Pics from my brew day last weekend. This one should be interesting because a 48 inch water main broke the night before my brew day. While I was waiting for the ESB to come up to a boil our county issued a boil water order. At that point my Russian Imperial Stout was already in the carboy, and I wasn’t going to dump out my ESB. After all I was going to boil it for an hour. I felt connected with the brewers of the Middle Ages because I never thought I would use the boil to make the water safe to drink. Luckily I didn’t have to find my magic stick to stir the chilled wort with. 

Waking up to water that is already at temperature will never get old. Neither will having a bunch of inline thermometers. I’m really happy that decided to set them up. Being able to add a thermometer inline anywhere that I want is really helpful. 

I did get to use my HERMS for the first time and it worked like a charm. There will be some fine tuning as I work out all of the temperatures that I need. Due to the amount of grain that I was using I didn’t use my recirculation arm. It just wouldn’t work when there was so little space left in my mash tun. Both grain bills were around 25 pounds, I did a ten gallon batch of the ESB. However I was able to setup some hoses to do the recirculation. 

One addition that I hadn’t really used yet was the sight glass on my HLT. Previously I had to pump into another measured pot to get my sparge volumes. Being able to just pump out of my HLT is great. One less pot to clean up and one less thing to lift. 

Since these recipes called for 14 ounces of Fuggles I did have to open up a fresh bag. The RIS called for 2 oz at 15 and 5 minutes. The ESB called for 2 oz at 30 and 1 minutes, and it will be dry hopped with 4 ounces. Remember the ESB is a 10 gallon batch. Yes that’s on the higher end of dry hopping for style, but I think it works. I’m not a hop head but the smell of a fresh bag of hops is pretty nice. 

One thing that wasn’t great about the brew day was that I figured out that I’m going to have to work on the manifold in my boil kettle again. Either that or start using hop bags. On my RIS there was an issue with hops clogging my lines while trying to whirlpool. When I made the ESB I tied the hops up in very loose cheese cloth bags. When I did this the manifold and screen worked like a charm. The whirlpool did a great job of gathering trub at the center of the boil kettle. The screen did a great job of keeping the trub pile from being pulled into the manifold. One more thing to tinker with. That is part of the hobby.

So I am thinking of chronicling the shenanigans the pathfinder game I’m in. But the question is… on this blog, or on a new one? Shenanigans include:

- sort of post-apocalyptic Golarion a couple thousand years after a magic war that made the surface of the world almost uninhabitable due to magical taint that lives in darkness and twists beings within it as per the defilement rules of the Dark Sun setting

- Taint is attracted to arcane magic, not so much divine magic

- most of civilizations that survived used long-forgotten means to uproot country-sized swathes of land and floating them up into the skies, making the Sky Cities

- nomadic tribes on the surface who survived by moving with the sun, the seasons, and staying out of the shadows of the Sky Cities

- interplanar travel and the Taint’s effect on the celestial, infernal, shadow and other realms

- entire Astral Plane is tainted

- also all the gods died in the magic war and nobody remembers how or why

- prohibition on magic in Sky Cities, mage hunters who capture magic-users for money and get more money if they bring them in alive for SUSPICIOUS REASONS

- technology available in ancient ruins

- psionics emerging as a viable substitute for magic on the surface because it doesn’t attract the Taint

- fucking AIRSHIPS

- extensively difficult moral decisions and frequently changing party members

- werewolves and shitty disguises

- slowly ascending to godhood

- dystopian 80s corporate Shadow Plane

- spiders. so many spiders. Tainted Astral Spiders.

Current Party Includes:

- awkward nonbinary player character with strong capitalistic tendencies and fascist upbringing; later became magical girl??? Definitely not building a harem.

- Victorian-style gentleman devil binder, now with extensive bondage jokes

- scythe-wielding death mage with burning hatred for undead; fell in love with half-dragon NPC who is too good, too pure for this world; is also a sparkling doctor

- a guy who shoots at animals from boats for no reason ): And also likes to sleep on the deck of the ship in the middle of winter?

