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Messages - majorvices

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The Pub / Tornado hit my son's school
« on: March 02, 2012, 03:23:03 PM »
Pretty scary, I was listening on the radio as his school was hit. Had a pretty serious prayer. Lots of damage, especially around the school but the kids were all right.

The Pub / Re: Right vs. Pragmatic
« on: March 02, 2012, 07:05:46 AM »
I just love the fact that we have now veered into talking about potty breaks.  :o I guess everything else has been covered.  ;)

Going Pro / Re: How hard is it to be a pro brewer?
« on: March 02, 2012, 05:15:27 AM »
You might could make it work on a 3 bbl system if you served most of it out of your own door. I've never run the numbers for that. I am thinking production brewery only. I am not set up right now to open a tap room, but one of the local breweries who has is making enough to cover their lease and then some - and I know their lease ain't cheap because they are leasing the quipment as well.

But think about the other problem of liability insurance, hiring help to serve and clean (unless you plan on doing all the brewing and serving and cleaning).

Going Pro / Re: How hard is it to be a pro brewer?
« on: March 01, 2012, 08:32:26 PM »
perhaps you didn't see my "brewery update" thread, but I have a 15 bbl system up and running now. I'm only currently filling 7 bbl fermenters though. I'm also running the "pilot" system full time. Hoping to add some larger fermenters this year. I seriously doubt you could ever make money on a 3 bbl system. You could break even though, as long as you don;t mind working 30-40+ hours a week for free.

Going Pro / Re: How hard is it to be a pro brewer?
« on: March 01, 2012, 06:26:00 PM »
You could even look at it as an extension of homebrewing but with the chance to make a little money, which is more than I make homebrewing ;)

Just be aware that you will most likely need to brew on at least a 3 bbl scale to make any money to compensate your time. Also, as Thirsty has mentioned - it may not be legal to brew on your premises (but it might depending where you live.)

When I was homebrewing on my 12 gallon system I was downright greedy with my beer. I never gave away growlers and I would not have entertained selling either even if it was legal simply because no one would have wanted to pay what it was worth to my time. If you came over to my house I would gladly drink the beer with you, because that was part of the fun. But 12 gallons, let alone 5 gallons, of homebrew is some of the most expensive beer in the world if you look at the time involved.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Inconsistent pH readings...
« on: March 01, 2012, 12:35:42 PM »
Keith- Which ph meter do you have? Wife is asking for birthday suggestions, just what to help her out...


Milwaukee SM101

Wood/Casks / Re: Optimum temperature for barrel aging?
« on: March 01, 2012, 07:04:58 AM »
I have beer aging in wine and bandy bbls. I am leaving them out in the open at ambient temps which swing from the high 30s to the mid 70s. I believe the temp swings will help the beer extract more wood character from the bbls due to expanding and contracting similar to the philosophy behind bourbon bbl aging. As soon as the wether starts to warm I am going to probably have to find another solution but I wonder if 45 isn't a bit cold. I'd think you would want to have it cellar temps at the coldest. If you have a way to move your bbl around you might consider moving it out into room temp off and on.

Going Pro / Re: How hard is it to be a pro brewer?
« on: March 01, 2012, 06:15:46 AM »

On the other side of the coin, just because you make good, or even really good beer, it does not mean you will be successful.

Agree. Just like any business there is a chance you will fail no matter how good you are. Perhaps the fail rate is even greater with breweries.

When I first planned to open my brewery there was one other local brewery making pretty bad beer, and one other brewery in Alabama that had just started up making good beer a couple hours away. By the time I opened my doors two other breweries sprung up locally and two more in state. The one making "pretty bad beer" failed. Two of the other breweries had deep pockets and have expanded rapidly. Just last month another "brewery" opened it's doors (I use quotes because they contract brew but they are calling themselves "local") and I know of another brewery in development and two others at least in planning.

There is no way that all of us will be able to survive. I feel lucky that we got started when we did because tap space is going to start filling up but expanding is going to be quite a challenge.

