HOMEBREW Digest #4679 Mon 20 December 2004

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  link of the week - investing + homebrewing =? (Bob Devine)
  SWMBO (Jeff Renner)
  Re: Liquid Yeast Problems ("Greg 'groggy' Lehey")
  Installing external switch for hot/cold thermostat ("Steve Laycock")
  Storage, Carmelizing Wort, Taxonomy, SWMBO, Liquid Yeast (Robert Sandefer)
  Thermostat question ("Mike Sharp")
  Yeast viability / what is considered normal for old smack packs? ("Fredrik")
  Grain & Hop Storage ("Ed Measom")
  Grain Storage ("A.J deLange")
  SWMBO (Bjoern.Thegeby)
  SWMBO translation,Patience Tony Pateince ("Dave Burley")
  RE: Subject: Grain & Hop Storage ("Thomas, Chris")
  Re: SWMBO ("Richard S Sloan")
  RE: ahh unity.  obbeer: wort reduction for caramel? ("Henze, Jeff")
  Re: Grain & Hop Storage (Scott Alfter)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2004 20:14:18 -0700 From: Bob Devine <bob.devine at worldnet.att.net> Subject: link of the week - investing + homebrewing =? One finds homebrewers in the most unexpected spots! Here is a dicussion forum under the auspices of fool.com, an investment website. http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=114225 Bob Devine Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2004 23:13:21 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: SWMBO "Joe Aistrup" <joe_aistrup at msn.com> asks: >PSS: What the heck does SWMBO stand for. See http://woodbutcher.net/swmbo.htm for a complete exegesis. On HBD, I believe it was Graham Sanders of North Queensland, Australia, and self-proclaimed guru of the north, who first used this term. Jeff - -- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at comcast.net "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 15:18:37 +1030 From: "Greg 'groggy' Lehey" <grog at lemis.com> Subject: Re: Liquid Yeast Problems This story reminds me surprisingly of a similar incident on the German Hausbrauerforum a couple of days ago. On Saturday, 18 December 2004 at 14:51:39 -0500, Tony Brown wrote: > Hi All, > I have been having problems with liquid yeast lately. I bought a > Wyeast (smackpack) for a 5 gal IPA recently. Four hours after > smacking the pack there was no swelling at all! That's not always that way, but I've had smack packs that have taken several days to show any significant activity. > I pitched it anyway... The date on the pack was late September. Not a good idea. But I suppose you've realized that. You really need a pretty active yeast before you pitch. > Yesterday, I bought a White Labs vial for a 5 gal hefeweizen batch > (from the same store). Best before January 24, 2005. I decided to > make a yeast starter. Used 1qt of water, 5oz liquid malt, 1/2 tsp > yeast nutrient, I wouldn't expect you'd need any nutrient at all in the starter, but this really sounds like a lot of nutrient. Wyeast recommend 1 g per hectolitre; you'd have exceeded that by an order of magnitude. I don't expect that that much would do any harm, but others may disagree. > boiled for 10min, cooled to 72 deg, aerated by shaking, pitched > yeast and put the airlock on. This morning, every thing is settled > out and no signs of fermentation. The brew shop said to swirl the > yeast sediment and give it some time. My question is should a > starter take this long? Shouldn't I see fermentation within a few > hours? I've never seen a starter take off in less than 12 hours. I made one a couple of days ago from Wyeast 1338 (European Ale), 2 months old. The smack pack started swelling within a few hours, and was pretty much fully inflated after about 6 hours, so I pitched it into a starter. After another 12 hours it was barely showing anything. It took nearly 24 hours before I could pitch it. I don't consider this unusual (but I'm giving details here so that other people can chip in if they want). A really fresh yeast will show activity pretty quickly, faster than what you describe. One that is a few months old will take longer. Wyeast have the rule of thumb "the smack pack will take a day for every month the yeast is old to come to life". I have no idea what "best before January 2005" says about the age of the yeast, but I'd guess it was made no later than July 2004. Under those circumstances, you may have to several days for *any* activity. So what have you done with the starter? If you haven't thrown it away, keep it until something happens. If it's less than a week, and you've been sterile enough, the result will probably be good yeast. > Have I been buying dead yeast? Difficult to say until you wait a bit. I'd guess that it wasn't the freshest. > I have also had some slow bottle conditioning. I took 3 weeks to see > any visible carbonation in my last batch. Shaking the bottles after 2 > weeks helped this along. > > I am using 1/2 tsp of iodophor sanitizer to 5 gal of water and no > rinsing of anything. Same for my bottles. > > Is the sanitizer killing my yeast? It won't help. I have no idea if it's doing any harm. I don't use iodophor, and I always rinse, so I have no experience in this area. My guess is that you've had a combination of not-so-fresh ingredients and impatience. This was also the case with the guy in Germany. Greg - -- Finger grog at lemis.com for PGP public key. See complete headers for address and phone numbers. Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2004 23:34:34 -0800 From: "Steve Laycock" <slaycock at discoverynet.com> Subject: Installing external switch for hot/cold thermostat "I have the controller 2 from williams brewing, made by johsons controls, it does both heating and cooling. The problem I have is that to switch between the two I have to unscrew the face plate and trip a circuit, open circuit is cooling closed is heating, and after many many times of finding a screwdriver and dropping and loosing screws I am tired of it, soooo I want to put a switch on the outside of the thing. I dont know any specifics of amps or volts (sorry) how heavy duty of a toggle switch and wire do I need? Thanks Alot Quinn" Quinn, when you make this change you will have to pull out the existing switch to wire an external replacement. (unless you can utilize the existing switch by extending the wire length and mount it external?) When you pull out that switch you should be able to find the current and voltage rating marked or stamped on the switch housing somewhere. If you are able to find that info, then you know exactly which switch to purchase through Grainger or McMaster Carr or your local hdwr. store. OR if no identification is available on the existing switch, ... If I were making the change blindly I'd try to get a switch with at least the overall current rating of the controller & that should be sufficient (your controller current rating must be displayed somewhere on this unit, its a "UL requirements"). As far as the wire requirements, I'd use the same size wire that the existing switch is wired in with or one size larger. Also you might get on their web site and dig around to see if they have a version of what you will eventually produce with specs on the switch they may use. (I'm thinking they may have an externally switched unit just like your going to make & indicate a switch rating in their spec. sheet) Or find a parts list for your model controller and review it as if you were trying to purchase a replacement switch for your controller (I'm assuming that you can purchase repair parts for this controller). Somewhere you should be able to find the current requirements. If all else fails call Johnson control and talk to their technical service people and they should be able to tell you the switch ratings. Even if you just ask them the cost & rating of the switch, you should get some answers. Hope this helps! Steve Highwater Brew Haus Pleasant Hill Mo Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2004 23:20:06 -0800 (PST) From: Robert Sandefer <robertsandefer at yahoo.com> Subject: Storage, Carmelizing Wort, Taxonomy, SWMBO, Liquid Yeast Grain Storage: When I get a new 55 pound bag of malt, I put as much as possible in a food-grade 6.5-gal bucket and attach the bucket's lid. (Most recently, the bucket held 37 pounds Baird's pale ale malt.) The bucket is kept lidded and at room temperature in a dark closet. The rest of the grain is stored in paper/Ziploc bags (and not in a bucket) and is used up first as I brew. Hop Storage: When I buy and open a pound bag of hops pellets, I store the opened bag in a mason jar (to reduce oxygen exposure) in the freezer. Since hop degradation is a function of oxygen, light, and heat, colder is better (works for me anyway). The freezer would seem to beat the refrigerator on that variable. Carmelizing wort: >>...did you get a maltier profile or more caramel color? It's my understanding that boiling first runnings is to achieve a (pure/strong) caramel flavor (though additional color would be a side effect). >I've done this many times, but not for a german lager. In Designing Great Beers, Daniels mentions a four-hour boil in the production of Pilsener Urquell. >For my strong scotch ale I take the first gallon of >runnings and reduce >it to about a quart. This does require constant >stirring and scraping >of the pan surface - I recommend the high temperature >spatulas for this >purpose. As you reach the end of the process you need >to turn the heat >down very low to avoid scorching. Have you tried to boil 4 quarts to 2 quarts or 5 quarts to 2 quarts in an attempt to produce the same flavor with less risk of scorching a