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Messages - Brew.Drink.Repeat.

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The ticket is still available. Price drop to $175. PM me if interested, thanks!


Hey everyone,

I have one (1) extra VIP ticket to the Belgium Comes To Cooperstown beer festival at Ommegang August 3-5, 2012.

Price: $200 (face value)

Ticket will be delivered after payment as a PDF via email for you to print out.

This is a full weekend camping event (Friday through Sunday, August 3 / 4 / 5), and the VIP ticket includes:

  • admission to the festival on Saturday
  • a camping pass
  • the VIP dinner on Friday night (which generally involves more beer than you can possibly consume over the duration of a five-course dinner)
  • breakfast on Saturday
  • and other VIP amenities (last year there was an unannounced pre-fest reception for the VIPs, plus we got into the fest a half hour before the general admission folks).

After the fest on Saturday there is usually a concert (last year the bands started during the fest and ran until about midnight), as well as movies/videos/etc. shown on the side of the brewery. Plus more beer poured at various tents and trucks throughout the grounds, by breweries and homebrewers alike. (The Iron Hill compound has been epic in years past.)

It's a fantastic time, anyone who's gone before will tell you it's one of the most fun beer weekends in existence.

I will answer PMs in the order they were received. First come, first served.


Brian Pylant
AHA member, BJCP Certified,
Founding Member, Barley Legal Homebrewers


This year marks the 18th annual BUZZ OFF homebrew competition, hosted by the Brewers United for Zany Zymurgy (BUZZ) of West Chester PA. As one of the more prominent competitions in the vibrant eastern Pennsylvania homebrew scene, this is a great opportunity for you to get feedback on your beers from some of the best BJCP beer judges in the area, as well as compete for ribbons and prizes.

::: BREWERS ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
The BUZZ OFF is a two-bottle competition, open to all recognized beer, mead and cider categories.

Entry period: April 23 through May 7, 2011
Entry fee: $5.00 (checks should be made out to David Houseman)

The judging will be held on Saturday May 21, at the Iron Hill Brewery in West Chester PA. The results will be posted on the BUZZ website within 48 hours of the competition, and scoresheets and ribbons/prizes will be mailed out the following week.

The BUZZ OFF is a qualifying event for the Eastern Pennsylvania Homebrewer of the Year award. See the Stoney Creek Homebrewers website for more info.

For all the details, rules, entry forms, dropoff and mail-in locations, etc. please visit our website:

::: JUDGES ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
If you're interested in judging at the BUZZ OFF, you may register online (preferred):

or via email:

If you have any questions please let me know, and thanks!

Brian Pylant
BUZZ OFF Organizer

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Raised glass lettering on bottle?
« on: May 04, 2010, 03:43:29 PM »
About half the bottles I have/get are Sam Adams bottles
So use the other half for competitions...!

Keep in mind, Sam Adams/Boston Beer Compay = BIGGEST sponsor of the NHC
Irrelevant in terms of what bottles to enter... but perhaps they'd consider donating enough bottles so everyone could use SA bottles to enter?

To be clear, I never dock points for raised lettering or other moldings, or glue smudges on the bottle (I hear more complaints about that than the raised lettering). But in the interests of complete anonymity, and the widespread access to "regular" bottles (from commercial beers or your local homebrew shop) I just don't think it's wise or necessary to use anything else.

One could even argue that crossing off identifying info on the cap, rather than using an unmarked cap, can give away clues as to the entrant's identity... we have one judge locally here who often uses blue sharpie rather than black to cross off any identifying info on his caps... the problem is, he's the only one who uses blue and many of us know who he is!

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Raised glass lettering on bottle?
« on: May 03, 2010, 11:18:31 PM »
To me the bigger question is: why would you even risk it? It's not like plain ol' 12 oz. brown bottles are scarce, so there's no need to even consider using a bottle with raised lettering, or extra molding around the neck, or any other unique characteristics. Is it really that difficult to bottle any beer you plan to enter (or even think you might consider entering) in plain brown bottles and save the others (Sam Adams bottles, etc.) for your own personal use?

This year marks the 17th annual BUZZ OFF homebrew competition, hosted by
the Brewers United for Zany Zymurgy (BUZZ) of West Chester PA. The judging
will be held on Saturday May 22, at the Iron Hill Brewery in West Chester.

The BUZZ OFF is one of the more prominent competitions in the vibrant
eastern Pennsylvania homebrew scene; this is a great opportunity for you
to judge some of the best beers, ciders and meads from the area and around
the country, and to help us in our goal of providing valuable feedback to
homebrewers of all experience levels. We are also a qualifying event for
the Eastern Pennsylvania Homebrewer of the Year award, and we are
expecting over 400 entries.

