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Messages - kgs

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Toasted Rye
« on: August 15, 2010, 10:04:54 AM »
I lightly toasted a few pounds of raw rye. The only beer I've used it in is still fermenting.

I do the same thing with raw wheat and very much like the results.

Rye berries or flaked rye?

Either way sounds delicious.

Zymurgy / Re: Submitting Articles.
« on: August 15, 2010, 09:28:59 AM »
It all seems so confusing. 

Copyright is confusing! And will only get more so!

One easy way to find images you are free to use in your work is to use Flickr's advanced search features and limit your search to: "Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content."

If you are writing for publication, you may also want to check off "Find content to use commercially." (Though, just to make things confusing, if you're writing for Zymurgy, it's a publication published by a nonprofit, which I believe would be noncommercial use--unless you are paid for the article, in which case it's commercial use. Anyone with a better take on that is encouraged to chime in.)

So this picture can be used for commercial or noncommercial use, as long as you provide attribution:

Click on the "License" link on the right-hand side of the photo page to see the Creative Commons license.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Your Homebrew Name
« on: August 15, 2010, 09:08:34 AM »
Writers' Brew Ltd., named by a daughter of a friend in my former writers' workshop in Tallahassee.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sam Adams Noble Pils
« on: August 14, 2010, 05:45:42 AM »
I had this at an airport bar a couple of months ago (at DCA if memory serves) and was surprised at how much I liked it.  It was by far the best beer on the menu!

None the next two weekends, except for a little "research" here and there. Vicariously enjoying other folks' brewdays on the Forum!

Equipment and Software / Re: Brew kettle surface area
« on: August 09, 2010, 08:49:59 AM »
Small update: Williams wrote to say that their 40QT kettle weighs 12 pounds. More to factor in to all of this.

The Pub / Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« on: August 08, 2010, 04:56:32 AM »

Once the announcement was made, the figure $15,000 per year cost was quoted by GG. Since that time, posters that either run similar services, or are familiar with how they work, have directly challenged that figure, and suggested they be contacted to help AHA, with appropriate cost levels for this type of service. Makes one think AHA was using a little puffery, to sell the decision.

My hunch is that cost refers to the staff time to view, vet, and post messages; a co-mod and I did that for several years (unpaid :) ) before the list in question went to a format that is largely self-policed. We spent about 5-10 hours each on the list every week. Move TT to a cheapo web host and set it up on Mailman with volunteer moderators to keep an eye on things, and it wouldn't cost anywhere near $15k... $200 would be more like it.

One concern would be that conversation within AHA would be "forked" between the TT crowd and the Forum crowd. My comment above about what the list I co-mod turned into refers to the fact that newer members of the profession pretty much don't use the list--they use other social media. And it's not that the newer members *need* immediacy; they just *expect* it.

Equipment and Software / Re: Brew kettle surface area
« on: August 07, 2010, 06:36:14 PM »
I don't think width or height matters on how long it takes to bring a certain volume to a boil. Affecting evaporation rates- yes. May I suggest going with the taller pots if one is using an immersion chiller?

And the choices we have!  :o Decisions Decisions.

That's the fun part...  :-)

After mulling it over, I think the taller pot will be important for two reasons, the most important being that I am still making small batches, basically because 3 gallons in a carboy is about what I can handle comfortably without help, and I generally brew and bottle on my own. The IC is definitely a direction I'm moving in, though with smaller batches, a bag of ice plus whatever's in the icemaker is more than enough to drop the temperature really fast.

The ten-gallon pot is really  insurance for a time when I move up to other equipment equipment (pumps, etc.) or can trade beer or food or whatever for burly-man help, and can go to larger batches. Right now my 5-gallon pot isn't  large enough for all-grain 3-gallon batches. I thought about an 8-gallon pot, but "in for a penny, in for a pound"--might as well get the pot that will enable what I'd like to be doing. I am also getting a step bit and a 1/2" SS ball valve setup.

The only reason I am guessing a wider pot would heat up more efficiently (and therefore faster) is that you could kick up the burner to its max without the flame going out to the side of the pot, which (I would assume) would result in a loss of energy. But I have absolutely no scientific evidence (or knowledge) to back that up.

Equipment and Software / Brew kettle surface area
« on: August 07, 2010, 09:22:54 AM »
I'm finally planning to order a 10-gallon SS stock pot, such as: (Probably going with the first two choices, which appear sturdier, but have a question to the company about the weight, which could make this more of a contender)

The primary distinction in this price range, aside from weight/thickness, seems to be height/width, for example, 14.6 x 14.6 x 14.4 versus 21 x 16.8 x 14.2 inches vs. 14 x 16. Assuming that side-to-side space isn't an issue (since these will go on a propane burner outdoors), which is better? I'd think the pot with the wider area would come to a boil faster but require more water due to higher evaporation... is that an issue? What else to consider?

The Pub / Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« on: August 07, 2010, 07:59:12 AM »
I think that one of the TT points that bothered me the most is that the users of the forum aren't "serious brewers" because the TT user(s) doesn't recognize their names.  ...

If the purpose of keeping the Forum open to everyone is to be welcoming, then can we have a conversation about what it means to be welcoming, and keep the door open for some constructive criticism about how Forum is designed?

I prefer the Forum slightly over TechTalk--I won't list all the pros and cons at this moment--but as a newcomer to Forum and as a relatively new homebrewer I found the nicknames and anonymity a bit challenging. I think I had to put together bits from an outside podcast to realize who Kai is.

