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Messages - chinaski

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Hop Growing / Re: Note to Self
« on: July 11, 2014, 01:42:35 PM »
I'm originally a "flat lander" from Southern Illinois, now settled in Vermont.  Its a terrific place to live for a ton of reasons.  I'm very lucky to be here.  Burlington Brewing Co dude grew up here apparently & moved back like many Vermonters do.  Haven't had his beer yet.

Hop Growing / Re: Note to Self
« on: July 11, 2014, 09:18:45 AM »
Jericho about 15 miles E of Burlington.

Hop Growing / Re: Note to Self
« on: July 11, 2014, 05:03:56 AM »
I've always it would be nice to have a crowd-sourced map of home-grown hops with the varieties planted and some measure of production (dry weight per hill is what I use) and the location.  It's a question that comes up a lot on forums.  What's your location?

I'm in Vermont, have ~13 varieties growing, with Cascade, Chinook, and Saxon leading production after 5 years or so at it.

Ingredients / Re: Your favorite Hops that are rarely mentioned...
« on: June 05, 2014, 12:59:24 PM »
I like northern brewer with cascade in american ales.  I don't now exactly why.  My house American brown has homegrown northern brewer as first wort and homegrown cascade as late additions.  Works out well.

A bit off topic- but to all those interested in becoming a judge: don't let anything stop you from pursuing it.  It's a great opportunity to understand beer and brewing more and serve the homebrewing community by judging.  I have to say the feedback I get from certified judges in competitions has always been more thorough and helpful than that from pro brewers who are invited to judge.  Not because the pros are any less able to taste and judge, but because they aren't trained in properly filling out a judging sheet.

Equipment and Software / Re: GIve Up on ProMash??
« on: May 02, 2014, 08:25:21 AM »
I'm cheap and also like to see and understand the workings of stuff.  So I've hydridized a few of the spreadsheets that are out there to batch sparge on my system and it does what I need.  Its endlessly changeable, I can input whatever changes to hops, malts, sugars, etc that I want.  Not for everyone I understand but I like it.

Equipment and Software / Re: BrewEasy
« on: May 02, 2014, 08:17:04 AM »
I think it's cool & if I had gobs of cash I might be tempted.

When I looked at the system on-line, it appears to not operate not on a rims tube style heating but rather by firing the kettle/liquor tank on the bottom when needed and constantly recirculating the wort.  I think the tower of power controller does this function automatically.

While price is a big factor for me personally, I do appreciate that Blichmann's designs allow you to use existing equipment and/or add stuff to it.  Looks like this particular system requires their kettles exclusively.

Ingredients / Re: Maple Sap Extract Beer
« on: March 15, 2014, 11:38:46 AM »
I've brewed with both sap and syrup a few times to see what I could do with maple.  In my experience, sap adds nothing but a talking point- that you can make beer with it.  Syrup can add flavor I think, but I've never gotten a discernable maple flavor from using it.  If I were to try again, I'd have your sugar-maker friends boil the sap down until its at least adding 15 points per gallon if not more & brew something with no hop flavor or aroma and low gravity- an English mild, Scottish 60/-, cream ale.  Stack the flavor deck in your favor if you catch my drift.  Have fun with the project- 'tis sugaring season.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: regular beer line up
« on: January 24, 2014, 08:35:42 AM »
I've got a short list of recipes that I've returned to numerous times which tend to follow the spectrum of hoppy, roasty, malty categories that many here mention.  My goal now is to go "hop independent" and brew variations of these recipes (american  ipa, altbier, porter, am wheat or blond, bitter/esb) using the hops from my ever-growing hop yard.  Just finishing up the few ounces of commercial hop pellets (mostly for just bittering) that I've got over the next few brews.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First Competition
« on: January 24, 2014, 08:16:03 AM »
I got a ribbon for one of my beers, some good feedback that I agreed with, some not-so-good feedback that wasn't helpful.  Keep an open mind & realize that judges are people and a score and comments are not the end-all of brewing & beer enjoyment.  Realize that your success or lack thereof has to be put in the context of what other beers were in that competition as well.  In the end, you'll have to evaluate for yourself if your agree with the assessment of your beer, good or bad, high score or low score.  Good luck! 

I like clarity when it should be there, but I'm glad it's only one point of 50. That there tells me that in the eye of the general public, its overrated. Too highly valued might be a better term.

For BJCP judging this is true (sort of).  Someone made a point that despite it only being a one point category, clarity in beer might really bias the judging of latter aspects of the beer- flavor, mouthfeel, overall impression.  I suspect that this is true.

I tend not to stress about it in terms of adding clarifiers to my beer, but don't mind a bit when a pour a nice clear pint...

All Grain Brewing / Re: Single Infusion Mash Time
« on: January 04, 2014, 09:35:10 AM »
A very good local pro-brewer said during a club tour that conversion is done within a very short amount of time (2 minutes seems to be what I recall).  I was shocked by that but don't necessarily doubt it, especially for the time of beer he brews (primarily American IPA).  Of course his mash goes on longer simply because it has to- dough-in takes time on a 10 barrel brewery.

I do 50-60 minutes because it works and I heat up my batch sparge water & mash-out water during the mash.  It ain't broke so I don't fix it.

Ingredients / Re: Hop storage at the LHBS
« on: December 21, 2013, 02:55:06 PM »
I would discuss it with your LHBS... Maybe they honestly don't know any better.  If they do know and choose not to believe/care then I would shop elsewhere.  Honestly even if the reason is they can't afford a cooler I would shop elsewhere... at least for hops.
I have mentioned it to him. He doesn't seem to think it's important enough to invest any money into. He's been absolutely awesome for the local brewing community and I want to support his business as much as I can but if it's gonna compromise the quality of my beer, that's where I gotta draw the line. Probably cheaper in the long run to buy several pounds at once...or more likely, I'll just end up tossing more hops in my beer. ;D
My LHBS is very worthy of support also, but I don't buy hops from them for somewhat similar reasons.  I get some things from them, some from other vendors and I'm sure they know that many customers do this.  I think they do a really good job on the whole, and serve the beginning brewers moreso than us seasoned ones.  If they can run a successful business without doing everything the way I'd do it- so be it.

Ingredients / Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
« on: December 07, 2013, 03:45:52 PM »
I'm trying to develop a set of house recipes that revolve around primarily, if not exclusively, homegrown hops.  I grow 12+ varieties with varying success.  If I can get 1-2 varieties each for American, English, and German styles than I'm going to be OK.  I think I'm getting there in terms of producing enough for my needs.  Sometimes imposing some limitations on yourself can be a interesting & fruitful challenge.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dealing With Non-Homebrewers
« on: December 01, 2013, 07:15:07 PM »
I have always asked, when invited to someone's home, I ask "what can we bring?".  More often than not the answer is "you don't need to bring anything".  I normally bring a couple of bottles of wine anyway (one to serve at the gathering and a special one as a thank you).

I generally go this route too.  If I'm going to host, I'm going to host and do it up right.  I thank people for bringing stuff to share but don't expect it.  By the same token, I'll bring a growler or two with me to a dinner party or bbq because I'm proud of my beer and like sharing it.  I'm always puzzled when folks show up to things with beer and don't share it- sets an awkward tone in my book.

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