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Messages - Crispy275

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-How much home brewing do you do in an average year?
I make exactly 20 ten gallon batches - another drop and I would be breaking the law  ;)

-What is your current cost to make a batch, and how much does that make?
I make 10 gallon batches, and the style of beer greatly effects my cost. I will be brewing a 10 gallon English Mild next week, and the ingredients for this was $20. And also about $5 - $8 worth of propane, cost for 50-75 gallons of water to chill the wort, a buck or two for the PBW to clean and the Iodophor to sanitize. And let's not forget the $1,000+ for the 3 half barrel system and grain mill...
When I make a ten gallon batch of my Russian Imperial Stout, it costs close to $100. A typical 10 gallon batch of a hoppy American Pale Ale is closer to $40 - $50.

-If properly licensed, how would you go about distributing your beer?
As Gail points out, I would have to follow the draconian 3 tier distribution laws here in Michigan. I once contemplated brewing for a local resturant, but in the end I was discouraged by the fact that I would have to use a distributor, even if I lugged the kegs to the resturant myself.

-If you could, would you be willing to take your hobby to the next level and try to start a business?

-If yes, what is holding you back?
Can't afford the pay cut today.

My "dream" is to retire succesfully from my current career and then move somewhere near the coast and open up a homebrew supply shop with an attached mini-brewery - say a 3 barrel system. Then, make boutique 750ml bottle of beers and sell them locally. This would allow me to be immersed into my hobby and passion, while paying for it and making a little coin as well. Not the grandest of dreams, but it is where my mind takes me when I think of the future...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How many carboys do you own?
« on: November 09, 2009, 07:50:58 AM »
OK, this is a little over the top, but I have an excuse...which is I love this hobby!

In 2005 when the FORD and Ann Arbor Brewers Guild clubs helped me put together a presentation for Baltimore that required 18 carboys to ferment out 18 different yeast strains, Pat Babcock came to me and said that he could "loan" me 8 of his carboys and 9 of his kegs. He said I would be doing him a favor if I could hold on to them for a little while, as their house was having some renovations being done.

Four years later, I guess i have "adopted" these vessels, and they do come in handy during the peak of my brewing season (coming up shortly). So, I have

5     6.5 gallon  (2 with Flanders Red in them)
23   5 gallon     (2 with a cider and a cyser going right now)
6     3 gallon     (5 filled with various meads aging, and 1 with a Flanders Red aging - damn, I need more of these size ones!))
30+  one gallon and half gallon cider jugs and growlers
17 Kegs
Oh, and did I mention the 53 gallon barrel filled with Flanders Red for the last year?

I have a closet in the basement that I converted to house 24 of these carboys. I try to keep my long suffering ale wife from realizing the sheer quantity by making sure at least a half dozen or so are fermenting something at any given time. This past spring I didn't have much ferementing and she began to notice all of these empty carboys laying around in the basement. She started asking me to put these away and didn't I have a closet for these? I sort of "hide" them until I started up the kettles again, but she is now aware of the sheer quantity of glass ware in my fermenting area.

Did I mention that I have broken 5 carboys in my life? Fortunatly, only one small cut and only one had beer in it, the other 4 were during the cleaning process. Slippery little bugers, aren't they?  :-*

Thanks Jeff. After giving this some more thought, I think we will go ahead and take this members contribution and see what happens. And hopefully the next time they can follow the recipe.

The Pub / Re: Please raise your glass...
« on: November 06, 2009, 02:29:16 PM »
It seems with today's news on the Orlando shoting spree, we will continue to see senseless violence around the country.

I heard an interesting quote from an Afganistan citizen to Mrs. Clinton last week on NPR. He said something to the effect that "you American's had your 9/11 - we have our own 9/11 practically every day!". It was a sobering reminder that while we, as a country, do suffer periodic outbreaks of violence, we certainly do not experience the constant car and suicide bombing that some others societies do.

As I said, a sobering thought. Not looking to make this political or anything. I will raise a glass to those lost to senseless violence everywhere.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottling after extended secondary fermentation
« on: November 06, 2009, 07:53:03 AM »
I agree with Fred. I recently bottled some Imp. Stout after letting it age on some vanilla beans and Bourboun soaked oak chips for 7 weeks (10 gallons). After bottling 100 bottles, I realized that I forgot to add a little fresh yeast in my bottling bucket. I usually do these for extended aged larger beers, as I am concerned that the yeast could be popped out.

