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Really Late Wine Tasting Follow-Up

So last last Friday, the 16th, member Kyle Bieneman held a wine tasting class on Pinot Noir. I’ve been meaning to get this post up earlier, but enjoy the pictures and information from the handout:

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“It’s…thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s, you know, it’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and…ancient on the planet.” –Miles Raymond, Sideways

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Note: From Burgundy

The grape: Pinot Noir grows in tightly packed bunches (the “Pinot” in the name refers to the pinecone shape of the bunches). These tight bunches tend to be somewhat more susceptible to disease. Being thin-skinned, the grape is also at great risk from extremes in temperature. Fortunately, as it ripens early, it can be grown in cooler regions than heartier grapes (like Cabernet Sauvignon).

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Color: For red wines, color comes from the skins (it is not naturally present in the juice) in a process called “extraction.” Grapes go through a machine called a “crusher-destemmer,” and rather than being juiced as with white wine, the pulpy mass is then fermented in giant vats. Note that the skins will naturally float to the top, forming a “cap,” requiring some kind of system to circulate the fermenting juice (whether a “punch-down,” a “pump-over,” or some sort of a mixer).

Sometime after fermentation has completed, the “free run” is drained off. The remaining “pomace” is then pressed to extract all the remaining liquid. The free liquid is generally light in flavor and color than the pressed liquid, and so will often be aged separately, being blended only at the end to fine-tune before bottling.

Pinot Noir is thin-skinned with less color (anthocyanin) in the skins, it tends to extract less color, and thus is paler than most red wines. Being lighter in flavor, some winemakers will even leave the stems in for fermentation to impart more “tannins.”

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Tannins: Tannins are much more present in red wine than white wine, partly because they come from the skins during extraction (as well as seeds and stems, if present), and the oak barrels during aging. Tannins are traditionally used to turn hides into leather (“tanning”), hence the name. This is why bitter red wines often make your tongue feel dry and leathery. The “resolving” of tannins is a prime reason why many red wines get better with age.

Pinor Noir is notably low in tannins, and so some winemakers will leave the stems in for fermentation.

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Note: Australian

Flavors in Pinot Noir: As a lighter, more delicate wine, flavors tend toward the redder fruits such as cherry, strawberry, and raspberry. Less prominent notes might include vegetal (beets, green tomatoes, olives) or earthy (truffles, barnyard) flavors. Pinot does not typically display the darker fruit (plum) or spicier notes (cigar box) of other red wines. As a result of its lighter flavors, it tends to pair well with pork and fowl, rather than beef.

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Burgundy: Pinot Noir originates from Burgundy, a region in the east of France, between Champagne to the north, and Beaujolais to the south. Burgundy is divided into four major sub-regions (from north to south, and highest to lowest quality): Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beaune, Cote Chalonnaise, and Maconnais.

However, Burgundies will generally be labeled by their village, of which there are too many to list. There are about 600 “Premier Cru” vineyards across Burgundy, and only 32 “Grand Crus,” which will be more expensive, and generally superior to, the villages. The Premier and Grand Crus are designated by the French government based on the reputation of past production.

The Grand Cru red Burgundies are some of the most expensive and sought-after wines in the world, costing nearly $1000 a bottle in good years.

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Thanks again to Kyle for these notes.

24

01 2015

Beer Church Follow Up

Final updates:

On Tuesday 1/20/15, Justin helped me keg the beer. The specific gravity was 1.034 at this point, making for an ABV of 8.4%. We tasted the beer and decided not to add any black cherry extract, since the cherry flavor/smell seemed strong enough. It still has a strong chocolate porter taste. The keg was moved into the fridge. On Saturday 1/24/15, Agocs and Justin went to get more CO2 since we were out, and the beer was finally put on tap. Enjoy!

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On Tuesday 1/13/15, Ryan helped me rack the beer into a 5 gallon carboy for a second fermentation. We also added the sweet cherry puree, about 16 oz of it. The specific gravity reading was 1.036, and the beer tasted very chocolate-y.

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This past Sunday we started a brew for an Imperial Valentine Porter. We just checked on it tonight before the member meeting and it looks like the yeast has started fermenting.

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At the beginning of Beer Church on Sunday, we spent a while tasting the delicious beers that everyone brought. Selections included 2 coffee beers, a Superbier, a What the Pho porter, a stout, and a blueberry beer.

