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Messages - surfin_mikeg

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast shipped warm.
« on: July 02, 2015, 06:55:46 AM »
Have you tried getting your yeast from Morebeer?  With their distribution center in Penn., the transit time to Maryland should be minimal.  Keystone Homebrew has pretty quick turnaround time too. 

MoreBeer will wrap the yeast in ice for shipment.  In talking to the rep at NHC, one recommendation was to order two ice packs per vial of yeast:  Would be nice if they made this option more obvious; need to scroll the page to see it.

Personally trying dry-yeast as well this summer.

Equipment and Software / Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« on: June 18, 2015, 09:06:23 AM »
Thanks for the replies, I think I'm going with a 5 gallon cooler. If I want to make a big beer, I may have to scale back down to 2.5 or 3 gallon. But I think the 5 gallon cooler will be serviceable as I learn more.

I'd recommend a rectangular cooler since they're easier to use and less expensive.  A 48 qt. would be perfect for you.

I've tried both; when batch sparging there's less grist sloshing out when using a round cooler.

Denny, any advice on how many times a cooler can be used before it needs to be tossed?  Wondering if there's a chemical breakdown going on in the plastic when there's a little warping in the cooler.  Thanks.

Events / Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« on: June 15, 2015, 10:45:40 PM »

This thread and the BN COTY one are making me totally at ease with my decision to not go to Baltimore. I'm pretty sure I'll wait for when it's in Portland and just drive down for pro night and call it good.
Jim, it was SO much fun! People have a tendency to focus and talk about negative s***. Sure, maybe the banquet isn't worth it for some, but everything else was amazing, most specifically meeting all the rad homebrewers I got to. I hope to make every conference until I die.

It was my first NHC as well.  The conference talks were very worthwhile (favorites were Mitch Steele, Martin Brungard, Kara Taylor, and Jason Pratt from MillerCoors), however I learned that it was best to walk the convention floor during the larger talks and avoid the crowds.  I had good conversations with every homebrew supplier I use.  Having access to maltsters was fabulous (recipe help + grains to try), and then being able to say hello to just about anyone was awesome. 

I came away realizing that I need to focus on brewing beer that is refreshing to drink (as in Session IPA instead of Double IPA).  I chose to stay near the beach and bring my own food in, and was around for maybe half the conference.  There was some serious hustle to put this event on, yeah, that made it tons of fun.

Events / Re: NHC 2015: good eating nearby?
« on: June 06, 2015, 11:12:38 AM »
Another neighborhood along the trolley line is Little Italy; it's about half way between Old Town and the Gaslamp.  Walk two blocks to India Street, and then there's 3 to 4 blocks of great restaurants going north.

In particular Filippe's is large portion old-style Italian, very family friendly, always good.  Ballast Point has a tap room nearby.  I think any dining in this neighborhood is going to be quite good.  Maps for the curious:,

Events / Re: NHC 2015: good eating nearby?
« on: June 05, 2015, 02:47:21 PM »
Where, exactly, is Old Town?

It's 1.5 - 2 miles west of the Convention Center, near where hwy 5 and 8 meet.  The food has been great in the past but it's a bit toursity and been through some change.  In particular, I'm not sure which restaurants still have the wandering Mariachi bands.


Events / NHC 2015: good eating nearby?
« on: June 04, 2015, 06:35:31 PM »
Curious if anyone would have recommendations for local fares that are non-chain and reachable by trolley from the convention center?   I'm hoping to find a spot for large Mexican meals like one can get for breakfast down in the beach areas, and also looking for BBQ.  Thanks.

Pimp My System / Re: Mill Prototype
« on: May 22, 2015, 09:17:02 AM »
Thanks all for the positive feedback.

I would put a safety shield around the gears.

I let it run for an hour while measuring out and milling about 40 lbs of grain, yeah it needs to be covered up as much as possible in fear of clothing et cetera being caught. In particular the barley dust needs containment.

Nice involutes on the gears, how did you cut those?

This template generator is a gem:

The person who built that woodgears site has it all figured out.  Print and glue the templates, start with a drill press to get the inner corners, then to a bandsaw to cut the teeth.  Took a second try to get the hang of it.

