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Messages - gail

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: What's going on here? (Pic)
« on: April 28, 2010, 10:46:43 AM »
Looks like a very healthy, active ferment, no need to worry about the activity level but socalbrewer has the best advice for a blow off tube.  Until you're able to do that, keep replacing your airlock with a sanitized one.  Sometimes the yeast can harden up in those little holes, creating so much pressure from the CO2 being produced that it can blow your airlock to the ceiling (now that's a mess).  Not that it's ever happened to anyone I know... ;)

Some folks seem to be upset at the recapping and that setting these beers aside significantly affects the quality of their beers.  I personally don't see it, but I also have no practical experience with the judging.  Thanks for your response and observations.
All the beers going to mini-BOS have been recapped, usually very early on in the judges' tasting of the beer (at least I try to do it early to preserve the beer as much as possible).  That means all the beers going to mini-BOS essentially have a level playing field.
Do the beers change over time?  Yes.  All of them do.  Does the beer you're judging change over the time that you are assessing just one factor in that one beer?  Absolutely.  Beer is constantly evolving in aroma, taste, appearance.  
If you've ever judged or stewarded, I would bet you've seen how careful folks are with the beers--that has been my experience over many, many comps.  A level playing field for all of the beers has always been a primary goal of all the comps in which I've judged.
And YES, there were outstanding, fantastic, and downright incredible beers, meads and ciders this year for the 1st round.  Hats off to Janis and the regional organizers as well!

Ingredients / Re: Post your water report
« on: April 27, 2010, 01:06:32 AM »
...the water in many parts of Germany is hard.  There is are several hot springs in Weisbaden that you can drink from.  One had its mineral content listed, and the Na and Cl levels were very high, both around 2000 ppm if I remember correctly.  The Strontium level was high enough that there was a warning to drink no more than 1 liter per day!  

The RO water I buy is from Culligan machines at Meijer's in Wixom.  These tested at <1 ppm for all the minerals.  Feedwater is Detroit City water.  RO takes out about 98% of the minerals, so 2-3 ppm would be reasonable for a reading.  Gordon must have hard source water and a machine at Kroger that needs to be serviced.
All the more reason to stick to the beer in Germany...yikes...
As far as the Kroger RO goes, I guess if one really wants to depend on Kroger water, they should do as you did with Meijer water and test it to see.  I was truly blown away by those stats but the source water was ridiculously hard...unbrewable really...and he's won a couple of ribbons so I guess that Kroger water is working for him (once he knew how much hardness was remaining, just as you have done).  Got to know and understand your water (maybe a lifelong process).
BTW, still working on obtaining a new mineral analysis from Detroit/Dearborn.

Ingredients / Re: Post your water report
« on: April 26, 2010, 12:25:53 PM »
That's a lotta waters on that site, Jeff!  Curiously, they list ppm of Uranium and I got to wondering how much Uranium is OK...
I know a few good brewers who use bottled water (Poland Spring) and have done great beers with it.  It is especially easy on days like National Homebrew Day when you're lugging all your stuff to brew somewhere other than home.  Now that I'm learning more about brewing with straight RO, I'm less hesitant to use 100% RO in a brew and add some minerals back in.  RO is really cheap next to a "name" water.  However, I talked a little with Gordon Strong about this recently and he said his Kroger RO had hardness approaching 80 ppm but the water from his area is ridiculously hard so the RO is just perfectly manageable.  I always assumed that RO was almost mineral free but maybe Kroger's filters just don't get changed often enough?  That makes me curious about an analysis of other RO waters that are easily purchased at a local grocery.
Anyone have any info about this?

