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Messages - lbrewski

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC 2014
« on: April 08, 2014, 05:27:24 PM »
I judged in San Diego over the weekend. A couple of thoughts and observations;
I judged IPA and American Ales

About 90 IPA's were judged, About 20 advanced to a mini-BOS.

About 60 American Ales were judged, 15-18 advanced to mini-BOS

This is the first time I used the "Checklist" Scoresheets. I like them. At first I was hesitant, but I think they are effective. Talking to other judges, they had the same sentiment.

If you want to have better odds on advancing to the 2nd round, brew lagers, ciders, and meads. Most of them had less than 10 entries per category. I believe the Pilsner category only had 5 entries.

Quaff and the local organizers run a great 1st round. They get a lot of judges. For the IPA category, they had 22 judges and most if not all were BJCP certified. I don't think any judges judged more than 10 beers per flight.

Also judged in San Diego and agree with your comments. They do a great job running it, I think this was my 4th or 5th year and it gets better each time.

I had Strong Ale and there were 24 entries for 8 judges, 9 made the mini-bos and were all very good of course. So although  I'm confident we got it right it was challenging and took some discussion and give and take to get there. A very enjoyable mini-bos session with the other two excellent judges.

One of the hard things about the mini-bos format is to see a beer not medal when you think it might have been one that you scored >40 on a score sheet. I purposely try to NOT to remember the entry numbers of the ones we send along so I can (hopefully) be more objective, so most of the time I have no clue or I'm just not sure.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What in the tun this weekend?
« on: March 01, 2014, 12:14:12 AM »
Kegged 1/2 of a recent 10Gal APA brew last night - (split batch) The WLP090 carboy was done 3 days ahead of the WLP001 (then 5 day dry hop). I hope the 001 is ready to keg this weekend.

Interesting, looking forward to hearing about your method to cool it - here in SoCal I seldom need to warm it up.

I hand cranked a couple of 5 gal batches - a real PIA. I realized i wasn't going to get a medal & hooked up a motor. But I do understand the notion.

Looks nice!

Harbor freight and amazon sell cheap router speed controllers. These work with brew pumps(I use one on a cold transfer pump) and should work with the drill as well. Just clamp the trigger down all the way on the drill and plug it into the controller. Then you'll have a nice way to adjust the mill speed.

Thanks, did not know about those, seems like a very good way to go. I'm thinking I could use one on my mash recirc pump too.

As far as the bar clamp, yes I used a cheap one from HF and it's quite simple to adjust the speed on brew day. When done milling I removed it an tossed it in the hopper along with the nylon paint brush used for dusting. I thought that leaving it on when I'm not using it might eventually fatigue the trigger spring.

I just replaced my old drill with a similar one from harbor freight.  It was $40 including tax with a 25% off coupon.

It does have a trigger lock. 

I mounted mine underneath so the only thing on top of the cart (I used an old microwave cart) is the hopper.  I mounted a switch that turns on the outlet the drill is plugged into and my scale is plugged into the other outlet that is always on.

Sure is nice not sitting crouched down holding the drill and dumping grain in a little at a time

Amen to that!

When I looked at the drill on their website it appeared that it had the trigger lock but when I got there it was a different story. So it goes with that place.

I wonder if a real handy guy could gut an old drill and run it off a dial rheostat, maybe build it in s plastic project box so it was nice n tidy.

If the bar clamp had not worked I was ready to pull the drill apart and (at the least) remote the speed control with a rheostat. As far as making it tidy, it could certainly be better.

It was a fun project, but now it's time to get back to brewing... Oh wait, I keep thinking I need a better solution for fermentation than just better bottles...

BTW, instead of completely building my new brew system, which I considered, I was lazy and ordered one. Here is a short video from this past Sunday

Here is a photo of the cutouts. The drill cutout is to allow a portion of the body of the drill to recess into the cart top, not the handle of course.

I had assembled everything and then removed it to apply the finish, hence the holes you see.

Here is the drill "saddle". It was a matter of cutting the baseboard pieces, screwing one side down and positioning the drill into and conforming it into the depression with the mill attached, then screwing the other side of the saddle pieces in while it was set where I thought it was level. The vinyl baseboard piece under the handle is sitting on top, not recessed.

A closer look at the drill as mounted, note that there are two large tie-wraps holding the it down. It is tight enough but in a way it kind of "floats" in the saddle so that alignment to the mill shaft is not strained.

