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Messages - el_capitan

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Hop Growing / Re: 2014 Planting?
« on: March 31, 2014, 07:54:50 PM »
That's a pretty gnarly storm cloud over your house!  Do you think those trellises will hold up to hops load and wind gusts?  Might want to think about some sort of redundancy plan.  We get some huge winds here and I've had my bines come down several times.  It's no fun.   :(

Hop Growing / Re: 2014 Planting?
« on: March 28, 2014, 09:04:33 PM »
Jim - what did you use for your trellises?  They look cool.  How did you attach them to your deck? 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew Wedding
« on: March 28, 2014, 09:01:36 PM »
My little sister got married in southern MN last year, and they rented out a group site at a state park.  It was awesome - we had a big reception area with a commercial kitchen, walk-in freezer, the whole works.  Plus a bunch of cabins, bathrooms with showers, etc.  They brewed a ton of beer and wine for the wedding, and I brought two kegs.  No problemo. 

The best part - Whitewater State Park is in a zone with no lakes, but plenty of running water.  No standing water = no mosquitos whatsoever.  I took a canoe trip through there a couple years ago, and in 4 days on the water, we saw a total of 7 mosquitos.  Unbelievable. 

The Pub / Re: Pet Peeves
« on: March 26, 2014, 09:33:32 PM »
Pet peeves?  I think some of you guys are peeve hoarders! 

Ingredients / Re: Thoughts on mint
« on: March 25, 2014, 08:42:59 PM »
I've always read that if you plant mint, you should keep it confined to a container or it'll spread like a mother.  Better organize a mojito party my friend!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Giga Yeast
« on: March 25, 2014, 08:38:37 PM »
I was somewhat interested until I came to the part where they introduce their dog.  Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather get my yeast from somewhere that pets aren't involved.  The seem to say that the dog is confined to the office, but anyway...

So, you are saying that all my beers I ever brewed at home are infected with dog hair?

Yep, that's exactly what I'm sayin...  ;D  Nah, whatever.  I just thought it was kind of odd to see a yeast-propagation company with a brewdog.  I'm sure they keep him in the office and observe strict sanitation, yada yada yada. 

BTW, I do love dogs.  I taught my mom's little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel all kinds of tricks (including "slide," which is just what it sounds like).  I had to go with my mom a couple weeks ago to put her to sleep.  Really a sad day.  Anyway, brew on with your hairy selves! 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Giga Yeast
« on: March 24, 2014, 07:12:26 PM »
I was somewhat interested until I came to the part where they introduce their dog.  Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather get my yeast from somewhere that pets aren't involved.  The seem to say that the dog is confined to the office, but anyway...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Drinking Only Homebrews
« on: March 20, 2014, 09:42:42 PM »
I've been drinking homebrew at least 95% of the time for the last 10 years or so.  When I was first starting out I bought a lot of commercial beer to get a feel for different styles.  Every once in a while I'll pick up a seasonal like Celebration Ale, or maybe a sixer on a whim.  But overall, I enjoy brewing and drinking my own beer so much that it's not hard to pass it up.  A couple commercial sixpacks, or a batch of homebrew?  The cost is about the same for me and that's often the main motivation.  If my beer was crap I'd whistle a different tune, but it seems that each batch is better than the last, and there are always 5 more styles I'd like to brew waiting in the wings. 


All of my grains are in individual ziplocks or twist-tied plastic bags, then contained in a large rubbermaid storage container.  No problem. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Harvesting yeast from commercial beers
« on: March 16, 2014, 06:51:53 PM »
Back in my early days of homebrewing, I thought I'd give this a shot.  I very carefully saved yeast from each bottle of a sixpack of Sierra Nevada Porter.  The beer turned out great.  I had no idea at the time that I was culturing up one of the most commonly used brewing yeasts available.... ;D

The Pub / Re: Happy pi day every one!
« on: March 15, 2014, 10:04:33 PM »
I celebrated a day late by actually putting pi to use - went out tapping maple trees and had to calculate the diameter of my trees to determine how many taps to install per tree. 

YAY pi!! 

Equipment and Software / Re: CO2 To Go
« on: March 15, 2014, 10:02:21 PM »
The ultimate cheapo hack is to just sanitize and then charge up an empty keg with CO2.  Make a short in-to-in jumper that you can snap on and off when you need carb.  But then you might as well bring your 5 lb tank along.  I only have a 20 lb tank so I've had to resort to the gassy keg a couple times in the past. 

Worked well for me when I was brewing (and kegging) away from my home. 

Hop Growing / Re: 2014 Planting?
« on: March 15, 2014, 09:57:14 PM »
I give mine plenty of compost every year.  I found they did really well when I excavated a shallow ring around them and gave each crown ~1 quart of vermicompost.  I keep a worm bin or two going in my classroom all year with the express purpose of feeding my hops the best soil amendment I can get.  This year I'll use some of it in a soil block seedling mix, but I should have enough to still give the hops crowns a boost after relocation. 

Hop Growing / Re: 2014 Planting?
« on: March 13, 2014, 09:39:09 PM »
I'm not worried about getting an early jump on hop-growing season.  I'm thinking about how much work it's going to be to dig up 10 established hop crowns and then move them all.  These have been in the ground here for 4 years now, so I'm guessing they're about 3 ft down into solid clay.  I did till up the bed and till in a ton of horse manure initially, but since then I've only top-dressed with compost.  I could be looking at a very difficult job, trying to get all of the hop mass out! 

Who needs a home gym when you have a hop garden?   ;D

Hop Growing / Re: 2014 Planting?
« on: March 12, 2014, 10:13:56 PM »
I have to dig up and root prune all of my varieties this year, and I'm also going to replant them in alphabetical order just to help keep things straight.  So, trying to get a jump on the season, I went out and spread a very fine layer of peat moss over the foot or so of dense snow on top of my hops bed.  We finally got some spring weather this week in MN, and believe it or not I'm down to bare soil in only 3 days of strong sun and decent weather.  The rest of the garden is still buried. 

Now I'm hoping to institute Phase 2 of this plan and get the soil defrosted so I can start digging.  I want to speed up the defrosting without harming my bines.  I thought about putting down some plastic (either black or clear) but I'm afraid I'll cook the crowns.  Maybe I'll just count on the black soil to heat up on its own. 


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