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Messages - udubdawg

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586
I don't think my own answer to this question is the same of that of the people that drink my beers.  I can create a great, great beer, that everyone loves, but I know that I missed the mark I was aiming for.  This was the case for a Kolsch from 2011.  So, my friends would say that Kolsch or my robust porter, and I would probably say a batch of German Pilsner from February.  As it faded I finally was willing to part with a couple bottles and gave it a shot at 9 months of age in a competition.  Still managed 41 and HM.

At a certain point, I know it is good, and a piece of medal is just going to annoy me for years as representing a couple bottles I could have enjoyed.   ;D

A close second would be an experimental batch that opened my eyes to the Belgian Pale Ale style.

cheers--
--Michael

587
So most of the breweries they are insulting are BA members, right?  Can someone explain that?
"A Passionate Voice for Craft Brewerers...and, uh, these other guys too"

588
good for Schells, what an asinine list from the BA

yeah nice job by Schells.

I expect BA to know the history of adjunct lagers.  Then they list their definitions of craft and "small" and then on the same page say numerous <6M breweries are not small.  C'mon.

"Drink local beer from the little guy" - I could get behind that message.  "Be aware that some of what looks like craft beer is owned by the big guys." - I already knew but hey thanks for the heads-up.
But they didn't stop there, and this whole clumsy attempt by the BA was embarrassing.

589
"They sell these beers through their strong distribution channels, but market these faux-craft beers as if they were from independent, locally owned craft breweries."

This sentence, or at least the part I bolded, just seems like hyperbole.  Absence of a prominent "big beer" logo on a bottle - sure.  Actually pretending to be something they are not? - I don't see it. 
Remember the old Bud campaign that said "It's not heavy like an import" and "Darker heavier beers could hide flaws" - I didn't see any craft beer uproar.  if we are worried that someone will be fooled and enjoy a "faux-craft" beer why weren't we worried about the big companies perpetuating consumer lack of knowledge with further misinformation?
Instead of ridiculing craft beer they are imitating it.

Wasn't Blue Moon created at Sandlot?  I don't like that particular beer but those guys do an amazing job IMO. I have no use for Coors Light but I wouldn't hesitate for a second to get another What The Helles Bill just based on who their owner is.

This article would be better limited to distribution IMO.  Make sure the kinds of practices that shut small breweries out are outlawed.  Give everyone a fair chance.  Everyone wants that, and it's reasonable.  But it's not like the little guys are the only ones allowed to make "good" beer.  And the concept that a brewery loses craft status overnight when bought by a big brewery is ridiculous to me.

I'm going to assume that most breweries that were started in decades past thought they could make better beer than what was being offered.  And I know several of us have asked Gordon how to get medals and been told to make better beer.   ;D
Same goes for the pros.  Make better beer.  If the faux-craft version is better than what you make, do better.  If it isn't, count on your consumers to make the right choice.  Again, assuming you have market access...

590
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What are you tappin'?
« on: December 12, 2012, 08:02:23 AM »
several ciders and perries nearly ready. Lagering Helles, Schwarzbier, Vienna, with a couple more almost ready to move to the fridge.  Love doing lagers, but my typical "wait, wait, wait...DRINK IT ALL!" schedule makes it difficult to do them often. 

cheers--
--Michael

591
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Results of my first beer competition
« on: December 09, 2012, 09:35:35 AM »
Congratulations, I know how happy I was when one of my beers made it past the first round.  It got dinged for low carbonation and that was true.
It's great that you had knowledgeable judges.  I entered a cider in the French category and was told that my cider was too dry for a French cider.  I don't know what part of France he drank cider from but all my experience with real French cider is that it's bone dry.

in fairness, I bet that judge was just using the BJCP guidelines for French Cider, which says medium to sweet, full-bodied, and rich.  A competition has to have guidelines to judge against and that's what most use.  It doesn't mean your cider was bad, but you have to consider how your beverage is going to stand up against whatever guidelines that competition is using.    There is a sentence near the top of Category 27 to this effect.

cheers--
--Michael

*edit*  and of course, congrats to the OP!

