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Messages - kgs

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer Bottle Inventory via Input by Barcode
« on: September 03, 2010, 02:00:29 PM »
Thanks for the great feedback!

I should clarify that I'm also talking about commercial products, which might honestly be easier.  I'm hoping that to do a barcode scan to find pre-existing product data? Am I dreaming?

It would be great if there were a web-scale app that had metadata for known beer styles preloaded so that brewers could at least inventory/share at the batch if not the bottle level. Librarything for homebrewers, basically.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer Bottle Inventory via Input by Barcode
« on: September 03, 2010, 11:14:09 AM »
I do love the QR code idea, but would much rather not reinvent the wheel.  I've already got the beers barcode, and a barcode scanner (droid phone), and the spreadsheet waiting to be used.  I'm just not sure how to pull it all together.

Oh, ok, gotcha. If there is any way you can tie barcode ranges to batches, that would reduce the number of access points you need for your metadata. But if they are like most barcodes that's not going to work. My best advice, from years managing metadata, is to use as many access points as you actually need (name, date brewed, location, etc.) but no more. I wonder if you also should use a separate worksheet for each batch. Or if you should actually be using Access or something like that.

If the Droid barcode scanner turns out to be sketchy, LibraryThing sells a CueCat barcode wand that works fine for home use.

Now wondering if anyone already developed an inventory/cataloging program for beer...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer Bottle Inventory via Input by Barcode
« on: September 03, 2010, 10:40:09 AM »
RFID sounds expensive per item, due to the tag and equipment cost (we have an RFID system at work, good for what it is but I'm all too aware of the resource requirements). I would suggest that unless you have a security requirement and/or are doing very long-term inventory management of a large number of items that move from place to place (e.g. books in and out of a library), don't add that kind of cost per item.

What about QR codes? You can print them yourself, and you can embed a lot of info in them, and common devices such as cell phones can read them.

(Get a librarian started on inventory management...)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing This Weekend - 9/3 Edition
« on: September 03, 2010, 10:22:45 AM »
Took an extra day for both family time and various errands. Replenishing propane in tank, picking up ingredients for something TBD (the store opens at noon, I'll have figured it out by then), and on Monday morning plan to have my first-ever outdoor brew session, using my yet-unused Bayou Classic SP10 and my brand-new happy-birthday-to-me brew pot.

Classifieds / For Sale, Bay Area, 10-gallon kettle
« on: September 03, 2010, 10:09:56 AM »
SF Bay Area. Make me an offer. I have a brand-new Brewer's Edge 10-gallon kettle plus ball valve (still in plastic, box, etc.). (Decided to go with a different brand/size.) I have it wrapped up for return--it just arrived a couple days ago and I have close to 60 days--but since I'll have to pay for shipping, I'm open to selling it at a discount. I'm considering keeping the ball valve for when I get up my nerve to drill my new pot, but I'm open to selling it with or without. I would also consider barter for all or part of the deal.

It's lightweight but the metal is a bit thin. It's very wide, if that's an issue (that was the final deal-breaker for me, since I brew small batches).  Out of courtesy to my brewing brothers and sisters, particularly those without cars, I would even consider delivering. :-)

This is what I'm selling:

I would definitely do business with Williams again, by the way--prompt service, equipment arrived in perfect condition, absolutely no complaints.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How fast is too fast to move to all grain?
« on: September 03, 2010, 03:53:05 AM »
Brew your kit beer to see whether you even enjoy brewing. Assuming you do, you don't have to jump right in to AG brewing. There are alternatives such as partial mash (aka mini mash) brewing, which is a hybrid of extract and AG brewing. Click on my links below for visual examples of both partial mash and AG brewing processes. Good luck!

+1 I moved to partial mash by my 4th batch and stayed there for a while. I now do AG but in smaller batches (3 to 4 gallon) because that's what I can physically deal with comfortably and it keeps my equipment footprint manageable for an apartment-dweller. I would have no problem doing another partial-mash in order to do a really high-gravity beer with my existing setup.

My big step up, in retrospect, was moving from kits to recipes. Especially since I'm scaling recipes, I have to think carefully about each ingredient and its proportionate role in the overall beer. As much as I enjoy an all-grain brewing session, I think I get even more out of the planning process.

