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Messages - ketch32

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Homebrewer Bios / Re: Smith Swillery - Escondido, CA
« on: May 23, 2016, 04:16:07 PM »
Just some award updates for AHA Nationals First Round:

Silver Certificate for Double IPA - 36 points
Gold Certificate for American IPA - 38 points
Placed 3rd and entered in Final Round for American Stout - 44.5 points

All went to mini-BOS so I am really happy.  Big thank you to the AHA!

Homebrewer Bios / Re: Smith Swillery - Escondido, CA
« on: December 29, 2015, 02:44:43 PM »
Thank you fellow brewers!  I also wanted to thank the AHA website/membership/zymurgy/staff and everyone who has help this community grow.  I have used many resources from the AHA circle and I have inspired others to start their brewing by accessing the website and community resources.  Probst!

Homebrewer Bios / Smith Swillery - Escondido, CA
« on: December 28, 2015, 04:14:41 PM »
AHA community,

I think it is time to introduce myself: My name is Ketchen Smith and I have been brewing with my informal brew crew at the Smith Swillery for over 10 years, most of my serious brewing being the last 5 years.  This bunch of Hooligans really is just myself with an occasional brother, neighbor or friend (and the help usually is in the tasting).  I live and brew out of Escondido, CA, and I am originally from the L.A./O.C. area.

I really like my hoppy beers, so that is what I gravitate toward in my brews, but I have done many styles.  I started entering competitions in 2011 after I had moved on to all-grain and was getting good feedback from my crew and the local brewing community.  2015 has been an epic year for me: upgraded equipment to do 24 gallon batches, attended my first AHA conference and highlighted by my Best of Ales win, scaling up and brewing at CVBC and Pro-Am entry into GABF and subsequent attendance.  Here is what I have accomplished since my first competition in 2011:

2011 - Sasquatch Brewfest Homebrew Contest, Eugene, OR - American IPA - 2nd place
2012 - Del Mar Fair, Del Mar, CA - Specialty, Black IPA - 3rd Place
2013 - Del Mar Fair, Del Mar, CA - American Amber Ale - 4th Place
2014 - Hops and Props Beer Festival, Palm Springs, CA - American IPA - 1st Place
2014 - Hops and Props Beer Festival, Palm Springs, CA - American Ale - 1st Place, Best of Ales, Brewed at Coachella Valley Brewing Co, served in bars throughout Riverside, Inland Empire and San Diego, entered into 2015 GABF Pro-Am
2015 - Schooner Homebrew Championship, Racine, WI - American IPA - 2nd Place
2015 - Southern California Fair Homebrew Competition - American IPA - 3rd Place
2015 - Ramona Homebrew Competition, Ramona, CA - American IPA - 2nd Place

I run a 4 tap keezer (with room for 6), True double door fridge fermentation chamber, Blichmann kettles, Cooler HLTs, Therminator Chill Plate, pumps, etc...  The system is in constant evolution and this year I doubled production quantity with minimal extra time involved (mainly more stuff to clean).
I have brewed (and unfortunately bottled) for 3 weddings, a couple of work parties and most years for xmas presents.  A sample from this year:

Up Next - another IPA!  Cheers!

The Pub / Re: Homebrewing and Children
« on: June 18, 2015, 03:28:24 PM »
They are still young, but they love it and are great helpers.  They are in private school (pre-school) and the teacher asks for my beer routinely.  Stay close to your kids, build a strong relationship and try to talk about everything.  Being honest and involving them in most of your activities will pay off more than you know.  It is quite the journey, but worth the effort.  Good luck and Cheers!

Events / Re: NHC: N. County SD & Anatomic Ale
« on: June 08, 2015, 01:27:22 PM »
It's a good thing, but Anatomic Ale has been consumed!

Events / Re: NHC: N. County SD & Anatomic Ale
« on: June 05, 2015, 01:24:07 PM »
Frank, that's awesome!  Let me know when you're in town - I have only missed 2 of Stone's awesome Anniversary Festivals.  We have several new breweries and will have even more in a year.


Events / NHC: N. County SD & Anatomic Ale
« on: June 05, 2015, 10:02:01 AM »
Welcome out-of-towners!  I live in Escondido (North County SD) and will be attending the NHC.  If anyone has any questions about the area, I may be of assistance.  Also, my award-winning Anatomic Ale that I brewed with the cool guys over at Coachella Valley Brewing Company is now on tap (by special request) at Rip Current North Park! 


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC 2015 First Round Results
« on: April 24, 2015, 02:30:27 PM »
Hopefully the San Diego results are released by close of business, otherwise I don't see them released before Monday. It's been almost 2 weeks since the end of the competition, kind of ridiculous...

