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Messages - a witty man

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Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC regional experiences
« on: May 03, 2013, 02:46:18 PM »
I received my NY scoresheets yesterday, and was happy with most of the feedback I received. (I passed 3 beers to the second round, so I can't complain too much!)

This said, I am rather upset about the sheets I received for my entry in the "Wood and Smoked Beer" category. Sure I got a low score and am a bit bitter about that (but don't worry I'm not going to tantrum here and defend the merits of my beer, etc.). What is really disappointing is that this category was paneled solely by a non-bjcp and an apprentice level judge. So, not one of the judges has scored higher than a 60 on the BJCP exam...

For a national competition where prices were rather steep and stakes rather high, I find it extremely disappointing that I did not receive scoring or feedback from a more experienced judge. I understand that there may be a lack of judges, but even at the smallest of competitions in which I have judged there has always been a "recognized" or higher ranked judge on each panel (and typically "certified" or higher). I'm not one of those entrants that throws every beer I brew into the national competition; I only send the beers I think would do well, and I do expect to receive feedback from experienced palates that will enable me to fine tune and better these beers.

To be clear, this has nothing to do with these two particular judges -- I am grateful for their effort in tackling a rather difficult category with limited experience, and will most likely be responding to them individually with my specific responses to their scoresheets. (If you're out there guys, thanks for the feedback, and stick with it!)

I'm curious to hear if others met with similar panels in other NHC regionals, or if this was only a problem in the NYC regional.

Yeast and Fermentation / When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« on: April 16, 2013, 12:58:57 AM »
Brett B. Trois is relatively clean in my experience - it's typically used for 100% brett ferments.

I finish my saisons with Brett C. and really like the results. Earthy and funky, complementing the sacchro esters.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Judging at 2nd round NHC
« on: February 07, 2013, 03:19:17 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement, all. I'll volunteer to judge, and indicate my willingness to steward if no judging slots are available for lower ranked judges such as myself. Either way it'll be some good experience (and points toward a higher rank!).

Homebrew Competitions / Judging at 2nd round NHC
« on: February 06, 2013, 04:20:56 PM »
I'm a relatively new judge (recognized rank w/ only 1 point), and am excited to be attending my first NHC this year. At this point I'm planning on judging for the second round of the Competition on Thursday, but am wondering if this is realistic.

In selecting judges for the second round, are less experienced judges passed over for more experienced judges? Or is the competition always in need of more judges, regardless of level?

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Hotel?
« on: February 05, 2013, 02:42:57 PM »
Toll free worked! Thanks a ton!

Now to wait for the rush for registration...

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Cleaning kegerator
« on: October 29, 2012, 06:06:23 PM »
I built one of these awhile back and love the thing. Great for running cleaning solution and sanitizer through keg lines without using CO2 or dedicating a keg.

Wood/Casks / Jim Beam --> Allagash Curieux --> ???
« on: October 14, 2012, 04:57:12 AM »
5 other guys and myself are purchasing a Jim Beam barrel that Allagash used to age their Curieux (a tripel). They only used it once, and the beer was in there for 8 weeks (according to the Allagash website). My question is what we should think about brewing to fill the barrel with. We were considering an imperial porter or Russian Imperial Stout, but I'm wondering how much oak and bourbon character will be around after a batch of beer has already gone through it.

Thoughts or opinions? 

Yeast and Fermentation / Brett C and a 1.011 Saison?
« on: September 28, 2012, 02:55:00 PM »
I have 10 gallons of a saison that is pretty much done fermenting (sitting at 88* and 1.011 gravity for a couple days now). I'm going to keg half of it as is (it does taste good!), but was considering adding some Brett to the other half. I used the WL 565 Belgian Saison I for my primary ferment, and OG was 1.065.

I'd like to get a bit of a gentle fruitiness rather than the musty horsiness that some of the brett strains throw. I'm wondering if brett clausenni will give me these attributes? Also, at 1.011 is there enough left for the brett to work on? I'm willing to be really patient with this -- 6 months to a year if necessary.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Equipment and Software / Re: Burner for 3 gallon boil?
« on: September 22, 2012, 01:42:05 AM »
A 15 amp hotplate should be able to maintain a rolling boil.

If you want to do a calculation, you need to produce enough heat to boil about 0.3 gallons of water in 1 hour plus extra due to heat loss.

Why only .3 in 1 hour? Would that mean it takes 3.2ish hours to boil 1 gallon? (Sorry -- Its been awhile since high-school science, and I'm kinda figuring this out on the fly...)

