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  1. The Creators Project Featured My GIFs

    Nov 4 2014

    Vice Magazine and Intel have this thing called The Creators Project that “celebrates visionary artists across multiple disciplines who are using technology in innovative ways to push the boundaries of creative expression.”

    And apparently they think I fall into that category. I hope no one tells them I’m just dicking around on the computer after work.

    creatorsproject

    Enter a Cyber Trance with This Warped and Looping GIF Series

    29th Floor is the creative alias of one Daniel McFarland, a Philadelphia-based digital artist who’s into lucid dreaming and “spy stuff,” and hates both printers and their damned printer ink. He’s worked as a creative in music and web design/development since 1995, but it’s his recent avalanche of warped and looping animated GIFs that are providing us with today’s wonders.

  2. #EVERYDAY, Formerly MSCED

    Jun 2 2014

    EVERYDAY

    OFFICIAL IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

    As of today (1 Jun 2014 A.D.), “Make Something Cool Everyday” will be known as #EVERYDAY. After 5 months of this I’m tired of typing “Make Something Cool Everyday” every day. Now I will just type #EVERYDAY every day.

    I also love #hashtags. #Like, #a #lot. So now I have one called #EVERYDAY that I get to use #every #day.

    Also, I don’t actually make something “cool” everyday. Some days I make something and it’s not cool. So I wanted to use something that would be more accurate.

  3. Caramel Hard Cider

    Apr 5 2014

    Caramel Hard Cider primary fermentation

    Back in December I made a hard cider using fresh Honeycrisp cider from a local orchard. I don’t remember the name of the orchard but I got it through Keystone Homebrew which is a good place to get local cider when it’s that time of the year. A++ recommended, would buy again.

    Making hard cider is actually pretty easy. It’s like brewing beer except for the part where you brew the beer. Basically you just add the cider to a carboy or bucket (or whatever container you want, but it should be something food safe) and then add yeast and wait. The yeast eats most of the sugar and you end up with a dry cider. I guess there’s probably some cider yeast you can use that will leave it a little sweet but I didn’t do that. For the primary fermentation I also added some brown sugar to try to get some caramel-y flavors and to bump up the ABV a bit (more sugar = more alcohol).

    I made a 6 gallon batch so it was too much to fit into a single 5 gallon keg. I bottled about a gallon and a half and put the rest in a keg with some apple juice concentrate and a brown sugar and cinnamon syrup to make it a little sweet. The bottled cider will be pretty dry without the addition of any more sugar (other than priming sugar). In the remaining 5 gallons I added some potassium sorbate to inhibit any further fermentation. Without that the yeast would start eating the sugar again and I would just end up with a stronger dry cider. Actually I probably could have gotten away without it since the keg would be at fridge temperature, which will also prevent fermentation but it’s proabbly safer to add the potassium sorbate in case I decide to bottle any of the kegged cider later.

    I’m not sure how much of an effect the brown sugar will have, especially in the bottled cider. Sometimes those kind of additions end up being too subtle. Or they can be too much. You never really know until you try. Based on similar recipes I think I’m at a good starting point. If it ends up not being as prominent as I want I can always add more in a future batch.

    Caramel Hard Cider
    ------------------
    Batch Size: 6.0 gal
    Original Gravity: 1.066
    Final Gravity: 1.006
    ABV: 7.9%
    
    6 gallons Honeycrisp Apple Cider
    2 lbs brown sugar
    1 tsp yeast nutrient
    2 pkg T-58 yeast
    
    1.5 gal bottled with priming sugar for carbonation
    
    2.25 tsp potassium sorbate added to remaining amount and left to sit for another 2-3 days
    
    4.5 gal kegged with 3 cans apple juice concentrate and cinnamon syrup:
    
    2 cup water
    2 cups brown sugar
    4 cinnamon sticks
    Boiled for 15 minutes and strained
    
  4. Blonde Lambic at 18 Months

    Mar 23 2014

    Back in August 2012 I brewed a Blonde Ale and racked it onto the leftover yeast from a Kriek I made the year before. It’s still sitting in primary after 18 months, so it’s officially the longest primary fermentation I’ve done so far. Here’s what it looks like now:

    Blonde Lambic at 18 months

    I know. Gross, right? It looks like the water in the trash compactor scene in the first Star Wars (Episode IV) when that weird snake thing pulls Luke under and tries to strangle him. Well, it’s supposed to look like that, so don’t worry about it. You’ll love it. It might just be the best beer you’ve ever had.

