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Messages - beerrat

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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?

Homebrew Clubs / Re: BN Army wins club of the year.
« on: July 06, 2012, 02:28:20 PM »
I'm late to this thread as I spend some more time in the fine Seattle area after the conference. Washington State should be proud! (Although you need to work on your ball team - fans too subdued - you should be yelling at your players - the east coast in me! :-)

This was my first AHA conference and the event was fantastic.  I did think the awards dinner ended a bit uncomfortably... I did not hear any boo's, but there was a noticeable toned down cheering, and the "I can hear the rules changing comment" seemed almost prepared.

I did not cheer as loudly as I mostly shouted for the individuals, and was hoping for a new club or Washington state club to win (I'm from PA, but always root for the home teams!).  I would have been subdued towards DOZE, ST Paul or Quaff too. (I boo the Yankee's and Patriots, root for the Cub's very year - just my nature)

I read JP's post and was disappointed with the public rant - being just what he was criticizing, petty.
At the event, I did heard varying opinions on if BNarmy is a club, but in any organization, you are going to have varying opinions.  It is naive to think all have same views - hell, we can't agree on decoction or no decoction - so what.

IMHO, I considered the Brewing Network and BNArmy, as a commercial media enterprise. I guess I would find it odd to have a BeerSmith Brew Club, White Labs Club, Northern Brewer Beer or other business club.

That all said, they are a Club per AHA and I would hope that no special rules are made to treat them differently.  That would be dangerous for the organization.

Does the BNArmy have an advantage - yes - timing - there was no internet podcasts 20 years ago.  They took advantage of  the internet - using it in an engaging, entertaining, and informative way.  So they ended up with energetic, passionate brewers who entered a lot of beer in the NHC.  Something any club can do if they choose to.

So my winning strategy for 2013 for my club is simple.. get about 10-15 of your club brewers making great beers and ensure they set the alarm for the registration date/time for NHC 2013.

I hope to see you all in Philly. 

Pimp My System / Geek: linksys stir plate
« on: June 16, 2012, 01:37:09 AM »
(note edited 7/22/2012 as the old photo site was shutdown - same content, new photo source)

I built this from parts found around my house.  Had an old fan, hard drive for the magnets, and a power supply.  Was stumped with what I could use as a base - almost went pure minimalist with just attaching fan to a piece of plexiglas - and then I saw the linksys in the electronic junk pile (yeah, I'm a full time geek and part time hoarder.)

The concept/basic instructions for this is well documented at:

I pulled the router apart, removed any diodes/chips off the circuit board that were in the way, glued the fan on the board, and attached (just wrapped, did not even solder) the fan leads to the power adapter port inside the router. (I should of taken a picture of that, but I forgot, and I'm not pulling it apart now  :) ).  Trust me, it will be obvious, and you can use a volt meter to confirm the right points of contact.

I cut out out the top of the router, where the air vent is to allow clearance for the fan/magnet. 

Its not perfectly flat, but the flask does sit pretty stabile on it. 

I've used it for a few starters now and it has worked fine - and the price was right.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: UPS returned my box of NHC beer
« on: June 11, 2012, 12:35:37 PM »
I never had an issue - never needed to be coy with "declaring yeast samples, etc":

1) Plain brown box
2) Well packed, no clanging bottles
3) UPS online to create and pay for label/shipping
4) Walk into UPS, say "prepaid" and I walk out door.

Note- I ship only UPS ground, not sure if "air" would have any issues, scanning of package.
My NHC entries made it fine.

It's Earth Day weekend... so an all Organic Baltic Porter.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Metal rod for measuring volume
« on: April 09, 2012, 12:52:55 PM »
My only concern would be if it is galvanized steel.  Potential issues with leeching zinc and producing off-flavors.  Not sure how much contact time it would take, but since metal unknown, I would not put in my brewing.

I use a copper pipe, marked off in 1 gal increments using small hacksaw cuts. I've also use a notched plastic stirring paddle.

