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Messages - chinaski

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Sounds like you did what you thought you could do safely.  I think its always good to understand the intent of the code to ensure that you are not missing something vital to safety or longevity of your home.  Despite what some might think, codes don't exist to be a PITA but have an intent to them.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Poor mash extraction / low pre-boil gravity
« on: April 17, 2019, 09:27:24 PM »
Is your efficiency consistent?  If so, I wouldn't sweat it- adjust your recipes and move on.  Consistency will allow you know exactly what you'll get out of each brew session- that's worth a lot more than a few efficiency points in my book.

Equipment and Software / Re: electric brewing systems
« on: March 09, 2019, 01:08:16 AM »
I've always wondered if a typical inexpensive homebrew set-up (think Denny's cheap=and=easy) is truly any less consistent than a much more expensive system.  My guess that the answer lies in the person operating the equipment rather than the equipment itself.  I think the idea of repeatability is a great marketing term to sell equipment for those of us that want shiny expensive toys to play with.

If its critical feedback that compels you to enter competition, I wouldn't bother- you already know what you need.  If you are curious how well it will do anyway- go for it.  Or, if you are happy with the beer as is, find another category that it fits and enter it as that.  I wouldn't bother entering it in the category that you know it doesn't fit.

Zymurgy / Re: Zymurgy's re-design opinion
« on: January 19, 2019, 11:38:45 PM »
If you read the thread about ADA compliance, you'll see the editor David Carpenter respond to many of these issues.  This good; the folks at AHA know about the problems and are working on some additional changes.  I'll still re-emphasize the font choices just because they weren't mentioned in the other thread.  Thanks everyone who responded!

Going Pro / Re: Interview questions.
« on: December 27, 2018, 07:31:50 PM »
While its always to consider the cautionary stuff the last two bring up, I say go in there with an open mind and the answers to the questions that you should know the answers to.  Don't go into it with a negative mindset, just be prepared to feel out the situation and advocate for brewing the beer that you like and think the drinking public in your area will buy.  Get an offer from the owners then decide if its for you.  Good luck!

Zymurgy / Zymurgy's re-design opinion
« on: December 27, 2018, 12:04:05 AM »
I'm a fairly long-time member of the AHA and an avid reader of a lot of magazines, include Zymurgy.  The content is excellent.  For me though, the re-design has me struggling to easily read it (yep, I'm in my late forties and have deteriorating eyesight).  I find the font size about two points smaller than I can comfortably read after a long day and the serif typeface compounds this difficulty.  In some cases, a lack of sufficient contrast between the type and the background color or image renders the page completely unreadable- take a look at page 33 (Northern Brown ale) of the current issue in print to see what I'm talking about.

Any chance the editorial staff can throw a middle-aged homebrewer a bone and make a few changes?  Thanks much for what you do, and listening to me!

Happy New Year!

Hop Growing / Re: Questions from a potential beginning hop grower
« on: December 22, 2018, 09:22:20 PM »
Hop growing is easy.  Drying and packaging not so much.
This is very true, as is knowing exactly when to pick them and having the time to do it (if you have a lot of hops).

I grow all of my own hops in Vermont and have tried more than a dozen varieties over the past 8 years or so doing this.  Cascade is a top producer (I have to remove some hills because of this), Chinook is up there, as is an old USDA variety called Saxon.  I also have what I believe is a variety of German heritage that allows me to produce some decent German styles.

Most of my hills grow up a string to a height of 12-18 feet; the string passes through a ring on a horizontal cable back to the ground so I can essentially pay out more string for more growth over the season. I can harvest without ladders which is very nice.

Good luck!

Equipment and Software / Re: Induction Recommendations
« on: December 05, 2018, 08:01:31 PM »
I use a 350W 220V used commerical-grade  induction cooktop with a older model 8 gallon Megapot.  Works very well and can get 3-4 gallons to strike temp in 20-30 min or less with it.  Gets 7 gallons to a rolling boil without issue.  I paired mine with a condenser mounted on the lid to handle steam.

All Grain Brewing / Re: exhaust system
« on: October 27, 2018, 11:16:03 PM »

I built one of these of Brun Dog design ( and it works great- quiet and easy to build.  I mounted mine on the kettle lid because of my kettle size.  Would be nicer to have it mounted to the kettle itself.

I don't think a window unit would cut it. Cooling the ambient air surrounding the fermenters works reasonably well for 7 gallons of beer, but I suspect it simply wouldn't work for fermentations of that volume. Even if money was no object, that setup simply would not be able to remove heat faster than or at the same rate that heat would be created inside the fermenter, especially given the relatively non-conductive nature of plastic. You're only real option is, as other posters have pointed out, an internal coil that you can pump glycol or ice water through.
I've seen this done with AC unit and a cool-bot.  A lot would depend on what the temp differential is between the outside space and the room and how well insulated the room is. 

Ingredients / Re: Apples in Brown Ale
« on: October 17, 2018, 07:41:45 PM »
Thanks!  Maybe an extract experimental brew is my new plan.  Good info!

Ingredients / Re: Hops and bugs
« on: October 15, 2018, 10:49:55 PM »
I guarantee you that no hop producer washes their hops.  Especially if you intend to dry them before using, it's unnecessary.
between drying them, then freezing them, and boiling them- there's little chance that a few tiny insects are going to harm anything.

Ingredients / Re: Apples in Brown Ale
« on: October 15, 2018, 10:47:21 PM »
Anyone ever try replacing the strike water with cider?  I've done replacement with maple sap but never cider, which has a lot more sugar content.  I'm very tempted to try it on a small (1-2 gallon batch size) scale.

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