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Messages - metron-brewer

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Homebrewer Bios / Brewer Bio Ron Bilotta
« on: April 29, 2014, 08:05:47 AM »
Brewer Bio: Ron Bilotta

Me at New Glarus last year

Who Are You (please include a picture): Ron Bilotta, AKA “metronbrewer”
Home Town (City, State): White Bear Lake, MN
Homebrew Club: I have not joined one, yet
I've been a homebrewer since: I brewed a few extract batches many years ago, but got back into the hoppy, I mean hobby, in December 2009. Brewed 16 extract batches and then jumped into All-Grain, coming up on batch 94.
Do you have a homebrewing disaster you'd like to share? Nothing major, running out of propane, boil overs, leaky mash tun.
What is your favorite style(s) to brew? IPA
What style(s) will you never brew? Nothing definite at this point, but any style that I don’t particularly care for probably will not get brewed.
What was the first beer you ever brewed?  How did it turn out? Northern Brewer “Steller Tois” extract kit. It was good. My palate sure has matured since then.
Have you ever had a homebrew mistake that turned out great? Nope, most of my mistakes have been “oops’s” and they turned out ok.
What is your favorite beer recipe? My house IPA in development is pretty good; Greg Muller’s “Racer 5” clone is tasty as well. My wife and I took a keg of that down in about 3 weeks. People really like the BVIP from Denny as well.
Are you a BJCP Judge?  If so, what is your rank and how long have you been judging? Not a judge.
Do you have a good beer judging story you'd like to share with the rest of the homebrewing world? Not a judge.
Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that you've found to make your beer better/brewing easier, etc? I think Brun’Water has probably helped me the most in taking the taste of my beer to the next level.
Describe your brew system. Denny’s Cheap-N-Easy cooler, aluminum kettle on propane. I am in the process of turning my downstairs workshop into a brew-house, and converting to electric.
How frequently do you brew (times/month or /year)? Probably 20-25 batches per year.
What is your favorite malt?  Why? I use a lot of Rahr Pale Ale malt for the versatility.
What is your favorite hop? Why? Centennial, I just like that flavor.
Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast? My favorite yeast is probably US-05, just due to the convenience.
Do you have a good homebrew club story you'd like to share? Not in a club.
What haven't we asked that you would really like to answer? Not really a question but my wife and I took a “Beercation last year. We visited, New Glarus, (the hard hat tour), Capital Brewing, Ale Asylum, Minhas Brewing, and the Lazy Monk. I’m really looking forward to my first National Homebrewers Conference in Grand Rapids this year!
If you could serve your homebrew to someone famous, who would it be and what would you give her/him? I’d love to give Denny Conn, Martin Brungard, Brad Smith, as well as most of the people on this forum a beer, just to thank them for all the help they’ve given me.
Can you send a picture or two of some labels you've created for your homebrew? I keg pretty much everything so no labels.
What's the most unusual ingredient you've ever used in a brew? I don’t really use anything unusual. I’m a bit boring that way, but I like my beer to taste like “beer”.
Do you have any pets or kids named after beer styles or ingredients? My laptop is named “Centennial”
How many medals have you won from homebrew competitions? I’ve only entered one, the 2013 Minnesota State Fair. I did not medal but was very happy with a 30.50 for my first competition. While I’d like to win a medal, someday, I’m not really brewing to compete.
Do you brew alone, with friends or with someone you live with? I brew with my wife.
Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer? Currently an outdoor brewer.
List some of the names you've given your beers. Which is your favorite? I usually just name my beers by their style, pretty boring I know.


Kegging and Bottling / Re: keg hopping while carbing
« on: April 01, 2014, 04:50:32 PM »
I use un-waxed dental floss, right through the lid, no problem with leaks.

General Homebrew Discussion / Volunteering at 2014 NHC?
« on: February 12, 2014, 02:31:57 PM »
My wife and I are planning on attending our first National Homebrewers Cconference  this year. I was wondering what opportunities there are for volunteering at the conference. And looking for suggestions for a couple of newbies. We've never volunteered at any competitions or conferences before so I'm not sure what qualifications would be required/beneficial.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Thank You AHA community
« on: February 12, 2014, 11:42:51 AM »
Maybe this year we can arrange a more formal AHA Forum meetup at NHC and put faces to names.

This would be awesome! I'm looking forward to attending my first NHC and would love to put faces to names.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Whirlpool Conundrum - my first post! :)
« on: January 29, 2014, 08:43:17 AM »
I recirculate through my pump and plate chiller during the entire boil.  At the end of the boil I use a 3-way valve to only recirculate using the pump and the kettle.  This is my whirlpool.  When that's done I run the wort through the plate chiller and into the fermenter.

