Saturday, August 8, 2009

Setting the Thermal Mass in ProMash

Yesterday I did Brew 39, my golden brew (I'm 39 this year). I'll write more about that in a few days, once I verify that fermentation has started. Today I'm going to talk about Pro Mash. This is the first brew that I've done using Pro Mash, and I have to say, I'm pleased with the software. After calibrating my equipment, it gave me spot-on temperatures and quantities to get the infusions I needed.

Now, about calibrating equipment. One of the things you will see is a strike temperature calculator. It will want to know the thermal mass of your mash tun. When you pour hot water into your mash tun, the tun itself will cool the water down (unless, of course, you happen to have pre-heated your mash tun to about 170 degrees. Most people don't do that with Rubbermaid Cooler based mash tuns, though.) How much? That's where the thermal mass comes in. I heated three gallons of water to 188 degrees and poured it into the tun. Then I measured the temperature of the water after a minute or two. It was 182 degrees. Go to the Strike Temperature calculator, tell it you are putting in 0.001 pounds of grain (it won't let you enter zero), and that 182 is the desired strike temperature. Finally, play with the thermal mass setting until you have 188 as the Initial Strike Water Temperature. Mine came out as 0.165.

Once you have that, you'll want Pro Mash to remember your setting. Go to menu item Options / System Settings, and select Mash System. Among the entries will be a setting for thermal mass. Enter that, and hit Ok. You're done! Next time you brew, the mash schedule will automatically determine for you the temperature the water needs to be to get the right temperature.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pro Mash and Wine

I'm talking about Wine, the software, not wine, the beverage.

I have long wanted to try Pro Mash, but I run Linux (currently the Ubuntu flavor). Whenever I would use Wine, the windows compatibility layer, to run it, the icons would not show up on the screen.

One day I discovered by accident that Wine is not set to XP by default; I changed it and now all is well.

So I got my copy of Pro Mash, and will try a real brew with it in the next few days.

Since the last post, I've only done two beer brews. And faithfully read Hunahpu's blog.

The first thing I need to do is calibrate the thermal mass setting. I'll explain in my next post how to do that.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

One Year of Driving

One year ago today I got a car, the first time I've owned one in 14 years. Here are some interesting statistics I collected.

  • Miles driven: 12148
  • Gallons of Gas: 400, total cost $1343.00
  • Tons of CO2 produced: 4.0
  • Rides given: too many to count
  • Insurance cost: $670
  • Repairs $173
  • Taxes: $160
  • Other: $759 (Car washes, parking, new tires)
  • Car payments: $3600

Parking at work costs $40/month; my commute to work is half the time now (25-30 minutes, rather than an hour).

I like having a car now, it really helps me to do a lot of things, and help a lot of people. But I do miss the hole that it put into my budget, too! I think that the decision to get one was good.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Enabling multicore/dual-core support with Ubuntu Gutsy

I have a dual-core computer, and have been able to take advantage of both cores with Ubuntu for quite some time. At one point, I think when I upgraded to Gutsy, it stopped. It took a long time to figure out why... most of the pages the Google brings up refer to an older version, and they all tell you to install the -smp versions of the kernel. But Gutsy no longer has those.

There was one page that has the trick you need, but it's way at the bottom, so I'm writing it up here.

Here's the trick: the -generic versions of the kernel are the ones that support SMP. The -386 do not.

To fix it, you need to do two things. First, you need to run

apt-get install linux-generic

This gets the generic kernel on your system, and makes sure it stays up to date when things get upgraded. Chances are it's already there. Next, you have to edit your /boot/grub/menu.lst file to make sure it will boot from the generic kernel and not the 386 kernel. The grub program will put the 386 kernels ahead of the generic ones in the boot list. On my system, once I verified that the generic kernel would boot, I deleted all the 386 kernels. That should show them! I also had to remove and reinstall the linux-restricted-modules to get the nvidia drivers working again.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I was just discussing this passage with a friend; it's from G.K.Chesterton's book Orthodoxy.

