Category Archives: Beer

Beer tragedy update: good news, bad news

A week ago, I re-bottled my under-fermented, over-carbonated beer. The process was messy and physically painful, but I got it done. Tonight, I opened one of the re-bottled bottles to see how the beer had survived the process:


The good news is: I was able to open the bottle without causing a beersplosion, and the beer tastes good! Still a little sweeter than I would have chosen, but definitely deeper and richer than it was when I sampled it pre-rebottling.

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Rebottling over-carbonated beer: a tragedy with a happy ending

A few months ago I made some homebrew beer. But I bottled it prematurely — it hadn’t got far enough through fermentation — and so it kept generating more pressure in the bottles. A few of those bottles were glass: two of them exploded. Most bottles were plastic, and they inflated. When I opened a bottle to taste, it went absolutely crazy and shot all the beer out all over the place.

To get some advice, I emailed Andy Farke, who brews fairly seriously. He said the least worst approach would be to open all the bottles, capture what beer I could, and rebottle it. I attempted this a couple of days ago.


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My quest to become overweight

I am 1.81 meters tall — I know this, because I got the nurse to measure me at my annual health-check a few days ago. For the last decade or so, my weight (or mass, if you’re scientifically inclined and pedantic) has hovered between 100 and 105 kg. At the bottom end of that range, 100 kg and 1.81 m gives me a body mass index of 100 / 1.812 = 30.5. According to the standard categories, that makes me obese — only just, as the threshhold is 30.

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Inclusive and Exclusive OR in informal speech

As good computer scientists, we know that there are two kinds of OR.

An inclusive OR, which is what we nearly always need in programming, is true if either of its branches is true: “exit this loop if we’ve processed 50 items OR there are none left to process.”

An exclusive OR is true if exactly one if its branches is true, but not if both are. “If player 1 is attacking player 2 OR player 2 is attacking player 1 (but not both) then inflict damage.” [This is a contrived example: that’s because it’s hard to think of non-contrived examples — they hardly ever come up in real programs.]


When we use “or” in informal speech, we nearly always mean exclusive or. If I tell you I’m going to the cinema to see Skyfall on Wednesday or Thursday, you understand that I will go on one day or the other, but not both. If I ask you what you want to drink and you say Abbot Ale or Ruddles County, you’d be surprised (but maybe not disappointed) if I brought you two pints.

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What is there to drink that tastes as good as beer and wine?

I love good beer.  Really love it.  Ales mostly — nearly all the Fuller’s beers, Brains, Ruddles, almost any IPA, and lots of local brews including our own Gold Miner, by the Freeminer brewery in Cinderford — which I have just, as I am writing this article, discovered is 2.4 miles away from my house.

I’m pretty serious about beer: I am not exaggerating when I say that I have more than once had a religious experience mediated through beer: it makes me profoundly thankful to live in this world.

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