Yeast and Fermentation / First lambic - what to expect in fermentation
« on: April 06, 2012, 03:48:01 PM »

I started my first lambic -  the Brewing Classic Style recipe.
I intially pitched S-05 and then when krausen fell, I pitched 2 bottles of ECY BugFarm. I did not make a starter of the Bugfarm.

So what should I expect to see in terms of fermentation activity?  Is this a subtle process or should I be seeing air lock activity, etc? 

I know this is a year+ brew, but curious on what visible indicators of progress I can expect short  term.


Ingredients / PAWC: Scranton Dunmore PA
« on: April 05, 2012, 01:48:15 AM »
Ward labs results for Dunmore PA (Scranton area) - Pennsylvania American Water Company

pH 7.0
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 78
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.13
Cations / Anions, me/L 1.1 / 1.3

Sodium, Na 10
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca 10
Magnesium, Mg 1
Total Hardness, CaCO3 29
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.2 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 5
Chloride, Cl 19
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 24
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 19

Events / NHC - how much beer for clubs to bring?
« on: March 25, 2012, 11:19:40 PM »
Hi experienced NHC attendee's and hosts... how much beer does a club need to bring for something like club night or to be a hospitality suite host?


. . . best viewed in IE.

Actually appears not to work for us Safari users at all... the "enter here" button does nothing for us non IE users.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Looking for some diagrams on brewing process
« on: December 23, 2011, 04:34:48 PM »
Thanks for the feedback.  I like the "miracle happens" slide lol!

I used this slide as the process overview.  We had 4 presentations during the day.  One overview of the end to end process, and then drill downs into the 3 segments (brew day, fermentation, package/serve).  Here is the slide we used for overview and "you are here" reference point for each of the presentations.  Nothing fancy.

Others at:
Handouts at:

These will continue to evolve, but wanted to share.

Other Fermentables / Re: Sulfur smell in a pear cider
« on: December 20, 2011, 06:29:24 PM »
Well the aroma has cleared up fine.  A nice tasting perry - a bit on the light side.  As always, the key is to relax and let things take their course.

My friend whom used the SafAle05 still has a funky odor to his  He carbonated too early, as it is now in the keg and no way for odor to leave the cider.  He'll probably rack back to carboy to see if the scent leaves.

Thought I'd give an update on the wine chiller fermentor.  I think it is fantastic for maintaining temps to as low as 50f.  Below 50f and the unit seems to struggle, and run really hot - to point I'm concerned about lifespan of unit.  There is no fan and the heat exchange design is a bit weak.  So trying to lager likely will be an issue. 

Given I do not lager, and the main reason I bought is to control ale fermentation temps, I'm very pleased, but wanted to point out the limitation of these units.

Now, I may be able to address by raising the unit off the floor a bit to get airflow under it, and having a small fan blow across back heat exchangers that are exposed.

Other Fermentables / Re: Sulfur smell in a pear cider
« on: October 29, 2011, 02:59:21 PM »
D-47 regularly throws big sulfur odor early in its fermentation.

Thanks Ken. This is the first I used D-47.

What is interesting is we used Safale-05 with same pear juice and had similar high sulfur smell that eventually went away too.    Perhaps sulfur production more prominent in pear cider fermentation? Given this was a very wet year, not a lot of nutrients in the juice, stressing the yeast?  Oddly, in the 1 gallon batch I let "naturally ferment", it did not exhibit the sulfur smell.

Homebrew Clubs / Looking for some diagrams on brewing process
« on: October 18, 2011, 09:22:31 PM »
Before I try to "reinvent the wheel", as they say, I'm looking for some brewing process graphics to use as for the upcoming "Learn to homebrew" event.

I'd like to have one set that represents the professional brewing process and another that represents home brewing version. Nothing  overly complex/detailed. Something like this (professional view):

I've googled and have a lot of raw material, but thought I would ask if there has been any that other clubs created that I could use.

In addition, as we would have brewing demo's and workshops, to use that graphic as a base to show "you are here" in the process as the brewing demo progressed throughout the day; and at specific presentations/workshops on brewing topics.

I have not found anything on the AHA site, but may be overlooking it.

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