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Topics - WDE97

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Beer Recipes / Belgian Dark Strong recipe help
« on: April 08, 2014, 08:20:02 AM »
I'm brewing an 18 gallon batch of Belgian Dark Strong for aging in a 15gal whiskey barrel. My main questions would be about specialty grain use. Should I use more/less, different malts? I know simple is usually better, but I just can't seem bring myself to drop anything. Any thoughts, comments, suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

18-E Belgian Dark Strong Ale

Size: 18.0 gal
Efficiency: 65-70.0%
Attenuation: 75-80.0%

OG: 1.103
FG: 1.021
Color: 23.1
Alcohol: 10.9%
IBU: 21.6

50.0 lb Pilsner Malt
15.0 lb Vienna Malt
2.0 lb Caramunich® TYPE I
1.5 lb Aromatic Malt
1.0 lb Special B Malt
0.5 lb Melanoidin Malt
3.0 lb Belgian Candi Syrup - Dark (Dark Candi, Inc)
3.0 lb Belgian Candi Syrup D-180 (
6.0 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker (4.5%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
Yeast slurry containing 1/3 each of:
 WYeast 1762 Belgian Abbey II™
 WYeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity
 WYeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale™

Mash:  90min at 151F.
Boil:  90min.
Cool to 68F, oxygenate and pitch yeast.
Hold at 68 for 3 days. Let temp rise to 72 and hold for 2 weeks.
Cool to 62 (temp of barrel room) and rack into barrel.
Save leftover for topping up, then bottle the rest for comparison w/ barrel aged beer.

Events / Need suggestions for improving County Fair booth
« on: October 17, 2012, 03:21:19 PM »
Our county fair hosts a homebrew competition each year and has a booth during the fair which displays the winning beers and ribbons. It's an okay display but boring, with nothing but bottles of beer and ribbons. Additionally, this year saw a record low number of entries (24) and I have heard a lot of grumblings from local club members about the poor quality of judging and overall lame-ness of the booth. I don't want to see the competition removed from the fair, so I approached the Homebrew competition superintendant and discussed the problem. I made a few suggestions and was promptly made vice-superintendant for next year, in charge of making the booth better.  ;D

I'm actually pretty excited about the opportunity and am looking for suggestions to improve our display and increase participation in the comp. My goals for the display are to promote homebrewing to the community and advertise the two local clubs. I hope to improve the judging as well, as the current judges don't provide much if any feedback and the score sheets they use are terrible. Any ideas would be appreciated. Keep in mind that our booth is 16' x 8', of which half is taken up with the winners display. Here are a few things I am thinking about:

1. Use BCJP score sheets instead of crappy score sheet currently used, and encourage/require judges to provide feedback of some kind (though we don't have any certified judges).
2. Have a display with beer equipment and supplies (grains, hops, etc).
3. Staff the display to answer questions and sign up new members.
4. Possibly have a brewing demonstration one evening.
5. Display board with pictures of our club brewing and/or of the brewing process.

All Things Food / The Boss Bacon Burger
« on: May 15, 2012, 09:59:11 AM »
Weaze, this is for you:

1 burger
500 strips of bacon
109,000 calories  :o

Watch them make this burger on the imbedded YouTube video. 
I think I had a heart attack just watching it.

Pimp My System / Kegerator Build
« on: December 15, 2011, 08:29:02 PM »
Here are some pics from my 5-tap kegerator build.  The kegerator has been operational for a few months, but I just finished designing a logo and had a sign printed. I used a new Kenmore 11.7 cu ft freezer and built a collar as most do.  I decided to go with a new freezer to avoid having potential issues with buying used. Yes, I know many of you have had sucess with used freezers, but I have bad luck with stuff like that. 

The collar is 2"X8" pine with a 1"x10" oak outer sheath.  The outer sheath rises about 1/4" above the inner collar, and hangs down 1.5" below the top of the freezer.  I built the 2x8 part to be exactly the width and length of the freezer so that the outer sheath would fit snugly. 

I cut the collar a little shorter than 2x8 so that the lower screews of the freezer lid hinges would fit into the upper holes on the freezer, with just the upper screws in the collar. I thought the added stability would be worth the lost of ¾” of depth.   

I used Minwax pre-stain wood conditioner, stained it with  Minwax WoodFinish red chestnut, and Minwax Helmsman spar urethane to help prevent rotting from condensation.  Wood was all glued and screwed together, then two more coats of the urethane were applied.  I used a roll of rope caulk between the top of the freezer and the bottom of the collar.

Holes for the faucets were drilled with a drill press.  I am still deciding what to do for tap handles, but it works fine without them for now.  Rbower’s tap handle project with the magnetic labels looks like a pretty good idea, so I may do something like that. 

Anyway, I can fit 6 kegs plus the CO2 tank inside with room for bottles (or a half keg in the future) on the hump.  A 7-way spitter allows me to keep all 6 kegs on tap, plus an extra hose for jumping beer, pushing santizer, filling bottles, etc.  Used Perlick faucets and a Johnson Temp Controller, which is mounted to the wall.  The kegerator sits in my laundry room which is about 10' away from my couch/recliner and TV!

Finished product!!

I designed the logo myself from scratch with Adobe Illustrator (used the free trial).  I took a photo of my own hand and stylized it with the software for the label.  It is printed on vinyl and has a hard plastic backing.  Also had a few 5”x7” stickers made to put on stuff like my truck window, kegs, etc. 

Ingredients / Growing Hops questions
« on: August 26, 2011, 11:50:46 AM »
A few days ago I stumbled into an opportunity to obtain some mature hop plants and have a few questions for those of you who grow your own hops. These plants are decades old, growing up and covering an old homestead barn.   They are extremely healthy and robust looking with lots of cones.  I belive the cones will be ready for harvest in mid-September.  I have not grown hops before, but was planning on starting next spring, so I have done some reading up on the subject. However, everything I can find relates to planting small rhizomes, not mature plants.

So, my main questions are:

1. When would be the best time to dig up and transplant these mature plants? 
2. Are there any suggestions on the best way remove them, transport them, and replant them?


Events / Hard lesson learned
« on: April 14, 2011, 04:12:37 PM »
Well, I just found out that UPS lost my entries for the NHC and they never arrived to the Seattle location for judging!!!  What a monumental bummer.  Apparently the region had 20 entries that never made it, including my three.  I guess the lesson here is to keep an eye on the tracking or use a return receipt to make sure your box arrives.  Hope this didn't happen to anyone else.  :'( :'( :'(

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