Ingredients / Re: Post your water report
« on: April 26, 2010, 12:53:29 AM »
For bottled water analyses, try  Looking around a little, I saw a number of commonly-used bottled waters, including Poland Spring.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Is the NHC for rich people?
« on: April 21, 2010, 05:57:11 PM »
I agree with you, Bluesman.  I also know that Gordon is a great brewer and puts a ton of work into his entries, just like I had heard Jamil went about it in previous years.  Gordon definitely puts in the time and the hard work needed to really have a shot at the Ninkasi.  Anyone who works that hard at it really deserves some payoff IMHO.  If anyone ever gets a chance to ask Gordon about what effort he puts into his competition entries, I believe you will be amazed.  At least I was.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mini BOS
« on: April 21, 2010, 03:41:24 AM »
Hopefully you're asking because your beer(s) did go to mini-BOS...
It means you had one of the best 10 or so beers judged by a judge team.
It means that the flight (category) was so large that it had to be split into a number of smaller "sub-flights".  Then the "sub-flight" judge team (usually 2-3 judges) felt that beer was one of the top one or two or three beers in the part of the flight they judged.  Then usually the top-ranked judges for that flight evaluate those top couple of beers from each judge team to see what beers should be ranked 1, 2, 3 from that flight (category) and sent on to the 2nd round in June.  It's called mini-best-of-show but really it's determining which are the best beers from a large flight and determining 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place--so going on to mini-BOS means it's actually "best of the sub-flight" and going to the next level of "best of flight (category)".
I hope that makes sense.  If you entered, good luck in the competition!

Events / Re: BJCP Dinner at NHC?
« on: April 19, 2010, 11:44:13 PM »
It is listed as an event on the schedule but no official word yet from the BJCP; last couple of years there was no posting on it until about a month out from the conference.  I saw Gordon this weekend, too, and meant to ask but got talking about other beer things...I have found it to be a very informative and worthwhile part of the pre-conference and one I'd highly recommend to all the BJCP judges who attend the conference.  Keep watch on the website: for info.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brewhouse efficiency 'stuck' near 60%
« on: April 19, 2010, 11:35:39 PM »
Sounds promising, MJ.  Please let us know how the beers turn out.


The Pub / Re: Favor
« on: April 13, 2010, 03:01:06 AM »'re both definitely in my thoughts and prayers, Keith.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brewhouse efficiency 'stuck' near 60%
« on: April 11, 2010, 01:54:01 AM »
Based on the amount of grain in your recipes listed, I'm thinking one issue is the sparging like what Tom suggested.  You're using a pretty small amount of water for all that grain, something like around .75 qt/lb for two of your beers for your mash, 1 qt/lb for another and about 1.25 for the others (very rough figures).  Your sparge amounts are even less.  Plus, I don't remember reading that you compensate for the water absorbed by the grains (figure on .1 gallon per pound of grain, or 1 gallon for 10 lbs of grain in your mash).  That's often added before the 1st runoff.  Here are some sites that will help with your volume calculations:

That said, and in addition to checking your water composition and pH, I'm wondering if your thermometer has been you know it's correct when it reads 149?  Mash efficiency can be hurt significantly by mashing at too low temp or not long enough to get full conversion.
I think I remember Randy Mosher posting or listing somewhere about the mineral composition of Chicago water (maybe in Radical Brewing?)

Good luck,

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brewhouse efficiency 'stuck' near 60%
« on: April 10, 2010, 12:45:24 PM »
In addition to Hokerer's questions, I'm wondering about the mineral composition of your water.  Your lightest beer reflected your worst efficiency and that might be a clue to a pH problem in your mash--if all your volume and hydrometer measurements are correct.

Events / Re: NHC Garb?
« on: April 08, 2010, 11:12:14 PM »
I think you'll find as with most things homebrewing - it is a relaxed crowd. Given the traditional online jokes I'm just happy no one does the whole "no pants" option.

The most people dress up for is the Banquet unless you're me. :)

And even at the Banquet, I'd say the dress seems to be something like "business casual" for most of the guys, not too dressy IMO, but the Banquet is the most dressed up anyone gets.  Pretty much anything goes, especially at Club Night.
See you there.

Ingredients / Re: Post your water report
« on: April 05, 2010, 02:48:33 AM »
Dearborn, Michigan from March 2009 (I'll update when I can get the new one from the city).  This report is from the Water Works plant, Detroit city water:

Mg   8
Ca   30
Na   13
Cl    10
Sulfate   31
Total Hardness   106  (CaCO3)
Total Alkalinity   87  (as CaCO3)
TDS   130
pH   7.28


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