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After taking our time to enjoy the beer selection, we headed to Brew & Grow to obtain the ingredients listed on this page:

Grains:

  • 1 lb uk crystal malt (60L) (UK Paul’s Medium Crystal Malt 60L)
  • 8oz UK brown malt (UK TF & S Brown Malt)
  • 8oz UK chocolate malt (UK Paul’s Chocolate Malt #315)
  • 8lbs any UK brand dark malt extract (not sure if solid or syrup)

Yeast:

  • 1 pack Wyeast 1187 or White Labs WLP001 or Fermentis S-04

Malt Extract:

  • 8 lbs any brand UK dark

Hops:

  • 4 to 6 AAUs medium-alpha acid (such as Northern Brewer)

Later Additions:

  • 1 lb lactose
  • 1 lb Demerara sugar (we used Raw Cane Sugar from Jewel)
  • 8 oz high quality unsweetened cocoa powder (we used Nestle)
  • 1 tsp Irish moss
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 16 US fl oz black cherry concentrate (we used sweet cherry puree)
  • 4 fl oz cherry flavoring or extract (to taste at bottling)

(Disclaimer: My memory is imperfect and since this was my first time as brewmaster, I will probably get some of these steps wrong due to unfamiliarity. Consult the wiki page for more information.)
After cleaning some equipment and some mishaps with the propane regulator, the first step after getting water to the correct temperature in between 160 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit, was to steep the grains. The grains steeped for half an hour. They smelled burnt afterwards, since they were dark grains.

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Three gallons of water were added to the mash for the next step, the boil (The goal was to end up with 5 gallons of wort). The wort was brought to a boil and 1 oz of hops was added. All of the malt extract was added as well. There was constant stirring for the duration of the boil, but a boilover still occurred once when we failed to turn down the heat quickly enough. After half an hour, another 1 oz of hops was added. The wort smelled like tea at this point. After another half an hour, we turned off the heat and added the lactose, sugar, cocoa powder, irish moss and yeast nutrient and stirred until they were dissolved. After the cocoa powder was dissolved, the wort turned a chocolate-brown color and smelled deliciously of chocolate.

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In the meantime, the other equipment we needed was sanitized using StarSan. The copper cooling coil was rinsed and placed into the boiling kettle. After another 15 minutes of rolling boil, the heat was turned off and we started pumping cold water through the cooling coil until the wort reached a temperature of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

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After some more sanitizing, the wort was pumped into a 6-gallon glass carboy. The yeast, after being activated, was poured into the carboy, and a cork with trap attached were inserted into the top of the carboy. The cork was sealed with wire and the carboy was placed into the fermenting area, for a first fermentation of an estimated 7-12 days. Before corking, we did take a sample for the hydrometer and obtained a specific gravity reading of 1.098, very close to the book’s suggested 1.084. The total brew time was about 6 hours (including trip to Brew & Grow).

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And after cleanup, we all got to taste the brew!

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Thanks to everyone for coming! Thanks to Eric and Justin for helping me out so much. Feel free to join us for the second fermentation and the bottling, to be announced.

24

01 2015

PS: Yum Watson Edition Follow Up

Using a beta version of Chef Watson, which had limited versatility (but was just updated recently, so another PS: Yum Watson edition will be hosted soon), we made 4 recipes. They are listed on the wiki: https://wiki.pumpingstationone.org/PS:_Yum_Watson_Edition

We spent the first half hour choosing individual recipes. Watson generates a 100 recipes for each set of ingredients that you input, ranging from a “classic” setting to an extremely adventurous one.

burgerb

Shallot burger, version b

salad

Vietnamese shallot vegetable salad

burgera

Shallot burger, version a

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Cooking

prepping

Prepped toppings

 

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28

11 2014

PS: Yum Watson Edition

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Using a beta version of Chef Watson, we will attempt to create whatever wacky recipes come out of Watson’s “mind.” Come join us for some artificial-intelligence driven fun!

The way it works: you input ingredients that you have on hand into Chef Watson, which will then output a recipe for you, usually adding more ingredients. Feel free to bring your own, and we will probably be making a trip to Jewel.

Where: PS:One Kitchen
When: Tonight: Sunday November 23, 2014 at 6 PM

Article: http://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/trends-news/article/how-ibm-chef-watson-works
Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/Pumping-Station-One/events/218699741/

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23

11 2014

Movie Night: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard

It’s Movie Night time! This is a documentary about the trial of the Pirate Bay founders in Sweden.

From http://www.tpbafk.tv/the-film/:
“It’s the day before the trial starts. Fredrik packs a computer into a rusty old Volvo.Along with his Pirate Bay co-founders, he faces $13 million in damage claims to Hollywood in a copyright infringement case. Fredrik is on his way to install a new computer in the secret server hall. This is where the world’s largest file sharing site is hidden…”

When:
Friday September 5, 7:30 PM-9:30 PM
Doors open at 7. Feel free to BYOB. Afterwards there will be discussion.

Where:
PS:One Lounge

Trailer: YouTube Preview Image

13

11 2014

Movie Night: Codebreaker

It’s movie night time! This drama-documentary was screened last year in Chicago, and it covers the life and difficulties of Alan Turing.

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From http://www.turingfilm.com/:

“Alan Turing is the genius British mathematician who helped save millions of lives by breaking the German naval Enigma code during World War II. He also was the visionary scientist who gave birth to the computer age, pioneered artificial intelligence, and was the first to investigate the mathematical underpinnings of the living world. Turing is one of the great original thinkers of the 20th century who foresaw the digital world in which we now live. In the eyes of many scientists today, Turing sits alongside Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Charles Darwin at the table of scientific greats.

