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Topics - Joe Sr.

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Kegging and Bottling / Keg Availability
« on: September 27, 2011, 09:41:59 AM »
A buddy of mine was looking to get some kegs and it looks like availability of used ball locks is pretty slim.

More Beer is out of stock on used kegs.

Anyone know what's up?  Have a current source?

I know prices were shooting up and I stocked up over the summer.  Or thought I did, they're all full now though...

Events / Kegs for Kids - Chicago
« on: September 09, 2011, 02:00:50 PM »
Kegs for Kids is a fundraiser for my daughter's school.  It will take place on October 8th.

With the help of Mike Roper from the Hopleaf, there were over 50 beers on tap last year including Avery Meph Addict and other hard to find beers.

The beer list from last year's event and details for this years event can be found at:

A very cool event for a good cause if you're in the area. 

A limited number of tickets are available.

Check it out!

Commercial Beer Reviews / Lazy Monk - Bohemian Dark Lager
« on: September 09, 2011, 01:01:43 PM »
Picked up a growler Tuesday. 

This is a very tasty beer.  Dark, carmel and malt flavors predominate.

If I lived closer to Eau Claire, it would be a regular in my fridge.

The wife loves dark lagers and she raved about this one.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Rye Malt Extract
« on: August 24, 2011, 02:12:11 PM »
Just saw that Northern Brewer released a rye malt extract.

If anyone tries it out please post your experience.

All Things Food / Wood Pellet Grills
« on: July 14, 2011, 09:42:35 AM »
Anyone have experience with a wood pellet grill?

My old Weber is about to collapse and it's time for a new grill.  I'm intrigued by the Traeger wood pellet grills, but don't know anyone who's used them.

Are they that much better than buying something like a Char Griller or Master Force with a side fire box?

Also, if you've got a Char Griller or something similar (they sell them at Lowes, but again I have no experience with them) I'd love to hear it.  The price difference, plus the fact that I'm not restricted to using wood pellets, makes them attractive.

I've always used a Weber kettle grill.  I ain't interested in moving to gas so don't recommend it.


Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Calculating ABV from blended worts
« on: July 12, 2011, 09:50:00 AM »
So I've finally kegged up my old ale.  I overshot the OG (1.12 instead of 1.095).

After it fermented down to 1.044, I split the batch into two separate carboys and added more wort.  The batch I added was a total of 3 gallons (1.5 gallons when to each of the 2.5 of the previous batch) brewed with 4 lbs. DME.

This mix fermented down to about 1.02 (I don't have my notes handy).

So, if I wanted to figure out the final ABV, would I take a weighted average of the two starting gravities and use that to compute with the final final gravity?

If I take a weighted average of the starting gravities, I come out at 1.096, which is right where I wanted to be.  Blind luck, since I didn't calculate this before...

Just curious if anyone has thoughts on the right way to calculate this, since everyone asks how strong it is.

FWIW, it's a damn fine beer.  One batch has been on tap, the other is aging and I think I might bottle it.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Goose Island Pepe Nero
« on: June 14, 2011, 11:59:18 AM »
Ooof.  If this was all they were serving, I'd stay sober.

This is a dark, Belgian style ale.  Brewed with peppercorns.

Sounded interesting, thought I'd give it a whirl.  Never again.


Beer Recipes / Golden Monkey
« on: May 18, 2011, 12:26:05 PM »
Just wondering if anyone has brewed a clone of this recently and what recipe they might have used.

I've come across Denny's recipe.  Anyone brew it?  Any thoughts?  Anything you'd change?

Not sure how soon I'll get around to brewing it, but the Monkey is one of my current favorites.  Unfortunately, I can drink 'em like they were a session beer... at least until they catch up to me.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Overshot OG - dilute?
« on: May 11, 2011, 02:50:54 PM »
Brewed an old ale over the weekend and WAY overshot my OG.  This was a partial boil, which I topped up in the carboy.

Target OG was 1.09 or so.  I measured at well over 1.1, approaching 1.2.  1.2 seems impossible, but the wort was like syrup.

Anyway, it's fermenting like mad right now but I'm not sure I really want a beer that will turn out as strong as this one is likely to be, or that finishes as high as this one likely will.  Some years ago, I would probably have pitched a champagne yeast to finish it off and had a monster beer, but that's not my intent these days.

So, I'm thinking of doing one of the following things and am interested in advice/experiences/etc. if anyone has done something similar.

1) Split the batch to two kegs and dilute with water (I'm thinking perhaps a gallon per keg).
2) Split the batch to two separate carboys, brew a very weak 2 gallon batch, split this between the carboys and pitch some additional yeast.

