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Messages - guido

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Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 30, 2014, 04:30:32 PM »
Yeah I was left with some egg on my face after the Philly meal... Kept telling my friends how great it would be... then that overcooked pretzel thing came out...

My wife and I are pretty discerning diners.  We didn't think our "pretzel thingy" was over cooked.  I did, however, have low expectations.  I thought the banquet at my last conference (Minneapolis) was mediocre at best.

Equipment and Software / Re: single tier vs. two tier brew structure
« on: January 21, 2014, 03:24:57 PM »
I know.  It's one of the great questions facing mankind.  Right now I have a 2-tier.  The HLT is gravity fed.  The pump does double duty as a vorlauf for the mash tun and to pump to wort to the BK.  I'm going to switch to a single tier this year, pooling my Lowes and Home Depot gift cards to buy Super Strut to build it.  I'm short, so it's much easier to have everything at one (low) level.  There were some good brew stand tutorials on YouTube that I'm using as a guide.

Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 15, 2014, 03:32:00 AM »

Perhaps a pub crawl could be arranged for Thursday evening after the Toast/Reception.  I know the idea was floated for Philly last year.

A pub crawl with hundreds of your closest friends

My closest, bestest, newest friends...

Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 14, 2014, 03:24:55 PM »
A few words
The 2014 NHC will be held in the DeVos center in Grand Rapids.  We have the entire center as I currently understand it so we have a lot of space. 

The Lottery.  A lot of thought went into this for the competition and the conference.  I believe you will see all Brewers Association events moving this way.  Why?  First and foremost, most ticket agencies can handle 10,000 requests in an hour, in the first 30 seconds --- No.  There will be no advantage to entering your request in the first hour.  Take your time, but also don't enter your request in the last half hour.  IMHO it is unfair to favor members that can be entering data into 10+ computers and hitting them as often and as quick as you can.    My hope is that we will not have to actually enter the "lottery" phase of buying tickets for the NHC.  Good luck to all.  You can blame me as a member of the Governing committee for this.  After a lot of discussion and input from AHA members this is the direction we decided to take to be fair to all.  As usual we will evaluate how well this worked and evaluate changes (if needed) for future events.

New this year is that all guests MUST be AHA members.  This can be a household membership which is (I believe) currently $22.  My wife wants to come so I have purchased this membership for her.

Last year, despite all the early problems, everyone that had expressed an interest in attending was given the opportunity.  The AHA refused no one to the current largest conference to date, Philly.  Offering more admissions, it is our hope that everyone that applies can attend. 

Pro-Brewers.  The welcome reception you all know about.  We are trying to spread the Pro's out throughout the conference and details are not finalized.

Thursday night on-the-town.  We have our Local Committee Staff working on that to ensure you can enjoy Beer City's hospitality.

Pre-Events:  We have some awesome tours in the process of being scheduled.  Bell's, Founders, plus many others.  Oh, and does anyone out there like sour beers? . . . . . . . .

Sour beers? This place is a two hour drive according to Google. Nice pictures.

Did I say only stop. . . . . . . .

Seriously, we are working on some awesome pre-event tours,  Come early and enjoy them. 

Grand Rapids,  Beer City USA 2 years in a row.
You will enjoy this one.

Perhaps a pub crawl could be arranged for Thursday evening after the Toast/Reception.  I know the idea was floated for Philly last year.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« on: January 11, 2014, 11:09:59 AM »
Add my vote to the not boil.  I've never put them in beer, but add them to the secondary of all my New England Ciders.

Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 08, 2014, 03:17:16 AM »
Looks like the website has been updated for Grand Rapids.  No hard dates except the lottery entry dates will be a week in February and notification and hotel registration in March.   It looks like the conference packages are just full conference and a banquet add on ($285 total).

Hope I find a golden ticket!

I saw the update.  Did anyone notice that there's no Pro Brewers' Night?  I'm sure there won't be a shortage of beer at the conference, but I'm going to miss it.  Good luck to all getting a ticket.

Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: December 22, 2013, 08:12:44 AM »
I read Gary's letter, and I understand his point:  it's difficult for many people to be available to register at an exact moment and then have the ensuing rush cause a computer crash.  (It's only through the grace of God that I got in for Philly.)  I would like to toss out a request if the AHA is going to the lottery system for the conference.  Could you please post the location of the next year's conference (2015) before pre-registration?  That might allow some people who are on the fence to be able to say "Next year's conference is  in my back yard.  I'll go in 2015" or  "I'll never be able to go to (fill in blank).  I have to try for GR in 2014."

Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: December 21, 2013, 09:39:40 AM »
So I was just recently looking at the latest issue of Zymurgy online and noticed that there was a small write up about NHC in Grand Rapids. It indicated a pre-registration over time but there is a chance of not being selected to attend.  Can anyone explain how this will work?  Also, when would one know if one is selected to attend through this lottery system?  I have never seen a conference utilize a lottery registration system.


Perhaps you're confused with the conference and the competition.  Hope so.  A lottery for the conference would alienate a lot of homebrewers.

The Pub / Re: Whiskey
« on: December 14, 2013, 03:17:10 PM »
I used to be a big fan of Makers Mark...until I found Woodford Reserve.  You can get a small bottle for around $20.  Great deal.

Yeast and Fermentation / Progress report on the "Crab Apple Sour Blonde"
« on: December 04, 2013, 07:24:46 AM »
This fall, I made a wild culture by soaking some crab apples in starter-strength worth overnight.  I waited about a month before tasting.  It was excellent, a nice mix of apple and sour flavors.  I pitched this culture into a 5-gallon batch made with lots of unmalted wheat.  I intentionally mashed low, hoping it wouldn't convert and that I'd have some starches for the bacteria.  I tasted the "Sour Blonde" for the first time.  It's almost too good, hardly any sour/funk flavors at all.  I'm hoping the souring bacteria will catch up to the yeast.  The gravity has dropped from 1.052 to 1.020 (although it didn't taste sweet), so I'm hoping there's something for the bugs to munch on.  I was thinking about gram staining a sample to see if any bacteria is present.  There was something that looked like a pellicle, but it's fallen.  Do I just leave this go and see what happens?  It's been about two months now.

I'm very grateful to have a great wife who is supportive of all the time and $$ I spend on this obsession.  I've known guys whose significant others were not so supportive (to say the least).

Gotta second that one.  Plus, she's really starting to embrace the homebrew/craftbeer lifestyle.  She had a great time at the NHC this year.  The hobby is so much more fun when the wife says "you need to start making 10 gallon batches."

Ingredients / Re: What's up with
« on: November 28, 2013, 03:37:55 PM »
I don't know if this is related, but in the past the site has been, with one h. Right now both domains seem to be working, but the storefront at, two h's, gives me an error.

Bingo!  Thanks!

Ingredients / What's up with
« on: November 28, 2013, 08:03:07 AM »
I tried to see what was available from, but when I clicked on order, I got an error message saying that their license had expired on this server.  Anyone know what the deal is?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dealing With Non-Homebrewers
« on: November 28, 2013, 06:53:39 AM »
My in-laws mock my homebrew and make yeast infection jokes.  They'd drink cat piss if it were in a Yuengling bottle, tho.  It used to bother me, but now I realize they're not worthy.  I never bring homebrew to family events. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 200 Micron Bag too Fine for Hops?
« on: November 24, 2013, 09:23:17 AM »
I've used the paint filter bags from Lowes/Home Depot.  They've worked well.

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