Posts by Tom Semmens

  • Feed: Fulminating and fermenting,

    I drank a lot of tasty alcohol free beer

    A low alcohol beer is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Fulminating and fermenting,

    Lagers are funny things for the home brewer. For what is probably the most popular style of beer in the world and which lacks much in the way of taste (decently hopped Pilseners exempted) they are actually quite difficult to make well. Also, for a style of beer best drunk in hot weather, you can only really make them in winter (unless you have a way of chilling down your fermenter) and then you have to “lager” it for weeks on end (conditioning at a low temperature of around 4 – 6 c) before bottling / kegging.

    Sage words. I stick to the more forgiving golden ales, which are still a fine drink in the summer. I have given a lager a go and as you say, the biggest issue for lagers is temerature control. You can use a heat exchanger - they are a piece of cake to knock up at home, you can make one using a chilly bin, copper piping, an acquarium water pump and a modified fermenter. Of course, you have to be on your toes 24x7 to keep the chilly bin topped up with ice and water gets everywhere. All in all, it is an almighty rigmarole of specialist yeasts and anxious thermometer watching. Because I make my own cheese (the neighbours have a couple of obliging cows, unpasteurised milk from happy heifers = cheese win!) I now have a second hand and ancient food display chiller which would probably do nicely for lager, but lager is one of those things like tomato ketchup and peanut butter - you can make it at home, but why bother?

    Nice stout recipe. I like to add a 250ml cup of cold filtered coffee to my stout, and I use a lot more sugar than you - my last stout had 500ml molasses, 500ml dark muscovy sugar and 500g lactose. Mind you, it is a quite alcoholic wee drop.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Fulminating and fermenting,

    I have put aside a 10x10m square of land down on the farm to grow barley (and hops) to turn into beer in a paddock to pitcher experiment.

    I expect some potential issues with the malting and kilning cos I don’t (yet) possess a barley roller and a kiln, but I have made my own tun from some instructions I found on instructables.com and I have on standby 3 hives/squadrons (I name my bee hives after famous squadrons – “617 hive, the Jam Busters”, “487 Hive, the Manuka Mosquitoes” and “No. 75 Hive, the Sugarhawks”) of honey bees so I can use my own honey from my own honey bees as the sugar. Anyway, it is a lot of effort to produce 50 or so litres of beer but it is the fun of it all, really.

    If it all works out I might post on it. Otherwise, I will never speak of it again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Over the paywall?,

    Some of there more controversial articles seem to get plenty of attention from Public address commenters.

    It’s opinion pieces are designed to troll, not inform. Sure, trolls are gonna troll but do i want to pay to read trolls? The flame wars are lot funnier on reddit. And why would I pay for John Roughan’s uninformed ideological bullshit when I can get it direct from the National party research unit via David Farrar?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Over the paywall?,

    The Herald’s specific problem is it isn’t a very good newspaper in a globalised marketplace. It is, for all intents and purposes, a red top in disguise. The thing is, if I want a bit of Daily Mail in my life I don’t need the Herald because I have got the dailymail.co.uk whilst for serious international stuff I have got the Guardian. Actually, the Herald’s owners have got to be worried about the possibility of the Guardian Australia reaching across the Tasman and setting up a local bureau. All the Herald is good for is local sport and local news (their political coverage is hopeless). Their editorial and opinion writers often betray an astonishing ignorance of the facts. Personally, I would never subscribe to the Herald because but I would subscribe to a properly resourced Guardian NZ site because it would come with a huge stable of quality writing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Over the paywall?,

    I find it extremely depressing how many ostensibly serious news sites are aping the "You won't believe what happens when..." relentless click bait trivia approach of Buzzfeed.

    This is just how the internet rolls.

    It doesn't mean that serious news doesn't get a look in - take a look at one site that understands the internet like the female orientated jezebel.com, which can weave having a "Cat Loses Valiant Battle Against Slice of Ham" video together with a serious story "Can I be friends with my rapist?"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Auckland's future: Keep calm,…,

    I'm really not sure what it is Brewer, Wood, Quax, etc., want for this city.

    Tauranga, but with mega traffic jams.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Auckland's future: Keep calm,…,

    But it seems to me that the capital infrastructure for Auckland’s million-and-growing can’t all be funded out of rising property taxes. Anyone got any ideas?

    If the council came up with an elegant, easy to administer, and fair money making scheme that would raise gazillions, Bill English would simply change the law to stop them doing it.

    The Wellington based political class is petrified of Auckland. They are determined to make sure the last ace they have - keeping the legislative boot firmly on the Auckland council's revenue gathering windpipe - is used as often as they can.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Auckland's future: Keep calm,…,

    I hear Bernard Orsman has never gotten over being snubbed over some petty matter or another several years ago, and he has a personal vendetta against Len Brown.

    In addition, Len Brown isn’t from the Auckland oligarchy, so everyday he is mayor he is the symbol mocks the pretensions of the born the rule Auckland elite that the Herald considers itself to be the mouthpiece of. So you are going to get ongoing shroud waving, hyper critical reporting and over blown half truths until the “right” person is elected mayor. At which point, they’ll stop reporting on anything bad at all.

    Think “Democracy under attack” when it was Helen Clark, and hardly a peep (except hagiographies) about John Key and his spy laws.

    People forget that for their rates 1.3 million people get their roads fixed, the rubbish collected, the fly-tippers hunted down, the noisy parties shut down, the stormwater maintained, every food outlet rated, the libraries in every suburb, properties inspected, pests and environmental emergencies addressed, pools, local parks and playing fields kept looking beautiful, a whole network of regional parks that are jewels, and on top of that, a whole host of council run community events. Not bad for four-five thousand a year.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dotcom: Further news of the unlikely, in reply to TracyMac,

    I loathe Key, but I think this buffoon anywhere near political power will be worse.

    firstly, Scott Hamilton had something interesting to say about this attitude back in May, I commend his comparison of Olaf Nelson with Kim Dotcom as thought provoking reading. He summarises:

    Olaf Nelson and Kim Dotcom were both avaricious, essentially apolitical businessmen who were radicalised after being persecuted by a New Zealand state acting on behalf of a distant superpower. A cashed-up, radicalised capitalist is a dangerous enemy, especially when he has a talent for building alliances and making propaganda.

    is a pretty good summation to me of Dotcom’s motivations.

    Secondly, it seems to me you are suggesting that somehow or another the New Zealand political establishment is deserving of your support. I think our entire New Zealand establishment is pretty much rotten to the core and no longer fit for purpose in a modern state.

    So what is Kim Dotcom is a “bad man” who wants to take the whole rotten establishment down to hell him. Good job. They richly deserve each other.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

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