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Messages - narvin

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The Pub / Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« on: August 07, 2010, 07:24:16 AM »
Ostracized?  That's really counter to what we're trying to do here.  As a matter of fact, let me be the first to welcome you and say that we all look forward to your contributions!

Yet further up in this discussion thread narvin posts a rather scathing message about the individuals who would rather read the email. Yes, I am one of them but for the simple fact that I was always able to read TT on my BlackBerry when I had down time during the day. Contrary to what narvin would believe, I have moved past 1200 baud into something a little faster.

And conversely, it's kindergarten over here, where only people who play on the Internet all day can make sense of the chatter.  And the information is no good.  Have I summed up the arguments against the forum accurately?

I understand that people are used to the email format, but anyone who actually took the time to look at the forum would know that the level and depth of the information presented here is as good as in Tech Talk (better, and less repetitive, in my opinion).  I keep hearing the quote of 2500 readers per day, but the day that the transition was announced, techtalk had only 2 new brewing topics and 4 replies.  I would not consider that a veritable font of brewing information...

The Pub / Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« on: August 05, 2010, 07:05:00 PM »
If you think about it, the forum is nice only for people who sit in front of a computer all day, but what about the rest of us?  When we log on to the AHA Forum and want to see what we missed over the past several hours, we need to wade through a lot of +1 on your mortgage and way to go majorvices and never get to the denny level before we find a recent topic of interest.

So there's too much information?  You can pick and choose specific sections to read if you want to avoid the pub chatter.  And why does it need to be recent? You don't have to follow it linearly -- there's a great search feature that will let you find whatever information you need.  I find the questions and information on Tech Talk to be more repetitive because of the straight Q&A format.

To be blunt, if Tech Talk were popular enough to be worth keeping, you'd probably think it was too long and cluttered to read as well.

Ingredients / Hops - how old is too old?
« on: August 05, 2010, 10:04:48 AM »
I have some Chinook hop plugs that I'm thinking about using.  They're unopened and completely vacuum packed (no space for air inside), and they've been in my freezer since I bought them.

They're the 2006 crop, packaged in October of 2007.  I wouldn't use leaf hops that were this old, but I feel like the plugs keep much better.  Any opinions?

The Pub / Re: The Demise of TechTalk
« on: August 05, 2010, 10:01:15 AM »
The people complaining would probably prefer to be reading brewing news via UseNet over a 1200 baud modem connection to their local BBS.  Some people can't deal with change...

No need to apply excessive pressure, IMO.  Let the tool do the work!

The step bit that I purchased didn't need a pilot hole. Also, I found that cold water from the garden hose worked as well or better than any cutting oil.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Smack Pack Variability
« on: July 30, 2010, 01:59:48 PM »

As it turned out, the starters took off just fine and so did the Old Jubilation fermentation. Wyeast comes through again!  :)

And the smack pack concept is proven pointless yet again  ;)

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Smack Pack Variability
« on: July 30, 2010, 06:42:33 AM »
Because if the White Labs vials were different, you'd never know? ;)

You jest, but it probably does cause a lot of trouble for LHBSs.  In reality, the yeast is usually still good, and they should probably be making a starter with it anyway.

The Pub / Re: If NAB buys Magic Hat...
« on: July 28, 2010, 10:20:36 AM »
And big breweries can brew "craft brews" eg beach bum blonde ale. 

So, any beer that isn't an American Light Lager is craft?

I'm not saying that "small, independent, traditional" is the perfect definition of craft beer, but this makes even less sense to me.  Craft beer is not a style of beer.

The Pub / Re: If NAB buys Magic Hat...
« on: July 28, 2010, 10:10:51 AM »
In my part of the world Unibroue was bought by Sleemans, which was bought by Sapporo.  IMO, you don't buy a brewery like Unibroue (or Magic Hat) and start monkeying with their product to push out fizzy yellow water.  There's enough of that on the shelves already.  A big brewery buys an established small 'craft' brewery to get their foot in the door of the fastest growing segment of the industry.

I would expect NAB to take a hands-off approach when it comes to daily operations.

That's what you'd hope, but look at all the historic breweries in Europe that closed once they were purchased by InBev, and how the beers aren't the same anymore.  I'm not saying it's a matter of time for Unibroue, but... well, maybe it is?

The Pub / Re: If NAB buys Magic Hat...
« on: July 27, 2010, 10:47:08 PM »
They're no longer micro, independent, artisinal, but they're still craft?

