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Messages - Joe Sr.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: getting started
« on: December 14, 2012, 10:02:06 AM »
Whichever way you go (glass or Better Bottle) I recommend keeping them in milk crates.  This makes it easier to lift and move them, protects the glass from inadvertent bumps/shattering, and helps to keep the BBs from flexing when you move them.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: getting started
« on: December 14, 2012, 08:25:28 AM »
Glass doesn't scratch, and plastic doesn't shatter. Both work well. If you do any extended aging in the carboy, I would recommend glass. Otherwise, I think it's just personal preference.
 And Camp Pendleton? Semper Fi. I spent some time there in the 90s...

I've given up on the glass carboys after cracking one recently.  Better Bottles require a bit more care in cleaning, in that you can't scour them with a bottle brush, but I have four and use them regularly.  Two are brand new, one is many years old.  No more glass for me.

I've left beer in them for well over a month, maybe two, with no ill effects.  But that's not really extended aging.

I don't really buy the idea that micro brewers are really competing with macros. Lamborghini doesn't compete with Ford.

Where they are competing is for the drinker who thinks they'll try something craft and picks a Blue Moon instead of a Hoegarden... oh wait.  Instead of an Allagash white, perhaps.  In this instance, the big brewers have been "crafty" and poached a consumer who might otherwise have tried a craft beer.

I can see the concern with that.  But I can also see where maybe Blue Moon is like the gateway drug to better beer.  Hopefully, people who drink it and like it try other Belgian-style beers and eventually wind up buying a four pack of Westy 12 for $350 on eBay.

Especially when we are talking about Goose Island or Craft Brewer's Alliance, we all need to pay attention to what's inside the bottle.

This is true.

As far as Goose goes, I haven't seen it fall off yet.  But I do think it's possible, if not likely, that it will.

My biggest concern with consolidation is that corporate interest will dilute the brands and the beers with the goal of producing the product cheaper.  We already have Beck's being made in America, and poorly at that.  I believe InBev has also begun cutting back or substituting some ingredients on Budweiser.  In this respect, consolidation could be the death nell of some long time brands, but that's just an opportunity for micros.  This, however, is off topic from the original post.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dishwasher Sanitize vs. Jet Bottle Washer
« on: December 13, 2012, 03:01:09 PM »
But you should make sure you dont' end up with so much that you can taste it

It's not just volume but also the strength of the mixture.  I think that people tend to mix it stronger than necessary to be sure it does the job, but then you increase the risk of residual flavor.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dishwasher Sanitize vs. Jet Bottle Washer
« on: December 13, 2012, 01:31:44 PM »
If you don't have one already, get a bottle tree or something similar that will allow you to set the bottles upside down to dry.  You don't need to rinse the iodophor, but you also don't want a puddle of it in your bottles when you fill them.

I use my jet washer for rinsing just about everything, so I would recommend having one.  Years ago, I bought a plastic one that is supposed to be easier on the plumbing but mostly I still use my old brass one.

I'm less concerned with the faux-craft labeling than the fact that the big boys control so much of the distribution network. That's really where they can kill off the smaller guys.

They own the production, though, not the distribution.  Owning so much of the production gives them a lot of weight with the distributors, I'm sure, but the distribution laws and three tier system are a whole different subject that has an impact on the retail availability of craft beers.

All Things Food / Re: Kitchen Knives
« on: December 13, 2012, 09:10:59 AM »
Your normal grip is how I was taught to handle a knife when I worked in a kitchen.

But I do agree that the off-set handle is nice, particularly for slicing.  I do not have any and have taken to slicing so that the handle sits off the edge of the cutting board and gives my knuckles a bit more room.

I get it.  I get the distinction and why the BA wants to make the distinction.

But I have a conceptual hard time with saying that Goose Island beers are not true craft beers.  "Faux-craft" seems unnecessarily derisive.  I've been going there since the first opened the brew pub and they make some truly great beers.

Maybe I'm clinging to nostalgia, because I know they've been bought, I know that a lot of their beers are brewed elsewhere, I know that some of the long-time brewers are jumping ship and branching out on their own, but I still think that they make some great craft beers (Matlida, Pere Jacques, their Bourbon County stuff).

