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Topics - rjharper

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I wonder what percentage of AHA membership joins in July just in advance of GABF for the sole purpose of buying tickets.  I mean if you're going to drop $250 per head on tickets, plus flights and hotels, what's another $38.  I'm not usually one to advocate raising prices, but I'd rather see the AHA membership costs go up, so that AHA members actually reflect homebrewers, not just people who want to power drink at GABF for a weekend.  Plus that way, the people who actually brew and appreciate craft beer, might have half a chance to get a ticket for members only...

Equipment and Software / Building a jockey box
« on: July 11, 2012, 06:04:59 PM »
Anyone bought one of these cold plate chillers from sodadispenserdepot? They seem pretty cheap compared to some of the ones on beer related sites.

Beer Recipes / Which BJCP#? 16E or 20A
« on: May 31, 2012, 05:21:57 AM »
I brewed a mango peach saison that I want to enter in a competition.  I'm leaning towards submitting as a 16E based on the comments in the 20A description that "other fruit-based Belgian specialties should be entered in the Belgian Specialty Ale category (16E)". I guess its just a little hard not to want to enter it as a fruit beer for some reason.  I just don't want a bunch of penalized scores with comments "should have entered it as a XXX". Any thoughts from experienced judges?  I don't have enough to enter both.

Kegging and Bottling / Nitro bottling
« on: April 26, 2012, 03:24:25 PM »
Ok I have a hairbrained idea, and thought I'd run it past people who should know better!

It's my understanding that as a homebrewer it's difficult, if not impossible, to bottle a nitro beer and not have it seem flat when it's poured later. We need a widget. Commercial nitro beers, add a small amount of liq N2 right before bottling, which raises the pressure in the bottle and forces the beer into the widget, then when the bottle is opened, the beer escapes the widget, foaming and causing nucleation sites for the rest of the beer.

What if we reused bottles with widgets in them? I may not have ready access to liq N2 (actually at work I do, but it's a logistics thing), but we could add a pellet of dry ice, or maybe if the beer was over beer-gas-carbed to begin with, that would suffice.

Thoughts? Discuss...

Equipment and Software / Scored a tank of beer gas. Now what?
« on: April 24, 2012, 05:49:08 PM »
So like everything else in this hobby, scoring something on the cheap (a tank of 75/25 beer gas), has now led to the purchase of a restrictor faucet, nitrogen regulator, extra shank, disconnects, sintered stone for the keg, etc...  Nothing's really cheap is it?! :D

So, that all said, to those of you running nitro beers at home, any good advice?

Yeast and Fermentation / Which Brett?
« on: April 16, 2012, 01:59:50 AM »
I brewed a Scottish strong ale a few weeks ago with an OG of 1.106  I used a WLP028 yeast cake from a previous batch, oxygenated heavily, but fermentation stalled out at 1.040. In hindsight, I mashed too high for this recipe, I should have gone lower to push fermentability.

So that said, I'm thinking this might be a good candidate for my first attempt at souring. The beer at the moment has a really good malty flavor, the kettle caramelization has a nice nutty, toffee flavor, but the overall delivery is just way too sweet.  I though adding some Brett, knowing its ability to chow down through some of the unfermentables, might make for an interesting end result. But which Brett?

WLP645 Brett C seems to make the most sense, its from English type ales, but I don't like the pineapple aromas it promises. The alternatives would be Brett B and go Belgian, or Brett L and go smoky, spicy and horsey.

I've got zero Brett experience, so help me out please.

Beer Recipes / Historic / Egyptian Brewing
« on: April 02, 2012, 10:33:21 PM »
So after visiting a Tutankhamen exhibit, and reading about the basic Egyptian beer process of making dough, baking it (enought to toast the outside but leave inside raw to maintain yeast and enzymes), mashing the bread overnight, then adding dates, herbs or spices, I want to give it a go.  There's not a lot on the web at first glance, so here's my best effort.  It's a no boil recipe based on the exhibit, but I want to tweak just enough to help sanitize / ensure yeast viability.

So, for three gallons
2lbs 2-row
2lbs malted wheat
1lb oats
Dry baking yeast

Combine grains (inc husks), add bakers yeast and suffient water for form loose dough.
Knead into 2 loaves, allow to to rise for 2hrs.
Bake loave @ 400F until crust is dark toast but not burnt.
Remove from oven.
Chop baked loaf and unbacked dough into 1/2" pieces.
Mash breads, chopped dates, saffron, and chamomile for 8hrs @ 145F (thinking no sparge, BIB style)

2lbs dates
1oz chamomile
1.0g saffron
3 camden tablets (my addition for some extra sanitation / yeast control)

WLP001 California Ale

Add camden tablets to primary fermenter.
Drain mash tun to primary
Wait 24 hrs
Pitch brewers yeast, and proceed as normal.

Pitching a SWAG for 50% efficiency and 3 gallons, I put this at ~1.050 OG ballpark.  Thoughts anyone?  I've love any input / suggestions / criticisms / encouragement!

Thanks, Ross

Equipment and Software / Beer Smith Bug?
« on: February 08, 2012, 07:01:35 PM »
I think I've noticed a bug in the last update to Beer Smith, so wanted to check with others and share.  I don't want anyone to overshoot their sparge volume until this get fixed.

I batch sparge.  On the Mash Details screen, under your mash profile, it tells you how much water to add during lautering and then the sparge.  On the most recent version, I've noticed that the amount of sparge water to add doesn't change, regardless of how much mash water you add, through changing the grist to water ratio.  I can go from 1 - 2 qt/lb, and the mash volume changes, but the sparge volume doesn't.  On the Water Vols screen, the sparge volume does change, so I think it's just the Mash Details screen has a minor bug.

