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Messages - karlh

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Ingredients / Re: Classic American Pilsner 6-row vs 2-row
« on: February 26, 2011, 03:13:16 PM »
I have used american 2 row pale, and pilsner malts for CAP.  I have read that 6 row will provide a grainy character that you will not get from Pils.  My experience with american pils malt from briess and rahr has not been so.  I think that american pils malt is a good base malt for the style and have repeatedly used it and won awards with the same basic recipe (75% american Pils malt, 25% flaked corn).  I also think that despite the high quality, these are not necessarily the best for European style pilsners because of a grainy (even American) character. 

Wood/Casks / Re: Souring in a Whiskey Cured Barrel???
« on: December 15, 2010, 03:13:40 AM »
I agree that size is important, but much of the whiskey flavor in the whiskey comes from the oak.  With my new oak barrels, most early judging comments on non sour beers regarding oak (as in an oak aged stout or IPA) refer to the relative amounts of bourbon in the beer.  A freshly used whiskey barrel has a distinct and strong oak character and I would recommend (if volume is not prohibitive) to do something like a bourbon barrel stout as a first beer and then follow with flanders.  If the barrel is a 50 gallon + whiskey barrel, the volume issue is less important as surface area to volume is much lower.  Your first flanders may have an overly strong oak flavor.  My 4th batch in a solera (50% each pull) after 2 years in a 10 gallon barrel is still a fairly strong oak flavor.  I just pulled all the beer and am cleaning prior to a new batch of flanders.  My 15 gallon flanders barrel has a much more subdued oak flavor after less then a year.  The smaller your volume, the stronger I would expect the oak flavor to be. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I miss TechTalk
« on: October 21, 2010, 03:31:10 PM »
The thing about tech talk was that I had a daily reminder that I was a member of a national organization.  I have time to check email once or twice a day, never minded that reminder, and usually read it.  For all the benefits of the forum, I have to remind myself to go and log in, and then browse to see if there's something of interest. 

From a pure solidarity point of view, I felt like more of a member, and valued my membership a little more with the daily reminders.  Now the only emails I get from the AHA are trying to sell me something or ask me to renew. 

I haven't started my copy yet, but can't figure out why the BA and BN can't come up with a better deal for either us (members) or the LHBS.  My LHBS suggested I check out pricing on when I asked if he was getting it in, as that was where he got stock for the store.  I got "yeast..." and "brewing with wheat" together on Amazon for $25 w/ free shipping. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Flammable Fermentation!
« on: October 15, 2010, 07:54:49 PM »
It might be hydrogen, sometimes produced as a byproduct of acid fermentations.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Call for Ideas - Organization
« on: October 15, 2010, 07:50:24 PM »
I built a box that fits under the main structure of my 3-tier.  This allowed me to fit all of my kettles, chiller, etc. right with the brewing system and a bag of charcoal or two.  There is a picture where you can see part of it here (  This isn't really a magic pill, and I still have to clean everything and get it into its place, but it keeps it out of my wife's view to a certain extent. 

Beer Recipes / Re: sour cherry rochefort brett in oak
« on: September 28, 2010, 04:44:50 PM »
Its been awhile since I contributed to this thread, but thought I would add that when I used Mahlab previously I did not grind it.  I just added the pits to the fermenter and left things alone.  For what its worth, I have recently added whole cherries and concentrate to 10 gallons of 3-year-old lambic in an oak barrel.  The cloudy appearance and little floating colonies are very similar to the photos above.  I have not been tasting as much, and plan on letting things settle and clear before I rack anything. I am, however looking forward to the day it clears and I have kriek on draft.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« on: May 22, 2010, 03:33:32 PM »
I think there is a clear distinction between either brewing or drinking beer and a claim of rampant alcoholism.  I am not familiar with these types of custody claims, but can only imagine that the investigator would be looking for evidence of excess.  If homebrewing and the drinking of beer are (presumably) legal in your state, lacking evidence of excessive drinking in the household, I can't see how evidence of them would negatively effect a grandparents right to take care of a child (especially given the evidence of weapons, drugs, and excessive drinking in the home of the mother). 

