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Messages - brewmanator

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1
Equipment and Software / Re: very frustrated with my Barley Crusher
« on: March 17, 2014, 02:40:23 PM »
We had the same problem.  It seemed like the grain was bouncing back behind the free roller and jamming up the the whole system.  We tried directing the flow of grain via duct tape to more of the middle of the hopper.  It seemed to help a little, but ultimately we gave up and bought a different mill.

2
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Favorite lager strain?
« on: December 27, 2013, 10:11:31 AM »
I've tried most of the WYeast lager strains and find #2124 Bohemian Lager to be our go to strain.  Don't let the name fool you it is a pretty versatile strain that can help make malty rich beers as well as light hoppy ones as well.  It is similar to the strain Chuckanut Brewing uses (they use Weihenstephan 34/70)to create their award winning lagers.  I've got a starter going right now that we plan to pitch into a German Pils wort.   

3
Beer Recipes / Re: Which Style?
« on: December 11, 2013, 02:34:15 PM »
62 isabout whete we were at as well.  Hmmmmmmm.

4
Beer Recipes / Re: Which Style?
« on: December 11, 2013, 01:54:00 PM »
It is what it tastes like.  Doesn't matter how you get there.

Funny youmention the 1056 beer tasting like a Belgian.  Earlier this year we made a pale ale with 1056,  fermented it cool and it tasted more like a hoppy Belgian pale.

5
Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
« on: October 21, 2013, 07:50:00 AM »
If the lottery results in some people having more opportunities to enter beers then that has a big impact on who can win ninkasi. I have to imagine few people really enter with the expectation of competing for the ninkasi but if you were one with that goal it would really suck to pull a low number in the lottery.

Why not treat the NHC as sort of the playoffs of homebrewing competitions? Rather than make it an open competition, set a requirement that beers can only be entered if they have scored a minimum score in one or more AHA-sanctioned competitions. It shouldn't be that hard to coordinate a database of results from sanctioned local competitions. The cutoffs could be set to allow the maximum number of beers the AHA can support appearing at the NHC. In the alternative you could require a beer to pick up a designated number of points to qualify where points are earned based on scores at sanctioned competitions. If necessary, the local clubs could be required to pay back a flat amount or portion of entry fees in exchange for becoming a qualifying event.

It's win-win. It focuses entries towards local competitions where brewers are more likely to get detailed notes. It also cuts out low scoring beers from the NHC infrastructure, which opens more spots for quality beers. Honestly, there is no reason for beers below 35 points being judged at the NHC.

I disagree wholeheartedly with having to pre-qualify for this competition.  NHC should be about inclusion.  There is perfectly fine competition called MCAB, Master Championship of Amatuer Brewing, that does just what you describe above.  If this is what you strive for then target your entries toward that competition.  Any AHA member should have an equal chance to enter at least one beer into NHC.  After that every member should have an equal chance to enter a second beer.  I am glad that they have instituted this sort of "pre-registration" that 1) gauges the interest of all the members and 2) eliminates the need to register at one particular time during the middle of a workday.  If there are more entrants than entries then good luck with the lottery.  I hope they do the lottery the right way, and only institute it if it is needed (more entrants than entries).


6
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WY3724 How long does this take?
« on: June 14, 2013, 07:34:24 AM »
I just did a series of saisons with this yeast.  I found patience and other distractions (SQUIRREL!) to be quite helpful. 

To me a 5 deg/day temp rise that early in the fermentation is too aggressive for this yeast.  I don't raise the temp much over ambient until I begin to see fermentation begin to slow.  Then it is a slow ramp up of the temperature (from say 72 to the mid 80s) over several weeks.  I have waited over 2 months for the beer to reach a gravity reading that I felt was right where I wanted it. 

My recommendation is to drop the temp into the low to mid 80s, brew another batch of something else, and peek at it once a week for the next month or so.  I think you'll be surprised what the yeast has done with another month's time.

7
Beer Recipes / Re: Old Ale
« on: March 12, 2013, 02:57:45 PM »
As an alternative, I have had some success with brewing an old ale to a high FG (1.040) and adding brett to it.  It takes a good six months for the brett (WYeast brett lambicus) to take the beer down (1.018), but the result was pretty spectacular.

8
Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: February 28, 2013, 02:35:01 PM »

 how many entries (1-82) you would like to enter. 


i still have a problem with huge number of entries per competitor, though i know that there are probably only a few who do that.  decide which type of dark lager you brewed and enter it once, it doesn't need to be in all three categories

I don’t like the idea either, but the AHA has allowed this to happen in the past, and I wanted to at least make it theoretically possible to enter the maximum number.   I think we all know that the days of getting 50+ entries into this competition are over.

9
Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: February 28, 2013, 09:39:16 AM »
Why set an arbitrary limit to the number of entries a person can enter, when you can just determine the number with a 2 step registration process.