I can see calling Blue Moon and Shock Top "faux-craft" but at least until I see/taste a significant change in the beers at Goose Island I don't think that label fits.

With all that said, I'm still more likely to buy some Bell's or North Coast than I am Goose Island, so I'm on board with the overall concept.

All Things Food / Re: Kitchen Knives
« on: December 13, 2012, 08:56:27 AM »
On the bread knife though I would say save some money and get a cheap stamped blade. They are a pain to sharpen anyway and with the serations you dont' really need to for a very long time. I have a $15 henckly stamped blade bread knife that works just fine

Did you look at that sammich knife?  That's more than just a bread knife.

It reminds me of the knife the old guy used to make sammiches at the Berghoff stand-up bar back when they were open.  Awesome lunch line they had there, and the sandwhich guy really knew how to use his knife.  He was like an artist carving the meat, slicing the bread, slapping it all together using only the knife.  And, of course, you could get some Berghoff beer fresh from the tap.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg Virgin Questions
« on: December 13, 2012, 08:24:15 AM »
I suppose if you are buying it all new, the cost comes out the same.  Certainly, $50 for convenience is not out of hand.  FWIW, however, you can usually find a deal on a mini-fridge on Craigslist and that would save potentially $150 off your cost.  Craigslist can be incredibly inconvenient, however, so I totally understand if you don't go that route.

For me, multiple kegs is less about the quantity you drink than having variety.  For example, I don't necessarily want to drink 5 gallons of wheat beer although I have a keg of wheat on tap.  It's nice to open the fridge and have that second keg as an option.  I will also swap kegs out before they are empty if I get tired of them or just want something else.  But it's a PITA to want variety and then to have to wait 24 hours or so for the new keg to settle and cool to serving temp.

Finally, the keg shouldn't spoil unless you have an infection.  I've got some beers that have been kegged for over a year with no problems.

All Things Food / Re: Kitchen Knives
« on: December 13, 2012, 07:43:43 AM »
But I like my Chinese-made $8 chef's knife bought at the local grocery store! Virtually indistinguishable from my Henckles Fine-edge Pro sontoku in blade construction, forging and quality for a fifth of the price. The steel is marginally different- slightly softer but can hold a very sharp edge. I hand-sharpen all my knives and suggest avoiding anything cheap with a "ground-edge" BTW.

I figure they're probably made in the same place. Twenty years ago a cheap knife was exactly that.

slightly softer as in having lead in the alloy? :o

He did say "Chinese-made."  Just like all the kids toys, chances are it has lead.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg Virgin Questions
« on: December 13, 2012, 07:42:08 AM »
I got my Sanyo mini-fridge on Craigslist for $100.  It holds two cornies and someday I'll put a tap tower on it (I have the tower, just not the time).

$450 for the Magic Chef is a steep price to pay for something that will only hold two kegs.  A Sanyo 4912 is essentially the same thing IMO and much much more affordable if you're willing to do the work to put the tower on top.  Also, if you remove the shelving on the door supposedly you can fit three kegs.  I use that shelving for yeast and bottles, however.

Ingredients / Re: Storing HOP Pellets
« on: December 13, 2012, 07:36:51 AM »
I almost fell off the catwalk on the Jack Daniels tour when I leaned out over the fermenting vats and took a big whiff.

When you have to go, there are worse ways than falling into a vat of whiskey.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg Virgin Questions
« on: December 12, 2012, 12:46:01 PM »
$25?!? Score! I would have bought many at that price.

Give it a good soak.  Scrub the interior.  I have a dedicated toilet brush. 

If you have a tiny brush you can scrub the dip-tube.  Pressurize it while it is soaking and then depress the poppet to get some cleaner in to the tube.  Do the same when rinsing and again when sanitizing.

When you first seal the keg after filling, hit it with 20 or 30 lbs of pressure to get a good seal on the lid, then you can dial back down to your carbing pressure.  Also, keep a spray bottle of starsan handy to check the lid and poppets for leaks.

I've found that warming up the lid o-ring can help getting it to seal well.  Warm water or even putting it in the microwave in a bowl of water will soften it up.

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