Monday, January 23, 2012


Oatmeal??  Yes.  I'm sure you are wondering what oatmeal could possibly have to do with ANYTHING that this blog touches on.  Well, I'll get to that...

When oatmeal comes to mind, I'm sure most of you think: "crappy breakfast" .  Well, oats are a grain, and grain is what you use to make beer.  Although beer is mostly made of malted wheat and barley, small amounts of oats can be added to a beer recipe to impart some excellent additions to a beer.

I am currently in the process of brewing an oatmeal stout, in fact, I just bottled it several days ago and it should be ready to drink very soon.  An oatmeal stout is a very similar to other stouts (Guinness beer is a stout, for instance), except that adding oatmeal increases the body, viscosity and silkiness of the beer.  There was an article posted in "Brew Your Own" magazine that describes it this way:
"Typically, oatmeal stouts do not specifically taste of oats. However, the oats impart the well-known smoothness because of their high content of proteins, lipids (includes fats and waxes), and gums. The gums increase the viscosity and body of the beer."
To put it in slightly less technical terms:  Oatmeal has tiny particles of awesome contained within the grain, these bits of awesome are transferred to the beer during the brewing process, oatmeal's awesome particles are infused with the already sizable awesome particles contained within the beer, adding to the overall awesomeness of the beer.

So when I decided to create an oatmeal stout, I figured I would do some research on the beer to hopefully pick up some tips to help me out a bit.  Within minutes of researching, I found probably the best advice possible.  It instructed:

"In a sublime stout, you need to create an effective interplay between the robust immediateness of the roasted, acrid malts and the floral-aromatic reverberations of the hops."
Uh..  Right, got it.  So this is going to be easier than I thought!!   As instructed, this was the first step that I performed when I started making my beer... you're just going to have to trust me on this one.   I guess we'll just have to wait and see if I was successful in creating the "effective interplay".   I'm guessing this is going to take awhile for all the ingredients to get to know each other well enough to commence in interplay...

Hopefully this will give you guys something a little more enlightening to imagine when you hear the word "oatmeal".

Summary for the Skimmers:   Oatmeal has the lipids.  There's no known cure... but it certainly makes for good beer!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cocktail Robots

A cocktail robot is exactly what you would expect it to be:  an automated device that can mix drinks for you on command.  And believe it or not, my final project for my senior microcontroller class in college was a cocktail robot.  The project was a complete disaster!  In hindsight, it's very possible that more time was spent sampling the product than working on the project.  The final demonstration didn't go well at all. In fact, whenever you exclaim "Oh Sh*t!" during a recorded final demonstration, things aren't going very all.  However, for some reason, the professor generously gave us a passing grade. 

Anyway, I was reminded of this project when I came across an online story of a similar project (although considerably more creative... and working).  Apparently, there is quite a community out there that builds these types of projects.  In fact, there are several annual competitions to demonstrate your robotic (and possibly drinking) chops.

So anyway, you absolutely need to check out the cocktail robot that was created by the folks over at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.  Pay close attention to the devices they used to pump the ingredients!  Funny!  The fact that they are making white russians with the robot makes it even better!

Here is the link to the original article, complete with more pictures as well as a video.

"White Russian? Coming right up, heavy on the irony!"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy 2012 to all!

The holidays were a whirlwind, good times were had by all, but unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that good times are inversely proportional to progress.  Or, if you don't mind me going all geek on you:

I have high hopes for this year with many great things planned and high expectations!  I plan on completing my thermostat for my fermentation chamber fairly early in the year. If all goes well with the thermostat, I will move forward with getting this device available for other home brewers to use. However, lots of work has to be completed for that to happen.   Plus I have to overachieve a little this year in case the Mayans were right (er.. got lucky).

Here's to a good year!!