Seawater Beer – It exists, but it really shouldn’t.

I was out with the wife the other night, having a couple of beers at Mr Banks.

Mr Banks is a brewery that do real beer, the stuff that tastes amazing, and brewed using good quality ingredients. Beers like this Red XPA, which was a real treat with its malty aroma and hoppy and equally as malty flavours.

A good example of a beer

But we’re not here to talk about good beer, we’re here to talk about the odd and disturbing experience that is seawater beer. A beer that I unfortunately encountered at a Spanish Bar that my wife and I visited after growing tired of drinking good beer.

I might be ignorant of some important and vital piece of beer brewing information, but why the hell would you want to brew a beer with sea water? Most good brewers take all steps to ensure their water supply is as clean and free of impurities as possible. Clean and purified water that is low in salts ensures that the flavours that the brewer is attempting to bring out in their brews comes through as cleanly and effectively as possible.

Hmmm sea water…

In my mind, adding sea water to your brew sounds like complete insanity. I cannot fathom how sea water would add in a positive way to the flavours of a beer. In the brewers defence, they do filter the water but the question still has to be asked as to why they think sea water is a great addition to a beer. I truly don’t understand how, but apparently this beer has won some awards. So it seems that there are people out there who like this beer and willingly choose to drink it. Even after sampling it for the first time. Insanity, I know.

And there are even people out there who believe this beer is good for them, and that it prevents hangovers. This chap raves about the beer and its supposedly magical properties. He claims that the beer has the following properties:

  • It’s packed full of electrolytes as a result of being brewed with sea water. Clearly the guy has never heard of sports drinks if electrolytes is what he’s seeking.
  • It’s great for hydration. No, alcohol is never good for hydration…
  • It makes him urinate less. Could that possibly be the result of drinking salt water?
  • It didn’t give him a hangover. Even though he woke up with a hangover. 
  • It’s good to drink after exercise. A theory that was debunked a long time ago.

So I suppose I should tell you what I actually thought about how this beer tasted.  It’s probably quite obvious by now that I’m not a fan. But if it isn’t clear, I’m not a fan of this beer.

Oh look, a salty brew

The beer looks great in a glass. It has a lovely misty amber colour and pours with an impressive off white head. But that’s where the praise ends.  The aroma is quite literally of a stagnant ocean.  On the palate the beer has mild carbonation and a stale bitterness overpowers any normal beer flavours that you might be expecting.

And that’s really all there is to this beer.  A beer that looks nice, but smells bad and tastes equally as bad. I dislike this beer so much that I won’t even bother you with the usual beer data.  Simply stay away from this terrible idea of a brew. You’re not missing out on anything, I assure you.

Ballarat, Beer & Masternodes!

Beers in the Rat (and what the hell is a Masternode?)!

And this time there’s more than one beer to talk about.  That was a beer filled weekend indeed. My wife and I ventured off to the little town of Ballarat for a friends birthday this weekend, so I took the chance to try a few new beers while there.

There’s wifey in the distance. 🙂

I was actually expecting to visit a local brewery, since Ballarat has a couple of great ones. But instead, we visited a bar next to our hotel which stocked around 200 craft beers.

It was an impressive line up, so rather than just have one or two, I once again went for the paddle.

There’s nothing quite like a good paddle.

Of course, I chose my favourite styles of beer. An IPA, an IIPA, a Porter and a Stout. All from different breweries, but all Australian.

Two Birds Brewing – Rye IPA

Two Birds Brewing is a brewery located in Melbourne. They’re well known for producing some quality beers. The brewer describes the beer as being malt driven with spicy and fruity aroma. Personally, I found it to be a fairly traditional IPA that was a little on the weak side in terms of fruity aromas, strength of hops and bitterness. It’s a decent IPA, but nothing I would get too excited about.

Bells Brewing Co. – Malted Double IPA

Bells Brewing Co. is located in Geelong, Victoria and is a brewery that I’ve never encountered before.  I’m glad I did.  This was an impressive IIPA that was both fruity in aroma, on the palate with an excellent strength of both hops and bitterness. It’s a beer with a complexity that you can appreciate, so was definitely a stand out on this paddle.

Odyssey Craft Brewing – Caramel Porter

Odyssey is another Victorian brewery, and another that I had never heard of before. This porter is pretty much as described, lots of malts and caramel on the nose, and not at all subtle hints of caramel on the palate.  It’s a sweet porter, which was pleasant. Overall this was quite an enjoyable beer, but not all all session-able.