EDIT - BeerSmith is great otherwise, and this is so minor its not a complaint, more of an FYI

Ingredients / Hop Bursting
« on: January 22, 2012, 08:37:37 AM »
Recently at the COOP Aleworks anniversary party, they unleashed a small batch IPA, with 24oz of hops in a 5 gal recipe.  Needless to say it was awesome, and gone in no time at all.  It got me thinking, and then Austin Homebrew has an 18oz hop value pack of 3oz each of Columbus, Warrior, Summit, Nugget, Galena and Willamette.  With the exception of Willamette, these are all high alpha varieties.  I'm thinking of brewing my usual 1.060 IPA grain bill, but hop bursting so the Warrior, Galena and Nugget go in at 5 mins, the Willamette at flameout, then dry hopping on the Summit and Columbus.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Yeast and Fermentation / First time with Brett
« on: December 08, 2011, 03:41:44 PM »
I brewed a Belgian Strong Dark about 10 days ago. It was 1.099 OG on WLP 550 Belgian Ale slurry, mashed at 156F, with D180 syrup.  Smells gorgeous.  SG after 10 days is 1.040 and its still going, albeit slowly, tastes good alrady but still sweet.  I've never Brett'ed before but its tempting, and this seems like a good candidate if I cant get it down to the target 1.018.  I'm tempted to let Sacch run its course then throw in a vial of WLP650 Brett Brux.  But I have unknowns, so help.

Starters.  Do I need a starter for WLP650? It says you can pitch direct, and that Brett should be underpitched. I;ve also read that its slow to get going so dont waste time, just pitch and be patient.

Bottle conditioning.  I don't want to put sour beer through the keg system.  Do I just wait for Brett to finish out, then prime and bottle like normal?  Do I need to to worry about bottle bombs?

Reusing equipment.  I've seen the argument of dedicated Brett equipment.  I've also seen the argument that PBW and sanitizer will take care of it. Just stick to metal and glass that doesnt scratch.  Maybe dedicate a bottling wand though.

Stuck fermentations.  Brett will eat what Sacch wont, right? So if your fermentation sticks, and you cant get it down low enough, and the style is right, one option to save the beer is to Brett it and forget it?

Thanks in advance.

Equipment and Software / Kettle Caramelization with BeerSmith?
« on: November 29, 2011, 01:21:38 AM »
Does anyone know of a way to account for kettle caramelization on BeerSmith with regard to extra boil off or increased SRM? I mean I could fudge it for volume by increasing the boil time, or I could create a different equipment profile with an increased boil off rate.  I'd like a way to record it other than just putting a comment on the notes page to remind me to add an extra 3qts to the sparge or something similar.

It would be nice to be able to specify some boil details such as this, or when to add sugars and extracts other than just full or after boil.

Any thoughts?

Homebrew Competitions / Oklahoma FOAM Cup and MCAB
« on: November 23, 2011, 08:45:38 PM »
Just wanted to brag a little.  I entered FOAM Cup this year in OK (my first comp ever) and took Golds for my Blonde Ale and my Barleywine, and a Bronze for my Russian Imperial Stout.  I also took 2nd place Best in Show with the Barleywine. :D

FOAM Cup is the only AHA sanctioned competition in OK, and an MCAB qualifier, so in 2 weeks, I've gone from never entered a competition, to planning for MCAB. Wooo...

Beer Recipes / Scottish 70
« on: November 23, 2011, 06:52:52 AM »
As a Scottish expat who "grew up" on pints of heavy, I'd love to brew a good 70/- to bring back a few memories (and get a yeast cake for my Traquair clone).  Trouble is, the BJCP guidelines are for a very basic malt profile (Marris Otter or Golden Promise) with some roast barley and guides against crystal or other modified malt, yet every recipe I see had lbs of crystal and brown and chocolate etc...

I'm tempted to take my Traquair recipe (actually it's basically Denny's recipe minus the fungus!) of 99% Golden Promise and 1% Roast Barley, and dial back the grains and hops to ~1.038 and 16 IBU accordingly.  I'm thinking single infusion @ 152F:

7.5 lbs Golden Promise / Marris Otter (depends if LHBS has Promise)
1.5 oz Roast Barley
.5 oz Kent Goldings @ 60 mins
.5 oz Kent Goldings @ 15 mins
WLP028 Edinburgh

This hits OG and IBUs but puts me low on SRMs, but I plan to compensate with some kettle caramelization.  Any thoughts?

All Grain Brewing / Strong RIS Mash Schedule
« on: October 07, 2011, 06:38:26 PM »
I'm about to brew a 1.130 RIS this weekend.  I'm looking for full body finish (Beersmith projects a 1.025), and is suggesting 30 mins protein at 122F then 30 mins sacch at 156F, and 1.3 qt/lb.  That sounds rather quick to me, especially given the 28lbs of grain, so I'm tempted to push it to 60 mins sacch, and change the ratio to 1.1 qt/lb. 
I've brewed some strong tripels and stouts in the past but those were extract, so any thoughts or suggestions from the more experienced crowd would be appreciated.  I've already knocked back my projected efficiency by a couple of points, and extended the boil time from 90 to 150 mins to account for the high gravity push.  And it goes without saying its big starter time, going to use a WLP007 yeast cake.

Classifieds / 1 spare ticket for GABF Fri evening and Sat afternoon
« on: September 27, 2011, 07:06:05 PM »
Looks like I'll have a spare ticket for Friday evening and also for the member session on Saturday afternoon.  Not member entrance unfortunately.  If somebody wanted to swap a Saturday evening that would be cool, otherwise I just need to offload them.  I'll be there to "will call" in person...

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