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Excessive Rambling
One day, I will discover this thing people call "concise"
Recent Entries 
17th-Oct-2010 11:25 pm - Moving. Again.
And again without internet for a while.

Fun times.

When the furious relocating activities die down, I will have to get back to furious planning/booking for honeymoon flights.

.... and if this is the first time hearing of the wedding, you should read Vicki's LJ more. Even she updates more often than I do <_<
20th-Mar-2010 11:42 am - More Beer. And travel

#15 Belgian Ale
The rule for belgians is that there are no rules.

In any case, this should be interesting; used a combination of Belgian Special B crystal malt, candi syrup and Hallertau hops plus Belgian Abbey yeast to create the beast, and have been keeping the temperature nice and low for a long, steady ferment.

#16 Notsopale Ale
Primarilly a pale ale recipe, using Brambling Cross, except for the reusing of the yeast cake from the Belgian to ferment with.

Smells... fruity.

Will have been in the secondary 7 weeks by the time I bottle it, so (fingers crossed) should be nicely matured.

In other news....
I'm in New Zealand for V's sister's wedding. Fun. Chilly too - which is a good thing after the Brisbane summer.

Food and beer are also about a third the price over here, which is all kinds of awesome.
6th-Dec-2009 03:12 pm - Beer + Oops.
Since the last post, the following have been produced:

#10: Russian Imperial Milk Stout
So good I am making more...

#11: Mystery Beer
Made from 6kg of old liquid malt my dad gave me, plus leftover hops. Cannot be repeated, as I don't actually know what I put in it. Not bad, but rather sweet for my tastes.

#12: Break Bitter
After moving and 6 months without brewing anything, I finally brought out the fermenters and boil pot and got back to it. Basically a pale ale, leaning towards the bitter end of the style. Very smooth and refreshing in the current Brisbane weather (which caused the box of caramel truffles we were given at a Xmas lunch yesterday to be a caramel truffle - singular - when we got home).

#13: Brambles
#12 used Brambling Cross for the aroma hops, so I went for a full flavour + aroma hops of the same with this one. Fermented hot (around 26'C) so will take time to mellow out the complex alcohols and remove the roughness.

#14: Imperial Milk Stout V2.0
Started today.

Proved... interesting. I was distracted from watching the pot after adding the malt extract as one of our new housemates wandered through, saying goodmorning. 3 seconds of inattention = boilover. Took a while to clean the viscous wort off the kitchen counter, drawers and floor.

Doing a large batch (27L starting volume), as it's a fairly popular one, and the recipe seems to scale up ok.
25th-Nov-2009 08:04 pm - Werk
Out of the blue, got a call from my old boss asking if I was available to do some work on a current project. As I was free, and the pay was good, I said yes.

That was Thursday last week. By Friday 3 of 4 signatures on the forms were signed, and today was my first day back at work.

I am somewhat tired. Stoopid 6am wake ups <_<
20th-Apr-2009 02:00 pm - Alive, but with no internets
Iinet is awesome.
Telstra is lame.

At some point in the near future we will have net access at home again.

And now back to work <_<;
25th-Nov-2008 08:41 am - Beer - Continued
Brew #4 - Cooper's Sparkling Ale
Tasting Notes: 2 weeks in the fermenter, then a month in the bottle has made this an impressive ale (for me at least). Thoroughly pleased with the result!

Brew #5 - EEEK!
1.5kg Cooper's Dark Malt Extract (liquid)
1kg Morgan's Dark Crystal Malt Extract (liquid)
1kg Dark DME
45g Northern Brewer (7.6% AA) for 60 min
25g Fuggles (3.9% AA) for 30 min
15g Fuggles (3.9% AA) for 15 min
Lallemand Nottingham yeast
Fermentation: 1 week + 2 weeks conditioning in secondary
Brewing Notes: Boiled hops separately from wort, which was split between two pans.
Tasting Notes: Tasted fruity and delicious at racking into secondary. Was BITTER after a few days more conditioning. After over a month in the bottle has finally mellowed to a drinkable level. Carbonation drops were used to bottle this brew, and have met with almost no carbonation of the ale, oddly.