Fox Hat Brewing Co. – Phat Mongrel

Fox Hat Brewing Co. is an Australian brewery, located somewhere in Australia. I’ve found with this review that some breweries are terrible at telling us where they are located, and these guys are the best at avoiding the provision of a location.

At least their beer is good.  The Phat Mongrel is an Oatmeal Stout. And I’ve discovered in recent months that I love a good Oatmeal Stout.  This one is very much a traditional Oatmeal Stout, it has strong hops aroma and is smooth on the palate with a mild bitterness. It’s a very easy drinking Stout and quite a stand out for me.

BeerTypeOriginABVRating
Two Birds Brewing Rye IPAIPAVictoria6.43.5
Bells Brewing Co. Malted Double IPAIIPAVictoria7.54
Odyssey Craft Brewing Caramel PorterPorterVictoria54
Fox Hat Brewing Co. Phat MongrelOatmeal StoutVictoria6.5%4

Masternodes – a worthy passive income stream?

Right now, I’m researching how I can expand on my passive income streams in the cryptocurrency world.  This research has lead me to masternode coins. If you’re like me, then you’ve probably never really learnt about masternodes before as well, and possibly have never heard of them. So what is a masternode?

Source

“a masternode is a server on a decentralized network. It is utilized to complete unique functions in ways ordinary nodes can’t. It can be used for features like direct send / instant transactions or private transactions.

Because of their increased capabilities, masternodes typically require a sizable investment in order to run. But this is where incentivization comes into play, as masternode operators are rewarded by earning portions of block rewards in whatever given cryptocurrency they’re facilitating.” Source

When purchasing a masternode you are buying a set number of coins and staking these coins in a wallet that is left open to verify that you hold the required number of coins in order to operate a masternode. The number of coins can vary from 1000 to 50,000 coins, depending on the coin.

The first and most popular of the masternode coins is DASH. And for many, DASH has proven to be a great investment. Due to the popularity of DASH however, a masternode costs a substantial amount of money – as of right now the cost to purchase a DASH masternode is almost $240,000.

Source

Are masternodes worth investing in?

Essentially, by running masternodes you can generate a passive income stream of your chosen coin. But the good quality coins in this space are limited. It appears that this type of coin is becoming increasingly popular, and with it are all the scams and shit-coins.

Finding a good quality coin to invest in is hard, and I’ve spent many hours sifting through the wide range of coins listed on sites such as masternodes.online and masternodes.pro to see if I can find something suitable to invest in.

The return on investment varies massively from coin to coin as well.  There are some coins that only provide a few percent return, while others can offer many thousands of percent return. And of course, with the increasing promise of return comes an increase in risk. What goes up fast, often falls very fast as well.

Source

So, if you’re thinking of investing in a masternode you’ll need to do extensive research to confirm that you have found a quality coin with a solid purpose and team behind it. I’ve found many coins don’t even list the team behind them, and have come across some where the developers have simply walked away from the project. I was even quite sad to enter a telegram channel where the masternode holders had only just discovered that the developers had left the project. And as I sat there chatting to the people who were left holding large bags of a worthless coin, they discovered that the developers had just launched another scam coin and had listed it as offering a 30,000% return on investment. This is clearly a risky game.

The point is, masternode coins can offer an excellent source of a passive income but you need to be aware of the risks involved.  My checks to confirm that a coin might be worth investing in tend to include the following:

  • Does the coin serve a real purpose?
  • Is there a decent team behind the coin?
  • Is the return on investment worth the effort?
  • Is there an active and engaged community behind the coin?
  • Is the coin listed on a number of exchanges, including reputable exchanges?
  • Is there a decent volume of coins being moved every 24 hours?

I’m yet to find a coin that I feel comfortable investing in, so will report back once I make my first investment in a masternode and will provide a write up on how I went about setting one up.

Have you invested in masternodes yourself? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.

Beer and Blockchain – When will mass adoption happen?

My days have been pretty quiet of late. My little man had surgery on his knee so I’ve been at home and looking after him for the past 3 weeks.

The little man himself.

This has meant that my ability to visit local breweries, which I generally write about for my #BeerSaturday reviews, has been severely hampered. One benefit of sitting at home with my pup is that I’ve been able to spend a lot more time on Steemit and researching cryptocurrencies along with reflecting on some of the cryptocurrency related services that I’ve been participating in.

