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Messages - smkranz

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The 2014 Maryland Microbrewery Festival and Homebrew Competition will be held on Saturday, September 27.  The site of the event is the beautiful and historic Union Mills Homestead just north of Westminster, Maryland.

The 2014 Competition Registration site is now OPEN for Judge registration:  Please sign up early if you are interested in Judging.  We welcome Provisional Judges who have passed the online Entry Exam and are looking for judging experience prior to sitting for the BJCP Tasting Exam, as well as Novice Judges who are studying and practicing for the Entry Exam.

Last year's competition featured 200 entries.  Judging takes place indoors, in the historic Mill on the Union Mills Homestead grounds.  The competition is open to all beer categories with the exception of Sours.  We anticipate a full day of judging, with morning and afternoon sessions unless enough Judges sign up to do all entries in the morning.  The winning homebrewer's recipe is scaled up and brewed commercially (with the winner's help, of course!) by Dog Brewing Company of Westminster, MD for draft sales at Buffalo Wild Wings' restaurants throughout Maryland, and (at the option of Dog Brewing Co.) bottled sales in area liquor stores.  The winner will also qualify for the Pro-Am Competition at the GABF (also at the option of Dog Brewing Co.)

In addition to getting Judging Points and giving back to the homebrewing community, Judges will receive the following perks:

  • Judges receive free admission to the Festival, and a tasting mug.
  • The organizing club will host a complimentary Judges Thank-You Dinner the evening before the festival, on Friday, September 26 at Johansson's, our local brewpub.
  • Complimentary Friday night accommodations for out-of-area Judges may also be available on request from host club members...could be a spare room, or a fully-outfitted camper...please respond here or via PM if you are interested in taking advantage of this option.
  • Judges will receive what is widely considered to be the best Judges' Breakfast in the world (or at least in Maryland ;D), prepared by our club's fine cooks.  For those with more basic requirements, yes we'll also have bagels and cream cheese.
  • Judges' and Stewards' Lunch is sponsored and provided by Buffalo Wild Wings.

Cheers, please post back or PM with any questions.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2014 NHC broadcast???
« on: June 14, 2014, 05:58:53 PM »
There it is  :)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2014 NHC broadcast???
« on: June 14, 2014, 05:54:05 PM »
Same here...

There is a lot of small-barrel info in various threads in the Kegging & Bottling > Wood/Casks child board.  I've used three Woodinville barrels (bourbon and rye), but not one that had syrup in it so I have no clue as to what to expect from that.

One easy way to get the bung out if it just won't give, is to drill a lag screw into it and give the screw a few taps.

Beer Travel / Re: Not going, stuck at home
« on: June 08, 2014, 02:21:03 PM »
Attended every NHC since 2005 (Baltimore), so it gripes me that I have to pass on this year's.

But I'll be there in spirit...and in mead!  I'm sending 3 gallons of a sparkling ginger mead out with the Maryland group for Club Night.

Beer Travel / Re: Not going, stuck at home
« on: June 07, 2014, 07:39:18 PM »
Got sick, on a 10-day antibiotic regimen.  Asked my doc about the tolerance of *any* alcohol on these two drugs, and he said "None.  You can't do it.". So I spent last night canceling the air, hotel, and car, plus my retake of the tasting exam and finals judging.  Made me even more sick.  Hoping I can get a credit for next year's conference ticket.

Thinking of making a therapeutic acquisition (T.A.) such as a Tower of Power with the $$ I would've spent.

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Questions about the forum? / Forum Errors This Evening
« on: June 03, 2014, 05:51:21 PM »
Going to the Forum this evening, I found that I was already logged in (recently, I have had to log in each visit).

When I try to mark a board as Read, I get the following error:

Session verification failed. Please try logging out and back in again, and then try again.

If click the Logout link, I get the same error.

Edit:  Well, never mind.  After posting this message, these functions seem to work properly again.