Can you tell me why you recirculate through the entire boil? Is it just for sanitizing purposes?

Equipment and Software / Re: BeerSmith 2 & Inventory
« on: January 20, 2014, 02:09:41 PM »
I was thinking about reestablishing my inventory in BS as well.  I have the same problem remembering to remove inventory after a brew session or not remembering if I have already done it. 

The software should have something that tells you whether you have removed the items from inventory already or not.  That would be very helpful.  I "try" to move my completed brews to a separate folder and remove the items from inventory at the same time but I am rarely successful.

I agree it would be nice if there was a "flag" indicating if inventory had been issued or not. One of the very last notations I make on my "Brew Notes" is the date that I "Removed Inventory". If there is no note, I know I still need to.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Denny's been keeping his pencil sharp!
« on: December 11, 2013, 08:10:14 AM »
Sounds like Pro Brewer advice for the home brewer? If so - I'm in!

Billy Broas has a nice homebrewing blog: He also writes for Both he and Denny are good candidates for picking brewers' brains.

Couldn't find much info via Google search... is it still in the works?

Available on Amazon for Pre-Order. Looks like January release.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Denny's been keeping his pencil sharp!
« on: December 11, 2013, 08:03:41 AM »
Michael Agnew is "Minnesota's first Certified Cicerone"

The Pub / Re: Trick-or-treat
« on: October 31, 2013, 07:24:57 AM »
My kids will be out in full force walking the neighborhood. I'm tempted to have a keg at the front door to hand beer out to parents.
I like this idea a lot! May just do that myself.

All Grain Brewing / Re: black ipa and bruns water spreadsheet
« on: October 07, 2013, 09:52:13 AM »
My opinion and take it for what it's worth as I have never tasted that beer. I would start with the Pale Ale profile and get your "flavor" profile where you want it, then see what this will do to your pH. If you need to lighten up on your additions you can always add some to the boil if needed. My thoughts are a Black IPA is still an IPA so you need to get the flavor correct to that.

Equipment and Software / Re: thermowell & blow-off valve set-up
« on: October 07, 2013, 08:52:27 AM »
I ferment in buckets, drilled an extra hole for a grommet and made a stainless tube for the thermo-well by pinching one end and fuse welding that end to make it water tight. If you are using carboys, they do sell blow-off/thermo-well combos.

All Things Food / Re: pig roast
« on: October 06, 2013, 07:42:22 PM »
We just finished our 21st annual pig roast this last weekend. We always stuff the cavity with chickens and sausages for the whole cook. They come out great. We have people that come specifically for the chicken. We carve everything before the party and don't serve from the pig so if your looking for the spectacle of carving to the plate you could always pull the sausages right before service.

How do you do the chickens? Add them halfway through the cook? Great idea. Chicken fat + pork drippings = yum.
We add them right at the start of the cook. Cooking at a little lower temps keeps them from falling apart.

All Things Food / Re: pig roast
« on: October 03, 2013, 06:48:04 AM »
We just finished our 21st annual pig roast this last weekend. We always stuff the cavity with chickens and sausages for the whole cook. They come out great. We have people that come specifically for the chicken. We carve everything before the party and don't serve from the pig so if your looking for the spectacle of carving to the plate you could always pull the sausages right before service.

Hop Growing / Re: Home grown brew day!
« on: September 23, 2013, 10:46:03 AM »
My second year Centennials yielded 5.50 ounces dried and the Hallertau yielded 1.00 ounces dried. Harvested and dried 09-08-2013, brewed 09-21-2013, my first time using whole hops as well as homegrown!

6.75# Pale Ale Malt
5.00$ Maris Otter
.50# C-40
.50 oz HG Centennial at 60
2.00 oz HG Centennial at 15
1.00 oz HG Centennial at 10
1.00 oz HG Centennial at 5
1.00 oz HG Centennial at 0
1.00 oz HG Hallertaua at 0

Beersmith calculated 73.90 IBU and O.G. 1.065. I can’t believe the aroma coming off the fermenter, like fresh picked hops. I cannot wait to see how it tastes.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Gift for homebrewer with everything....
« on: September 12, 2013, 09:00:32 AM »
What5 about something personal like a hand carved, engraved mash paddle or tap handle

I just got a set of custom made tap handles from this guy. They look great!


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