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Messages - el_capitan

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1
Going Pro / Starting Wage for a Test-Batch Brewer?
« on: August 17, 2017, 10:25:27 PM »
Alright guys, here's the scoop.  A couple friends of mine have successfully made the transition from homebrewers to professional brewers.  They opened a local brewery last Christmas after several years of intense planning.  So far, they have grown fast and are now nearing max production for their location. 

They're working hard to keep up production on the beers, and have really dialed in their system.  One crucial step that is lacking in their process is test-batch brewing.  This became painfully apparent a couple weeks ago, when they had to dump a batch of BGSA because it had problems with the alcohol balance. 

After that, I approached them with the idea of hiring me on as a test-batch brewer.  I would brew on their 10-gallon pilot system to help refine recipes before scaling up the full-scale batches.  They simply don't have the time to do that, alongside their current brewing schedule. 

A bit of background here - I've brewed for over 13 years and I'm at about batch 200.  These guys have learned quickly, but have only brewed for 4 years or so, and they're on about batch 40.  I've been helping them out behind the scenes by advising, evaluating beers, sharing knowledge, and sharing samples of my homebrew as ideas for future commercial brews.  It's been a lot of fun so far, and I'm excited about officially joining the team.

My question is - with my level of experience and knowledge, what do you think is a fair wage for that position?  This may be a step towards brewing full-scale commercial batches during the summer time, when I'm not teaching.  For now, I would help with recipe development and refinement, brewing the beer, monitoring fermentation, packaging it in kegs, and gathering evaluative feedback from groups of knowledgeable beer drinkers.  I also spend a fair amount of time researching new ingredients and techniques, and I share this knowledge with them too. 

Let me know your thoughts.  Thanks!

2
If you've never brewed it, you should try Janet's Brown Ale.  The recipe is included in Brewing Classic Styles, but I'm sure you can find it online too.  That one includes a few large late additions of Cascade and Centennial.  I think you would need about 3 oz Cascade, and 2 oz Centennial, which should be no problem for you.  I use pellets for a known bittering addition, then use homegrown for late.  It's a fantastic American Brown ale, and it always gets rave reviews from my friends.  PM me if you can't find the recipe and would like me to share it. 

Another nice recipe to use some of those would be Denny's Waldo Lake Amber.  Just a couple ounces in that one, but it's a great beer as well.  You could probably brew both with even a smaller harvest of homegrowns.  Cheers!

3
Homebrewer Bios / Re: New Poster, long time reader.
« on: August 17, 2017, 10:07:36 PM »
Hey man - I lived in Missoula for a couple years during college, way back in the early 2000's.  What a great place to spend some time.  I miss it!  I thought Missoula was great, because it helped me see that people are people, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual preference, etc.  My time there helped me learn to connect with people on a personal level, looking past all of the surface stuff.  Then, add in all of the recreational opportunities like hiking, biking, canoeing, snowboarding, fishing, and whatever else, and you have a great place.  I learned to tie-dye in Missoula (big surprise, eh?) and made a business of it for a while, marketing my tapestries down at the Staggering Ox by malfunction junction.

Good times all around.  I head out to Montana once every year or two, and I might just have to crash your party next time. 

Welcome to the forum!  Thanks for bringing back the memories.   :D

4
Hop Growing / Re: 2017 Season
« on: August 17, 2017, 10:00:37 PM »
Just arrived by mail from Territorial Seed Gardens: Cascade, Willamette, Mt. Hood and Kent Goldings.  Super excited to see how these do in my backyard in Beaverton, Oregon.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

Beaverton, eh?  Well have you heard Todd Snider's story about his days on the Beaverton HS Football Team?  If not, here you go.  Todd Snider is one of my faves.

As for hops, here in Minnesota, I'm having one of my best years ever.  With all of this rain, my hops were at full height on my 17-ft trellis by the end of June!  Now I'm looking at really nice cones on all 10 of my plants.  The Sterling is still in the burr stage, but they're all just loaded.  I better go snap some pics for you guys.  Seems like hops growing is kind of dying out in the homebrewer community, but I still enjoy it.  Cheers.   

5
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Reusing 34/70 dry lager yeast
« on: August 17, 2017, 09:44:53 PM »
Man, I'm always amazed at how this forum supports my brewing.  Right now I'm cold-crashing an O-fest, with plans to repitch the 34/70 into a Munich Dunkel tomorrow.  I think that as long as the initial fermentation was clean and healthy, the slurry should be in better shape than the original dry pack.  Maybe I'm vastly oversimplifying things here. 

