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Messages - rjharper

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Events / Re: 2015 NHC Impressions
« on: June 16, 2015, 06:41:26 AM »
My first NHC. I had a good time overall but frankly I was underwhelmed. My thoughts.

Accommodation: I stayed at the Double-tree for the same price as the Town & Country. Based on what I'm reading, and the condition of the host hotel, this was the right move. The meeting rooms were fine although cramped for some talks, and the expo center was what you'd expect.

Food: Absolute food wasteland. In a conference with this much beer flowing, the limited food availability and price gouging by the hotel was unacceptable. I'm glad I had a big breakfast at the Double-tree because until we went offsite to the mall on Saturday, we were pretty much skipping lunch. Pizza by the pool was the best value, if you didn't mind waiting all night.

Seminars: Generally OK, I enjoyed the Sour Mashing Talk and Hop-Fu in particular, and the Crafting Strategy was worthwhile, but everything else seemed very entry level or recycled based on previous years I'd seen online. Given that we can access all presentations online anyway, the main benefit I saw to the live talks was for the ones involving tastings, and in a couple of those the beer ran out or wasn't poured at the right time.

Banquet: For what we paid, I was really disappointed. The cheese puffs were cold, dry and bland. The salad was really good, and the the beef was tender enough but needed a lot of salt. Dessert was nice. The beer pairings were very non-inspiring, a hoppy beer, followed by a hoppier beer, followed by an even hoppier beer. Seriously? Half our table didn't get the stout, and coffee never made it that far into the room. Confusion over the rules for homebrew v commercial then meant nothing to drink during awards until the social.

AHA Forum Meetup: I swung by on the first day for a little bit; there weren't too many people there but did get to put faces to names for some of the regulars!

Pro Night: Lots of great beer, great location in the open gardens, and the music was pretty good too. Probably the highlight of the week for me.

Club Night: Biggest disappointment of the week for me. I went expecting great things, and ended up dumping 3/4 of what I was poured. You're a homebrew club, getting to pour at NHC, and you don't bring your A game? Did nobody in the respective clubs screen their offerings or at least test the lines? I got poured a Berliner Weiss that was infected with butyric and clostridium so badly that my gag reflex kicked in, and I had to go soap my glass out. That said, there were a few solid beers, and QUAFF & Maltose Falcons had great setups, so kudos to them. I didn't see as much craziness as I've heard from previous years.

Social Night: Russian Roulette with leftover entries. Totally expected, and what I'm used to at competitions. Probably dumped about 1/2 but that's why they didn't win! It's a good test of the palette to only have a style number to go on. Still a nice chilled evening to wind down the week.

Location: San Diego has a great beer scene, and we enjoyed side trips to Stone, White Labs, Ballast Point & Karl Strauss, plus the BN Party on the Wednesday. It's about as far in one corner of the country as you get, but that's why we take turns on host cities.

Overall I'm glad I went, and got to experience an NHC firsthand, but it was an expensive 4 days for what it was. I've been to GABF for 6 years and watched it lose that special something, to the point I'm not going any more. I wonder if NHC has passed it's best years? Who knows? I think I'll skip next year, we all know Baltimore-DC is even more expensive, and I'll wait to see where 2017 ends up in the Mid-West.

Thanks to the AHA committee for pulling the show together, and the logistical nightmare that is the competition. And hi to Janis whom I met on Club Night!!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Draught Line Conversion
« on: June 09, 2015, 07:23:15 PM »
Googled it. Seems very expensive for what you get. More Beer has this for $29.99. Standard 3/16" beverage line is $.79 per foot. Since your beer and lines should be sanitary, and cleaned regularly anyways, I don't see the need for anti-microbial lines.

You could basically get 12' of regular line for 1/3 the price of the kit.

You're quoting vinyl lines against barrier lines. Different animal. Vinyl will be sanitary but will leech plastic taste into the beer sitting in the lines over time. Barrier lines have no flavor degradation or crossover.

I realise standard vinyl beverage line and barrier beverage line are two different animals, but after 5 years of running vinyl, I'm yet to see off flavors. Some things, like Perlicks, are worth the upgrade, but to me SuperFlex beverage line does just fine, and I think there are better places to spend your money. Just my 2c :)

Other Fermentables / Re: Strawberry Rhubarb Mead
« on: June 07, 2015, 12:17:02 PM »
Thanks Eric. I have another 2lbs of strawberries in reserve in the freezer if I feel the need to add more strawberry character during back sweetening.

Do you think some pectic enzyme is necessary?

Other Fermentables / Strawberry Rhubarb Mead
« on: June 07, 2015, 07:33:01 AM »
There's a local meadery here in Indy called New Day Meadery and I really enjoy their Strawberry Rhubarb Mead. Per their description its:

Shelby Blue Ribbon: 5% Sugar, 8% ABV: Tangy strawberry, rhubarb & mead w/ a sweet finish.