concentrated sugar solution? >The last batch of this I made I split between Wyeasts >Scottish Ale yeast and WhiteLabs >Dry English Ale yeast and the Dry English Ale yeast >brew was much >better! The scottish produced a beer that was so >clean it was just >bland by comparison. Interestingly, I used White Labs Scottish ale yeast in a porter and a Scotch ale and found it bland as well. Taxonomy: >These taxonomic changes have been the bane of real >understanding and >communication, in my opinion, in contrast to the >position these >paperclip >counting taxonomists take of "clarifying" organisms. First off, I have yet to meet a living "taxonomist." I have met biologists, microbiologists, evolutionary biologists, ecological biologists, medical researchers/doctors, geneticists, etc. Depending on the organism, individuals from any one of these groups can have a stake/opinion/dataset of interest. Second, pure (as opposed to applied) scientific research is about knowledge and "truth." If the body of evidence (experimental, etc) disproves a current taxonomic classification than that classification should change. That is the scientific method--disproving currently held theories in the effort to gain knowledge. >What I want to know is who participates in these name >changes anyway... Ideally, scientists (read: individuals trained in the scientific method) who are actively engaged in research and/or any learned scholar who can explore the body of evidence and using Occum's Razor can (help) determine the simpliest classification scheme supported by the extant evidence. Unforntunately (imo) the current academic community does not do a very good job of casting off "favorite" but disproven hypotheses and statistically/logically analyzing the results of multiple studies to develope new theories to be disproven. Too many researchers have pet ideas they are unwilling to let go of and so often logical changes to any science often have to wait for an older generation of researchers and teachers to die off. >...and why don't I get a vote? Start publishing articles (primary research or statistically analysis/review) in peer-reviewed journals (where all of the "action" should take place). Also, names can be changed/re-spelled to conform to new guidelines formed by professional/academic organizations; it's hardly restricted to science/biology. SWMBO: She Who Must Be Obeyed I suppose a more PC phrasing might be: Spouse Who Must Be Obeyed Liquid Yeast: >This morning, every thing is settled out and no signs >of fermentation. How are you determining this? IMO starters don't necessarily seem very active. Airlock bubbling and even yeast foam on wort surface may not occur. I believe the best sign of yeast growth in a starter is the formation of sediment/putty/non-break gunk on the bottom of the starter. 1-3 days of growth time for a starter is also a good idea imo. >I have also had some slow bottle conditioning. I took >3 weeks to see any visible carbonation in my last >batch. How long had this beer been held after primary fermentation but before bottling? Could the yeast have quit from high alcohol/other stress? Was the yeast a flocculent type? Robert Sandefer, the Philosopher Traditional Novato, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 00:49:32 -0800 From: "Mike Sharp" <rdcpro at hotmail.com> Subject: Thermostat question quinn meneely inquires about thermostat wiring. What I did many moons ago was to wire a duplex receptacle to the thermostat, with the hot side split so that when the fridge is plugged into the upper receptacle outlet it warms the fridge, and when it's plugged into the lower outlet, it cools. no switching needed. The thermostat and the attached receptacle hang on the fridge with a heavy duty magnetic base. The fridge cord comes around the side, and plugs into either the upper or lower outlet in the duplex receptacle. I would get a motor rated switch of at least 15 amps capacity. Most "Spec Grade" switches will have a motor rating. It will list some sort of horsepower rating on the box if it's rated for inductive loads. Don't get one with overloads in it, though. A standard light switch might seem heavy duty enough (rated at 15 amps, and the fridge is less than that), but they aren't built for inductive loads, and the fridge has quite a kick when it starts. As for wiring, it depends on the screw terminals of the switch, but most all of "wall plate" type switches will take either stranded or solid wire. I don't know about the thermostat though. If there is only a screw, and no compression plate, use solid wire. Otherwise, use stranded and put the end of the wire between the two little plates--or use a good crimp-on spade lug. Here's what the specs for the sort of switch you want would be. This is from