So I haven’t been to my local occupy event in a while now. It’s a small event, only running for a few hours on a Saturday. There’s no permanent encampment, not a lot of chanting goes on, not much in the way of flash mobbing. But it’s our group and it’s got some very honest and genuine people that are just trying to make the world a better place.
So why haven’t I gone down there in weeks?
I’ve had a different reason almost every week that I’ve gone there: first off I was protesting because the Irish government was bringing in water charges, which is a nice way of saying that they’ll be installing water meters on every home and business in the land and then taxing the water that’s used.
I was against this move because this creates a completely new tax on people who are already struggling. This won’t affect the rich that have second and third homes, this is just another charge that it’ll be hard to pay for those that are struggling. That and this whole thing is going to be handed to a semi-state company and I’m against privatization of public services. So I went and protested.
I protested that for a while and then one night I was sitting up watching a livestream and I saw Scott Olsen go down. I saw the Oakland Police throw a flashbang at a group of people that were attempting to pick Olsen up after he had apparently been hit in the head with a tear gas canister. He suffered a fractured skull and one month after being in a coma for several days he was still having trouble talking. So I went and stood when Scott Olsen could not and protested.
I protested because there were austerity measures, I went to stand up for the Greeks, I protested because Silvio Berlusconi [A man who I disagree with politically] was ousted from office and was replaced by an unelected banker, Mario Monti.
Eamon and I have tasted it a few times and we’re pretty much in agreement;
Smithwicks have done quite well in making a simple, yet robust and pleasant pale ale.
The advertising literature makes a big deal about the beer being full of 100% Amarillo hops, and it is a nicely hopped beer. I’m not usually a fan of pale ale but this one may have changed my mind a little. It’s by no means an exceptional or stellar beer but it’s a very nice entry into the market and it typifies pale ale.
The beer is clear with a yellow to orange colour though the head retention and formation seems poor.
The smell is a simple pale ale smell with mild vanilla, banana, custard and biscuit/cookie/bread notes.
The taste is smooth, a little tangy and there is a definite biscuit taste. The aftertaste is very low on the bitter with a lasting hop/citrus tang.
I would definitely suggest that you try this beer. If you’re in Donegal Town you can get a pint of this beer in Dom’s Pier One
Welcome to the first episode of a new beer drinking show [What other kind do I make?] The Guinness Guys.
Recently my brother Eamon and I have been on a quest to find the best pint of black and tan in Donegal Town. We were talking to a barman in Donegal town recently who pulled up the Wikipedia page for Black and Tan and we became aware of several other half-Guinness-draught cocktails. The “Black and _________ ” phenomenon seems to run the gamut from dark ale through to wheat beer and even cider.
A few days later Eamon and I made this, the first episode of The Guinness Guys.
Much in the style of the Rick Perry article last week, I found myself musing on something.
This week, I was wondering if the B-52, the flying fortress not the band, was still in service. With a little research I found out that it is. I dug deeper, and ended up writing this. Enjoy.
I thought the B-52 was out of service, but apparently it’s still going.
I think it’s a beautiful machine, but as a technical feat not as a weapon of war.
As a weapon of war it’s been devastating to human life, and I guess in that way it’s been very effective in living up to it’s design function.
However, I was thinking about money, and spending, and all that.
The reason I thought the B-52 was out of service is because I didn’t think that something that large and unwieldy would still be effective.
The B-52 [and I'm not military historian] was used to bomb large tracts of land with stupid bombs, or toe popper mines or what have you. Or it was used to carry around a couple of nukes a few miles from Soviet airspace just in case.
It’s a long range, high altitude, bomb platform. We don’t conduct that kind of warfare anymore, so you’d assume that the B-52 would be mothballed, and it largely has.
The rest of this piece [and my point] after the jump, feel free to click through. Continue Reading »
I don’t usually post political stuff to this blog, so I may need for you all to indulge me. I’m pretty vocal on my Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook accounts when it comes to politics, especially American politics. The main reason behind my fascination is not just the circus act aspect of the whole thing, but because it’s at least partially true that if America sneezes the rest of the world can catch a cold. American internal policy is not divorced from foreign policy.
