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Messages - kgs

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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!

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

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...

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? 

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.

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:

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

Bottling my oatmeal stout. Will brew something between 12/24 and 1/3, but don't know what yet.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: When you brew a beer
« on: December 06, 2010, 09:42:41 PM »
I like to brew a beer that teaches me something. Maybe a little lesson about fermentation, or temperature, or mashing. Or maybe about the difference a hop can make. Brewing something not easily available is a plus, too. I look for a beer I'm going to enjoy drinking, and also, one I'll enjoy sharing. My take on Denny's Rye IPA, shared at a summer block party, got me invited back to a neighbor's house for a holiday beer-tasting where people stood around saying "mmmm" as they sipped it. I'm not a competition-caliber brewer, but it's nice to brew something interesting and do it well enough that I feel proud sharing with the people I see every day in the 'hood.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: 1.022 versus on 1.016 on an oatmeal stout
« on: December 04, 2010, 05:26:30 PM »
gisbrewmaster, interesting indeed. What yeast did you use?

My grain bill for a 3-gallon all-grain batch:

UK Pale Ale Malt    5.00 lb    70.9 %    5.0    In Mash/Steeped
US Flaked Oats    0.75 lb    10.6 %    0.8    In Mash/Steeped [1/4 lb. was first lightly toasted]
US Chocolate Malt    0.40 lb    5.7 %    46.7    In Mash/Steeped
US Victory Malt    0.40 lb    5.7 %    3.7    In Mash/Steeped
US Caramel 80L Malt    0.25 lb    3.5 %    6.7    In Mash/Steeped
US Black Barley    0.25 lb    3.5 %    41.7    In Mash/Steeped

On brew day I hit all numbers right on target and had no hiccups/abnormalities. Certainly didn't underpitch with one sachet of yeast in 3 gal. BeerAlchemy predicts 1.015 SG, which I strongly suspect ain't gonna happen.

It's a bit sweet, but on the positive side, would lend itself to doctoring with coffee and/or vanilla at bottling time. I'm pondering making a different recipe next weekend and pitching on that yeast cake, but fermenting in a slightly warmer room.

Yeast and Fermentation / 1.022 versus on 1.016 on an oatmeal stout
« on: December 04, 2010, 05:19:11 AM »
Brewed McQuakers Oatmeal Stout from Brewing Classic Styles on Thanksgiving Day. Sampled it last night and it tastes delish but at 1.022 (from 1.060) I'm wondering if it's done. I used Safale 4 and fermentation seemed good if not spectacular (versus the way it is with my ales when I use Safale 5 or make a starter with liquid yeast). It was initially in a closet at 60f but I moved it to a closet at 62.

I mashed at 154, per the recipe, and assume the intent of that is a creamy mouthfeel (check!) but wonder if 152 or lower would dry it out a little. I really like this style, so tips on optimum fermentations would be most welcome.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Best Brew Software??
« on: December 02, 2010, 10:49:12 AM »
I like Beersmith ok, but since migrating over to Apple products over the past year (work-related migration) I recently tried BeerAlchemy, and like it a lot. I know Beersmith is going to have a Mac version Real Soon Now, but I need software that can support my brewing needs today, not RSN.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: OK, the noob did a stupid.....
« on: November 29, 2010, 09:42:10 AM »
I never use a bag for pellets, but I'm also one of those weirdos who usually does a secondary. I get pretty much no gunk at the end.

For brews with a lot of "stuff" in them, I rubber-band a (clean, unused, sanitized) ChoreBoy on the end of my autosiphon.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: New Yeast Book
« on: November 28, 2010, 11:26:01 AM »
Interesting response, because structure and index are the two areas where I feel "How to Brew" falls down.

Yes, "How to Brew" is the best book available on homebrewing, and yes, I have read it end-to-end, several times in fact, and recommend it to others. But after reading it for the first time I remarked to my LHBS that I thought the structure was all wrong, and they agreed, and when I recommend it I do so with that caveat. (It does start with a "crash course," but it's so abbreviated that those two-page sheets most LHBS throw into basic brewing kits will have more information.) The book wanders into thickets of detail at the wrong points, and it would benefit from a reordering of chapters. The index is weak; If the next edition is available as an eBook, it will at least be searchable.

I like the "textbook" comparison because these are books targeting people who are teaching themselves to brew. If this were a class taught week by week, would brewing lager beer really come before priming and bottling? "Joy of Homebrewing" is very dated, but its order makes more sense: tackling a basic extract brew from boiling to bottling, moving up to steeping grains, getting into all-grain.

But I still make sure "How to Brew" is where it needs to be on my bookshelf before I start a brew session!

Just now realizing my last post should have gone here, but whatev. One more thing: if there's any ability to tweak search on this BB, adding some weight to the titles might help bump the headlines posts lower so that they don't overwhelm searching across all boards (which is what most people will do before they refine a search... IF they ever refine a search). If you can adjust the weight of entire topics, which would be very cool, lowering the weight of the section with the headline posts would be great.

While I'm thinking of these...

1. Would others appreciate a link to the Brewopedia on Forum menu bar? Right now, if someone mentions a recipe, it's about 8 clicks to determine that it's not on the wiki (which is usually the case). I would wager that people would contribute recipes more frequently if the recipe collection were a click or two away.

2. I know this has been mentioned before, but it seems to be a rite of passage to advise new Forum members that the Location field doesn't actually display their location, and that this information needs to be added in a free-text field in their profile. Fixable?

3. On the iPad, the space between the page numbers for forum posts is so narrow that it's hard to select another page. Not a deal the way I usually read the Forum (start from the most recent post and move backwards... I don't know why, I just do), but a bit of a UX error for people who don't read backwards or want to jump around within a set of posts. [Edit: after seeing discussion of mobile view, if that's in the works I assume this issue will be taken care of.]

Thanks for considering these ideas.

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