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Messages - smkranz

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Equipment and Software / Re: BrewEasy
« on: May 19, 2014, 07:41:40 PM »
Pulled the trigger on the kit, which arrived today.  Amazingly fast shipping after ordering thru my LHBS.  I reinstalled the short legs on the burner, and hope to do my first BrewEasy batch this weekend.

Be aware that Blichmann's burner manual has maximum weight capacities of 150 (with leg extensions) and 175 lbs. (with short legs).  Since the 10 gallon setup can easily exceed even 175 lbs. (15 gallon mash atop a 20 gallon kettle), I emailed them and received a very prompt reply that the weight limitations are for stability purposes, and the short legs will be fine for any size BrewEasy setup.

Sent from my HP Slate 7 using Tapatalk

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Utopias
« on: May 02, 2014, 04:11:14 PM »
Triple bock was still.  Is Utopia carbonated?  I honestly have zero recollection of it other than to know that I drank it on my front porch.  Sometime between my 30th and 35th birthdays.
Utopias is uncarbonated as well.  Def not meant to be drank in 1 sitting :D

Wha…sez who??

Equipment and Software / Re: BrewEasy
« on: May 02, 2014, 03:48:28 PM »
Looks like a mere $250 for the kit will wed my 15 and 20-gallon kettles.  Have pumps, don't need the Tower.

August.  That's when the Spousal Unit visits family, which is my window to acquire new gear.  I like the idea of moving from two burners to one, losing the HLT, and shortening my brew day.  This should cover 90% of the ten gallon beers I brew…for the really big beers I'll just revert back to using the 20 gallon kettle for a mash tun.

The shipping/drop-off period for our competition is a week long.  We have 6 drop-off points (homebrew shops and a private residence).   The entries are collected at the end of the week.  We log them in during the following week, then tote them (in coolers) to our local micro for storage in his walk-in, where they stay for about a week prior to judging.

Events / Re: NHC Hotels filled up already?
« on: March 09, 2014, 09:11:04 PM »
A club member and I started working the phone and online shortly after we received the email.  I could not find one hotel with online booking, that had Tuesday availability.  My buddy did get one for us at a listed hotel by working the phone, but it's not at the conference rate :(  and it's several miles away :( :( .  Tuesday night is necessary for those of us coming in from far away, for the BJCP exam & reception.

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Homebrew Competitions / Re: Sponsors for Homebrew Competition
« on: December 24, 2013, 09:08:27 PM »
Our annual competition has a mix of local and national (i.e. internet retailer) sponsors.  This year we reached out to some of the national retailers and they were generally responsive and generous.  Here is our Sponsors page from our recent competition:

Be creative in who you ask.  LHBS, liquor/beer stores, breweries, pubs and restaurants are no-brainers. 

When you go outside of your local targets to national/internet retailers, it helps if you or someone in your club is already a customer of theirs, and can approach them as a customer.  We have found most of them are very receptive to putting up prizes.  Maybe nothing big, but we needed a lot of prizes this year and our sponsors came through big-time.

Questions about the forum? / Re: wierd quirks
« on: December 23, 2013, 09:53:11 PM »
I heard from Nate that they've been working on the login problems and changed some settings that may help.  Let us know.

Negative.  I was on earlier this evening normally. An hour later, I come back and I'm signed in as another user (not an admin).

This really does have to stop.

Wood/Casks / Re: General advice for a new bourbon barrel
« on: December 23, 2013, 09:10:28 PM »
I recommend filling the barrel with fermented beer, as is…no need to do anything to prep the barrel.  Fill it to the top.  Start tasting after a week, and pull it when you like it…it is easy to leave it in too long, small barrels have a higher surface/volume ratio than large barrels and the flavor extraction happens pretty quickly.

Subsequent beers will take longer, have less whiskey and more wood character.  I haven't gone for more than three beers out of any of my barrels, except that eventually I will start a sour barrel with one of them.

Questions about the forum? / Re: wierd quirks
« on: December 22, 2013, 10:46:14 AM »
FYI, When I arrived at the site this morning, I got to be majorvices for a moment. :-*

It said Welcome majorvices at the top, I could see all the sub forums that are not normally exposed for the moderator section and the Industry section.

I clicked out and returned and it was back to normal.

Weird quirks; an aptly named thread.

Happened to me again today.  A few days ago I was someone else.  Today I was Denny.

I'm wondering if someone else might have gotten logged in under my account.

