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Messages - rbclay

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Nervous about my original gravity...
« on: September 11, 2010, 02:41:04 PM »
Yes... more info please. 1012 is more like an FG than an OG. I made many extract batches in the beginning that had  completely off hydrometer readings. Several reasons...

General Homebrew Discussion / Bottled IBA today!
« on: September 11, 2010, 02:38:07 PM »
Most are calling it Black IPA or whatever. I think IBA works too. As in India Black Ale instead of India Pale Ale. Whatever. It tastes great. I called mine Fat Man IBA. It was brewed on August 9th. Anyone else know why that date equates to the "Fat Man"?!?

Where do you live? If you are anywhere near me I will help you out! I'll show you how to brew and use your homegrown hops to boot! If you harvest them please read about drying them. Very important for long term storage.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dry hopping with homegrown hops
« on: September 11, 2010, 02:31:41 PM »
I've always dried and frozen mine first before using as a dry hop. Always had good results. I wouldn't use them fresh as a dry hop- too much contamination risk. The microwaving tip mentioned above would work, but I prefer freezing. I've had bug issues in the past, but not this year!

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Cursed at 1.020
« on: September 05, 2010, 07:42:51 PM »
I'm an extract brewer also. I rather like the idea of fixing the attenuation issue before (instead of  ;)) going AG. You may still end up with the same issues. You may make a more fermentable wort, but the job of turning wort into beer is up to how you handle your yeast and fermentation process, and that ain't gonna change when you go AG.

One thought- when you are oxygenating your chilled wort are you letting the oxygen bubble gently into the wort? If you do it too vigorously you may just be sending the O2 right through the wort and into thin air. Slow it down and go for 2 minutes.

Also, the higher percentage of dark grains in your grist, the higher your FG will be. And big beers with really high OG's will also tend to finish a little high. But you did say that your problem batches tend to taste too sweet.

Several people suggested subbing out some extract for sugars. Personally I would only ever do this if that ingredient is appropriate for the style. Yes, sugars are more fermentable than malt extract, but is that part of the flavor profile you are after?

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Homebrew contest scores?
« on: September 04, 2010, 07:22:51 PM »
I think we may be in a similar boat. I am an extract/partial mash brewer also. I was fortunate enough to take first place in the Midwest Region for Nationals this year for my APA. It made me happy as pigs in $*%!. I didn't medal in final round- but I made min-BOS, so as far as I'm concerned I got 4th place!!
In my opinion it takes more than a bit of the luck of the draw to win contests. But it also takes brewing very good beer. By your scores you already do that. A lot of good advice in the replies I read above. My advice is this- review Mark Tanner's presentation from this year's AHA Conference. I am a committed extract brewer. I saw his presentation in person. I want to win contests and Mark has done so as an extract brewer for years. I assume by your question you want to do the same. By all means if you want to go all grain, make the jump. If you want to improve your current technique, check Mark's advice and feel free to contact me.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Blow out tubing?
« on: September 04, 2010, 07:03:31 PM »
You're fine. You should get yourself a blow off tube. Here's the description:

Pre-cut 3.5ft. section of clear 1" OD vinyl tubing. Fits directly in the neck of standard or acid-style glass carboys. immerse the other end in a bucket of sanitizer to manage blowoff during primary fermentation.

Also, sanitize the end you are sticking in the carboy. You may already be past the point of needing this. In the future you may want to consider using a 6 or 6.5 gallon carboy or plastic fermenter (bucket) for primary and use the 5 gallon carboy for secondary.
Without knowing what your first couple batches were, I'm guessing this IPA was the highest OG batch you've done so far. I say you're fine because with a vigorous fermentation like this it is pushing out enough CO2 that you don't really have to worry about contamination. The worst that might happen is the airlock getting clogged and pressure building up and smashing your carboy, which could have been really dangerous. But that would have already happened and it didn't because you said it is spraying out the top of the airlock. I think the airlock would probably pop out before the glass would break.
Sounds like you are off to a good start...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cleaning soot of the brew pot
« on: September 01, 2010, 12:16:27 PM »
I use the soap on the outside trick in case of any soot build-up. Works great. I once had a brew session where I got a tremendous amount of build up and couldn't get a great flame going. Turns out that my burner had sat unused in the garage for awhile. I took it apart the next day and saw a cocoon in the tube totally blocking the air flow! I learned a couple lessons- keep your burners clean and brew more...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« on: September 01, 2010, 08:07:26 AM »
My understanding, and experience, is that hops need to be thoroughly dried for long term storage. Freezing fresh hops may be OK for the short term. If they are not dried before freezing for long term storage then when you use them in the middle of winter or next spring they are going to make cheesy beer. Literally. I did it! May be OK if you are a cheesehead from 'Sconny, but here in Minnesota we like our beers citrusy!

The Pub / Re: The Final Round is today!!!
« on: June 17, 2010, 07:26:24 PM »
Hey Denny,

Did you also judge the BOS round? Did they end up pushing that back until tomorrow or was it completed today?

If you aren't sick of APA's and want to find what I think is a damn fine one ;), stop by the St. Paul Club's suite before Club Night. I was lucky enough to win the Midwest Region Cat 10 for my APA. I dropped off a dozen bottles for the events tomorrow night. Unfortunately, I'm not able to make any festivities until Saturday.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Twin Cities Brewery Tour
« on: June 11, 2010, 06:30:24 PM »
Here is your answer...

Yes, it leaves from the north side of the Sheraton.

The MNCHillin site lists the name and email address of the organizer of each event - so your person could contact them directly.  I know that Mike Moranz, organizer of that tour, will be sending an email to each participant also

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Twin Cities Brewery Tour
« on: June 11, 2010, 07:25:33 AM »
I am getting confirmation from the organizers, but I am almost certain the tour bus leaves from the Sheraton. Have fun, should be a blast...
The precon site reads:
"5:00 PM - Bus returns to Sheraton Bloomington"

sorry- i don't know if they fit better bottles- i have glass carboys. but they do say "universal"...

but will it be safe to let these beers sit until i keg them in about three or so weeks?    once it stops and the co2 goes, would i then be exposed to contamination?
since CO2 is heavier than air you shouldn't worry. when you remove the airlock, you'll still have a blanket of co2 on your beer. i would remove the blow-off tube and put an airlock on it. you'll probably get some bubbling and that will make you feel better! i like the universal carboy bung ( that you can put an airlock in rather than the orange caps myself.

What type of water are you using? Although you haven't mentioned it, I am thinking that is the only constant ingredient between your beers. The kits you mention have different extracts- light is different than pale. I can't speak to MoreBeer kits, as I've never used them, but I'm sure the NB extracts are reliably fresh. I assume from your recipes that you are using different yeasts. I suspect the water.

I am also an extract brewer. Have been for a long time. Never went AG. I make very good beer- but it took a lot of trial and error. I advise taking the time to repeat at least one of these recipes, changing only one thing at a time. You may not think, as I didn't when I started, that the water makes any difference because you are using extracts. I guarantee you that it makes a huge difference. I thought that if the water tasted OK to drink, it would make OK beer. But your words reminded me of EXACTLY what I said when I started brewing! All my beers tasted the same! Couldn't figure it out. Every time I would just brew a different style fuguring it would change and get better. It didn't. Until I changed the water. Turns out my tap water makes lousy beer.

Good luck...

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