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Topics - Phil_M

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General Homebrew Discussion / A Return...
« on: May 10, 2019, 02:41:51 AM »
Yep, I think it's safe to say I'm finally about to start again.

And this time, I don't feel inclined to be technical about my brewing.

When I got into homebrewing, I wanted to brew the best beer. Guinness dry stout, IPAs that were awesome, German Lagers, a Saison to rival Dupont, and so on.

Now that I can afford to drink what I want, I don't feel inclined to brew that way. Now, I just want to brew for fun. The beer still has to be good, for sure, but why try and brew what I can just buy?

What I'm really thinking of is just brewing simple beers when I feel like it, or more complex beers with friends. I've got several who already brew regularly, and a close friend who's dying to start brewing. During my hiatus, I procured a used MoreBeer Tippy Dump, and have done enough to work the bugs out of it. Just want a second SS Brewtech Brew Bucket (I've got a 10 gallon system) and some yeast, and I'm ready to go...

First brew will be a sorta Belgian. Weyermann Barke Munich I, and 3787. Likely some stale Goldings (I have two pounds of them) for a hop. (I still have all my all stale. Perhaps not a bad thing?)

Kegging and Bottling / Smelly Gas Lines
« on: March 14, 2019, 11:31:32 PM »
Bought new gas lines for the nitro setup...they reek of plastic. (well, they are plastic, but you get it...)

Any chance this will affect the beer? I'll cannibalize my CO2 lines if need be, but I'd rather not have to...

Kegging and Bottling / Balancing a Nitro Draft System
« on: March 10, 2019, 05:19:03 PM »
Anyone have info on this? Some basic searches are just coming up with the regular draft balancing formula. More specifically, I'm looking for the proper line length. My regular CO2 draft lines are shorter than the formula specifies for most beers, as I server at a far lower carbonation level than most. Need to know how that will impact a nitrogen based draft system, so I can order more beer line if needed.

The Pub / Distributors vs. Craft Beer/'s about to go down...
« on: February 05, 2019, 11:02:21 PM »
If you haven't been paying attention to the fight that's been happening here in MD, you need to wake up and pay attention.

A politician (allegedly backed by distributors) in a nearby county is filing to strip our state Comptroller of his authority over road use fuels, tobacco, and alcohol.

Franchot has done much to try and improve things for the craft beverage industry. It was expected that the distributors would try and make a move this session, but this isn't what I expected. From what I can tell, it's pretty much a move directly in response to Franchot's attempts to reform craft beer laws in our state.

Hopefully this doesn't count as is, but it's craft beer related. I'm honestly surprised that the BA hasn't been more involved in all this, thankfully the Brewer's Association of MD has also stepped up to get word out. throughout this whole mess.

Oh yeah, and all this comes at the start of MD's official craft beer month...what a way to support the brewing industry here...

Commercial Beer Reviews / Hofbrau Keg Coupler Help
« on: January 23, 2019, 10:32:01 PM »
So I recently purchased an "S" style coupler and a keg of Hofbrau Dunkel to christen it with...

...but I seem to have an issue. Lost a botle of CO2, which is a rarity for me these days. Upon closer inspection, the coupler isn't able to rotate to the fully to seal up. You can depress the handle and it doesn't leak beer and dispenses fine, but it's about a 20o turn from the bumps on the coupler touching the stops on the keg.

Multiple sources list it as being an "S" type keg:

The coupler I purchased:

Side rant: Do distributors save the old beer for consumers or something? I'm not going to share the "drink by" date, but suffice to say it's well in the past for this keg...still drinkable though.

Commercial Beer Reviews / 5 year old Bigfoot
« on: October 18, 2018, 12:31:49 AM »
Anyone else ever had one at 5 years old?

Cracked my last 2013 open tonight, the next oldest Bigfoot I've ever had was 3 years old. It's been a while since I've done proper tasting notes on a beer, so I'm curious if what I'm tasting lines up with the experience of others. Mostly I just want some assurance that the beer is still good...which would mean my cellaring method works...

Anyway, here goes:


Crystal-clear reddish copper. Thin head that still laces nicely. Doesn't show any legs when swirled.


Best described as cherry pipe tobacco. Honestly the more I smell it the more it reminds me of aromatic style pipe tobacco. Maybe a hint of anise? Or cinnamon?


A touch tannic/astringent...ok maybe more than a touch. Medium body, good bit of drying/puckering on the tongue.


The first thing you notice is a slam of hop tannins, then a slight caramel almost-sweetness. Honestly it's still so bitter it's hard to call it sweet, but there's some there. Then it fades to just bitter...and kinda resolves to almost a pipe bite like tannic thing. Maybe almost anise? Kinda almost a Jagermeister herbal/Anise thing.

The Pub / More Band News for MD Craft Beer Fans?
« on: October 09, 2018, 05:14:15 PM »

While a find the article to have a bit of a distopian outlook on the situation, it does give some insight into just how bad things are getting here...and how that ilk may spread.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Yuengling Golden Pils
« on: July 03, 2018, 04:37:36 PM »
Yes, I know, some snobs still claim Yuengling isn't craft. Whatever.

I'm pleasantly surprised by this beer. It's not low O2, so don't buy it expecting that. However, it is all malt, and quite saaz-y. It's quickly become a favorite. Hoppier than most standard Euro-Pils beers, but not quite as hoppy as Pilsner Urquell. Awesome in the MD humidity.

Commercial Beer Reviews / It's getting worse...
« on: March 08, 2018, 11:26:57 PM »
My local liquor stores are depressing me.

