Archive for January, 2014

Ginger Champagne 2014

Another year another batch of ginger champagne.  The 2013 batch turned out pretty well but a little sweeter than we expected.  A couple bottles didn’t carbonate but made for a decent liqueur and mixer.  Overall it was good enough that we decided to do another batch.  We adjusted the recipe in a couple of different ways.  First, we decided to make a full 5 gallon batch instead of the half batch we made last year.  We also used a mix of brown and white sugar, but less of it than last year since it turned out on the sweet side.

This was the first time we brewed a 5 gallon batch and we ran into some difficulties we didn’t anticipate.  We didn’t have a pot large enough so we ended up using multiple batches and then adding extra water after the steep.  Since we used multiple pots we needed multiple steeping bags but only had one.  Next year we’ll either buy an appropriately size pot or sterilize some water ahead of time to cool with.  Or both.

The recipe we used was basically a double batch of last year’s recipe with the following alterations:

  • 1lb 10oz ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3lbs 6oz brown sugar
  • 6lbs 12oz white sugar

We saved the ginger and zested the lemons again to make some infusion experiments.  I made ginger-lemon brandy and ginger-lemon vodka that I’m looking forward to trying out soon!

Year in Review 2013

Too much happened in 2013 and too recently for me to try and review everything that happened, so I’ll stick to the things most relevant to this blog.  Namely my projects and this blog itself.

First, some blog stats:
Articles:  7 (up 140% from last year’s 5)
Total word count:  2298, 9.1 pages* (up 127% from last year’s 1803, 7.2 pages*)
Average words per article:  328.3 words / 1.3 pages* (down 9% from last year’s 360.6, 1.4 pages*)
Views:  454 (up 142% from last year’s 318)
*250 words is roughly one page, hand written

I’m happy that I wrote more than last year, though the decrease in article length isn’t super exciting.  Articles and pageviews are both up 140% which is kind of interesting.  I imagine there’s a point at which writing more doesn’t directly translate into more pageviews, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have to break the article per month barrier before that becomes true.

Projects:
In 2013 I branched out a bit and started working on some new platforms.  I wrote my first ever Firefox plugin, I wrote a quick and dirty ‘Hello World’ style app for my new Pebble watch, and got my feet wet with some home automation.

Tools:
I’ve started using two new tools this year that have really helped me be more productive and organized.  I started using Beeminder in September and have found it to be a fantastic addition to my toolbox.  It’s data focused goal tracking powered by science and a team that is serious about eating their own dog food.  It’s currently helping me stay in shape, write more, and be more productive all around.  They also have an excellent data policy (you own it and can leave whenever you want to).  I also recently migrated my to do lists to Trello.  I think it’s an improvement, but I haven’t been using it long enough to tell.  I also want to give a shout out to 750words.  My one month trial just expired and I haven’t decided whether to pull the trigger on paying for it, but the trial has inspired me write more which I am very happy about.

I’m going to end this year in review on a personal note.  In November I proposed to my beautiful girlfriend Deana.  She said yes.  Don’t be surprised if you see some wedding related projects over the next year or so.


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