Hoppity, hoppity…

Cracked the first of the “Tongue splitter” west coast style IPA this evening. God DAMN that’s some hoppy beer. Admittedly, I knew what I was getting into. Instead of the standard two hop additions (one for bittering, and one for the hop aroma) this beast included SIX, of which two were “dry hops.” That means they go directly into the fermenter once most of the fermentation has died down. Clarity is excellent, almost no haze at all. This is a surprise to me, given how much crap was floating around in the fermenter at bottling time. I guess my technique is improving or something. I’m really pleased that I can now make a perfectly drinkable beer that’s as good (and interesting) as a commercial microbrew.

Still waiting with no small amount of trepidation for the Imperial Bomber (an imperial stout) to age a bit more. The recipe recommends six months in the bottle. We’re about two months out from that. It seems that the higher alcohol brews (this one clocks in between 8 and 9 percent) really do need some serious time to settle out and lose that harsh edge that characterizes cheap, strong hooch.

Where the Tongue splitter is a limit case for hops, the imperial is a limit case on the “dark” malt flavors. 12lbs of dark malt extract (average batch contains around 6lbs). The malt provides sugars for fermentation (thus the high alcohol). It’s the one that blew the lid right off the fermenter.

In other news, other people’s code sucks. Spent most of the day chasing in a circle between CPAN, various open source repositories, and my very own pile of perl and C hacks to accomplish what, in hindsight, is a pretty simple task. All we want to do is align a pair of protein sequences for which we also have the genomic sequence. Then we want to generate a DNA alignment based on the protein alignment. With that in hand, we can calculate some interesting numbers. In order to do this right, you have to answer lots of piddling questions: Full length or partial alignments (full length), reciprocal best hits, a certain threshold, or hand curated (reciprocal best) and so on and so on. There is a bit of code in BioPerl which addresses this exact question, but it turns out to have comments like “this code is not guaranteed to produce correct answers!” in the docs. Gah!

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