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Messages - gsandel

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Zymurgy / Re: 15th annual Zymurgy Best Beers in America survey
« on: March 01, 2017, 09:26:29 PM »
who cares is about right.  I view the yearly survey issue as a throw-away.  The list is dominated by ballot box stuffing homers and then there is Pliny....which is good, but not in my wheelhouse.  Who cares about the best beers you can't get, and all the highly rated ones you know well but don't particularly like?

Thanks guys....I will keep an eye out for these places.  I also noted a few places I have seen from my most recent trip that are near my hotel that are on the AHA member discount list.  In Colorado, (home of the BA and AHA and GABF) and especially in Denver, the local establishments get people using the discount on a daily basis.  When traveling, I love to flash my card, to see if the server even knows what I am talking about.  It is 50/50, but I like to let them know that the discount program or other AHA members steered me to their establishments.


Hey Maryland and DC area brewers!

I am traveling to Bethesda starting on Friday for a week, and then again May 6 thru May 13, accompanying my wife who has been accepted into a hopefully life-saving clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health to treat her Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

I am wanting to know of local craft establishments and breweries nearby worth going to, or if there are any beer happenings going on in that time.  My days are pretty booked with fun hospital stuff, and I don't know how much time I will have to myself in the evenings, but I am only travelling via Metro and Uber.  I suspect that I will not be able to get too far afield in the first week, but in the second, I will have my kids (and my wife if she feels well enough for anything) with me as we do the DC tourist thing....I want to know if I happen to be near something weather or not it is worth seeking out (and dragging my kids into for a rootbeer).

I know my homebrewer brethren will have a wide and varied opinion, and I am eager to hear them all (even if I can only visit one next week), for this is in lieu of the pilgrimage to Baltimore this year.  I missed San Diego last year (for same reason), but have met some of you in Michigan and Philly two and three years ago.  I still have my MD homebrewing totebag from the conference in Philly.

Thank you in advance for giving me something to look forward to next week.

g                  18wJN.mailto

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer Writer Needs Your Opinion
« on: August 18, 2015, 04:28:07 PM »

1. Manually Controlled, 3 vessel, 2 pump Heat Exchanged Recirculation System.

2. I like bells and whistles!  But, I don't think I will ever fully automate, and because I like to be hands on, and my brewery resembles a Rube Goldberg Device, I believe that I would never buy a 1 vessel closed system, ever.

3. Yes.  You become a better brewer by actually brewing and being able to critically taste the beer.  I suppose there are textbook brewers that could brew without tasting, but you wouldn't empirically know what your processes contribute to the finished product.

4.  I believe that there is almost no cheating in brewing...everything is fair game.  You can make excellent beer in a plastic bucket, or a fully automated system.  Beer made with either can be horrible as well (if you don't pay attention to the basics).

There is no difference with even competitions....the only rule there is that you actually brewed it.  And, at the end of the day, it is a hobby.  Gear that adds to the enjoyment of the hobby is a personal choice.  I wouldn't begrudge anyone for brewing with an automated system, a Mr. Beer Kit, or any primitive historical method like throwing heated rocks in to boil.

Likewise, there are people who use dry yeast and liquid yeast.  Those that use extract only, and those that mash.  Those that make yeast starters, and those that just pitch whatever they have.  There are those who experiment with wild fermentations, and those that only use one yeast ever.  Those that conform only to German Purity Laws and those that will try to use interesting and unusual ingredients.  It is a big tent, and I don't think I would have it any other way.

Ingredients / Re: Help with Watermelon
« on: July 15, 2015, 08:15:37 PM »
I have had success with "nothing".  Puree added directly to (in my case) primary of a base Kolsch.  Flavor is subdued after sugar is fermented, but nice.  Color is slightly pink.

This works as watermelon beer doesn't last much past August.

Good luck.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Frustrated beyond belief
« on: July 02, 2015, 10:12:00 PM »
You mention yeast, but not the results.  Are you attenuating to the point you were in the past?  Are your ingredients fresh, including malt?

What are you brewing?  the recipe could be an issue.

One other thing....tastes change.  If your palate has shifted, you may not like beers you used to like/make, or if you are more accustomed to good quality beer, average beer no longer cuts it.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: First brew, need advice.
« on: June 11, 2015, 06:57:14 PM »
I don't think anyone has mentioned it above....if I missed it, I apologize, but don't pour the sample you took from the fermenter for hydrometer reading back into the fermenter....taste it (and if you like it, drink it) and/or pour it out.  It should taste good but flat (non carbonated)

That way you will not introduce contamination back to the beer (bacteria, oxygen, etc.).

Likely at 1.010 your beer is done, but it won't hurt sitting in the fermenter undisturbed for a few days to be certain.  The fermentation process releases carbon dioxide (CO2).  CO2 being heavier than air (which is mostly N2 and O2) forces oxygen out of the fermenter, and forms a protective layer between your precious beer and the staling effects of oxygen.  When you take a sample you disturb this layer a little, and if you pour the beer after that...a larger amount of oxygen is introduced.

