the yeast. Unfortunately I wasn’t around when it hit 18°C and the Inkbird dutifully turned on power to the cooling plug… which is what the belt was actually plugged into. That’s something to check more carefully in future! The trouble is that I saw the heating light was on and the heat was going up so I assumed all was as it should be.

I’ll have to hope that it will still be palatable. If not, since I relied on the room not getting too hot rather than having plugin cooling, I might have to consider either including a fan in future or taping over the cooling socket to avoid the same mistake.

Monday 11 March 2019
by Wulf
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Just the One Thing

Playing electric guitar at church yesterday morning, it was a delight to have an opportunity to do just that one thing. The worship leader (on keys) and bassist were both singing and there was an additional vocalist too, so we didn’t need an extra voice. I got to set up my guitar, FX and little amp and focus on crafting the right sound to enhance each song.

Often I’ll being singing and playing and perhaps leading too. In the worship group context, leading the group demands attention, to make the most of what each other contributor brings along and assist them fitting together. Singing also needs to be a focus, as that’s the point where the group brings along the congregation as co-participants. Consequently, playing has to take a relatively low priority.

That isn’t to say you can play badly but you don’t get to focus on the nuances. With my Variax guitar, I’ve got tens of combinations of guitar type and pickups alongside the regular things like tone and volume settings and where and how to strike the strings. There are note choices and musical styles too, as well as the FX sauce (important questions, like which song is going to get the tremolo effect this week).

So, not exactly ‘just one thing’… but, still, a pleasure to have an opportunity to focus in on just one set of things that are all about the way the guitar sound fits in the ensemble.

Sunday 10 March 2019
by Wulf
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Lower Efficiency?

My Shark Fin Bass brew is now fermenting, with an original gravity reading of 1.044. The target for the recipe was 1.045 so that’s a bit lower on the efficiency rating but still pretty close. The key thing now is how far it drops over the next few days.

Time to turn the raspberry pi monitoring script on (with Python context management added in).

Saturday 9 March 2019
by Wulf
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Brewing in the Oven

It has been a long time since I last cooked up a brew (October last year, looking back) but I finally got one going again this morning. However, I’ve tried a new twist in the mashing process. Rather than putting the mash tun on the hob, I put it in the oven instead once I’d got it to the right temperature.

You see, my oven has a wide temperature range and seems pretty accurate. I wanted to keep the mash at 67°C for 90 minutes. My oven isn’t that precise but, with a probe showing me the mash temperature, I could make occasional adjustments between 65-80°C. Because the temperature gradient between the liquid and the surrounding air was a gentle slope, it was easier to nudge it around to keep within a degree or so of the target. Normally, with the surrounding air more like 15-20°C, it drops faster and shoots past when trying to reset.

It did seem to work and also didn’t consume a lot of energy – the oven itself is well insulated and was already warm from breakfast. Tomorrow, once the wort has cooled, I’ll take a gravity reading and see how I did on the efficiency side. Could be good though.

It’s based on Bass Draught, so I’m going to call this brew Shark Fin Bass.

Friday 8 March 2019
by Wulf
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Now Appearing…

Those tomatoes I planted the other day are beginning to pop up. First to arrive were my saved seeds – my ongoing line of ‘Artisan Purple’ followed by the ‘Orange Rapture’ ones I saved from a supermarket purchase last year. I thought I was going to have to claim on those ‘Ananas’ ones but, checking this evening, those are now beginning to show.

The only ones not to pop up yet are the ‘Moneymaker’, although that seed packet was quite old. I might still be getting an emergency batch of ‘Golden Sunrise’ going. Still, at least we’re away.

Thursday 7 March 2019
by Wulf
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Leftovers with a bit more

I don’t like wasting food. Making more than a meal’s worth is grand but the surplus should serve as a forthcoming meal or hit the freezer to give a quick food solution in the future. Sometimes though, you are left with less than a meal’s worth and then the art becomes adding enough to finish it rather than keeping the original components rolling for too many days in a row.

Tonight was one of those balancing acts – a mushroom curry and a couple of jacket potatoes Jane made yesterday, which I stretched with some capsicum peppers and a bit of carrot. Job done: tasty, healthy and now all used up.