Archive for June, 2021|Monthly archive page

The brewing cycle – another battle with choice

It seems that the battle with choice is a recurring theme for me. When it comes to my home brewing I have a similar battle. WHAT should I brew this time? Even without some of the currently trendy home brewing accoutrements (pressure fermentation, anyone? Oxygen-free transfer?), the range of beers available to the homebrewer is great. In a slightly smug way I’d say that none of the all-grain brews I’ve done have been undrinkable, and some I’ve been very sad to finish the last bottle.

In fact I’ve moved to smaller batches typically around 10 litres instead of nearly 20. There were two principal reasons, firstly simply trying to consume up to 40 bottles of the SAME beer became a bit “challenging” during the period when we were self-isolating. Secondly my brewing machine routinely overflowed during the boil phase and while this wasn’t a particular problem, it did mean I had to pay more attention during the brewing process.

The reduction to smaller batches has given the opportunity to try a few more different styles and recipes. This has meant the paralysis of choice while I try to decide just what I’d fancy. I’ve also turned out to be poor at planning sufficiently far ahead to have seasonally-appropriate beers to hand. Trying to remember to brew something lighter in March or April for consumption in June and July should be simple, but for some reason I struggle. Part of the reason for this is that from time to time we are seduced by offers from our favourite commercial brewers and suddenly we have a stock of delicious other beers that need drinking and my plans to produce some batches of my own take a back seat.

I’ve also been trying to do a brewing/bottling combo day (bottling a previous brew while the next brewing is being processed by my brilliant Brewie machine). This has felt like a very efficient use of time, though it does mean I get into a cycle where I produce more beer than I’m drinking and I have to break that cycle! I’ve been considering my beer choices in batches of three lately, using a combination of “using up” to use whatever ingredients I have “lying around”, spotting interesting beers in YouTube videos I watch, responding to friends’ requests, and even repeating previous recipes that I’ve particularly enjoyed. The next three in the pipe are looking like a porter to use up some smoked malt (“Smoke On The Porter”), a Dark Mild (my first foray into brown malt), and a clone of Leffe Blonde (friend’s preference).


The problem with *inux

I’ve finally started semi-seriously testing out whether a move to a non-Windows operating system will work out for me. I’m trying out various flavours on my old PC to see whether I can replicate my normal usage, in other words whether I can run enough of my regular applications and find alternatives for others. I’m also immersing myself to some extent in the culture by listening to a number of podcasts for at least a year or two of back-issues. One is the fairly mainstream Ubuntu podcast, the other so far is the rather more eclectic Late Night Linux.

I’ll comment in the future about my own findings, but for now I just wanted to make the obvious remark about THE MAIN PROBLEM. Which is of course the plethora of variants of the basic desktop(s) which causes decision paralysis. While I get that choice can be a wonderful thing, we’ve definitely wandered into Schwartz’s Paradox, where more most definitely is less. I could speculate as to WHY there are so many variants, I could even rail at the extraordinary amount of duplicated work, but suffice it to say that having in excess of 250 “active”ยน versions of basically the same operating system is a recipe for confusion, patchy adoption and ultimately irrelevance.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve started with two Ubuntu variants, Ubuntu desktop itself (LTS version 20-04), and Ubuntu MATE2 version 21-04. Both are competent desktop environments, neither has crashed on me yet, but I wouldn’t expect them to on a ten year old Intel-based PC with no esoteric hardware. My slightly newer main machine has an AMD graphics card and a reasonably new processor along with NVMe storage and other bits, so we’ll be looking forward to that!

1. according, at least, to Distrowatch

2. and don’t get me started on the male gamer-nerd naming tendencies