June 14th, 2004

A new day, a new site.

Last night I updated the site again. I added a banner graphic as you can see, and I adjusted the layout a little bit. Mostly I put the site into an 800 wide block now, not that it really matters but my instinct from the olden days is still to do this. As for content, I filled in almost every page on the site with something. You can see that Beer 101 is there in it's entirety, the list of people with bios is there, and there are summaries of each section that doesn't have real content yet. Underneath the hood I cleaned up the php a LOT, and I already have ideas about how to do that more. One thing you may not notice is that the journal on the main page is static now. The site loads faster now that you don't need to connect to geekbeer.com AND live journal every time you go to it. I wrote a tool that syncs up this static journal with the real one from LJ.

For future improvements I am going to add a recipe section. I also need to redesign things a bit because I can already see that the pages will get ridiculously long. I have ideas for this though. I want to redo the graphics in the banner, but by the time I finished that first iteration it was quite late already. Soon you will see new and improved graphics. There will be more images soon to break up some of the content on the site. We want to scan lots of notes, and Jon has volunteered to draw some pretty pictures. The banner graphic I think I rendered at too low of quality, so it looks kind of blurry in a bad way. The side bar menus are also kind of messed up because hen you insert a list inside of a list, it seems to add a line break in there for you. I'll try to get that fixed.

So, there you have it. A bunch of changes, a bunch more to come! Brendan swears he'll post the rudimentary plans we have for the brew system hardware later today. Come back and check it out, it's going to be sweet.

Lets see why Dan became a biochemist and not an artist

So I drew this crude diagram by hand (you'll find it below) about how the process of making an extract brew goes. Although I realized that I never really explained what "extract" is. So I'll mention that really quick.

Malt extract is a pre-made product produced by the major malthouses for homebrewers and small breweries. It comes in two varieties, malt extract syrup and dried malt extract. The malt house does the tricky part of taking malted grain and producing a sweet liquid (wort) for you. In case you're wondering what this process is, I haven't talked about it yet, but it's coming up soon. This wort is then concentrated down to a syrup that is 80% solids and is the consistency of carmel topping for ice cream. The dried malt extract is simply spray dried into a powdered form. Personally I perfer the malt syrup, it's a bit cheaper and easier to use. The decision of which to use is ultimately up to you the brewmaster, because the two extracts are interchangeable. Just remember to account for the 20% water in extract syrups.

Lets look at a pretty pictureCollapse )