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Messages - Bruce B

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I'd recommend force carbonation because you're sure that the brew carbonated and at the level you wanted it to. Judges don't give extra points for bottle conditioned over forced carbonation.  They are supposed to judge the brew to the carbonation level and head retention stated in the style guidelines.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Newb Question - bottle limitations
« on: February 17, 2014, 04:50:42 AM »
Just checking as a first time entrant to the NHC - can one use bottles that have raised lettering, like Sam Adams or Birra Moretti or Sam Smith has on them.  I haven't bottled 12 oz bottles in so long that I realize that most of mine have raised lettering and a buddy mentioned that a local competition required plain glass with no raised lettering on them.  I don't want to get bounced before I even get my swill tasted!
Just a suggestion from someone who has run a first round competition and a few others, spend a few bucks on a six pack or two of beer that comes with some strong bottles. We are already spending a little bit on entry fees, transportation, and packaging so a few extra bucks on sturdy bottles is not out of the question. I've seen some of the previously mentioned bottles come through broken. Buy some beer for their bottles and have a chili party with beer bread.

I'll say it time and time again... why not Drew? (Vote for your vice chairman today and your beer will improve!) :)
On that note, why not Bru.... ce?    ::)

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Fifth Annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition
« on: February 12, 2014, 05:00:05 AM »
Yes we did.  One week early.  800 paid but looks like we have a few folks that won't be sending their stuff in for various reasons.   :'(

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« on: February 10, 2014, 11:31:57 PM »
Carbonation will amplify the components and change the perception in any case.  Try this with a commercial mead (carbonate half the bottle, compare it to the other still half) or cider (open one bottle and let it go flat, compare it to an unopened bottle) as well. 

I make a jalapeno ale every year for two local beer festivals (  When I taste the uncarbonated beer in the hydrometer the pepper and heat are more dominant.  If I carbonate it to 2.5 vols then I get more of the smoked malts and even some cascade flavor.  Pepper and heat is still there but much more subtle. 

Temperature also plays a role.  Try this with your wife.  Put the same bitter in two soda bottles and carbonate them.  Put one soda bottle in the fridge, leave the other one at room temp.  Once the one bottle has cooled pour them into two glasses and see what she says.  Then tell her it's the same beer, just at different temps.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: fixing diacetyl in keg?
« on: February 10, 2014, 11:05:27 PM »
Here is a link to a good article on White Lab's site regarding diacetyl -

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: please help.
« on: February 10, 2014, 10:56:30 PM »
If memory serves some experienced the same issue (including myself) when the app was first released.  I recall the resolution being deleting the app and re-installing it.  Log in and all should be good from there.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Fifth Annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition
« on: January 31, 2014, 08:08:19 PM »
Registration is filling up fast.  Looks like we'll be hitting our limit prior to the Feb 8th cutoff date.  If you're thinking of registering don't wait longer than this weekend.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Fundraiser Question
« on: January 14, 2014, 07:21:00 PM »
Actually, we recently got invited to do a joint tasting with a brewery as a fund raiser. That should help us a lot.
That's awesome!  The homebrew will add some character to the event and the brewery won't have to supply all of the beer.  Win-win!  Just be prepared in case your beer is better than the breweries.  That happened at a fest I was pouring at a couple of years ago.  We had a Watermelon Wheat that people were lined up to get.  The brewery next to us also had a Watermelon Wheat but had very few takers.   ::)

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Home-brew Club Manhiem/Lancaster, PA?
« on: January 06, 2014, 04:07:36 AM »
Hi Steve,

Have you tried the Find A Homebrew Club page on the AHA website?  I didn't see any listed for Manhiem or Lancaster specifically but you might find something close to where you're at.

Good luck!

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Fifth Annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition
« on: January 06, 2014, 03:59:01 AM »
Registration is now open!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« on: December 29, 2013, 06:52:02 PM »
For our cask night we propped the pins up on some trays so that the water from the ice bags dripped down into them.  We also put some movers blankets on top of the ice bags to provide some additional insulation.  It worked pretty well.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« on: December 25, 2013, 07:39:00 AM »
Here are some links to two episodes of Brewing TV that discuss making and serving cask ale.  These along with Steve Hamburg's presentation from the 2010 NHC is what got me going down the cask ale path.  Some of these are how to cask condition and about cask condition along with how to serve.

We also had a cask ale night at our club meeting in August.  I did an overview presentation using these sources and a few others.  The reference page from the end of the presentation also has some additional links in case you're interested.  There is also audio but it is the first one we ever recorded so I apologize for any quirks.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Fundraiser Question
« on: December 25, 2013, 07:17:55 AM »
This is not an attempt to profit from beer. I am just curious. We have had festivals in MS where both home brew and commercial beer are given away to festival goers who paid an admission fee. So I am wondering if it would be legal for a club to have its own fundraiser involving home brew.

Just to be clear I didn't intend to suggest that you were looking to profit.  Seeking compensation, even in the name of a fund raiser can present issues.  Our club serves brew samples for beer festivals in WI but we always do it for festivals that include professionally made and purchased beer.  We even hold our own beer festival - which the proceeds benefit a professional brewers scholarship fund that we've set up, but the amount of purchased brew far outweighs homebrew.

Equipment and Software / Re: Software
« on: December 23, 2013, 06:36:29 AM »
I've been using Beersmith for several years now and I'm very satisfied with it.  I gave BeerTools a try but the thought of paying a subscription fee is a waste to me.  I don't have a Mac so BeerAlchemy is out.

You can do batches in Beersmith.  There is a version field for each recipe.  One can copy and paste a recipe and then update the version field when they go to make the next batch. 

For backup and web posting I use brewblogger (  It's free but you have to use it on your own web hosted account (  Recipes and brew sessions can be exchanged between the two using BeerXML file exporting and importing.  Additional back ups are done using a backup drive when I do regular backups of my workstation. 

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