Finished products. All 48 of 'em.

How to make your own homebrew!

I was first introduced to the world of home brewing in my friend’s hatchback during my junior year of high school. As we drove to the diner, I heard a glass clink underneath my seat. A large, clear bottle containing a cloudy, orange-yellow liquid was rolling around the car.

After a second or two of horror, I ruled out the possibility of urine. The guy was weird, but not that weird. Also, urine doesn’t usually have cloves floating in it.

“Dude, what is that?” I asked.

“Huh?”

“The bottle.”

“Oh, I made some mead,” he stated nonchalantly.

“… What?”

“Mead.”

Mead? Like, Beowulf, medieval shit? You made it?”

“Yeah man. You should try it. Watch for cops though.”

After a hesitant sniff, a brief consideration of various open container laws, and ample assurance that I would not, in fact, go blind from the stuff, curiosity overpowered my better judgement and I did. It was sweet. It was alcoholic. It was pretty good.

The coolest thing about homebrewing is that it’s actually surprisingly easy. You get some equipment, brew for 2 or 3 hours (during much of which the process doesn’t have to be supervised), and let it chill out for a couple weeks. Then you bottle it, wait another couple weeks, et voila! You’ve got your very own beer. Most homebrew batches are five gallons, so you get between 40 and 50 bottles, too. And it’s pretty educational: you learn a lot about different types of beer by making them.

Anyway, my brewing buddy and I recently started a batch, and I documented the process for your viewing pleasure.

The Equipment: Homebrewing involves a few different pieces of equipment, so I’ve compiled them here for your ease of use.

The Essentials

  • Carboy: a large glass bottle, pictured below. Mine is 6 gallons, which works nicely for 5-gallon batches (due to the krausen, which I’ll explain shortly). If you have a 5-gallon one for a 5-gallon batch, you’ll need to set up a blowoff system for the krausen, which can marginally improve the taste of the batch. This is apparently not very hard, but it’s beyond my experience.
  • Carboy #2: for Step 11. 5 gallons. Can be plastic.
  • Siphon: food-grade tubing plus an auto-siphon, which allows you to pump. Make sure the tubing fits the auto-siphon.
  • Pot: Metal. 5 gallons.
  • Floating thermometer.
  • Bleach or some other sanitizing agent for homebrewers like Starsan.
  • 40-50 empty bottles. You can buy empty bottles from homebrew stores, buy returned ones from liquor stores, or just wash well and reuse ones you’ve emptied. Good for the environment, man. Just make sure they’re not the twist-off kind — you can’t cap those properly.
    • Bottle caps to match.
  • A bottle capper. There are tabletop ones and cheaper handheld ones like the one I use.
  • One-way airlock + drilled stopper. Make sure the stopper is the correct size for the carboy.

The Great-To-Haves

  • Grain bag. Keeps the hops and the grains out of your wort.
  • Spring-tip bottle filler. Makes bottling so much cleaner and easier.

The Rest

  • Specific gravity meter. Taking measurements with this before and after fermentation allows you to determine the final alcohol content of the batch.
  • Carboy brush. Sometimes hard-to-clean deposits get stuck in the carboy. You don’t want those in there.

Step 1: Sanitize.

Sanitizing

This is probably the most important part of homebrewing. If your equipment isn’t clean, you risk introducing bacteria into your brew, which will make it taste gross. (Never fear though, the pH and alcohol content of the resulting beer renders it inhospitable to pathogens, so it really is just the bad taste.) Throw a little Clorox into your carboy (the big glass guy), pump it through your siphon, let it sit a few minutes, then rinse a couple times and you’re good to go. While you’re at it, mark off 5 gallons on the carboy. Measure it out with a Nalgene or something, then mark the water level. You’ll need this later. Note the duct tape in the picture above.

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Congratulations, Class of 2019!

OpeningIn1

At 5 p.m. today, Brown sent acceptance letters to 1,970 potential Brunonians, making a total of 2,580 offers of admission alongside this fall’s early-accepted students. These lucky individuals were selected from the third largest pool of applicants in university history; Brown received 30,397 applications, and had the lowest recorded acceptance rate of  8.5 percent.

Our admitted students hail from all 50 states and 85 different countries, with 45 percent of applicants identifying as African American, Latino, Native American, or Asian American. The top ten intended concentrations for our potential future classmates are Engineering, Biology, Computer Science, Biochemistry, International Relations, Economics, Political Science, English, and History; only the latter two are new additions from the Class of 2018.  You can find more gossip stats on the very impressive acceptees here.

Image via.

 


Amuse-Bouche: north

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Tucked away in Luongo Square, you might find yourself standing in front of a tiny restaurant with soft lights shining through the window. Inside, you can make out a backlit bar with rows of obscure liquor bottles and, almost without a doubt, a crowd of hungry hopefuls waiting for a table. On the bottom right of the facade, you can vaguely make out a neon sign that reads “north” in blue script writing. Then you will know you’re in the right place.

north (sic), an Asian Fusion restaurant located in East Providence, has food that makes up in flavor twofold what the restaurant lacks in space. It offers dishes that are both irreverent and delicious; seemingly strange, yet expectation-shattering in the best way possible. The chef, James Mark, attributes the restaurant’s success to the collaborative forces that drive the culinary team. Starchefs.com calls Mark not a head chef, but the leader of “a collective, a group of cooks who are making great culinary and community strides in Providence.” The restaurant website features bios of every staff member from head chef to dishwasher; Mark emphasizes that a successful restaurant is only the product of its driven and talented staff members.