And that led me to think about these beer reviews, perhaps it’s time to change these up where I’ll discuss something that I’ve encountered in the cryptocurrency space along with the beer that I’m drinking. I feel that this may fit better with the overall theme of my blog.

What will it take for mass adoption of cryptocurrencies to be a thing?

This week saw me enter the @orignalworks writing contest with this entry.  In the entry I discuss the GRAFT Network and their technology which has the potential to greatly aid in the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.  Basically, what they are doing is creating a payment system that will allow businesses to incorporate cryptocurrency payments into their existing Point of Sale (POS) systems, and allow for these currencies to be automatically converted into Fiat or another currency of their choosing.  The technology and concept is fantastic, and will greatly help with cryptocurrencies becoming a part of every day society.

Source

But for cryptocurrencies to reach the mainstream and become part of our every day lives, we need to see them in all institutions and markets. So I was really pleased to see in the media yesterday an article about cryptocurrency courses now being offered at Russian Universities. And while this is nothing new in Russia, there was a similar article back in 2017, it is extremely exciting to see that courses are now being developed with a focus on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. It gives me hope that these types of courses will soon be offered across the globe. And if a course is ever offered in Australia, I’ll be one of the first to jump in to gain a formal qualification in this field.

And finally, today an article was published where Mike Novogratz (a former Wall Street Executive and founder of Galaxy Digital crypto merchant bank) claims that the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies is five to six years from taking place. This time-frame seems perfectly reasonable to me. Mike believes that cryptocurrencies need to “not feel like something new” before they become an accepted part of our lives.

Source

He also believes that the cost of technical talent and the doubts of conventional investors are holding back the acceptance of cryptocurrencies. And while the cost of talent may not decline any time soon, the doubts of investors (both retail and large scale) will certainly pass as more professional institutions start moving into the cryptocurrency space.

So it seems to me that with new systems being built to allow for easy use of cryptocurrencies for the purchase of goods and services, with educational institutions getting on board with the technology, and with the view that investors, both large and small, will start to be more trusting of the technology, a view that mainstream adoption of blockchain technology is quite realistic in my eyes.

What was I drinking while writing this?

A few days ago, I was able to escape the home briefly to grab some beer for a party that my Wife was holding. I found a Californian craft beer at my local bottle shop that sounded quite interesting. I haven’t had many American craft beers so was eager to give it a shot.

Ballast Point – Sculpin IPA

Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA

Ballast Point is a brewery that was established way back in 1996.  It was started by a small group of home-brewers, and is now a well established brewery in San Diego.

The Sculpin IPA is their flagship beer and they describe it as:

“inspired use of hops creates hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors, but still packs a bit of a sting, just like a Sculpin fish.”

The beer pours a deep amber, with a decent head that lingers for a while.  I love a good aromatic and fruity IPA, it’s these traits that keep me coming back to them. But with this beer, I found the aroma to be quite lacking.  There were some fruity notes, but it was mild, and there were strange malty notes as well, which don’t really belong in an IPA.  The carbonation is quite high, which again is a little unusual, and on the palate you’ll be hit with a powerful bitterness, fruity flavours, hops and malts.

This is a decent beer, it’s quite enjoyable. But the maltiness doesn’t belong in an IPA.  I found it a little off putting as I know it shouldn’t be there. But overall it’s still a pleasant brew and I’m happy to still have a couple of them sitting in the fridge.

The Beer Data

BeerTypeOriginABVRating
Two Birds Brewing Rye IPAIPAVictoria6.43.5
Bells Brewing Co. Malted Double IPAIIPAVictoria7.54
Odyssey Craft Brewing Caramel PorterPorterVictoria54
Fox Hat Brewing Co. Phat MongrelOatmeal StoutVictoria6.5%4

 

Booze and Crypto – Does it mix?

Beer and Crypto – There’s nothing better right?

It looks like people have been trying to release alcohol related cryptocurrencies for some time now.  There was QYKbar which attempted to sell drinks via blockchain so that you could purchase your drinks using the QYK currency and consume them at any bar or restaurant that agreed to accept the token. Work on this project appears to have ceased as of April this year and their Telegram channel has been deleted.

And then there have been the various beer coins.  I’ve been able to find this one and this one that didn’t appear to make much progress at all. They both seem to have had similar goals which solely consisted of taking peoples money via whatever means possible.

Source 

Is there a legit booze based currency?

