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Messages - SiameseMoose

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Ingredients / Re: Blood Orange
« on: January 23, 2016, 06:41:17 PM »
I'm going to second using the zest at the end of the boil and the juice in the secondary. I've done it in both a tripel and a saison, and I really like how it works. Remember to freeze the juice first, which effectively sanitizes it, before thawing and adding it to the fermenter.

All Things Food / The Gastronomy Lab
« on: September 20, 2015, 05:34:30 PM »
We recently returned from a trip to Spain (actually, Catalonia and the Basque area, two places that don't want to be part of Spain). While in San Sebastian (or Donostia, in Basque) we had a private cooking class. After hitting the local farmer's market for ingredients, we went to one of the local "Gastronomy Labs". This was a really interesting place. In San Sebastian, a city of 110,000, there are 230-ish "Gastronomy Labs". These are private clubs devoted to cooking. The structure is similar to a member-owned country club, with an initiation fee (small, but I did not hear an exact amount), and then you buy into ownership. The place we visited (allegedly the most exclusive in town) had a 200 member limit.

I found the whole concept intriguing. The place is essentially a restaurant, with a professional chef, but members have access to the kitchen to do their own cooking if they want. You can have the chef do everything, including buying and preparing all the food. You could bring your own ingredients and have him cook it, you can bring your own stuff and you cook it, or you can have the chef do the shopping and you cook it. It's all the same price (monthly dues), except if the Lab buys the food. You can make a reservation and treat it like a restaurant, although you'll get what the chef chooses, unless you make a specific request ahead of time. The other stuff you consume with your meal (drinks, etc.) are extra, but it's on the honor system. You fill out a sheet listing what you had and leave it at the desk when you leave.

These Labs are extremely popular in San Sebastian, and all have waiting lists for membership (up to 20 years). Our guide told us that they haven't worked elsewhere in Spain. The concept is just too foreign, and the honor system of payment always breaks down.
Our class started with local chorizo (Spanish, not Mexican-style) fried in olive oil, then local Padron peppers, pickled and served with an anchovy and an olive. We then had "rice in seafood sauce", what you and I would call seafood paella, but the Basque don't use "that Spanish word", and insist theirs is not the same. We followed with "cod in sauce", the sauce being a local specialty of olive oil and parsley, plus some other spicing.

We finished with an apple brandy cream cake. Wow!

I think the whole concept of these Gastronomy Labs is incredibly cool. In a big, dense city where most of the apartments (and 90+% live in apartments) have tiny kitchens it makes a lot of sense, but I can see how the honor system wouldn't work in most places. The class was great, and we plan to try out some of what we learned in the very near future.

Ingredients / Re: Ella hops
« on: August 19, 2015, 12:21:16 PM »
A local brewery, Rivertown (where Roxanne works), started using them two years ago as a test site. I thought it made for some great hoppy notes, but they weren't able to get a contract on them, so they're gone now.

Beer Travel / Re: Ireland
« on: July 28, 2015, 06:17:55 PM »
We were there two years ago. It was a tremendous trip. In no particular order (well, actually the order in which they're coming to mind), our highlights included:
The Irish Craft Beer Festival - not all that big, but then not massively overcrowded. One fun thing was meeting the Irish homebrewers. My wife is on the AHA Governing Committee, and at the time I was the president of our local club. Somehow the two of us talking to them got twisted into a message to their other members that "the President of the AHA is here!" It was a hilarious misunderstanding, and one guy asked for my autograph thinking I was Charlie Papazian.
My favorite beer was Metalman's Irish Pale Ale. We got to meet their brewmaster. I don't remember her name, but my wife was stoked that it was a woman.
We loved Galway. Galway Brewery has a beer named Hooker, named after the local fishing boat that has an upturned prow that looks like a fishing hook. My wife spent a lot of time trying to buy one of their T shirts that said "Call for a Hooker".
We took a ferry out to the Aran Islands. They were very, very cool!
Visit a fairy ring, preferably with a local guide who can give you some history.
The tour at Guinness is middling. The visit to the bar is great. The tour at Jameson's was a waste. The tour at Smithwick's was great, but that location is now closed.
Non-beer: Cliffs of Moher, Rock of Cashel (sp?), and the bus tour of Dublin were all great.