592
Events / Re: 2014 NHC is in Grand Rapids MI
« on: December 07, 2012, 07:36:36 AM »
sweet, this will be an awesome location.  now if only KBS is the beer for the opening toast it'll be perfect.   ;D

as always, curious which other cities were in the running.  Also curious what the the specific problem Texas has is.  They seem to do a fine job with BlueBonnet.  I'm rooting for those guys whatever the issue is.

cheers--
--Michael

593
Homebrew Competitions / NHC Competition question...
« on: December 04, 2012, 01:14:08 PM »
so I'm brewing as fast as I can for NHC 2013.  I see February 26th is shown as the day we can start registering entries.  I also know we have to pay shortly after registering.
My concern is that I may be paying for entries before they are ready, and as such before I know if they are any good. 
Therefore my question is:  After I pay, can I still edit my entries?  In other words, if I register/pay for an entry and two weeks later decide it isn't very good, can I change that entry to a category I've got on hand that *IS* good?

(I assume this was never a problem until recent years when the contest started filling up in record time...)

thanks in advance...this is the first time I'll enter; looking forward to it.
cheers--
--Michael

594
Other Fermentables / Re: A little help with a batch of cider.
« on: December 01, 2012, 09:42:56 AM »
Yes, it would have made more sense to add the concentrate at the start.
I didn't have a real plan for this, I pretty much just added it on a whim. Thinking it would reduce the head space and might flavor it up a bit.
 I took a look at it a couple days ago and found the airlock was empty, not sure if it sucked back into the carboy, or I just didn't fill it. I gave the carboy a blast of CO2.
 Should I put this in a keg to age / carb. now, or just leave it the carboy for another month ?

you did fill the airlock after you added the blast of CO2, right?   ;D
how does it taste?  Any oxidation since you last tasted it?  How's the clarity?  Is the oak still in it? (don't see any mention of removal in the OP)  What are your goals for this?  Since it seems like this is just a test batch of something new to you, I don't see any harm on moving to the next step and packaging as soon as you're happy with it.  I'm certain you've picked up some easy lessons that will improve your next batch.

cheers--
--Michael

595
Other Fermentables / Re: A little help with a batch of cider.
« on: December 01, 2012, 09:34:42 AM »
I fail to see why so many people add concentrate to their cider. Upping the apple flavor transforms cider to alcol pop. Read the introduction to ciders in the guidelines, cider should taste no more like apples than wine taste like grapes. This is why Boones Farm Apple Wine is a classic representation. If you like the big apple flavor, make it that way, just don't call it cider. I admit I'm a purist BUT I'm seeing comments on my scoresheets about not having enough "apple flavor".
OK, off my soapbox.

I agree somewhat, but think that the statement that upping the apple flavor transforms the cider to alco pop is an exaggeration.  Sometimes there is little to no apple character and wanting a little more isn't necessarily going to push it out of style.

The section you reference says "Ciders and perries do not necessarily present overtly fruity aromas or flavors" - doesn't need a certain character doesn't necessarily mean it can't have it...

individually:
27A:  "Sweet or low-alcohol ciders may have apple aroma and flavor."
27B:  "No overt apple character"
27C:  "Fruity character/aroma.  This may come from slow or arrested fermentation (in the French technique of défécation) or approximated by back sweetening with juice.  "
27D & E:  "There is a pear character, but not obviously fruity."
28A:  "A dry flavorful cider with robust apple character"
28B:  "It is a fault if the adjuncts completely dominate" - this is an issue some judges have with my mango/peach cider.
28C:  "Comparable to a Common Cider. "

looks like plenty of variation between substyles on apple character.
On a side note, I recently added some apple juice concentrate for the first time.  Motts plus some fancy-pants tart apple juice, plus the concentrate for a bit higher gravity, and pitched WY3726 Farmhouse on it just to test an unfamiliar yeast.  Two weeks later, very tasty, nice tart notes from juice/yeast, acidity/slight tannin seemed great, brilliantly clear, decided to rush into competition.  Deciding between Common and French, but didn't have time to carbonate, so back-sweetened just slightly, entered it as 27A, still, semi-sweet.  Gold medal, 3 weeks after pitching.  *shrug*  It's not a tool I'll use often, but I might try it again sometime.

