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Messages - Alewyfe

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Thanks Denny
« on: September 08, 2013, 04:47:50 PM »
I started brewing back in the stone age....about the same time as Denny and remember him from the amazing new internet technology and the stone cool HBD. I loved the camaraderie of the club I belonged to then, but life got busy and I gave up brewing in '95. We later retired, moved to Or. and I was able to start brewing again in '08. Though there was no real local club where I live, Eugene was only and hour away and I decided to check out the club there. I came armed with all my old style guides,etc. to help with a local contest judging.

Guess who the first person to introduce themselves was.......Yes indeedy... The legendary Denny. He looked at my binder of stuff and said, "Throw that away. If you haven't brewed in that long, it's a whole new world."

Man was he right. The amount of knowledge available now is phenomenal....let alone the access to amazing ingredients, both in variety and quality. There has never been a better time to be a homebrewer.
Back then you were kind of considered a social deviant. Today you can actually come close to achieving god/goddess status and are surely the most popular person in your neighborhood.

With all of it's attributes and advances, one thing remains the same. Homebrewers are the best people on the planet. There are Dennys (well not quite) in clubs all over, that bend over backwards to promote homebrewing and help new comers feel welcome and comfortable asking questions. If you're new in town,
join the  HB club. You'll find lots of new friends in no time. Traveling across country or even out of the counttry? Bet someone on the forum would be happy to join you for a pint.

Denny, I raise a glass to you and to all the Dennys who go by other names. Thanks to all for your friendship and assistance.

Live long, prosper and go forth and multiply.

The Pub / Re: Bacon toes
« on: September 05, 2013, 05:57:39 PM »
Great gift idea! Thanks. ::)

The Pub / Re: Let the Games Begin!
« on: September 05, 2013, 05:52:11 PM »
The fascination with football totally eludes me.  Guess that just gives more time to waste in other stuff!

Fer shur!

All Things Food / Re: Tomato sauce
« on: September 02, 2013, 02:44:42 AM »
When it's cooking, I take a stick blender and kind of homogenize it. Just finished a batch of sauce and it looks great. No separation. If I leave the tomatoes in chunks it separates.

I'll try this but it already comes out of my mill as puree.

The tomatoes are piling up and it's almost time to make sauce. I use a food mill to separate the pulp and juice from the seeds and skin, then cook it down for several hours to reduce it to a nice thick consistency before canning. It tastes great but always seems to separate so that I have thick stuff sitting on top of my spaghetti and watery juice runs out below. What is the secret to keeping it homogenized?
Go with the flow, let it seperate and remove it from the watery portion....IMO.

Been going with the flow for years. We love our sauce. It's a weekly staple year round. But we'd like to improve the consistency a bit. It doesn't separate in the jar or when heated. It doesn't seem to separate until I put it on pasta or pizza.

Gmac, my "recipe":

1.5 bushels of plum tomatoes, strained through a food mill. This yields about 9 gallons of puree which I simmer slowly for several hours until it's reduced to a nice consistency, about 6 gallons.
About 6 large onions and a lot of garlic(can you use too much garlic?) are sauteed in olive oil until softened and added with 15 minutes left to simmer(cook like a brewer!) Sometimes we also add green peppers or wild mushrooms.
A big pile of fresh parsley, oregano, and basil are added at flameout.
Kosher salt to taste and can all but enough for dinner.
Everything but the olive oil and salt are homegrown. Great on pasta, lasagna, chicken or eggplant parmesan, or pizza, etc. I know some people simmer with soup bones for some extra umami and others sweeten with sugar.  But we like to keep it simple.

Never sugar, but I do add a few carrots and celery sticks, chopped very fine in the food processor to the Onion/Garlic saute. It really adds an undefinable but nice roundness to the sauce. Some red wine, I often use vermouth and finish with a few tablespoons of Brandy.....way tasty. And yes, it's my go to meal on brew nights too! or any other time I'm just plain hungry and tired.

All Things Food / Re: Tomato sauce
« on: September 01, 2013, 09:04:41 PM »
When it's cooking, I take a stick blender and kind of homogenize it. Just finished a batch of sauce and it looks great. No separation. If I leave the tomatoes in chunks it separates.

All Grain Brewing / Re: stuck mash on Blichmann Top Tier system
« on: August 25, 2013, 06:34:33 PM »
If your system flows fine on gravity, then Denny's suggestion of a grant is a good solution.

I don't have your system, but have encountered similar problems. Backing off the flow, even dramatically, I had a stuck mash every time. I have found that if I vorlauf the first couple of quarts or so by hand with a pitcher - no pump - I can pretty much avoid the problem. I have a very fine kettle screen on my mash tun, and it seems like the pump just draws down all the flour in solution and fouls things up. Once that's slowly and carefully circulated to the top of the grain bed, it pulls just fine without creating the vacuum. I'm not trying to emulate a Rims for temp control, but have found that recirculating the 1st runnings for 5 or 10 minutes ups my efficiency by a couple points.

