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Messages - mabrungard

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Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 11, 2014, 07:26:37 AM »

That makes sense that they'd keep you from gaming the system.

It actually doesn't make sense. How is a member going to bring a spouse or friend that is interested in homebrewing? And how is AHA going to handle the fact that when a member gets through the lottery and their partner doesn't, that means that a whole flock of members are not going to follow through and register. This truly is the dumbest thing I've heard.

How is the system gamed by having the opportunity to obtain two spots?

Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 10, 2014, 02:33:15 PM »
Can the Governing Board members report when the NHC 1st round judging site and date listing will be published? At present, we only know 12 locations and sometime late March, early April.

Events / Re: NHC entry problems : SOLUTIONS!
« on: January 10, 2014, 01:10:39 PM »
What do we get for that increase?

I think the only thing that the contestants can and should expect from that increase is that a better contest is held. I'm hoping that the extra dollars are going toward providing better support to the judges, stewards, and organizers that donate a lot of time for this great event.

Having contestants kick in a few extra dollars doesn't seem that outrageous. If the cost gets too high, contestants can maybe hold back on sending off that questionable beer and only send beers that they think are real winners. That is how supply and demand works. When the cost is under the perceived value received, that invites contestants to send any beer in. Unfortunately, I can bear witness that there are a LOT of poor beers sent to the NHC first rounds!

Here is to an even better NHC! 

Ingredients / Re: Dry hopping temperature
« on: January 08, 2014, 01:42:22 PM »

His response?  50*F and below!

I thought it would be 70*+.  His main comment was that it doesn't hinder the oils going into solution, and helps avoid a vegetal character, giving a clean hop taste.

Interesting. I too would have thought a slightly high temperature to be helpful. I typically dry hop at ale fermentation temperature, so that suggests that it may be a bit higher than desirable. However, I do only dry hop for 3 or 4 days and that may be a factor in the lack of vegetal notes. But now I'm going to have to try a lower temp for dry hopping.  Thanks for the info.

The Pub / Re: A Snow Day?
« on: January 06, 2014, 07:23:52 AM »
I was a little surprised when I was watching the game this weekend and they showed shots of the city and there was no snow.  I really expected Indy to have snow on the ground.  A foot of snow around here is just a you not get a lot of snow in Indy usually?

Yeah, there was just a dusting at game time. The dump came on Sunday. It looks a little different now. The Mayor closed the City to all non-emergency traffic. I guess I'm not going to work.

Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 05, 2014, 06:26:42 AM »
I attend with my wife who is also an AHA member.

You have it made with twice the probability of the typical member. Do remember that every attendee has the opportunity to include a guest, so you both can enter the lottery and if either gets both go.

Events / Re: NHC entry problems : SOLUTIONS!
« on: January 01, 2014, 07:52:24 PM »
Personally I am very disappointed with the imposition of a lottery to determine who gets to attend NHC.  I have participated in NHC the last three years and never had any issues getting registered right after the process opened up.   In my opinion it should be first come, first served basis. 

We can say that a lottery of sorts, was already in place. Those that were fast on the draw, won the lottery.

The activity crunch that this 'need for speed' created, really killed the AHA servers and put those who couldn't be on-line at the proper moment, out of luck.  I don't see a problem with a 'real' lottery. It seems much fairer and avoids the crunch.

Events / Re: NHC entry problems : SOLUTIONS!
« on: December 31, 2013, 10:51:30 AM »

3) I definitely like the service bit. I'm just worried that we'll get all of our 1st round locations flooded with stewards and not judges like the hope is.

This is an idea that I liked. Clearly, we need an adequate number of the best judges we can muster at the first round competition sites and at the final round. Unfortunately, judges don't grow on trees. Stewards are also integral to these competitions, but their trainability and availability are almost infinitely greater. I have a hard time justifying reserving competition slots to stewards, though. In most cases, they can be staffed with local talent. Judges are often needed from far away to adequately staff a competition.

With 750 entries per 1st round site, that suggests that it would be great to have about 75 judges to conduct that competition in a day with moderate strain on the judges (2 judges per flight, about 10 beers per flight, 2 sessions in the day). Stewards would be half to a third of that number. Hmm? maybe that minor number of stewards is not really a big deal.

What is a big deal is making sure that we get highly qualified judges to the competitions. I would love to see every entry judged by at least one Master or National judge. This competition is not the place to have to include novices. In the interest of fairness and the fact that we should get the best judges possible at the tables, I'm hoping that there is a limited number of Competition Service entries that will be allotted to each of the competition sites. Having two high ranked judges and an apprentice or unranked judge helps build experience and a future judging pool, but should that junior judge get a competition entry slot? I agree with Drew that the Competition Committee needs to make sure that the system is not gamed unfairly. Get the best judges to the competition and reward them with this low-cost perk.  PS: I still say that these judges should also get an automatic pick to attend the conference if they want it.