    I tasted it after about a year and it was good but still not that sour (which is the whole point of waiting) so I let it go. Now at 18 months it’s way more sour and tasting even better so I think it’s time to get it into bottles. I’ll be using the 750ml Belgian bottles again so it’ll have that super serious, I’m-not-fucking-around Belgian Beer look. I’ll probably do labels too. I’m not sure if it’ll just be called a Blonde Lambic or if I’ll come up with a better name for it. Apparently that snake thing in the trash compactor scene is called a “Dianoga.” That might work. If you have any better ideas let me know so I can use them and then pretend I came up with them.

    I’m not sure what the next sour beer will be. I don’t think I want to do the same thing again, but I may go back and try another Kriek since the first one didn’t really get the time it needed to develop. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. Maybe even get some real sour cherries to use instead of the canned sour cherry puree. Anyone know where I can get real sour cherries to use in a Kriek? If you have a sour cherry tree let me know. Or if a sour cherry tree isn’t a real thing let me know too. That would be good to know.

  5. Make Something Cool Everyday

    Jan 3 2014

    One of my goals for 2014 is to Make Something Cool Everyday.

    I’ve made several attempts over the years of doing something every day: taking a self portrait, recording a 1 second video, finding a box of money… the list goes on. The best I seem to be able to do is to drink beer every day. But that’s not the most productive thing in the world, so while I’m drinking that beer I’ll be making something “cool” and then posting it here.

    1 Jan 2014 / First Beer / Instagram

    MSCED: Jan 2, 2014

    2 Jan 2014 / Glass Helix / Cinema 4D

  6. Strawberry Belgian Milk Stout, Part 3: I’ve Made A Terrible Mistake

    Aug 9 2013

    It’s been about a month since I kegged the Strawberry Belgian Milk Stout. This is what it looks like:

    Strawberry Belgian Milk Stout Pour

    Strawberry Belgian Milk Stout Pour

    I’m guessing that light colored stuff is the Adult Strawberry Milk. At first I thought maybe it had just settled out in the keg and after a few pours the beer would clear up (as much as a stout can clear up) but it’s still coming out like that even a month after kegging. It seems pretty evenly distributed throughout so I’m assuming it’s not ever going to settle out.

    It doesn’t taste bad at all. It just looks so weird, I haven’t been able to judge it objectively. I’m gonna give it some more time and maybe do some blind taste tests to see if it’s something I want to drink or if I should just dump it (or bottle it and give it away).

  7. Ring of Bones Imperial White Ale

    Jul 23 2013

    For a while now I’ve been wanting to make a beer inspired by the music of my band Val de Val. To somehow distill the essence of the music into liquid form. So how do you decide what music tastes like? I have no idea. But this is my first attempt.

    HotBloodCDJacketdigital

    We brainstormed recipe ideas and originally came up with the Hot Blood Orange Double Chocolate Stout. I was actually pretty excited about it. I put together a recipe and even started driving to the homebrew shop to pick up the ingredients. On the way I decided to stop and pick up the blood oranges first since (I was assuming) they don’t sell those at the homebrew shop. Turns out they’re not in season and no one has any. Not even Whole Foods. So, scratch that one I guess, at least until next year.

    Here’s what I came up with instead. It’s inspired by a track from our new album called Ring of Bones.

    Ring of Bones Imperial White Ale

    A double strength Belgian Wit. A Blue Moon with more balls. It’s like a spicier Allagash White injected straight into your eyeballs.

    Ingredients for the Imperial White Ale

    Batch Size: 5.5 gal
    Grains: 17 lbs
    Original Gravity: 1.076
    IBU: 22.4
    ABV (estimated): 8.4%
    
    8 lb Belgian Pilsner
    6 lb White Wheat
    2 lb Flaked Wheat
    1 lb Flaked Oats
    
    2.0 pkg Safale S-33
    
    Mash at 152F for 90 minutes
    90 minute boil
    1 oz Cascade [7.3 %] - Boil 60.0 min
    1 tsp Yeast Nutrient - Boil 15.0 min
    0.5 oz Cascade [7.3 %] - Boil 5.0 min
    Spice mix - Boil 2.0 min
    
    Spice mix:
    0.6 oz sweet orange peel
    0.4 oz bitter orange peel
    5 green cardamom pods
    0.3 oz white peppercorns
    0.25 tsp fennel seed
    0.5 tsp cumin
    0.2 oz coriander
    
    

    Draining the mash tun

    Once again my numbers were pretty far off. I think the main reason is that I keep using the default efficiency in BeerSmith when mine is actually lower. I’m also still not sure about the numbers I should be using for dead space, trub loss, etc, but I think if I get the actual efficiency dialed in right, I’ll be able to figure those out a little easier.