Here is a "before" photo and you can see that the drill body has to go down, and the mill needs to come up.

I was going to make a shim for the mill but then thought having the mill's original base (fiberboard) as part of the assembly distributes the torque better on the cart top as well.

(Edit: noticed I had a duplicate photo, so replacing it with one of the bucket stops)

Like a lot of you (mxrob as well I'm sure) I got tired of hugging the bucket while holding onto a wimpy 3/8" drill that overheated before I could mill enough for a strong (or large) batch. Unlike mxrob, my solution is much more on the low end, employing mediocre carpentry skills and less than elegant (ghetto?) engineering.
For the motor I found a low-speed heavy-duty 1/2" drill at HF that just needed a way to apply latching speed control and a method of mounting to the cart. Not so pretty, but it works just fine:

I had a hard time finding a real motor (with gear box) to fit my budget, so I looked elsewhere. The drill does not have a trigger lock, which is kind of lame - even for $50 (I believe that Blk&Dkr make one in the same price range but I think it only locks at high speed). So as you can see the latching speed control is provided by a bar clamp. Actually quite functional and adjustable.

I figured once we're on the low road, let's keep the theme alive for the whole project. The drill is mounted into a cutout and positioned in a "saddle" provided by some pieces of vinyl baseboard screwed down to the cart top. I mounted my trusty Barley Crusher on it's original baseboard to shim it up; the drill and the mill mate up very well indeed.

I had thought of wiring up a nice switch box to take it up a notch, but for $7 the power strip does the job, and again - stays with the theme.

A couple of coats of poly, some medium duty casters and two blocks placed provide foolproof positioning of the bucket and there you have it.

Pimp My System / Re: My gas fired RIMS flat rack system....
« on: November 01, 2013, 07:05:28 PM »
What, no automated spent-grain extraction to cattle-feed bin system? Slacker!

Seriously, congrats! your system sets the bar very high. Excellent vision and execution.

We're feeling it here for you north-eastern storm survivors, hope you all made it through ok.

Since it looks like a good weekend to brew here on the west coast & I need a everyday drinker for the kegerator I'll probably dream something up when I go the HB shop, likely a crisp apa with whatever hops are available.

Need a brew for Club Night so a new 15 Gal kettle arrived Friday and I brewed my 1st 10 gal batch Saturday. The 48 quart cooler mash tun was full to brim with a 1.060 pale ale. A long day and I'm bushed but everything went perfect.

Pimp My System / Re: I REALLY need a brew stand!
« on: March 14, 2011, 03:47:02 PM »
The cooler is a 60 Qt Igloo, does make it easier to move the carboy around. During warmer months I set up  temp control using a pond pump and second cooler with a immersion chiller in water with ice bottles. The pump is connected to a Love controller. Change the 2 liter ice bottle twice a day. I'll try to find pics of the set up when I get a chance.

Pimp My System / Re: I REALLY need a brew stand!
« on: March 12, 2011, 05:11:47 PM »
The primary use for the pump is during whirlpool chilling, but the garage set up is single burner so I use the pump to move strike water into the mash tun and sparge water into two coolers. The small cooler is actually a mini-mash tun that is doing duty as a HLT, the rest of the sparge water is added from the 2nd cooler when it runs low.

The backyard setup utilizes a 7.5 gal kettle as the HLT:

This is the system during chilling, a pond pump in an ice bath helps when I get below 100f

The pump is also used to transfer wort into the fermenter, a ball valve keeps the flow rate down to avoid disturbing the cone:

So I really do want a two burner stand at first and to move up to 10 gallons as the next step. I need it to be in-line (narrow) and on casters.

The sparge arm worked out well, I have batched sparged and that worked too but got comfortable with fly and prefer it so this was a good addition to the system. The brackets are funky, need improvement but functional. Here the underside of it:

And one more shot of it in action:

Pimp My System / I REALLY need a brew stand!
« on: March 12, 2011, 12:57:22 AM »
After looking at the video I made of my new sparge arm in action (see below) I realized that I just can't take it any more.

The set up shown in the video is when I'm brewing in the garage, when I drag everything out to the back yard (on a nice day) I use my built in BBQ side burner to fire the HLT. But it takes SO much time to set this up not to mention so many trips when I use the back yard.

I'd opt for the Blichman but it won't fit down the narrow opening on the side of the house. So I have been designing a stand that I can make out of Superstrut pieces, but I wish there was a 3 tier stand that was reconfigurable that I could just buy.

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