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Messages - phunhog

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All Grain Brewing / Re: your experiences in moving to 10g?
« on: September 17, 2012, 07:51:48 PM »
When I stepped up to 10 gallon batches I bought a bigger IC with a recirculation arm. I use my old IC as a pre chiller. It works pretty well. Just remember you might also want/need a bigger burner.

I just call myself a Dumb Homebrewer!! The key is to set the bar low...thus people's expectations are also low.  Once they taste my beer their expectations are exceeded and it makes me and the beer look great! Calling yourself a Homebrew Master is just setting yourself up for failure when someone doesn't like your beers.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP On-Line Exam - did you finish?
« on: September 11, 2012, 05:07:21 PM »
I took it at lunch while at work, on a whim, with no reference materials....and just barely squeeked by.  I thought I was done, and then had a few unanswered questions *that I thought I had answered* intent was to fail to get an understanding of what they were asking, but I passed by the hair on my chinny chin chin (as they say).

The wording of such entrance exams are designed to throw you off....after all, it is beer nerds testing you to see if you are worthy of being in the club.

The real challenge is finding a testing slot within a 12 month window.  I have one in March 2013 *I think, and I tested just after the opening of the new on-line exam in April 2012.  There are at least 5 exams scheduled in my area in the next 12 months, and to my knowledge, I got the last slot.  I even checked my old home town (fly to test) and the 3 or 4 scheduled in the next year were also booked.

That is the biggest problem with the BJCP exam process.  I want to study,take, and pass the online test. But..why if there are no testing slots in the major metro area I live in (Los Angeles)?  I can travel either 3-4 hours south or 5-6 hours north and "maybe" find an open slot.   Seems like a major headache...just so somebody can wave a wand over my head and say "you are a beer judge".  Yet everytime there is a comp..they are hurting for judges and will take just about anyone.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP On-Line Exam - did you finish?
« on: September 10, 2012, 08:37:36 PM »
It's 10 dollars.
As for the amount of knowledge, you would need a basic knowledge and the ability to look stuff up quickly. I started the exam without any reference material cause I thought that would be cheating but quickly realized that there was no way that anyone could remember all the style differences that they were asking for.

I'm glad you passed, though I certainly don't agree with this statement.
ability to look up things quickly is not knowledge.

True...looking stuff up is not necessarily knowledge but c'mon it is a beer judging exam.  I have heard that even experienced judges bring a copy of the style guidelines with them.  Far better to look something up and be right then to just "know it" and be wrong.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: To Share or Not to Share
« on: September 09, 2012, 11:22:17 AM »
I love sharing my beer! In fact that is the biggest reason I stepped up to 10 gallons. 5 for me and 5 for my friends. However I only share with those who can/will appreciate it.  If someone is just looking at it for "free beer" ....that kinda pisses me off.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Tried my first India Black Ale
« on: September 09, 2012, 07:06:48 AM »
Here is the "style" descriptor for GABF

63. American–Style Black Ale
American-style Black Ales are very dark to black and perceived to have medium high to high hop bitterness,
flavor and aroma with medium-high alcohol content, balanced with a medium body. Fruity, floral and herbal
character from hops of all origins may contribute character. The style is further characterized by a balanced and
moderate degree of caramel malt and dark roasted malt flavor and aroma. High astringency and high degree of
burnt roast malt character should be absent.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.056-1.075 (14-18.2 ºPlato) ● Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.012-
1.018 (3-4.5 ºPlato) ● Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 5-6% (6 -7.5%) ● Bitterness (IBU): 50-70 ● Color SRM
(EBC): 35+ (70+ EBC)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Tried my first India Black Ale
« on: September 08, 2012, 08:44:15 PM »
I think this is one beer style where technique plays a big role.  I have only brewed a Black IPA once but it was one of my favorite beers.  The key I think is adding the dark malts only during the vorlauf and sparge. Gordon Strong talks about this in his book and it is where I got the idea from.  I doubt many commercial breweries do this. The dark grains, IMO, really are there to add color and ideally a not whole lot else.  The BIPA that I made still had a slight roast to it but it still tasted like an IPA.  A pro brewer tasted it and loved it and he even makes a BIPA....if that means anything ::)

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: White Labs vials?
« on: August 27, 2012, 08:56:51 PM »
So how does WL sanitize the vials for yeast? Dry heat??

