Brew 8: Imperial IPA

When I read that Russian River brewmaster had shared his recipe for Pliny the Elder, I had to try! Pliny is consistently a top rated beer (currently #7 overall at BeerAdvocate). Picked up the recipe from Brewing Classic Styles, a must for home brewers.

It becomes readily apparent that this is a robust brew considering that it cost me nearly $90 in ingredients (and yes, I know I could have save money had I ordered stuff online).
$25 in malted grains
$10 in yeast
$55 in hops
To give a sense of how many more hops this recipe calls for, a typical non-hoppy 5-gallon batch of beer would likely call for 2 ounces of hops. This one uses 16 ounces.

As far as home brewing for economic reasons, this one still makes sense since the typical imperial IPA costs double other beer. Still pricy though.

6 ounces of hops in the boil for bittering:
2 oz Columbus (15% alpha acids) 90 min
2 oz Chinook (12%) 90 min
1 oz Simcoe (12%) 45 min
1 oz Columbus (15%) 30 min
This gives the beer a ridiculous measure of International Bitterness Units: 336 IBU. Alexander Keiths India Pale Ale has a 28 IBU. Lagunitas Maximus Imperial India Pale Ale is 78 IBU. Nelson's Full Nelson Imperial IPA is 90 IBU. I found a few beer with 100+ IBU, but that's all they state: 100+ IBU. Bushwakker Trephination Double IPA 100+ IBU and Alley Kat Dragon Series Green Dragon Double IPA 100+ IBU.

Then some hops are added at knockout, the moment the boil ends in order to take advantage of the aromatic oils that are released when hops are added. If they are added any earlier, the oils (which add aroma and flavour) are boiled away and only the acids remain (which only bitter as they are boiled - alpha and beta acids play different roles).
2.25 oz Centennial (strong citrus tones)
1.5 oz Simcoe (passion fruit, pine, earthy, and citrus tones)

Fermentation emitted the most amazing aromas and the initial froth seemed cleaner than all my other brews despite a hop bag bursting in the boil and a bunch of grain getting out of the mash tun.

Then, after the initial fermentation is over, more hops are added. This process is called dry hopping. This process continues to compound the aromatic and flavour profile of the ale. The first dry hopping will last 13 days until bottling. The second will be added 5 days before the end.
2.75 oz Columbus (citrusy and slightly woody)
1.5 oz Centennial
1.25 oz Simcoe
0.25 oz Columbus
0.25 oz Centennial
0.25 oz Simcoe

Hopefully the end result will vaguely resemble its Russian River inspiration. All about hops and balance.


ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships 2015

A couple weekends ago, Calgary hosted an international speed skating tournament. World class competitors - I think all of them were at Sochi 2014 - competed in 4 different races each and scored points. The champions were the ones with the least points. You can find the results here.

Blaise and I decided to attend to see what the sport was all about. It was hosted at the Olympic Oval on the University of Calgary campus where the 1988 Winter Games speed skating events were held. The facility still looks wonderful and there is a nice torch reminding visitors of the site's heritage.

We were late arriving, so we missed the opening women and men's races of 500 m. I heard from a coworker who was also there that these were the most exciting races. In fact, the Canadian athletes performed best in these. So we ended up watching all the long 3000 m women's races and the 5000 m men's races. While it was certainly fun to cheer on the athletes, see how they paced their various laps, and witness a couple athletes catch up to their single opponent - it wasn't too gripping to see people skate round and round in ovals.

I was particularly impressed with two things: skill and power.

Generally, we cheered. I took photos. We had a snack. Blaise and I sat in three different locations as there were lots of empty seats. Blaise remarked that we got to sit in some really good seats and that if it were the olympics we would have had to pay way more money! He's right. We only paid $25 total - olympic tickets could have been in the hundreds of dollars to see the same skaters skate.

The fans were often more interesting than the races. Not surprisingly the majority of the crowd was identifiably Dutch because of the blinding orange jackets, hats, scarves, dresses, pants, and jumpsuits. They were loud, but the old Norwegian men were way louder. These guys sported lovely traditionl knitted sweaters and funny caps covered in pins.

The one cultural group I thought was a bit odd were the quiet Russians. I thought how odd it was to be waving a Russian flag despite the current Russian aggression in Ukraine. But hey, there were a couple Americans there too. With flags.

24 men and 24 women raced in pairs in 4 rounds over 2 days.