There is hope, and for good reason. The alcoholic beverages industry in the US alone is is a 220 billion dollar industry.  This is an industry that is ripe for disruption so blockchain technology has a real opportunity here.

I recently stumbled across Beerchain though the weekly Beer Drinking competition that I participate in on Steemit.  Beerchain have created their own Beercoin (an ERC20 token) and they’ve actually put a decent amount of work into getting the project off the ground.

Source

The coins are quite literally mined through the consumption of beer, which is both awesome and very unique. Essentially, a merchant (typically a brewery) will order QR codes from Beerchain who will then provide the codes for printing on the inside of bottle caps.  The brewer then distributes the beers, with Beercoin bottle caps fitted, to bars and other places where this golden fluid of the gods is sold.

The QR codes aren’t limited to just bottle caps however.  Bars and restaurants can also print the QR codes onto beer coasters and receipts as well, which is a nice way to ensure that this coin doesn’t only need to rely on brewers for the success of this coin.

Consumers who purchase these beers will then scan the bottle caps using the Beercoin app.  The QR code will then release whatever quantity of currency is assigned to that particular QR code.

The quantity of coins distributed via QR codes ranges from 1 coin to 10,000 coins.  Obtaining a high value QR code is rare (0.01% chance of discovery) however the potential to find a QR code with a high value QR code definitely adds some excitement to the “mining” process.

How it all works

Beerchain envisions that the value of the coins will centre around the price of a standard beer.  They plan to peg the price so that 100 Beercoins will typically purchase 1 beer. Pegging the price means that Beerchain will be required to purchase, burn and distribute the coins as they need to in order to ensure the price of the coin enables a user to purchase a standard beer with just 100 coins.

How will the Beerchain founders and staff get paid?

Beerchain plan to generate their income via advertising revenue and by collecting user data (which I imagine they’ll use to advertise products and services to). This is a bit of a shame given that one of the things I personally love about blockchain technologies is that it gives us a chance to create businesses that don’t rely on selling advertisements as an income stream. However, Beerchain is absorbing all transaction costs.  Given that this coin is an ERC20 token, there are small fees for transactions.  Beerchain will not be passing these transactions on to users which is quite a positive for the project.

What can you buy using Beercoins?

The founders believe that users will not only be able to purchase beer from participating vendors using this coin, but they’ll also be able to buy merchandise via the app and donate to charities.

The founders plan to peg the value of the coin so trading it on exchanges won’t be particularly attractive. Does this approach limit the potential of the coin? Maybe, and maybe not. I don’t think the founders see this coin as being a multi-million dollar business venture for themselves. They seem to be working hard just to get the currency being adopted by breweries and gamifying the currency to make it highly attractive to the every day person.

Source

One of their recent tweets shows that a brewery in Colorado has now started including Beercoin QR codes on all of their beers, which is awesome news and shows that we have a functioning blockchain here.

There are also plans to literally add games into the Beerchain app which could make the whole package even more attractive.

My verdict on this currency

The ICO for Beercoin came to a close at the end of June and sadly it didn’t reach  the soft cap. It seems that there were mixed feelings about this currency.  The team behind it don’t have a lot of blockchain experience and it’s application didn’t seem to bring a lot of excitement to the space.

But the team are pushing ahead and seeing that they have breweries getting on board now is excellent. Their social media presence is still very active, they are speaking at events, and they’ve released their Yellow Paper which are all good signs.

Personally, I think the concept is awesome. And I’d love to see Beercoin become a big deal. But the currency isn’t without its flaws. One review of the coin mentioned that this application doesn’t need blockchain technology and I agree that is probably one weakness here. All we really have here is a system for scoring points, and those points can be accumulated in such a way that allows for redemption for beer or other products and services. This is much like the rewards points given out by certain retailers. So is there really a need for blockchain technology here? Possibly not.

I’ve also noticed that the app is only available on Android devices at the moment and cannot find it for my iPhone. The lack of an iPhone app must surely be hurting Beerchain right now, and I find it odd that they’d claim that the app is available for iPhones when it clearly isn’t.

I do love the idea though, and will definitely support Beercoin if I see it in my local bottle shops or bars. It would be awesome to see people earning this currency in Australia, so hopefully we see it here one day.

Check out the Whitepaper here if you’d like to learn more about this coin. And while it’s probably obvious, I am in no way affiliated with Beerchain or own any of their currency.