    According to BeerSmith the estimated OG was 1.084 but it came in at 1.076 and that was even with the post boil volume coming in almost 0.75 gal lower than expected. So something is definitely off in my calculations, but I knew that going in and went pretty big with this recipe. I’m actually pretty happy with where it came out, but I’d like to be a lot more consistent because when I’m doing lower gravity beers, being this far off is going to be more of a problem.

    The plan for this beer is to make it available in some way to friends and fans of the band. We can’t legally sell it so that will probably mean either a private party somewhere or a show where we give away free samples or something if we can find a venue cool enough to allow us to do that. Either way, at some point later this year we’ll be able to raise a glass of Ring of Bones while we listen to Ring of Bones, while standing in a ring of bones.

    Actually I don’t know about that last part. We might end up opening the gates of hell or something if we go that far with it. So we might skip that part.

  8. Strawberry Belgian Milk Stout, Part 2: Secondary Fermentation and Kegging

    Jul 7 2013

    In my previous post about this beer, I included the recipe but left out the part where I add the strawberries. The primary fermentation was mostly finished after just a few days but I let it sit for 9 days to let the yeast and whatnot to settle out some more. Before racking it to a secondary fermentor, I pureed about 4.75 lbs of strawberries and then pasteurized the puree by heating it to 160° F and holding it there for 10 minutes. Some people advise against doing this as it can do something to the pectins in the fruit and then you end up with a really cloudy beer. Since this is a stout, I don’t think cloudiness is really an issue. And even if it was, I don’t really care. The last time I tried to use strawberries in a beer I ended up getting some kind of weird infection or wild yeast or something that made it taste like burnt rubber. Hopefully this time the pasteurization will prevent anything like that from happening.

    After letting the strawberry puree cool down to around room temperature, I dumped it all in an empty (and sanitized) 6.5 gallon carboy. Normally I would use a 5 gallon for secondary, but this batch ended up being more like 5.5 gallons, so with the addition of almost 5 lbs of fruit, I figured I needed a little more room.

    Adding strawberry puree to the 6.5 gallon carboy
    Adding strawberry puree to the 6.5 gallon carboy

    4.75 lbs of strawberry puree in a 6.5 gallon carboy
    4.75 lbs of strawberry puree in a 6.5 gallon carboy

    I then racked the beer on top of the fruit.

    Racking on top of the fruit

    Well, that was the plan, anyway. What really happened was I racked the beer underneath a thick layer of strawberry puree. I thought about pulling the hose up a bit and forcing it to cover the fruit, but in order to minimize any exposure to oxygen I just let it go. I was a little worried the fruit would just sit on top and prevent any real flavor from coming through but I figured I could deal with that if it happened. Also, because there was so much extra head space in the 6.5 gallon carboy, I topped it off with a layer of CO2, just be sure. If you have a kegging set up, this is as simple as putting one of your gas lines in and opening it up for a few seconds. Since CO2 is heaver than air it will push all the existing air out the top and leave you with a blanket of CO2. If you don’t have a kegging setup, I’m not sure of a practical way of doing this.

    Belgian Milk Stout sitting under 4.75 lbs of strawberry puree
    Belgian Milk Stout sitting under 4.75 lbs of strawberry puree

    With all the natural sugars that are in the puree, I knew the yeast still in the beer would wake up and I would see some more activity, which would hopfully cause the fruit to start settling down into the beer.

    The next day, there was definitely evidence of some more activity.

    The strawberry puree put the yeast back to work

    A few days later, things settled back down, and after about a week it looked like a lot of the fruit had finally sunk down into the beer. Since this is a relatively low gravity beer, I decided to move it into the keg on 7/6, about 17 days after racking to secondary. If this was a bigger beer I probably would have waited a month or two.

    The sample I took a few days before definitely had some noticeable strawberry flavor but it was pretty subtle. With the strong flavors of the dark malts and the Belgian yeast it seemed like it could be getting lost in the mix. To try and get just a little more strawberry flavor on top I decided to add about 375ml of Adult Strawberry Milk.

    Adult Strawberry Milk about to go into the keg with the Strawberry Belgian Milk Stout

    That may turn out to have been a bad idea. Or it could be exactly what this beer needed. Or it could end up making no difference at all. Or I might find that it helped a little bit and that maybe I should even add some more. There’s actually a lot of different ways this could go.

    It’s been carbonating less than 24 hours (at 30 psi) so it’s really foamy but still a little flat, but I think it actually tastes pretty good so far. The first pour had a ton of sediment in it. I didn’t strain the puree so there’s probably still seeds and stuff in there but most of that should settle out and come out with the next couple pours. I’ll post a more thorough review when it’s fully carbonated.