You will have a great time! The Irish people were very receptive to Americans, and it was the easiest European country we have visited in terms of understanding how to do stuff and get around. Apart from being on the wrong side of the road. Roundabouts in the wrong direction are scary!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Liquid Yeast > Dry Yeast?
« on: June 23, 2015, 04:09:29 PM »
Belle saison (allegedly 3711) works fairly well, but that's it. The other dry Belgian strains leave something to be desired IMO. All things equal I still prefer liquid cultures, given the time to make a starter.

If Belle Saison is 3711 I'll eat my hat! I love 3711, and it's my preferred saison yeast. Belle Saison (BS?  ;D) is one I don't like at all. It's been an absolute lemon bomb whenever I've used it, and I've seen that in beers other people in my club have made.

Back to the original topic, I teach classes for the LHBS, and I always get questions about dry vs liquid. The comments in this thread are almost verbatim what I tell people. It's nice to have validation!

Very cool work! I'm glad I was able to be a data point.

I'm teaching class at the LHBS Thursday, and I always get asked by beginners about doing lagers. I'be been recommending using San Diego Super yeast, but I might mention this work (if it comes up, but it probably will).

If I'd known you were taking pictures I'd have turned around!

Events / Re: NHC 2016 Location
« on: June 16, 2015, 06:39:05 PM »
News to me there are any specific liquor laws prohibiting drinking beer in hotel hallways. I think this may have been a crotchety hotel rule.

It was an interpretation of legal separation of homebrew and commercial beer, and everything outside of the specific rooms of the conference was deemed part of the hotel liquor license, and therefore off-limits.

I'm just struggling to see who would even enforce that and perhaps it wouldn't have been a problem if the hotel just thought they were commercial beers.

"Lawyers were involved"

Events / Re: NHC 2016 Location
« on: June 16, 2015, 05:14:26 PM »
News to me there are any specific liquor laws prohibiting drinking beer in hotel hallways. I think this may have been a crotchety hotel rule.

It was an interpretation of legal separation of homebrew and commercial beer, and everything outside of the specific rooms of the conference was deemed part of the hotel liquor license, and therefore off-limits.

Events / Re: NHC 2016 Location
« on: June 16, 2015, 05:12:31 PM »
Is there a documented process for this?  The last time NHC was held nearby was before I was that into brewing (1995 or 1996) and the club in NOLA was a lot more active.  I'm sure I could help spear them along if there's a chance it could happen (they're not my primary club, but I am a member for event purposes)

There was the start of a document a few years ago, but things have been changing so quickly, and state-by-state situations are so different, that it was dropped. Now it starts with an email to Gary Glass, and he'll have plenty of questions for you.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Not for profit, ein, or nothing?
« on: June 16, 2015, 11:54:35 AM »

I think you meant 35%, not 5%. Below is a quote from IRS Pub 557 on 501(c)(7).

A section 501(c)(7) organization can
receive up to 35% of its gross receipts, including
investment income, from sources outside of
its membership without losing its tax-exempt
status. Income from nontraditional business activity
with members is not exempt function income,
and thus is included as income from
sources outside of the membership. Of the 35%
gross receipts listed above, up to 15% of the
gross receipts can be derived from the use of
the club's facilities or services by the general

No, I absolutely meant 5%. I'm not the guy who dealt with the lawyer, but I was club president during that time, so I was in all the Board discussions. There are multiple, conflicting, IRS rules and publications on the matter. We were advised by our lawyer that the 5% limit is what applies, and that the IRS had pursued and won cases against organizations that had relied on that 35% figure. I'm not a lawyer, and no matter how hard they tried to explain it to me I never understood it, so I'm obviously incapable of trying to explain it to anyone else.