Chef James Mark of North – Providence, RI

The menu is small, but it changes daily based on seasonality. A slushie machine swirls behind the bar, filled with a daily alcoholic frozen concoction of the bartender’s choosing. A group of six diners sit at the bar, slurping down raw oysters served on a bed of crushed ice right in front of them. The five-or-so table restaurant is dimly lit and warm; the servers are dressed in ripped denim and clogs, undoubtedly with a facial piercing or two. Make sure you show up dressed casually – and with an appetite.

Due to the nature and size of the dishes, I have found that north is best experienced by going with a group of two or more. The plates vary in size, though most are closer to tapas-sized than full plates. That being said, the dishes also tend to be very rich, so a little often goes a long way. It is best to go with an adventurous group that also favors family-style-dining.

My most recent trip to north was no less exciting than the first meal I had there over a year ago. My two friends and I scoured the menu and, as usual, were able to identify only about half of the ingredients in each dish. (What exactly is quince jam and why do I want to eat it? Hoz-what?) Unfamiliarity aside, we had no issue choosing four dishes to share among us. In fact, the greatest challenge proved to be resisting the temptation to order everything.

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The Definitive Ranking of College Hill Chicken Fingers

The chicken finger is the Holy Grail of chicken-based products–and a delicacy only served at a select few restaurants on College Hill. Although it’s a simple food option, it can have disastrous results when not prepared with the utmost “tender” [Ed. Ugh] loving care. A chicken finger aficionado myself, I feel it is imperative that Brunonians are given all the necessary details before purchasing fried chicken around Brown’s campus while in a drunken hungry state. Ranked worst to best, all of the chicken fingers on College Hill deserve a shout-out. Happy eating!

  1. B.B.C., Thayer Street

To put it lightly, B.B.C.’s chicken fingers are disgraceful: truly an abomination to fried chicken tenders everywhere. The breading is gritty, grainy, and just despicable. A wide array of dipping sauces is available upon request, and you’ll need all of them to swallow these down. Their mozzarella sticks and burgers are stellar examples of quality junk food, but I guess an eatery named “Better Burger Company” cannot be trusted to handle chicken properly. Please eat at your own risk.

Recommended with: Nothing. Nothing at all. Do NOT eat them.

  1. Shanghai, Meeting Street

I’m not sure if they quite qualify as “chicken fingers,” but they are fried pieces of breaded chicken nonetheless. Amidst Shanghai’s 20-page menu, chicken fingers have found their home in the appetizer section, right above “mozzarella stick” (yes, only one stick). While I recommend Shanghai’s scorpion bowls and lo mein over their chicken fingers, they are still more edible than B.B.C.’s. Bonus–you can eat them while enjoying the ’80s hits that play on repeat.

Recommended with: Soy sauce…?

  1. The Ratty, Thayer Street

The Sharpe Refectory deserves a shout-out for their attempt at serving fried food. Although they aren’t exactly chicken fingers, their popcorn chicken is worthy of a spot on the list. Although most Brunonians flock to the V-Dub for fried chicken, the Ratty gains a surplus of hungry students when popcorn chicken is added to the daily menu. You may need seven of their stupidly small cups to wash it down, but in the words of Ron Burgundy, popcorn chicken “always goes down smooth.” [Note: we know that the Ratty occasionally serves actual chicken fingers, too, but we also all know which BUDS eatery that dish truly belongs to.]

Recommended with: A scoop of the puffy Cheetos served in the black bin.

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BlogDH Presents: The Process: 410[GONE]

Ever seen a show at Brown and immediately wondered: “What did they have to do to make that?” Fear no more. BlogDH presents The Process, a new video column in partnership with Sock & Buskin that highlights the rehearsal process of Brown mainstage productions.

The first installment is for 410[GONE], the last show of the mainstage season. Erik Ehn, chair of the theatre department, brings this poignant and powerful play by Brown alum Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig ’05 to life. 410[GONE] is a tragicomedy that explores loving past all limits and loving to the point of non-attachment, as a Chinese American brother and sister navigate possible histories and possible futures in the face of a sudden, catastrophic death.

410[GONE] opens this Thursday at 8:00 p.m. in Leeds Theatre. Performances are on April 2-5 and 9-12, Thurs – Sat @ 8:00 p.m.

Get your tickets here, in person before the show, or in advance at the Brown Theatre box office in the Leeds Theatre Breezeway. First years and transfers get into Thursday performances free.

Music by Lizzy Callas ’15. 


Student falls from SciLi, vigil to be held tonight at 6:30 p.m.

A graduate student fell from an upper floor of the SciLi just before noon today.

A cluster of Brown and Providence police officers were seen huddled around the space between the SciLi and the CIT, the site of the fall. In an email from the Vice Chair of the Computer Science department, Thomas Doeppner, to CS students, Doeppner stated that the student was “presumably killed.”

UPDATE: A graduate student fell from the 12th floor of the SciLi to the area between the library and the CIT….

Posted by The Brown Daily Herald on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

 

Students seeking support can find a list of resources here.

UPDATE: An email to the Brown community from President Christina Paxson has confirmed that the student has passed away. A vigil will take place tonight at 6:30 p.m. on the steps of Faunce to mourn this death. Previously arranged in response to other difficult events on campus, the vigil is open to anyone seeking an opportunity to heal with other community members.

UPDATE: A second email from Paxson has named the student as Hyoun Ju Sohn, a first year grad student from South Korea in the Physics program.