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Instead of recognition for his genius, Alan Turing was driven to a terrible despair and early death – by the nation he had done so much to save…”

When: Friday September 5, 7:30 PM-9:30 PM
Doors open at 7. Feel free to BYOB. Afterwards there will be discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

Where: PS:One Lounge

Additional links of interest: 1.) http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/Turing_Paper_1936.pdf
“On Computable Numbers,” which lays out computability and the universal turing machine

2.) http://www.loebner.net/Prizef/TuringArticle.html

“Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” which contains the Turing Test

04

09 2014

Movie Night: Revolution OS (GNU, Linux, FOSS)

It’s time for another movie night! This is our third tech-documentary related movie night, and we will be showing Revolution OS. “Revolution OS is a 2001 documentary film that traces the twenty-year history of GNU, Linux, open source, and the free software movement.”-Wikipedia

Since LinuxCon Chicago ends on Friday at 5 PM, this is an excellent after-con event to bring your friends to!

There will be popcorn and feel free to BOYB.

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Where: Lounge of Pumping Station: One
3519 N. Elston
When: Friday August 22, 7:30-9:30 PM
Doors open at 7 PM
This event is open to the public.

19

08 2014

Call for NYC World Makerfaire Volunteers!

We’re looking for at least 2 more volunteers to help out with Noisemakers (Github link) at the World Makerfaire in NYC September 20-21st. We’re getting sponsorship for a booth at the Makerfaire, and it would be awesome to have as many volunteers representing Pumping Station: One as possible.

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There is also a vote currently to get funding to make the noisemaker kits, which each cost about $5. The details are here.

You would get free entry into the Makerfaire for volunteering, and we’re just looking for people willing to volunteer a few hours; we are going to be at the booth Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM-2 PM. You will have plenty of time to enjoy the Makerfaire:)

Staying in NYC is pricey, but I have reserved a hotel room 2 mi from the Makerfaire and would be willing to split with people (so far the room is split between 2).

Please email me if you are interested in volunteering and representing PS: One at the World Makerfaire!

Thanks!

16

08 2014

Pumping Station: One at the South Side Mini-Maker Faire

Pumping Station: One was at the Chicago South Side Mini Maker Faire next to the Ford City Mall this weekend teaching people how to build Noise-o-Trons.

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Thanks to the volunteers who came out and helped us, and to everyone who attended the faire! It was a big success, and we couldn’t have done it without you. We hope to see everyone again next year. We had a lot of kids and adults alike come through and build circuits with us!

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Special thanks also goes to the participants of our Pre-Maker Faire Poker Night!

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Poker Night was a huge success! We had a great time playing, and we raised some money to help pay for the Noise-o-Tron kits we used at the Maker Faire. Congratulations to the winners of the raffle.

 

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Some of us also stopped by the teen hackerspace Level Up inside the Ford City Mall.

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They put a lot of effort into helping organize the Maker Faire, so check them out!

03

08 2014

Pre-Maker Faire Poker Night

Update V2!:  The grand prize will include a BeagleBoard.org Mesanger bag and BeagleBoard.org leather notebook (paper).

UPDATE: Prizes have been announced!
One prize will be the book Make an Arduino-Controlled Robot, part of the Make Projects book series. The grand prize will be a shiny new BeagleBone Black!

So, come on out, and try your luck! You just might be the winner of one of these amazing prizes!

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You are all invited to an exciting night of gambling-free poker!

Players of all skill levels are welcome! We will be playing Texas Hold ‘Em to raise money for the Noise-o-tron kits we will be teaching people how to build at the South Side Mini Maker Faire this Saturday. We provide this demo for free to Maker Faire attendees, and we’d like to keep it that way so we can help educate as many people as possible! Food will be provided; feel free to bring your own drinks.

So how does the gambling-free part work? The entry fee for playing at a table is $10, and you’ll get a stack of chips to play with. When you are done playing, you turn in your chips for raffle tickets. Each dollar in chips that you have will convert to 1 raffle ticket. At the end of the night, we will have a raffle for 1st and 2nd prizes. Don’t worry, you do -not- have to be present at the raffle drawing to win. As long as you’ve turned in your chips, you have a chance of winning. We will notify the winners via email, and you will get your prize ASAP. What prizes do we offer? You’ll just have to wait and find out! We promise that you’ll like them.

Also: We are looking for a third dealer. Justin and I will be dealing all night, but we would really appreciate it if someone would volunteer to help us deal another table.

Rules & strategy links for Texas Hold ‘Em

  1.  http://www.wsop.com/poker-games/texas-holdem/rules/
  2. http://www.wsop.com/poker-games/texas-holdem/strategy/

We will also have printouts of the rules at each table for reference. We look forward to seeing you there!

Where: Electronics Lab

When: Friday August 1st, 19:00-24:00; the raffle drawing will happen at midnight.

28

07 2014