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Messages - bfogt

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« on: January 21, 2011, 12:20:54 AM »
I always feel better if I wear wool hiking socks.  I've got some expedition socks from SmartWool that seem to make me invincible.  Usually I can be out in <0F temps without any kind of jacket.  I think wind is more of a problem than the temperature when comparing 10F to 0F.  And freezing rain getting into your boil sucks, too.  So my plan for my next brew is to put up the folding canopy and enclose two sides with a tarp. 

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Best outdoor all-weather serving method?
« on: January 09, 2011, 03:09:58 AM »
I had some engineer friends postulate about running a cooled channel of beer lines under our patio and up into a lazy susan style draft tower once.  Wouldn't that be fun and easy to maintain?

At the same party, a friend brought his beer from a long way away.  He uses plastic garbage cans that have handle which can hold a 1x4" piece of lumber with faucets mounted in them.  I know you're not looking for a temporary solution, but this was pretty nice.  Eventually, he added a drain some distance from the bottom to drain water off so the kegs wouldn't float a lot.  You could still tell when they were empty, though.

I was carrying pitchers from the basement, so he out-poured me at my own house.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Belgian Malt sources
« on: January 08, 2011, 05:06:19 AM »
Although I don't use Franco-Belges for Belgian beers I'm curious how you reached those conclusions from that article. 
I only posted that link because Fix says that there are distinct differences between Belgian and other malts.  Not to say anything about the particular maltsters.  In the Brewing Techniques 1997 Brewers' Market Guide, the F-B Pale and Pilsen is described as standard.  I'm not sure if their pale and pils malt is considered Belgian or not.  It doesn't sound like it.  That would mean that as far as i can tell, I wouldn't be able to get Belgian base malts from Country Malt Group, which is probably the first place I'd look.

All Grain Brewing / Belgian Malt sources
« on: January 08, 2011, 02:15:18 AM »
I'm looking at buying some bulk Belgian Malt, pale and pils.  What brands am I looking for?  My LHBS carries Dingeman's.  But I'm not seeing it everywhere.  I've seen Franco-Belges but I'm not sure how "Belgian" their base malts are.  And before anyone asks, there does appear to be a difference.  I could taste a difference just tasting the malt.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Can I brew Ales at ambient temps in 50's
« on: January 02, 2011, 01:52:45 PM »
It's probably worth looking at some lagers that you may not have been exposed to, too.  Bocks aren't what people usually associate with a lager when they're just starting out.  I find that Belgians really want a warmer temperature the whole way through.  I put a carboy in a broken chest freezer with a shop light when I want to get the temp up at the end.  A sweatshirt on top of and under a carboy is a nice way to add a few degrees, too.  When I'm fermenting a lot in the winter, my basement brew room looks like it's having a frat party.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Watcha get for Christmas?
« on: December 31, 2010, 04:48:55 AM »
I got enough cash to get my MM3 with enough to kick more back to family projects.  In-Laws got me two beer travel books.  Indiana now has two brewery tour guides.  One published in 2009 and one in 2010.  A quick look through doesn't show significant differences in what they've covered.  They're both missing a number of breweries that have opened just this year, but that's to be expected.  I'm amazed that they found these, actually,  Oh, and they got me an unstated amount of whiskey soaked oak chips from their LHBS.  No clue how much or what the oak is like.  She left them at home and I'll get them when we see them next.

I still have an IOU from my in-Laws on a used port barrel.  We're waiting to move before taking that project on.

EDIT to add: Those books?  Both published in 2010.  June 15th and July 9. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Competition Ethics
« on: December 30, 2010, 12:52:43 AM »
I find that when entering competitions, it is a better use of my money to enter anything that isn't a "normal style" only where there are people who are likely to judge it who have experience with the style from both a scoring perspective and for feedback.  Smaller competitions probably won't have a wide enough range of judges to be able to judge Melomel well.  If the judges are unfamiliar with the product (commercial examples, making it themselves, etc) prizes will be a crap shoot and feedback isn't likely to be helpful.  But if you know a competition has an experienced judge pool or draws from a deeper pool of judges or even if the area specializes in something, I think you'll find the quality of off-centered beverage judging to be more satisfying.  Part of that is that the competition organizers will know what the judges will want to know and how they might handle too much information on first taste.