These guys say otherwise.  And they have the domain, so that must count for something  ;)

The Pub / Re: If NAB buys Magic Hat...
« on: July 27, 2010, 05:26:19 PM »
If it's the same beer, why isn't it craft beer any longer? It's the same beer!

Not that I think Magic Hat is really doing anything for craft beer, but that's a little bit naive.

Aside from the market pressures that can cause a large corporate owner to change the recipes/product line/distribution of a subsidiary, there are other more obvious impacts.  Look at how InBev closed the original Hoegardden brewery, or how Old Dominion in VA (bought by investors including AB a few years ago) has just closed their operation there to consolidate to a larger plant.  Even if the beer is great  (and that's a big if), big companies have investors and the motivating factors are different.  It could be good, but it's not craft.

Equipment and Software / Re: Counterflow chiller - slow throughput
« on: July 27, 2010, 07:36:11 AM »
Here's a couple things to consider: I used a CFC for several yeast before actually switching to an IC. I like the IC a hell of a lot better. First, it is way, way easier to sanitize (slip it in last 20 min of boil - DONE!) Second, you can cool while you are lettting hops and trub settle - otherwise, with the CFC you have to let it sit for 10-20 min. at close to boiling temps and you are utilizing hops, changing your BUs and - if you have the kettle covered - trapping SMM which converts to DMS. Which you don't want. With an IC, you can simply stir a few times and have your wort cooled past the "danger zone" of SMM and hop utilization usually within 2 - 5 min. depending on your water temp, maybe 10 minutes during dead of summer.

As for you CFC - you are going to probably need a pump to utilize it properly. But if you do have a pump you are better off recircing with an IC anyway. So, a CFC is (IMO) no where near as good as an IC anyway!  ;)

I'm going to respectfully disagree  ;)

First of all, commercial brewers do a hot whirlpool for at least 30 minutes, so I think this whole "chill your wort right after flameout for best results" thing is bunk.  Not only does this not harm their beer, but some recent experiments have shown the importance of this hop "stand" for aroma and flavor in hoppy beers.  Search for hop "stand" for more info (or go here:  Matt from Firestone Walker also mentions on the Jamil Show that they get significant aroma AND IBUs out of their whirpool addition, and they make a fantastic IPA.

As for the rest of your comments, it all depends on the logistics of your setup.  If you have a good height differential between your kettle and the fermenter below it, you can absolutely use your CFC without a pump.  If you have a pump, you can recirculate the hot wort to sanitize, but there's no reason you have to recirculate once you start chilling.  And you have to sanitize the pump anyway... it's free to sanitize the chiller at the same time.  I've upgraded to a plate chiller (a similar type of heat exchanger), and I get within 2 degrees of groundwater in one pass.  I prefer not to recirc, either, since it takes longer.

YMMV in terms of how easy/quick it is to sanitize and chill in your system, but there's no reason the immersion makes better beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Congrats, Majorvices!
« on: July 26, 2010, 05:55:12 PM »
Never thought I'd be saying this, but... I wanna take a vacation to Huntsville, Alabama!

Equipment and Software / Re: FG from Refractometer Readings
« on: July 20, 2010, 06:00:06 PM »
I've noticed that the approximation for abv ends up about 3 gravity points low for me.

In the spreadsheet? Low relative to what? It uses an approximation based on real extract, so it will be lower than (OG-FG)*131, but also more accurate.

Have you investigated how accurate your refrac is against a hydrometer on sugar water?

Yes, I calibrate using both water and a 20% sucrose solution. My hydrometer is two points low for both ("paper slip", presumably) but the refractometer is dead on at 0.0 and 20.0. In your case, are you sure it's the refractometer that's off, and not the hydrometer?

My refractometer is low compared to the promash calculation... I just attributed it to being low in general.  My hydrometer is accurate with distilled water, so I trust it, but i'm not positive which was correct. 

Equipment and Software / Re: FG from Refractometer Readings
« on: July 20, 2010, 07:38:48 AM »
I've noticed that the approximation for abv ends up about 3 gravity points low for me.  However, I also did a series of tests against different concentrations of sugar water and the gravity according to my refractometer is around 0.4 brix lower than my hydrometer.  This implies that there's some systematic error in my unit.

Have you investigated how accurate your refrac is against a hydrometer on sugar water?

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