All judges should be BJCP ranked or have relevant experience. New judges
and recent exam-takers are welcome and will be paired with experienced
judges for a great learning experience. Stewards need no prior experience.

Judges and stewards will be expected at Iron Hill no later than 9am, with
judging to commence promptly at 9:30. Lunch will be provided to all judges
and stewards courtesy of BUZZ and Iron Hill.

Judges and stewards may register online (preferred):

or via email:

For more information about the 2010 BUZZ OFF, please visit our club
website at:

Looking forward to another great BUZZ OFF, and thanks in advance for your

Brian Pylant
BUZZ OFF Judge Coordinator

Equipment and Software / Re: Light bulb in fridge to control temp.
« on: December 29, 2009, 09:34:26 PM »
I use a dual-stage temp controller for my fridge; the cool side is for the fridge (obviously), and for the hot side I picked up a small (well, tiny actually)  space heater at Target for $10. Works like a charm.

Equipment and Software / Re: Better Bottle question
« on: December 29, 2009, 09:31:42 PM »
I've got 2 years on my 6 gallon BB and still good ( well as good as I brew that is ).

A tip for you...get yourself a couple milk crates to put them in so when you pick them up, they won't flex and suck stuff back in through the airlock. 

Another option is to grab the cap from a bottle of water (if you have a water service at your work, for example) -- the caps will fit the Better Bottle perfectly, and prevent any suckback or oxygen ingress when you move it. Some of the water bottle caps have a removable center part; if you leave it in that creates a solid seal, but if you remove it you can insert a small blowoff tube:

Some Better Bottle tips I posted on the Northern Brewer forum a while back:

Even if you decide to do a secondary, IMO you shouldn't rack out of primary before three weeks or so. (And definitely ignore the old rule of racking as soon as the airlock stops moving, which can sometimes be as short as two or three days!)

One of the mistakes I see far too many people make is racking too early; give the yeast time to full complete the task you're asking them to do. Your beer will thank you for it. Remember: brewers make wort, yeast makes beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Life of mixed Star San? Newbie
« on: December 02, 2009, 06:36:14 PM »
Everything you read about Star San is true; I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to use it, and I see no advantages to using any other sanitizer product in its place. There are few things in life that works 100% as advertised, and Star San is definitely one of them.

When I mix up a batch on brewday, I always fill several spray bottles as well as my sanitizer tube (a long PVC tube, capped on both ends, that I use to sanitize my longer items like sample thieves, racking canes, stir rods, etc.). As long as I keep these vessels sealed I never worry about efficacy, IMO it takes a lot longer for the Star San pH to rise than the time between batches.

My .02... plus a dime or so.

The Pub / Re: Beatles, Sounding great after all these years
« on: November 13, 2009, 10:13:17 PM »
I would think that the remastered stereo versions would be better mixed than the originals...

They are not remixed, only remastered. The mixes, both stereo and mono, are the same as the originals.

The Pub / Re: Beatles, Sounding great after all these years
« on: November 13, 2009, 06:46:52 PM »
Why would you want mono? I would think you could accomplish that with your system and still have stereo available if you wanted it.

Not at all, the mono releases are not just stereo folded down or summed to mono. They are completely different mixes, and the only ones actually attended by the Beatles. In numerous interviews since then, all four Beatles and George Martin have repeatedly stated that they prefer the mono mixes, and if you really want to hear the albums the way they were intended that you needed them. The stereo mixes were done later, without the Beatles in attendance and often without George Martin there either. Given the prevalence of mono in the consumer market at the time, the stereo mixes were considered an afterthought.

In some cases the differences are striking. "She's Leaving Home" is at its natural pitch on the mono mix (it was slowed down for the stereo mix), the phasey effects on John's voice on "Lucy in The Sky" is so much more obvious. "Helter Skelter" is missing the "I've got blisters on my fingers!" ending, but sonically it is so much more powerful in mono.

Plus, for some of the songs with the extreme stereo separation (think "Rubber Soul" with all the vocals on one side and the instrumentation on the other) the mono presentation is much more direct and far less distracting. And even for the albums with "normal" stereo mixes (Sgt. Pepper, the White Album) I'm finding that I really prefer the overal sound of the mono mixes.

The Pub / Re: Beatles, Sounding great after all these years
« on: November 13, 2009, 06:28:39 PM »
Yeah, he clearly didn't look it up before he spoke...

Now, that's not to say they're cheap, of course... my autumn "buy what I want" budget took a hit from picking up the mono set, and I have a backlog of guitar parts that I had to put on hold until the new year. Sigh...

The Pub / Re: What do you like besides homebrew
« on: November 13, 2009, 06:26:09 PM »
Guitars, recording technology, general music stuff, art & design, everything Mac, beef jerky, wine (drinking, not making), baseball.

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