- reclusive delicate princess lady version of Tony Stark, also NPC

- suspicious hot drow NPCs

- half-dragon young lady who is definitely not just Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad


Here’s Balloon Fight with playable Iwata ⊟ 

A fitting tribute to the man who programmed this addictive NES game! John Riggs hacked the 30-year-old game, adding the late Nintendo president and CEO with a sprite from Mother (and with Kirby balloons!).

You can download the patch here – there’s even a custom NES cartridge label for Balloon Fight: Iwata Edition that you can print out.


The Nintendo DS? Yeah, it runs Quake… AND Quake 2? What the fuck?

A homebrew effort, Quake DS manages to run at a surprisingly decent clip, although it’s let down a little by a texture streaming system that takes a little while to kick in and usually leaves explosions looking like a huge white square.

Quake 2, however, is a ridiculous technological feat that requires a RAM cartridge for the GBA slot (like the one that came with Opera’s Nintendo DS Browser) to function. Quake 1 can also use these cartridges for smoother load times and larger maps (and hopefully to keep more textures loaded).

Thanks to fishmech and JaByZki for their submissions!

NinjHax 2.0 beta delivers homebrew, region-free, and custom themes to all Nintendo 3DSes ⊟ 

French coder Smealum has delivered a long-awaited update to NinjHax that allows you to load homebrew software, play cartridges from other regions, and use custom themes for your home screen (check our Smealum’s Calvin and Hobbes theme in the video below). The hack works with 3DSes, New 3DSes, and 2DSes from all regions running any firmware between 9.0-9.9.

You’ll still need a copy of Cubic Ninja from the same region as your system in order to load the hack (using the game’s “Scan QR Code” feature), but Smealum tells us that he intends to eventually start working on an Ocarina of Time 3D exploit in a couple weeks when he has the time. Once again, NinjHax doesn’t allow you to play commercial ROMs/pirated games.

BUY Cubic Ninja

Ofelia Alessandra Carlevari may come across as your average halfling teenager, but behind her Rumeskan Orthodox (think fantasy Catholic) schoolgirl facade resides her Asgardian heritage as the current incarnation of Hel, which grants her necromantic powers, the ability to communicate with spirits, and a bond with the legendary knife Famine and the legendary dish Hunger, which serve as both weapons and wise (albeit somewhat odd) companions, offering strategic advice and knowledge to the young and inexperienced heroine in her self-appointed war against crime, injustice and the untold monstrosities that perpetrate them, humanoid or otherwise.  

Ofelia loves adventure novels, loud music and her mama’s endless repertoire of pasta recipes. She plays defense in her school’s futbol team and dances like a dork when no one’s watching. 

The story behind this impressive Snatcher demo for Virtual Boy is touching ⊟

It’s remarkable enough that German coder Thunderstruck ported a working Virtual Boy demo for Hideo Kojima’s cult classic Snatcher on the adventure game’s 25th anniversary of the console –  every image in the game has been converted to stereoscopic 3D for the Virtual Boy, and the port features a dynamic dialog system, PCM music and sound effects, a dynamic inventory system that reacts to people in the room, and more.

Thunderstruck’s motivation behind its creation, though, is bittersweet. The original idea came from another developer, Red Metal, who hoped to make a port of Snatcher for a coding competition at Planet Virtual Boy, but he unfortunately passed away before he could share any work.

“I had never talked to him but from his post I could tell that he was a very nice person,” said Thunderstruck on the Planet VB forum. “I felt like I missed my chance to get to know him. I tried to express that in a post but somehow my words felt meaningless to me.”

Keep reading


Symbian OS? Yeah, it runs Quake. Somehow.

A port to the OS used in Nokia’s old line of dumbphones. Wait… wasn’t that also on the NGage? Well, I suppose that machine was kind of an eldrich abomination, so thematically it fits…

Thanks to Shadsy for submitting this!

