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Messages - micsager

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Equipment and Software / Re: Blichman top tier
« on: July 22, 2010, 07:16:55 AM »
I've been thinking about getting the top tier as well. Have a b-day coming up and will use any gift cards to help with the purchase. my current setup, which really isn't a set up at all, is getting old. i've seen several posts on other forums where people bash the stand. well, i'm not a welder or builder and this will suit me just fine. i saw it in action at nhc 2010 and talked to John Blichmann about it several times.  Let me know how it works out and how the pipe setup for the mulitple burners goes.


Will do Adam.  I'm tracking it on the Fedex website, and it'll be here tomorrow.  So of course I'm taking the day off work.  LOL

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Beer Gun vs. CP Filler
« on: July 18, 2010, 07:49:03 AM »
I have the BBG and really like the performance. I suppose if you need the money, the CPF will do the job but you won't be able to purge with CO2. That's the only real difference. If you can come up with the extra cash the BBG will be worth it for you in the long run. It's very easy to use and maintain as well.

I have the beer gun too.  I love.  Yea, it's a bit pricey.  And I don't bottle all that much, but it's a very well designed, easy to use device.  If you got the $$$, but the beer gun. 

Generally, the first time a brew a beer, I will brew the style form JZ's book.  then, I start "tweaking."

+1 on that!  I usually use a recipe - either from "Classic Styles," BYO, or one my my clone books, and then go from there.  I find that JZ's recipes usually give me a good foundation to work with.  I will be guaranteed to make something at least drinkable the first time out with a recipe, which is not the case if I do one from complete scratch.

I never used to be a big kit user, but have recently started playing with them - NB makes some fine kits!  If it's a style I don't brew a lot or am unsure of, I might hit a kit.  Example - a couple buddies helped me roof the garage last year.  They both like Wits, but I'm not a big fan.  So, I bought NB's to brew them for a thank you.  Gave them most of it and saved a 12'er for myself.  I've also found kits to be a little more "economical" in that I'm not left with a lot of odds and ends of specialty grains and hops laying around - you get what you need.  I might be doing a few more of them in the future.  However, I do like adjusting a recipe to my specific tastes - that's why I brew!   ;D

Here's an online store:

That will allow you to create your own "kit." 

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Sterilizing kegs
« on: July 15, 2010, 11:08:35 AM »
I was curious as to how everyone sterilizes their kegs. Seems straight forward, but apparently not so for me.

I've had this perpetual problem where some of my beers are being slightly infected with what I think is lacto. I've determined that it's likely the kegs because I just tried some from the keg, has that sour twang to it, and the bottles (that I was saving for competitions now that I'm actually starting to do that) didn't. You're probably asking if I tasted it when I bottled/kegged it as well as take the FG: yeah, I did. I just don't remember tasting the twang, though I've discovered I have a hard time picking it up in a non-carbonated and warm beer, as I've kegged beer that was clearly infected and didn't really notice it at kegging time, so who knows.

I store my kegs filled with water with a couple cap fulls of iodaphore, clearly this doesn't seem to be enough. Every keg that I go through now I'm washing with PBW, boiling the posts, and running a torch along the dip tube to make sure anything that's in there is DEAD. Then running a gallon or so of star san through it, and storing it with the star-san and giving it a shake every couple of days. I haven't kegged anything since I started this regimen, I'm hoping it'll be enough .. this is miffing me off, I'm likely going to pour out 10g of american amber that actually came out reasonably good, and I just finished a pale ale that had a similar problem and just wasn't that enjoyable, I just had a hard time dumping it. I'm now past that point.

Not to be picky, but we sanitize kegs.  We do not sterilize them.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Membership Levels?
« on: July 15, 2010, 11:06:07 AM »
I think you should have your own category Denny......Over 2000 posts?   :D

The "Has No Life" category?

Helping us newbie's is a good life.  (at least for us)

Generally, the first time a brew a beer, I will brew the style form JZ's book.  then, I start "tweaking."

