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Topics - gmac

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Homebrew Competitions / Ingredients/technique for entries
« on: October 13, 2011, 05:17:57 PM »
I'm looking to enter an upcoming homebrew competition and I was on the web site looking for the entry forms and I was a bit perplexed at the amount of detail that was required for each entry.  In particular, they wanted the entire ingredient list, mash schedule etc.  I have to ask, is this normal and if so, why?

First of all, isn't the beer being judged blind so there is no reference to the ingredients?  Assuming so, do the ingredients matter if the beer is to style or seems to be to style?  For example, I brewed a version of Tom's stout the other week but I didn't have any flaked barley so I just subbed in more Maris Otter.  To me it tastes just fine but I don't really want to enter it and then have someone tell me that it wasn't to style because dry stouts are supposed to have flaked barley or something.  Maybe the mouthfeel is off and I can understand that but I don't want someone looking for flaws that may not really be there or be noticed without the recipe.  Shouldn't the beer be judged on what you put in your mouth?  Of course, I have no idea if this happens or not which is why I'm asking.

Secondly, if I come up with a great beer recipe, why should I just hand it over?  Personally, I'd share a recipe with anyone at all but it just feels odd that I have to give out just to get my beer entered into the competition.

Anyway, I just wanted to know if this is the norm, if the recipe impacts the judging in anyway and what you thought about providing recipes.

Beer Recipes / Vienna Malt instead of Munich
« on: October 13, 2011, 07:58:04 AM »
I'm thinking of brewing some lagers but most of the recipes I've found have Munich malt in them and I don't have any right now.  I do have 5 lbs of Vienna.  What would I get if I did 75% pilsner malt with 25% vienna, Hallertau hops and WLP833?  I was going to do a bock but like I said, Munich keeps coming up.

General Homebrew Discussion / Saison for a competition
« on: October 11, 2011, 04:31:10 PM »
Just want to clarify.  I have a saison with coriander, ginger, peppercorns and grapefruit zest that I'm going to enter into a competition.  Saison as a style 16C can have spices right?  Or do I need to put this into the spiced beer category?  As I read the guidelines spices are fine in a saison but I wanted to double check.

Yeast and Fermentation / Building up an old WLP vial
« on: September 30, 2011, 08:31:43 PM »
I have a vial of WLP lager yeast I bought back in the spring but I never used because it got too warm.  I'm going to assume that there are at least a few live yeast still in the vial since it was stored in the fridge since I got it.  The BBF date is Aug 6.
Should I try to step this up in a smaller starter first or is it still close enough to pitch into a larger starter (3L)?  It is the WLP833 German Bock strain.

General Homebrew Discussion / Toronto Beer Week - My results
« on: September 19, 2011, 08:11:14 PM »
I have no idea where to put this so I'm putting it here.

I entered a few beers in the Toronto Beer Week home brew competition and the results came in today.

Remember, this is not a BJCP event although they use the BJCP categories.  It's basically a good beer competition judged by brewers and bar owners in Toronto.

I received the following places:

Gold - Belgian Wit and Pale Ale - Chamomile Wit
Silver - Amber Hybrid - Cali Common
Bronze - Saison - French Saison

I entered 5 beer and medaled in 3 of the 5 categories I entered so I'm happy. 
Gold medal winners go onto the 2nd round this weekend to determine best of show and final standings so wish me luck.
Thanks for all the help and advice.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale
« on: September 17, 2011, 01:21:23 PM »
During my travels this week I tried New Glarus Moon Man.  I really like this beer.  Not sure what style it falls into (aside from Pale Ale) but in general it has a strong hop flavour and aroma without much bitterness.  In particular, I find the hop flavours to be very agreeable with tropical fruit dominating the profile.  I definitely think that I taste passion fruit/mango/guava flavours which are very nice with the malt character of the beer.
I drank every one from the bottle so I can't say anything about the colour but I thought it was very easy drinking, very refreshing and very welcome after a day of walking through corn fields.  
If you have a chance to try this one, and you want a beer with a lot of hop character without a lot of bitterness, I'd definitely give this a try.
Edit:  I also brought 3 home so I poured one in a glass.  Pale golden colour, darker than a pilsner but not nearly as dark as I would have expected. 

Ingredients / Just a comment on seasonal ingredients.
« on: September 11, 2011, 09:51:22 AM »
I find it so interesting how the ingredient questions on the forum move through the seasons.
Pumpkin was hot a few weeks ago, now it looks like coffee is a big topic, I'm willing to guess Christmas spices are coming next. 