Equipment and Software / Re: BrewEasy
« on: May 27, 2014, 06:48:02 PM »
Here's a snapshot of my setup.  The top of the mash tun comes to about mid-chest high on me (and I'm 6"3").  I've had that little wooden stepstool for awhile, waiting to be deployed for a higher purpose.  With the pump and Therminator mounted to it, it is now a BrewStool.  It is awesomely portable, and I fitted the underside of the lower step with some V-shaped aluminum channels that let me just slide the pump on and off.  Shown in the second photo (chiller in operation), is a drip-shield I fashioned for the pump out of an empty 8 lb. P.B.W. jug.  It looks like a gaggle of hoses in this photo, but it really is a simple setup.

Since this photo was taken, I have added a switched power strip to the outside of the stool so as to easily turn the pump on and off.

And chilling...

Equipment and Software / Re: BrewEasy
« on: May 27, 2014, 06:21:48 PM »
So..... in reading your posts - you got the conversion "kit."  All said and done, do you basically have the "Brew Easy" system?  Meaning - is this pretty much now exactly what it would be if someone were to buy the complete system from them? 

This is something I am interested in, but have found no information or reviews on at all. No videos, not much of anything.  If I were to get it, I would be buying the full system, tower, etc. Just wondering if that is pretty much what you have now, at this point.  Yours is really the only actual feedback I have seen on this.

Yes, all said and done, what I have assembled is the full BrewEasy system without the Tower of Power temperature controller and tower stand.  There really isn't much doubt that I will eventually add them, too.  But honestly with the mass of mash and water in this "10 gallon" system, and with the recirculating pump running continuously, it holds mash temperature very well and it's a simple matter to add a little heat manually when necessary.

Equipment and Software / Re: BrewEasy
« on: May 25, 2014, 08:20:11 PM »
What was your efficiency?

Looks like about 70%, tho today's Dubbel seems a gravity point or two short of that.  Not having brewed this way before, my intuition tells me that a big beer might result in lower efficiency with a "BIAB" no-sparge  process than a lower gravity beer, just by virtue of the % of sugars in the mash that are left behind.  Can any BIAB brewers corroborate this?

Only my second BrewEasy batch and I'm still honing my equipment's numbers in BeerSmith.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: New to brewing and I need help!
« on: May 24, 2014, 11:11:44 PM »
Surprised that no one by now has suggest a visit to your local HBS for hands-on advice.  You bought online which is great. But most shops that i go to don't just want to make a sale off of you.  They want to help you, answer questions, show you gear, and ingredients, and how to use them the right way, so that you'll have success and come back.

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Equipment and Software / Re: BrewEasy
« on: May 24, 2014, 10:54:13 PM »
Cleanup is pretty much the same.  I will say that with my old two burner setup, I could heat cleaning water in the mash tun and let it soak with some PBW while the boil proceeded.  Can't do that with just the one burner in this setup.  If you want to keep ahead of mash tun cleanup while the boil is happening, just use cold water and PBW.  Or wait until the beer is in fermenters.  Then fill the kettle with fresh water, get it hot, add PBW, clean, then put the empty mash tun back upstairs and pump the hot PBW solution up to clean it next.

There are probably economies of time to be found here, as i get to know the system better.

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Equipment and Software / Re: BrewEasy
« on: May 23, 2014, 11:52:49 PM »
BrewEasy maiden voyage today, and she worked flawlessly.  Recipe calc as if BIAB to figure water volume.  Half goes up to the mash fun, half to the kettle below.  Connect it all turn on pump, add heat.  The volumes remain in perfect balance throughout or u can adjust if more or less liquid is needed in the mash or kettle.

Heating water is continuously recirculating til you reach your strike temp.  Close mash tun valve and shut off pump and burner.  Add grain, wait 10 min., then crank it up again.  Add more heat as needed under the kettle, which recircs up to the mash.  I did a continuously rising mash from 113 to 162 (Saison Dupont style) over 1:45 and this worked grrreat!  The temp in the mash never lagged further than about 3 degrees behind the kettle temp.  Mash out was easy.  Then shut off the pump and let the mash drain into the kettle.  Remove grains, then disconnect the drain tube and remove the mash tun.  If you've left the burner on the hole while, by the time the mash tun comes down you'll  be very close to boiling already.

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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.

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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??

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