Pimp My System / Mill Prototype
« on: May 21, 2015, 09:40:16 PM »
One of my goals is to DIY my homebrewery as much as practical; and in this case I put together this grain mill in a one step at a time "just get it done" mode.  That is to say, functional & good enough so I can get onto brewing.  The second goal is to recycle and spend as little as possible.  I'm in about $15 on this one for wingnuts, bolts, and an adapter to fasten a gear to the drill.

I need to finish the hopper, replace the drill/motor, and fine tune it a little bit, yet I'm good for somewhere around 70%-73% efficiency and no mash-tun clogging with two batches so far.  I really really really want to go with larger rollers and the 4" aluminum rollers was the best I could do.

Learned lessons:  the mill does best when going as slow as possible.  I tried a few different drills to power it, but fell back on the smallest drill I had and kept the feed light.  Using a voltage regulator to keep the speed as minimal as possible.  Cutting the gears out of plywood was easier than imagined and I'm surprised it runs as smooth as it does.  Gap setting is for a credit card to pass through but not where the numbers are printed, thinking this is slightly larger than 1/64".

The start of batch one of two for NHC Club Night.  Cheers Yo.

Equipment and Software / Re: dead space for round igloo 10 gallon cooler
« on: January 16, 2015, 03:47:16 PM »
Does anyone use this and a false bottom for a mash tun? f so, what is your dead space? I just replaced my Rubbermaid cooler and transferred over all of the existing hardware including the false bottom. I had 0.41 gallons of dead space in the Rubbermaid.

FWIW, I don't measure deadspace.  I feel like the cooler needs to be warmed up before using, so I run 4 gallons or so through the system first.  I heat to 160 in the HLT, transfer, and then let it sit in the Rubbermade for at least 20 minutes before using.  By doing so, the deadspace measurement really doesn't matter as it's added in to both tanks by then.  I use a weight to hold the Rubbermaid lid on tight and am able to keep the mash temps of 148 to 154 within a degree for a full hour long mash.  I'm using a bazooka screen (not that it matters), and also tip the mash tun and give it plenty of time to drain.

Hope it helps.

Beer Recipes / Re: Mosiac Hops
« on: March 31, 2014, 08:31:08 PM »
Mosaic is wonderful for a single hop IPA.  Love it.

Beer Travel / Re: San Diego in May
« on: March 13, 2014, 10:09:59 AM »
I'm a fan of Coronado Brewing; they have a relatively new setup just north of the hwy 8 and 5 junction (not far from Balboa Park).  The tap list is lengthy, tasty.  The tap room is open to the large brew space, and there's a fridge in the back with inexpensively priced 22's.  It's "bring your own food", and there's BBQ to grab a block away.

Has anyone been to the White Labs tasting room?  Curious if it's worth going out of one's way to visit.

Equipment and Software / Re: French Press
« on: March 06, 2014, 10:10:31 AM »
I'll add one wet hop as an IPA garnish, it's fun to bite on when getting near the end of the glass.

Pimp My System / Re: Peltier Cooled Conical
« on: March 05, 2014, 09:12:35 PM »
Do you recommend a parts supplier?  I'm guessing you're beyond CPU peltiers; curious as to what wattage you're at and if there's an inexpensive source for the heat sinks.  Thanks.

All Grain Brewing / Re: BIAB advice
« on: January 22, 2014, 06:27:12 PM »
I have the capability to brew 5 or 10 gallons, cooler mash tun or direct heat mash tun, fly sparge, batch sparge, no sparge and I prefer biab most of the time.
I mash 16# of grain in a $6 bag from the lhbs in 8 gallons of water in a 10 gallon pot and yield 7 1/4 gallons of 1.059 preboil wort.

I'm thinking of trying a few BIAB for a small-batch pilsner (~1g), to see if I can get that clean snappy taste before going for a larger batch.  Do you do anything to filter the mash trub before boiling?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Secondary options
« on: January 15, 2014, 11:32:09 AM »
It's been my experience that dry hopping in the primary will give you a reduced aroma vs dry hopping in a secondary or keg.  I've read from many sources that the yeast cells absorb many of the volatile hop oils you want in the aroma from your dry hop addition.  I've even heard of breweries actually filtering their beer prior to the dry hop to get better hop aromas.

I've heard there's a threshold temp (like 50 degrees) for cold crashing where the yeast will drop out and the hop oils remain.  Is there a way of measuring for hop oils beyond taste?

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