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Messages - mugwort

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Oxygen stone with barbed connection.

Even with rigorous cleaning, it doesn't take long for the rubber tubing to show signs of mold.

Its a PITA to store and sanitize.

Even with a good worm clamp, the stone can come loose from the tubing. Hopefully you remember to pick it out after transfer!

Lesson learned: go with the stone on the stainless rod!

Yeah I no longer use mine.  Will gift it to a brew bud some time soon.

The stainless rod to stone is the way to go with the option to boil.

Beer Recipes / Re: Hop schedule for late-hopped Southern Hemisphere ale
« on: December 26, 2013, 03:13:48 PM »
The organic PacGem I use is described by seller Seven Bridges ( as follows:  "Pacific Gem is a very high alpha hop with a pleasant citrus aroma good for bitters and dark beers. Some brewers have reported that Pacific Gem provides a subtle "blackberry" flavor/taste, which is a popular characteristic for English bitters and stouts. With its good clean bittering character, Pacific Gem is a good substitute for Magnum, Millenium, Nugget, or Columbus hops."

Up until recently I've only used it for FWH additions.  Just dry-hopped a 2.5 gal dark sour with an ounce of PacGem, which from the description should tie in well.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Grain Mills
« on: December 26, 2013, 03:02:41 PM »
Barley Crusher seems to be one of the better (relatively inexpensive) deals around.

However, I've had mine for a few years and it's noticeably lopsided.  Don't really know if it came that way and I was too novice to notice or if that happened over time.  No adjustment can correct for that so I double crush.

Looking forward to retiring the BC and replacing with a heavy duty 3-roller monster mill.

Ingredients / Re: Hop storage at the LHBS
« on: December 26, 2013, 01:28:52 PM »
I don't brew a lot of hoppy beers but lately I've really been craving some hoppy goodness. I brewed a pale ale and an IPA and they both had that onion/garlic thing. I blamed it on Apollo hops and moved on. Well I just kegged another IPA hopped with Horizon at 60 minutes. Then Citra, simcoe, centennial, and columbus at flame out and steeped 20 minutes. Dry hopped with the same in very clear beer for 3 days at 65f. Well I just had my first sample and it has the garlic/onion thing again. This really sucks. The common hops in all 3 beers were centennial and simcoe, which came from 1 pound packages. All other hops came from 1 ounce packages. Could this garlic/onion flavor be coming from improperly stored hops? I have a DIPA in primary. If it has the g/o thing I think I might cry.

Just wondering if you have your water dialed in for IPA.

I was getting odd off-flavors in my IPA's that I couldn't place before I began to adjust my water properly.

Equipment and Software / Re: Organization
« on: December 26, 2013, 01:13:36 PM »
Amen.  I could use a little organizational inspiration also.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: One of my favorite things on brewday.
« on: December 26, 2013, 12:41:45 PM »
I love pitching a big starter.  Pouring in all those healthy hungry yeast cells feels so good.  It's just a great fruition of a long, good brewday.
Does anyone else detect a certain innuendo in this? ;)

Certainly a strong fertility reference.  Ninkasi would be proud.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: flavor contribution from dry hops
« on: December 25, 2013, 09:06:33 AM »
I really didn't understand how pronounced the effect was until I started splitting my batches to experiment with dry-hopping, one for a single hop and one for a blend of two or more.

Splitting is a nice idea to compare different hops and hopping rates but it might also be nice to compare to the base beer.  Because you never can fully know just how much a dry-hop charge has changed the character of your batch unless you do a side by side tasting.

Along this line, I'll be splitting a 6 gallon batch of thoroughly hop-bursted ipa into two 3 gallon kegs, one that I leave alone and carb and one that I dry-hop once or twice.  I'd like to see if there's as much aroma as I think there is resulting from the hopstand that the wort receives and then recognize exactly what the dry hops added.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg Manufacturer Preference
« on: December 25, 2013, 08:16:13 AM »
I only have experience with AEB's and I love 'em.  Went with new kegs cause I wanted to jump into kegging without soda aromas, reconditioning, leaks, odd/mismatched components, etc.

Got mine (5 and 3 gallon) from Kegconnection along with a lot of other good stuff.

I'll start off with a story of the brewpot that couldn't.

Nearly two years ago I found myself wanting to do 5 gal batch full boils without all the excitement that comes with using my 7.5 gal pot.  Plus the thought of getting a new pot with a spigot was very appealing.

After seeing some of the prices out there I thought I would just go cheap.  Should have known better since this philosophy generally has not served me well elsewhere in life.

Anyway, I online-ordered the 10 gal brewpot from the budget line of a respectable Northern California homebrew retailer (who had recently revamped the line, claiming  improvements).