Going Pro / Brew Pub capacity
« on: September 09, 2011, 06:37:40 AM »
I'm still toying with the idea of looking into starting a brew pub in my local town.  There's nothing like that around here so I'm sort of working on putting together a business plan.

What capacity would you recommend?  My thoughts are a 3 bbl system would be adequate.  I have no desire to sell commercially, just on-site.  I know that this is too small for a commercial brewery to be profitable but for a brew pub would this be adequate?  If I was to pursue this, I'd be looking for a used set up and I don't believe it is necessary to be a fancy copper clad set up because I have no desire to create a viewing area. 

Please let me know what you think would be an appropriate size.

Ingredients / Caramunich II vs Crystal 45
« on: September 08, 2011, 09:16:40 AM »
I use a lot of C45 in many of the beers I brew.  It is sort of my go-to crystal for British beers, Pale Ales, etc if I want body and crystal character.
But, I recently found a supplier who handles Weyermann in bulk and I'm considering buying a 55 lb sack of CaraMunich II.  How close is this to Crystal 45 in character?  Lovibond looks pretty close but other than that I'm not sure. 
The price is less than half of what I'm paying now for almost all of the malts so I'll be buying base malts from them, just not sure how this compares.

Kegging and Bottling / Bottling from a keg
« on: September 05, 2011, 07:58:18 AM »
I'm gonna enter a few beer into a competition but I need to put it in a bottle from a keg.  Any advice on how to do this?  I've seen the video with guys using a racking cane with a stopper and I tried and got showered with beer every time despite lowering the pressure.  I must be doing something really wrong.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Beer Recipes / Wanted: Stout Recipe
« on: September 04, 2011, 04:29:54 PM »
I'm looking for a good Guiness type stout recipe (all grain) to brew for the upcoming cold and dark winter months.  If anyone has one, can you please share?  I'm looking for something in a session style beer, not a Russian Imperial Stout.  That's just too strong for me...I know that there's been talk on here before about some guy with a brand new Ph.D that has a pretty good stout recipe but I'm not sure if it was ever posted.

Yeast and Fermentation / WLP002 English Ale
« on: September 01, 2011, 11:23:40 AM »
I'm planning on a brown ale this week and I wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this yeast?  I've read that it flocculates extremely well.  Do I need to rouse it during fermentation as I did with the Wyeast London II I tried before?  It stalled out and had to be warmed and roused to get it moving again (maybe I should have checked to see that these were different strains - just thought about that...).

Beer Travel / Local beer recommendations - MI, MN, WI, SD, ND
« on: September 01, 2011, 09:02:56 AM »
Next week I start my yearly travel cycle through the North Central US.  I always like to try local beers when I can but I'm sure that most of the place I go to don't have the real micro/nano brews available.  So, I'm asking for your help.

If you live in one of the states listed above (ND, SD - just the East part) and you have a good recommendation for a beer that I should seek out while I'm out there, please let me know.  I'll probably be in each state for at least a week so I don't mind driving a few miles out of my way to find a good beer.  There are some definitely obvious ones (MI - Bell's) but are there really tiny but great breweries that don't distribute very broadly?  That's what I'm looking to find.

All Grain Brewing / My first Saison
« on: September 01, 2011, 08:55:19 AM »
I made my first Saison a few weeks ago and I'm not really sure what to think of it.  I used Wyeast French Saison yeast and it worked amazingly well (mostly Pilsner malt and 1 lb table sugar).  I also spiced it with coriander, dried orange peel, fresh ginger and peppercorns.  OG was 1.062 but the FG was 1.000 - does this seem right?

It's good, I think.  We don't get many Saison's around here so I have no commercial comparison but it is definitely a bit funkier than I'm used to.  My wife doesn't like it but there's a long list of things she doesn't like so I'm not that upset. 

I wish that there was someone I could send a bottle to so they could tell me if it's close to what it should be or if I'm way off the mark (border issues so don't all volunteer...)

Yeast and Fermentation / 2 -week old slurry
« on: August 30, 2011, 07:29:39 AM »
I have a couple cups, maybe close to a quart of 2-week old slurry I collected when I kegged a kolsch.  It's been in the fridge since I kegged and I'm planning to split it between two 5 gallon carboys tomorrow.  I think that there is more than enough to do two batches.  But, given that it's been sitting for a bit, what's the best way to handle it to get it ready?  I was considering adding 1 or 2 quarts of 1.040 wort to it today just to wake it up but is that wise?  Is it better to just split it and pitch it tomorrow?
Please advise on what you think would give the best result.

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