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Messages - smkranz

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I know there's been data that suggests homebrewing is on the decline and I read feedback that suggests a lot of homebrewers find they have too much beer to consume just by themselves, i figured maybe this could be another benefit as you could meet up with other users and/or just get your name out there to other users who may like your batches and want them on a consistent basis.

Not sure I understand the premise behind this.  Homebrewers who have too much beer on hand, are going to swap their homebrew with someone else for more beer?

I'd also be concerned, as a homebrewing user, that if I trade my homebrews with strangers for commercial beers, some local revenuer with nothing better to do could accuse me of selling my homebrew.  I might be paranoid, but I'm paid to be that way for a living.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Making a Black IPA
« on: September 19, 2016, 08:38:04 AM »
Try a grist with about 5% Carafa III malt.  Very little-to-no roasted flavors.  If you are a Beersmith user try searching for Black Friday IPA, I think I made it a public recipe.  It is scaled to my BrewEasy system.

Equipment and Software / Re: Keg Post Won't Come Off
« on: September 11, 2016, 11:06:10 PM »
I occasionally need to use a hammer and tap the wrench while holding the keg down firmly on its side, to get a post to loosen.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Reviews on all different Ales!
« on: September 09, 2016, 04:13:52 PM »
Shouldn't this go in the Commercial Beer Reviews board?

Homebrew Competitions / Maryland Microbrewery Fest. Homebrew Competition
« on: September 03, 2016, 02:11:58 AM »
Greetings, this is a plug for the 2016 Maryland Microbrewery Festival Homebrew Competition.  In its 9th year, the competition is an integral part of the annual festival by the same name.  The festival and competition will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2016 on the beautiful grounds of Union Mills Homestead in Westminster, Maryland.

Entry registration will be open for one more week, and closes at the end of business on Saturday, Sept. 10.  As of this writing, there are about 25 entry openings left.

We also have room for additional Judges, including novice and Provisional judges.  Judges get breakfast and lunch, and free admission to the Festival.  It's an easy judging point, as we have one morning round of judging and then you are free to enjoy the afternoon at the festival.

Question is:
1.   I'm worried that running boiling wort through my pump, the CFC, and back will dissipate so much heat that I will have a hard time keeping the boil up. I do use natural gas though. Does anyone do this and have any experience?
2.   I often use a large amount of pellet hops especially in whirlpool. I usually just throw the hops right into the kettle and do not use a spider or bag. Has anyone had any major problems with the CFC clogging?
3.   Any other better ideas for my system or anyone have a great way to do all this?

1.  The volume of your boiling wort should be plenty to keep any slight heat loss from circulation, from killing your boil.  Dial the valve off of the chiller back to a very slow flow.  All you need to sanitize the chiller and pump is heat, not a lot of flow. 

2.  If your chiller is a plate chiller, use a hop spider or a boil screen to keep as much of the hop residue and trub out of the chiller as possible.

3.  There are other ways to sanitize your chiller...boil it...put it in the oven...soak in StarSan.

I have sent Jenny an email asking for a copy of the Master Policy, so that I can make an informed recommendation to my club.  Couldn't West, or the AHA, simply post it?  Their FAQ says participating clubs do not receive the Policy, but rather a certificate.  That doesn't help an insurance claims guy like me assess what is and isn't covered, and what terms, conditions, exclusions, definitions and limitations there are.     Thanks.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Which counter-pressure bottle filler?
« on: July 03, 2016, 09:24:43 PM »
Getting a bottle filler to gratify your non-brewing friends is a generous act.  If that is your main purpose, then I'd recommend going with a bottling cane (with a spring-loaded valve at the end) shoved into the end of a picnic faucet.

But if you will also be bottling for your own use, I join those who recommend the Beer Gun.