Brew #6 - Bitter Red
3kg Dark DME
100g Flaked Barley mashed with 100g Perle malted barley (60 min)
200g Caramalt (30 min)
300g Dark Crystal malt (30 min)
200g CaraAroma (30 min)
50g Northern Brewer (7.6% AA) for 60min
25g Fuggles (3.9% AA) for 30 min
20g Fuggles (3.9% AA) for 15 min
Lallemand Windsor yeast
Fermentation: 1 week in primary, 2 weeks conditioning in secondary
Brewing Notes: Boiled hops with wort in 15L pot, a high OG is expected to have decreased hop utilising to produce less bitterness than EEEK! Bottled using carbonation drops.
Tasting Notes: After 1 week in the bottle the ale is still rough, though heavily carbonated (unlike EEEK!). Quite bitter, but not even close to EEEK! in sheer offensiveness.

Brew #7 - Judge Red 2.0
3kg Dark DME
100g Flaked Barley mashed with 100g Perle malted barley (60 min)
300g Caramalt (30 min)
200g Dark Crystal malt (30 min)
150g CaraAroma (30 min)
30g Northern Brewer (7.6% AA) for 60min
30g Fuggles (3.9% AA) for 30 min
25g Fuggles (3.9% AA) for 15 min
Lallemand Windsor yeast
Fermentation: 1 week in primary, 1 week conditioning in secondary. Bottled 23/11/08
Brewing Notes: Boiled hops with wort in 15L pot. Steeped grains in 3 x thermos.
Tasting Notes: None as yet, only just bottled. Expected to be fruity and with acceptable bitterness.

Brew #8 - Oatmeal Stout
3kg Dark DME
200g Flaked Barley (mashed)
700g Perle malted barley (mashed)
500g Rolled Oats (mashed)
500g Caramalt (60 min)
250g Carafa Special T3 malt (30 min)
250g Bairds Black Malt (30 min)
15g Northern Brewer (7.6% AA) for 60min
30g Fuggles (3.9% AA) for 30 min
15g Fuggles (3.9% AA) for 15 min
WYL Irish Ale yeast
Fermentation: 2 weeks in primary (started 16/11/08)
Brewing Notes: Steeped/mashed all grains in hop sock in the boil pot itself, which was a HUGE pain in the butt and damaged the hop sock. Sticking to the thermos method from now on since it doesn't require me sitting for the entire mash/steep time monitering temperature and swilling the sock to keep flow going.
Tasting Notes: TBA

Brew #9 - Judge Red V3.0 (Impromptue)
3kg Pale DME
50g Flaked Barley & 50g Rolled Oats mashed with 100g Maris Otter malted barley (60 min)
500g CaraRed (30 min)
300g CaraAmber (30 min)
100g CaraAroma (30 min)
20g Challenger (7.9% AA) for 60min
20g EK Goldings (4.1% AA) for 30 min
15g EK Goldings (4.1% AA) for 15 min
10g EK Goldings (4.1% AA) for 5 min
Lallemand Windsor yeast
Fermentation: 2 weeks in primary (started 24/11/08)
Brewing Notes: Used thermos' for the steep & mash. Boil volume 14L. Lightly hopped to aim for a sweeter ale.
Tasting Notes: TBA
13th-Oct-2008 09:14 am - Beer. Yes, Beer.

So I've started homebrewing again after a break of a few years.
I blame Jesse, whom I work with. When he found out that it was possible to make your own beer, custom tailored to ones own tastes, bugged me repeatedly with enthuiastic questions until I actually was inspired to start up again myself.

Brew #1 - "Meh"
The first batch after the break is "Meh" and currently being used to keep crud out of the bottles its in.
Reasons for the badness: Leaky old fermenter, too long in primary fermenter, insufficient malt.
Notes for the future: Intending to put another Dark Ale on, but in a fermenter that actually seals.