Summarized, I would email the organizer of a competition with a question like this.  If they don't have a satisfying answer, I'd skip it.  It's more about getting a specialty product to the right judging panel.  You wouldn't send a Big Rig to Car and Driver for a test drive... or maybe you would...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Competition Ethics
« on: December 29, 2010, 05:30:37 PM »
A note on the RIS with flavorings.  The commercial examples for the style are led by 3 Floyds Dark Lord which uses a locally roasted coffee and other flavorings to get to the final product.  So it should be acceptable to do the same to replicate the style.  When judging, I would assume that some entries are going to have non-malt flavorings and any notes I get from the entry form would help with making specific recipe comments as opposed to adding or detracting from the score. RIS almost seems like a subcategory of 21 or 23 at times.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brew Masters......up or down.....?
« on: December 22, 2010, 06:24:46 PM »
My wife told me she likes this show.  It's been the only show we have really watched together in months.  She relates it to Ace of Cakes but it's much more scientific and historical than art.  Since she's an engineer, it works well for her.

And she doesn't like beer and especially anything related to brewing....

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mashing confusion
« on: December 21, 2010, 07:34:26 PM »
The only two things I can convince myself to add to the discussion are:

It seems to me important for serious brewers to learn how to use all the standard techniques that have been used to make good beer.  I've thrown decoctions into recipes when the temperature drops fast outside and I can't get enough hot water into the mash to hit my marks.  Step mashing gives you an appreciation of all the different enzymes at play in various temperature ranges.  Then when you're designing your flavors or run into problems, you have a few ways to get to a satisfactory result. 

Second, I use a triple decoction for my Lenten brew of a BPA.  It's not called for, but I use the excuse that it's how we can brew without technology.  It feels more authentic for the participants, I have lots of hands that need something to do and it helps keep requests to teach brewing to people quite low.  Beer that you had to suffer for seems to taste better and it eliminates the casual potential beer maker from drawing me into their new halfhearted hobby.  We also do a 4 week bottle conditioning process to make it seem like it takes the whole length of Lent.

So there are practical reasons to have those armaments in your arsenal other than science or tradition. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cough Syrup off flavor?
« on: December 20, 2010, 05:14:08 PM »
Would you relate the flavor to Chloraseptic?  That's more likely a result of chlorine in the water, a sparging problem, or chlorine sanitizer residue. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Running out of propane
« on: December 20, 2010, 02:55:41 PM »
One thing I'm liking about new technology are these automated propane lockers.  We have about 5 within a 10 minute drive.  Sure, you might not get the best deal, but I'm usually on a tight schedule and the chatty hardware store guys get on my nerves.  I, too, have three tanks in cycle.  One's usually hooked up to the smoker, but since it doesn't burn much, it's a reliable backup.

As for affects on your beer, you'll need to run some tests, I think.  You might find a new brewing process.  Heat-bursting?

When I run out, I usually add another 5 or 10 minutes to my timer.  I figure that it stopped boiling before I noticed it being out or it at least wasn't at the full boil.  

I think this pointed me toward a replication problem I had a year ago.  It was the day after Christmas and besides brewing in a <10F snowstorm, I'm pretty sure I ran out of propane mid boil and spent 15 or 20 minutes digging another tank out.  I wasn't able to get the same recipe to come anywhere near the profile I had for that brew.  Maybe I need to try a split boil to see what it does.

Butternut Squash beer.  Borrowing and enhancing a recipe from a friend.  The butternuts have more pumpkin flavor than pumpkins.  Plus, they call them pumpkins in Australia, so it could be called a pumpkin beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP comments...APA
« on: October 06, 2010, 02:46:22 PM »
Regardless of the comments and scores I think one of the most common assumptions is that the comments in each element are negative comments or that they are all that affect the score for that area.  We'd like to think that we can write everything about the flavor in a reasonable amount of time so that someone can see why the score is as it is.  There's just not enough time and too many things involved.  At least for me and almost everyone I've judged with write comments in the top sections for notes about the beer.  They usually aren't as evaluatory as they are a recording of the sensations.  If there's time and space, there may be some comments toward the end.  I find myself returning to a section twice or more to record phases of aroma and flavor as the beer warms or breathes.  So on my score sheets at least, you're going to find the place for flaws and misses in the overall section.  The rest of it will read like a review more than a judging.

Remember that other food contests don't have the feedback we try to give.  Wine and BBQ typically get a score with no suggestions for improvement. 

Did your 37 place?

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Shelf Life of grains, DME & extract
« on: October 06, 2010, 04:53:21 AM »
Made a batch today with a recipe bought in 2004 or 2005.  The brewer died in 2005 and one of the cans had a timestamp of Apr 04.  I hope I got some oxydation so it's different.  Here's what the DME looked like.

I set the bag in warm tap water for a while until the outside started to loosen.  I was able to invert the bag slowly, push the brick of caramel out and then rinse the bag with hot water.  The cans of LME were no problem, if a bit darker than I remember.  I used a bunch of hops right off my bines out back.  I told my wife I'd only leave with our two boys for 20 minutes and that's all it took to pick about a pound and a half of fresh cones. 

We'll see how it does.

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