Find out what gives you joy in the process and follow that path. it's a terrific hobby. I guarantee you will be the hit of your block party. :-) 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: what is your "dream" piece of equipment
« on: September 01, 2010, 06:03:48 AM »
Dream equipment?

* Self-cleaning carboy
* Stainless-steel stock pot that is 12" high, 12" wide, and holds 12 gallons
* Unbreakable hydrometer

Equipment and Software / Re: Brew kettle surface area
« on: September 01, 2010, 05:55:41 AM »
I just caught that I wrote "versus 21 x 16.8 x 14.2 inches"...

I was clearly not a math major. That would be one interesting "round" pot.

...Here is my process.  Rinse the bottle.  Collect bottles until I have a 5 gallon bucket full or more.  When I have a few minutes of free time here or there I clean them.  Fill bucket with hot water and a good scoop of Oxyclean.  Soak bottles over night.  Pull off any labels.  Rinse bottles outside.  Spray inside with bottle washer to rinse well.  Hang up on bottle tree.  When dry I put a piece on aluminum foil over the top and box them up.

Bottling time I dunk them in Star San and put them up on the bottle tree.

May seem like a lot of work but it does not take much time.  Just work at it a little here and there.  I am then assured that all the hard work of making the beer is not wasted by putting it into a possibly contaminated vessel.

+1 to this process, right up to the sanitizing. I don't have a bottling tree, but I use the dishwasher (after it has been emptied but not filled, and sprayed with Star San) as a bottling tree of sorts, then I sit on a stepstool and pull bottles from the dishwasher as I bottle. I also don't dunk the bottles, I use a Vinator (which has a nickname in our household not safe for public forums).

I haven't found cleaning bottles to be as time-consuming as people say. The jet washer helps tremendously, as does letting the bottles sit in Oxyclean overnight. We rent a house with odd faucets, so I jet-wash outside on a faucet I have rigged with quick-disconnects, connected to a garden hose plugged in 30 feet below--not attached to the hose or jetwasher in this pic, but you get the idea:

It's also terrific for watering our deck boxes, which is the excuse I used when I set it up. ;-)

One tip I haven't heard: dishwashing gloves. Not to save your pretty hands, but for safety and convenience; bottles sitting in PBW and other cleaners get very slippery.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dryhopping residue
« on: August 29, 2010, 09:24:48 AM »
Wrapping a (new, unused, sanitized :) ) copper Choreboy around the end of my siphon has also improved the clarity of my dryhopped beers. 

Beer Recipes / Re: Designing Christmas beers
« on: August 29, 2010, 09:16:45 AM »
Thanks--looks great. Divided by 3 it would make a great small batch!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« on: August 28, 2010, 05:36:41 PM »
It does NOT matter as long as it is

are you ready????


So many of them are, too! Among the horizontal coolers, Coleman, Igloo, Rubbermaid: nearly all seem to be blue. A few white and red, and even a green cooler. But mostly blue. (With cupholders, even.)

No brewing, just lots of household/personal chores, but am going to order a 10-gallon kettle this weekend as soon as I make the final decision between light/liftable/thin vs. heavier/sturdier (I've spent more time on this than deciding on a house/car/degree). If it gets here by next weekend I'll brew with it then... got the Bayou Classic SP10... got the propane... got the time... I just need a pot and a recipe. :-) Otherwise I'll do another very small all-grain batch on the stove.

Beer Recipes / Re: Designing Christmas beers
« on: August 28, 2010, 04:19:46 PM »
I'll have to put a word in for Avery's Old Jubilation. I just made a clone of it and am blown away by the perceived spiciness . .with no spices added . . It'll definitely be warming my hearts cockles this winter!

Recipe pleeze? I've been looking for just the right thing to brew. It is getting late to be doing this.. I was going to brew a holiday beer in May...

All Grain Brewing / Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« on: August 25, 2010, 03:09:03 AM »
I started with a round cooler because it was on sale for $12 at Home Depot and I was on a very tight budget at the time and didn't want to overinvest in a hobby that I had been doing a couple of months.I have stuck with it only out of inertia. It holds heat well but I am very short, which means adding hot water to the tun or stirring the mash requires getting on a stepstool, which makes me feel like Stuart Little and doesn't feel safe.

Costco has some really outstanding deals on coolers and my birthday is coming up... I've thought about shoes or a spa treatment... But this chick is probably treating herself to a new mash tun (and a SS kettle) :)   

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