I'm also thinking of dry hopping or adding oak chips to one of the splits just to get some variety.

I've never diluted before, so I'm not quite sure what to expect.  I've read other threads here as well as an old BYO article by Chris Colby, so I know it should work but I'd like to hear from others who may have done similar.


Equipment and Software / Cold Room - modifying window A/C
« on: May 10, 2011, 12:07:24 PM »
Now that it's warming up, I need to finish off my cold room.

The window unit I'm planning to use does not want to cool below 60 degrees.  I have it hooked to a Johnson Controls temp controller, but the issue is with the unit itself.

I've pulled off the front panel and located the temperature sensor.  My approach for the time being is to put the sensor into a coffee can with a small incandescent bulb to warm it up, thus hopefully bringing the room temp down below 60.

Does anyone have advice/recommendations/links for a more elegant way of rigging this?  Duct-taping a coffee can to the side of the a/c seems a tad hill-billy.

I haven't pulled the controls fully apart to see if I can bypass the temp sensor as I'll need to pull the unit out of the window to open the case further.  It needs to come out anyway so I can finish painting and insulating so I may get to that this weekend.

Nonetheless, I'm sure others have dealt with this before and I could benefit from some advice.

Questions about the forum? / Live Bookmark Feed Failed to Load
« on: April 01, 2011, 07:32:48 AM »
My RSS bookmark/feed/whatever hasn't been working since sometime yesterday.

Instead of new posts, I get "Live Bookmark Feed Failed to Load."

I use Firefox and I'm getting this same thing on multiple computers, home and elsewhere.

Just curious if anyone else has the same problem or if I'm singularly incompetent.


Yeast and Fermentation / Trying to identify flavor in Goose Island Fleur
« on: December 21, 2010, 10:11:31 AM »
I had a bottle of Fleur last week and it has a mild bitter aftertaste that I believe is unrelated to the hops.

I recognize this flavor from a batch of Belgian I made that went very wrong.  In my case, I cultured some yeast from a couple bottles of Orval and made a big starter.  The final beer, while beautifully golden in color with a nice rocky head, was undrinkable due to an overwhelming bitter aftertaste.  I poured it out with tears in my eyes.

Does this sort of flavor come from the brett? 

Does anyone know if Goose Island uses brett at all in Fleur?  It does not say on their website.

I know it's hard/impossible to identify a flavor on-line, but perhaps someone can help.  It would be nice to put to rest what went wrong with that ol' batch of mine.

FTR - I have no real experience using brett, so wouldn't know what to expect.

Yeast and Fermentation / Belgian Saison (wyeast) - grapefruit flavors
« on: November 15, 2010, 09:03:07 AM »
I just kegged my saison and it has a strong grapefruit-iness to it.

Tartness in the aftertaste, and just grapefruit all over.

It was very sweet a while back when it stalled at 1.035 or so, but fermented down to 1.022 and now has this grapefruit profile.

Has anyone else experienced this with this yeast?  Is it common?

I believe the hops were all EKG.



Equipment and Software / Building a Jockey Box
« on: October 08, 2010, 02:17:17 PM »
I'm thinking of building a jockey box and have a couple of questions.

Most of what I've read, people are using copper (sometimes stainless) coils.  If I'm doing it on the cheap, is there a significant downside to using vinyl tubing for the coils?  I'm assuming metal gives you a better thermal transfer, but beyond that?

I've also noticed that the recommended lengths of the coils vary from 20-25 feet to as much as 120 ft.  Anyone have experience with a shorter coil?  Can it work or are you pouring mostly foam?  I assume another benefit of the longer coil is more cold beer available at any one time.  Anything I'm missing?  Again, doing it on the cheap, a 20 ft copper coil is pretty darn cheap.  A 100ft coil would seem to take up a ton of space.

The cold plates I've looked at have very short coils.  Something like 18 feet or so.  Is the thermal transfer that much better?

Any pros and cons to a particular set up?

I'd love to hear feedback from people who've built their own.  Anything you'd do different, etc.



Yeast and Fermentation / Wyeast Belgian Saison Fermentation
« on: September 23, 2010, 06:23:13 PM »
Just checked my fermenting saison and it has a decidedly sour smell to it when I pulled the airlock.

It tastes fine. Sweet, still has some fermenting to do, but no obvious sourness.

Since I recently had a porter turn sour on me (perhaps a poorly sanitized carboy) I'm not paranoid.

Is the sour smell to be expected from this yeast?

I'm usually pretty solid on sanitation and the only equipment shared between this batch and the one that went sour would be my immersion chiller and my funnel.

Regardless, I'm planning a bleach sanitizing session for everything in the coming weeks.

I'm just hoping I don't have to dump this batch.

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