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Messages - surfin.mikeg

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Pimp My System / Re: Mill Prototype
« on: December 25, 2015, 10:10:53 PM »
Nice build. I can tell you put some effort into that. I wouldnt mind having a bad boy like that!

Hey Jimmy.  Thank you, it was fun to make.

Looks great. My only concern is that the wood gears will need replacement far more often than metal ones.

Hi Cblitzstein.  On the gears, it's fitted 3/4"-thick 5-layer high-grade ply, with a polyurethane finish (wipe-on), and then 3-1 oil. The gears run smooth albeit a little loud.  It's good.  Getting the gap setting in place was more of a concern. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Opinions on Homebrewing Equipment
« on: December 21, 2015, 02:48:42 PM »
I think not in terms of desired capacity but in terms of what I can consume.  I've also brewed too many batches in the 5+ gallon size that I've eventually tossed, and so I have two setups. 

The first is 1 to 2 gallon stove-top BIAB, for anything experimental.  No more large batch recipe experimenting.  It includes a wort chiller using a 12v pump meant for CPU cooling.

The other is for 8 to 11 gallons.  I keg 5 and then bottle the remainder for giving away, or possibly split and ferment/dry-hop differently.  I'm not going for a lot of different styles but only a few recipes that I try to do well.  Gravity fed with a 10 gallon cooler as a mash tun.  If I were to upgrade, I'd consider an RO water system or possibly getting off of propane.  I also make a point of BBQ'ing when I use this one and consider that part of the setup.

Also, I unload any brew equipment if I don't use it within the last six months.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: John Cougar Mellencamp
« on: December 15, 2015, 08:38:53 PM »
In other words, "Hurts So good."

Yes, I am enjoying a Habanero Sculpin. Every bit as delicious as the original, and then a giant kick in the teeth of Habanero fire. On my 4th of a sixer I have had for about a month. About 1 per night is about my limit, especially now that the weather is a changing again and my lips are chapped and cracked. All this pain and I am contemplating another...

Oh my goodness "NO."  I had a 4 oz sampler when last in San Diego and I thought that was painful.  Otherwise, what an excellent beer.  I loved it.

The Pub / Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« on: December 12, 2015, 11:36:24 PM »
Cool.  So that's a 3.6W LED light fixture in that pic?  Nice.  It does look very similar to the amount of light I might get out of my old-school 50W low-voltage fixtures I have in the front yard.  Your light also looks "warm" like a standard light as opposed to whitish-blue which is not nearly as nice looking.  Thanks for posting that.  I think I'm sold.  I'll probably try to pick some of these up over the winter and install them next spring.  Cheers.

That's a 3.6W LED Flood lamp, the bulb type is a PAR36.  It's about 4" across:

The one thing I've not found so far are good replacements for the 7W/11W small fixtures used for paths or steps, the T5 or T10 wedge base.  The ones I've tried are not that bright and not warm.  As far as other lights, I'm mostly using directional fixtures with 3W LED, pointed directly upwards (replaces 50W).  They highlight up to about 15' into the trees giving a soft reflection downwards.  It's great to not need multiple 200W to 300W transformers.

Also wondering if anyone has a good source for LED holiday lights.


Beer Travel / Re: West Coast RV trip 2016
« on: December 11, 2015, 10:55:01 PM »
My neighborhood brewer is  It's a bit far being an hour north of Santa Cruz (near Half Moon Bay Harbor), but if it fits into your itinerary please send a PM :).

The Pub / Re: Is anyone here into low voltage outdoor lighting?
« on: December 11, 2015, 10:00:51 PM »
I reworked my outdoor lighting last year, I went cheap and have no regrets.  I more-or-less picked a random internet store and went with it  (this guy:, and I'm kinda disappointed that they don't have much in stock at the moment).

In the image below, going LED meant that a 45W lamp is replaceable with a 3.6W lamp, it makes the transformer selection and wiring simple because the load is so light.  It's kind of a no-brainer if you can find a source.  This is a $25 lamp; I've had no outages with about 15 different lamps, 8 months in.  I have all the lights going upward on trees and it's very soft on the eyes.  The photo is saturated color-wise, i.e., there is more visible than what it shows, roughly a 20-foot wide area along a fence.  In the front yard, I want to make sure if any neighbors or sheriffs drop by that they can see the entire yard without issue.

