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Messages - wingnut

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1
Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Lottery Limbo
« on: February 17, 2014, 07:45:14 AM »
As one of the people waiting to see if I get in or not, I have a few suggestions for future iterations of the lottery system.

(First off, I would like to say that I respect the difficult position of setting up a fair competition, and very much appreciate the many hours of consideration that went into creating the system we have in place this year.  If we were still running under the system we had in place two years ago, NO ONE would be happy!  What we have today is a vast improvement on where we would have been sitting without the many hours of effort and thought put in by our board members and competition organizers.  THANK YOU! )


Some thoughts on beneficial tweaks for future competitions...

1.)  As a an AHA member, one of the stated "benefits" is being able to participate in the National Homebrew Competition.  At this time, I appear to be one of the 200 some members that are not being extended this benefit. 

2.) In my entry, I listed that I would be willing to ship ANYWHERE, and I see that a number of entry sites are not at full capacity.  (Gary and Janis, thanks for the transparency on the process that was followed, it is appreciated, and helpful in allowing beneficial discussions on how to further improve the system).  I am confused that with the stated system, why I did not receive an entry position?  I would have thought by being flexible in where I shipped, I would not have been excluded unless all the entry sites we within 4 or less of being filled up.

3.) As has been stated elsewhere, the wisdom of allowing some members four entries, and some members none... seems counter intuitive.    I would be more supportive of a system that increments up the number of beers that can be entered by ALL entrants  (lottery system put in place like this year to govern what location your beers get entered), and then a second lottery to fill up any spaces left.  In other words, everyone this year would get to enter three beers, and then the remaining sites with space, go up for lottery.  What was done this year was not bad, but I am in the camp that would like to see everyone have at least one shot. 

4.) Lets start this whole process a few months earlier.  Some frustration I have felt on this process, is that I cannot execute beers for the competition now as we drift to less than 4 weeks until shipping time.  A big part of getting the best examples of beer to the competition is scheduling them to be at their prime at the right time...   Doing this lottery process by December (or November if December is too busy) would allow for a much higher quality, and larger variety of beers to be entered.  (The process for getting 6 beers ready at the right time is very different than getting ready!)

5.) PLEASE PELASE Send out notification E-mails to those that are in limbo next time.  Just something stating that you are not necessarily "out" but an acknowledgement that we are in limbo and thank/ask us for patience while the system plays out.   The personal touch goes a long way to sooth disappointment, and it helps to feel included in the process.  (having to piece together my status from reading the update on the website had me fuming for a day or two... even more so than being in limbo)

Overall, I think the system put in place this year is a VERY GOOD system put in place by the AHA, and I look forward to the continued discussion and evolution over the next year.  I know "the ship has sailed" on how this years competition will be executed, but I look forward to the discussions over the next year that will further improve the competition experience.      Thanks again to all involved!

2
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Post fermentation bitterness adjustment
« on: December 30, 2013, 07:45:21 AM »
I have  considered adding a dose of "hop shot"... essentially pre-isomerized hop extract.  You can get it from Northern Brewer in a small syringe dispensing tool. 

My thought was to add the extract to some hot water to dissolve and then add to the final beer.  It would add some hop flavor and bitterness.  Because it is processed differently than a tea, it would not have the grassy flavors of boiling whole hops.  Also, because the alpha acids are isomerized, they will dissolve in the beer, unlike the hop tea technique.  (so it is more like the hop bitterness/flavor you get from kettle hops instead of dry hops)

I have the vial in my fridge, but have been fortunate that my beers appear to be dialed in now, so I have not tried out the theory.  :D

The vial has marking on it, so you can dispense fractional portions of the tube with good precision. 

The other thing I have done... is simply  brew the beer again with a bumped up IBU number.... after experiencing low perceived bitterness on a number of beers, I learned that for my system... it is usually good to just bump up the IBU 5 points from standard recipies...and they all come out good now.

Good luck!!

3
Silly quetion... what do you ferment and dry hop in?

4
All Grain Brewing / Re: Iron and IPA's
« on: November 11, 2013, 09:49:49 PM »
Filter will remove some iron, but not all.  Depending on how much iron you have it may be perfect. 

Essentially, my water used to have a metalic taste to it, after running through a filter, it was much better. 

I brewed with the filtered water and won many awards with my lagers and light ales...so I the answer is...they are both right.

The filter may remove enough you can brew with it, but it is not 100% effective... but it likely be effective enough.

5
looks like the shaft connects directly to the impeller.  If that is the case, I would not use it.  It is likely not food grade, and the gear oil may taste funny.

March/chugger pumps have a magnettic impeller, so there is no oil in contact with the wort, and they are food grade.

6
Equipment and Software / Re: Quick disconnects
« on: November 11, 2013, 09:39:29 PM »

Cam-Lock QD:
http://www.brewhardware.com/fittings-75/102-camlock-disconnects

1.) Get these^^^^^ they are easy to use and are built to last.
2.) Ball valve on the pump outlet to control flow
3.) If you get a plastic head for your pump...be careful threading on the fittings!!! 
4.) Use teflon tape on all connections,
5.) Mount the pump below you kettle in the correct orientation.  If you dont, it will not fill the head without bleeding the air out.
6.) Put a tee in the outlet of the pump withe ball valve to bleed the air out anyway... at some point you will need it!

7
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« on: November 11, 2013, 05:59:22 AM »
No need to stir up the sugar water in the beer.  When I bottle carb, I just put the sugar solution in the bucket first and then rack the beer on top of it in the bottleing bucket.  That has always led to consistent bottle carbination levels. 

