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Messages - majorvices

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Ingredients / What type of yeast should I get?
« on: August 09, 2012, 06:40:55 AM »
Just dawned on me that between the three of us I was the least crazy looking person at NHC. Scary for you guys. :P

Also, Chico usually comes pretty clear for me. But that said, I mostly use it for my IPA and I personally don't expect an IPA to come super clear. Some beers I have used it on have had a slight yeast haze that did clear over time, but nothing like WLP500. But hell, I've even had success getting that strain to clear with BioFine.

Ingredients / Re: dark malt in saison
« on: August 08, 2012, 06:31:31 PM »
I've made red saisons and black saisons and, of course, pale saisons. It's really up to you. Understand that the yeast is going to play a critical role here so you may want to start out with a pale saison so you can see what flavors to expect and then design your darker saison accordingly.

The Pub / Stay off my f'ing driveway!
« on: August 08, 2012, 02:32:54 PM »
How about a toll booth? Sounds like, what with thousands of drivers turning around, you could pay for a new driveway in no time. 8)

Ingredients / Re: What type of yeast should I get?
« on: August 08, 2012, 01:34:20 PM »
It is the hat of awesomeness.

Kegging and Bottling / Mixing Commercial and Homebrew Kegs on one system
« on: August 08, 2012, 11:21:08 AM »
 I have four tap system that interchanges homebrew (corny) with commercial (sanke) kegs. If you look at some place like Foxx Beverage equipment they have all the equipment you need. In my case, I had everything geared up so that all the line fit the standard QDC on corny kegs. There is an adapter you can but that allows you use the same fitting fro sanke kegs.

The Pub / Re: More craft breweries now than in 1890
« on: August 08, 2012, 08:12:43 AM »

Bell's, on the other hand, does not last in my house.  Maybe my favorite brewery.

Just got a six pack of Bell's Two Hearted the other day and while it is not horrible I don't really enjoy it. I haven't enjoyed a Two Hearted in a while. Seems like the quality has slipped there. Either that or they are expanding too far out from their local and the freshness is biting them in the ass.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Hop Rocket Randall and Grassy Flavors
« on: August 08, 2012, 05:31:14 AM »
Agree that they are mostly gimmicks but that said, you can have a good randall experience. The trick is to use a high gravity beer such as a IIPA. The higher alcohol level helps to dissolve and extract the acids. My 9% IIPA through the randall picks up an extra hop punch and the grassy flavors are subdued. That said, I probably prefer my IIPA fresh sans Randall treatment. But a few times when the beer was a little long in the tooth with the hop character somewhat faded the randall treatment perked it up nicely. And in those cases I much preferred the randalized beer over the straight IIPA. YMMV.

Going Pro / Re: realistically, what does it take?
« on: August 07, 2012, 09:24:14 AM »
What's the point of making beer to sell to strangers, if you're not trying to make a reasonable profit on it? My 5/10gal batches are so precious to me, I'm only willing to share them with my friends. The thought of selling them in a bar to a bunch of strangers who won't appreciate it is terrible.

Now, if I were making 10bbl to make a living, it'd be a different matter.

What's the point?  Interesting question, that each of us must answer for ourselves.  For me, it is the pleasure of watching someone put down their hard earned cash for something I created.  I enjoy that feeling.  Especially when they buy the second one.  Friends almost always tell me my beer is "great" "good" and "wow."  But nothing says I've done a good job as when someone pays $5 for a pint.  And in my town, it's not so much "strangers" as friends I havn't met yet.

Yesterday, as I was at the local bar modifying one of his Sankey for ball locks, I wore my brewery t-shirt to create a buzz, and boy did it.  The customers were very excited to see another local brewery supplying them beer.  Our first keg will be delivered Friday, and more than one said they'll be back to try.

If it turns out that you end up losing money over time, will you still continue to do it? Sounds like you have very little overhead, which is a boon, but when you consider how much your time is actually worth it doesn't seem possible to even break even on a 10 gallon system. OTOH if you are doing it to prove a concept and get someone on board who wants to fund a real brewery then it could be totally worth it. Just my .02. Not trying to discourage anyone from their passions.

The Pub / More craft breweries now than in 1890
« on: August 07, 2012, 08:21:28 AM »
Pretty cool graph. Obviously this explosion can't continue, there are only so many taps!

Ingredients / Re: What type of yeast should I get?
« on: August 07, 2012, 08:17:08 AM »
I don't have any problems getting it to clear using finings and cold crashing.

Ingredients / Re: What type of yeast should I get?
« on: August 07, 2012, 03:06:07 AM »
Looks like US-05 is my best bet then for right now.

I'm a n00b so bare with me on this one... but does the yeast really affect the flavor all that much?

