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Topics - hubie

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General Homebrew Discussion / What can I do with a Mr Beer Kit?
« on: December 29, 2013, 01:42:44 AM »
My normal brewing session is 5-gallon all-grain batches.  In the past I have been given extract kits as gifts, which I am always happy to receive and use.  This Christmas I was gifted a Mr Beer Kit.  It was mailed to me from afar, so it isn't something I can easily return or take back to a store.  I could always regift it to someone, but I don't have anyone in mind who might be interested in it.  It comes with a 2-gallon PET fermentor, ten PET beer bottles, two 850 gram cans of Coopers hopped LME (the Aztec Mexican Cerveza and the Bohemian Czech Pilsner), two 5g sachets of "ale yeast" and some other misc stuff.

Anyone have any suggestions?  I might go ahead and make the two 2-gallon batches, probably with some tweaking of ingredients and yeast (850 grams into 2 gallons only comes to something like 1.035), but after that, I don't know.  I might use the fermentor for small batch brewing, mead making, cider making, etc.  Maybe it could be my dedicated souring vessel.

I always tried to enter the Montgomery County (Maryland) Agricultural Fair (MCAF) every year.  Anyone know why it was canceled this year?

Questions about the forum? / Missing avatars
« on: May 21, 2013, 03:08:12 PM »
This is just an observation, but I've noticed lately (within the last week, probably) that some people's avatars are missing.  The pictures are replaced with a broken image icon.  As an example, in a recent post (, the avatars for poobah85, mabrunguard, and davidgzach are missing, while they are there for hopfenundmalz, HoosierBrew, and brewmasternpb.

Kegging and Bottling / Carbonation (Henry's Law) question
« on: March 20, 2013, 01:49:03 PM »
I have a question for those who are more chemistry-aware than I.  When bottle conditioning, I understand the reasoning behind calculating the priming sugar based upon the warmest temperature the beer had been at, namely that warmer liquids hold less CO2 than colder liquids.  I was wondering about the setup I have, which is a small chest freezer.  I have an ale that has been fermenting in the low 60's, and I let it warm up to the upper 60's for a few days.  If I cool it back down, for all intents and purposes my chest freezer is filled with CO2.  When the beer cools back down, does it take up the CO2 again in any significant amount, or do I still use the higher temperature in my carbonation calculation?  For the ale it is largely an academic question because the difference isn't that great, but I will be getting into lagering for the first time soon and there it can have a larger difference.

I can convince myself that the beer wouldn't take up additional CO2 because when it was colder it was in a supersaturated state and I wouldn't think the CO2 would diffuse back into solution such that it returns to a supersaturated state; however, at this point I'm arguing from the gut because I don't have much of a chemistry leg to stand on.

Questions about the forum? / Icon reference page?
« on: November 23, 2012, 03:12:59 PM »
Is there a central place that tells you what the various icons that are used here are?  For instance, when I'm on the main page I see all the icons that tell me which topics do and don't have new posts, and in case I didn't know what those icons were there is a place near the bottom of the page with a key.  However, I also see an icon that isn't in the key.  It has a speech balloon with a pencil next to it.  I've been poking around the Admin boards and FAQs, but I can't find a description of this icon.  Is there a symbol key somewhere around so that I don't need to bother everyone with a posts like these?

Yeast and Fermentation / White Labs German Lager X
« on: June 25, 2012, 01:40:07 PM »
Was going through the latest Zymurgy and saw an ad for this.  Anyone know anything about this yeast?  I can't find it on the White Labs web site.

Equipment and Software / Hemocytometer setup recommendations
« on: June 04, 2012, 02:01:48 PM »
Because I'm a laboratory guy, for me there's nothing better than making measurements and analyzing data.  To this end I've been wanting to play around with yeast counting.  I pulled out a simple student microscope from the back of the closet, though I failed to check what power it has.  I'm looking for recommendations for a basic hemocytometer setup.  Poking around the Internet I see prices on counting chambers that range from $30 to $500.  What kind of chamber do I need and at what quality?  I expect that I would be using it on the order of 6-10 times per year.  What magnification range is useful for counting?

I made a number of one-gallon test batches of meads using various honeys, etc.  One of the first ones I did was a simple mead using bulk honey from the warehouse store.  I had quite a bit of trouble getting it to attenuate but it is finally down around 1.010 or maybe a bit higher.  It tastes a bit sweet, but is otherwise unremarkable.  I picked up some nice, fresh local peaches and I was considering racking the mead onto the fruit in a secondary.  I wasn't sure whether I should/need add any pectic enzyme.  I'm not planning on heating the fruit, which I know would set the pectin, but I'm not aware if there is enough pectin in fresh fruit to give me any problems.

The other thing I was considering, since it is a pretty sweet mead, is to add hot peppers or something sour instead.  Any opinions whether adding peaches to a sweet mead would make it too sweet or cloying?  I do have a gallon of a ginger mead where the ginger-ness isn't where I want it to be.  It tastes a bit dull and I might want to add the peaches to that instead, since ginger and peaches are a nice combination.

Other Fermentables / Ginger beer and kefir
« on: July 30, 2011, 11:47:38 PM »
Is the ginger beer plant the same thing as water kefir, and just out of curiosity, is water kefir the same thing as milk kefir?  I know Raj Apte has done quite a bit of work on the ginger beer plant, but it surrounds a specific culture (DSM 2484) he obtained from a German lab.  I was very interested in the work he presented on the ginger beer plant, but I cannot seem to find someone who is selling that culture.  However, I can find a number of people selling "water kefir," which is something that I see being used (incorrectly?) interchangeably with ginger beer plant. 

I currently have an active milk kefir going, and I would love to add a ginger beer plant as well.  I was wondering if I could just order some water kefir and it would be the same.

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