One thing that I recently picked up here was the idea of overbuilding starters in order to maintain a cleaner yeast culture.  I've been using that method a lot in my brewing, and I like it a lot.  So, the downside with repitching is the gamble of contamination.  I plan to reserve a clean portion of my yeast slurry from the Ofest as my "pure" culture, and then build that through starters for future lagers. 

However, a whole batch worth of lager slurry is way to valuable to just dump, so I see myself overbuilding a starter, brewing a batch, then using the slurry for a second batch or two.  I don't brew lagers that often, but I'm definitely going to keep moving forward with this method as a way to simplify lager production. 

PS - doesn't dry yeast pretty much turn to liquid once you use it?   ;)

6
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: "We Might Have Been Wrong About FWH"
« on: August 17, 2017, 09:00:53 PM »
To the OP:  Thanks for the interesting news.  I've done FWH a couple times, but I'm not totally sure that I'm doing it right.  I basically add my bittering addition while collecting my first runnings.  I haven't played around too much with adding a portion of the aroma additions.  So my question is - if you buy into FWH, what is the ideal or preferred method? 

7
Ingredients / Re: Onion in my IPA
« on: August 14, 2017, 09:32:38 PM »
My .02, late to the party - The only time I've gotten onion is when I did a single-hop IPA with Zeus.  Too much of a good thing, I guess.  However, they were homegrown hops, and there is a chance that it was a late harvest issue. 

8
Ingredients / Re: cocoa nibs
« on: August 14, 2017, 09:26:03 PM »
BTW Weaze, that beer name is disgusting...  :o  You must be a big Limp Bizkit fan, eh?  Either that or a salad fan.  Where's the "trying not to barf" emoji? 

9
Ingredients / Re: Suggestions for Nugget hops
« on: August 14, 2017, 09:19:21 PM »
I used Nugget to bitter a whole slew of recent beers, and found it to be a very versatile bittering hop.  I've never used it for late additions, though. 

10
Best bet is unbalanced pressure.

+1  That was my initial thought, too. 

11
All Grain Brewing / Re: Cocoa Nibs vs Cocoa Powder
« on: August 14, 2017, 09:08:38 PM »
Not to be a turd, but it's CACAO nibs, not COCOA.  Pronounced like a large artillery gun going off.  Ca-COW!! 

Back on topic, I've used the cacao nibs in secondary and they were ok, but I would agree with others that it provides more mouthfeel and some aroma, with little flavor contribution.  Recently I brewed Jamil's Chocolate Hazelnut Porter, and that recipe called for an 8 oz addition of cocoa powder at flameout.  I got a lot more chocolate character from that than I ever have with nibs.

Does processing cacao result in flipping the vowels?

While I was writing that post, I realized the irony in using both forms, so I did a little searching to make sure that "cocoa powder" was correct.  Yes, something in the processing step does change the name from cacao to cocoa.  Strange, huh?  I try not to correct grammar, but as a teacher and former state spelling bee competitor, I notice those things!   ;)

12
All Grain Brewing / Re: Cocoa Nibs vs Cocoa Powder
« on: August 10, 2017, 07:48:29 PM »
Not to be a turd, but it's CACAO nibs, not COCOA.  Pronounced like a large artillery gun going off.  Ca-COW!! 

Back on topic, I've used the cacao nibs in secondary and they were ok, but I would agree with others that it provides more mouthfeel and some aroma, with little flavor contribution.  Recently I brewed Jamil's Chocolate Hazelnut Porter, and that recipe called for an 8 oz addition of cocoa powder at flameout.  I got a lot more chocolate character from that than I ever have with nibs. 

13
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: SNS Starter Fail
« on: June 05, 2017, 04:32:33 PM »
I tried it again without the Fermcap, and it was mighty frothy.  Talk about an easy way to make a starter.  I wish I hadn't wasted all that time making my double stirplate! 

14
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Favorite Yeast for Dark Mild?
« on: May 29, 2017, 09:06:33 PM »
It's hard to beat Palmer's Elevenses with 1469.  I've done it twice, and I'll do it again!! 

15
Yeast and Fermentation / SNS Starter Fail
« on: May 29, 2017, 09:03:52 PM »
So there I was, just shakin' that gallon jug like mad, waiting for that big foamy froth to rise up... and nothing.  Shook it even harder... nothing.  Then I thought, "Oh... Fermcap in the starter.  Whoops."  So I fired up the stir plate this time, and I'll give SNS a shot next time. 

Don't put Fermcap in your SNS starters!  Should have been obvious, but hindsight is 20/20.

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