Well, I am happy to report that three weeks in the bottle, they are now correctly carbonated. Still, for insurance sake, I would typically add a little fresh yeast into the bottling bucket for aged beers with graviities exceeding 1.065 - 1.075. I usually add 1056 (tablespoon) to each 5 gallon batch that I am bottling and swirl it together with the priming sugars. However, you can use virtually any yeast, as the wort is effectively fully fermented. The only caveat I have to that is that I would avoid adding a significantly higher attenuating yeast to a bottling bucket full of a brew that had a lower attenuating yeast, for obvious reasons

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
« on: November 04, 2009, 05:35:59 PM »
I have had an occassional baggie of really active yeast puff up a bit, but I just "burp" it out. I typically keep the baggies in my beer fridge, in the shelf on the door, propped up a bit between some bottles. I prefer to keep the top of the baggie up and off any surface.

I did have one leak once, not bad after 50-60 times. It was more than likely just me not sealing it correctly and all the way.

The AHA Governing Committee elections are coming up and we are looking for candidates for new Governing Committee members.  Four of the 15 seats are available this year, and three of our current Governing Committee members have reached the end of their term limits.

The AHA Governing Committee plays a significant role in shaping the present and future direction of the AHA.  Thanks to your help, along with the efforts of staff, the generosity of the pro brewing community and guidance from our Governing Committee, we have once again exceeded our membership and revenue targets in advance of the year-end deadlines.

The AHA continues to have challenges and opportunities, but the future is really what we make it.  We need to continue our efforts to push ourselves forward and expand the community of membership, manage the conference and competition, improve Zymurgy, and many more tasks, all of which will result in our being a strong, effective, independent organization.  This is your AHA.  We need you to take charge of it and get involved.

Governing Committee members are required to be available for monthly teleconferences (currently scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month) and attend our one face-to-face meeting at the National Homebrewers Conference each year (next year in Minneapolis, June 17-19, 2010).  Members are also connected via the Internet, both as the GC and as part of various committees on specific topics.  It's a three-year term.

Besides great ideas and boundless enthusiasm, candidates should have had some experience in organizations at the local or regional level.  Initiative, perseverance, and creativity are welcome.  The AHA Governing Committee acts both as a sounding board and a management consultant team for the AHA.  Additionally, committee work provides structure, content and feet on the ground support in the case of National Homebrewers Conferences.

You may nominate yourself or someone else (please check first to see if he/she is available and interested).  Candidates should submit a short written statement of no more than 500 words, which should explain your qualifications for the job (experience, abilities, constituency, etc) and what your vision is for the future of the AHA.  Please include your contact information and send it all to Susan Ruud  ( no later than December 1st, 2009.

Thanks, and we look forward to the elections.

The Pub / Re: Howdy everybody!
« on: November 04, 2009, 11:20:47 AM »
I personally have bounced from forum to forum over the years. Originally in the early 90's I got a tremendous amount of knowledge from the Home Brew Digest. Cats Meow helped me design some recipes early on. Then, of course, choices became numerous and I skipped from one to another.

Perhaps it is because of my volunteer work for the AHA, or perhaps because I need to focus (ha - that's an understatement!), I likely will kick around here a little longer, see who I meet, what I learn, see what sort of entertainement and educational value I get from these forums. Actually, I have pretty high hopes, as we are a collections of homebrewers from around the country who are all members of the AHA thing.

As likely the case for everyone here, I am a member some really good clubs. I can send emails to the collective of either club, and likely get a fairly downtown set of replies. I hope that my inquiries here will cast a wider net and garner additional data points and insights. Wow, that sounded so official  :o

Beer Recipes / Re: Cocnut Porter
« on: November 04, 2009, 11:03:59 AM »
A friend of mine, and one of the top local homebrewers in Michigan (don't worry Tyler Barber - I won't give you up ;-) brews an amazing coconut raspberry porter recipe. He uses both true coconut that has been roasted, as well as coconut oils for aroma at the end. If you just want it to be a coconut porter, delete the raspberries.

For 5 gallons:
2 row 6.5 lbs.
Black 8 oz.
60 L 12 oz.
chocolate 8 oz.
flaked barley 12 oz.
roasted 6 oz.
E.K.G.  6.9% 1.125 oz. 90 min.
E.K.G. .25 oz. 10 min.
E.K.G..375 oz. 5 min.
E.K.G. .375 oz. 1 min.

chalk 1.25 tsp.
gypsum .375 tsp.
kosher salt .125 tsp.

Water salts are added to the mash and sparge water
Mash 122 degrees 30 min / 152 degrees until conversion
1968 Wyeast 68 degrees fermentation temp.

Add a can of the Oregon raspberry's and a bag of coconut that I toasted in the oven to the secondary. ( need lots of room ) and let it set for 1 month.I only used the coconut flavoring at bottling to bring up the aroma.In the baking section there are two size bags of coconut, small one, and big one.Get the big one. Put some parchment paper on your baking sheet and toast until brown not burnt, turning on occation. About 1/2 dram of the Lorann cake oil coconut flavoring (I think they are about $2.00).The Oregon raspberry's are about double what you would pay for frozen but well worth. Just wipe the can with sanitizer and pour into your fermenter.