Brew #2 - Munton's Nut Brown Ale
Munton's Nut Brown Ale kit
1kg Dark Malt (Dry)
5g Fuggles hops (steeped for 5 minutes)
Yeast from kit.
Primary Fermentation: 2 days 6 hours (yes, really)
Brewing Notes: The short-steep hops added additional aroma, but no noticable flavour or bitterness. Used old leaky fermenter, which works if treat like open-brewing. As the fermentation was completed so quickly, the wort was still very, very sweet and out of fear of overpressuring the bottles I didn't prime them - the result is the beer is quite flat. Retiring the old leaky fermenter as it's more trouble than its worth.
Tasting Notes: A week in the bottles took out most of the sweetness with the secondary fermentation, and after the second week the beer is coming along nicely. True to the Nut Brown style, the beer has very little bitterness and is very malty, and all told remarkably easy to drink. I'll have to do this one again sometime, and experiment with extra hops.

Brew #3 - Cooper's Irish Stout
Cooper's Irish Stout kit
1.5kg Cooper's Dark Malt (Liquid)
Yeast from kit.
Primary Fermentation: 8 days
Brewing Notes: Used the new fermenter which works like a charm. Despite decidedly warm weather this took a good 8 days to ferment, which makes me hopeful for the overall flavour, as longer is usually better. Stouts are typically expected to be left to age in the bottle for 2-3 months before reaching their best.
Tasting Notes: Only a week in the bottle so far, but already a very, very thick stout which is decidedly similar to Guinness Stout in flavour. Decent head, but doesn't last all that long. Should only improve over time as the bitterness mellows and malty flavour establishes itself.

Brew #4 - Cooper's Sparkling Ale
Cooper's Sparkling Ale kit
500g Dark Malt (Dry)
750g Light Male (Dry)
15g Goldings Hops
Yeast from kit.
Primary Fermentation: Ongoing
Brewing Notes: Boiled the kit for 20 min, to reduce bitterness of the hops in the kit. Boiled 10g of Goldings hops for 20 min, and 5g for 10 min, aiming for a blend of flavour and aroma with not much extra bitterness. In the process of fermenting very, very quickly.
Tasting Notes: None so far.

Thoughts for the Future:
1) Most online resources are very much trial and error and usually not particuarlly consistent in approach. Some further research into the expected results from different hops and steep times as well as use of flaked and roasted barley should allow for extra room for customisation.

2) Despite the fact that I actually don't drink that much beer, I should get a second fermenter the same as my 'working' one, if only to allow for more controlled experimentation of recipes and effects of different components & methods.

3) As I have a Nut Brown Ale as a good control case, I'd like to look at experimenting with: a) Effects of additional hops on final flavour and b) Effects of steeping roasted + flaked barley in the brew (many homebrew kits come with this included in the product to produce a specific flavour). The concept being that by experimenting with the components that affect the overall taste of the finished product, one can then develop the flavour in a planned fashion towards a desired outcome - Best to run both experimental brews at the same time to limit variables.

4) As an odd thought: As a rough approximation of flavour from employing both of the methods listed above... pour 20 bottles each from the respective fermenters, then use the remaining third of each to produce 20 bottles of 50-50 blend... so 20 x Brew #5, 20 x Brew #6 and 20 x Brew #5.5. 

I'm having fun, anyway :P
18th-Sep-2008 09:31 am - Procrastinating

At work, drinking coffee, and not wanting to look at the mountains of drawings that need an engineering check... Perfect time for an LJ update.

New Zealand is pretty. Particuarly compared to Australia... but that doesn't take that much really. It's not ludicrously hot, it has decent rainfall (so it's shades of green rather than brown) and the population doesn't have an obsession with burning the countriside down every year to prevent it from burning down. Unfortunately, it also doesn't have the massive mining industry that is currently supporting my income and lifestyle - and the Australian economy for that matter. Mining is 60% of our exports and agriculture makes up another 30%, so when foreign (ie. vaguely objective) economists state that Australia is just a giant mine and farm, they are quite justified. So no, no living in NZ for me, despite the fact Brisbane weather is making me wish I did... or least wish I lived somewhere that isn't stupidly hot and humid at any rate.