I share your hesitation too stir up finished beer in an oxygen enviornment!!  I usually get carbed bottles in about two weeks this way when my basement is at 60 to 65F in the winter time...and about a week to 10 days when the basement is at 65 to 70F in the summer. 

Sounds like returning the bottles to warmer temps and giving them a bit more time is the ticket.   Good luck!

8
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg carbonation?/Beer gun?
« on: October 27, 2013, 11:03:33 AM »
I have found it helpful to make a holder for 6 to 12 bottles as well.   I started out with wanting to create a bottle holder... (at least until I grow a thrid hand) ... and then shortly after I found that it was nice to be able to fill 6 to 12 at a time, then cap them. 

Having a holder for the bottle while filling also has reduced my bottle tipping.  One other thing I have found useful, is to fill the bottles over a cookie sheet, that way any overflows (which are not a bad thing!) are contained.

Enjoy!!!

9
Ingredients / Re: Using Biofine Clear
« on: October 11, 2013, 09:35:48 AM »
In my experience, protein haze is best handled in the Kettle. 
1.)  Good boil to get hot break
2.)  Rapid cool with imersion coil (my process)
3.) Use Irish Moss in the kettle to help precipitate out additional proteins.

Biofine, Gelatine will pull out yeast and chill haze.  For the Biofine and Gelatine to work, the haze (cross linking of protein and hop acids) has to be created first.  So in practice, if you can cool the beer below our serving temp for a couple days, add the fining, and then give it a day or two to drop out. 

I find the best results for me is to chill the beer in a secondary, do the fining, and then siphon the beer off the stuff that has settled out. 

After that, as long as you do not heat it back up and cool it back down, beer is clear!   Every time you raise and lower the temp, new haze chains will form.

10
Ingredients / Re: Using Biofine Clear
« on: October 11, 2013, 06:30:24 AM »
Directions on my tiny bottle are:

"1/4 TBSP to as much as 2TBSP per 5 gallon batch.  We recommend starting small and increasing your dosage rates once per day until clairification takes place. Shelf life 24 months, Unopened."

FYI, I have had better results chilling the beer down to 38 to 44 degrees and using Gelatin as a fining instead. 

Biofine was a good improvement, and easier to use (just pour it in), but Gelatin provide better results in my brewhouse.


11
Ingredients / Re: Storing Malt: Do I need to buy more?
« on: October 11, 2013, 06:23:45 AM »
No worries!  Use it! 

If you are still in doubt, take a pinch and chew it... if it tasts fine, then you are good to go.   

12
Kegging and Bottling / Re: CO2 tank inside the keezer?
« on: October 11, 2013, 04:58:43 AM »
So if the tank goes inside, will sit on the compressor shelf.
That was my method of choosing... My CO2 is on the outside, only because I can use the space on the hump.  I bought my freezer specificaly because I could still fit fermenting buckets and my smaller keg there.  If you can use the hump space for something useful... put the COs on the outside.  Otherwise, I would put the CO2 inside and keep it simple.

13
How much potassium metabisulfite did you use?   It has been a couple years since my last cider batch, but my memory is about 1/2 tsp per 5 gallons. (I forget how many tablets that may be)

Wine makers sometimes make up batches of potassium meabisulfite and water to use for sanitizing.   (They acidify the water to bring the PH below 4.0 and sniff the mixture before using to make sure it is still releasing SO4

My guess is that you are fermenting (but slowly).  One thing that I do with cider is make sure I use a yeast nutrient of some sort since fruit juice is lacking in many things yeast need.  (Wort on the other hand, usually has plenty).  I have read some people dosing the cider a few times with nutrient during fermentation, but I have had good results just adding it at the start.

Good luck!

14
Equipment and Software / Re: Grain Mill Recommendation
« on: October 09, 2013, 04:52:25 AM »
Ive used a Corona mill for years to do all grain... and yes, cranking it is a pain.  One or two pounds is no big deal... 10 to 15 pounds...that is a pain.   I replaced the crank handle on it years ago with a shaft to connect a drill to speed things up, and it has made the mill tolerable for all grain.  Without the leverage of the crank handle, the drill has to deal with a bit of torque though, so I either use my plug in drill, or have two batteries ready for my cordless.  (usually take about 10 minutes for 12 pounds and drains a full battery charge due to the torque loads)

The biggest issue I have with the Corona is the small hopper size.  It only holds a pound or two.  (I had modified the hopper at one point to hold 5# of grain, but the mill performance began to have issues.)

I know I am asking Santa for a roller mill for Christmas to replace the Corona, and the biggest things I am looking for is:
1.) 5lb or even better a 10 lb hopper
2.) It can be fitted to a piece of plywood to sit on top of my mash tun so I can grind right into it. (Covering the whole opening would be nice to keep the dust down)
3.) Roller Adjustment (I adjust my mill often when going back and forth from Barley to Wheat)


15
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Lid on or off during boil?
« on: October 06, 2013, 07:11:16 PM »
Essentially...not sure how deep your brew pot is for 200 gallons... however deep it is...multiply by .36, and use the table here:
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/boiling-point-water-d_926.html
To estimate the temperature of the boiling water at the bottom of the kettle.

If you estimate 3psi increase...then you are boiling at about 104...106 degC... so about 222degF.   However...also keep in mind that the wort is constantly turning over, so it is not like there is wort constantly heated at 222 during the entire boil...just for a short period....and then it rises to the top,   

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