Graybar, for a Leviton brand switch: Grade: Commercial Specification Grade Operating Temperature: -40 deg C to 120 deg C Environmental: Material Characteristic Flammability, Rated V2 Current Rating: 15 A (Switch), 15 A (Switch) Horsepower at 120 V: 1/2 hp Horsepower at 240 V: 2 hp Color Almond: Switch Voltage Rating: 120 V AC Switch Voltage Rating: 277 V AC Switching Type: 3-Way Regards, Mike Sharp Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 10:52:17 +0100 From: "Fredrik" <carlsbergerensis at hotmail.com> Subject: Yeast viability / what is considered normal for old smack packs? (I hope this post doesn't end up duplicated, I think I sent it to the wrong address first) Dave Burley and others by email commented that the viability in the smack packs would store longer than the typical yeast slurries stored by many of us homebrewers. Principally I couldn't agree more. But I can't help beeing doubtful that the difference is *this* large? I know I'm stubborn but unless someone can confirm the numbers from other tests, I would have to try and investigate more old smack packs before I would believe it. 86% after 19 months somehow just feels more than I am willing to believe unless I've got more support than I have so far. So far I've got only one data point, which got me doubting on the method I'm using. As a noted I took more than one samplings on this yeast. All indicating the ballpark of 86%. (80-90%) The method makes excellent sense in the fridge test, but for some reason, I wonder if it applies to the smack pack test? If not, why? Btw, I updated the fridge test with yet another datapoint the other day (now appearing to flatten!) - -- http://hem.bredband.net/frerad/beer/modelling/pictures/123d.jpg Also, I still claim that most of the cells that as per the staining method appear alive do not look normal (they hare enlarged abnormal core some cells even appear to have a split core, as in some kind of weird symmetric budding???) as compared to for example nottingham. Perhaps because they are in a deeper dormancy as the cells interior seems shrinked into a core, and it's pretty hard to see if this core is stained or not in my microscope. In some shots they look stained. Also I see both round and elongated cells. Why? Is kolsh a pure culture? I suspect that what I am seeing is maybe some case where most cells are in som kind of maybe deeper dormancy, and where the cells for some reason doesn't appear stained as usual. Normally the entire cell is stained, right? What does it mean if the core is stained but no the entire cells? In order to evaluate this further I would need a better understanding of he exact staining mechanism and dye decolouring. As far as I thought I knew, somehow the dye is reduced by the cell. Dead cells can not perform this reduction and thus get stained. Also in some states, viable cells are stained as they do not give priority to reducing the dye? Can someone elaborate this? What are the exact mechanisms? Is it possible that dead cells appear nonstained - how? How about cells that has *initiated* autolysis but yet not disintegrated, would this cells somehow fail to stain? I am looking for all clues I can get. I suspect there is something I missing, either with the yeast or with the method. I have a little hard to accept as much as 86% just like this. Is there any representative of any yeast companies on here that has any experience? I am considering ordering any outdated packs my LHBS has and see what results I get with other strains. Maybe this kolsh strain is just weird? Some cells look weird, different shapes etc, I just don't see any sense. Is there any chance the cells could have initiated meiosis or sporulation during storage? If so, what would that impy for the methylene staining method? Another thing increasing my doubts is that the viability is still apparently high now, though it's been stored with plenty of O2 access for over a month and I would have expected that the viability to drop quite alot. This is not so, and this neither makes sense to me, indicating something is wrong with this method. Somehow I suspect the cells where is a state where they for some weird reason do not stain as usual, and died in that state? ( Just as a minor note on the cell count I previously mentioend was low. I now received the new counter chamber and I have found a sampling issue with my old method. I veriified the count again, and Wyeast cell count is now good and not low at all. Actually it was at the high end of the spec. ) This is going to ruin my christmas peace unless I can reach a conclusion here, please help. /Fredrik Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 06:46:16 -0500 From: "Ed Measom" <ed_measom at earthlink.net> Subject: Grain & Hop Storage Just a quick note on this subject. I've been successful getting 5 gallon food grade buckets and lids for FREE. Most modern grocery stores these days have a bakery within them. They get supplies sent to them in food grade buckets and usually throw them away. So, if you ask nicely they will give you a bucket. Make sure you avoid the pickle buckets. Ed Measom. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 12:59:18 +0000 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Grain Storage While at PetSmart one day a few years ago my eye was drawn to a square plastic bin with screw-in (not screw-on) top complete with O-ring which would, according to it's label, hold 40 pounds of dog kibble keeping it moist because of the O-ring which would also prevent in ingress of bugs. So I bought one and as I was loading it into the truck the light came on and I went back in and cleared the store's stock. These things are called 'Vittles Vaults' and you can find out all about them at http://www.gammaplastics.com. These are great for storage of grain becasue they keep moisture and bugs out and save space in the storage area because they can be stacked. The one thing that I was concerned about was a new-plastic smell which I feared would make it's way into the grain so I guess I washed them with bicarbonate or did some such thing but it wasn't a problem. BTW, they also make excellent containers for dog food. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 15:37:26 +0100 From: Bjoern.Thegeby at cec.eu.int Subject: SWMBO "PSS: What the heck does SWMBO stand for. It obviously refers one's female and presumably better half (at least I know mine is, or at least she tells me this almost everyday). But I'd like the precise interpretation of this acronym." She Who Must Be Obeyed, origin: E Rider Haggard in the novel "She", 1885 Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 09:52:44 -0500 From: "Dave Burley" <Dave_Burley at charter.net> Subject: SWMBO translation,Patience Tony Pateince Brewsters: Joe Aistrup asks for a translation of SWMBO: "She Who Must Be Obeyed." She's the same one from whom you earn Brewing Bullets by doing something spectacular around the house. Like putting a new plug on the lampcord and stuff like that. Helping with the dishes, so you can get brewing, does help earn a few, but not as many as you'd think. I think there is a ready reference to HBD abbreviations ( like YMMV) at Beertown.org or HBD.org - ----------------------- Tony Brown was shocked when his Wyeast packet didn't swell within four hours of smacking it and his White Labs starter didn't show obvious activity. Patience, my boy, patience I used to be given out of date packets of Wyeast by a Homebrew store owner who wanted me to brew out of the ordinary brews for her. I have waited as long as three days for a Wyeast to puff up, but they always puffed up. I think the directions for Wyeast used to say 24 hours or maybe even 72 hours or so. With starters, always rinse your sanitizer out with three rinses of cool boiled water to be sure. Well stirred starters don't always show a lot of activity in the way of carbon dioxide, but yeast volume is a good indicator I think you got some good advice to just shake it and wait. Keep on Brewin' Dave Burley Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 10:38:35 -0500 From: "Thomas, Chris" <CThomas at wilmorite.com> Subject: RE: Subject: Grain & Hop Storage Christopher Thomas I store 55# sacks in a 'vitles vault' - don't remember the size off hand - (#50?), but they're large enough to hold the whole sack. I wanted an air tight container for two reasons - to keep any little critters out, and to keep the water content of the grain consistent. Specialty grains I store in plastic bags in Rubbermaid containers. Seems to have worked so far, but then I've only had them for a few months. YMMV, Regards, Chris. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 09:21:45 -0800 From: "Richard S Sloan" <richard.s.sloan at us.hsbc.com> Subject: Re: SWMBO on Sat, 18 Dec 2004 12:01:38 -0600 Joe Aistrup asked - >>PSS: What the heck does SWMBO stand for. She Who Must Be Obeyed or She Who Might Be Offended a good place to look up this and other acronyms is http://www.acronymfinder.com and dont forget to use the random acronym generator next time you have to head into a business meeting http://www.acronymfinder.com/buzzgen.asp Cheers! Richard Sloan XXL Brewing Co., San Diego, CA "One Size Does Not Fit All" - ----------------------------------------- ************************************************************************ This E-mail is confidential. It may also be legally privileged. If you are not the addressee you may not copy, forward, disclose or use any part of it. If you have received this message in