Note that it is not a "counter-pressure" filler.  It allows you to purge air from the bottle and fill on CO2, but it does not fill under pressure.  I've had several CP filler models over the years (all no longer available), and the results I get with the Blichmann Beer Gun are at least as good, with 25% of the hassle.

I've not tried any of the morebeer type of CP fillers.

Events / Re: Free State Homebrew Guild at Craft Beer Kickoff
« on: June 04, 2016, 03:16:27 PM »
The Guild is an un-official "umbrella" group of stand-alone homebrew clubs throughout Maryland.  I am not on the local committee, but the AHA asked if Guild member clubs would consider pouring on Thursday during the Kickoff party, because they ran out of available space for Club Night.  We were each given the option to switch nights.

I believe that all of the Guild member clubs except us (Midnight Homebrewers' League) are pouring on Thursday instead of Friday.  We opted to stay with Friday, because a few of our members who have beers being served at Club Night, will not be in attendance on Thursday.

Beer Travel / Re: Stillwater in Baltimore
« on: May 30, 2016, 03:31:11 AM »
There is s bottle shop at of Love & Regret.  Only been there once, and we weren't shopping for bottles.  But the web site says so, so it must be true.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Anyone used this keg volume indicator?
« on: May 28, 2016, 01:24:07 AM »
For the kegs that matter to me, I tare the empty weight (~8lbs) then weigh the keg and calculate the mass, and hence volume of beer via the FG. #sciencegeek

I love the convenience of eyeballing a keg with the little orange ball on the outside.  My two kegerators each have 4 kegs in them.  I can always feel how relatively heavy they are by trying to lift them (bad shoulder permitting), but pulling them out to weigh them would be a royal PITA, especially for the two kegs in the rear.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Anyone used this keg volume indicator?
« on: May 23, 2016, 05:54:38 PM »
The Ball and Keg level indicators work, I have them in 4 or 5 kegs.  As noted previously, they are probably most useful in a kegerator where you can view them from the front, rather than a keezer where you are looking down on them from the top.  If there is enough space in between kegs in a keezer where you could get a good look, I suppose they could be useful there too.

They included a bunch of extra colored steel indicator balls, and I haven't lost any of them yet.  It's a bit tricky to mate the indicator ball with the float inside the keg, but it's just a matter of practice.  The only other trick is to position the keg, once the balls are installed, so that your gas and beer lines inside the kegerator don't touch the indicator ball when you open or close the fridge door, which will most surely knock the ball off the side of the keg.

For use exclusively on a jockey box, I would go with the most basic inexpensive chrome faucets.  You'll be serving behind a table and guests walking up will see the back of the jockey box and won't even see whatever shiny hardware you are pouring from.  There won't be any sticking issues for the short term use of the conference, or a camping trip, group brewing event, etc. 

But if there's a chance you might go the kegging route at home, and you could deploy these faucets for every day use, it would be worth spending the extra $$ for stainless front-sealing faucets.

Events / Re: Skipping the banquet at HomebewCon
« on: May 17, 2016, 01:21:19 AM »
None of my NHC entries advanced, so we got a refund on our banquet tickets, and I also plan to cancel our Saturday night hotel room.  The Spousal Unit wants to just head home after the Saturday seminars are over, but I am lobbying to spend some of our savings on a great dinner at Woodberry Kitchen with another couple, then heading home.

Equipment and Software / Re: Configuring a wedding beer bar
« on: April 30, 2016, 11:32:33 PM »
You won't necessarily have foaming problems due to warming beer lines as long as the beer is flowing fairly frequently at your wedding.  Standard beer lines (3/16" I.D.) are thick-walled and will help keep the beer inside them cool between pours.  But obviously the longer the beer sits between pours, the warmer it will get, then you might get a couple ounces of foam.  So, just have a dump bucket ready.  For your purposes if you can't actively refrigerate the lines, you could help them by buying some small-diameter pipe insulation to wrap the beer lines in it.

Keeping the kegs in a tub or buckets with ice will be good.

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