no title

Today was a lot of why I always enjoyed academic-style research but ultimately left it. We ran into an issue over the weekend that prevented us from getting something done before users hopped back on Monday morning.The task of the day today (Monday) was to get it solved so we don’t run into the same problem this weekend and could have the system ready by next Monday. 

This consisted of throwing around a lot of ideas, building prototypes and testing to see how well they worked and if they could get it done in time. I loved it. Designing experiments and gathering data is exciting and a big reason why I went to grad school.

But after working on it all day, we didn’t get convincing enough to be confident that, come Sunday, we wouldn’t have to tell the client that we’re going to delay again. We threw most of that work away (well, tucked it in the back pocket in case something similar shows up to take advantage of it) and ended up building a solution that will continuously

Read More

no title

It’s been a while! Just wanted to post about the start of a batch of homebrewed ginger beer. Previously, I’ve made ginger beer by:

- Making ginger syrup and adding to club soda. This was a problem because club soda doesn’t really exist in Germany, where I lived when making this. Tonic isn’t quite a good substitute.

- Making ginger syrup, watering down in a 2L container and adding bakers yeast. This worked pretty well! As long as you ignore the strong bready aroma.

- Making ginger syrup, watering down in a 2L container and adding champagne yeast. This has been my tried and true method. It carbonates the soda with nice, light, champagne-y bubbles and using the low temp of the fridge helps regulate fermentation so it doesn’t get too dry.

However, this time, I’m brewing it more like beer (though keeping the champagne yeast). I made the “wort” from water, ginger, citrus and sugar, and am fermenting it in a glass carboy with an airlock to completion. My biggest complaint about ginger beer (including homebrew recipes and store bought bottles) is that it never has strong enough of a ginger flavor. I wanted it to burn, so I added about 3x as much ginger as many recipes suggested.

1 gallon Water

12 oz Ginger

10 oz Brown Sugar

6 oz Cane Sugar

3 Limes

2 Lemons

Just from tasting the wort, I’d probably up the ratio of Cane:Brown sugar and use two lemons fewer. Both took away from the ginger flavor. I’ll probably end up water it down a bit, too.

One difference is that it’s going to be alcoholic. According to some napkin math, it should come out to about 3-4% abv if allowing to ferment to completion. Second, it’s not really going to carbonate since the airlock will be allowing all of that CO2 to escape the chamber. I’ll have to bottle condition by sticking a little extra sugar in before bottling to start fermentation back up and carbonate it. I have a feeling it’s going to be a little dry, so adding some sugar is probably a good idea regardless.


One gallon looks awful small in a 5 gallon carboy.

Read More