Monthly Archives: July 2015

Putting the Search Box into the Primary Menu in the Virtue Theme

I used the free Virtue theme in a recent contract and wanted to put the WordPress search box into the primary navigation menu. That was done easily enough by putting this into the child theme functions.php file:

function add_search_form_to_menu($items, $args)
{

    if( $args->theme_location != "primary_navigation" )
        return $items;

    return $items . '<li class="my-nav-menu-search">' . get_search_form(false) . '</li>';
}

However, the site I was building needed a private area for members and I’d been tinkering with the WordPress Access Control Plugin (WPAC) to accomplish that. The plugin allows you to display different menus to users who are logged in and those who are not. One menu (called Top Menu) was setup by WPAC to display as the Primary Navigation for users who were not logged into WordPress. While another (I called Top Menu – Private) was setup to display to members only. Obviously I wanted the WordPress search box to display on that menu too so I had to modify the above PHP slightly to allow for the private menu. Here’s how that worked:

function add_search_form_to_menu($items, $args)
{
    if( ($args->theme_location != "primary_navigation") && ($args->theme_location != "primary_navigation_wpac") )
        return $items;

    return $items . '<li class="my-nav-menu-search">' . get_search_form(false) . '</li>';
}

So there you have it. How to get the WP search box to display in the primary navigation menu when using the Virtue theme, and when using the Virtue Theme with the WordPress Access Control Plugin.

Brew Day 7 13 July 2015 – American IPA V2

I’ve been extremely happy with my first attempt at a home brewed IPA and because I’d nearly run out (it’s delicious) the time had come to brew a new batch. I decided to increase the DME a little and drop the brown sugar for better mouth feel and lower ABV. Additionally I was going to use a yeast starter harvested from a batch of American brown ale, which in turn used yeast that was harvested from the very same initial batch of IPA. The original strain was SAFALE-US05. Unfortunately my initial recipe was thrown into disarray because my LHBS of choice is shut on Mondays (damn them) and I had to go to my backup where I purchased alternate ingredients. I’ve replaced the Briess Light LME with Coopers Light LME and used Simcoe hops different alpha which I suspect are not particularly fresh. The hopping schedule has changed somewhat too, with more put into the late boil to give more flavour/aroma while still providing the required bittering.

1.5KG Coopers Light LME
0.6KG Light DME
0.2KG Brown Sugar
Briess Light Crystal Malt 0.25KG
17g Simcoe @ 60 mins 12.7%AA
35g Simcoe @ 5 mins 12.7%AA
3rd Generation SAFALE US-05 in 500mL starter (50g DME, 500mL cool boiled water).

Brew Type : 12.5L Extract

OG: 1.065
FG: 1.015
ABV: 6.9%
IBU: 49.0
EBC: 20.7

Method:

1. Bring 8L of water to boil. The water had sat in the boil pot for 24 hours to allow any chlorine or other volatiles to evaporate.
2. Steep the crystal malt in 1L of 65-70C water for 30 minutes.
3. Strain the crystal malt through a muslin lined strainer into into boil pot and sparge with 1L of 65-70C water.
4. Add 1KG of the Coopers LME to bring up gravity of wort for better hop utilisation.
5. Put heat back on and bring to rolling boil. When boiling make first hop addition. Boil for 55 minutes and make second addition. Boil for a further 5 minutes, turn off heat and stir in the remaining LME, DME, and brown sugar and mix well to ensure it is all dissolved. Add cold water to bring volume to 12L and plunge pot into ice bath to bring wort to 25C.
6. Tip wort into FV through strainer to remove most of the hops. Take starting gravity reading, aerate worth with spoon, pitch yeast starter put airlock in place and commence fermenting.

The wort was measured at 24C before pitching and had a gravity of 1.068 (target 1.065). The FV was put into the fermentation fridge with a set temperature of 18.5C.

Fermentation Notes

14 July 2015 – Fermentation appears to have started after about 18 hours.
18 July 2015 – Turned set temperature up to 20.5C.
20 July 2015 – Took gravity reading, 1.018. This is still a little high, will take another reading in two days to check for any changes. If no change will dry hop then.
22 July 2015 – Dry hopped with 48g of Simcoe and turned fridge down to 18C.
25 July 2015 – Turned of temperature controller and turned on fridge, cold crashing for 2 days.
27 July 2015 – Bulk primed with 104g of white sugar in 200mL of boiled water. Still not happy with carbonation of previous batches so I’m trying 8g/L. I racked the FV off into another vessel as usual with the sugar solution and bottled using my bottling wand. Yield was 11.3L. However, as I usually do I drank the last dregs out of the bottling vessel and they were very sweet so clearly the sugar had not dispersed into the beer correctly when the beer was draining into it. So I don’t expect any sort of even carbonation. Dammit. Note to self, mix bulk primed beer to ensure proper sugar dispersal. Second note to self, you forgot to take a final gravity reading you idiot. I harvested yeast out of the fermentation vessel and washed it once and it’s now sitting in the fridge ready for the next brew day.