We need to know whether there's a risk of account compromise, someone getting in, changing my password, viewing my account profile info, viewing my PMs, etc.

Equipment and Software / Re: Blichmann Boilermaker pots
« on: November 16, 2013, 07:07:32 PM »
When I bought my Boilermaker 20 gallon kettle a few years ago, I also bought the optional boil screen and shield.  It is a dandy accessory that attaches to the bottom of the dip-tube, and catches hops and trub.  Works great with whole hops, and when I use pellet hops I usually bag them.  But it was discontinued.  That's unfortunate, I've made dozens of brews using it and it is perfect for keeping trub out of the Therminator.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Oxygenation in first few days?
« on: October 15, 2013, 06:25:42 PM »
I've had good results on big beers with pure oxygen at pitching, then again at about 15 hours.  Pretty sure this discussion is covered in Yeast (White & Zainasheff).

Equipment and Software / Re: Directly heating Erlenmeyer flasks
« on: September 27, 2013, 12:01:22 PM »
I have a 2L flask which I have boiled wort starters in, on an electric stove, several dozens of times with no problems.

Equipment and Software / Re: FastRack
« on: September 16, 2013, 05:54:29 PM »
You should send it them the picture. They're pretty friendly and might keep it in mind if they ever remake the molds. They send us three sets as prizes for our local homebrew competition too.

There are already a few mentions of this issue on their own review page.

And yes, they are prize sponsors of our upcoming competition as well!  Two complete 2-rack and tray sets...very cool of them.

Equipment and Software / Re: FastRack
« on: September 06, 2013, 01:26:59 PM »
Rather than starting a new thread on this existing Subject, I figured I would tack onto this old one.

I've been bottling a bunch of kegged beers lately (too many beers, not enough kegs or fridge space) with the BeerGun, and I find that colder bottles are less prone to foaming.  I bought several sets of FastRacks to be able to stack a couple of layers of clean and sanitized bottles in my fridge to chill them prior to bottling.

An issue is that although their web site says it works with "Belgian 22 oz. (650 ml) bottles", they do *not* properly fit standard Belgian 750ml cork finish bottles (which I use frequently), without modification, because the diameter of the bottle's neck is too wide to fit all the way down into the holes.  You can sit them in there and they won't fall out, but they wobble loosely and this makes them un-stackable.

I applied a 1 3/8" hole saw to several of the holes to test the process of widening the bottom of the holes, and the bottles now fit perfectly.  The problem with this solution is that you cannot do it on the corners because those serve as the "feet" of the rack, and boring out a wider hole would also cut off the bottom part of those feet.

Hopefully they come out with a Gen II version which takes care of this issue.  Making the bottom of each hole wider so that Belgian bottles fit does not affect the way other sized bottles fit in those same holes.  So fixing this could be done with the exact same product dimensions.  Pic shows two Belgian bottles, one in a drilled out hole and one as-is.  Also, in order to stack racks holding Belgian bottles (after drilling out the holes), you need to use 22 oz. bomber bottles in the 4 corners. This basically lets you only put 6 Belgian bottles in each rack.

All Grain Brewing / Re: stuck mash on Blichmann Top Tier system
« on: August 25, 2013, 04:24:31 PM »
I don't have a Top Tier stand, but I use all-Blichmann kettles, with Blichmann false bottoms, for my mash tun (15 or 20-gallon depending on the beer) and boil kettle.  Also use a March pump for RIMS.  I recirculate on a Blichmann burner, directly heating the mash tun.

For the first five or six batches, I had symptoms of a "stuck mash", where the output of the pump back to the top of the mash would start to sputter and seize, then eventually crap out altogether, as if it was trying to draw more wort through than was getting through the false bottom.

More playing around has lead me to a different theory, i.e. that the flow rate was too slow (valve on the output of the pump was closed too much) and the burner was too high, which was allowing the wort underneath the false bottom to overheat and actually start boiling, which in turn allowed bubbles from the boil to get drawn into the pump causing it to seize and lose prime.  Even when the burner flame is very low.

Opening the valve on the output of the pump (probably somewhere in the vicinity of 1/2 open), and keeping it there, has solved this problem completely.  A higher rate of flow means that more wort is moving across the bottom of the kettle and does not get hot enough to start boiling, but not enough to clog up the false bottom.  I let the pump run continuously at a constant and fairly healthy rate.  The Blichmann false bottom can take a healthy flow of wort.

I wish I could see underneath the grain bed to see if this theory is accurate, but for me it explains what was happening, and the solution.

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