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Messages - smkranz

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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.

Events / Re: Parking at NHC?
« on: June 10, 2013, 12:31:23 PM »
Some of our club members plan to caravan out to my dad's place in northeast Philly after we drop off our beers.  His complex has ample & free parking.  We'll meet there, consolidate ourselves and our stuff into one mini-van, maybe make a quick stop for some German coldcuts and landjäger and drive one vehicle to park down at the hotel instead of 3 or 4.

$20 for directions to his place 8)

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Judging at 2nd round NHC
« on: June 03, 2013, 06:34:59 PM »
I'm sure they will be formulating the judge assignments in the next few weeks.  I expect that we will hear something a week or so beforehand.

It would be quite nice if notice was received more than a week in advance.  If I'm not judging on Thursday I'd like to know sooner than later, so that I can fill the day with other things beery.

I like to occasionally enter comps in far-off locales just for grins.  I just hope their first legal comp is won by an Alabaman.
Would love to be able to swing a trip down to judge if they need judges.  But right after NHC might be a tough sell to the S.U.

Events / Re: Looking for an NHC 2013 Ticket...
« on: May 21, 2013, 07:00:10 AM »
Y'all need to use the Classifieds board.

Classifieds / Re: 1 NHC Awards Banquet Tickets Available
« on: May 21, 2013, 06:55:49 AM »
One banquet ticket is still available after all.  $50.  Send Private Message if interested.

Classifieds / Re: 2 NHC Awards Banquet Tickets Available
« on: May 17, 2013, 07:48:39 AM »
Yes.  :)

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