Step 1) Put your personal information into the system and declare how many entries (1-82) you would like to enter.  This can be done over the course of a week if you want.  Then lock it down.  No more people can enter.  This fixes the problem of everyone logging on all at once.

Once you know how many people want to enter, then you set the limit on entries per person.  Since you know how many entries each person would like to enter, you have the potential to allow the more ambitious brewers the opportunity to submit as many entries as the competition will allow.  There is the potential of having more entrants than entries under this type of registration.  I don't think we are there yet, but if we are there then the only fair way to allow members to enter is by lottery and limiting the entries to one per person (or household).  If so, hold the lottery, inform the lucky and unlucky members and proceed to step 2.  Assuming we have more entries than entrants, you then you let each member know how many entries they are allowed and proceed to step 2.

Step 2) Registering and paying for the entries.  There could be a mad rush on certain regions, but at least you know there is spot available.  Thus you will probably need to allow people to register in multiple regions.  This window could be open for a week as well. 

10
Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: February 27, 2013, 02:27:24 PM »
The pre-qualification argument to reduce entries is not a good one.

It isn't a good argument, or you disagree? There's a difference. The way I see it, the AHA has to implement at least one of three options:
  • An entry fee high enough to discourage entries;
  • An entry cap so low it reduces the number of entries;
  • A qualification requirement that reduces the number of entries.

We can certainly disagree about which option (or which combination of options) is best. Personally, I feel #1 is inherently unfair and that we're already past the point where #2 could help. Since the average number of entries is 4.5 (in 2012), even with a cap of one per brewer the first round would likely fill up. On the other hand, beers that score less than 30 in the first round are ineligible to advance anyway. From the competitions I've judged/stewarded (relatively few, I admit) that's roughly the over-under for all entries. So right off the bat you can eliminate on the order of half the entries without having to reduce the "openness" of the competition. It would *still* probably fill up, but at least we could get back to the registration window being open long enough that most people have a chance.

As a model, I think the GC should look to other fringe sports that have to deal with this same issue (namely, a lot of amateur interest in the sport relative to the governing body's resources). Look at golf, or chess, or poker, or billiards. All have gone through these kind of growing pains, and they've all implemented some sort of qualification requirement for their open national championships. (To be fair, the WSOP also has a high entry fee.) If they didn't, the US Open would last six months and bankrupt the USGA.

Probably not my best choice of words to describe my point, which was that the first round of this competition is already a pre-qualification for the second round.  I don't think we need to add another layer that excludes more members from participating.  Again work toward the MCAB if you want to enter a competition that includes only pre-qualified entries.

You are too focused on the # of entries and not focused enough on the # of participants.  We have shown that we can handle the current number of entries, so why would you want to reduce the number of entries.  That number is actually set in stone at 8250.  What we need to do is focus on how to include the most number of people. 

This could be accomplished by holding a pre-registration in which you find out how many members really want to enter and subsequently how many entries they would like to put forth.  After locking those numbers in it's pretty straightforward from there to set a cap on entries.  See below how I think we could accomplish this:

A simple pre-registration would help immensely.  First it locks in the number of members who are allowed to participate. If the number is more than 8250 then you must randomly pick who is allowed to enter. Assuming the number of entrants will be less than 8250, then you need to ask each entrant how many entries they would like to enter (1-15).  Most likely the number of entries from this query will be higher than 8250.  Any entries over 8250 are then taken away from those entrants who requested the most number of entries.  You simply let each person know how many entries they are allowed at this point.  Finally you give each entrant at least a week to get their entries registered and paid for.  The few slots that are left over can be opened up to the public or added to the entrants that requested more entries to begin with.  This should make registration much less painful and stressful for all.

11
Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: February 27, 2013, 12:13:43 PM »
Don't bump the price. That would make the amount you can throw at this a big part of your chances to win.



Kai

+1  Turning it into a rich man's game defeats the purpose IMHO.

I don't think so at all. What it will defeat is....I have 15 beers ready to enter. 10 average ones, 4 very good ones, and 1 outstanding beer but.....WTF....I will enter ALL of them!  If you really, truly believe your beer is that good and could medal you will spend 30-50 dollars on a single entry.  Let's emphasize quality and NOT quantity.  If you are just looking for feedback on your beers....well there are a lot of other BJCP comps that will give you that and guess what??.....Many, many times it is the same judges as the NHC.  As it stands now are the winners at this years NHC really the "best" or are they the "luckiest" for being able to get their entries in.

Raising the price is just as exclusionary as not capping the number of entries.  You just hose another segment of the community.

12
Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: February 27, 2013, 11:05:23 AM »
The pre-qualification argument to reduce entries is not a good one.  That's what the first round of this competition is for.  If you want to enter a competition where you have to pre-qualify then google MCAB and proceed from there.