cheers--
--Michael

596
Other Fermentables / Re: First Mead
« on: November 27, 2012, 08:20:30 PM »
I much prefer to use the big buckets for my meads, but assuming you're careful, 1.5 gallons of space can certainly be enough for you.  Start really slow, take your time, keep from scratching up your equipment, and get a bunch of CO2 out of solution before you mix in that next staggered nutrient addition if you're adding them.

597
All Grain Brewing / Re: Drink IPA's Fresh!
« on: November 26, 2012, 05:23:49 PM »
I love IPA like few other things in this world.  However I don't brew it as often as this level of passion would indicate.  I simply hate losing my hop aroma when the batch is half gone.

made an exception this year, and brewed 4 IPAs at once.  Entered best two in FOAM Cup; each took Silver in 14B and 14C.  Now I'm just frantically drinking them before they fade.  woe is me.   ;D

cheers--
--Michael

598
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« on: November 26, 2012, 05:20:07 PM »
ah, a few of the pics showed up as red x's from work.  so was 3.7 gallons the finished volume in the kettle?  74% seems pretty high for a process that is nearly no-sparge but I guess you are a strong squeezer.   ;D
"pipette" = just a little plastic tool that looks like a tiny turkey baster.  I have hundreds since I do reef tanks.  handy for many things.

finally, though it certainly didn't hurt anything, I would say that that 20 minutes in the boil is overkill on sanitizing your chiller.

cheers-
--Michael

599
Other Fermentables / Re: A little help with a batch of cider.
« on: November 26, 2012, 01:00:50 PM »
I know it's not the question you asked, but I'm curious why you racked to secondary and then added more fermentables?  Wouldn't it be easier to add the concentrate, add the yeast, ferment completely, and then rack to secondary?  I assume it did re-start fermentation after adding the concentrate?  Based on the FG it must have.

and yes, I always size my batches so that my secondary will be completely full, unless I'm going to be in a keg where I can cover with CO2.  I've added a small amount of water before.  Assuming you had fermentation from the concentrate you had a CO2 blanket and though you opened it for the oak I assume that process made some more come out of solution that has again covered the cider.  So I wouldn't personally worry too much.

cheers--
--Michael

600
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Help me improve my process (Pictures!)
« on: November 26, 2012, 11:19:22 AM »
so if that's 3 gallons you're somewhere in upper 60's on efficiency %, is that right? 

I believe most who brew in a bag turn on the heat and raise to mash-out temps before pulling out the bag.  I don't follow this exact procedure so I can't calm your fears of a melted bag, but a lot of people seem to do it without problems...anyway there's some un-claimed sugary goodness still in that bag you should be able to get out without squeezing/tannin extraction.

I don't trust the amount of evaporation I get on a shallow spoon or on the prism when wort is hot.  The numbers I get just don't make sense, so instead I take a sample with a pipette, cover the end with my finger as I hold it upside down and dunk it in some cold water.  Chills in a matter of seconds, then I put it on the refractometer. 

also, if i what I am squinting at says those yeasts are best before early/mid January, you're not overpitching.

re: things like mash temperatures I would just say that yes, you need to be in a certain range.  However you also need to know your equipment.  If a specific number on your thermometer that is outside the "ideal" range of the books is giving you the beer you like best, go with that.  Understand your equipment and make your process repeatable.

looks like you do a lot of really good things; I bet your beer is great.

cheers--
--Michael

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