Equipment and Software / Re: Blichman top tier
« on: July 15, 2010, 09:26:53 AM »
Wow... my search for "Blichman's top tier system" revealed this very thread- first on Google.  :o There's a natural gas conversion kit (nipple) for $4.99 on Northern Brewer. Interesting...

I actually purchased it from Northern Brewer.  $8 for shipping something that heavy is quite a deal.  And the actual system componets are the same price where ever you shop. 

(I still can't wait) 

Quote from: punk link=topic=2741.msg31274#msg31274 date=
I have been looking around for a cheap legal 1/2 barrel keg for brew pot.  I have looked at Sabco and  Are there any other/cheaper places for keg brew pots?

Check with your local brewery/brew pub. They sometime have damaged kegs that can't be repaired but still make good kettles.

And let me personally thank you for going the legal route for a converted kettle. Lost cooperage is a major issue in the craft brewing world.


I'm with ya on the moral use of used kegs.  I've purchased many used kegs on craigslist and such.  I have 7 of them out in my shop.  Can I get a deposit, for a keg I did not pay a deposit on?  I'd love to get these kegs back into the system. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Blichman top tier
« on: July 14, 2010, 05:48:45 PM »
What got me was an out of town trip, and the LHBS in that town had one on display. 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I have talked to Milwaukee Brewing Company and they did not have any damaged kegs.  I will try a few more locate craft breweries.

In green bay is the place that repairs all the nation's sankey kegs.  I'll bet they ahve some "non-repairables' around.      

Here's their website:

Equipment and Software / Re: Blichman top tier
« on: July 14, 2010, 03:22:59 PM »
I'm thinking of purchasing Blichman's top tier system, as my self-made flat system is on it's last legs, and for less than $1,000 this would be turn key to make things right in the world. 

Anyone have any comments good or bad about this system?  I would get three burners and pump form HLT to mash, but then gravity to boil pot.  I also use a RIMS process and would like to continue that. 

Well, I pulled out my AMEX and ordered the top tier system with three burners, and a pump mounting bracket. 

I can't wait. 

I loved it so much, I'm brewing the Widmer W10 recipe from BYO once again this weekend.  I do add oak chips to the fermenter though.

Greetings all!

I will be makeing a trek from Michigan to Portland On the week of July 16th to 25th and touring the upper Oregon and lower Washington area. 

Is anyone aware of hop farms giving tours during that week?  I would love to visit acers and acers of hops, and maybe even see some of the equipment. 

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!!!

Welcome to my back yard!

The advice on HOPSDirect is terrific.  If you come as far north as Yakima, check out the area by 1st and D streets.  There are three of four hop processing plants that may give tours.  I know one has a company store of sorts.

For fields, if you take highway 24 East out of Yakima, you will drive five miles and see nothing but hop yards.  Too bad you won't be in town on Oct 2.  Fresh hop festival in downtown Yakima.  All brewers have to bring at least one beer brewed within 24 hours of hops coming off the vines.

I hope you enjoy your stay in Washington.

Lot's of opinions on this subject, for sure.  I helped stewart one competition, and have entered two.  I enjoyed the feedback on both I entered, and it was interesting to see how a comp is run by stewarting. 

All I will say is the folks that do judging, and run the competitions are terrific.  They get nothing out of it, other than the good feeling of being a home brewer. 

If you don't like the system, get involved, and work to change it from the inside.  Like many have said, it's easy to whine about what's f'ed up. 

I'll have to watch this when I get home from work tonight.  But, I did brew the W10 recipe from the current BYO article.  Tried the first few pints last night.  Whatever you call it, whether or not it get's it's own catagory, it is a tasty beer.  I modified the recipe just a bit and added french oak chips to the fermenters.  

I've brewed about 100 gallons so far this year, and this is certainly one of the best.  It will be part of my regular rotation.

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