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Topics - guido

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Ingredients / Using whole vanilla beans
« on: November 23, 2013, 02:47:28 PM »
I've never used whole vanilla beans before.  I know you need the alcohol to extract the vanilla.  I want to add some to a pumpkin beer that has a ( 5 gallons) Belgian dark strong as the base.  I want only a subtle vanilla flavor.  I was thinking about taking one whole bean, slicing it down the center, and leaving it in the secondary while conditioning.  Is this the right number, or should I add more.

Yeast and Fermentation / Wild culture: what is it?
« on: September 19, 2013, 10:53:19 PM »
My wife and I soaked some crab apples in starter-strength wort overnight to see what would grow.  After about ten days, the stuff on top looks like yeast, at least I think it doesn't look like mold.  Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

Ingredients / Bulk buys of grain for homebrew clubs
« on: August 18, 2013, 02:06:18 PM »
My homebrew club is trying to make a bulk purchase of grain, about 30 bags--perhaps 50 if we can get another nearby club involved.  The problem is that no one will sell directly to a club, only to a brewery or a LHBS.  I can understand that.  The dealers don't want the distributors under-cutting them.  Country Malt (I think it might have been North Country previously?), has a program for homebrew clubs.  The minimum purchase is 20 bags.  The purchase is brokered through a LHBS.  The problem is that the cut for the LHBS is so small that no shop here wants any part of it.  We even approached another LHBS directly to make our bulk purchase, hoping they'd cut us a deal.  Their prices were ridiculous:  $82 for a bag of MO, for example.  Has anyone had success buying grain in bulk? I fear the days of paying 30-something of a bag of pale malt are long gone.

Ingredients / Quality of Canadian Malt
« on: July 31, 2013, 07:57:53 PM »
Our homebrew club is working on a bulk grain purchase through one of the malting groups and a LHBS.  I got the prices on the malt--and the Canadian malts are considerably less, say 15 cents plus per pound, than the comparable malts from others, like Briess.  I don't want to switch from MO and German Pilsner for certain beers, but the prices sure are tempting.  I mean, the grain has to go through stringent QC, just like the others.  So it has to be good, right?

Pimp My System / Thinking about automation. Where to start...?
« on: July 17, 2013, 08:15:31 PM »
I think it's time to add some automation to my brew day I still want some hands-on), but I don't have a clue where to start.  I look at pictures of other homebrewers' systems, and people just assume everyone knows how these things work.  Are there any good websites, etc... to get me pointed in the right direction to learn about things like RIMS vs HERMS, temp controllers, Love switches, PIDS, low vs high pressure propane, and so forth?

Thanks in advance.

Equipment and Software / How to use a Ranco 2-stage Temp Controller
« on: June 23, 2013, 12:03:04 AM »
OK  The instructions seem easy enough.  I'm using a Ranco 2-Stage Temp Controller on a commercial 2-door lab fridge, which I'm trying to use as a fermenter.  The thing just stares at me.  I'm trying to cool to 65F and the ambient temp is 77F.  Everything seems plugged in the right way.  The fridge works.  Any suggestions.

Normally, I put a false bottom in my 10 gallon Polarware kettle to keep to the whole hops from clogging the ball valve when I make my APA's and IPA's.  This time, however, I need to make a bigger batch.  I have a 20 gallon Polarware kettle, but no false bottom.  I have a 45 degree copper pipe elbow (pointed downward, of course) that's threaded into the inside of the kettle.  Is there a simple, low-tech way to keep the whole hops from clogging the ball valve?  Yeah...I could bag everything, but I like the hops to be more "exposed" to the wort.

Events / Need AHA logo for banner
« on: May 30, 2013, 03:59:55 PM »
I'm designing a banner for our club to display at a local beer festival.  I want to include the new AHA logo, but the Google image ones don't have enough resolution.  Is there a link where I can download a respectably-sized logo?

Events / North, East, & West Pre-Confrence Tours?
« on: May 29, 2013, 09:49:00 PM »
From the looks of the NHC website, the Wednesday East, West, and North pre-conference tours are no longer listed.  I hope they weren't cancelled.  Seems that everyone wanted the DFH tour.

Beer Recipes / Witbier grain bill: Unmalted wheat vs flaked wheat
« on: May 22, 2013, 04:42:31 PM »
Is there a real advantage to using unmalted wheat for my Witbier rather than flaked wheat.  I understand that unmalted wheat is difficult to grind (it has to be almost flour, right), that I'll need an extended protein rest, and lots of rice hulls--just to be sure.   I've also heard that I might need 6-row for more enzymatic power.  But everyone says the wheat flavor and body is outstanding.  It's really tempting.

Homebrew Clubs / Do other clubs have this problem?
« on: May 07, 2013, 03:33:52 PM »
Apathy?  I know we'll never have a club like, say the Maltose Falcons, and I can live with that.  But I'm so frustrated with the apathy.  No one has any initiative. The officers have tried to encourage membership with discounts at LHBS, events, educational presentations, apparel, etc...  We're a stone's throw from the AHA conference this year.  I desperately wanted us to participate in club night.  There was no interest.  We have some great homebrewers, but my wife and I weren't about to single-handedly run our booth.  Sometimes, it seems like we're little more than an organized drinking club.  I've offered to put homebrewer bios and recipes on our newsletters and website to drum up interest and participation.  Crickets.  It's so frustrating.  We have annual dies of $15 and about 25 paid members.  We have a lot more who haven't paid. Our last meetings have had five and six attendees respectively.  Do I need to accept the reality that our club is what it is?  I'm grasping at straws here, folks.

General Homebrew Discussion / Am I being too picky?
« on: April 29, 2013, 12:54:56 AM »
I brewed a 12 gallon batch of Kolsch today.  I'm not used to my new 20 gallon kettle, so I had more boil-off than expected.  My O.G. is 1.060 rather than the 1.050 I was shooting for.  Do I dilute the wort down with some water to get a lower gravity for what I want to be a session beer, or should I RDWHAHB?

Beer Recipes / APA w/Galaxy and ?
« on: April 05, 2013, 06:53:25 PM »
I usually brew my rye APA heavily late hopped with Amarillo, Centennial, and Simcoe.  I'm planning on a different twist with some lots of late Galaxy hops instead.  I wanted to mix the Galaxy with another hop.  I thought of doing Citra for a kind of "2 hemisphere" APA, but I'm worried about the Citra overpowering the Galaxy.  If I go with a 1:2 (or even a 1:3) ratio of Citra/Galaxy, do you think that balance would work.  I'm open to another hop besides Citra, too.

Equipment and Software / Dry hopping in a keg
« on: February 26, 2013, 11:44:15 PM »
Has anyone ever dry hoped in a keg?  I like the idea that I can keep the beer away from oxygen.  (I pressurized the keg to 10 psi)  The hops are in a bag weighted with aquarium glass that's tied on a string to the keg lid.  The only problem I see is that I a hard time getting 2 oz. of whole hops in the keg.  My pale ales and IPA's are at least 4 oz. dry hops.

Events / Keynote speaker for NHC?
« on: February 22, 2013, 10:47:04 PM »
I'm hoping the keynote speaker for this year's NHC is Dick Yuengling.  Yeah, they're not a craft brewery (the lager is good w/hot wings), but they're the oldest American brewery (since 1829) and (I think) the largest family owned family.  Yuengling is synonimous with PA.  He's an excellent speaker, to boot.  Just my two cents.

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