Events / Re: NHC 2016 Location
« on: June 16, 2015, 05:35:14 AM »
Can the south get some love? I heard Tampa has one or two good breweries  ;D.

I get the distinct impression there's some sort of thing with the south.  Don't know if it's hurricane season, the heat, the laws, or what.  Personally, I'd love to see it in NOLA.  Maybe they're just concerned that nobody would make it to the seminars.  lol

Just my speculation, but the last two conferences held in the South, Dallas and Orlando, were the biggest (maybe only) financial losses the NHC has ever had. The Orlando conference was widely skipped due to a very high cost of transportation for most of the country. I was there, and the Florida liquor laws made for a very awkward situation (no beer in the hallways, for instance).

I'm on the NHC sub-committee, and I'll just say that conference locations pretty much have to be originated by the local clubs first. In a few places clubs have been quietly approached about potential interest, and the lack thereof is why a number of cities are not on the site list of the current conference survey. BTW, if you went to NHC you should have received an email link to a survey. I'm begging you to fill it out! Response rates the last few years have been low.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Clubs Incorporated
« on: June 15, 2015, 05:59:18 PM »
We incorporated a few years ago. The laws vary so much state-to-state that it's just guessing to say our situation parallels yours. Get a lawyer. Our total legal fees were under $2000, and it changed the way we do a lot of things (a lot more rigor in documentation, for instance), but everyone is much more confident in our protection, and it has made recruiting new officers a bit easier.

Events / Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« on: June 15, 2015, 05:53:33 PM »
It is always good to reconnect with old friends, and make new ones. That's become my number one reason for attending. The forum meet-up was a good example of that.

This was my 12th conference, so some of my comments reflect comparisons with past experiences.
- I understand the reasons for returning to the Town and Country, but honestly, if it comes back there again I will choose to finally skip a conference. 6 hour wait to check in, finally getting into our rather shabby room at 7, massive price gouging on marginal food, noisy as hell (we were near the hotel laundry) - all reflect the same experience as the last time. Not again.
- I loved having the Welcome Reception and Club Night outdoors. I don't see how that can be repeated elsewhere, but I hope it can. Someone made a comment about how crowded it was - I thought it was much less of a zoo than any of the last few years.
- Club Night beer quality has been steadily declining for quite a few years. I have no idea about how to reverse that. Since I'm in Ohio we couldn't run our own booth (too far), but for next year we've already decided that all beers have to pass an independent evaluation before making the list.
- A lot of the presentations were sub-par, or near-total repeats of prior years. I hate that the AHA feels the need that all of the authors of new books get a spot. It seems to be all about book sales. Mitch Steele has great information, but his presentation was 99% the same as last year.
-Presentations I particularly liked included Andrew Mitchell's Brewing Session Beers, Phil Farrel's Does Your Fermenter Affect Your Beer?, and I laughed through Drew and Denny's Experiments (the experiment of having everyone try the two "different" beers was fun, though trying to do it with the big crowd meant few got the beers in similar condition - my first was warm and oxidized, the second cold and fresh).
- I've stopped judging at NHC, and this year confirmed that as a good idea for me A major reduction in the volume of alcohol consumed away from fun events greatly improved my well-being through the week-end.

Finally. I'm on the AHA Conference Sub-Committee, so please continue to make your comments, up or down. We are listening!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Speeding up Brett fermentation
« on: June 03, 2015, 02:14:56 PM »
I recently learned from a local pro brewery's yeast wrangler that brett works better (at least in all-brett fermentations) if the wort is a little more acidic than usual. I don't remember offhand the pH he recommended, but I added 4 drops of a 33% lactic acid solution at his recommendation.

I thought I was being phished also. In the email she identifies herself as a BA employee, but it's not a BA email address. That's a big red flag in my book.

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