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Messages - kgs

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721
Equipment and Software / Re: Counter top brewery.
« on: December 30, 2010, 08:39:05 AM »
I started mashing 2 years ago in a two-gallon cooler with a SS braid. When I moved up to 5 gallons, I just unbolted the parts and moved it over to the new cooler; I could easily use the smaller cooler again if I felt like it. Parts list here, with illustrations. The only sketchy part is I still need fender washers to prevent a slight wobble. Ok, the second sketchy part is the coolers aren't blue. Life ain't perfect!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kgs/sets/72157615665837325/

...Looks like my mash tun's Mini Me.


It does! My setup, which I actually use mostly for 3-gallon batches, has almost all those parts at this point, just to fit smaller brews, deck brewing, and a 6-foot bookcase in a city apartment (though the banjo burner fits under my printer table). Sort of like "The Borrowers Homebrew," if you remember that children's series.

722
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: how long/
« on: December 30, 2010, 08:23:47 AM »
Consider brewing a batch of it now (may want to go small-batch; you could even make two small batches of two recipes you're interested in). You will soon know if it's the right brew for the occasion, if you've got the technique for it down pat, etc. Even at an 8-week turnaround, you'll be in early March by the time most beer is drinkable, which gives you two more attempts to get it right (May, July). Time flies...

723
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
« on: December 29, 2010, 08:41:45 PM »
I appreciate the effort AHA puts into competitions even though I don't plan to enter one anytime soon (if ever).  I like to read the stories, read the recipes, etc., and I consider the recipes that come out of these competitions to be a great insight into current interpretations of beer styles. As these recipes accrue, they become historical records of styles "back in the day," as well as a snapshot of the evolving face of homebrewing.

So for me, to the question "how much time/resources does AHA put into competitions," the response would be "just enough." In addition, the AHA advocates for homebrewing, provides this forum, has an excellent magazine, and otherwise gives me a lot of bang for the cost of membership.

I don't care about the dollar amount (not even as a percentage) because it wouldn't make sense out of context of understanding the entire AHA budget, which would take more than numbers on a page.

724
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
« on: December 28, 2010, 11:57:03 AM »
...and it gets better.  The fridge was a beat up beast....although it was 4.5 feet tall it was as wide as....well a wide fridge and weighed well over 200#....no way it was going in my basement like originally planned....so it went back on craigslist.  Sold for $50 in 1 hours time. (and had gotten a few other calls so, perhaps I should have charged more?)


No, $50 for a fridge that would suck so much electricity is a good deal. The old fridge was the only part of this deal that caught my eye. See this calculator:

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=refrig.calculator

Refrigerators are one of the biggest consumers of household electricity. Assuming you put your $50 toward a bare-bones new fridge with much better energy efficiency, you just saved yourself a lot of money.

725
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2011 Brewing Goals
« on: December 28, 2010, 10:34:32 AM »
I have a friend who has a gluten intolerant father so we are planning to get together and brew a beer based on amaranth seeds and other good stuff.

Have you looked at this? Supposedly it greatly reduces gluten in beer.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-ingredients/salts-finings/beer-additives/clarity-ferm-5-mls.html

See the latest Zymurgy for Charlie Papazian's article on reduced-gluten recipes. One of those things where I'm tempted to do a small-batch and test it.

726
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2011 Brewing Goals
« on: December 28, 2010, 09:24:19 AM »
Great thread!

I like euge's goals: more small batches, more experimentation. Plus I want to pay more attention to the long view and plan my time and my brew sessions so I can brew a couple of batches that require long conditioning or other timing--for example, brew a 2011 Christmas barleywine by March (instead of thinking about it in October, when it's too late), and brew a crowd-friendly beer for our annual block party in July.  I also want to write more about homebrewing and possibly get a piece placed somewhere, and I'd like to connect more with other area homebrewers and also with people in my field of work who homebrew, possibly with an international "virtual brew session" for May's Big Brew. Plus I'd like to get to the AHA conference if at all possible.

I may add a hydrometer and a brew belt to my setup, but after four years of cross-country moves, job changes, and other challenges, plus an upgrade to my homebrewing equipment, I'd like to keep basically the same setup all year. I was able to do an AG small-batch two nights ago while housecleaning and making dinner, and it's good to know my setup well enough to be able to multitask.

727
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: First attempt.....
« on: December 25, 2010, 09:09:53 PM »

Edit:  btw, if someone at an HBS is unhelpful or condescending tell them that the the guys on the AHA forum think they're a bunch of douche-nozzles.