I live semi-rural and have a few different animals coming through nightly.  In my personal need to over-complicate, I also wired up some motion detectors with transformers attached to them.  What happened is the motion detectors created too much signal noise on the ground-wiring and the WiFi equipment was highly sensitive to it.  I let that part go, put it all on a timer with one circuit.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: December 08, 2015, 10:23:39 PM »
Tonight cracked surfinmikeg's rye porter. Poured jet black, with thick three finger tan head, that slowly dissipates to solid one finger. Aroma is roast with notes of coffee and vanilla. Very smooth, well attenuated with subtle  rye contributions. I let this one warm up to mid 40's and glad I did. The  rye and roast with vanilla in background meld together perfectly. Great beer on cold winter night- well done.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Hey Ken, I'm glad you liked it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Advice on FWH/Whirlpool hop additions?
« on: December 08, 2015, 11:33:45 AM »
Thanks all for the feedback. 

The impetus for this is tasting beers that utilize the 170 degree hop-stand and finding flavors that IMO were outside the ballpark of what any kind of hop could contribute, and that the same principle applies to FWH additions.  I don't know the science, but it's something about hop isomers bonding to proteins at the lower temp in such a way that more (or different) hop aromas are available/perceivable and last longer.

I figured I might as well give it a try, and additionally to taste the beer during dry-hopping to identify when to stop.


General Homebrew Discussion / Advice on FWH/Whirlpool hop additions?
« on: December 07, 2015, 09:42:31 PM »
I'm going to adjust the way I add hops and am looking for advice on the amount of hops to use.  Curious if anyone who actively does this could share insight.

The background:  depending on a given recipe, I typically target as appropriately 40, 60, or 80 IBUs.   I usually go with a 60 minute addition that's 1/2 to 2/3 my IBU, and then ramp out the remaining additions at 20/10/5/0 minutes to get the remainder.  I've always used whole hops and it's usually fine, except for when I dry hop with something like Centennial and get a grassy off-flavor that more or less kills the beer.  Trying to avoid that.

Things I'd like to try with a typical IPA recipe, say 1.060 OG:
1. use pellets instead of whole hops
2. move the 60 minute addition to a first wort hop addition (should be 150-160 degrees or so and then ramp up)
3. move the late boil additions to a whirlpool stand (30-45 minutes at ~170)
4. and dry hop, say 2 or 3 oz per 5 gallon

I'm trying to maximize the amount of hops added without getting into the grassy off-flavor.  Wondering if I should ramp up the FWH for the IBU's desired and then shift the amount of late-boil hops into the whirlpool stand, or perhaps there's some best-practice someone could share.  Thank you.

I'm planning on trying this with a blend of Apollo, Chinook, and Summit, and then with water and mineral adjustments appropriate for an PA/IPA. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Adapting Home Brew Recipes
« on: November 14, 2015, 08:57:04 AM »
It helps to use brewing software.  Brewer's Friend, Brew Pal, BeerSmith, et cetera; they offer scaling and then you can additionally adjust ratios and hop additions for what ingredients you have available.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: November 07, 2015, 03:09:03 PM »
Mikes (surfinmikeg) triple reef ale.

pour is 2 finger head that dissapates to white/tan cap after 5 minutes. hazy reddish brown color. aroma is somewhat nutty like brown ale, with little to no hop aroma. body is light to medium with good carbonation. not sure what im picking up in hop flavor here. its somewhat herbal and spicey and it lingers in the finish. not at all familiar with hallertau blanc, but its interesting and unique. the finish is dry and crisp with hints of crystal malt.
nicely done ale, that while different is actually quite pleasing and drinkable as you keep sipping it. nice beer Mike!

Hey Ken!  Thanks for this review, as well as the previous one on the chocolate raspberry porter. 

I have to say that I've gleaned quite a bit from the conversations of Swap-tobertfest, thanks again to Jim for organizing.  It's clear that I need to try a Pilsner with '830 a la the brewing notes Frank passed along, as well as trying whirlpool additions on just about everything.  I'm not there with sours yet, but see the passion with which others appear to be creating awesome brews.

The background on this one is kinda funny.  It was for a future brother-in-law where I needed to have a good brewday with him.   I made a bunch of 1 gallon test batches ahead of time (variations on a Fat Tire), then had him tastes grains to pick and choose before crushing and brewing, as well as smoking meats on BBQ all day long.

