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Messages - kgs

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I see it as a way of establishing a "grading curve" so that (as noted above) the scores are meaningful to the brewer. I would also think it ensures that any judging session would have some kind of internal consistency and logic not only for a particular beer, but across beers as they are judged.

The Pub / Wart Syrup
« on: July 05, 2010, 09:46:57 AM »
Darn, it's been corrected. As of 8 a.m. PT today, the last paragraph in a NYT article about a trendy ice cream maker referred twice to "wart syrup," as in: "sticky toffee pudding, soaked in wart syrup (unfermented beer)" (with another reference, "Wart Syrup? Really?").

I do wonder if it's actually wort, or if it's beer a little farther along in its fermentation process. I live in SF and can check this out...

Equipment and Software / Re: Let's talk hop-bags!
« on: July 02, 2010, 02:27:00 PM »
For the kettle, I bought a humongous fine strainer at a restaurant store for $12 that works really well if I'm using some whole hops (which end up acting like a filter). I strain into a bucket and then into the fermenter.

For fermentation, after trying pantyhose and whatnot, I have started filtering post-fermentation, when racking to the bottling bucket, using a sanitized copper Chore Boy wrapped around the end of my autosiphon with a (sanitized) rubber-band. It's one-time use on the Chore Boy, but if you do enough grocery shopping, these show up on sale now and then. It's amazing to see how much gets filtered out.

Equipment and Software / Re: >5 do you all do it?
« on: June 11, 2010, 05:10:37 PM »

Huh, pretty good deal on that--and would be a good size for me to move UP to!

Those pots are a great price, but are pretty thin. I personally like the thicker bottomed (tri-clad) ones that most of the brewing retailers sell. It seems that most of these are re-branded commercial grade kitchenware pots that you can find a bit cheaper through kitchen supply places. One such brand is Update International. You will have to install your own ball valve though.

The thinness of this pots is an issue, but the weight of some thicker pots is a concern for me as well. The decision tree is versus a well-made pot that is hard to lift and a thin pot I have to watch like a hawk to avoid scorching. Trade-offs abound... and I also like the idea of someone else drilling that hole, since you get one chance to get it right. :)

I'll check out those Update International pots, however, since a trip to a restaurant supply store a couple weeks ago showed me that some triclad-bottom pots weren't too heavy.

Equipment and Software / Re: >5 do you all do it?
« on: June 11, 2010, 02:03:22 PM »
I only brew 5 gallon batches myself at the moment.  I'm using a 10 gallon kettle like this:

Huh, pretty good deal on that--and would be a good size for me to move UP to!

Bottling my RyePA at some point this weekend.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Curious...part 2
« on: June 09, 2010, 01:33:51 PM »

As for 3 gallon batches, I would say the big pro of that is 1) as you said, space 2) more variety 3) an untested recipe or 4) something you don't want a lot of.  For awhile, I did 3 gallon batches of untested recipes so that if they were bad, I wouldn't have 2 cases of crap!  I got away from doing that, though, when my daughter was born.  Now, brew days are precious, and you can make 5 gallons in the time it takes you to make 3!  I will still do a 3 batch if it's something I just don't want 2+ cases of.

I do small batches for all of the reasons noted above, plus the ease of the physical process, and for me the big prep on brew day is cleaning/sanitizing, plus organizing the production line, etc. So doing 2 small batches in a row has worked for me. Come to think of it, if I built a second mash tun I could easily mash both batches simultaneously and do two consecutive boils. But whatever gives you a fun brew day is what it's about!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How to know more about beer
« on: June 08, 2010, 09:37:15 AM »
Damn, Drew! I didn't know you wrote a book. I'm going to pick that up for sure.

Which book is Drew's? I didn't see that name on the list...

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Aluminum or Stainless Steel?
« on: June 05, 2010, 04:55:45 PM »
Thanks on the responses. I went to a restaurant supply store today and looked at/lifted various pots. The interesting thing was that SS wasn't always the heaviest, aluminum wasn't always the lightest, and for any particular line of stockpot, the weight difference between 32 and 40 was negligible. It is how much I put into the kettle that will make a difference. That's where I think that beyond half batches, I will have to go to a pump system.

But in looking at the surface area of 32 to 40 quart pots, I can brew 3-gallon batches (starting with 4 or 4.5 gallons) without detriment, so the pump could be another step, later. I might want to keep an eye on the rigor of the boil, but these pots aren't a quantum leap from what I have.

Also, I agree, the hardest part about the drill bit is preparing myself to drill into a new kettle.

Just a little more research late Sunday afternoon. :-)

Equipment and Software / Re: Brewing Software
« on: June 04, 2010, 05:21:24 PM »
For Mac I use Beer Alchemy.  Has a nice iPod companion program that wirelessly syncs with your main database.

Thanks for the suggestion. I see it supports BeerXML, too.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Aluminum or Stainless Steel?
« on: May 30, 2010, 12:40:04 PM »

She Who Must Brew Often...  ;D

I like it!!

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Aluminum or Stainless Steel?
« on: May 30, 2010, 10:42:36 AM »
And then, once one has their expanded brewery, where does one brew? You'll be exiled out of the SWMBO's kitchen... ;)

Ah, but I *am* SWMBO... :) I want to stay self-sufficient with my brewing (Ye Olde Alewife), so keeping things manageable is key. I don't weigh a lot more than 10 gallons of beer... though that is changing as time passes and my brewing improves :-) ... and frankly I'm a 50-something librarian with noodle arms, which has also dictated smaller batches and partial-mash.

Mashing in the kitchen in my 2- and 5-gallon coolers is easy enough (and makes the house smell great). But brewing all-grain half-batches, as I'm increasingly doing, requires split boils, and I'd also like to get out of the kitchen for some/all of these brews to both enjoy the outdoors and be able to hose down any mess afterwards. Plus I'd like to move up to 3.5 - 4 gallons (about the most I can handle). But as you point out, with scaling up, other dependencies start to emerge, such as chilling.

I bought the Bayou SP10 with an Xmas certificate (easier to cook on than our gas grill during an earthquake/power-outage, or that was my excuse anyway) and I'm shopping around with about $35 in Amazon/gift certificates to augment the kettle purchase. No hurry, I'm just shopping/musing. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with my current setup for now. I met another local "librewian" at a library conference and we've been planning a brew day, and seeing how she manages her setup will be useful.

My gut inclination is that I would not regret buying a 30-to-36-gallon aluminum kettle regardless of whatever I stepped up to later on for homebrewing. Whether it's homebrewing or holiday cooking, there comes a time in most of my cooking projects where every single large pot is occupied... one more couldn't hurt. I prefer stainless steel aesthetically but think that will have to take a back seat to other realities.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Aluminum or Stainless Steel?
« on: May 30, 2010, 08:00:49 AM »
Sorry about the late post. I will add my $0.10

Aluminum is just fine. About a third of the cost of Stainless. However, if one can afford it go with Stainless. One already equipped with ball valve, thermometer, sight-glass etc would be optimal for sure. ...

I am seeing some very good deals for SS stockpots that make them competitive with stainless (at least for basic pots without ball valves, etc.). Where I hesitate is the weight of SS versus aluminum and the impact on hoisting it/heating it/cooling it. I have a 4-gallon SS pot and am trying to envision the weight of this pot at 7.5/8/9/10 gallons and the extra effort to bring it to a boil and cool it down. Thoughts?

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