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DIY Labels pt.1 Composition

Hey gang. Today begins the first part in my how to series for making labels for your homebrew.

When I take a look at a lot of homebrew labels (many of which are fantastic) the most common pitfall I see people fall into is not considering how the label will look when on the bottle

Here’s an example of a common “first draft” of a  minimal style label.

Now this has it’s own unique style and you could be tempted to think “awesome! lets print it out!”

However, this doesn’t take into account how the label will look when it’s on the bottle

While it looked nice on paper, when you put it on a 3d shape, it becomes a bit of a jumbled mess, and it doesn’t provide the consumer a good idea of what they’re getting.

Bottle labels when you’re first starting out can feel like a bit of an oxy moron. They’re commonly a horizontal rectangle shape, but what we actually end up seeing is a vertical rectangle. 

Now there are a few ways you can work on this to create a successful label, the first of which is simply have a label only be the size of what you’ll see, a vertical rectangle.

This way, you have all your information in one single view. I highly recommend this for homebrew labels because it looks nice, and gets all the info you want out there for easy viewing

Grogtag is a great resource for creating custom homebrew labels and this is the most common option available on their site.

A second way to go is to think of the label and divide it in thirds.

Here, you can have a larger and bolder label, and still have a concept that looks good on the bottle. Here you can fill a vertical space with your information or illustrations, while still allowing a consumer to get a solid view at a glance.

There’s several ways to go about making your labels, but I hope this provided a good starting point for considering how to design your own.

Stay tuned for the next part - 



The Wii? Yeah, it runs Quake.

This fan-made source port runs pretty smoothly, but makes the unfortunate mistake of trying to implement Metroid Prime-style aiming using the Wiimote. This lends itself to Quake’s fast-paced gameplay pretty poorly – while moving your gun separate from your head is cool at first, and there’s a certain novelty to one-handedly aiming a shotgun sideways like in one of those movies the kids watch, you end up feeling like you’re steering an out-of-control bus.

Thanks to Shadsy for submitting this!


Dandelion Wine

Last year I wrote about how I acquired a recipe for dandelion wine. I posted photos showing how I made my own batch. As it began to ferment I wrote about the importance of passing on recipes

I was told to wait until the dreariest day in March to try it. March came (every day was dreary) and I didn’t uncork any of the bottles. April came and I still hadn’t brought myself to try it. I was excited, but a bigger part of me was worried. I was worried that it would be no good. I wanted to share the wine with people who share their homemade beer and hard cider with me. I felt like finally I had something to give back, but what if it was bad?

After weeks of people calling my bluff, I finally poured myself a glass. My first reaction was that it was ok. After a night in the fridge (and getting some air in the bottle for the first time in a year) it improved. I gave a bottle to my mom. I mixed a little with honey and it almost tasted like whiskey. My mom said she preferred it without the honey though, but very much liked it. Our family friends who brew beer (very well) tried it and liked it. I promised them another bottle (one of them also picked up on notes of whisky, although the other disagreed). 

It did not come out sweet, and I’m pretty sure I know why. The recipe called for a packet of yeast, but it didn’t say what kind. I assumed a brewing yeast, so I used champagne yeast. I was supposed to use baker’s yeast (can you believe it?) though. It means that my batch is much, much drier than the original recipe was meant to be. It’s not a wine for people who like sweet wines, or who don’t like dry wines. It is as dry as it gets. 

Overall I’m happy with how this came out. I pulled off making wine! This year I brewed a couples of gallons of sparkling rose petal wine (kind of indulgent sounding, right?!), but next year I will make another batch of dandy wine, and I will use baker’s yeast. 

If you’ve never tried dandy wine I recommend it. If I had it in me to get serious about wine I would brew country wines because they’re not on the shelf yet. Given the trend in food culture though, I assume it’s only a matter of time. I guess I’m ahead of the curve.

Those blossoms as bright and yellow as the sun make for the richest, honey colored wine good for sipping. Be careful what you call a pesky weed.