... and the gals think so too.
Sorry, kgs.  I really should have used a more inclusive term.  I'm always thrilled to hear about female homebrewers.  White males seem to be overrepresented in our hobby, but I would surely like to see that change.  I'm mystified about tales of bad customer service at HBSs.  People starting out are bound to have a lot of questions.  These places have a pretty limited customer base, so they really can't afford to offend anyone.  I also find condescension  to a customer based on gender to be totally vile.

No harm done whatsoever. It is still a very male craft, so it's easy to assume we're all guys.

Mostly things are fine at the LHBS. The person who worked with me yesterday was focused and on his game, and we had a good chat about Safale yeast profiles (at what other store could I have that conversation). Just that one fellow who has yet to learn not to run afoul of hawk-eyed SWMBO brewers...

728
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Refractometer - Which one is best?
« on: December 25, 2010, 12:15:32 PM »
Anyone have experience with this one? One friend gave me a $25 Amazon gift card which would make this cheap to buy:

http://www.amazon.com/Refractometer-Measuring-Sugar-Content-Beer/dp/B000FBL2G0/

729
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: First attempt.....
« on: December 25, 2010, 12:08:16 PM »

Edit:  btw, if someone at an HBS is unhelpful or condescending tell them that the the guys on the AHA forum think they're a bunch of douche-nozzles.

... and the gals think so too. I avoid one guy at the LHBS who was not only condescending (it was about my 20th AG batch and he was incredulous that I was brewing all-grain--excuse me?!) but spent the entire time complaining to someone else about his shift hours. I didn't weigh the grains when I got home, but I'm pretty sure he shorted me a pound or so of my base malt, simply because he was blathering too much. (Note: I now check my weights when I get home, and I watch the clerks like a hawk. A smiling hawk but a hawk all the same.)

Anyway, if the shop clerks were simply skeptical (versus outright rude) it could be that they were thinking what I was thinking, which is that it's not a bad idea if your first brews follow the KISS factor--they may actually be trying to ensure you're a repeat customer. Big brews are more expensive to make and it's also much harder to isolate what's going wrong. Kudos to you for your "go big or go home" approach, but at least for the next batch plus one, you might consider something very simple that will allow you to focus both on technique and on understanding and improving your equipment setup. Also consider small batches, which will give you room (financially but also literally--that beer that didn't turn out so great can take up a lot of space while you're waiting for it to turn into gold) to practice and experiment.

730
Equipment and Software / Re: Counter top brewery.
« on: December 25, 2010, 05:46:48 AM »
I started mashing 2 years ago in a two-gallon cooler with a SS braid. When I moved up to 5 gallons, I just unbolted the parts and moved it over to the new cooler; I could easily use the smaller cooler again if I felt like it. Parts list here, with illustrations. The only sketchy part is I still need fender washers to prevent a slight wobble. Ok, the second sketchy part is the coolers aren't blue. Life ain't perfect!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kgs/sets/72157615665837325/

731
LHBS was open this afternoon, so I got the grain and goodies for a half-batch of Fred Bonjour's Amarillo APA ( http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/AmarilloPaleAleBeerDuJour ) to do sometime this weekend after the holiday stuff winds down. Rain is projected so this may be a stovetop brew.

732
While apartment-hunting a year ago, I admit that when it came down to choosing between two apartments, I chose the one with the great kitchen appliances over the one with better parking. I have not regretted that decision. I can brew 3-gallon all-grain batches on the range, no problem, and can also do the kind of cooking I was used to in our house several thousand miles away (now rented out). There's always parking around the corner...

733
I think I shall, I just haven't figure out "what." I have a few days off and not all of them are heavily scheduled. I may even do a Christmas morning brew session. Something small enough to brew on the range indoors, methinks. Easter barleywine? Belgian IPA? 

734
I'm brewing a sweet stout this weekend in memory of a friend who passed away on Monday.


My condolences. The brewing process is very reflective, and is an ancient form of creation -- a great way to remember someone.

We had a lot of holiday stuff this weekend -- family visits, an open house, and lots of baking and cleaning. Plus our old tabby cat had been in rapid decline for several weeks. Today she went on to the great cat pillow in the sky. I am very fortunate in having a holiday break (12/24 - 1/3) and am going to brew something in her honor.

735
Thanks again.  I have been reading how to brew online while I'm at work ;D.  I have also ordered The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian(something to read at home).  It will keep me occupied until Santa can bring me my kit :)

I recommend the Basic Brewing DVDs. If you don't have other homebrewers to guide you, a DVD is very useful for seeing the process in work, and the Basic Brewing videos are well-made. They recently updated their beginners' DVD:

http://basicbrewingshop.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=26

I find their DVDs (and their podcasts) very helpful.


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