Sunday, January 17, 2010

Channeling Pedro Cerrano

Unlike Pedro, I don't hit the straight ball very much, because it's not just the bats that are afraid when I step into the batter's box. Like Pedro in the playoff game, however, I'm pissed off (albeit not at Jobu). I'm beginning to think there's some sort of cosmic conspiracy to undermine my confidence in my technical abilities.

I spent this weekend cleaning the garage so I would have a place other than the dining room in which to work on my automation projects. This afternoon, I finally cleared and lit a place on my workbench(!) where I can prototype circuits and solder and do all the stuff I need to do to finish the temperature monitoring and control system I have been working on. I proceeded to assemble a probe from 50' of Cat-5 cable in the expectation of moving the project forward.

Interestingly enough, once I had a place to work in the garage, my soldering skills improved (why, I don't know). I got the DS18B20 attached to the cable the first time and tested the new probe along with the two that were working previously.

Here's where the Cerrano situation comes into play. I cannot get the WebControl board to recognize all three probes every time it powers on. Sometimes it will only see the original two, sometimes it won't see any. If I remove the original two probes it recognizes the one on the Cat-5 cable. Sometimes it will see the Cat-5 probe and one of the two others.

I'm unable to figure out why things are so inconsistent.  I'm sure it's due to either (a) my own idiocy or (b) some issue with the Vdd power on the probes. Maybe I'll switch the probes back to the Arduino and see what happens.

Kegged: 091103 Por Favor Keg #2

So I finally got around to kegging the second carboy of the Por Favor batch I made back in November. It's been patiently biding its time for about 6 weeks. I put it into the cooler about two weeks ago to cold crash and clarify it. Today I kegged it, and I noticed from the start of the racking process that the beer was clearer than usual. I didn't take a gravity on it.

Since the beer was already cold I went ahead and carbed it. I can definitely tell the difference between this portion and the beer that came out of the other carboy a month ago. The flavor is much smoother, and I don't sense the yeast overtone that was apparent (to me) in the other keg.

I guess this is a lesson to be learned - beer tastes better if you let it condition for a while instead of rushing it to serving. I need to adjust my production schedule (and equipment) to allow for more aging for each batch. What that likely means is that I will need more kegs and carboys because they won't come available as frequently as they do now.

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