I think they come sterile out of the manufacturing process. I doubt there is much that can live in hot plastic.

UV is an option too.

Hmmm....UV might be an option? Now I completely pulling this out of my....but I do a lot backpacking and I have one of these...  I wonder if I were to fill up a vial with water and use my steripen if that would sanitize the vial??   Probably easier to just continue to dunk them in Star-San.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: White Labs vials?
« on: August 27, 2012, 08:24:58 PM »
I use them to store yeast.....what a novel concept! Seriously though....I will step up a starter, crash, and decant the yeast into sanitized vials. Basically I get 6-8 vials for every one that I buy!!  So how does WL sanitize the vials for yeast? Dry heat??

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Style Guidelines and Judging
« on: August 27, 2012, 06:32:58 PM » I'm going through Zmag and looking for some recipe ideas to put my own spin on for the next brew session. I'm looking at the Cat. 10 winner, an American Amber. Based on the recipe submitted, this one is certainly pretty far outside the style guidelines for an Amber. 66 IBU's and nearly 7%ABV. That looks a lot more like an IPA to me.

I like to push the style guidelines to make my beer stand out a bit for competitions, but I'm always being dinged about stuff being a bit high alcohol for style.

Any thoughts on this from the judges out there? Just kind of surprised me that it would go gold at national level being that far out of style.

FYI....I believe that is the second year in a row that exact recipe has won Gold in Cat. 10 at the NHC.  It is the West Coast Blaster recipe from BCS. I have brewed it a few times and it is a fantastic beer!! Of course we all know that it isn't the recipe but the brewers skill that makes a great beer ;)

Zymurgy / Re: We need your brew dog photos!
« on: August 24, 2012, 04:57:01 PM »
WooHoo!! Socorro and I made the cut!! Extra biscuits for her and an extra beer for me!!

Going Pro / Re: realistically, what does it take?
« on: August 07, 2012, 11:05:22 AM »
Well I know in my case the law is a bit of a gray area.

I guess I misunderstood your original post, because I don't see any ambiguity there:

Any beer manufactured pursuant to this section may be removed from the premises where manufactured for use in competition at organized affairs, exhibitions or competitions, including homemakers' contests, tastings, or judgings.

It's explicitly legal to serve your homebrew at a "tasting" (festival), and if someone at the ABC says otherwise, they're wrong.

That's what I mean..I know of some clubs who have asked ABC to pour at beer festivals and they have been denied. Other clubs have just gone ahead and did it without any problems. Unfortunately from working in the government for 20+ years I know the easiest answer to give a member of the public is NO, especially when dealing with an issue that can be interpreted in different ways. It's not right but it happens all the time. That's where my " better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" statement came from.

Ingredients / Re: Hot peppers in an IPA
« on: August 06, 2012, 10:19:23 PM »
I make an award winning Green Chile Blonde and I add the peppers to the secondary. I actually roast mine on the BBQ, put them in plastic bags, and freeze them. Freezing is supposed to rupture the cell walls and let more of the "goodness" out.  I then put the frozen, whole (skins, seeds, etc) pepper in the secondary and rack the beer onto it.   Habanero sounds great, and I could be wrong, but won't it "fight" the hops too much in an IPA?

Ingredients / Re: best way to dry hop
« on: August 06, 2012, 10:11:58 PM »
I just drop my pellets into the primary, no secondary and no bags.  I leave my dry hops in for about 7 days then keg.  The hops will eventually drop to the bottom.  My beers come out clear and tasty.

I do the same thing. I do have a stainless screen I wrap around my racking cane to keep the hop particle transfer to a minimum. I leave the hops in for 5-7 days.

Going Pro / Re: realistically, what does it take?
« on: August 06, 2012, 04:42:39 PM »
Sadly it's also on who "interpets" the laws of your state.  I know some brewers/clubs have done so without any problems. Other brewers/clubs in the same state have asked the ABC and have been told no.  As a homebrewer I think this is a case of "it's better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission".

Are you referring to selling beer at festivals or just giving it away?

Both. For instance, this just came down the pipe in Illinois:

In my case I was just referring to giving away homebrew at festivals in small taster glasses.  Interesting to see what happens in Illinois. It is a bummer that they are locked out of the festivals right now but maybe people will see how ridiculous that is and get it changed.

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