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Messages - Dan

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« on: August 23, 2010, 03:05:25 PM »
I've also noticed that my round cooler holds the temperature better than the rectangular one but I suspect that's only because the rectangular cooler has a larger opening and a cheaper lid.

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The Pub / Re: What's your favorite part of being a homebrewer?
« on: August 19, 2010, 05:12:18 PM »
I actually started after relocating across the country because it seemed like an interesting fact that I could use to break the ice with my new coworkers.

Now it's just about seeing what other gadgets I can buy. :)

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Beer Travel / Re: Trip to Belgium in February
« on: August 18, 2010, 11:41:38 AM »
Since you're flying in and out of Brussels, I'd book all your lodging in Brussels and just take day trips via the trains to the other cities that your looking to travel to. For locations that have poor or no train service, rent a car for the day. We ended up renting a car for the week but ended up taking the train because getting around the major cities was slow and a tad stressful. If you are going to drive, I'd suggest picking up a good street map and taking a pause to plan your route before driving. Roads change names frequently and they're listed in both French and Flemmish.

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The Pub / Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« on: August 18, 2010, 11:30:19 AM »
I've been part of other online groups that have moved from one platform to another and each time you lose members along the way. It could be that some are still stuck on the old way, sometimes it's just the inability to visit the community due to an IT restriction or it's that people were inactive members and now that they have to make an effort to rejoin the group they won't.

Personally, the hardest part about using the forum is just not knowing who's who. Over the years, I've gotten accustom to people's names and their email addresses. Yet, the forum allows people to pick a name that they'd like displayed and most people are picking things other than their name or some what they used on TT. Yes, I'll eventually learn to equate majorvices, bluesman, theDarkSide, Thirsty_Monk, etc. with some meaning but for those just starting with the forum it can feel strange and uninviting.

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Beer Travel / Re: London, Munich, Prague, Brussels
« on: August 16, 2010, 06:28:11 PM »
Also go to a la Becasse (hard to find, it's down an alley) and get true draft (flat) lambic in stone pitchers.

If you're interested in exploring lambic beers and have some time, hit up the Cantillon brewery for a tour. If you just want to sample a lot of different lambic beers, I'd suggest Moeder Lambic near the city center. It's looks more like a posh NY club but the selection was good and the staff was very helpful in selecting new and interesting beers to try.

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The Pub / Re: "The Denny Level"
« on: August 13, 2010, 01:23:43 PM »

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The Pub / Re: What is the worst beer you have ever tasted?
« on: August 12, 2010, 05:18:52 PM »
I'll go with the first beer I ever had - MGD that was 10 years old. Of course I didn't know what it should have tasted and the hang over sucked.

More recently, I'd say that I've always been disappointed when ordering any of the casked conditioned ales at the Red Hook tap house. They all seem very watered down.

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3. A more web 2.0 version of moderation - allow all logged in users to rank individual comments with an up rating or a down rating. Then instead of  just using the number of posts when assigning levels to users, the quality of the particular posts should be taken into account. If you want to gain levels, you not only need to comment frequently but also have something useful to day.

I've gotta say that I'm not much of a fan of this idea.  I've seen it practically destroy the Brews&Views board by people using it vindictively.

I agree...
besides, what is this strange internet obsession with "ranking" everything?

It's not really a strange obsession as much as it provides a very easy way to compute the relevance of a piece of data. This is particularly useful when dealing with natural language data (e.g. detecting email or forum posts as spam, deciding how important a link is, etc.) because often the algorithms often require scanning the data multiple times and building complex parse trees. It's easier to let humans read the data and toggle a flag or numeric count and then use standard algebraic operators to determine if something has met a threshold criteria. The simplicity and general applicability of this approach on a number of data sets is what makes it so powerful.

In case you'd like to read more about how simple human intervention makes computation easier:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReCAPTCHA

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Other Fermentables / Re: Clarifying mead
« on: August 11, 2010, 01:46:47 PM »
"better than any commercial meads" is a surprisingly low bar...

Until he started working in our department, I hadn't heard of mead so I'm probably not the best judge either.