Zymurgy / Re: Brewing with vintage malt extracts
« on: May 22, 2010, 03:22:43 PM »
If you have a large pressure cooker/canner, you could high temperature treat the cans prior to use.  This would kill any botulism toxin.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Should we be eating our yeast cake?
« on: April 29, 2010, 12:19:20 PM »
Marmite isn't even a close second to vegemite, which is really tasty

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry yeast in a German pils
« on: April 29, 2010, 12:17:37 PM »
I have used the Saflager yeast in a Classic American Pils, for which I usually use a liquid Bohemian (Czech) yeast strain.  The dry yeast produced an alright beer, fermenting in the upper 40s, but I would not try it again.  I found the finished beer lacking in the crisp, dry character I usually get with the Bohemian strain.  Overall it was a decent, clean lager, but other brewers I know have had fruity off flavors from the same strain (likely at higher fermentation temps), and my impression was that it took slightly longer to finish, needed to lager for a longer time before clearing, and was not nearly as clean as the beer produced using the liquid strain.  I have since reproduced the beer using the liquid Budvar strain, and again had a superior beer with a cleaner finish.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Dark Malt extract
« on: April 28, 2010, 07:42:33 PM »
I can't say there's any indication I used extract.  I will add that I chose not to add any black/patent malt to my porter base, since I knew briess adds some and I was worried about overdoing the roast character.  I did use 1/2 lb of roasted barley (for a 12 gallon batch), and I would say the roast character is quite mild.  My next 3# of dark LME (since I won 2) will most likely go into a belgian with a pound of liquid belgian candy sugar.  I would say the dark malt contribution in this extract (Briess or Northwestern) is minimal.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Sam Adams Longshot - not just category 23!
« on: April 27, 2010, 07:56:56 PM »
If anyone saw the Longshot announcement and decided not to enter because you didn't have a category 23 beer available - check the fine print in the rules and regulations

They are accepting categories 20,21,22 and 23 in category 23

Get those smoked, wood aged, SHV and fruit beers in.

What if I brew a fruit, herb/vegetable or smoked beer? (Category 20, 21 & 22)
These types of beers will definitely be accepted as a Category 23 homebrew. Just remember to be creative when you choose your ingredients or the processes you use!
This has not yet clearly being stated to the organizers, as I heard the "BJCP version" of Cat 23 in correspondence the last couple days... I asked about whether it was going to include fruit/SHV/and smoke, and was told it would be 23 only (so a smoked beer would only be Cat 23 if it was a "spiced 22" plus "smoked 21" making it a "specialty 23"). 

Classifieds / Re: Best Online/Mailorder Homebrew Supply Shop
« on: April 25, 2010, 09:24:19 PM »
i like the

i am looking around for low shipping or local grain

someone has to try the packing peanut brew, and if it has to be me..... well if you don't see me post in a while, don't try it yourself.
For "local" grain in the greater chicago area, you can fax orders in to mid country malt and the prices (for whole sacks of grain) are very reasonable (around $35 for 55# of Maris Otter the last time I bought some).  They are located on the South side of Chicago.  Our club had made bulk orders and picked up at mid country malt's dock.  That said, you can also support your LHBS.  I believe there is one in St. Charles which is a bit closer to you, and they sell a wide variety of grains. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Is the NHC for rich people?
« on: April 21, 2010, 02:08:15 AM »
Fifty beers....if that is what it takes to win the Ninkasi, that is running the tables, and that favors the richest and most prolific brewers among us.  I would rather each brewer enter their best beer (one entry), but since most of us enter for feedback (rather than believing that we can actually win in such an environment) that would punish the moderate hobbyist for the excesses of the win at all cost set.  Perhaps we need to institute limits.  Enter as much as you like, but only the average of your 5 best entries count towards the Ninkasi, or better yet, have each brewer wishing to enter 5 beers for the Ninkasi have to choose their best 5 (if they entered more than 5) for consideration.  They would have to know which 5 to choose.

Rewarding the person who enters 50 beers (albeit good beers to have enough to place that highly) seems like a rather silly award.  Again, I always hate to see a competition dominated by just a few participants as I often see in brewing comps.  If you are that good, it is time to give up your eligibility and get on the pro circuit.

I entered a single beer, and feel that it has a fighting chance (for what its worth).  I think that it's a pretty good beer, and if I hear back that it has gone on to the second round, I will send in whatever they ask for and wait.  I obviously will not win the Ninkasi award, but who cares... I only entered one beer for crying out loud!  I learned a long time ago that if you enter two beers in a twelve beer competition that its no suprise when you come home with two 3rd place ribbons.  The whole point of entering a beer in the nationals for me is taking something I'm proud of and seeing how it does.  The worst I can do is get feedback from judges on how I might improve the beer, and then try again. 

I'm not rich, so I can't game the system with 50 entries.  The thought of spending that kind of money on a single beer contest boggles my mind.  I tried hard competing in the midwest homebrewer of the year in 2009, and did well by sending one of each beer I brewed to regional competitions. It was cheaper than $9 per entry, and spread out over several months.  For me, the situation has changed, an I can't afford many competitions or the NHC.  But I still feel like my one entry has a chance of going on to the second round and even placing or winning.  So, even if someone else has twenty entries ahead of me, I still think there's a chance my beer is better than their's and the judges will see it that way. 

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