Archive for February, 2010

Brew Log: Boston Mead #1

Posted in Edibles on February 24, 2010 by jkiparsky

Two days ago, after a long break, I started brewing again. I figured I might as well use this page as my brewing log, since it’s one less notebook to keep track of.
So here’s the notes on the first batch of mead:

10 pounds New York wildflower honey heated slowly in 2 gallons of water until well dissolved (1 hour) then raised to a slow boil for 12 minutes and skimmed. Previously, I’ve used an acid blend with good effect. Having none, this time I used 4 tsp of dehydrated lemon juice. We’ll see what that does – there was a notable lemon presence in the wort, I hope it tames itself a little in the fermenting.
After taking the wort off the boil, I added 2 Tbsp of yeast energizer – a little over the recommended 1/2 tsp/gallon – and decanted into a carboy, topping off with cold water.
Proofed a packet of champagne yeast in 110 degree water and pitched it when wort was blood-warm.
Honey is supposed to be a fermentation resister, but primary started in a few hours, and two days later is still going at a good clip, despite the cold weather.

No blow-off, possibly because I filled only to the shoulder and not to the neck.

I’ll rack it come this weekend, and then it’ll be a long slow fermenting before I’m ready to bottle. Perhaps I’ll start a batch of beer, just to get back in the game.

Any of my constant readers who want to taste it should plan on a visit, say in June or July. It should be drinkable by then.

6/7 update – I wound up adding another 5 pounds of honey to this, and that got it up to speed. It’s pretty okay, although not up to my old standards. Still worth drinking, and we’ve got a reasonable stock on hand. Next batch starting soon…

Review: The Pragmatic Programmer – Andrew Hunt & David Thomas

Posted in Books on February 2, 2010 by jkiparsky

The Pragmatic Programmer – Andrew Hunt & David Thomas
I’ve read a number of books on programming methodology lately – it’s a good way to get ideas of how I could be doing things, and it’s easier than working – and this is one of the better ones. Most such books have either good practical advice smothered under a layer of dogma – the advice may be good, but it’s all got to be separated from the cant and jargon, and weighed individually. Others are good and thoughtful books without a lot of dogma, and also without a lot of practical application. These can be very thought-provoking, and often help you understand the work of producing code, or of working in a team to produce code, or of managing a team to produce code, but they don’t give you anything as concrete as “use version control and unit tests, and here’s why”. Hunt and Thomas don’t come off as defending an agenda, instead their advice is defended as both rational and experienced-based – a combination that’s hard to beat. The writing is even pretty readable, which is rare in this realm.