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Messages - witsok

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: To decant or not to decant??
« on: January 28, 2012, 02:33:31 AM »
I recommend decanting also.  I just don't like the idea of diluting the wort with low gravtity oxidized starter.

Homebrew Competitions / BABBLE Leap Beer 2012
« on: January 28, 2012, 02:25:55 AM »
BABBLE is pleased to present Leap Beer 2012.  In 2004 BABBLE held it's first competetion, Leap Beer (Brew-Off in non-leap years).  Over the years the competetion has grown to be one of the larger competitions in Illinois.  Entries are recieved across the United States and have even had international entires.

In 2012, RAM Restaurant and Brewery in Wheeling, IL will be our host.  In addition, RAM will brew the Best of Show winner for the 2012 Great American Beer Festival Pro/Am.  The competition will be held Saturday, February 25th.  Entries will be accepted February 1st through the 18th.  Several drop off sites through out the Chicago area have been arranged.  See rules and website for full details.

We are also in need to stewards and judges.  Judging will start at 9:00 am.  Those interested in volunteering can reach the Leap Beer committee at:

Thank you to all the past participants, volunteers and sponsors.  Best of luck to all of the 2012 entrants!


Final week for entries.  To all participants, good luck.  Cheers!

Homebrew Competitions / Mundelein American Cup Homebrew Competition
« on: June 01, 2011, 03:01:48 AM »
The village of Mundelein, IL and BABBLE Homebrewers of Lake County are proud to present the 2nd Annual Mundelein American Cup Homebrew Competition.  Judging will take place on Saturday June 25, 2011 at the new Tighthead Brewing Company located at 161 N. Archer Ave in Mundelein.  Judging will begin at 9:00 am

This competition is open to only "American styles."  BJCP categories accepted are:  1A, 1B, 1C, 2C, 4A, 6A, 6D, 7B, 10A, 10B, 10C, 13E, 14B, 14C, 19C, 20, 21A, 21B, 22B, 22C, and 23.  20-23 must have base in the American style.

The award ceremony will be held Sunday July 3, 2011 as part of the Mundelein Community Days festival.  There will be a special tasting event from 4-8 pm on that same Sunday.  Results will not be posted until after the award ceremony.

Entries will be accepted June 4th through the 18th.  Cost $7 for first entry and $5 for each additional entry.  Entries can be shipped to:

Tighthead Brewing Company
c/o American Cup
161 N. Archer Ave
Mundelein, IL  60060

Other local drop off sites in the Chicago metro area can be found in the rules.

Those interested in judging or stewarding should contact the American Cup staff at:

Rules and entry form should be avialable by June 4th on the BABBLE website:

Cheers and Best of Luck,
Dan Morey
Mundelein American Cup Organizer 2011

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Flocculating US-05
« on: February 16, 2011, 10:14:25 PM »
What I have found is by adding a bit of a highly flocculative yeast will help greatly.  For example WLP570 is very powdery (super kleer didn't even help).  But when I bottle with a bit of S-04, which forms a good firm lees, even the powder WLP570 clears up bright in the bottle in just a couple weeks.  In fact S-04 has become my bottling yeat of choice for high gravity ales or anything that is very powdery.

The Pub / Re: Worst Homebrew Ever!
« on: February 13, 2011, 01:16:37 AM »
My second batch.  I made one extract kit previously, never read a brewing book but been on plenty of brewery tours.  Of course, tours for the most part don't really give any information on how beer is really made - especially 20 years ago.  So I decided extract brewing wasn't for me and I want to do all-grain (did I mention I never read a homebrewing book).  So I bought all black patent, ground it into flour and boiled it.  Tried to seperate the grain from the water, pia!  Surpise, it didn't ferment and tasted like $#%^.  So I decided I better read some books.  Been brewing regularily since 1992.

Nope, switched to a CFC years ago and never had problem I'd contribute to cold break.  Even though I have a conical, I don't bother with removing cold break.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry equivalent of WLP007, WY 1098
« on: December 04, 2010, 02:36:47 AM »
Safale S-04

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP575 - Belgian Style Ale Blend
« on: November 11, 2010, 01:56:01 AM »
I've used WLP575 several times and never had butter flavor (diacetyl).  I don't have any problems picking up diacetyl.  Typically, I'll start fermentation at 68°F and let it rise to 75°F.  What temperature did you ferment at?  did you use a starter?  What size?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Aging Homebrew Poll
« on: October 28, 2010, 11:14:00 PM »
I have a barleywine going on nine years, down to the last few bottle.  I also have a RIS that is going on seven years.  It not uncommon for me to have stuff around that is 2-3 years old.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Flammable Fermentation!
« on: October 16, 2010, 02:15:00 AM »
I toke a video in of the flame today to work to show some friends.  It has really tamed down today.  Regarless, I think I'll change the name of the beer to Flaming Bung Hole.