So I thought I’d talk about Rick Perry. Rick Perry is the current governor of Texas and is currently running in the republican primaries for the presidential nomination. If Perry wins the nomination from the republican party then he will, most likely, face Barack Obama in the presidential election in November of 2012. What stuck in my craw regarding Rick Perry is his blatant discrediting, and often complete ignoring of scientific evidence, so I felt compelled to write the following.
Now that you’re all caught up on the context, on to my observations on Rick Perry.
The crucial problem with Rick Perry is not his abhorrent policies, his hypocrisy, or his rich donors, although those are problems.
The problem with Rick Perry is that he claims there is great debate over evolution, climate change, abstinence and the death penalty. Now while there may be merits to each of these arguments, no matter how slim, Perry does not argue those merits, and he doesn’t particularly debate his own positions.
The problem with Rick Perry is that he disagrees with evidence that is plainly presented to him.
Now he could be arguing that abstinence is 100% effective when applied correctly [Unless you're the virgin mary] but he’s arguing that it’s the best method of contraception to be taught in schools. He doesn’t argue the evidence, he argues his faith, or his belief or whatever.
Rick Perry – 0, Evidence – 1
For the other points on the death penalty, evolution and global climate change see after the jump.
So the results of the beer poll are in and we’re making the Canadian Blonde. In part one of this short series we demonstrate a new technique in sanitizing and take a different approach to mixing the ingredients.
In part two where we demonstrate the use of hydrometer, we pitch yeast, and we see what your beer should look like after 24 hours. Click through for that video after the jump.
While the title of this article may sound like a the billing for a bad WWE dark match, it’s not.
My brother Eamon and I were discussing what beer we should make next after we’ve finished his wheat, my sister’s lager and possibly another dark ale which is for my sister’s fiancee.
So we decided the most fun way to settle the debate was to make a pair of youtube videos and allow people to vote on them. So click through for both videos.
As I mentioned in my videos, specifically the Drinkin’ with Dave 3rd episode, I mentioned that I’ve been having problems with this latest brew.
I thought I’d elaborate on what I’ve been doing to try to discern if there’s a problem, and what I’ve been doing to alleviate my fears. I’ve been taking the following steps;
The first port of call for me [As it should be for everyone] is my hydrometer. My original gravity was 1.049 which meant I could have a total possible yield of about 7% if all of the sugar was fermented out. Now various factors such as the type of sugar used and the attenuation of the yeast [Which means how much of the yeast actually turned sugar into alcohol] and lots of other factors. Read about more of those factors here
My final gravity seems to be 1.014 right now, and that’s a little high for a finished beer, according to what I’ve been reading.
Other than the scientific and mathematical methods listed above [and in that link] there are a few low tech methods of figuring out if fermentation has finished.
1. The first set of tests are visual: has the airlock stopped bubbling? is there a thick layer of white gunk [the trub] on the bottom of the fermenter? Does the beer look clearer?
2. The taste test: the stronger the sweetness/yeast taste the less likely the fermentation has finished. If the beer tastes sour or like sulfur, then your brew is probably contaminated.
The final step I took after these scientific tests, calculations and visual/taste tests I decided that it was time to do an experiment. A picture and the experiment after the jump.
Welcome to the third episode of Drinkin’ with Dave. This week is mostly a discussion of the issues that we’re having with the Bock and what I did with the dark ale. I also drink the last dark ale, which is all the sweeter for being the last. Also 3 weeks conditioning in the bottle didn’t hurt the taste either.
Like, comment and subscribe if you liked, have something to say and want more of this series.
With this episode I wanted to make the video that I wanted to see when I started brewing.
What made me most nervous when I started out was hearing about a “stuck fermentation” which is when the fermentation doesn’t kick off properly, and likely will never kick off.
When this happens you either have to get more yeast and some yeast nutrient or you have to call it quits and wash 20-50 euros worth of ingredients down the drain. And I’m not really interested in doing either.
So after a couple of hours of research online (During my first brew) I figured out that you have to wait at least 24 hours before deciding if the fermentation is stuck. I also learned that there are a few different signs of Positive fermentation and I thought I’d detail them in this video for all the newbies like me.
Just a quick recap of the video in case you didn’t glean the pertinent information:
1. Bubbling in the airlock – This is the most positive sign
2. Foam accumulating on top of the beer – The yeast is working it’s magic
3. A dark ring called the krausen appearing – This is more a sign of quality fermentation than a sign of strong fermentation.
As always, keep it below 30 degrees C and happy brewing.