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Messages - smkranz

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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.

Equipment and Software / Re: Custom Glassware
« on: August 08, 2013, 08:24:37 PM »
These folks do our club's engraved mugs (logo and member's name below:

Example:  Beautiful results with our fairly complex logo.  Very responsive, family operation.  I can't say enough good things about them, we place new orders about every 12-15 months.

(We get the Libby 12.5 oz. Deco beer mug.  No minimums, perfect size.)

The 6th annual Maryland Microbrewery Festival Homebrew Competition will be judged on the grounds of Union Mills Homestead (just north of Westminster, MD) during the 2013 Maryland Microbrewery Festival on Saturday, September 28.

All beer styles are welcome, except Sours.

Best of Show winner is scaled up and brewed for commercial sale (with the help of the winning homebrewer, of course) by Dog Brewing Company of Westminster, MD (the winner of the 2011 and 2012 Maryland Governor's Cup).  The winning beer is served state-wide on draft at Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants, and in past years has also been bottled for sales in area liquor stores.

Entries are welcome world-wide and will be BJCP-judged.  However, to be prize-eligible, entrants must either be Maryland residents, or a member of one of the Free State Homebrew Guild member clubs.  (Check out the Rules, another $4 will get you a local club membership if you're out of state ;D).

Rules and Registration here:


Equipment and Software / Re: Looking for large Cleanup sink
« on: July 22, 2013, 06:28:05 PM »
My stainless steel mansink along with the commercial faucet with diverter and hose spray thingy were bought new online.  Had them delivered to my plumber, who installed it in the laundry room.  They also installed the pump which is on the floor, because the house does not have a floor-level drain in the basement.  Holds my B3 12 gal. conical fermenter, buckets, kegs, etc., and I love it.

Total cost was fairly unreasonable ??? but what the heck, I really wanted it, and the Spousal Unit loves the fact that my entire cleaning, rinsing, soaking operations are now out of the kitchen.

Since installing, I also put a table in the corner to the right of the sink that holds my bottle tree and some other stuff, and also a wire rack which hangs down from above.  The rack holds pretty much anything (buckets, hoses, etc.), which I put up wet and they drip right into the sink to dry.  I also put a slash-guard on the left side to keep spray from hitting the water heater.

Zymurgy / Re: Shipping Woes...need a good alternative
« on: July 21, 2013, 02:54:34 PM »
With the USPS sucking wind these days, you'd think there would be an opportunity to talk to them at a higher level (AHA Board to USPS Board of Governors) to get them to approve (or request approval from Congress if necessary) shipping of beers to competitions.  More income for them, and a no-risk or B.S. alternative for us.

Maybe this has been attempted. 

Sorry about the image SNAFU (with our Webmaster, we get what we pay for  ;D ).  Hopefully they are both displaying now for everyone.

Classifieds / Club Night 2013 Commemorative T-Shirts Still Available
« on: June 30, 2013, 06:01:06 PM »
Our club produced a special edition commemorative t-shirt for Club Night 2013.  It features the original art work of our member artist Melinda Byrd on the front of the shirt, and the names of all Club Night clubs on the back, listed by State (at least, I think we got all clubs...just don't look too closely at the state alphabetization  :o ).  Our club's theme was Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.  We hope our booth and our beers were enjoyed by all.

If you didn't pick up a shirt from us at Club Night, this is your chance.  Upon request, the artist will also sign your shirt in permanent marker.

The front and back of the shirt are shown below.  The shirts are deep purple.  The front image below is the proof from our vendor, which is a little more blue than the actual shirt color.  Sizes available as of this writing are unisex Small thru 4XL.  Shirts are $25 each which includes shipping and PayPal fees (or $20 for local hand-off for cash).  100% cotton Gildan brand.

If you want a shirt, please send me a Private Message with the quantity and sizes you would like.  Include your email address, and we will send you a PayPal Invoice for whichever of your size and quantity selections are still available.  Shirts will ship promptly upon receipt of payment.

and this actual photo of the shirt back

Thanks, and Cheers!

Events / Re: Parking at NHC?
« on: June 13, 2013, 02:31:14 PM »
Dang...I think our club's plans just got easier (and cheaper).  Thanks for posting!

Classifieds / Re: Looking for NHC Banquet Ticket
« on: June 10, 2013, 12:36:49 PM »
I still have one available.  Please send me a private message if you still need one, and we can go from there.  My cost $50 is your cost.  Note, attendees to the banquet also have to have a conference pass.

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