Polygamy and Alcohol?

Who said academic papers can’t be off-beat and interesting? Here’s the abstract from a new paper titled “Women or Wine, Monogamy and Alcohol”:

“Intriguingly, across the world the main social groups which practice polygyny do not consume alcohol. We investigate whether there is a correlation between alcohol consumption and polygynous/monogamous arrangements, both over time and across cultures. Historically, we find a correlation between the shift from polygyny to monogamy and the growth of alcohol consumption. Cross-culturally we also find that monogamous societies consume more alcohol than polygynous societies in the preindustrial world. We provide a series of possible explanations to explain the positive correlation between monogamy and alcohol consumption over time and across societies.”

Via Marginal Revolution. Read the full paper here.


Top 7 Albums of 2010

All of my favorite bloggers are posting their year end lists, so on day three of this site, I figured I’d post my own. I’ll be honest. My original plan was to put together a full top 10 list, but I just couldn’t come up with 10 albums from this past year that I’m actually excited about. But I really enjoyed these seven (in no particular order):

1. Acrade Fire – The Suburbs
2. LCD Sound System – This is Happening
3. The Black Keys – Brothers
4. Broken Bells (Self Titled)
5. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
6. Monsters of Folk (Self Titled)
7. Ok Go – Of the Blue Colour of the Sky

The best music video goes to Ok Go for doing ridiculous things with dogs:

And the weirdest video goes to Kanye. I don’t even know what to say. But I do know I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall when he tried explaining this idea to his producer.

On a side note, I’m pretty sure nobody is actually reading this, but at least I now have a nice record of what music I enjoyed over the past year. And if anyone out there found my blog (mom?), post anything I missed in the comments.

Homebrew Review: Magellan’s Black Cherry Stout

It’s a complete coincidence, but I’m happy to say that my first homebrew review is of a beer that came out particularly well. It also happens to be the first recipe I ever brewed. Back in 2006 after being inspired by a Sam Adams brewery tour, a good friend and I decided the whole “brewing thing” didn’t seem all that hard, and we went out and picked up a homebrew kit. Given that we knew absolutely nothing about the process, the store manager suggested we try out one of the pre-packaged recipe kits.

The most interesting one on the shelf was a black cherry stout, so we went with it. The kit was a pretty simple extract based recipe, and we just followed the directions using our new equipment. Three weeks later, we were drinking our first beer. And it came out great. A huge confidence boost for first-time brewers. 

You just have to put in the time. It’s really that easy.

Five years later, I found myself wondering whether it was actually as good as I remembered. So I decided to make it again. Here’s the original recipe. I stayed true to it in spirit, but adjusted it to be an all-grain recipe with a wide variety of specialty grains and a few hop additions. The black patent, chocolate, and roasted barley provide a dark matly character, and the flaked barley adds some some thickness to the head. I modified the hops schedule to add some more bitterness.

Here it is:

The result: A great winter stout with a dark matly character balanced by a prominent hop aroma. The black cherry flavors are noticeable, but not overwhelming, and the head is thick and creamy. It’s been conditioning for just two weeks, and I’m sure it will only get better with age. I would make this recipe again, but might consider using fresh cherries next time. The cherry flavoring seems to mellow with age, and I’d like to make it a bit more prominent, and maybe even add a hint of sourness.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10*

Here’s a summary of the beer:
ABV: 6.1%
IBU: 40
SRM: 26

And here’s the full recipe.

*I acknowledge the somewhat obvious conflict of interest that arises when I rate my own beer. But nobody else is going to rate it, and I need some record of the quality of each recipe. Maybe I’ll impose an average rating over time. Maybe I wont.

Relax. Don’t Worry. Have a Homebrew.

I’ve been homebrewing beer for about five years now, and plan to use this blog to discuss techniques, recipes, and of course the beer itself. There’s lots to talk about, but to start, I’ll share my homebrew recipe log. It’s a listing of (just about) every beer I’ve made since I began brewing back in 2006. The early brews are mostly extract recipes, and the more recent ones are all-grain.

One thing I’ve neglected to do is write up reviews of each brew. I hope to change that with this blog, but for the time being, feel free to email me with any questions about a recipe.

If you’re just getting started with brewing and are looking for a good resource to purchase supplies and ingredients, check out morebeer. They have a pretty impressive selection, and shipping is free on orders over $60. Unless you’ve got a homebrew shop down the street, this is pretty tough to beat. I plan to eventually post an entry about how to get a homebrew operation up and running, where I’ll talk about recommended equipment, the basic brewing process, and beginner recipes. Until then.

Cheers.