Beer Recipes / Re: Oktoberfest!
« on: October 15, 2010, 01:19:30 AM »
Tapped my Oktoberfest today.  I'm not happy with the results.  I pitched too warm.  First time I tried using a prechiller, but the cooling water was still to warm and ran the wort too quickly through the CFC.  If the fermentation flaws were coreected, it would be okay.  The hops need to be toned back.

Yeast and Fermentation / Flammable Fermentation!
« on: October 15, 2010, 12:53:36 AM »
I just brewed a no boil Berliner Weisse ten days ago.  I let the wort spontaneously ferment for two days beore adding #1007 German Ale.  The OG was 1.031, close to target.  Yesterday a new fermentation become very active.  The large krausen is made of large thin bubbles.  The krausen is blowing out the airlock.  The krausen is stringy and muscul like and has a very pungent sour aroma that is not pleasent.  This is were it gets weird.  I removed the airlock and cleaned it.  I also cleaned the carboy with water.  The aroma from the carboy was much better the the funky mucus coming out.  It was fruit and sour.  Before replacing the air lock, I flamed the top of the carboy.  THE KRAUSEN BURNS!  The flame continued down into the carboy and lasted a few seconds before it was snuffed out by lack of oxygen.  So what ever is fermenting in there must be producing methane or other flammable gas.  I've been brewing since 1992, but this is my first no boil beer.  I never seen anything like this.  I skimmed Wild Brews, but there were no clues in there.  Any ideas what might be working in there and what the byproduct of the fermentation are?

Beer Recipes / Re: Thanksgiving beer
« on: October 08, 2010, 12:34:31 AM »
Do you do anything special to avoid a stuck sparge?

With pumpkin and squash I've had pretty stuck mashes.  With sweet potatoes this hasn't been the case.  What I do is bake the sweet potatoes first.  Once they cool a bit, I remove the skins and slice the cooked tubers and add them to the infusion water.  I also add the sugary syrup that the sweet patatoes give up (I have them on a baking sheet to collect the juices).  Since I dough in cold and infuse with boiling water, I do reduce my infusion addition by the expected water content of the potatoes.  I assume 80% water.  So 5 lbs of sweet potatoes would contain about 1/2 gallon of water.  Again, I've had no sparge issue with sweet potatoes.  By boiling the sweet potatoes after they've been baked it helps break them up and free up the remiaing starches for conversion.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP comments...APA
« on: October 08, 2010, 12:24:23 AM »
One thing I disagree on -- mouthfeel.  I feel every beer should be a 5 by default, then subtract for anything not quite right.  So to style for mouthfeel would be a perfect 5, not a 4/

I understand your logic here and don't have any issue with it.  Next time I may try this approach and see how it works for me.

Also, I am a little more creative with the "Overall Impression" section where the beer is judged from 1 to 10.  If a beer is to style but just seems rather bland, I might give it a 5 or 6.  On the other hand, if a beer is totally NOT to style but it tastes phenomenal, I have been known to give it an 8 or 9 on many occasions, sometimes with the comment, "ICTSAD -- I could drink this stuff all day", it is so delicious.  Not to style, but again, that WOW factor.  I do not limit this section to whether it is to style or not.  I see it as a free-for-all fudge factor -- and an opportunity to provide quality feedback to improve the beer at next brewing.

I can see how my post would suggest that I just look at stylistic parameters for overall impression.  This isn't the case, but I can't completely eliminate style from the equation.  As an extreme example, judging an American stout - after checking with the stewards that the beer was not misentered or check-in, it turns out to be an awesome saison.  I'm not going to give a high overall impression.  What I'll do is establish a floor based upon "stylistic" paramters and then usually add points based upon how much I enjoyed the beer.  So instead of a four (since it missed style badly) I may give a 5 or a 6 and comment it would do much better as a saison.  Likewise, if a beer was well made but it is a style I don't particularly enjoy, I'm not going to give a low score just becasue I don't care for it.  In this case I would not subtract at all.  To me Overall Impression is balancing the stylistic merits and hedonistic perferences.

I prefer to be open to judging assignments and don't have a problem judging styles I don't necessarily enjoy.

What I think people need to understand that scale is really centered closer to the 60-70% range for beers made to style.  I really try to keep this in mind when I judge to make sure my scoring stays consistant from entry to entry.  I more of a bottom up judge.  But I do review the final score for sanity check.  If the bottom up is way off from what I thought it would be I go back and check my notes and adjust accordingly.  To me a score of 37 is very good.  Sound like a spot on example which is at the point of hedonistic preference.

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