  9. Strawberry Belgian Milk Stout

    Jun 11 2013

    Strawberry. Belgian. Milk. Stout.

    Just typing that name makes me think of Strawberry Quik, but that’s really not what I’m going for with this beer. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going for but I do know this thing will be black and not bright pink. I’m hoping for a sweet stout with some spiciness from the Belgian yeast and a tippity touch of strawberry flavor on top. I want to be able to tell there’s some strawberries in there but it shouldn’t be in your face. The strawberry flavor should just hang out in the general vicinity but not get too comfortable. It needs to leave plenty of room for the Belgian-Stouty-ness to come through so it doesn’t taste a tall glass of black bunny milk. Although I think that’s probably a good name for it. Belgian Black Bunny Milk Stout™.

    Belgian Milk Stout - Mashing

    The recipe I’m using is a Left Hand Milk Stout clone that I adapted to include a Belgian yeast and a few pounds of strawberries, courtesy of the farm at House Sprouse. I was supposed to use some of their strawberries in a brew last summer but I totally effed up and didn’t get any in time. This summer I’m getting started early and hopefully not totally effing up again. If I’m lucky I might even get another batch of strawberries that I can use to brew something a little more summery like a Strawberry Wheat or some shit. If you calm the fuck down and just relax I’ll let you know what I decide to do.

    So here’s the recipe:

    Batch Size: 5.25 gal
    Grains: 12.88 lbs
    Original Gravity: 1.060
    IBU: 26
    ABV (estimated): 6.7%
    
    7.5 lb 2-row
    1 lb Roasted barley
    12 oz Crystal 60L
    12 oz Chocolate malt
    12 oz Dark Munich malt
    10 oz Flaked barley
    8 oz Flaked oats
    1 lb Lactose
    
    1.0 pkg Safale T-58
    
    Mash at 156F for 45 minutes
    75 minute boil
    0.50 oz Yakima Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min
    1 oz East Kent Goldings [5.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min
    
    Since I don't actually have the strawberries yet 
    I'm leaving them out for now. They'll most likely 
    be pureed and added after transferring to a secondary fermentor.
    
    

    Belgian Milk Stout - Boil

    Continued in

  10. White Chai Ale

    Apr 21 2013

    I’m not sure if I want to call this a White Chai Ale or a Chai White Ale or something else way more clever than that. Whatever it ends up being called, it better be F-ing good because I just spent all god damn day making it.

    A photo of my assistant brewmaster Sarge taking a break before we even get started
    A photo of my assistant brewmaster Sarge taking a break before we even get started

    I’m still trying to get everything dialed in with my current set up. I’ve been using it for a while now but for whatever reason on the last few batches I haven’t been able to get the numbers right. I had my equipment profile set up in Beersmith but then re-installed my OS and didn’t have a backup. I thought I remembered what all the numbers were but I must be off somewhere because I keep ending up using too much water. I was planning on doing a 90 minute boil on this one anyway, so I figured the pre-boil volume would be higher than usual. Beersmith put it right around 7 gallons. But I ended up with 7.5 and that was after stopping the sparge before the mash tun was fully drained because it just looked like too much volume and I didn’t think to measure it during the sparge.

    Draining the mash tun

    One of the things that’s still pretty annoying to me is dealing with volumes. Maybe I just need some better equipment or a new way of measuring or something, but I always feel like I spend so much time trying to measure the right amount of water or figure out how much wort I have. A kettle with a sight gauge would probably make things a lot easier. And if I marked my carboys maybe I would be able to figure out what my final batch volume actually is. Or is there something else I’m missing? Does someone sell a 10 gallon measuring cup?

    After boiling for 30 minutes I still wasn’t down to my normal pre-boil volume so I let it go for another 10. I’m not sure how much went into the carboy but I’m guessing I should have let it go even longer because the gravity came in a little low. I think it’ll still be a good beer. The gravity in the recipe was actually a little on the high side for a witbier anyway. I just want to be able to hit the OG more consistently.

    White Chai Ale

    Batch Size: 5.25 gal
    Grains: 10 lbs
    Original Gravity: 1.046
    IBU: 17
    ABV (estimated): 4.7%
    
    5 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM)
    3 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)
    2 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) 
    
    1.0 pkg Belgian Wit Ale (White Labs #WLP400) in 1.2 L starter
    
    Mash at 152F for 60 minutes
    100 minute boil
    1.00 oz Crystal [3.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min
    0.30 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] - Boil 15.0 min
    0.30 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min
    
    Chai spices:
    10 green cardamom pods
    3 tsp white peppercorns
    5 cloves
    2 segments star anise
    1 tsp coriander
    1/4 tsp fennel seed
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 tbsp darjeeling tea
    
    Added chai spices at flameout and let steep for 5 minutes.
    
