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Messages - Tim Johnson

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Homebrewer Bios / Re: Forty-Five Years So Far
« on: November 29, 2017, 05:18:47 AM »
Wilbur - I recall that at first there was just a camp stove for cooking and a converted 50-gallon barrel for wood heat. Storage was, umm ... creative. Later, as you guessed, a propane cook stove and fridge was installed.

BTW: I grew up on a second generation homestead in North Dakota. My grandmother lived in a different house on the grounds with an elaborate wood (and cow-chip) fired range, a fancy pot-bellied coal stove and a well-appointed root cellar. Root cellars could and did work very well. After 1940 or so when the REA brought in Electrical drops, an extension cord was run from the drop into her house with a couple of outlets. Been a lot of changes ... There still are "homestead" like places in Alaska and also in many rural areas in the contiguous 48 states and Hawaii. Not just "back to the earth" hippies, but resourceful folks who like life simple. Cheers

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I've been brewing since 1972 (see https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=30655.0) Along the way I've made numerous attempts to culture yeast from commercial bottles. I've had two major successes from which I've made many batches that I've been happy with.

Around 1998 I made a culture from a bottle labeled "Jubilee Ale". I can't recall who the brewer was - except that I believe it was British. I poured off the drink, leaving anything in the bottom that looked like sediment. Then transferred the sediment to a narrow vial (as in a liquid yeast container). After several days the residual liquid and the solids were separated. Poured off remaining liquid. Remainder was about 1/8 teaspoon of what I hoped was yeast. Made up a malt extract solution of about 1.100. First added about 1/4 teaspoon of the "feeder". Within a day or so, I observed activity. Then added another 1/4 tsp. Next day 1/2 tsp. I continued to double the fermenting sample every day until after a week or so, had a whole gallon that was practically boiling. I reserved a small amount and used the remainder on a 10-12 gallon batch of brew with O.G. of 1.075.

For years afterwards, I would make brews like this - with the same yeast culture - using the same method with sediment from one bottle. I let a small sample (from one bottle) sit in storage for about 5 years. Used it to start another 12-gallon batch this fall. Clearly it was viable. This time, I "built up" the "seed" culture so that I have about a cup of it in a wine bottle that is topped off with a brewed "feeder solution" that is has been fermented down to about 10% alcohol. I intend to use it next summer for another batch.

 I have another sample that was obtained from barley wine. I have it labelled as from Thomas Hardy Ale, but I don't have the records to support that it is indeed from THA and I don't have a specific memory of that particular culturing process.

I've recently subscribed to this forum. I never have had any support venue in the past. (There is at least one Home Brewers Club in Anchorage Alaska, about 50 miles from where I live. Although I used to know some of the members, I've only attended once or twice.) I'd welcome any comments, critiques or suggestions. Bottoms up!

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Homebrewer Bios / Re: Forty-Five Years So Far
« on: November 26, 2017, 12:33:51 AM »
I recall using Edme Superflavex for some of the earlier brews that followed more palatable recipes. I was quite happy with it. I've done some "googling" to check for its availability, but I think it is now longer being manufactured. Love to find some to do a "retro" brew. :) Can't find Blue Ribbon Malt at Walmart either. Good times, good times ...

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Homebrewer Bios / Forty-Five Years So Far
« on: November 25, 2017, 11:38:17 PM »
I started brewing in 1972 or maybe late 1971 in Kodiak Alaska while living in a log cabin with neither electricity nor running water. Brewing wasn't legal those days, but cops had bigger fish to fry. Ingredients for 5 gallons: 1 pack Red Star baking yeast. One 3-lb can of Blue Ribbon malt extract (unhopped, for cooking purposes only - wink-wink, nudge-nudge) one 5-lb bag of cane sugar. Equipment - one five-gallon former log oil bucket - for bottling: funnel, pitcher, dipper, little priming sugar. Bottles were easy to scrounge in an area where many folks drank like fish. Usually drank within a month of bottling. By 1980 I had refined my methods a bit but no big change in recipes. And was living with electricity and running water. (Party-line phone). A guest sampled my brew and made a statement that is probably the pinnacle of tact: "This is very excellent given the methods you used." And the next day he stopped by with two books. Home Brewed Beers and Stouts by C.J.J. Berry and Brewing Better Beers by Ken Shales. Later, I purchased Dave Line's Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy. By this time, I was living just 50 miles from the big town of Anchorage and Alaska Mill and Feed had a pretty good selection of good brewing supplies. The rest is history.

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