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Messages - leejoreilly

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31
All Grain Brewing / Re: Thanks Denny
« on: September 09, 2013, 01:51:45 PM »
I guess I'll pile on, too.  I'm an all grain brewer BECAUSE of Denny Conn.  I regularly sell the merits of the the Cheap-N-Easy method to newer brewers in our club, or brewers looking to move from extract to all grain.  I also often ask myself "what would Denny do?"  Maybe we need to make spiffy "WWDD" wristbands.  The hitch would be deciding what color they'd be.  Deep chocolate like BVIP?  "Waldo Lake" amber?  I think they'd better be "tie dye."  ;-)

Thanks Denny!

Jim

Wristbands are a great idea, and they'd HAVE to be blue, to match our coolers.

32
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Home Brew Supply Startup
« on: August 13, 2013, 05:47:08 AM »
My LHBS is awesome! First, they do all the right retail stuff; they have a great selection, decent prices, knowledgeable and friendly staff and convenient hours. I only shop there maybe once or twice a month, but they all either know my name or know me by sight. Secondly, they are ardent supporters of brewing in general; they provide fantastic support for our local homebrew club, with 10% discounts to members, hosting meetings and Big Brew days, conducting educational sessions and "meet the brewer" opportunities. They are more than just a store; they are an important part of our brewing community.

33
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Number of House Yeasts?
« on: August 12, 2013, 06:50:28 AM »
I usually keep some 1056 and lately I've been doing Belgian Tripels and Dark Strong Ales, so I have some 530, too. I'll keep the yeast in my frig for up to six months from last harvest or four generations, whichever comes first. I've harvested a few other strains from batches of Stouts and Wits and such, but they always seem to run into the six month limit before I'm ready to reuse them. I also keep some dry Notty and 05, just in case.

I like the idea of making a larger starter and holding some back instead of harvesting from the fermenter; I'll have to try that.

34
All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« on: August 11, 2013, 09:30:39 AM »
I always preheat my mash tun, but I've never seen it as requiring much additional time or effort. I just heat my strike water an additional 6 or 8 degrees, dump it in my cooler/tun, and let it sit for a few minutes before dumping in the grain. Maybe five minutes or so for the added heating and five to let the tun warm up. No biggie, and I hit my mash temps consistently.

Any problem with dough balls?  You'll get the same results, with very few if any dough balls, if you have the grain in first and dump the hot water on top of it.  I don't mean to start arguments on this, but it has been my experience.  YMMV

I guess I shouldn't have said "dump in the grain"; I actually pour it in pretty carefully and stir it, either while pouring if I have an "assistant brewer" with me to help, or pour a bit, stir, pour a bit more if I'm solo. Never had any problems with dough balls (knock wood).

35
All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« on: August 10, 2013, 05:59:17 AM »
I always preheat my mash tun, but I've never seen it as requiring much additional time or effort. I just heat my strike water an additional 6 or 8 degrees, dump it in my cooler/tun, and let it sit for a few minutes before dumping in the grain. Maybe five minutes or so for the added heating and five to let the tun warm up. No biggie, and I hit my mash temps consistently.

36
Equipment and Software / Re: Outdoor Gas Cooker
« on: July 16, 2013, 07:42:39 AM »
I admit that I brew indoors on my gas stove. But if I where to move outside, I'd seriously consider having a natural gas supply line installed, and get an NG regulator etc. I have that arrangement on my outdoor grill and it's great not having to worry about running out of propane at the least convenient moment.

37
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Air leak in siphon
« on: June 06, 2013, 07:11:30 AM »
It's unclear why all of a sudden the siphon is leaking. I suspect it is the reason why my last IPA sucks.   I'll try more dry hops to hide the off flavor.  Anyway will use worm clamp with existing hoses and then buy a size too small hose when I retire the existing hoses.

You might try just snipping an inch or two off the end of the hose. Maybe it got stretched a bit with repeated use.

38
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Straining your wort
« on: June 05, 2013, 02:20:07 PM »
I kept getting clogged bottling wands and finding hop matter in my beers until I got one of these.


As an added bonus it helps oxygenate my wort.

I strain using 5 gallon paint strainers. That's a great strainer, anything special about it and where did you find it?

