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Messages - macbrews

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1


What about aeration? I typically whip up the wort with a degasser tool on my cordless drill just before pitching - would you recommend aerating the wort after racking into primary ahead of a delayed yeast pitch, or just aerate right before the pitch? (say, it was the following day)
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I wouldn't aerate/oxygenate until immediately beforehand.  If you do, it would expose your beer to a greater chance of infection from any persistent bugs that made it into the fermenter.  One of the main reasons that most of the time everything works out is the massive amount of yeast pitched relative to all the other organisms takes over and doesn't allow the others to multiply significantly.  If you have used good sanitary technique, you can pitch the next day without any problems.  But don't aerate until right beforehand.

Mac

2
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« on: March 02, 2014, 11:05:11 AM »
To me, at this time you are a relatively new and anonymous poster, so, why don't you give your background?  You seem awful sure of yourself.  How do you know you were right and they were wrong?  Are we witnessing the coming of the next Gordon Strong?

Putting the snarkiness aside, judging can be subjective.  BJCP judges across the board do a great job of trying to get it right and they usually do.  A head (lead) judge's job is not to disregard or change the other's perception of the beer but to come to a consensus with the other, often less experienced judge.  There are few judges out there that can get all of the nuances to every style.  I am a national BJCP judge and I have been paired with judges that have no credentials that were amazingly good and on rare occasions some that thought they knew it all, but didn't.  Most judges are aware of the shortcomings of their palates and work very hard to get it right.  In spite of inherent limitations of their senses they usually get the best 3 to the medals.

Remember, homebrewing and judging is a hobby.  There is no money awarded.  99% of the time it is for bragging rights and feedback.  When I get back 2 different interpretations of a beer that I entered, I read them both and try to see what the difference was and compare them to my notes.  I usually learn something.

Other that getting a mass spectrometer for your homebrew club, I think the system works well within its obvious limitations.

Mac

3
All Grain Brewing / Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
« on: February 18, 2014, 07:05:35 PM »
One other thought on the temps - Either from curiosity or OCD I sometimes attach a second temp probe to the side of the fermenter that will read the high and the low temperatures during the fermentation.  It is very interesting and sometimes surprising to see what the temps really were during the whole process.  They aren't expensive and can be bought at radio shack etc.  Might take a look at that.

Mac

4
All Grain Brewing / Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
« on: February 18, 2014, 06:56:01 PM »
Thoughts:
1) If you have a pump, you can still filter the RO water - its a hassle but it can be done.  Maybe you should test the RO water - maybe its just from a garden hose out back? (I also assume you use food grade hoses in your wort transfer)
2) Are you using any particular equipment only for these beers that might be infected?
3) Do similar style beers by either other home brewers or commercial brewers have the same problems? - maybe you are a "super-senser" of POF
4) Has it always been this way, or was there a time when it started?  Could point to #2
5) Where does your controller sense the temp?  If it is a thermowell or taped to the side of the fermenter it will be accurate.  Anywhere else will be ambient and I have 8-10 degree differences in the 2 during vigorous fermentations - notably hefes.

Good luck,

Mac

5
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA Financials
« on: January 22, 2014, 07:35:58 AM »
While transparency is always a good thing, put me on the list of those who are quite happy with the return I get for my dues.

Mac

6
Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 11, 2014, 10:07:15 PM »

That makes sense that they'd keep you from gaming the system.

It actually doesn't make sense. How is a member going to bring a spouse or friend that is interested in homebrewing? And how is AHA going to handle the fact that when a member gets through the lottery and their partner doesn't, that means that a whole flock of members are not going to follow through and register. This truly is the dumbest thing I've heard.

How is the system gamed by having the opportunity to obtain two spots?

Absolutely.  If my wife has to register and pay to be a member, then she should be allowed to have the same opportunity as I do or any one else. The fact that the cost of membership is discounted is moot.

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Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 08, 2014, 12:34:49 PM »
But that's what I'm saying... You can bring her along... If she is uninterested in beer and brewing why would she even want to attend the conference?

I am fortunate in that my wife is interested in homebrewing (she became interested in order to spend more time with me).  I guess I have never seen the need to register her as well.

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Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 08, 2014, 08:13:46 AM »
I attend with my wife who is also an AHA member.

You have it made with twice the probability of the typical member. Do remember that every attendee has the opportunity to include a guest, so you both can enter the lottery and if either gets selected...you both go.

I looked at the registration details and found this:  Each member who enters the lottery can register up to one additional guest. All attendees must be a member of the AHA, including guests.

Does that mean if I take my wife, she has to be an AHA member?  She wasn't last year.  If so, when would she have to join?   Before the lottery?  After an opportunity to register might be extended to me?  That's a new wrench thrown in.

9
The Pub / Re: What's the best hangover cure?
« on: January 02, 2014, 06:08:12 AM »
Actually Washington and Colorado will be the skinnier States because everyone knows that marijuana is a gateway drug. So they burn off those extra pounds once they start smoking crack, slamming meth, and huffing jenkum.

