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Messages - Alewyfe

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Events / Re: Homebrew Conference T-shirt
« on: March 06, 2016, 08:14:54 AM »

Events / Re: 2016 Homebrew Con
« on: March 05, 2016, 06:00:19 PM »
You guys are a stitch! Klickitat Jim for King...and I want one of those Conn shirts.

Events / Re: Homebrew Conference T-shirt
« on: March 05, 2016, 05:42:48 PM »
You ol' dinosaur you! I suddenly don't feel so alone. Still irrelevant, just not alone  :-\

Equipment and Software / Re: refractometer question
« on: March 05, 2016, 05:23:28 PM »
Spend some $$. There is no such thing as good and cheap in a refractometer. Most of the ones sold by the HBS are too cheap. The handheld ones that are good come out of the wine industry suppliers and run upwards of $80 to $100.

I had one I paid about $40 for and it drifted like crazy and rarely matched a good old glass hydrometer. I was given a Milwaukee digital model (they run around $100 I think) and it is a thing of beauty. Rock solid. calibration is a snap....though it rarely moves, and it's very fun to use. I buy sterile, individually packaged disposable pipettes, they're like $5 for 100, so tracking gravity on fermenting worts is actually a pleasure rather than being a PITA.

All Grain Brewing / Re: New Aluminum Brew Pot
« on: March 02, 2016, 06:21:30 AM »
wash it well, no conditioning needed. It will ultimately form a bit of a  patina on the inside. Do not try to remove this using anything abrasive. No wire scrubbies, use only plastic or the green sponge scrubbies. This oxidized layer is actually fine and imparts no off flavors. I've had a 15 gal heavy aluminum pot since the 80's and it looks grungy, but works perfectly.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Crazy Idea
« on: February 09, 2016, 05:09:48 PM »

What happens if I take two American Pale Ale No Boil Complete 5 gallon beer kits and combine them to make 5 gallons
You'll make really strong beer if it works.  If it doesn't you'll make a high alcohol syrupy mess. 
You have a strong chance of making something very bitter, or with too much "specialty malt" flavor (roast, caramel, etc).  Doubling recipes works if you increase all the ingregients, including water.  Doubling all the ingredients EXCEPT the water may overload the beer with hops or specialty malt.
Make sure the yeast you use has high alcohol tolerance.  If you get through primary fermentation and you're bottling, there's a chance that the yeast may give you the middle finger and go on strike, leaving you with flat beer.
Consider just adding some simple sugar to your recipe to boost gravity: try a cup or two for starters.
Or don't.  It's only beer.  I did a "high gravity" beer for my second extract batch.  Turned into lawn fertilizer.  I learned some things.  I tried tripling the amount of crystal malt in a beer for my second all grain batch.  Turned into lawn fertilizer.  I learned some things. 
Years later, I'm still learning with each batch, but make much less fertilizer!

Just curious does the lawn look?

All Grain Brewing / Re: All Grain Starter Wort fail
« on: January 31, 2016, 04:58:38 PM »
You didn't do anything wrong. There's nothing wrong with a yeast starter a 1.025. It will make for some healthy yeast, but you will have   to use more of it to get your proper cell count. You could have just boiled it down farther to get to a higher gravity. You don't have to add DME.  My procedure: 3lbs 12oz. Pils malt. 2 gals of water in a 4-5gal stock pot heated to 155F.  I have very soft water so my pH is probably around 5.6 (I haven't checked as I don't really care for this)  Put grain bag in pot with bunge cord around it to keep it from falling in. Stir in grain. Cover and set in 150F preheated oven for 1 hour. Take grain bag out and put it into another pot or pail with 2.6 gal. of 170F water and mix to rinse well. Combine the two worts. Bring to a boil with some yeast nutrient until I get to my desired OG of 1.034-36, (I turn the burner way up and boil really hard. I can get to my desired gravity in about 15 mi.) then transfer to your hot sanitized mason jars and process. I process quarts for 1/2hr at 15# pressure.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lager starters
« on: January 28, 2016, 09:49:25 PM »
Denny, Thanks for the quick feedback oh ye of no life. I kind of was thinking that, but you never know. There are some great lager makers out there and I just thought  it would be fun to ask if anybody is even concerned with starter temps.

Yeast and Fermentation / Lager starters
« on: January 28, 2016, 09:27:32 PM »
What's the consensus on making starters for lagers? My ales always get thrown on the stir plate at room temp. I toss all the beer away and just pitch the yeast cake. I got to thinking, would it be a mistake to ferment lager starters at room temp? Rigging a stir plate in a temp controlled environment would be a bit of a pain for me.
Certainly I could put it in the coolest place in the house. How important do you think it is to actually grow the starters in the low 50 degree range?

We started a small focus group in our club to gain mastery of brewing German and Czech Pils and of course i want to make the best beer possible for the ultimate tasting meeting. I will have temp control for the primary fermentation and lagering phases. I just wonder how important that would be for the starter.

Be proactive. Don't sit in a corner by yourself. Clubs are really friendly, but you'll get the most out of meetings by attempting to introduce yourself to folks and find out about their brewing experiences. Find out where the club needs volunteers and make yourself available. It could be bringing a snack next time, clean up after the meeting, or helping to faciltate a future club event. There are no dumb questions, so ask away. If you are able to give advice, make sure it's sound. Good members make good clubs.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Need Club Membership Cards
« on: January 05, 2016, 04:46:41 PM »
We used Vista Prints and did a nice quality full bleed custom card with our logo and an area to write the member name, number, year and signature of club officer. They get a new one each year when they pay dues. It was less than $30 for something like 2500 cards.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Ah yes, winter brewing
« on: January 03, 2016, 02:30:31 AM »
Have to add about 5 degrees to the strike water to have it right by the time I add grain, but I love the chilling speed and not having to use ice in the winter. My darling hubby put heavy duty wheels on my brew kettle stand to wheel it into the laundry so I don't have to deal with stiff cold hoses if it's really cold outside. The most exciting thing now is wheeling it over the threshold without splashing hot wort all over.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Quick tips
« on: January 03, 2016, 02:21:55 AM »
Wooden clothes pins marked with 60, 30, 15 etc. can be clipped on to bowls, plastic cups or hop bags and whirlflock bag to keep you from missing an addition or forgeting which bag was which.

Empty paper grain sacks make great carboy covers to keep out light.

Wallpaper tray filled with sanitizer is great for racking canes, auto syphons and hoses than need sanitizing.

The Pub / Re: Flooding in the NW
« on: December 10, 2015, 07:13:39 PM »
60 miles south of Eugene and we are now just starting to see the really heavy rains. Until last night, everything seemed to be North of us. It came down buckets last night with very high winds. Douglas County has just issued some possible flood warnings as the rain here is to continue thru most of next week. Gonna be a soup making, baking kind of week for me and maybe a smaller brew that I can do indoors.

All Grain Brewing / Re: happy happy joy joy
« on: October 20, 2015, 04:04:26 PM »
Thanks for clarifying. Used to live in MN and enjoyed all of Summits beers, but that one was not in their line up then. Sounds like one I'd enjoy. Wouldn't have a good recipe for their Pale Ale would you? The ones I've found on line are not even close, so I'm in the process of refining my own. Have a couple comml bottles left that I'm hording for taste comparisons. The Summit site doesn't give much to go on. My last attempt was lacking the malt character (I'm going to add some Vienna next go and/or change the yeast)

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