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Topics - kramerog

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I was thinking of fermenting in a heated water bath during the winter because the temperature of the beer tends to drop slowly throughout fermentation.  An aquarium heater with an adjustable thermostat appears to be ideal.  The water bath would be held in a plastic rubbermaid tote that I use for cooling fermenters in the summer.  Any thoughts?  Any recommendations for aquarium heaters that can hold the water at ale fermentation temperatures?

Ingredients / Best time to selectively pick hops
« on: September 10, 2012, 07:04:45 AM »
I selectively pick hops rather than picking all hops from a plant at one time because I see many immature hops on my plants.  I tend to pick hops just as they are beginning to brown whether it is brown tips or the emergence of brown tints in the leaves.  I also take into account the extent that the hop is opened up.  I believe that this may be the same criteria used by commercial growers to drop bines and harvesting all hops including ones that are not as mature.

Am I using the right criteria for selective harvesting?  Does it matter that my hops are primarily used for flavor and aroma?

General Homebrew Discussion / Best AHA Conference Seminars
« on: August 29, 2012, 09:22:47 AM »
Audio and slides from this year's AHA conference is now available to members at  What were some of the best seminars?

I have an opportunity to get a 5-year-old fridge for free from my neighbor.  The fan blowing cold air from the freezer into the fridge is broken.  I was thinking of getting the fridge and just drilling hole(s) through the bottom of the freezer into the fridge so I don't need to replace the fan.  I don't need the freezer. Good idea?  Any tips to make sure I don't drill through something important?  A search on the internet didn't reveal much.

Equipment and Software / Repairing cooler mash tun
« on: August 10, 2012, 12:14:27 PM »
My cylindirical cooler mash tun has developed two cracks on the inside and I melted some of the ouside.  The result, I have a leak.  Any thoughts about the best way to fix this?  Should I use water weld by J-B weld?

Equipment and Software / Cleaning and sanitizing airstones
« on: June 12, 2012, 10:30:30 AM »
What is the best way too clean and sanitize an airstone?  I got a cheapie blue aquarium bubbler that is 4" long.  Is it enough to leave it in sanitizer overnight?

Beer Travel / Albuquerque & Santa Fe
« on: May 21, 2012, 12:55:59 PM »
I'm looking to visit 1-2 breweries in each city during my family vacation in June. My preference is for a brewpub with a good selection of beers with <7 % alc. beer, preferably served at temperatures you can taste the beer.  Good food is important for the other family members, but doesn't need to be fancy.  I like most beers except lagers.  Thanks

General Homebrew Discussion / My homebrew smells like vomit
« on: May 02, 2012, 10:09:28 AM »
Due to being busy, I decided to mash in the evening and then sparge/boil the next day.  Since I was brewing an Oud Bruin, I figured that if I ended up with a spontaneous sour mash I would still be OK.  But what I got was a vomit-smelling mash.  After a week and a half of fermentation, the beer still smells of vomit.  What should I do?  Will this odor dissipate naturally?  Theoretically the butyric acid could react with ethanol to form ethyl butyrate which smells like pineapple. Should I pitch some Brett in addition to the lacto?  I was intending to split the batch to make a pseudo-kriek/Oud Bruin for this summer and a proper Oud Bruin for next year.


Heads up to folks in Illinois: The Illinois Liquor Control Commission recently cracked down on a festival that served homebrew and commercial brew.

I'm told that the AHA is going to seek clarification from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.

General Homebrew Discussion / Dubbel vs Belgian Dark Strong
« on: February 24, 2012, 11:46:06 AM »
When I look at the BJCP guidelines, a beer that I will bottle this weekend appears to fall into both the dubbel and Belgian dark strong categories based on both the narrative and the quantitative characteristics (e.g., F.G., O.G., IBUs).  Are there any specific things that point to a beer being doing better in competition as a  dubbel rather than Belgian dark strong or vice-versa?

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Late additions for partial boils
« on: September 26, 2011, 08:30:04 PM »
What are the pros and cons of late extract additions for partial boils?  I know of increased hop utilization.  Less chance of scorching although I've never encountered scorching when doing partial boils on the stove.  Less darkening.  Do you get full coagulation of protein with late additions? 

Are there some extracts which work better for late extract additions?

Ingredients / Bugs in my hops
« on: September 13, 2011, 10:16:44 AM »
I was picking hops yesterday and found myself swarmed by small, white, flying bugs.  They weren't there a week ago.  Any idea what they are?  Should I do anything about them?  I've picked about 1/2-2/3 of the hops already.  Thanks

Beer Travel / Brooklyn
« on: August 04, 2011, 07:06:50 PM »
What are the good places to get a beer (store or bar) near Atlantic & 4th Ave?  I'm visiting this weekend.  Any beers that are must haves and not available in Chicago?

Beer Recipes / Founders Cerise Clone
« on: July 28, 2011, 08:14:32 PM »
Last week I picked 18 pounds of Balaton cherries (cross between sweet and sour cherries).  Any ideas on a recipe for a Founders Cerise clone?

Equipment and Software / Swamp coolers
« on: June 29, 2011, 12:42:31 PM »
I see that there are two designs for swamp coolers:

1. A true swamp cooler generally has a carboy sitting in a shallow pool of water with a a t-shirt covering the carboy and wicking water from the pool of water.  A fan blows on the t-shirt causing water to evaporate thereby cooling the carboy.

2. A carboy sits in a container full of cold water. Generally, the level of water matches the level of beer. Generally, ice packs are thrown into the water once or twice a day.

What are the pros and cons of both designs?  I'm interested in throwing something together so I can brew over the July 4 weekend.

Add: I'm doing a wit that I want to ferment at 70-75 with T-58.  Ambient temp in my basement should not exceed 75.

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