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Messages - AmandaK

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP Tasting Exam....I Passed!
« on: March 20, 2015, 01:04:14 PM »

I could see value in at least having the proctors score sheets scanned and available. I would love to see the actual feedback but I can imagine that it would take more time.

How would the proctor sheets give you feedback? They are just there to help the graders.

Homebrewer Bios / Re: Bio - HoosierBrew
« on: March 18, 2015, 12:21:48 PM »
Welcome to the forum Jon!  :P

Ingredients / Re: Water Water everywhere
« on: March 18, 2015, 12:20:55 PM »
Why all the hate for 5.2?

I think you answered your own question here:

The whole concept of a product that you add in one quantity to a given volume of unknown water is a flawed one I think.

Ingredients / Re: Water Water everywhere
« on: March 17, 2015, 07:46:54 PM »
Several things here:

1) Calcium levels depend on the style of beer. Look to the most recent Zymurgy for an article on Ca and Mg by Martin Brungard. The upshot in that article in regards to your question is this: 50ppm is the old way of thinking. What Denny says basically sums up the article.

2) Throw the 5.2 stabilizer in the trash. You can search around here for the reasons why. "5.2 stabilizer works for those who don't check their pH and doesn't work for those that do check it."

3) Look into Brunwater for water knowledge and water additions. It will help you to understand all this better:

4) Filtering for chloramines is not 100% effective. Campden tablets are though.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Books for noobs
« on: March 17, 2015, 04:56:12 PM »
How to Brew is probably the best intro book on brewing. But I think Charlie P's books (The Complete Joy of Homebrewing and Homebrewer's Companion) are more fun to read and a lot more inspirational.

I credit Charlie P with getting me wicked excited about the hobby. I read the Complete Joy of Homebrewing in 2 days and had my first kettle 2 days after that.

However, I also think I spent entirely too much time "RDWHAHB-ing" per his instructions and not enough time actually trying to improve my beer. YMMV of course.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Books for noobs
« on: March 17, 2015, 03:46:38 PM »
I agree with Denny. Since he is newer, some of these are either out of date or too technical. (Not that I don't own them all myself and find them to be fine books.)

I would personally start with How to Brew. It is an excellent beginner book.

From there, you can see where your brewing life takes you. Want to learn more about IPAs? Then Mitch Steele's book IPA would be great. Nerd out about doing well in comps? Then Gordon Strong's Brewing Better Beer would be your best bet. Want to brew crazy beers? Try out Denny & Drew's Experimental Brewing after you figure out how to brew a good base style. What to learn everything about water/malt/hops/yeast? Then grab the set of books for that.

Some of these other suggestions are like me suggesting The Principles of Brewing Science to my husband (who has no interest in calculus) when all he wanted was some light reading.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Newbie Judge Luck
« on: March 17, 2015, 02:47:18 AM »
When you have to nit pick over something like that, you know it was a good flight. :)

All Things Food / Re: Growing food - The Garden Thread
« on: March 17, 2015, 12:57:47 AM »
I'm more than doubling the size of the garden this year. Added a couple citrus trees and an arbequina type olive sapling.
Hey, same here! Just started tonight after work. Adding 4 more beds and 4 apple trees while taking out on useless tree. It was nearly 80 today! I can barely believe how beautiful it is here, but I'm taking advantage of it.

Stage 1: started! :D

And good to see you back euge!!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Newbie Judge Luck
« on: March 16, 2015, 09:01:38 PM »
Talk about luck of the draw...I was paired with a Grand Master Level 2 judge for my first time judging. 

Small world - my first time judging was also with a GM2! Granted, he was my tutor for the legacy exam and we had planned judge together for my first go at it... but still!  ;D

I'm glad you had a great experience and look forward to seeing your progress through the BJCP.

How many of the Pros here have attorneys?

As a friend who has a brewpub says - "Your first hire should be your attorney. The second should be your accountant."

Based on my interaction with breweries around here, the well though out ones with good funding all do.  But that's probably 25% of the breweries around here.  Most of them are underfunded one or two man startups that can't even afford to pay themselves, let alone an attorney.  Penny wise, pound foolish IMO.


We have plenty of new startups in KC. Only three I know of started with a lawyer, accountant, and trained/experienced brewer - outside of themselves. Those are (not so) oddly the ones I frequent. They just have better beer, which seems to stem from better planning.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Carbing Guinness clone with nitro
« on: March 13, 2015, 02:31:22 PM »
1) Do you know what mix your nitrogen cylinder is at? Or do you have all nitrogen?

