This week, our font of all knowledge is Black Acre's Steve Ruby, cat owner and fruit beverage consumer. Both a gentleman and a scholar (literally, as Ruby has his JD from IU) as well as a brewer, he's here to answer queries of both a cosmic and quaffing nature.

Question: How do I keep the scent of homebrewing contained to one room of my basement?  Any tips on making sure it doesn't stink up the house?

Steve Ruby: Why would you try to limit that glorious smell?! But I'm here to answer, not ask, questions.

Sorry to say, though, that if you have to stay inside there isn't really much you can do aside from opening windows, using fans, or anything else you would do if you were cooking. All work, but are not super effective. On the bright side, any smells that get into the house fade pretty quickly — less than a day — so that helps.

When we were still homebrewing regularly we almost always brewed outdoors. If brewing outside is an option, I would go that route, it really is the only way to keep the smell of brewing from getting into the whole house. It also makes cleanup a lot easier. Unless there's something that makes brewing outside impossible, or you are a bubble boy (or girl), I would move the operation outdoors.

Question: Do you think cats get jealous? I've been out of town staying at a friends house with her cats, and now mine won't let me cuddle them. What to do?

Ruby: A resounding and absolute yes. Felines are perhaps the most jealous of all the animals, sans wallabies, but fuck them.

First, a list of techniques that I would NOT recommend anyone try:

• Reasoning: This is a futile use of your time; cats will listen to no logic beyond their own.

• Clutching your cat for as long as possible despite their protests: You will only end up with an angry cat and a possible ER trip.

• Taking them out on the town: Cats are easily startled and a night out on the town might prove too much, ending the night with them hiding underneath a porch for an indeterminate amount of time.

• Any sign of unconditional love towards your cat: Your love for your cat may be unconditional but theirs is assuredly not. The lack of reciprocity will only cause heartache for you.

I would, however, recommend these techniques:

• Bribery, Bribery, Bribery, Bribery: I've had my cat for several years now and this the only technique I've ever had success with. I'd recommend Friskies but that's largely dependent on your cats' preferences.

Question: Sometimes I feel really small compared to the infinite cosmos. How do I get more information about space without that sucking feeling of my realizing my infinite smallness in the universe? 

Ruby: You should feel small because it's an infinite, uncaring universe out there indifferent to your presence.

Or watch some Cosmos with Neill deGrasse Tyson, he seems to put a good spin on the whole "infinite, uncaring universe" thing.

Have a question for a brewer? send it to askabrewer@nuvo.net.

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