13
Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: February 27, 2013, 09:57:34 AM »
There were obviously issues abound with the registration, hence the need to suspend it after just a few hours. I am certain those in the know of everything that occurred will come to reasonable solutions in the future.

I for one also took time out off of work to ensure I was able to get my beers entered.  Not sure if any else had my experience, but the email with the links never made it into my inbox until after 5pm.  By that time, I had already found the posting from Janis with the links, but late enough that the two closest sites to me were already over booked, but in enough time to get into a third.  Unfortunately, I got as far as entering me into the system and they suspended registration before I got any beers entered.  So now I am kinda in, but no guarantees - if the system comes back up while I am at work because I can't take the whole week off, guess I am out even though I planned time off to get in.

I am sure the 15 limit came after much debate and by looking at the number of entrants/entry over the past years is way above what the average brewer is submitting.

Over the past several years, I have tried some different strategies on my way to "fame and glory" of winning in the NHC.  Best I've done is to win in the first round, but never the second.  My excitement this year being that the finals are in my back yard had me double the amount of entries I wanted in compared to the past.  To help my chances, what I have done was to enter as many of the beers into recent, local contests and planned on submitting those entries that had either won in those contests, or scored 38 or better in categories that were flooded with entries but didn't win.  My theory is, I am upping my game in the NHC and giving myself the best opportunity to get as many of my entries to the second round as possible.  So, one suggestion to help improve the quality at the grand poobah of contests may be to require entries to the first round have placed top 3 in category at an AHA/BJCP sanctioned contest in the year prior to the NHC it is to be entered.  This may alter the number of entries or brewers, or not, but would up the ante.

If the issue is system overload, pre-registration could simply be get your personal info loaded and number of entries you have to submit and then get a voucher from the system to get people into and out of the it quickly and efficiently.  Then, following the pre-registration period, which could be pared down from a week to a couple days, or not, provide a couple day window for folks to enter the particulars of their entries and pay.  Once the voucher expires, it is forfeited and can go back to general enrollment based on first come/first served if there are spots available at the site you are registered for.  You can limit the vouchers per entrant at any number, you would allow time for people to get all their intended entries in based on first in/first out for the pre-registration (i.e. remove the complaint that I can't type fast enough or the system didn't process fast enough for me to get all my entries in), and like now, if you don't pay, you are out and others can get back in and possibly enter all the beers they want.

If all of this was already considered or tried in the past, I apologize for redundancy, there are a lot of folks with much higher brain function than me that will figure this out!

My $0.02:

In my opinion this competition should be open to as many AHA members as possible.  Each member should have the same opportunity to enter as any other member.  If there are more that 8250 (11 regions times 750 entries) members that would like to enter the competition then we need to randomly pick (lottery) who gets to enter.  I would be surprised if we are at that limit, but if this is truly an open competition then it has to be this way. 

I was scooped on this but here is what I was crafting about pre-registration...

A simple pre-registration would help immensely.  First it locks in the number of members who are allowed to participate. If the number is more than 8250 then you must randomly pick who is allowed to enter. Assuming the number of entrants will be less than 8250, then you need to ask each entrant how many entries they would like to enter (1-15).  Most likely the number of entries from this query will be higher than 8250.  Any entries over 8250 are then taken away from those entrants who requested the most number of entries.  You simply let each person know how many entries they are allowed at this point.  Finally you give each entrant at least a week to get their entries registered and paid for.  The few slots that are left over can be opened up to the public or added to the entrants that requested more entries to begin with.  This should make registration much less painful and stressful for all.

14
All Grain Brewing / Re: help classify this beer
« on: February 12, 2013, 08:48:26 PM »
+1 on what Denny says, sit down with a taster glass and the style guidelines and decide for yourself.

Reading your description and looking at the beer's "stats", it looks to me like a strong English Pale Ale.  It might be missing the typical caramel malt flavors and aromas, but I bet it might show well as a BJCP, 8C.

15
The Pub / Re: Why does Budweiser just not get it?
« on: February 05, 2013, 10:23:22 PM »
In 2007, my brother and I won the chance to scale up an IPA recipe, and help brew it on A-B’s pilot brewery in St. Louis.  At that time the pilot brewery was under the Michelob brand of A-B.  I learned that they were brewing three, 10 barrel test batches, five days a week working on recipes for beers like Czech Pilseners, Imperial IPAs, German-style Dunkelweizens, Irish Red Ales and American Pale Ales .  These beers were fantastic and would stand up quite well to the finest craft beer examples at that time.
Why were they doing that?  Working on recipes "just in case", developing less expensive versions for their craft partners, something else?
Let me work on Czech Pils recipe. 100% Pilsner malt ans Saaz hops. Shhhh... to not tell anybody. This is a secret recipe.

Yep, all you need is a recipe and anyone can make a great Czech Pils...

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