How to make potentially lethal prison wine

The recent deadly outbreak of nacho botulism reminded me of another big botulism outbreak caused by pruno, aka prison wine. Brian and Jason from Modern Rogue show how to make pruno, showing why it could easily contain botulism. Read the rest

New games for old consoles

Homebrew has long been a highlight of the game-development scene, but publishing new carts for old consoles is going mainstream. The Verge's Andrew Webster writes that several such titles are soon to be released, mostly for classic Nintendo boxes.

For some, it’s a hobby, a fun way to experiment with programming and design techniques. For others, it’s a way to pay homage to game experiences that have long gone out of fashion. Sometimes it’s a little of both. In 2010 Xbox co-founder Ed Fries created a stripped-down version of Halo designed for the Atari 2600, while Paul Koller has made a name porting modern indie games to the Commodore 64. Most of these games are released for free, and playable through an emulator on a PC.

For Long, the decision to not only create a retro homebrew game, but release it on a cartridge, was made because he wanted to embrace the limitations of a device like the NES. “The goal was to craft a tightly controlled experience,” he explains. While Star Versus is a decidedly 8-bit game, as a competitive shooter it also pulls from modern game design techniques. Long was also interested in restricting himself to the NES controller, something that wouldn’t be possible if people played the game through a PC emulator. “There were obvious downsides to only being on cartridge, such as limited exposure and difficulty in demoing,” he says. “But I’m happy with the choice I made, at least for this game.”

Read the rest

WATCH: make light cubes and other cool stuff with tiny LED filaments

Mike Harrison has been experimenting with tiny flexible LED filaments found in LED bulbs that mimic incandescent bulbs. He came up with this cool light cube and a very bright clock display. Read the rest

Kegging improved my homebrewing experience

These 2.5 gallon ball lock kegs have reinvigorated my homebrewing hobby. I now have 6 of them in rotation and bottling is no longer a giant, messy pain.

The upsides to kegging, for me, are myriad. No more clumsy bottle filler. No more sanitizing cases of empty glass bottles. No more stinky, sticky bug filled bottle collection waiting to be cleaned. At its simplest, you siphon your beer from your fermenter into the keg and seal it up.

The only nuance is carbonation. You can bottle/cask condition in the keg, but you need less sugar (about 1/2-1/3 of what you'd normally use.) If you'd rather, it is also very easy to force carbonate your beer with CO2 and skip the entire bottling sugar step.

I use this handy CO2 charger and this tap, force carbonation is harder with them but it can be done. If you buy a more complex CO2 filling system, it gets quite easy.

Refrigerate a keg for 24-36 hrs before serving. It takes a while to cool them down!

Kegging was a major step in simplifying my homebrew process. Without the mess of bottling this hobby became fun again.

2.5 Gallon Keg New w/ Ball Lock Connections Read the rest

The art and science of beer: a video feature on the "Pope of Foam"

"How Beer Saved The World," "Why I Tease Those Wine Guys," and "How Bird Poop Makes A More Aromatic Belgian Beer" are but a few tidbits.