No, Mr. Australian Customs Officer, I have not been near any farms recently <_< 

On a completely different topic: Installed and started messing with Tabula Rasa last night... all said it's not bad. Yes, Richard Garriott is a complete nutcase, but all told he's produced a decent game from what I can see early on: A blend of 1st person shooter and MMO.

Mechanically: The interface is VERY World of Warcraft, although not as intuitive, with some heavy customisation to make it work for fluid FPS combat while still having the functionality of an MMO UI. It's also rather cluttered, which makes the learning curve very steep early on just to get used to the controls, though I find myself slowly getting accustomed to the plethora of data scrolling around the sides of the screen. Additionally the complete absence of an in-game guide to what-the-hell-to-do with the crafting system makes it feel a little cumbersome. I've since read up about it, and it seems like a neat concept - recycle parts from old/spare gear to upgrade what you use, but I'll have to mess with it further to really make a judgement.

The biggest two mechanical complaints I have with it so far are, 1) The dialogue/quest text box being shoved off to the bottom left corner. While I appreciate people want to still maintain a clear view around them, it's hardly as attention grabbing and easy to read as you expect dialogue to be. 2) Skill points spent in 'obsolete' skills such as Motor-Assist Armour when you upgrade to superior stuff aren't refunded/reclaimable, though it's possible there's a method of retraining skills that I just haven't found yet.

Gameplay: Lots of running, lots of shooting, looting, booting (you can coup-de-grace with your boot) and running missions for your faction. The action picks up quickly, with only minimal twiddling around in the starting zone. It has a nice feel to how it's all phrased - you're a gifted soldier, yes, but not the grand-hero-who-will-save-us-all, and the immersiveness of the quests is much higher than WoW's "Bring me 10 <Insert Creature Part> and you'll save the city! Just like 12098257345 people have before...". I've only recent found the Control Points, which is a concept that you have to fight to establish and maintain a stronghold to access the quests/missions there. Neat idea, but it seems to change hands every 15minutes via overwhelming waves of allies/enemies making it a little akward to complete the quests/missions based there.

Storyline/Background: Fun, if a little under-explained early on. You play one of the humans who escaped from the destruction of Earth - chosen to be saved based on your ability to fight and compatability with the alien technology of the Eloh - the ancient and advanced race whose own civil war ultimately led to the destruction of Earth by the winning faction, obviously, the remnants of the losing faction are your allies. So you get to nuke baddies with lightning when not machine-gunning them to itty-bitty pieces.

All said: Fun. I'd give it a solid 7/10 for now, with the cons being mostly about the unintuitive UI, rough learning curve and limited plot exposition to aid immersion.

Vicki's 25th is this Saturday, and part of my costume (fancy dress - fantasy theme) involves me removing my beard since... it is inappropriate for the character I am trying to portray.

Only now my chin does not feel like my own.

And this strange person keeps looking at me weirdly from the mirror. I have no idea how the fucker got in there, given it's, like, 5mm thick, but whoever he is is in big trouble if I ever figure out how to drag him out of there.

I'm actually glad I go for the spray tan (part 2 of costume) tomorrow. 7 years of consistent goatie has made my chin whiter than my ass.

1st-Jun-2008 01:15 pm - 4th Ed = Card game?

Skimmed through 4th ed.

First off - the combat system has changed more from 3.5 to 4th ed than it did from 1st edition through to 3.5. 

It's somewhat odd, and from the looks of things will be horrid to manage without a deck of cards to flip over to keep track of "Power" use, since all classes have been converted to resemble the Book of Nine Swords. To actually sit down, learn what the hell this system is on about and then use it looks to be a considerable effort, which I don't think I can be bothered with right now.

And apparently a Succubus is now a devil, rather than a demon. There you go.

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