We cheered on Canadians Denny Morrison (7th), Ted-Jan Bloemen (16th), Ivanie Blondin (6th), and Kali Crist (8th).

This guy won for the men: Dutch skater Sven Kramer. I guess he has some serious cred.


K-12 Integer Sequences

The K-12 Integer Sequences Conference was organized by my good friend Dr. Gordon Hamilton (Dr. Pickle) of MathPickle.com and Dr. Neil J. A. Sloane, the founder of the On-line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences (OEIS). I was fortunate enough to attend as a math educator among other educators, math professors, and curriculum developers.

The goal of the conference was to identify 13 integer sequences that could be promoted for use in classrooms from K-12. The sequences would help students practice or learn level appropriate curricular goals, but they would also introduce the students to the wonderful world of mystery found in integer sequences. You can watch our large group sessions in these videos. Three sessions were spent in smaller groups - mine sought to identify sequences for grades 10-12.

The event was hosted by the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) at the Banff Centre which means they provided the hi-tech and comfortable conference facility (pictured behind me) and the lodging for the attendees. BIRS is dedicated to math research and collaboration.

Naturally, if you are still reading this, you are keen to learn which sequences will be promoted as a result. As with many collaborative conferences, there are still some **loose ends to tie up. I will feature a few here though.

Kindergarten: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, ...

A034326 This is the clock sequence. I think it's brilliant. You can have kids do some skip counting on it where they will be exposed to factors of 12 (when you skip by 4s, you will always land on the same 4 numbers, when you skip by 5s, you don't!). There is of course the excellent recursive nature of this sequence which mimics time.

Grade 3: 14, 7, 5, 3, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 24, 22, 11, 9, 18, 16, 32, 30, 15, ...

A254873 This sequence is a modified Recamán sequence developed by a 15-year old student. Starting at the seed number (14) the sequence continues by dividing, subtracting, adding or multiplying by the step number (2). Division gets precedence over subtraction which gets precedence over addition which gets precedence over multiplication. The new number must be a positive integer and not previously listed. The sequence terminates if this is impossible.

Grade 5: 4, 9, 7, 20, 6, 33, 13, 23, 16, ...

Starting with 1, on the first step add 1/n, and on subsequent steps either add 1/n or take the reciprocal. What is the smallest number of steps needed to return to 1? This number of steps is the nth term of the sequence. (Note: the n=0 and n=1 terms are not defined, so the sequence actually starts with the 2nd term.)
eg. let n=2: 1, 3/2, 2, 1/2, 1 therefore the number generated is 4 because it took 4 steps
eg. let n=3: 1, 4/3, 5/3, 2, 7/3, 8/3, 3, 1/3, 2/3, 1 took 9 steps
eg. let n=4: 1, 5/4, 3/2, 7/4, 2, 1/2, 3/4, 1 took 7 steps
This one is a lot of work, but I think it works to help students see that just because you work with increasing fractions, it doesn't necessarily mean it will require more steps. It really depends on the factors of n.

This time, I brought Amber along since I knew she would enjoy the tranquility, beauty and opportunity to relax in such surroundings.

My mom took the kids for most of the weekend, then Jasen for the last bit - we are very grateful.

Getting away to Banff now means being able to chow down and drink at the Banff Ave Brewing Company. Their beers are notable - especially their recent addition of an imperial IPA. Their food portions are ridiculously huge. I ate one burger for two meals.

The sequences have been determined in full! Here they are at the OEIS.org.


Bow Building (night)

A couple nights ago we ascended Calgary's tallest building, the Bow. It is situated on Centre Street and on the 5-6 Avenue block East. A friend of ours works there and he got us access passes so we could enjoy the privileged view.

What struck me most aside from the views is the Bow's commitment to design. As you enter from the south, a massive mesh sculpture of a head invites you to wonder. Each of the three floors we visited had remarkable interior design, grand staircases, plants, and of course massive windows and the criss-cross lattice for which the building is recognized.

The Bow was completed just over 2 years ago. It stands 58 stories tall and was considered one of the top ten design architectural projects of 2012 by Azure Magazine. In fact Calgary got 2 nods that year, the other being the lovely Peace Bridge. The wonder of the Bow is that it is shaped like a celery stalk prism.

Due South we look down on the Calgary Tower.

Looking NorthEast.

We would see the Rocky Mountains if it were day time.

Blaise's Teddy sports a guest badge.