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Messages - zen_brew

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Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 04, 2014, 08:27:54 PM »
 Obviously a complex issue addressing the demand, but I really dislike the lottery for attendance. I attend with my wife who is also an AHA member. So it is possible for one of us to get in and one of us not. Also a large event like this over multiple days requires advanced planning and for some people reserving vacation days well in advance. It is hard to plan and budget for a multi-day event that you need to win a lottery to attend.

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: February 27, 2013, 11:23:05 AM »
 Necessity is the mother of invention. Perhaps some good suggestions will rise out of the chaos that was this years registration. I'll throw some random ideas into the pot.

 I think the obvious issue is growth and demand. While the AHA has taken steps to manage growth, the growth in popularity has been explosive. I think the key is in finding ways to increase capacity. In Seattle they are getting ready to host the Comicon comic convention, and expect over 50,000 attendees over 3 days. So that tells us that convention centers can handle much larger crowds then the Homebrewers conference currently draws. I'll give you all of the 50,000+ are likely not staying in hotels for the entire conference, but I bet many are.

 for the NHC the coastal regions max out quickly, as that is where the people are. Perhaps first round can be done in more than one event in the more populated regions.  Instead of doing 750 entries in April, maybe you do a 500-600 entry first round in March, and another one 4 weeks later. You get to double up on the entries. You leave the total entries per brewer capped at whatever 15 entries, or maybe 10. This would also likely make the final round at the NHC a two day judging event. Maybe you can bump the registration to $15 or $20 per entry to allow some nicer incentives to bring in more judges. Maybe offer a separate judges banquet or something like that.

 Maybe you run an east and west coast regional conference before the main conference to slim the entries down to the main NHC. Until there is are some significant increases to capaity, it will be difficult to alleviate the pressures currently being experienced.

Events / Re: NHC Direct links email
« on: February 26, 2013, 02:12:43 PM »
 The Seattle region has been showing 45 entries for at least 20 minutes. Either no-one is getting entries through, or the software is just completely crashed.

Events / Re: NHC Direct links email
« on: February 26, 2013, 01:38:24 PM »
 I love the AHA, but I am very disappointed in the server overloads. I mean there couldn't be more than a couple 10 thousand people trying to get in. That isn't that bad when you consider the bandwidth of big web pages.  Time to spend some money on server upgrades or better hosting maybe.

 That is a very sweet kegerator my friend!!  Congrats and Cheers.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Starter
« on: March 29, 2012, 08:08:41 PM »
 I regularly make a Hef that clocks in around 1.050-1.052. I like to make a 1000mL starter on a stir plate for it. Making the starter increases the yeast cell count, but it also helps wake the yeast up and get them prepared for the upcoming job ahead. I usually include about 1/8 tsp of yeast nutrient in the starter as well. Most packs of liquid yeast you buy are at least a couple weeks old and it helps revitalize the yeast that have been sitting dormant without food for a while. Using the Mr Malty calculator is always a good reference point to see how much is recommended.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Whirlpooling and concerns
« on: March 29, 2012, 07:44:56 PM »
 Agreed. A long solid rolling boil (90-100 minutes if using pilsner)  should have evaporated most of the DMS from the wort.

Why do you remove the dry hops? I'm new to kegging but so far leaving a bad of dry hops in the beer seems fine.

 I think it depends on how quickly you consume the keg. Prolonged exposure, especially at cooler temperatures, tends to extract a grassy or vegetal flavor from hops sometimes.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Hitting A Color?
« on: March 23, 2012, 05:34:08 PM »
 All things considered, brewing software is pretty darn inexpensive.  Along with helping to predict color you get a world of other tools and options. Some of them are also actively updated in order to capture newer malts/hops/ingredients/techniques. For me it's money well spent, and many have fully functional free trial periods.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg & carboy washer
« on: March 16, 2012, 08:02:58 PM »
 I have the earlier version of Mark's keg washer. It is slightly larger with a 3 gallon reservoir. For me personally, I would like to see a slightly stronger pump, and some side jets that hit near the typical krausen area. I guess if you let it circulate long enough it might actually get these areas clean just from the continuous action of the solution running over the krausen, but I think side jets hitting that area would be more effective and quicker.

 After using it once or twice and seeing how slowly it was cleaning along the krausen line, I permanently changed it over to a sanitizing vessel. I purchased some saniclean, which is basically starsans low foaming sister product, and I keep the reservoir filled with that. I sanitize all my kegs and carboys with it, which it is quite effective at.

 For cleaning I still just soak kegs and carboys over night with some Oxyclean, then flush them with fresh water. I have seen many DIY keg cleaners on line that have more power and mods for side jets, and if I ever get the time I may build one so I am automated for cleaning and sanitizing, but for now it is nice to just pop a carboy or keg on the Marks Keg washer to sanitize, and walk away.. At least I'm half way there. Your mileage may vary.

 Not really one of your choices, but flash pasteurizing a beer should greatly increase it's shelf life. I have seen several reasonable methods for the home brewer to accomplish this. I haven't tried it yet, but think it would be an interesting experiment.  Asking most home brews to withstand that kind of aging is very optimistic. As to the ideas with the bugs, that would help, but what if the kid grows up to not like sour things (gasp)

Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Entries closed....
« on: March 05, 2012, 05:45:42 PM »
 An interesting discussion, and some interesting solutions posted. I think a limit of 4 entries is way too low. However a limit of say 10 or 12 may be more reasonable. We have competitions in WA putting 12 beer limits in this year. This would at least allow a few more people in. The only problem is any upcoming brewer with the goal of beating the point totals of Jamil or Gordon some day would find that task near impossible.

 I sort of like the idea of having a pre-qualifier like the MCAB does. I'm not sure I would say 1st place only however. Maybe anyone who ribboned a 1st, 2nd or 3rd in an AHA sanctioned competition gets an entry for each one. This would require some thought as the NHC registration is late Feb/ early March. You would have to make the window to place in an AHA conference back at least 6 or 12 months.

 I'm sure the AHA is painfully aware that the conference is not coming close to capturing the amount of attendees who wish to attend and compete in it. The problem there is simply how many regions of the US are capable of hosting the conference and supplying a large enough support pool of judges and events for conference attendees. Then how may regions can host the qualifier competition with 750 or more entries. We already saw last year that some regions were strapped and sluggish in their processing of the entries and results.

 There are some smart people on the governing board working through these issues, and I'm sure we'll see modifications in the future as they become feasible.


 Got my entries into Portland. Looks like Portland will be full before dinner time PST. Almost 700 already, unbelievable.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: East Coast Yeast
« on: September 29, 2011, 06:30:11 PM »
 Just thought I'd post an update. As the weather has cooled, the East Coast Yeasts are shipping in limited quantities as available. So anyone interested should contact Princeton Home Brew to check out their stock.
 I got the ECY-08 and ECY-03 strains mailed to me up in Seattle. I split the ECY-08 into (2) starters and pitched the first one into a batch of Pumpkin Saison last night. Can't wait to see how it ferments out and tastes. It was a long couple of months waiting for this to become available to ship.


Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: partial mash in oven?
« on: June 24, 2011, 12:22:12 PM »
 The oven can be an excellent way to hold your temperatures if yours goes down to a stable 150 degrees. Many ovens don't go this low. Even if your's doesn't go that low you can still heat it up to the lowest setting turn it off and put your pot in there to help hold temp in a warmer than room temp environment. Many people also just heat their pot up to the desired temp, stick a lid on it and wrap it in some heavy towels to hold temperature. The temp is not quite as critical as in a full mash as you are getting most of your fermentables from your extract.

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