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Messages - surfin.mikeg

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Weyermann Bohemian Floor Malted Bohemian Malt DP
« on: January 08, 2016, 10:38:36 PM »
That said, I really dislike this malt. Its indeed well modified,with the high kolbach and low protein. I get funk from this... Wet hay and apple peel, I call it "dirty".

Was it perhaps bad before you used it?  As a data-point, I taste malts before buying and using and this has been a go-to base malt for me.  No problems.

No, it was fresh and brewed properly. I am not alone. Many Brewers in my circle from across the US claim the same. I guess if you can't taste it all the more power to ya'll!

My beers were in front of a lot of people this summer, some professional.  That kind of tasting feedback never came up.  Most kindly, please think of it as a data-point in the field, less "if you can't this then you" kinda thing.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Weyermann Bohemian Floor Malted Bohemian Malt DP
« on: January 08, 2016, 01:34:23 PM »
That said, I really dislike this malt. Its indeed well modified,with the high kolbach and low protein. I get funk from this... Wet hay and apple peel, I call it "dirty".

Was it perhaps bad before you used it?  As a data-point, I taste malts before buying and using and this has been a go-to base malt for me.  No problems.

Think backwards on it, i.e. think about the water to grist ratio first.  Among other things, there's a ton good info out there to help you make great beer.  John Palmer summarizes as so:

A compromise of all factors yields the standard mash conditions for most homebrewers: a mash ratio of about 1.5 quarts of water per pound grain, pH of 5.3, temperature of 150-155°F and a time of about one hour. These conditions yield a wort with a nice maltiness and good fermentability.

It's a concise read:

In starting out with 1.55qts/lb, the argument is for you to use less mash water, and then get up-to-speed on water chemistry to get the pH you need.  Martin Brungard's "Bru'n Water" is a fantastic reference.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« on: January 03, 2016, 04:09:41 PM »

Also, on a regular basis I find that I walk a fine line in not over-crushing my grist, which can make sparge runoff a little difficult although I get satisfactory efficiency.

As it happens from time to time, I wonder if there is benefit to having rice hulls on-hand.

Worst mistake for me is using glass carboys.  I'm thinking all brew equipment (outside of instruments) should stand up to some abuse, and I want the risk factor down low enough to where I can brew in shorts and flip-flops.

The Pub / Re: My Christmas Present
« on: December 27, 2015, 03:26:08 PM »
Looks amazing!  Nothing quite like a strong crowd at an opening, well done.

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.

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