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Messages - beerrat

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Equipment and Software / Re: Small fridge for temp control?
« on: January 23, 2013, 05:47:30 AM »
Take a tape measure and check bottom and top clearance before you buy.  It took me a while to find one that I could use without major modifications.

Back in 2011, I bought a Vissani 52-Bottle Wine Cooler at HomeDepot.  It was one of the few small refrigerators/chillers that would fit a 6 gal carboy or a 5 gallon bucket.  It was $200.

Still working out fine.  Easily fits 6 gal glass carboy, or buckets with no modifications.  I use a ranco temp controller with it.  I do primary lager fermentation at 50F with no issues.  I did have to raise the unit off the carpet with some wood blocks for air circulation as it did get hot running in the summer.

You can see the old thread here:

Events / Re: NHC Hospitality suite & Club Night -- How much beer????
« on: January 02, 2013, 11:53:27 AM »
Getting excited about this event.  We have a couple club members that will help out on club night, but are unable to attend the full conference.  Do all club night volunteers need to be paid conference attendees if they will only be at club night?

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegging without a fridge
« on: December 04, 2012, 12:34:57 PM »
I want to start kegging but I don't have a dedicated fridge.  Can I keg at room temp and fill a growler to put in the fridge?

I don't have a dedicated fridge and have been kegging for about 3 years.  My basement maintains a range of 58F-80F.  I pour off into a 2 liters sealed with carb caps.  Allows me to chill it and drink as I like.  Pour a glass, and then apply CO2 via the cap. 

Works fine for me until  I ever finish my basement and get a fridge down there.  Even then, I have about 10 kegs, so not all fit anyway.

Ingredients / Re: Getting orange!
« on: November 29, 2012, 06:25:37 PM »
I liked it.  I'll try it again and tune the recipe. Want to try it with some chocolate next.

Ingredients / Re: Getting orange!
« on: November 28, 2012, 04:44:19 PM »
I cheated a bit by adding orange teas at bottling to taste.  Twinings honeybush, mandarin & orange and Tazo wild sweet orange.  I really wanted the tea flavors to come out, so may have been too much as folk either loved or hated it.

Beer Recipes / Re: First lager!!
« on: November 28, 2012, 04:38:59 PM »
My first lager ( last January ) was a Munich Helles and I got a silver at NHC.  Your results may vary (i.e. Gold :) ).

Temp control, big yeast pitch, O2, and time/patience.  I also use a method that I heard from Jamil Zainasheff about letting the wort sit overnight at fermentation temp, transferring to another vessel, hitting it with O2 and pitch the yeast.  I was amazed at how much break material formed just overnight in the first carboy.  It is now a method I use with all my lagers.  I pitch cold ( 44 F ) and let it free rise to 50 F and hold it there. 

Good luck!

What is the rationale for leaving sit overnight before O2 and pitch?  Leave the break material behind?

I've used 2206 at 50f with good success.

Events / Re: NHC Hospitality suite & Club Night -- How much beer????
« on: September 01, 2012, 10:14:07 AM »
Thanks for the not as daunting as the need for 100-200 gallons of brew.   So we'll likely focus on club night only with 5-10 taps.  Goal will be to run out vs take back any beer.

Events / NHC Hospitality suite & Club Night -- How much beer????
« on: August 30, 2012, 05:26:00 AM »
I wondering if clubs that were participating at this year's NHC and provided beer could share how much beer they went though at club night, hospitality suite, etc.

How many taps did your club have at club night?
How much beer did your club go through?

How many taps did your club have at the hospitality suite?
How many hours did your club host the hospitality suite for?
How much beer did your club go through?

Any other beer needs?  How about for tasting during a presentation?  How much?

I had heard to shoot for 250 gallons and that seemed very prohibitive for a small club.

Other Fermentables / Re: 16% Sweet Mead?
« on: August 10, 2012, 06:26:53 AM »
Sounds like you did what I would do.

Just checking.. did you use the wyeast sweet mead yeast?  If so it looks like you keep the yeast so healthy during ferment that they were able to perform better. NB instructions/formulation likely don't assume such care.

Also, what temp did you ferment at?

So how does it taste - besides the dryness?  Any hot alcohol/off  tastes, etc?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Ken Schramm in Hospital
« on: August 04, 2012, 06:12:45 AM »
Raising a glass to Ken's speedy, safe and pain free recovery!

Other Fermentables / Re: First Mead Questions
« on: August 02, 2012, 02:17:08 PM »
Not sure what my source is for this (NHC, podcast, mead induced dream?), but I of late degassing every day until about 50% fermentable consumed.  At that point you begin to worry about O2 doing harm.

Yep. Mead and cider were not worthy of the oenophiles attention, and the AHA/BJCP welcomed them.

Today there is a little shunning from the BA, as these are not legaly beer amd do not fit into the BA charter.

Yes, I've noticed in my own HBC that there is a bit of a condescending attitude about mead makers - "you're not a brewer, you're just mixing", "I'd be upset if a mead won Best of Show".  Likely complicated more in recent years as wine organizations are talking about, and judging meads; and you get the chance to taste meads at wine festivals.

I usually respond by saying, "If so easy, then go ahead and show me how well you can make a really good mead", or, "like brewing, it comes down to selecting the right ingredients, and properly managing fermentation."  You would never say extract brewers are not really home brewers because the upfront is not as hard as doing all grain.

(edited spelling)

Commercial Beer Reviews / Commercial meads in PA -
« on: July 22, 2012, 05:44:46 PM »
A while back I posted a question about finding any good meads available in Pennsylvania. Since then I had the chance to taste some fantastic ones at 2012 NHC so I feel I can do a little amateur comparison.

Mt Hope Winery - I have enjoyed all of traditional and melomels.   They won a gold metal at the 2012 Pennsylvania Wine Competition for their Honey Mead.

Stonekeep Meadery offerings are also good.

Anyone else try any of these?  Any BJCP judges performed a commercial calibration on these?
Aware of any others available in PA?

Just wondering - as mead is more a wine than a beer, what is the history of it being part of AHA/BJCP? 

I did the old google thing and did not come across any of the history?

Same question for cider?

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