    
    

    I looked at a few other chai beer recipes and the spice amounts were all over the place so I just kind of made up my own. I may also add some Chai tea in the keg, depending on how much flavor it has post-fermentation. In case you were wondering.

  11. Rye Gose

    Jan 18 2013

    “What in the Lord Fuck is a Rye Gose?”

    I’m sure you’re probably asking yourself that question right now. If you’re not, you can stop reading since you probably don’t care what it is. But if you’re not a total dick and would like to hear more, please continue reading below.

    Rye Gose is a style of beer that I made up. There’s already a style of beer called Gose that’s not very well known outside of the beer nerd crowd. Even within the beer nerd crowd it’s probably near the bottom of the list of Things the Average Beer Nerd Has Heard Of. In other words, it’s old and cool and German and you probably never heard of it.

    Rye Gose coming to a boil

    A traditional Gose is typically brewed with 50-60% wheat, a small amount of hops, and coriander and salt for flavoring. It’s supposed to be a little sour too. You might think of it as a salty/sour Witbier. Actually, you might not cause you don’t know shit, but trust me. That’s kinda what it is. I know it sounds weird. Salt flavored beer. But it’s good. You should try it.

    I’ve only had one commercial Gose and that was some weird Sam Adams thing, part of this limited “brewmasters” series or something. It had an owl on the bottle. Here it is. Verloren, it’s called.

    After having the Sam Adams version it went right onto my “to brew” list and stayed there.

    There’s a local homebrew competition coming up called “Battle of the Homebrew Shops” where several homebrew shops in the Philly area hold competitions and then the winner of each of those competitions competes in another competition to see who’s the best competitor in the area, homebrewing-wise. Last year I brewed a beer for this competition and then forgot to enter. Needless to say I was not the best competitor in the area last year.

    Every year the competition has a different theme. Last year, all first round entries had to be session beers ( < 4.5% ABV) and then the second round had something to do with coffee but I didn't get to the second round so who gives a shit.

    This year the first round entries have to use rye malt in some way. For some reason one of the first ideas I came up with was to finally brew a Gose and just use rye malt in place of some (most) of the wheat. I was thinking about switching the coriander with caraway seeds to really go for a rye bread kind of thing but decided against it. And by “decided against it”, I mean that I totally forgot and then was pissed when I remembered and it was too late. Either way, it seems like an obscure enough style that I’ll at least get a few points for originality.

    Update 3/17/13 – I have no idea if I got any points for originality but I do know that some other dude won the first round so that means I didn’t win shit. The beer was pretty good though. I’ll probably make it again soon. Seems like a good summer beer.

    RYE GOSE
    
    Brewed on Dec 27, 2012
    
    Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
    Total Grain (Lbs): 11.60
    Estimated OG: 1.052
    Estimated SRM: 5.0
    Estimated IBU: 10.7
    Brewhouse Efficiency: 72%
    Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes
    
    
    Grains
    ----------
    5 lb Rye Malt
    4 lb Pilsner
    2 lb Acidulated Malt
    8 oz White Wheat Malt
    1.5 oz Crystal 60L
    
    Hops
    ----
    0.75 oz Hallertau - 60 minutes
    
    Other Additions
    ---------------
    1 Whirlfloc tablet - 15 minutes
    1 oz kosher salt - 10 minutes
    0.5 oz coriander - 10 minutes
    
    Yeast
    -----
    1 L starter White Labs Kolsch/German Ale (WLP029)
    
    Mash
    ----
    105 min @ 150-145 F
    
    Notes
    -----
    Mashed all grains except the acid malt for 6 minutes. 
    Added the acid malt and 2 L boiling water (to keep temps stable) 
    and then let it sit for another 45 min to lower ph.
    
    Mash volume was 4.25 gallons and 1st runnings were 1.85 gallons 
    for a loss of 2.4 gallons to grain absorption. Normal amount would be 
    around 1.4 gallons. Not sure what happened but I probably should have 
    added some rice hulls to get better drainage.
    
    Sparged with 4 gallons. Ended up with 6 gallons of wort. 
    Added .22 gallons to get to pre-boil volume of 6.22 gallons.
    
    Jan 17, 2013 - FG stable at 1.010 (4.7% ABV)