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Messages - Tim Thomssen

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Homebrew Competitions / Re: Competition changes your category
« on: February 07, 2015, 06:04:06 PM »
I'm in the same boat, had my fruit beer moved to category 34 against my will.  Worse still, it is a clean fermented beer with tartness only from the fruit.

There are no style guidelines published for this category, just the name "specialty sour and brett beers".
I had to dig pretty deep in the competition web site just to find out they even had this special category, sure didn't know about it up front.

I've seen it before where other competitions have a specialty IPA category or similar, in that case it was prominently noted that any specialty IPA's entered in 16E or 23 would be moved to the "Specialty IPA" category.  I have no problem with that, as long as you know what you're getting into up front.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: A little quicker carbonation
« on: December 13, 2014, 10:34:22 AM »
I've used that method before and it does indeed carb faster since you force the CO2 to bubble up through the beer.  However, if you ever get a sticky keg poppet, and they all seem to stick eventually, it gets really interesting when you disconnect the CO2!

Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC 15
« on: December 08, 2014, 06:54:06 PM »
Thanks Janis!

small request:  is it too late for a software update?

the software makes us choose between Dry, Semi-Sweet, or Sweet for Mead/cider.  This works OK with mead, as they are judged on 3 levels.

however, for us cidermakers, we are judged on a 5-level scoresheet:
Sweetness:  Dry  Semi-Dry  Medium  Semi-Sweet  Sweet

Effectively, the only ones we are allowed to choose are 1, 4, and 5 on the 5-pt scale...

I would request one of the following in order of preference:

1. A software change that lets us enter all 5 sweetness levels present on the scoresheet.
2. A smaller change:  change the middle of the 3 from "semi-sweet" to "medium" so that at least we can enter the actual midpoint of the 5 levels: 1, 3, and 5.  Note this would fit perfectly with the mead scoresheet which uses  Dry  Medium  Sweet
3. A request that all organizers tell their cider judges that entrants were not allowed to enter 2 of the 5 sweetness levels. sounds like a non-issue but I've gotten hammered in each of the last two Finals for "You entered this as semi-sweet but it is really semi-dry."    ::)

thank you

I think the problem is that the score sheet does not seem to match up with the style guidelines.  The score sheet shows 5 sweetness levels while the current guidelines only have 3, dry, medium & sweet.

Ingredients / Re: Dry Hopping Pliny the Elder
« on: November 23, 2014, 07:52:16 AM »
I make a beer like that, with an irresponsible amount of dry hops.  I also like to crash it to drop the yeast then do the dry hopping in a keg at ambient temperatures.  If you are using whole leaf hops, they can bring a lot of oxygen with them so I like to pressurize the dry hop keg with only the hops in there with CO2 and purge a few times before adding the beer.  After dry hopping for a few days in the keg, you can do a closed transfer by jumping over to another purged keg to serve from.

I've tried the multiple dry hop additions thing before, but just put them all in at once now.  I think that multiple additions work better on the commercial scale because of the volume of hops and fermenter geometry, imaging all those hops settling into the cone without much opportunity for contact with beer.  Much easier to rouse up the hops in a 5 gallon keg than it is a 30 barrel FV.

Ingredients / Re: Water report for Culligan RO system
« on: October 01, 2014, 10:22:26 AM »
I use the same Culligan RO system with satisfactory results.  My wife hates it when I leave a 5 gallon bucket in the sink collecting water, but you can let it go for about 5 hours that way.

I picked up a cheap TDS meter from Amazon so I can periodically check the RO output, when TDS starts to go up, it's time to change the cartridges.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mold?
« on: July 12, 2014, 03:55:37 PM »
1.009 seems like an awfully low FG for an imperial stout, makes me think infection.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3068
« on: July 12, 2014, 03:47:32 PM »
I never got sulfur with that yeast strain until I switched from a copper to stainless immersion chiller.  Now I always do!  It will dissipate with more time, warming it up will help too.

Did you happen to replace your copper wort chiller with something else since last using that strain?  A little copper in the system is supposed to reduce sulfur.

Other Fermentables / Re: Adding unfermented cider to a Keg?
« on: July 10, 2014, 08:50:18 PM »
I have back sweetened with frozen concentrate with good results. 

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Ninkasi
« on: June 16, 2014, 05:54:02 PM »
I have to agree that the Ninkasi award has become obsolete in the current era of low entry limits.  Not taking anything away from the winner, still a huge accomplishment, just not the same as in years past.

Now I believe the place to look for an open field national championship is MCAB.

By the way, congratulations on the Gold Michael, well done!

Pimp My System / Re: Redbird Brewhouse - There's Always a Project
« on: April 08, 2014, 04:37:03 PM »
Wow!  That's one heck of a project you have going there Amanda, nice work!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC shipping issues
« on: March 09, 2014, 11:38:08 AM »
In my experience UPS seems to treat this as a don't ask don't tell type of situation.  I ship to competitions all the time, I pay online and drop off at the UPS service center and have never been asked about the contents.

Last year I got the dreaded email from UPS saying that my package had been damaged and was being returned.  When it arrived back to me I noticed there was one bottle missing that had obviously broken.  What was interesting was they completely repackaged the remaining bottles, bagged them and placed them in a new box.  They also included some packaging guidelines that suggested using enough packing material to keep the bottles at least 2 inches apart.  It was obviously beer in the bottles but they did not mention that or provide any type of scolding that you might expect for violating their policy.

I'm thinking they have the policy in place simply to limit their liability exposure in case alcohol was shipped to a minor.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP 002
« on: March 06, 2014, 09:17:43 PM »
If it's done fermenting it will flock out after about 5 minutes in the fridge, seriously.  I would let it go until it's done for sure and crash & decant at the last minute.

Ingredients / Re: Looking for a way to get the most out of pumpkin
« on: March 01, 2014, 09:34:46 PM »
I'm not sure why conventional wisdom seems to be to add pumpkin to the mash?  Sounds like a real mess to me but I've never tried it so what do I know.  I have made a few good pumpkin beers by roasting the canned pumpkin stuff from the grocery store @350 for an hour then adding it to the last 15 minutes of the boil in a mesh bag.  I get some nice color and flavor contribution this way.  Classic pie spices are added to taste at packaging and a light touch is usually appreciated.  I would recommend giving this approach a try.

Ingredients / Re: Dry hopping temperature
« on: January 08, 2014, 07:50:55 PM »
Dry hopping IPA's with a heavy load works best at fermentation temperatures for me.  I tried it cold once and had a vegetal grass bomb, never again.  It did eventually condition out though.  I brewed another batch with the same hops and dry hopped warm to pleasant results, the dry hopping temperature was the only change.

For best results I like to crash the yeast for a few days then warm it back up before dry hopping in a well purged keg.  Pressurizing and purging a few times with the leaf hops in the keg is a great way to eliminate oxidation concerns.

All the above applies to IPA's only, APA, ESB, Czech Pils etc are a whole other story, probably due to the lighter dry hop load.  I know you can get away with a small amount of keg hops and avoid the grass, increase the amount at your own peril.

Ask the Experts / Re: Ask the Experts: Gordon Strong
« on: November 29, 2013, 06:54:17 PM »
Hey Gordon,

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience!

Do you know how many competition medals and BOS awards you have won over the years?

What do you do with all those medals, are they on display or are they tucked away in a rather large box somewhere?


Tim Thomssen

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