Should have sent that back right when I got it, but just like a bad relationship I thought I could make it work.  The stainless was rolled and rippled and far flimsier than any pot I'd ever seen.  The bottom popped in and out with a thin loud echo if pushed on, a bit like a lid on an applesauce jar.  But it did hold ten gallons and there was a brass ball valve for draining.

Boiling 7 or so gallons of wort, it did the job.  Sure the painted metal valve handle burned like a mother when I touched it but I kept telling myself I could wrap it to solve that problem.  And so a few brews were made in this cheap but functioning vessel.

But once nearly 9 gallons of hot wort had been fed into it, my confidence in its integrity weakened.  I imagined the seam running the length of the bulging pot giving way to bathe me in boiling disfigurement.

My imagination was interrupted by searing and hissing as wort bubbled and smoked its way down the sides of the pot.  No, not a boil over thankfully, but the wort level had risen to the pot handles and was slowing seeping out of the little bolts fastening the handle to the pot.

That was the last time I bothered with that pot.  Now it has surrendered its role to a new MB heavy duty 15 gal megapot.  Couldn't be more different.

Rather than kick that 99 dollar POS down the hill I drafted it as an HLT.  So, I guess in the end it was not really a waste.  After all, you can't really put a price on lessons learned.  It's a lesson I remember each time I burn my fingers on the spigot handle.

Merry Christmas everyone!  Oh, if someone gives you junk, just try to remember they mean well and then promptly return it.  Don't try to learn to like it.  That's for other aspects of our lives.

Life is too short to settle for crap equipment or crap beer.

Just about everybody experiences it--buying something promising and exciting, only to realize it's mostly crap.

Many of us then try to pretend that we like the item or are at least somewhat ok with the purchase.  Slowly the facts of the matter begin to intrude but we try to reason them away.  This wrestling can go on for a while but usually ends in some kind of acceptance.  At least this is what happens to me.

I'm not looking to start a trash talk topic but we should be able to pull off some constructive criticism and/or therapy.  If need be, you can choose to be less than brand-specific but hopefully still share a past disappointment and cautionary tale.

What are your brew purchase regrets and how did you move past them?  Or are you still saddled with the item and looking for a solution via advice from your fellow brewers?

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keezer CO2 Management - Manifold Only
« on: December 24, 2013, 01:15:23 PM »
I'll put in a vote for the 5lb tank.

A friend of mine tried to sell me on the idea for a year before I finally relented.  Wished I had done that from the beginning.  Talk about convenient and you have a backup tank in case your main one surprises you with emptiness.

With a wye splitter on your fiver you can charge up two kegs at once, keep a long line attached to easily CO2-flush kegs and carboys, quickly flush and carb while room temp dry-hopping, etc.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: flavor contribution from dry hops
« on: December 24, 2013, 12:49:51 PM »
Not to fire up old controversy, but one way to get (too much) flavor from dry-hopping is to hop cold and long.  IME, fridge temp dry-hopping of more than a few days begins to impart tea-like/hay-like flavors along with dryness and astringency.  Chew on part of a hop pellet and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Damaged the flavor of my second most recent IPA with this method, but thankfully the aroma was unscathed.


Love them side pickups.  Change the angle/height of pickup based on anticipated hop/trubload.  A good whirlpool and 15 minute wait replaced all the filtering/bagging I messed around with in the past.

Beer Recipes / Re: Coconut porter recipe?
« on: December 07, 2013, 11:56:13 AM »
That coconut needs to find it's way into a cake or pie.

I cannot lie: sampling that coconut was awesome. I wish I had thought of it because yes, using a cup or two of the "squeezings" in a cake would have been wonderful.

You can put those ale-sogged coconut flakes in a daily smoothie.  Buzzing those up in a vitamix or ninja will add a luscious body to the veggie/fruit blend, plus any settled yeast will provide a B vitamin boost.

Smoothie is a quick and lovely destination for nearly all yeast-munched fruit.  Fed the goji berries from my blonde fermentation into a few days worth of drinks.  Trashing them would have been a travesty.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Palate Fatigue
« on: December 06, 2013, 12:32:31 PM »

On my last IPA I poured one a couple times and felt like the aroma was great but not strong enough, like it had faded prematurely.  Now this was a beer I dryhopped with 6 oz !  Each time a day or two later, I poured one and the aroma was big, where it had been all along. Mood, fatigue, sinus/allergy issues all definitely play into it for me.

How true.  About half an hour into my IPA I'll be doubting its intensity of aroma hoppiness and wondering if it's really this restrained.  A little time away from it and it's back baby.

I am oh so thankful this also happens when I drink really intense commercial IPA's.

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