2) If you have 100% nitrogen, then just carb with CO2 to 2 volumes, then push it with nitrogen for serving.

3) If it's a mix, then you'll have to do a bit of math to figure out what pressure to carbonate at.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Long Draught line balancing, Please help!
« on: March 13, 2015, 02:27:27 PM »
Highplains, I did a little write up here: that may be of interest to you.

I think (based on my recent experience) that using beer gas would be advantageous to your plan.

Pimp My System / Re: Redbird Brewhouse - There's Always a Project
« on: March 13, 2015, 02:20:26 PM »
So these barrier lines are both good and bad. I had a club member (who just so happened to be a draft tech) come look at it last night and he got me set up properly for the time being.

Here's the setup for anyone who is reading this in the future and may gain from my experience:
  • 14' 1/4" Micromatic Brewmaster II barrier lines:
  • 1/4" fittings and shafts throughout
  • Perlick 650SS flow controls
  • Running straight CO2 on two pressures (10psi & 15psi) for normal beers
  • Running what I was told was G-mix (75/25 CO2/N2) for the nitro tap
  • Keezer at 38F

Once I got the beers pouring after simply swapping out the 9' long 1/4" vinyl lines and not changing anything else, it was straight foam. Obviously, I lost a lot of resistance going from vinyl (0.85 lb/ft) to barrier (0.3 lb/ft). I poured without changing anything just to see what would happen. I wasn't expecting it to work, but wanted to check just in case the manufacturer numbers were off. I had read the Draft Quality Manual several times while building this thing, so the numbers told me that if I decreased my temperature and lowered my pressures I would likely be good to go with the 3psi difference in resistance, so I tried that.

Problem was this: even though I could get it to pour with an inch of foam on the beer, it was "coughing". For instance, the first 2-3 seconds of the pour would be normal, laminar flow. Then it would "cough" and sputter, then pour more foam. This is the opposite problem of what I had with the vinyl lines. The line beer would be a touch foamier than the keg beer, and it tasted like vinyl line, so we'd dump it. So why the coughing and sputtering?

What the DQM doesn't tell you is that despite all of the equations and numbers, you may just have to turn the pressure up. Greg (our draft tech) looked at it, listened to my process, and poured a beer. He went to the back, turned up the pressure to 17psi, and poured a beer. By the second beer, it was pouring perfectly. Dang - I never would have figured that out by myself.

Turns out that the low resistance lines were allowing the beer to flow faster in the line than the pressure in the keg would be able to keep up with. Turning up the pressure allowed the beer to flow out at a rate as fast or faster than the low resistance lines allowed. And with a perfect little cap of foam!

Now... well, my serving pressure is all fine and dandy, but I'm going to need to experiment with how low I can turn the serving pressure (currently at 17psi, and the keezer is moving up to 38F again from 33F now) and not have coughing. If I can get it low enough, then I may not have to move to a 70/30 mix of beer gas. Otherwise, I think I'm going to have to move to a beer gas mix from straight CO2. Not really a big deal in this area, but still something else to do. In the meantime, I have the gas turned off at the regulator when we are not drinking so everyone stays properly carbonated.

As for the nearly-all-foam nitro pours, I had it originally set at 35psi (because that's what the DQM shows you to calculate for G-mix), but had turned it down to 20psi to try and knock some of the foam out. It worked... a bit. Greg advised that the G-mix probably wasn't actually G-mix at all and was likely 65/35 instead of 75/25. So I turned it down to 8psi for now and I'll see how it is pouring later tonight.

So. Pros and cons of this draft system now that it has barrier lines:
  • No more nasty line beer
  • No more flavor crossover
  • More consistent flavor due to the above points
  • No more dumping line beer
  • Not intuitive to figure out
  • Might need beer gas

Keep in mind though, that this is a totally custom system. This isn't your standard "put shafts through a collar" type operation. These experiences may not apply to you. However, if someone is building a long draw custom system (as I have seen a few in the recent past on here) it may be of use to you.

Events / Re: National Homebrewers Conference Open Registration
« on: March 13, 2015, 12:58:16 PM »
I booked this last night also.  Does anyone know if they will let us chose which part of the hotel to stay in?

The Town & Country booking site had options for the areas around the hotel grounds. I opted for one of the towers as opposed to the gardens.

All Things Food / Re: Pretzels
« on: March 12, 2015, 03:01:42 PM »
So Bama, what stuffer do you use?

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