Yeast completely affects the flavor. Case can be made that it affets the flavor more than any other ingredient. And it is also the key to making great beer, the way you treat your yeast, your yeast health, pitching rate and your fermentation temp are all key to the final product. US-05 is a good choice to stick with in the beginning because it is simple to use and is very clean. But you won't be able to make Belgian Ales, German Wheats or authentic English style ales with it.

Ingredients / What type of yeast should I get?
« on: August 06, 2012, 06:56:53 PM »
Hard to give you an exact answer, it's going to depend on what you like to drink/brew. For American style ales, WLP001/WY1056 is great. Or, for convenience sake, US-05 is a great dry yeast alternative to those strains. With liquid yeast you are generally going to want to make a starter or pitch multiple vials/packs. Dry yeast no starter is required. Look athe the pitching calc at to get an idea how much yeast you will need for every batch.

There are a lot of Belgian strains, English Strains, German Ale and Lager strains out there (to name a few). Most homebrewers just order the yeast they want to use for that batch. Usually we plan several batches and use the yeast "cake" from the bottom of the fermenter to make several generation of beers.

But, to give you a run down. For White Labs here are the strains I recommend for different styles.

American Ales, Stouts, Barley Wines, IPAs, etc - WLP001

English Ales, ESBs, Ordinary Bitters, English IPAs, WLP002 or for higher gravity English Ales WLP007

German Ales such as Kolsch - WLP029

German Ales such as Alt - WY1007 (not sure what WL strain to tell you)

German Ales such as HefeWeizens - WLP300 and 380

Belgian ales such as Tripel, Dubbel, etc - WLP530

Hope that helps.

Going Pro / realistically, what does it take?
« on: August 06, 2012, 07:11:02 AM »
I own a 10 bbl brewery ( and what it takes is a lot of time and money. Architecs, lawyers, graphoc designers, blood sweat and tears. And kegs. YUou need a lot of those.

It can certainly be done and it can be done on a budget but to really make anything worthwhile you are going to need to spend over 100K, and reality much mroe than that. The point of opening a brewery is to open a sucessful business. You establish a brand and produce a product that people consume. It's hell of a lot of work, but it is also awesome and has great rewards.

As far as "selling a few kegs", aside from the legality issues and license expense (I think we pay the ABC $1000 per year for the priviledge to sell beer) my only question is .... why? You will not ever be monetarilly compensated on a 10 gallon system and in the end if you are brewing for 6-8 hours to sell a couple kegs you will basically be paying to sell your own beer. Doesn;t make sense to me one bit. If it is just about the gratification of people enjoying your beer you can do that far easier on the homebrew level.

As someone who seriously wanted to go the nano route I am so glad to hear people with some experience give advice like this!  The real reason I wanted to open a brewery is for the personal satisfaction of people enjoying my beer.  You are right it IS far easier to do on the homebrew level and with a lot less headaches.
Obviously I can't sell my beer....but that doesn't mean I don't have a brewery!!  We have a website, FB page, sell t-shirts and stickers, pour at beer festivals and private events, etc....I often wonder how many people think we are a commercial brewery ;D  In fact somebody the other day said it is an "underground brewery" which is cool...though I was quick to point out that we don't sell our beer.  We get everything out of it that a nanobrewery would ( personal satisfaction, name recognition, etc...) but without all or most of the headaches ( fees/permits, licensing/zoning, negative cashflow, expectations).

Ok this really intrigues me!  I thought you had to be a "beer company" in order to pour at beer festivals.  Is it possible to sell your beer at a festival?

It's gonna depend on the laws of your state. Some can. Some can't.

General Homebrew Discussion / Ken Schramm in Hospital
« on: August 06, 2012, 05:45:59 AM »
Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Although I have made some derogatory posts about mead in the past I met a good mead maker a few months back who opened my eyes to a few things. Have Ken's book in route to the house as we speak.

Going Pro / Re: realistically, what does it take?
« on: August 05, 2012, 09:01:20 PM »

As far as "selling a few kegs", aside from the legality issues and license expense (I think we pay the ABC $1000 per year for the priviledge to sell beer) my only question is .... why?

To establish a client base.

So, when I first opened this brewery I approached it with that intent in mind (basically a 45 gallon batch) and from day one we realized our problem suddenly was not the quality or the customer base but the volume. Even now, at a 10 bbl level, I just feel this is ludicrous. The money is all in the numbers and volume is the key. If you don't produce enough volume of beer you will be spending money to provide beer to people.

Also, you need a rather large volume of beer to really eastablish a customer base. We sell every drop we make and it boggles my mind how many people have not heard of us. 310 gallons of beer is reaslly such a small amount, after all.

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