Oak Aged Beer

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Brewed by Innis & Gunn. I've never had whiskey oak barrel matured beer before.

Commercial Description:
Using oak to age beer is unheard of. But, the flavours imparted by the oak barrels (previously used to mature bourbon) lend an incredible depth of taste. Think vanilla, toffee and orange aromas, with a malty, lightly oaked palate; soothing and warm in the finish.

Pours a clear dark golden colour with a small smooth white head. Sweet malt, oak hints and toffee all present in the aroma. Medium body. At first the taste is caramel-like dominated before you begin to notice the slight citrus, oak and pleasant whiskey like taste. No notice of hops. Smooth warming alcohol finish. 6.6% strength.

Rating: Nice.
As you can see am a professional at rating beer
Overall: Different. If you like whiskey and beer; it beats any whiskey malt made beer.

Mad Goose

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Brewed by Purity. Don't know much about them.
Commercial Description:
Brewed with Maris otter, Caragold and Wheat malt with Hallertau bittering hops and Cascade and Willamette aroma hops. Light copper in colour with a great hop character citrus overtones.

Pours a clear copper colour. Little or no head. Generous hops and pine noted aroma. Ordinary light pale ale body with smooth mouth feel. Taste is dominated by hops at first then the pale malts become noticeable. A slightly bitter after taste. 5% strength.

Rating: Nice.
As you can see am a professional at rating beer
Overall: A great hoppy pale ale.


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These are my nearly ripe Jack O' Lantern variety pumpkins. As you can tell from the name there good for Jack O' Lanterns and also for pies. My football sized squash were totally dwarfed by some I saw this morning growing at the bottom of the allotments. I will take a photo sometime. I remember 2 years ago the same plot had pumpkins the size of large screen televisions. Something tells me they grow for size.

Remember Creatures?

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When I was young I use to run creatures dabbling in genetics and breeding different traits. Friends, who at the time played, lost interest when they realised it wasn't a game but a artificial life program. You oversaw or played god in how these artificial life forms developed. Like an ant farm only more progressive. It was created by a computer scientist called Steve Grand OBE in the early nineties originally for DOS.

I don't quite remember how I came across creatures 1. I think it might been upstairs in whsmiths searching for something to waste pocket money on. I didn't realise the depth of the game. The creatures called norns have digital DNA, biochemistry and neural network brains. They can evolve like real animals through cross-over mutations.

Breeders and, I guess, gene hackers created loads of different breeds. Some of them humorous for example the Essex Norn which is sex mad. Some of the enthusiasts set up runs. Leaving a set of norns alone and letting "nature" take its course. Theory is the weaker ones will die out slowly every generation allowing the stronger norns to become dominant.

Back in 1998 I bred a long living healthy norn in about 7 generations. Selective breeding of course. I probably had some going back 20 generations. I did play creatures 2 as well loosing interest to buy number 3.

I only blogged about this program because I came across a project called openc2e. An open source game engine designed to be compatible with the various engines used in the Creatures series. It's still in development but you can try it out with creatures 1 without norns. It can run under linux too. Openc2e.org.

Related Websites

Happy birthday to GNU

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I don't want to engage in adding youtube videos any more because over time they always become obsolete which effectively kills the point of the post. However this is a great introduction to free software by Stephen Fry.

Also happy birthday to GNU, which is 25 years old on the 27th of September.

Walden; or, Life in the Woods

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I've been reading this book by Henry David Thoreau with interest. Looking for a simpler life for two years two months and two days he lived in a cabin on the shore of a pond. For his nonconformist self-reliance project he spent a mere $28.12 for food and shelter.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

He spent his time observing nature, writing, reading philosophy, conversation with visitors, and in the summer tending to beans. He regularly visited others and walked in town.

His thoughts on social life and solitude are some of my favourite philosophical observations in the book.

"Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are. We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war."

At times when hes not pondering on nature its like reading an old fashioned blog but without dates. It's also written to appear as though he stayed for one year.
If you like a slow read, nature or philosophy its a great read to ponder.

You download the book at www.gutenberg.org/etext/205.

Thoughts on Google's Chrome

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No linux or mac build is out yet. So its off to windows xp *yay*.

On installing it offered to import stuff from firefox, although it didn't happen? It has a cool start page similar to that of opera 9.5. Basically it has your most visited pages and bookmarks. You can also search history from there.

Visually it offers nothing new from other browsers. Under the hood however there's a multi-threaded design offering speed and stability. I think Opera has something like it too. In theory a tab that crashes or stuck on a JavaScript run around wont crash the browser instead you can use its inbuilt task manager to close thread/tab.

Application shortcuts are a great idea. We've all read on Tech blogs and in newspaper columns that applications that solely sit on your hard drive like office or photoshop are going way of the dodo while the industry moves towards web based software. Using google gears you can add a application shortcut you desktop, start menu or launch bar. So you can start webpages like gmail or google spreadsheets easily.

Its great that google has something open source to challenge IE. I'm not hanging up firefox yet. Its long way off from that and too early to even discus.

There's a lot of linux users on the web trying to run chrome with wine with partial or no success. In a few days I bet someone will have a solution.

Yet another Hop update

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One plant, the challenger, is very health looking with several vines and large leaves that have different shades of green.

The other however, as you can see above, is still catching up with one vine. It doesn't have long what with day-light-hours becoming shorter. I'm hopping it develops a little more ready for next year. So as to develop its roots for a kick start next season.

Batemans Summer Swallow

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Yet another batemans beer from the supermarket shelf.

Commercial Description:
A crisp clean beer, sparklingly gold, with a delightfully floral nose and subtle bitter taste.
Colour: EBC 16-20. Bitterness: EBU 20. Hops: Phoenix and Target. Malt: Maris Otter

Pours a clear copper colour. Short lived thin white head. Caramel hints, sweet malt and musty hop aroma. Slightly light soft mouth feel and body for a bitter. Taste is sweet malt, hop and caramel hints. Vanilla noted crisp after taste. No bitterness.

Rating: Okay.
As you can see am a professional at rating beer
Overall: Boring.