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Messages - rbclay

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Ingredients / Re: source for Invert Sugar?
« on: February 04, 2011, 08:20:23 AM »
recipes call for different colors of invert as well. you can do this at home too. the longer you cook it, the darker it gets. this can be a bit tricky and dangerous if you are not careful. you need to keep the temp under 235F if you want it to remain liquid. you get to the "harder" stages of candy at higher temps. you can find all these temp stages with a quick search of candy making.  you have to add small amounts of water to help control the temp and consistency. i did this for the first time last year. i inverted plain table sugar, dark brown sugar and turbinado (raw) sugars. used them in some brown ales. nice thing is you can keep them in a jar and use them later. you can also go the hard tack route. most Belgian Candi sugars are sold hard.

In addition to the issues in Asia and Australia (not regions where we get our bananas in the US), the Central and South American regions have had terrible growing conditions several months ago. It usually takes up to 2-3 months for those effects to affect our market. Too green bananas would indicate that they wanted to at least pick and send something to market, even if they aren't ready. But, it is also a sign that perhaps they did not use their usual chemicals to speed up the ripening process.
Organic bananas from Mexico usually show up a little green, but that is a good thing. No chemicals.

Eat local. Bananas should be a luxury in the US, but they are available for $.39/pound at convenience stores in Minnesota?!? Something is wrong with that. Thanks, but no thanks Dole, et al....

Eat apples. Of course, last years US crop was terrible in most places. Oh well. At least the hops were good!!

General Homebrew Discussion / Groundhog's Day!
« on: February 02, 2011, 08:19:29 AM »
Maybe this should go into the "fridgid weather brewing" thread... it will be well below zero when I get home from work tonight and brew. And I will be in the garage!
I almost always brew on Groundhog's Day. Usually a stout. Not always the same recipe. Giving a Hitachino Sweet Stout recipe a shot tonight. Just so happens I grew up about an hour from Punxsutawney PA. If I recall correctly I started doing this when I was a really gung-ho new brewer and thought +20F was balmy for early February in Minnesota. I had just moved here. I was right, +20F was balmy...
I also always brew on Veteran's Day.
Anyone else have any specific dates they brew on?!?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: secondary temp choice
« on: January 27, 2011, 07:34:55 AM »
Like this? I use these for flasks when making starters. Never thought about using it in a carboy.

Yeast and Fermentation / secondary temp choice
« on: January 26, 2011, 05:51:49 PM »
I am doing an extended secondary on an English Barleywine. I can do it at 66F, same temp as primary OR 50F in the basement closet. Being that this will be a 2-3 month secondary there is much less chance of an airlock accidently getting yanked by a kid if I do it in the basement.

I am aging half of the 5G batch on bourbon soaked oak cubes. The other half just aging. Primary is done (5 weeks- pitched on a large yeast cake). OG was 1.103. Current SG 1.032. That attenuation is about the same for this yeast as I got for the other 2 beers I made with it (~65%. NeoBrittania). So it may drop a point or two in secondary, but I am not concerned if it doesn't. I purged both carboys with CO2. I plan to use some yeast at bottling to carbonate.
Is there any drawback to doing it at the colder temp?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
« on: January 21, 2011, 04:45:58 PM »
I have helped at a couple of competitions, but not enough to be "in the know" if there were "shotgunned" entrants. That's too bad people do that. I hadn't looked at winning a circuit like that. Probably because the only circuit I have considered entering is the Midwest HBOTY. Their scoring is weighted so shotgunning would have no effect. Brewing good beers across the board are awarded.

The Pub / Re: Pliny the Elder :-(
« on: January 21, 2011, 12:29:03 PM »
he hooked me up with a freaking awesome french IIPA

Sorry, is this a joke? I'm sure it isn't, it just struck me funny. Didn't know Frenchies were getting known for their beers. Kind of like hearing "I just had this wonderful Canadian pineapple!"

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« on: January 21, 2011, 12:23:22 PM »
I love to brew in the winter. If I didn't I would probably have to move or brew less  :o Neither is an option ;)
I bring my propane tank inside in the winter. Definitely helps. There have been discussions on here about the importance of chilling times. I find the huge snow banks in my yard make great natural chillers. Not as fast as other chillers, but free is good too. I have run my immersion chiller in the utility sink, but I also fill up the sink with snow so I am chilling the inside and outside. Works great.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
« on: January 21, 2011, 12:14:35 PM »
I guess I don't understand why penalize someone for entering lots of beers? If their beers suck, they won't win. If their beer is good, they will win. Granted there is a bit of the luck of the draw involved in placing in competitions, but you definitely stand no chance if your beer sucks. If someone has the dough for entry fees, more power to them. I don't have the resources to enter and ship that many entries to a wide number of contests. I would love to, but just can't do it.

If you are running a contest and can only handle a limited number of entries, which is understandable, then you may want to consider having a limited entry window or a cut-off of entries at a given number, no?

Again, I don't get how by entering tons of beers you stand a better chance of winning? Winning should depend on the quality of the entries, not quantity. Granted, if you are going for the Ninkasi at Nationals you need to have that combination of lots of entries and high quality ones at that. We don't bash those brewers who have won Ninkasi, right? Are they "shotgunning"? I think not.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dry hopping.....
« on: January 21, 2011, 12:02:04 PM »
I meant now go to the dry store room and find the ice mix. That was our treatment for the new guy in the kitchen.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dry hopping.....
« on: January 21, 2011, 12:00:31 PM »
How long to leave beer on dry hops is debatable to say the least. I used to do 10-14 days, but I think the beers would end up with a vegetal character after awhile in the bottle. I do 7 days now. Some insist on less than that.

No go to the dry store room and find the ice mix...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
« on: January 20, 2011, 07:59:16 PM »
enter them in the style they taste like, NOT the style that you brewed.
This is where being a member of a local club can really help. I brewed for a number of years before I entered any comps. I also joined a club at about the same time. One of the first things they helped with was how to enter my beers in the "proper" category. I should say, the category that beer would do best in. If this intrigues you at all and you become interested in the process I highly recommend getting involved in helping out at competitions. They usually put out a call for judges and stewards. It takes a lot of people to pull off a competition. You will learn a lot.
Another way to get feedback is to ask club members.  Be sure to ask them for a critical analysis, so they don't just say things to please you
And have your recipes at hand when asking for advice. I joined a local club that has a reputation  ;D for giving "critical" feedback. This club is not so interested in giving pats on the back and saying keep up the good work! We like to make eachother better brewers. I like it because it has made me a better brewer. And because I am from the East Coast. This club is definitely "east coast", even though we are in Minnesota...

The Pub / Re: Who ya got?
« on: January 19, 2011, 07:32:50 PM »
I grew up in western Pennsylvania. I don't even play fantasy football because I might be in a situation where I have to root for someone playing the Steelers.

Steelers by 10. Jets blew their wad in New England, they are spent like a sack of mashed grains. Troy will wreak havoc.

Green Bay wins in Chicago, setting up one of the greatest slwoB repuS of all time.

All Things Food / Re: Hot Wings?
« on: January 13, 2011, 08:14:15 PM »
Try some cilantro and diced green onions into your favorite hot wing sauce. Very nice touch. I rarely make them any other way now.
Par-baked then fried is definitely the way to go...
I eat wings as a treat. Otherwise I would eat them at least weekly. Definitely having them this Saturday for the Steelers playoff game! When we Steelers fans call our buddies across the country the week before the game the question is always "what are you making for the game?"

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