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Messages - kgs

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Zymurgy / Re: Easing the physical process
« on: April 27, 2010, 07:39:11 AM »
You can make 1-2 gallon batches on the stove in a stock pot using a spaghetti strainer.  I knew of a 70+ year old woman who would do just that.

Sure you can. But an interesting challenge is to adapt the standard batch size to accommodate the brewer, who might be a person with a bad back, undergoing chemo, wheelchair-bound, or for that matter pregnant (there must be women who have brewed while pregnant--after all, *making* beer isn't the problem), or is simply brewing in a challenging home environment--for example, where the ideal fermentation area is a steep flight of steps up or down from where brewing takes place.

(It interests me that 5 gallons *is* the de facto standard--why not 4 or 6? how did it come to be 5?--and if I ever get the time to research that question, I will.)

Zymurgy / Easing the physical process
« on: April 24, 2010, 09:40:01 AM »
Maybe this has been done, but what about an article (or articles) focused on homebrewing for people who are differently-abled, older, smaller, use wheelchairs, etc.?

As someone in the old-and-small category, I have found many good ideas on the Forum and on TechTalk for easing the brewing process--just today, I learned that some homebrewers siphon their wort from the brew pot into the fermenter, which helps solve a question I had about moving to full batches. That might seem obvious to many homebrewers but it wasn't to me, and it's the kind of technique that could make homebrewing more accessible and promote homebrewing to diverse demographics.

Equipment and Software / Re: Brew kettle thoughts
« on: April 24, 2010, 09:26:05 AM »
Thanks! My math skills are (obviously) terrible, but I googled similar stock pots and I see what you mean! (I even measured my 5-gallon stock pot to compare.) 

That's good news, because I've been assuming that a 9- or 10-gallon brew pot would be too unwieldy for me to deal with.

Working toward legalization in all 50 states, working to include the Territories in brewing competitions, and reviewing/adjusting the NHC guidelines would be three good areas to work in.  I have no interest in competing, but from reading the Forum it appears that the competition is having some inevitable growing pains--the byproduct of laudable success.

In terms of what the AHA itself has been doing, I appreciate the improvements to the website and the more visible advocacy for homebrewing legalization. For a very small national association, it does a remarkable job. I manage an organization run by 4 people so I appreciate how much bang for the buck the AHA staff are delivering.

I winced a little at the word "dithering" because yesterday morning I got up at 5 and read the BA bylaws very carefully in an effort to understand the relationship of AHA to the BA. Bylaws do matter in the NPO world--I'm on a bylaws committee right now for another organization, and the committee was formed because the bylaws were standing in the way of that organization's growth. But I agree bylaws can't be the be-all end-all. I once made a similar decision on another committee--forget updating the manual, let's do some direct action--and it was the right call.

Equipment and Software / Re: Brew kettle thoughts
« on: April 24, 2010, 07:41:40 AM »
I did a very quick check and this looks like a pretty decent deal.  Full disclosure statement:  I am not affiliated in any way with this site.

"The 9 Gallon 18/8 stainless steel stock pot is 14 inches tall and 13 1/2 inches wide." Wait, does that seem right? Is it like one of those little cars where all the clowns come pouring out? I suspect a typo. :-)

Is there a confusion of steeping specialty grains or mashing for a partial mash here?

I didn't see any base malt listed to convert for a partial mash, without seeing the entire recipe I think this looks like an extract with grain recipe, which should be steeped and can be done at a higher temp. 165ish?

I do mostly partial-mash at this point, converting all-grain recipes to half-extract and mashing the rest in a 5-gallon cooler. It has been my assumption that it's a partial mash when at least a significant minority of the recipe relies on base malts for conversion, but I observe partial-mash being used interchangeably with what is really extract brewing with steeping grains and maybe a bit of base malt for flavor. I don't know if there's a formal definition of partial mash, or if it even matters. Though from this thread I guess it does matter a bit in terms of being aware of sparging and temperature-control issues.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brewing TV!?
« on: April 20, 2010, 08:41:29 AM »
We "guys" [sic ;-) ] look forward to seeing the debut show!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brewing TV!?
« on: April 20, 2010, 07:29:55 AM »
I appreciate the comments about BN "asshattery" (and lack of editing)... I wondered if it was just me. I've been pointed to shows where to get to the actual information being delivered I had to listen to the equivalent of Beavis and Butthead huh-huhing for well over an hour. I much prefer Basic Brewing, which is a very well-managed show.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Using the fermenter for the starter
« on: April 16, 2010, 08:27:40 AM »
Only two issues I see would be 1) if you use a stir plate, the fermenter is probably to large/heavy for it and I doubt the bar would stay centered and 2) I much prefer to decant off the oxidized spent beer from the starter - be kinda hard to do in a fermenter

#2 is definitely a good point--I have been doing that.

Yeast and Fermentation / Using the fermenter for the starter
« on: April 16, 2010, 06:02:03 AM »
The LHBS gave me this idea, and it seems so obvious that I'm wondering if this is common: using the primary fermenter for the starter (as opposed to using a flask or other vessel), and then just racking the cooled wort onto it.  Thoughts?

They brought this up when I mentioned that one of my hesitations about liquid yeast was the introduction of one more possible source of contamination. I do sometimes use liquid yeast (and make starters), but I admit dry yeast has a higher comfort zone for me in that respect.

I have a demanding day job I really enjoy, a family I love, and I also have a side avocation (writing) that is fairly exacting and sometimes disappointing. Homebrewing is a hobby/craft/art-form that allows me some room for failure without huge disappointment, camaraderie with other homebrewers at all skill levels, and the zen-like relaxation of the occasional "brew day." I think I almost get more out of planning the brew day than the experience itself... endless tinkering with recipes, mulling over ingredients, etc. It's a nice escape.

Kudos to those who want to move into brewing as a business... I like knowing I can pour out a bad batch and sleep well that night.

Bottling a half-batch of milk stout. Also going to peek at the propane burner I just got through Amazon and maybe fire it up to burn off the paint smell.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: full boil
« on: April 09, 2010, 08:00:59 AM »
I don't know if this is sufficient, but this is why I preboil and cool (covered) about 2 gallons of water in a smaller stockpot... even if I think I have a full boil.

Bottling my second Two-Hearted-Ale clone, one of my first two brews since relocating from Florida back to California.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cost Per Batch?
« on: April 07, 2010, 08:56:04 PM »
Another tip: periodically check Craigslist and Freecycle (if you have a Freecycle locally) for people unloading homebrew equipment. Sometimes people are scaling up, sometimes they have tried it and it wasn't their thing, but you can find some good buys or even freebies that way.

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