From pitching the yeast forward, you will need to carefully move, sample, or transfer beer with a minimum of splashing or sloshing.  Sanitize everything that comes in contact with beer (even your hands)...some people will go as far as rinsing mouth with vodka before attempting to start a siphon (by sucking on hose)...but I have never gone that far.

good luck with bottling, and ask anything.

 I was shut out of Seattle (and I am still bummed about that), hit Philly for my first, Michigan for my second, and decided for family's sake to skip San Diego....and boy, am I regretting that decision...enough to start to fantasize about excuses to make up to get to go.

The seminars are interesting, but they are the least part about the conference.  Your fellow AHA members are the real value.  The only issue is that it goes by too could easily be a week long (who could afford that!).

Go if you can.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: No signs of fermentation
« on: April 07, 2015, 06:18:43 PM »
Answer depends on the yeast (liquid, dry), yeast condition or age, ale strain used, and amount pitched, and temperatures of wort at pitch and since all affect yeast growth.  If cold, the yeast could just drop right out of suspension, or if hot, you could have killed them.  Neither will ferment....but, I have also underpitched to a cool wort that never looked like it was fermenting, but did, and I had ones go so fast that I never saw it fermenting (but there was the telltale signs of fermentation having happened in the form of a yeast ring).

The fact that you poured your beer through a strainer indicates at least a minimum amount of oxygenation was happening, and a little shake of your beer to rouse the yeast and introduce some oxygen might help right away.

If you haven't seen something change (even slightly)or start to happen by this afternoon (presumably two full days and a little shake), you may decide to repitch with a yeast that matches your style and ambient temp of ferment.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: bad batch
« on: April 07, 2015, 05:11:58 PM »
I think the goal is to try to salvage 120 bottles of beer.  You didn't mention any bottle conditioning procedures, such as amount of fermentables in your batch size (5 cases of beer, is what 12 gallons?  I forget now that I don't bottle), what temp and length of time in bottle conditioning.

I would give the bottles a little shake to rouse yeast in bottom of bottle, and store warm (say 70 degrees for a month or so) to see if you can get the bottles to carbonate....yeast do a fantastic job cleaning up after themselves in the bottle sometimes.  If that doesn't fix both problems (which depending on the off flavor may not) or mask the off flavor sufficiently enough for the girls I go with...then dump.  Unless you need the bottles for next batch.

High gravity beers also take longer to condition/carbonate, so it may just need some time.  I will assume that your 20 years experience and clear track record thus far will serve you in that you will refocus on your cleaning/sanitizing regime as well....sometimes I know I have gotten complacent and a not quite good batch results has straightened me out.  Good luck and report back if you figure it out.

All Grain Brewing / Re: A question regarding Munich and wheat beers
« on: March 31, 2015, 06:14:44 PM »
+3 A little Munich is sort of a secret ingredient to give it a little more complexity sans sweetness without sacrifice of too much attenuation.

My guess is that you got a bad one.  I am using chest freezer as keezer with a love temp controller, most set to 39 degrees. (in theory it runs more than yours, and is always on).  It is almost 5 years old.  My previous chest freezer was bought cheap off craigslist, and that one only lasted 3 years.

The only thing that I can think of is if the freezer clicks on and off more often to keep it in a narrower temp range than I would need for my application.  I don't know if you can set a minimum cycle time or a wider temp range with the Ranco.

I think that unplugging when not in use is always a good idea, however....especially if it cycles often to stay within a degree or so of your set point.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Lactose drying out a beer?
« on: March 16, 2015, 06:16:53 PM »
Having similar thoughts I have tried a moderate amount of lactose (10-15%) to add body in one case, and add sweetness in another to light (colored and bodied) beers.  In my opinion, at that rate, I didn't feel like it contributed much of either....of course, I didn't brew side by side comparisons.

Both beers were well loved *by everyone but me*, and I am likely to brew again, upping the ante on lactose somewhat, so "those people" won't drink my good stuff.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Luxury
« on: March 16, 2015, 03:46:02 PM »
I watch people playing golf when driving by, and it seems kind of like fun if you didn't keep score...and you are drinking good beer and have good friends you are doing it with.  I think though I would rather keep my hobbies simple....I can take an enjoyable walk to the beer store if I feel the need.

Although fly fishing sounds awesome.

Equipment and Software / Re: sanke keg conversion
« on: March 13, 2015, 03:08:36 AM »
I also have said Brewer's Hardware would be fine if the keg wasn't so hard to clean and make sure it is clean.  I still use the thermowell to monitor ferm temp, but not as intended.

I think the money (keg plus kit) would be better spent saving for a proper fermenter...there are many options out there.

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