A club that I am a member of has been using a standard American Burboun barrel for a couple of years to age beers in, and we now make an annual 53 gallon Flanders Red. We utilize the Wyeast 3278 Belgian Lambic Blend. It contains Belgian-style wheat beer yeast, sherry yeast, two Brettanomyces strains and lactic acid bacteria. David Logsdon suggested that since we will not be able to tear the barrel apart and clean it every few years that this would be a better blend to use.

It is time for the 9 brewers involved to make a new batch, age it for two months, then do the transfer.

One member has elected to use a neutral yeat (WLP001) for various reasons. He believes it should be fine because the beer will sit on the bugs and yeast for a year and pick up all the flavors.

I am concerned that the American yeast is a very attenuative and neutral yeast, and by the time the beer gets to the barrel, the sugars available to a yeast will be eaten, and the neutral character of the WLP001 will prevail. While there will be an opportunity for the Brett strains to impart their particular characteristics to the beer, the Belgian strains will be absent. It is the first two yeasts (wheat and sherry)  that will likely not provide any contribution to the barrel.
Now, a couple of other members of this group have chimed in and suggested that the ultimate blending of everyone's contribution is likely to dissipate any loss of character. I can't say with any certainty that I can refute this. I just have a concern that it potentially can have a dilutative effect.

What do others think? The beer was brewed mid-late October, and my offer of a slurry of the WYeast blend may be moot at this point, but I am looking for feedback as to whether I should relax and not worry, or break into said brewers basement and innoculate his batch  ;D

All Grain Brewing / Re: Insulation For Mash Tun
« on: November 03, 2009, 02:34:07 PM »
While the bubble wrap insulation from Home Depot won't go up in flames, it does melt. I used it for several years while brewing in the Michigan winters, and in time I would forget and light the burners while recirculating the mash and...smell something. It never caught fire, but was unpleasent to smell.

I just used masking tape to hold it to the keg, and in time I would punch a termometer through it into the thermo-probe thingy on the kettle. This worked to also keep it in place.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
« on: October 21, 2009, 04:16:17 PM »
No, I have not. Since all the baggies (except those that travel to micro's and back) only travel the ten feet from the fermentation area to the beer fridge, they get minimal handling.

Because I am anal (as many in this hobby are), I will soak the corner of the baggie and a pair of scissors in a solution of Iodophor, shake them a little to get the solution off and cut the bottom corner off and dispense the yeast that way, But no baggies have suffered a break otherwise.

Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
« on: October 21, 2009, 06:25:01 AM »
Over the years I have accumulated a number of handy tips, but this is one I like to shout about from the mountain top. Someone told me about this over ten years ago, and I have used it on dozens of occassions.

I was informed that Zip Lock baggies are sanitized from the factory. Because of this, you can put yeast into a brand new baggie and store it for several weeks. For instance, if you wanted to obtain yeast from a local microbrewery, all you would need to do is to open the baggie for the first time (after the brewer has sprayed his sanitizer around the dump valve), being careful to keep your fingers on the outside of the baggie. Fill it up, zip it and toss it into your cold storage. I always write the strain and date with a Sharpie pen before I fill it up. I prefer one gallon Zip Locks for this operation.

I also do this for yeast strains if I know I am going to want to use it again relatively shortly. If I used a glass carboy for primary, I rack it to secondary and leave a couple of tablesppons of wort/beer behind. I swirl it around to get the yeast cake into a slurry, torch or wipe the opening with a vodka soaked papertowel, and lay the carboy on a low table. I do this because when tilting the carboy uoside it gets a little awkward if i by myself, and I use the table to stabilize the carboy. I just make sure the neck of the carboy does not touch the inside of the baggie at any time.

My friend Jeff Renner always ferments his primaries in a bucket to harvest (skim) the yeast in the krausen. And side-by-side experiements have shown that people prefered the brews made with subsequent batches using the top-croped yeast versus what settles on the bottom. However, if you prefer to use all glass for both primaries and secondaries, this is the way to go.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Way to go!
« on: October 16, 2009, 08:19:17 AM »
Nicely done! This is a far more inviting site than before. It is obvoius that a lot of hard work has gone into this, and I can see the day when hundreds, nay, thousands of AHA members come to this site and tap into it, both providing their knowledge and finding out things they never knew before.

Fiftenn years ago or so when the Internet began to become more mainstream with the advent of user-friendly browsers, homebrewers as a whole jumped in to share and find knowledge. And even before browsers, there was a healthy community sharing though the Homebrew Digest and other boards.

Now we have the capability to share in a much more "robust" way, to a larger population. And in the end, grow this into the onternational community of homebrews. Tres cool guys and gals!

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