I am not new to social networking... I'm considered fairly cutting-edge in my field, for whatever that's worth. Also, if this helps my street cred, I twice lost a battle to move a very large (9,000-plus) 18-year-old discussion list I co-mod to a forum format. (Finally gave up; it's now a kind of old-geezer whine board, and I say that as a greying lady.) For AHA to continue to attract new members, it must appeal to their expectations, and especially to younger members, a daily email digest must seem antediluvian.

But if we listen to what the TT supporters are saying, we might hear some ways to make Forum better all around. Otherwise we're being just as anti-change as the protesters appear to be. Paying a little attention to complaints can lead to vast improvement to the user experience and can also win over more members to the change.

Take the mobility issue: while a once-a-day digest appears to be old-fashioned, when I'm on the road for more than a day, it's the Forum that is inaccessible; I can at least (sort of) read TT on my smartphone, which is what I have in my hand all day wherever I am. That's a legit complaint. Most forum software has not caught up with changes in how people consume information. (Now when my iPad arrives next week, I won't care so much... :) but that puts me in a very small sliver of the population in terms of how I will be accessing info.)

The mobility issue has a related problem that the Forum is a website and there are people who cannot access alcohol-related websites at work. TT is a welcome break from them. This may be a tiny percentage of the members, but it's one more user-experience issue that the Forum introduces, and when something becomes completely inaccessible to a small percentage of members, I guarantee you will be hearing from 100% of them.

Then there is the whole angle of how members are ranked on Forum. I seriously thought at first that "Full Member" meant dues-paying AHA member, not someone who had posted at least 100 times. Then I realized that on the AHA Forum, my membership means exactly nothing and is entirely disincentivized. I don't get a badge or a star or whatever.

Does that sound trivial? Not in the world of game and social-network design. Those of you on other social networks will understand what I'm saying when I say that I have rearranged my personal schedule to take back a FourSquare mayorship (however crazy that may seem). We are humans, and we therefore respond to rational incentives.

Now, it is probably true that with the Forum software there is no easy way to tie membership into registration except by (I'm assuming) providing an option to check a "yes" next to "are you an AHA member" and let people self-report, then tying that to something that optionally appears on the public profile. But I think it's a mistake from a recruitment & retention angle not to use the Forum to build some incentive to join AHA. TechTalk is a benefit of membership. Beyond the warm-fuzzies of belonging, knowing that my dues help support changes to state laws, and an annual conference that sounds great but I usually can't get to, what is the incentive to join AHA? If the conversation is no longer the incentive, what really is?

You can brush off the value of incentives if you've been brewing two decades and have a shelf of medals and ribbons, because you have internalized incentives; but think about AHA as an organization that has to continuously recruit and retain members who are seeking reasons to join AHA or renew membership. For that, I have two thoughts on incentives. 1.  Posting to Forum more than X times is a benefit of membership. Let everyone read the forum (btw have we ensured posts to the Forum are globally discoverable, so a Google or Bing search for "rubber stopper in carboy" retrieves Forum posts?)... let anyone post a few times... then adopt the Flickr model and let "Premium" be associated with AHA dues. 2. Let Premium be associated with a cool little badge on my profile that appears whenever I post.

It could also be I'm not thinking out of the box and there are incentives that could be unrelated to Forum... but Forum is certainly very visible.

Whatever... they're just ideas... RDWHAHB. I appreciate AHA and the Forum and look forward to bottling my latest not-quite-right beers today!


Somehow a rubber stopper must have magically appeared in my carboy ........   How do I get it out?

Thank you.

Once you get it out, throw it out and go with universal stoppers:

Fits all your carboys, won't push through, and stays put when wet. You're welcome.  ;D

I finally got one of these after you or someone else posted the same advice in a similar thread, and indeed, thank you. A very small price differential for something much easier to deal with.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Yesterday's brew morning b4 werk
« on: July 31, 2010, 08:35:21 AM »
Mmmmm, jaggery, a delicious and unique flavor! One of those tips I picked up from Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing. (The suggestion to use fenugreek, not so much.)

Today I'm dry-hopping my Sorta Denny's Rye IPA (don't ask, many user errors). Don't know if this weekend portends any brewing... wouldn't mind a brew afternoon on the deck, if it's not 50 degrees, but I may wait a week.

Ingredients / Re: Rye Malt
« on: July 27, 2010, 08:11:40 AM »
I have never really tasted or had that "spiciness" from rye in a beer.  Eating it as I am milling it I do get some spiciness (especially if the malt is fresh). However,  i have always had that great "mouthfeel" that rye gives in the finished beer.  I will add rye to different beers to help build a mouthfeel even when you want the beer to finish dry.  I think that is why it really works well in an IPA.
Sounds like you are probably under the threshold for % of your rye malt to get that spicy character.  That's fine because it sounds like you are getting what you want, but if you decide to go for the spiciness, you probably need to step up your rye malt percentage of your grist.  I think Denny's recipe calls for around 20% rye malt and it definitely has a nice crisp little spicy character to it, especially in the finish.

According to the version of Denny's recipe in Beersmith (which btw conflicts slightly with other versions out there--it lists flaked wheat, versus wheat malt), yes, it's about 18%. I did a version that due to various calamities ended up 15% rye malt, and that spicy flavor was still very much there.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Muntons Carb Tabs
« on: July 26, 2010, 04:30:08 PM »
I do the sugar in the bottling bucket, and haven't had a problem with uneven carbonation.

Carb tabs just seem like a rather expensive way of packaging the sugar to me, but I can see the merit in convenience.

I only had the uneven carbonation when I overlooked the gentle stir (and mid-bottling re-stir). Just one or two strokes but it appears to make a difference.

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