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Other Fermentables / Re: Clarifying mead
« on: August 11, 2010, 01:29:18 PM »
If you're in a hurry cou van use the clearing agents, and I have used them myself a couple of times...they do the job quite efficently, but you don't really need them.   
I usually just let my meads clear on their own schedule. 
The end product has always been noticeably better that way (to my taste buds, anyway). 

My co-worker clarifies his mead using the natural method and they always turn out far better than any of the commercial meads that I've tried. He says that it takes a about a year and I don't think I have the ability to not drink it before it's ready.

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3. A more web 2.0 version of moderation - allow all logged in users to rank individual comments with an up rating or a down rating. Then instead of  just using the number of posts when assigning levels to users, the quality of the particular posts should be taken into account. If you want to gain levels, you not only need to comment frequently but also have something useful to day.

I've gotta say that I'm not much of a fan of this idea.  I've seen it practically destroy the Brews&Views board by people using it vindictively.

There are many ways to curb the trolls while still implementing something similar:
  1. "super" moderators and flag accounts that shouldn't be allowed to participate in the up/down voting
  2. a user has to spend their own rep points or ranking points to down vote someone
  3. a single user can only vote n times is a given 24 hour period to prevent run away posting
  4. a user needs to be active for some period of time before getting the ability to vote on topics

You could also make this be the golden feature for paid AHA members. Those of us willing to part with some cash to run a message board or the AHA operations are less likely to abuse the voting privileges. You'd gain a lot of moderators with some limited power, stiff through the noise faster and those with high ranks would truly be contributing to the community.

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Beer Travel / Re: One Week in Belgium
« on: August 11, 2010, 11:55:33 AM »
Just finished up a vacation in Belgium. Some thought if I had to do it again:

Brugges - Skip the Halve Maan brewery tour. It's nothing you haven't seen and the beers were good but not great. de Garre was excellent atmosphere and my fiance loved the house beer they were serving. Brugs Beertje is closed Wednesday (which happened to be the day we were there) so plan ahead. There was another cool beer bar but I'll have to update the post when I get home.

Brussels - Reminded me of D.C. or San Fran in that kind of gritty way but there were still some good gems. For the largest selection of beer with a college feel head to the Delirium cafe. Just south of the city center is the Cantillon brewery that produces some excellent lambic beers with a tour that includes 2 samples when finished. Skip the beer museum in the Grand Place (horrible tasting afterwards) but hit up the Brewery on the NW corner if you want to sample at the oldest brewery in Brussels. In September the EU starts session so you could head towards the EU buildings at night to take in the spectacle that is government.

Silly - Yeah, it's a silly name but this small town brewery makes a darn good Saison. They don't get many tourists and not many people speak English so you may want to plan ahead. We just happened to stop in and had the good fortune of walking into the town tourism office on a day when a college student from Brussels was working. Though our interpreter, they arranged a private tour of the brewery and face time with the brew master plus lots of samples.

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1. OAuth or OpenID authentication so I don't need to remember yet another username/password (stackoverflow.com is a good example of this).

2. Display the number of replies waiting for my attention, similar to unread emails, in the upper left (So it would say Unread (130) / Replies (5) ). Then I know something has happened without the need for me to click on the link.

3. A more web 2.0 version of moderation - allow all logged in users to rank individual comments with an up rating or a down rating. Then instead of  just using the number of posts when assigning levels to users, the quality of the particular posts should be taken into account. If you want to gain levels, you not only need to comment frequently but also have something useful to day.

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Wood/Casks / Re: New to Casks
« on: August 11, 2010, 09:24:28 AM »
Thanks for the good info on barrels and how they're prepared.

1vertical, I've been thinking about the weight of the barrel a lot so September is going to be project month. A buddy and I are going to design a temperature controlled fermentation cabinet large enough to hold the barrel and a stand with wheels.

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Wood/Casks / New to Casks
« on: August 06, 2010, 02:21:35 PM »
I just came back from a trip to Belgium and want to try making some lambics using a similar process that I saw at the Cantillon brewery. Is there a huge difference (besides price) between an american oak barrel and a french oak barrel? Do I need to do anything special to the barrel to season it for the first batch?

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