I do appreciate the help! :)

Equipment and Software / Burner for 3 gallon boil?
« on: September 21, 2012, 05:43:01 PM »
Our homebrew club, the Albany Brew Crafters, are planning on brewing a extract / partial boil batch at a local bar for Learn to Homebrew Day on November 3rd. I'm looking for a portable stand-alone type burner to boil 3 gallons of wort, and am wondering if anyone has any suggestions. I think it needs to be at least 1100 watts to get 3 gallons to boil, according to these calculations:

Water Volume (lb) x Temperature rise (°F) x 1 Btu/lb°F= Heat required
(3gal x 8.34lb/gal) x 150*F x 1 = 3496 BTU or ~ 1025 watts

Am I correct? And does anyone have any suggestions regarding burners? We'll most likely be brewing inside.

Homebrew Clubs / Club Activities and Learn to Homebrew Day (11/3/2012)
« on: September 12, 2012, 03:54:42 PM »
What are some of the club activities that clubs have planned surrounding Learn to Homebrew Day?

We're milling around a couple ideas, including advertising an extract brewing demonstration at a popular local beer bar, but are looking for other options as well...Any ideas?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP On-Line Exam - did you finish?
« on: September 10, 2012, 09:53:12 PM »
I did the same as jlo, and I passed as well. I think the key is to bank as many points as you can, saving those questions that take a bit of though for a second pass.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Any help on protection the Club from liability?
« on: September 07, 2012, 01:16:58 PM »
Our club, the Albany Brew Crafters, just completed the incorporation process and received our tax ID number this week.

We found that, although comprehensive, our by-laws, club charter, and release form does nothing to legally protect us from liability. We incorporated because we needed a tax ID to open a club bank account, and because we want the legal protection when it comes down to events. As far as I understand it, this means if we are sued the only money at risk is money associated with the club, not any of the officers' individual investments, etc.

Like Bruce suggested above, we grabbed a couple of examples of by-laws and adapted them to our purpose. Check out this thread for some great examples -- we leaned heavily on the Maltose Falcons' charter when designing our own (cheers to the Falcons!).

After we had the by-laws, there was some paperwork we had to do with the state (New York), and a one-time $70 fee. It took about 2 weeks to get the paperwork and tax id. Now we're incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. We have to file taxes every year, but because our club is so small and currently has next-to-no revenue, we won't end up paying anything this year. We placed the tax responsibility with our "Brewsar" (treasurer). We're hoping our incorporation also attracts more local business sponsors and helps to grow the club a bit.

Federal non-profit status, which allows businesses or individuals to use club donations as a tax write-off, is a whole different ball-game, and not one we are pursuing at this point.

Here's a link to the Albany Brew Crafters Bylaws. We relied on looking at other clubs' bylaws, and putting our own spin on things. The Falcons' bylaws were especially helpful (I think we even have the same font)-- thanks for sharing guys!

We're a young club, and still figuring a lot out. We just incorporated this week, and have about 20 or so members, but most are very enthusiastic, and we're seeing new faces at each meeting. This club has a much different "flavor" than others that I have been a part of in the past, and its been fun hearing where members want it to go.

Our Albany, NY club is off to a strong start -- founded in May 2012 and we already have more than 20 attendees at the monthly meetings. We have a "free" tier of membership where you can attend meetings and participate in tastings, etc., but cannot get any of the benefits of group buys, club brew sessions, etc. We're trying to entice more members to sign up for a full membership ($35 a year, prorated), and want to really start pushing the benefits of a paid membership, which will allow us to do more cool stuff.

Initially we will be approaching a few homebrew shops in the region to see if we can work out a discount program with their shop. I'm curious as to how other clubs have navigated their relationship with homebrew shops in their region. I know that this can be a beneficial relationship for all parties: we get people stoked to brew and show at our meetings, the discount keeps club members brewing money local, and the local shops benefit from increased sales. Is there a step here that I am missing? If we are collecting $35 for dues, should a portion of that money go to shops as a kickback for the discount?

Another question: We are fortunate enough to have three shops within a 45 mile radius. Should we work with a single shop, or try to work a discount with all three?

Finally, what are some of the other "relationships" that your club has with local businesses? (Do you get a discount at any pubs or bars with your membership? Discounts on co2 fills? Carpool lane privileges when on official club business?)

Although I can brew some pretty good beer, and have been in active in a few clubs over the years, I'm new at this leadership business! Thanks for the replies.

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