Ingredients / Re: Blonde
« on: August 18, 2013, 07:54:39 AM »
To my palate, pils seems more bready-grainy than pale malt and is a flavor that I find very pleasant. Why not give it a try and see what you think? Maybe up your boil time to 90 min. to take into account the pils tendency to produce sulpher compounds.

Ingredients / Re: Blonde
« on: August 18, 2013, 02:42:06 AM »
Keep it low ABV and you'll have a lovely breakfast beer, or don't and you'll have a really mellow day.
After all, you can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning. ;)

I've decided I really like Blondes with some noble hops. A friend did one with Saaz and it was a winner, and Blonde is not a style I often like.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Who Uses a Blow-Off Tube and When?
« on: August 13, 2013, 05:33:32 PM »
5 & 6 gal. carboys = always
6.5 gal.carboy = rarely
8 gal. bucket & 15 gal. barrel = never

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Number of House Yeasts?
« on: August 12, 2013, 07:06:36 PM »
4-6 Ale yeasts on hand. I only do a couple lagers a year so I buy them fresh when I'm planning the recipe.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Final Round Scores
« on: August 09, 2013, 02:55:31 AM »
This is not at all unusual Frank. One speck of residue in a bottle can cause all sorts of carbonation problems.
I've stewarded at Final Round and judges have had a nice looking and tasting beer really gush badly. To give the maker the benefit of the doubt, they've requested the second bottle be opened and guess what? No problem with the other bottle. Your other bottles were probably fine. It was just bad luck they pulled a flawed one. Nice scores though and congratulations to you.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: advice on dry hopping
« on: July 26, 2013, 05:03:38 PM »
Another reason to love buckets.

The Pub / Re: One more reason to be impressed by Sierra Nevada
« on: July 23, 2013, 03:33:39 PM »
+1 to ruthless too.  Zymurgy Jul/Aug '12 issue has a great clone recipe I made that was excellent.

+ another 1  The real thing and that clone recipe are both memorable.

The Pub / Re: Kitchen re-do
« on: July 22, 2013, 04:26:42 PM »

I've gutted and remodeled 2 kitchens so far. After doing the first one, which I loved so much, I was nervous that the new one would never work as well. It turned out even better. My space was kind of small, no room for and island or anything like that. I wanted 2 ovens and gave up lower cabinet space to have them.
One is a 6 burner dual fuel Thermidor, it's only 36", but the oven is massive. It will take a full sheet pan.
The other oven is a built in 30". I also have a pot filler - don't use it as much as I could, but forget it's there. I do appreciate it come canning time when using huge pots. Another thing I did because of limited space is get a full size freezer compartment. I have a pantry in the laundry/mud room, just a few steps from the kitchen, and I have 2 large freezers in there. I added bay windows both above the sink, and in the dinette area. The one above the sink is great for plants, etc. and the one in the dinette doubles as part of the seating allowing us to push the table back from center and use the opposite wall for a mini fridge and bar sink that helps keep people out of the small kitchen area when entertaining.

Also, no microwave in the kitchen. That too is back in the pantry as it only gets used rarely. Left more overhead counters in kitchen area.

Last but not least, all under the upper cabinets has plug mould running full length. Never at a loss to find a plug in my kitchen, plus you don't have the receptacles ruining the look of the tile backsplash.

If you use your kitchen as hard as we do and have a wood floor, which we do, you'd better get used to the distressed look. You are going to dent and scrape it eventually.

Worst thing I did was let my lighting guy put in halogen undercounter light. I didn't want them, I wanted flourescent, but said he couldn't find any. (he didn't really try and I was impatient) Halogen are hot. A pain in the summer when you are trying to do pastry work. Fortunately, the kitchen is pretty bright without them.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: New Toy
« on: July 21, 2013, 04:53:17 PM »
My brew buddy has an Amscope, and several other people I know. It's more than adequate for cel counting
and a decent scope for the price. I have an Omax, also a cheap brand. It's OK, but smaller than the Amscope, so the controls are a bit harder to use. 

You don't need a digital to look at it on the PC. There are relatively inexpensive digital camera set ups that fit right on the eyepiece if that's want you want. As long as you've got decent light on the stage and around 400 power, counting is pretty simple. Identifying bugs is a lot harder, requires different stains and more magnification.

The quality of your hemocytometer wil make a difference too. Cheap ones work. More expensive ones are much easier to see cels on. Soemthing to do with the way the glass is ground I think.


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