I hear that Jenkum is some pretty bad sh*t!

Literally - I had to look it up on Urban Dictionary

10
Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC
« on: December 16, 2013, 10:53:34 AM »
I didn't expect everyone to agree with me, and i'm sure you're sick of hearing me spout off, so I'll drop that part. 


...but it sure would be nice to know when we're going to find out what the rules are.

Michael, I agree with most of your comments.  Hopefully they are reading them too.

Mac

11
Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC
« on: December 16, 2013, 07:49:11 AM »
So when is this decision going to be made?

12
Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
« on: October 29, 2013, 07:15:19 AM »
Well maybe not......
You've made the right decision if nobody is complete happy right?
 

Compare that to a lottery
You're proposing a lottery for the 'open' 3000 slots right? I agree that a simple lottery for all slots would be stupid. There needs to be a way for great brewers to compete without relying on luck. To be fair though, we don't know what the plan is and what you've described could still be quickly descibed as a lottery.

I am against a lottery.  My comment was meant to compare my suggested method with a lottery for the entire process which has been suggested.  I don't know how many AHA sanctioned competitions there are a year, but there appear to be well over a 100.  Some of them are not full, 28 category comps, some are.  There are obviously of lot of details that would need to be worked out.  There is no magic number of pre-quals vs at large entries.  I just think it gives the NHC a structure to build upon.

Mac

13
Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
« on: October 28, 2013, 07:34:39 PM »
Unquestionably it would potentially increase the number of entries, especially in the final quarter of the year.  Since the FOAM cup has been a MCAB qualifier, it has seen an increase of around 350 or so to 750.  Part of the reason is that it is the second to the last qualifier of the year and people are trying to get in to the MCAB.  Each competition would just need to cap their entries at a level that they could handle.  If they were concerned that too many "outsiders" would flood the available slots, then have two entry periods.  One for club members and then open it up to all.

Mac
It wouldn't be right to have a qualifier that gave members of one club (or any other group) preferencial registration. It would provide them with an easier route to qualification than other brewers get.

Exactly. Exclusivity is not the goal here. Increasing the volunteer base is the only long term solution I see. More volunteers, more first round sites, more entries can be judged at both the regionals and the nationals, more people are happy.

I agree that increasing the numbers and quality of the volunteer base is critical.  I am not sure that I think that there is a need to open up the total number of entries.  Is 8250 enough?  How many bad beers did you taste in the 1st round?  I tasted a lot.  The answer involves a method to increase the quality of the first round entrants.  Having 5000, ...or whatever, pre-qualifying spots based upon that brewers performance during the year and still allowing 3000+ spots for those who either got robbed and didn't medal, didn't have time during the rest of the brewing season or just want an opportunity to compete is pretty fair.  I don't think that there is any exclusivity to such a system.  In fact, I think it is very inclusive.  It gives all those who are interested, several options to get an opportunity.  It also gives them the entire year to secure a spot.  The quality of the competition will increase.  Everyone will be happy....

Well maybe not......

Compare that to a lottery

Mac

14
Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
« on: October 28, 2013, 04:59:16 PM »
Unquestionably it would potentially increase the number of entries, especially in the final quarter of the year.  Since the FOAM cup has been a MCAB qualifier, it has seen an increase of around 350 or so to 750.  Part of the reason is that it is the second to the last qualifier of the year and people are trying to get in to the MCAB.  Each competition would just need to cap their entries at a level that they could handle.  If they were concerned that too many "outsiders" would flood the available slots, then have two entry periods.  One for club members and then open it up to all.

Mac
It wouldn't be right to have a qualifier that gave members of one club (or any other group) preferencial registration. It would provide them with an easier route to qualification than other brewers get.

If you have a 100 qualifiers, I don't think it would be an issue.

15
Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
« on: October 28, 2013, 11:24:09 AM »


I think your assumption that entries would not increase in these pre-qualifier competitions is not a good assumption. For example, we run a competition circuit here in the Midwest called the High Plains. If you (or your club) wins in one of those designated competitions you get points towards brewer of the year or club of the year. You better believe that A LOT of the entries in those competitions are because of the circuit it is attached to.

Let's say that my club's annual competition is already at 500+ entries. Imagine how many more entries we would have if it was one of only a certain number of comps to be part of the 'pre-qulaifying round' for the NHC. 100? 300? Yikes. There just isn't enough support/volunteers to run that big of a competition.

Unquestionably it would potentially increase the number of entries, especially in the final quarter of the year.  Since the FOAM cup has been a MCAB qualifier, it has seen an increase of around 350 or so to 750.  Part of the reason is that it is the second to the last qualifier of the year and people are trying to get in to the MCAB.  Each competition would just need to cap their entries at a level that they could handle.  If they were concerned that too many "outsiders" would flood the available slots, then have two entry periods.  One for club members and then open it up to all.

Mac

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