Why are they pushing the re-brew envelope with the host city?  If someone from SD places and needs to brew up the batch before comp, and they choose to bottle condition as that is how they won in the first place on one of their styles, we have very little time to do so.  All the other cities actually have an advantage in this case.  I do beer gun as well as bottle condition, but I would like to submit to style, so gotta figure in conditioning if that's what beer progresses.  I now see why a lot of my fellow local SD homebrewers actually sent out to other cities - I would think smaller the entry venue, quicker the results.  Not sure why else it would take longer to process.

Equipment and Software / Re: Going Big (for me) - 2X Everything?
« on: February 09, 2015, 05:47:31 PM »
Actually, that's exactly what I wanted to know - 1.95X is better than just starting 2X, even if a small amount - Thanks!

Equipment and Software / Re: Boillermaker Valve Rust
« on: February 09, 2015, 05:42:45 PM »
There are many kinds of stainless steel and it can rust for several reasons.  Hopefully they have a good source for their stainless - impurities in the metal can cause it.  Passivation of stainless is crucial, and I have seen it rust on parts where the passivation process couldn't get to because it was mounted or sitting on another surface.  There are also different kinds of passivation, citric is not very good, but some local laws won't allow nitric.  Hopefully they replace the part and you are good to go.  Luckily it's not the kettle.  Cheers!

Equipment and Software / Going Big (for me) - 2X Everything?
« on: February 09, 2015, 04:56:25 PM »
Connected with a cool local brewer and have the last piece of my upgrade! Question: although I am scaling double (10 vs 20 gallon - final product), should I expect any difference of scale in ingredients at this small volume?  I have BeerSmith and can scale on the computer, but wondered about real life experiences, especially with respect to big hoppy beers and grain bills, i.e. can I just scale everything 2X initially and tweak from there or should I really decrease/increase an ingredient right up front based on your experience?  As the volume increases, I would like to minimize mistakes - I plan on only brewing my tried and true recipes on the larger setup, still will use the now "small" kettle for trying out new recipes.
Thanks and Cheers!

Your neighbors come over constantly asking for beer for their party tonight...

Your 4-year-old daughter thinks bottling is a fun activity...

You have no problem dropping $500+ on a kettle, but think that's a ridiculous price for something to cook food with...

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg hops - Pellets
« on: December 02, 2013, 04:13:41 PM »
I agree with what has been posted - I only dry hop with fine-mesh nylon bags that can be sterilized and re-used.  The fine-mesh is important and these are not cheese cloth which can expand and have bigger holes.  Allows the flavors through, but not the hops.  I do get some floaties on initial pours, but I also get a little yeast trub, too - it's all part of the process  ;D  I never have gone back to whole leaf and usually dry hop with 3-6+ oz. of pellets - kegs usually never last more than 2 months max, never an issue leaving them in the whole time.  Never have sunk or weighted the bags either, even though I know that they float - I just transfer through the bag into the keg and leave it floating in there.  Probably a little better usage to have them sunk to the draw tube, but if I felt like it needed that, I would have done that.  Just for reference, I live in San Diego and am a huge hop head!  Local brews that I strive to be close in taste/hoppiness for my IPAs: Societe Pupil, Alpine Nelson, Stone Enjoy By - FYI these are hop bombs if you have not had the chance to try. Cheers!

I know that Oregon has been seeing a heat wave, but I would think about how much you think you'll need it versus say kegging.  I, too, had this decision, but I decided that the few months I needed cooling didn't outweigh the year-round kegging (no more bottling!), which I did a keezer for.  To keep costs low and only need to do it 2-3 months in SoCal, as was said this: "Son of a Fermentation Chiller is a low cost option".  I have actually taken it a step further and got 20 gallon garbage cans, put the carboys in, fill with water to the level in the carboy, place ice packs (frozen water bottles) in water if the water temp is too high.  The water takes longer to change temps than air and creates an insulating barrier.  The garbage cans also do not let any light in once you put the lid on and contain any blow-off or mess (had splattered walls before). $15 garbage can + water = cheap cooler.  The refrigerator/freezer with temp control will be much better at holding constant temps and will give better results, but there is more investment and monthly costs also associated.



1.) Yes, I agree the financial force is from commercial, but the rule change would affect us and allow us to ship via USPS (not saying that's a better option, but it would be an option).

2.) "There's not enough money to be made from homebrewers for it to be a factor" - sounds like there wouldn't be much pull from that statement, even if we were involved.  I know this has been an issue for a while and not just with USPS - just seems like the iron is hot, why not add some grease?

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