All the grain choices are on a whim (Pils, C120, Victory, Vienna), I could see where if I got the ratios right it could be super nice.  When it came to choosing hops, Hallertau Blanc was the more unknown and experimental of what I had on-hand; I'm not sure what it would be best in but people seem like it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 24, 2015, 04:53:42 PM »
Frank's 2nd beer, a Saison fermented with a blend of 3711 & 3724:

This is great, also no flaws.  I don't know these yeasts enough to discern different Saison yeasts, but yeah this was 100%.

My notes as I review them:

First impression: bold yeast notes.  Obviously, it's a Saison yeast and that initially stands out strongly.  Curious as to fermentation temps.

On the pour: I get a really nice head of foam and a lot of lacing on the glass afterwards. 

Not knowing the ingredients, I get really nice blend between the flavors of yeast, some honey, a bit lemon and then a very subtle and clean malt and hop flavor.  I get a dry finish, very clean.  It's like a bright finish with the lemon, honey and hops, and then whatever the malt is, it's very complimentary. 

Underneath it all is a earthy finish, I can only assume this is from the hops as well.

I would say as much as the honey, hop and lemon flavor stand out, the malts are light and so there's really nice balance here.  It's more of a savory beer, I definitely took my time drinking it.

Cheers Frank, again, this is 100%.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 24, 2015, 04:38:35 PM »
Thanks Mike, seems like high praise to me. I found the recipe here in the wiki. It is Ron "Bluesman" Price's "Ringler Pilsner." Very simple recipe for a newbie lager brewer like myself. 100% Avangard pilsner malt. 90 minute boil (but maybe not next time. Hallertau Mittelfrueh at 60 and I think 20 minutes. OG was 1.052, 30 IBUs mashed at 149 for 90, batch sparged, and I followed the fast lager that Marshall has recently brought back to the forefront of lager fermentations. I brewed this originally in January I think and we loved it so much I added a second batch (10 gallons this time) before we even finished the first batch
I so glad you liked it as well. Just a note my SWMBO loves this version while I love the 830 batch

Hey Frank. I'm taking notes on this one.  it's 100%, well done. Have not cracked the 830 yet. I also want 10 gallons of this!  :-)  Anything special on the water?  No flaws, awesome beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 24, 2015, 01:31:08 PM »
I tried the first of five brews by Frank Laske, aka 69Franx, a Pilsner.  This is awesome. 

I'm really surprised by this beer.  It's not a style I've had a lot of and it was complex as much as it was easy to drink.  Is a split batch, this one fermented with WLP833 German Bock Lager Yeast.


Great pour, and the first impression is the lager yeast aroma.  I took a quick trip to rural Poland a couple years ago for a sporting event and the aroma reminded me of the fresh pivo we drank outdoors when getting food in the evenings.

I liked the carbonation levels.  Seems like the 2-3 finger head dissipates into a 1 finger head that remains while drinking.  If it was dissipating at the end, a quick swish of the glass brings it right back. 

The second impression is a combination of hops and malt.  It's full-mouth flavor - subtle floral hops and a nutty malt taste.  Although the beer has a dry finish, there's a lingering of a pleasant bitterness from the hops and malt nuttiness on the back of the tongue.  As much as I tried to taste breadiness, it is nuttiness defined the malt character.  Really surprising how long the hop and malt flavor lingers.  Slightly more bitter than commercial offerings yet very subtle none-the-less, and that's appealing to me.

Very quaffable; thankfully not something that needs to be sipped.  This beer did not leave me feeling full but refreshed and ready for another sometime soon.  Kinda thinking I should pair it with a cheese plate.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 23, 2015, 07:42:21 PM »
Who is a happy swapper now? Thanks Mike G

And a home brew as well!

Scored mine also- super excited for my first Pliny ....thanks Mike!

Seeing you guys excited - that's awesome right there.    :-)
Enjoying my first ever Pliny Mike. Man this puppy is smooth, and has the longest lasting thick foamy head I've ever seen on DIPA.

I had one tonight as well, I really enjoy it.

The background on getting these is that there's a drop off around SF on Wednesdays.  I know I need to pick it up sometime in the afternoon, and that I'm limited to 2 or 4 bottles depending on the place.  Each places gets a 2-3 cases each, and it's delivered and stored cold.  As far as I know, every place that gets it also has a bar so you can enjoy it on-site.

The thing I'm wondering about is why use Carapils in an IPA?  Others are doing this as well (in particular the commercial beer that Frank sent - awesome btw, recipe here:

My SWMBO always wants an IPA, kinda thinking it's time to brew it.  But, is Carapil the secret to that foamy head?

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