By the way, reading the entry limit information, 6 entries is the max and that IS likely to be reduced if the preregistration indicates that the overall number of entries is high. I suppose that the true number could be well less than 6.  Do I read that correctly?

Ingredients / Re: Honey Malt in Brun' Water
« on: December 31, 2013, 06:21:46 AM »
The good thing is that the acidity of base and crystal malts is somewhat close when the malts have similar color. If the honey malt is a minor component of the grist, I think you will find that it only makes a few hundreths difference in the pH estimate. It could be on the order of a tenth difference, if the honey malt percentage is high.

I don't know how to classify honey malt, but I am inclined to say it has been stewed to some degree to create that unique sweetness and that implies a crystal malt.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bo-pils frustration (saaz problem??)
« on: December 30, 2013, 02:14:49 PM »
I have a half keg of problem Bo-Pils at home right now. Its not terrible, but there is an odd flavor to it that makes its far less than stellar. The hops were Czech Saaz from Hops Direct. They smelled fine in the mylar bag.

The malt flavor is nicely pils-like and the hops are spicey and assertive. There is just that odd flavor that isn't right. I've had the beer in front of a couple of Masters and a half dozen National judges and there is no consensus as to the flaw or its origin.

With all of that said, I've been wondering if water has something to do with it. I've had discussions with AJ Delange about the effect of mineralization and flavor. Many of you know of AJ's concerns with the interaction of sulfate and noble hops. This certainly could be an example. For the beer under discussion, I created a pseudo-Bo-pils water profile that bumps the calcium content to 40 ppm and keeps sulfate at 30 ppm and chloride at 50 ppm. That is still a low sulfate content.  So I have to question if the anions are working against the flavor in this beer.

But then I look at the low calcium content used by a number of lager brewers. For some of the mega-brewers, they routinely use less than 20 ppm Ca. In addition, Bavarian brewers also use less than 20 ppm Ca. We know there are problems with having low calcium content in brewing water, but this does not mean you can't do it. You just have to work around those problems. So I'm thinking that boosting calcium content is not necessarily desirable in these light malt-oriented lagers. Possibly there is a flavor impact?

So those of you that have noted undesirable taste in your light lagers, review if your calcium and other ion content was a little higher. For those that had favorable results and they have diminished in subsequent batches, was the water profile changed? I would like to get more data points regarding this idea I've presented.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Trub and PH?
« on: December 29, 2013, 07:06:19 PM »
I don't know of a reason why trub would affect pH either. However, I'm wondering how you are predicting the pH?  There are some methods that are better than others.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Stouts - grain to glass
« on: December 29, 2013, 07:01:08 PM »
A lower than typical kettle wort pH is OK in a dry stout and that helps create its flavor. Other stout and porter styles tend to be better with a more typical or slightly elevated pH.

When you reserve dark grains from the main mash to avoid an overly low mash pH, you aren't avoiding a reduced pH in the kettle. The acidifying effect of the dark grain will still reduce the wort pH in the kettle. You can estimate what the resulting wort pH will be by checking the pH prediction with all the grains and minerals in the mash. If that is in the very low 5 or high 4 pH range, then you might want to include some alkalinity in your mashing water to help boost the wort pH to a more desirable range.

In the case of the OP, it may be desirable to use some or all of that dark grain addition to bring the mash pH into a normal range and delete the acid malt. That will increase the overall wort pH in the kettle.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: 34/70
« on: December 24, 2013, 10:40:41 AM »

Because my LHBS charges $8 for one sachet.

Unfortunately, you are being gouged. They are probably seeing their liquid yeast sales drop and are trying to offset that by inflating the dry prices. Fortunately, dry yeast is quite 'shippable'. So it may be time to vote your discontent by shopping for that component elsewhere. If you find more acceptable pricing elsewhere, do bring it to the attention of your LHBS and give them the opportunity to drop their pricing to a more appropriate level. Do support the locals as much as possible, but you do need to point out unfairness and the fact that the open market exists!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: This is what happens with you mess with PH
« on: December 24, 2013, 10:33:14 AM »
A pH drop from mashing to beer is common. Some yeasts are especially acidic. Ale yeasts always produce a lower pH than lager yeasts and some of those ale yeasts produce lower pH than others. I'm not sure about the Irish Ale yeast. 

The mashing and sparging pHs are a little bit lower than most beers need, but they aren't way out of line. I don't expect that they are responsible for the beer pH.

The ion levels in that water are fairly high. Why such a high calcium level? Although calcium is generally beneficial to the yeast, it does increase the yeast flocculation. It is possible that this helped drop the yeast a little prematurely. Warming the beer and resuspending the yeast may assist in helping the fermentation finish. Don't be afraid of heating the fermenter now since most of the fermentation and fermentation by-products have been formed (or avoided).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Astringency expected?
« on: December 22, 2013, 02:47:12 PM »
It shouldn't affect astringency, but it could increase the ester production and possibly fusel alcohol production.

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