error, please delete it and all copies from your system and notify the sender immediately by return E-mail. Internet communications cannot be guaranteed to be timely, secure, error or virus-free. The sender does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. ************************************************************************ Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 12:09:19 -0500 From: "Henze, Jeff" <Jeff.Henze at compuware.com> Subject: RE: ahh unity. obbeer: wort reduction for caramel? >> Jon Olsen/RE: ahh unity. obbeer: wort reduction for >> caramel? >> I've noticed some recipes online talking about boiling down >> some of the first runnings in order to caramelize and add >> malty character to a brew. Does anyone have experience with >> this? How far have you pushed it? >> Did it work, i.e., did you get a maltier profile or more >> caramel color? What's the amount you took and boiled down? >> Aside from scorching, are there other risks- would pushing >> too far cause cloying sweetness rather than good >> maltiness/mouthfeel? Jon: I just boiled down my first runnings on a batch of beer (IPA) and am extremely happy with the results. I was trying to get some of the flavor you taste in Stone Brewery's beer (their 8th annual one - I forget the name - but it was good). Stone Brewery apparently takes extremely hot rocks and drops them into the wort. The wort caramelizes onto the stones and then later reincorporates itself into the wort (you can probably find details on their web site). My IPA had much more caramel character than my other beers have in the past, but I did not notice any increase in what I would call maltiness. I was concerned about it being cloying, but that wasn't the case at All. What I did was take about a gallon and a half of the 1st runnings into a heavy gauge pot (to reduce the chance of scorching) and while I dealt with the rest of the beer, I boiled it down to about a quart. The consistency was somewhere between milk and maple syrup, and the color was very caramelized. It also had a distinct caramel smell as well. By the time I had boiled it down to a quart, it was the end of the boil for the rest of the wort, so I incorporated it back in and proceeded as usual. While I was concerned about scorching, it never was an issue and didn't seem like it would be unless you tried to use extremely high heat or a thin pot (or let it boil down to a thicker consistancy than I did). Next time, I will definitely try this again, maybe with a little more wort in more than one pot. - --Jeff Canton, MI The contents of this e-mail are intended for the named addressee only. It contains information that may be confidential. Unless you are the named addressee or an authorized designee, you may not copy or use it, or disclose it to anyone else. If you received it in error please notify us immediately and then destroy it. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 10:02:10 -0800 From: Scott Alfter <scott at alfter.us> Subject: Re: Grain & Hop Storage On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 at 22:32:22 -0500, homebrewdigest at myxware.com wrote: > I also would like to know what different ways everyone stores their > hops. I do not have a CO2 tank to purge what I store my hops in (yet). > Here are some questions I was hoping fellow brewers might have answers to: > 1. Freeze or refrigerate, which is preferable (cons / pros)? > 2. Zip-lock bags, or others (push all the air out until I have CO2)? I picked up a vacuum-packing machine (FoodSaver) a while back for repackaging leftover hops. The half-ounce (or whatever) that's left when a recipe doesn't use an integral amount of hops gets put in a bag (you can cut down the larger bags to make smaller ones that are suitable for hops), marked with the type/weight/AA%, vacuum-packed, and put in a jar in the freezer. A while back, I won a half-pound of whole-leaf Northern Brewer and split it into two quarter-pound bags. One nice side-effect of vacuum packing is that whole-leaf hops packed this way take up considerably less space. You can also pack smallish amounts of grains with it, but I suspect it'd take forever to draw a vacuum on a 5-gallon bucket (or larger quantity) of bulk grains. For those, I suspect just keeping them cool and dry would be sufficient. I was given some grains in 5-gallon buckets, and they've kept OK that way. (It's since been put to use for plenty of other stuff (coffee beans, bulk meats, leftovers, etc.), but it was originally purchased for hops.) _/_ Scott Alfter / v \ Visit the SNAFU website today! (IIGS( http://snafu.alfter.us/ Top-posting! \_^_/ rm -rf /bin/laden >What's the most annoying thing on Usenet? Return to table of contents
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