Going Pro / Re: How hard is it to be a pro brewer?
« on: March 01, 2012, 05:40:13 AM »
I've read and listened to the stories of sommeliers but it wasn't that they couldn't tell the difference between red and white wine but rather they couldn't tell the difference between an $8 bottle and a $50 bottle. I'm pretty sure most of us could tell the difference between Amber Bock and Celebrator. ;)

Regardless, not sure how many of you were beer drinkers in the early 90's but a very similar situation was happening then that is happening now. Lots of breweries popping up here there and everywhere. Lot's of these people had the dream first of opening a brewery and then learning how to make beer. That bubble burst and most of those breweries that were making sh!tty beer went down the toilette and drug a bunch of the good ones down with them.

Well, the exact same thing is happening again now. People should not start with idea of a brewery but with the passion for crafting beer. way too many people are enamored by the stainless steel tanks and equipment and volume and not enough about the yeast and fermentation and malt and hops.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WY1469...No Starter?
« on: February 29, 2012, 06:38:25 PM »
Just wondering if this strain will ferment out a 1.056 ale if I don't use a starter, but the yeast is less than 1 month old in the smack pack?  I'd like to brew Saturday, and still have to buy the yeast.  Not time for a starter.

Is S-04 even a close sub?

No time for a starter? If you were set to brew a beer and found out you didn't have enough malt or hops would you still brew the beer? If the answer is no then why would you brew without enough yeast?

That said, yeah, you would probably be fine. especially if the yeast is fresh. But I agree you have plenty of time to make a starter.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: homebrew shelf life
« on: February 29, 2012, 04:32:46 PM »
The old analogy "how long is a piece of string" comes into play here. I have some high gravity barley wines that are from 2006 and they are still quite delicious. But most of the beer I brew is intended to be comsumed fresh.

Going Pro / Re: How hard is it to be a pro brewer?
« on: February 29, 2012, 07:21:48 AM »
Instead of "pro-brewing" I have been calling it "commercial brewing" to avoid people getting their feeling hurt/dander up, whatever. I know some homebrewers who know more about brewing than some pro - ahhh, I mean commercial brewers.  ;) And I have found the homebrew community rich with creative ideas. Some of the best beer you will ever taste without question is homebrewed.

OTOH I would para-phrase Steven King who says a "professional writer is one who writes something, gets paid for it and pays the utility bill with it." I think the same thing applies here. Also, I will point out that most commercial brewers (myself included) brew several times a week (I brew 3 - 4 times a week now) and we eat, breath and sleep brewing all day, every day and often well on into the night. I don't have many times during the day when I am not thinking about something regarding the brewery, often I fall asleep wondering if my yeast shipment will arrive or wake up worrying if the glycol pump is still functioning. So there is a "pro" aspect to it that goes beyond just an "art form". And, FWIW I am a trained artist and I consider brewing a "craft" not an art form but boulder is right - enough of semantics already.

The Pub / Re: new charcoal pit?
« on: February 29, 2012, 07:12:35 AM »
The Weber Kettle is very versatile and the right price. I use it more than any of my other BBQ equipment. You can grill, hot smoke, cold smoke or use it as a hand warmer. It's easy to clean and is has a very even heating gradient. I highly recommend it.  :)

hmmmmm .... I've been meaning to get a new hand warmer.  ;D

All Grain Brewing / Re: Inconsistent pH readings...
« on: February 29, 2012, 05:39:28 AM »
well, I have two of them and if they are both off they are both off the same. I don't have any issues with FG so I feel confident they are fine. I calibrate often, probably not as often as I should. Regardless, I'd rather be off a couple of degrees than have my pH reading off. I give myself a 2 degree leeway on temp anyway just for sanity's sake.

I certainly don't think pH is less important than temperature. They are both obviously important.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Inconsistent pH readings...
« on: February 28, 2012, 09:16:35 PM »
The Thermapen is not only quick but very accurate. IMO that's more important than Ph, which is probably not a problem anyway.

My $7 lab thermometer is quick enough and 100% accurate - I use it to calibrtate all my installed dial thermometers regularly. I check ph all the time and I am surprised at how often it doesn't check out. YMMV. IN fact I brewed a side batch recently and checked the pH and noticed it was only off a little and the beer never did have a good hot break and the final batch ended up tasting alright but had a stubborn haze. I guess  the mash temp checked out at least.

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