The freshest Sierra Nevada Pale Ale I've found was packaged on December 6th.
Torpedo? November.
Anything Dogfishhead? October, 2017.
Guinness? Well I haven't worked out their codes, but a few are still selling the flying Toucan anniversary cans. The St. Patrick's display at one store still wasn't the current can design, but rather one prior.

I have not been able to find anything from any German breweries that was packaged this year. I did manage to score a 12-pack of Sam Smith's Nut Brown Ale bomber that were awesomely fresh, but all the ones I could afford to buy will likely languish on shelves for a few years.

Can't help but think this sort of thing will be what does in many craft breweries. I'm sure much of the blame is distributors that order too much, but still. I can find fresh Yuengling, and Sam Adams products...I'm sure it's different in other areas, but I know around here that's about all that can be had fresh.

The Pub / Multiprocess or Tig?
« on: January 12, 2018, 02:01:07 AM »
Like the title says. Getting ready to take the plunge on a welder, for general home auto shop use, as well as some stainless home brewing stuff.

With that in mind, do I spring for one of the fancy new multiprocess welders? Or just bite the bullet and go all-in on a dedicated big machine?

I've got to say, being in the auto world tig pretty much rules, hence why I'm considering getting the dedicated machine. It'll take more time to learn, but if I can figure it out it's the likely the better option.

Multiprocess means having the ease of mig welding to fall back on if I can't figure out big as well.

Both machines are around the same cost, purely seeking advice here. What would you do?

Equipment and Software / Cleaning Rusty Gear
« on: December 12, 2017, 12:41:04 AM »
I think I know the answer to this, but prove me wrong...

I recently purchased a used 3-vessel system. Overall the system is in great shape, however it was stored in a shed for a while. The kettles have some minor rust but should clean up just fine. The false bottoms are proving to be another story. The minor surface rust on them wasn't an issue, but there was some heavier rust and oxidation on the welds.

I've tried BKF, it's not cutting it. I'm assuming that any and all rust must go, but I can't seem to shift the rust from the weld spots. If it can't be fixed easily, I'll just fab up a new mount and use my SS Brewtech mash tun in it's place.

General Homebrew Discussion / Brewing with Propane in a Garage
« on: November 03, 2017, 07:44:27 PM »
I've finally moved, and I'm thinking of starting back up brewing. Our new home has a nice garage, and I'm trying to decide if I want to build a brewing sculpture that can be wheeled out into the driveway, or just brew in the garage.

I know there are safety considerations with burning propane in the garage, but I don't know any more than that. Getting the moisture from the boil out of the garage will be really important as well, I don't want to rust any of my tools.

Can anyone who's looked at this sort of decision chime in with what they ended up doing, and why?

The Pub / On Technical Articles
« on: August 03, 2017, 06:22:48 PM »
So I stumbled upon this on my regular round of the internet:

Most are aware of my frustration with the way technical information is treated/handled within the homebrewing community. There's a plethora of bad citizen science that's well presented, good "hard" science that's not as well presented, and a wide range in between.

The linked article includes a "Recipe for a Perfect Tech Story". Specifically, it calls out the need to explain why and how the result was achieved, and the need for the article to inspire people to try a complex and technical idea.

IMO, what's missing from the citizen science is a full engineering analysis of WHY we couldn't taste the result, or why the beer finished at 1.XXX gravity. We get the the experiment, but are let with unproven ideas as to why it happened.

Likewise, few of the good and technical sources are at all inspiring. Kunze reads like a textbook. (Well, to be fair, it is a textbook...) "Principles of Brewing Science" by Fix is pretty much a straight technical paper.

In my self-imposed sabbatical from brewing, perhaps things have improved. However, this sort of thing is more of what I would want from Zymurgy and brewing literature in general. And it's clear this isn't the only hobby that has to deal with this issue, it's prevalent in the car world as well. But there I can get the well-presented technical stuff that makes hobbies fun for me. Again, unless things have changed, that isn't yet the case in brewing.

Perhaps as the market/brewers mature, that will change.

General Homebrew Discussion / Bananas and Stale Beer?
« on: July 14, 2017, 11:45:50 AM »
Ok, so this has been bugging me for a while. Many times, with stale but not totally oxidized beer (it doesn't taste like cardboard or sherry yet) I get a definite banana flavor.

I find it's more common in pale lagers, but I do get the same thing from some ales, SNPA being a definite one.

Anyone else ever get this? Or am I just mis-identifying another flavor? We aren't talking Weißbier levels of banana, just kinda enough to know it's there.

Commercial Beer Reviews / What's in your beer fridge?
« on: July 09, 2017, 02:03:16 AM »
Taking a hiatus from brewing means I'm only drinking commercial beer. This isn't without its benefits honestly, I'm revisiting some old favorites, and remembering some styles that I'll brew more often once I'm ready to start up again.

So far, I've got three standbys that I try to keep on hand at all times:

Heineken - Still the best Euro pils readily available fresh. Don't buy it in a bottle, cans only. If you've never had it from a can, you owe it to yourself to try it. Bonus: Better business practices than the AB/Inbev offerings (Becks, SA. FWIW the local Becks brews are brewed in Williamsburg...)

Guinness - Alternates between draught at extra stout. Perhaps more than any other beer, these are what I always come back to.

Yuenging - Not the best compared to many on flavor, still the best compared to the price of the many.

I usually have some "normal" craft beer as well. Right now, it's Dead Rise. Most on here know I'm not big on wacky beers, but I love this one. Still my all-time favorite summer beer. (Still wish they'd knock 0.5% from the ABV.) From the sound of it, Flying Dog is also working towards being a low oxygen brewery, hopefully the don't cut corners.

So what about everyone else? We talk about what we're brewing each weekend, I see this as a place to talk less about specific beers/brands and more as a place to share what we're into overall.

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