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Messages - smkranz

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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.

Sent from my HP Slate 7 using Tapatalk

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??

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.

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