Let us suppose we are confronted with a desperate thing—say Pimlico. If we think what is really best for Pimlico we shall find the thread of thought leads to the throne or the mystic and the arbitrary. It is not enough for a man to disapprove of Pimlico: in that case he will merely cut his throat or move to Chelsea. Nor, certainly, is it enough for a man to approve of Pimlico: for then it will remain Pimlico, which would be awful. The only way out of it seems to be for somebody to love Pimlico: to love it with a transcendental tie and without any earthly reason. If there arose a man who loved Pimlico, then Pimlico would rise into ivory towers and golden pinnacles; Pimlico would attire herself as a woman does when she is loved. For decoration is not given to hide horrible things: but to decorate things already adorable. A mother does not give her child a blue bow because he is so ugly without it. A lover does not give a girl a necklace to hide her neck. If men loved Pimlico as mothers love children, arbitrarily, because it is THEIRS, Pimlico in a year or two might be fairer than Florence. Some readers will say that this is a mere fantasy. I answer that this is the actual history of mankind. This, as a fact, is how cities did grow great. Go back to the darkest roots of civilization and you will find them knotted round some sacred stone or encircling some sacred well. People first paid honour to a spot and afterwards gained glory for it. Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Brew 33: Winter Warmer

I have not been brewing much lately, an error I hope to fix this week. The first brew is a Winter Warmer, like Brew 26. This brew was the most smoothly executing brew I can remember. Strangely, the O.G. is closer to 1.050 than 1.060, so it will be less potent.

Anyway, here's the recipe....

Date of Brew: November 17, 2007
  • Grains
    11.5 lbs Crisp Maris Otter
    1 lb Simpson's Crystal
    0.25 lbs Simpon's Chocolate
  • Hops
    1 oz Northern Brewer (60 mins)
    1 oz Fuggle (30 mins)
    1 oz Kent Goldings (1 min)
  • Yeast
    Wyeast #1728 Scottish Ale Yeast #1014295
  • Additives
    1 tsp Irish Moss

4 gallons, 153 F for 60 min.

Number of Gallons in Boil: 6
Boil Time: 60 mins
Gallons in Fermenter: 5

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Brew 32: Oatmeal Stout

This brew is in honor of the late Michael Jackson, the ``Beer Hunter'' who passed away last week. This style is one he popularized; this batch is a kit from Northern Brewer.

Some notes: this time I tried doing a two stage mash, holding the temperature at 153F for one hour, then 170F for ten minutes. To do this, I kept the mash in the kettle on the stove. This did not work as well as I hoped. The thermometer, a probe type, fluctuated wildly as the probe moved around, and it took forever to figure out if I had reached a target temperature or not. Time to get a real thermometer I suppose. The final gravity was low, but within the style guidelines, so I think it will be okay. Other than that, the brew went very very well. Each time I do a brew, it seems more streamlined than before.

Here are the notes.

Northern Brewer Oatmeal Stout

Brew Type: All Grain Date: 9/8/2007
Style: Oatmeal Stout Brewer: Mattox Beckman
Batch Size: 5.00 gal Assistant Brewer: John and Heidi Fisher
Boil Volume: 5.77 gal Boil Time: 65 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 57.6 % Equipment: My Equipment
Actual Efficiency: 57.6 %
Taste Rating (50 possible points): 0.0
Amount Item Type % or IBU
6.50 lb Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 72.2 %
1.00 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 11.1 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 5.6 %
0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 5.6 %
0.50 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 5.6 %
1.00 oz Chinook [13.00%] (60 min) Hops 52.2 IBU
1 Pkgs Irish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1084) Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.038 SG (1.035-1.060 SG) Measured Original Gravity: 1.038 SG
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.010 SG (1.010-1.018 SG) Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Color: 32.0 SRM (35.0-200.0 SRM) Color [Color]
Bitterness: 52.2 IBU (20.0-50.0 IBU) Alpha Acid Units: 2.6 AAU
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 3.7 % (3.3-6.0 %) Actual Alcohol by Volume: 4.3 %
Actual Calories: 163 cal/pint
Mash Profile
Name: My Mash Mash Tun Weight: 0.00 lb
Mash Grain Weight: 9.00 lb Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Grain Temperature: 72.0 F Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F
Sparge Water: 3.93 gal Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE
Name Description Step Temp Step Time
Dough In Add 11.70 qt of water at 164.4 F 153.0 F 60 min
Mash Out Heat to 170.0 F over 2 min 170.0 F 10 min
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Corn Sugar Carbonation Volumes: 2.4 (1.8-2.4 vols)
Estimated Priming Weight: 3.8 oz Temperature at Bottling: 60.0 F
Primer Used: - Age for: 4.0 Weeks
Storage Temperature: 52.0 F