+1 to strainer bags

39
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Competition routine question
« on: June 03, 2013, 11:46:12 AM »
Jim -

You might check to see about a homebrew club in your area. Our club holds several different sorts of local competitions, from the Club-Only Comps (sadly now defunct) to our own local "Master Brewer" comps. We have a ton of qualified judges who attend our monthly meetings and are always willing to give less formal one-on-one advise about our current brews. I don't compete, but I've gotten all sorts of hugely valuable feedback from our judges and other non-rated brewing members. Plus, you get to sample great beers...

LJ

40
Equipment and Software / Re: 10 gallon stainless... thing?
« on: May 31, 2013, 07:51:46 AM »
Not to mention 2nd breakfast

And Elevenses

41
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: LHBS
« on: May 27, 2013, 06:37:21 AM »
I'm a big fan of my LHBS. It's about 20 minutes away from me, has a full menu of fresh ingredients and lots of equipment choices. They are big supporters of my local brew-club, even giving members a 10% discount. They host events like Big Brew Day on site and are just about to get started with classes and seminars for brewers. Plus the staff is knowledgeable and always ready to talk beer. I have gone to the internet for some of my more esoteric equipment needs more my LHBS is my "go-to" place.

42
Equipment and Software / Re: Downsizing brew kettle
« on: May 25, 2013, 08:25:49 AM »
I have some 16 quart stock pots that I use. I prefer to brew in the kitchen and my gas stove burners are set too far apart to span effectively with a bigger pot. At this size, each pot gets its own burner. I use two of them to handle a 5 gallon batch as both HWTs and boil kettles, plus a third to hold some extra sparge and top-off water. The stove is a six-burner so there's plenty of room. They are easier and probably safer to move from stove to mash tun and back than a single larger pot would be (not a big deal if you're doing smaller batches, I guess). I don't chill in them, though - I pour my hot wort into my fermenting pail (through a mesh bag to strain) and chill there, which means I get slightly quicker chill times since I don't have to cool down the hot metal pots. I got mine at my local Meijers store - our Michigan upgrade to WallyWorld or K-Mart - for less than $40. You could also look for a local restaurant supply store; they always have lots of goodies adaptable to brewing.

43
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bottling prep
« on: May 14, 2013, 11:47:48 AM »
If I were looking to buy a bottle tree, I'd probably get this instead. I have a red bottle tree and it takes up space and only holds 45 bottles. An inconvenient number since a 5 gallon batch is ~52 12oz bottles.
http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/

My bottle tree is expandable; just unscrew the top hub/handle and screw on another "wheel" of nine drying "branches". When I got it, it had five wheels that could hold 45 bottles; I added another to get to 54 to handle a 5 gallon batch.

I've been wanting to do that, but can't find single "layers" for sale. Do you know where to get them?

I got mine from my LHBS (where I bought the original tree) here in SE Michigan a couple of years ago. Seems to me it was only a few of bucks for the additional piece.

Here's an example - not exactly like mine, but same idea:
http://morebeer.com/products/bottle-tree-addon-ring-9-posts.html

44
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bottling prep
« on: May 14, 2013, 11:32:03 AM »
If I were looking to buy a bottle tree, I'd probably get this instead. I have a red bottle tree and it takes up space and only holds 45 bottles. An inconvenient number since a 5 gallon batch is ~52 12oz bottles.
http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/
 
My bottle tree is expandable; just unscrew the top hub/handle and screw on another "wheel" of nine drying "branches". When I got it, it had five wheels that could hold 45 bottles; I added another to get to 54 to handle a 5 gallon batch.

45
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beers for the non-craft drinker
« on: May 14, 2013, 11:26:41 AM »
I always keep a version for my Pale Ale on tap #1. It's got an ABV of about 5% or so, an SRM of 10, and maybe 40 IBUs. It's a good tasty beer, it's my wife's favorite (very important point - "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"), and it's not too threatening for the MBC crowd. I think the term "pale" incites some confidence that I'm not going to challenge their palates too much. It's so well received that I find I have to brew it about every third or fourth brew session so I don't run out. To keep my interest, I'll play around with the hops types and mix, but the basic recipe stays pretty much the same aside from that.

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