Tasting

8 August 2015 – I cracked a bottle today and poured it into my glass of choice. Head was decent and creamy. There was a little bit of passionfruit on the nose, but given that I suspected the Simcoe hops I used were old this isn’t surprising. The beer seemed a little more bitter than the first IPA I made and a bit dryer in the mouth. Still, it’s very tasty and was an enjoyable quaff. Should improve in a week or two with more carbonation.

American IPA Version 2

American IPA Version 2

Brew Day 6 3 July 2015 – Brown Porter

It’s cold here now (well as cold as it gets) and I wanted to brew something that I could age in the garage for a month or two without ill-effects while it was cool. Enter an English brown porter. I’ve used my trusty kit & extract beer designer spreadsheet again and have come up with the following recipe:

1.5KG Briess CBW Porter LME
0.15KG Light DME
0.1KG Bairds Pale Crystal Malt 30EBC
0.25KG Bairds Chocolate Malt 1230EBC
20g Fuggles @ 60 mins 4.6%AA
25g East Kent Goldings @ 5 mins 5.7%AA
12g Fuggles @ 5 mins 4.6%AA
SAFALE S04 English Ale Yeast.

Brew Type: 12L Extract

OG: 1.048
FG: 1.012
ABV: 5.1%

Brown Porter Ingredients (Chocolate Malt/Pale Crystal not shown)

Brown Porter Ingredients (Chocolate Malt/Pale Crystal not shown)

I’ve stuck with a lower ABV brew again as it’s easier to drink (my double can stout is still knocking me from pillar to post). I’ve gone a bit overboard with the specialty grains but what the heck. No sugar this time, just LME for better mouth feel and higher final gravity. And why the 12g of Fuggles @ 5 minutes? That’s all I had left so I thought I should just put it in there.

Method:

1. Steep the light crystal and chocolate malt in cold water in the fridge overnight.
2. I’d put 8L of tap water in my brew kettle overnight to allow the volatiles to evaporate and this was now brought to the boil and the heat turned off.

Straining the Specialty Grains

Straining the Specialty Grains

3. Strained the grains through a colander lined with muslin into the brew pot. Sparged with 1L of 70C water.
4. Added 1KG of the Porter LME to bring the wort gravity up for better hops utilisation.
5. Put heat back on, bring wort to the boil and make first hop addition.
6. Second hop addition made at 55 minutes.
7. At the end of the hour take the kettle off the boil and add the balance of the LME and DME and stir to ensure it is dissolved.
8. Cool wort (there was about 7L left) in ice bath and bring temperature as quickly as possible down to 27C. This took 35 minutes. I sped up the process this time by freezing 2L of boiled water and putting this into the hot wort.
9. Once down to temperature I tipped the wort into the FV passing it through a mesh strainer to pick up most of the hops. I topped off the FV with a couple of liters of cool water, took a temperature (25.2C) and a gravity reading (1.048).

Straining the Wort

Straining the Wort

10. I aerated the wort as much as possible with a large spoon, pitched the whole packet of S04 yeast, screwed the lid onto the vessel, topped off the airlock with StarSan solution and put the whole lot in my temperature controlled fridge. I set the temperature to 18.5C.

The plan is to allow the beer to ferment for a full two weeks and then rack it off into a secondary for aging (for 2-4 weeks) before bulk priming and bottling. I haven’t decided if I’ll dry hop yet, but given that it’s an English style brown porter it shouldn’t really have a strong hop characteristic. I’ll do some research in the next week or two and decide later.

12/7/2015 – Moved the fermentation vessel into my garage. It’s pretty cool here now (15C or less most days). I’ll leave it there for a few weeks to age.
8/8/2015 – Racked off fermentation vessel into my bottling vessel and bulk primed with 104g of white sugar dissolved in 200mL of boiling water. Made sure to mix beer before bottling. Yield was 16 750mL bottles (12 litres) so the priming was 8g/L. Hopefully there’s a decent head on this brew.

29/8/2015 – Opened the first bottle tonight. Nice bit of roastiness up front, not too much bitterness. Pleasant enough to drink but seemed a little watery. Will be interesting to sample again over the coming weeks. Good white head that lasted to the bottom of the glass with fine bubbles. Overall not too bad at all.

English Porter

First Glass of Brown Porter