Typically I'll go down the the sack mead route and shoot for twice that ABV but SWMBO would prefer a lighter touch. I'm assuming that I'll need to sorbate and backsweeten, since any yeast will power through 8%. How does this look for a recipe?

For 3.25 gallons
5 lbs Honey
6lbs Strawberries
3lbs Rhubarb
Lalvin Narbonne Yeast (71B-1122)

Targeting a 1.055 OG, ferment to dry, then back sweeten.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Draught Line Conversion
« on: June 05, 2015, 09:43:17 AM »
Googled it. Seems very expensive for what you get. More Beer has this for $29.99. Standard 3/16" beverage line is $.79 per foot. Since your beer and lines should be sanitary, and cleaned regularly anyways, I don't see the need for anti-microbial lines.

You could basically get 12' of regular line for 1/3 the price of the kit.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: CO2 Storage
« on: June 03, 2015, 12:23:14 PM »
I've kept a 50lb tank in my garage for the last 4 years, including 3 Oklahoma summers.

Equipment and Software / Re: Beer Line Management
« on: June 03, 2015, 11:18:12 AM »
Thanks guys. Actually since that photo's been taken, I've continued the pipe loops round under the gas manifold, where they all branch out. And somebody mentioned the gas lines, I have mine at 4' so they reach the corners of the freezer, with the exception of 1 which is 12', for use when purging kegs outside the unit.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Safbrew Abbaye Ale
« on: June 02, 2015, 03:44:44 PM »
I've got the Fermentis Abbaye yeast on order, and will let you all know how that works out. I hope it is better than the Safebrew because I love dry yeast and would like to have a Belgian dry yeast alternative

Um, isnt Safbrew the Fermentis brand?  ???

Crap, apparently I have different profiles for my Forum ID, and my AHA membership? WTF did I do... :(

Equipment and Software / Re: Beer Line Management
« on: June 01, 2015, 07:17:44 PM »
I run 9' lines at 3/16 - I've always found that 2 psi/ft restriction a bit liberal, more like 1.25-1.5 which makes a difference.  Here's my setup with 7x lines, held with 1.5" pipe hoops.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Finals Shipping Address Confusion
« on: June 01, 2015, 07:09:14 PM »
FedEx delivered mine to 9990 AleSmith Ct yesterday.

rjharper - is this the emergency rebrew?  How'd it turn out?

Jon - actually much better than I expected. It doesn't quite have the clarity, color or nose of the keg that ended up on the floor, but it was good enough to go "what the hell" and pay to ship it Fedex 2-day. So fingers crossed but I wont be too disappointed if it scores poorly.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Finals Shipping Address Confusion
« on: May 29, 2015, 01:00:40 PM »
Thanks Janis!!

Homebrew Competitions / NHC Finals Shipping Address Confusion
« on: May 29, 2015, 12:53:21 PM »
Google has
AleSmith Brewing Company
9368 Cabot Dr, San Diego, CA 92126

Preprinted Label states...
AleSmith Brewing Company
9990 Empire Street, San Diego, CA 92126

Entry Information states...
AleSmith Brewing Company
9990 AleSmith Court, San Diego, CA 92126

FedEx doesnt recognize AleSmith Ct. Empire St puts you 2 blocks away from the brewery. So where are we shipping entries? ??? I'm going with Cabot Dr if I dont hear otherwise in the next hr.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NOOOOO - NHC disaster
« on: May 11, 2015, 12:00:36 PM »
Thanks everyone. I did throw a small batch rebrew of the base beer together just in case I can time it. Not setting any high expectations though.

Thankfully I had closed the gas line or I would have blown out my gas tank too. Since there was only a partial keg, the head pressure was sufficient to push it all out. If it had been a full keg, I probably would have found some remaining. The leak came from connection between the ball lock post and disconnect, not the MFL. It moved with the black disconnect, so it wasn't the o-ring. By the looks of it, the inside of the quick disconnect got damaged and it wouldn't seal properly. A slow, but critical leak.

General Homebrew Discussion / NOOOOO - NHC disaster
« on: May 10, 2015, 08:16:07 AM »
Seriously bummed today. I tapped the rebrew keg for one of my NHC final round entries last night. Tastes great. I'm thinking it's better than my 1st round batch. Fast forward 12 hrs. I come down to the garage this morning to do some bottling, and there's a puddle on the floor under the kegerator. The ball lock disconnect was leaking on the out post, and the keg drained overnight. It's empty.

 >:( :'(

Not even sure if its worth trying to scramble another rebrew at this point. It's a 20A so I don't have time to age it on fruit in the secondary anymore...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: FWH
« on: May 08, 2015, 01:16:48 PM »
So I could have sworn somewhere that FHW bitterness is more approximate to a 20 min addition, so that's how I've always calculated the IBUs. Apparently I should be setting it for the full 60/90 mins. I guess my recent beers have been more bitter then I planned, but I've no had any complaints!

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