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Messages - hubie

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Clean your bottles !
« on: October 07, 2013, 02:21:04 PM »
You don't need all the fancy cleaners just some Dawn dish soap and a brush with a good blast from a bottle cleaner to clear the soap works fine when they start to crud up. Get the water as hot as you can stand it and save a few bucks.

I depends upon the nature of the gunk you are trying to get rid of and how much effort you want to put in.  Dish soap only contains dispersants and surfactants, which means that once the gunk has been lifted from the surface they can take it away, but they aren't good at lifting the gunk in the first place (which is why you need to scrub the surfaces).  What makes the fancy cleansers fancy is that they have stuff in it like sodium percarbonate which goes right after the organic gunk.  If you want to go cheap, you can go with powdered dishwasher detergent or a generic brand of Oxiclean (or Straight-A or One-Step, etc.), but those would have different percentages of percarbonates and such in them which means you'd need to use a bit more than you would with PBW or Oxiclean, or you need to soak it a bit longer.  Bleach is another inexpensive option, but you want to make sure you are using it correctly so that it is effective and safe to you and your brewing equipment.  You won't get rid of organic films with dish soap without a heck of a lot of scrubbing, and if you have mineral deposits, that is a whole different beast to attack.

One of the early Brew Strong episodes had a great interview with Charlie Tally of Five Star Chemicals.  He did a really good job talking about all of the different kinds of cleaners and how best to use them.  He covered the best ways to use bleach very well in either that episode, or one that I recall from Basic Brewing Radio.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Racking
« on: October 07, 2013, 01:38:57 PM »
I could never become adept at filling a tube with water/sanitizer to start the siphon.  It would always take several attempts and I would make a mess.  Maybe I need to watch someone do it on YouTube or something.

I use an autosiphon.  I clean it and my tubing by doing a PBW soak using a wallpaper tray, then a StarSan soak in the wallpaper tray (I know you don't need to soak in StarSan, but it is easy to immerse it in the tray while I do other things.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Flaked Oats
« on: October 04, 2013, 05:04:51 PM »
It's 'steel cut' oats that you shouldn't use for brewing (but it is the #1 best type for breakfast!)

Do you mean unless you do a cereal mash, or is there another reason to not use them?

Equipment and Software / Re: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« on: October 04, 2013, 01:05:29 PM »
I have one of each (different metals because they came in turkey fryer kits from different manufacturers).  I use the aluminum one for the boil because it holds more volume.  Both pots are tall and skinny, and I second Martin's suggestion about getting a wide pot.  My pots are too narrow to be able to form a trub cone after the boil no matter how vigorous or long I whirpool.

If you are brewing inside on a glass-top stove, you'll want stainless because those pots have nice smooth, flat bottoms that make full contact with the stovetop and won't scratch the stove glass (learned that the hard way).  If you get a thin-walled aluminum pot (i.e., one on the lower end of the price scale), be careful if you are using one of those intense jet propane burners, the ones that put out an intense, narrow flame.  They can create a decent hot spot in the bottom of the pot where you could get some scorching, especially if you don't turn off the burner when dumping in liquid extract.  Higher-end aluminum pots and the stainless ones have thicker bottoms that spread out the heat better.

Ingredients / Re: Popping My Cherry Cherry
« on: October 04, 2013, 12:51:03 PM »
Very timely post!  I told my neighbor I was going to brew a chocolate cherry stout.  I've never brewed one so I didn't have a go-to recipe.  3 lbs Crystal 40 and 2 lbs chocolate malt!  I'm looking forward to brewing this.  Unless I can find some decent frozen at the Megamart, I'll probably go with two cans of the Oregon puree (assuming it is in stock at the LHBS).  That would give 6-1/8 lbs vs the 5 lbs in the recipe.  That's 20% more than the recipe, but given how subtle cherry flavor can be, I presume that won't be a problem, though I should probably taste it every day to make sure.  I've never used the Oregon puree.  Anybody have any issues with it?  With the much larger cherry surface area with the puree, would two cans be too much and I should just use one (3 lbs vs 5 lbs in the recipe)? 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer: health tonic?
« on: October 01, 2013, 01:53:20 PM »
"Guinness is good for you"

There are a whole slew of beneficial health things that various studies seem to correlate with moderate alcohol consumption.  The problem is that most of the studies are observational studies instead of experimental studies meaning that people are periodically questioned about a number of things such as alcohol consumption, whereas an experimental study would pick a number of people at random, have them drink a certain amount of alcohol per day, etc. (you can see why this would be much more difficult to do).  When they have their study data, then they go through and try to statistically remove the effects of other factors such as socioeconomic status, etc.  Moderate alcohol (not just homebrew) consumption can be very beneficial to the cardiovascular system.  After accounting for many factors some things don't stand out as well, such as a lower risk of developing Parkinson's Disease, however, there seems to be a good correlation between moderate alcohol drinkers and an overall healthier lifestyle (lower stress, more sociable, live longer,...), and a pretty strong correlation with better cardiovascular health (lower cholesterol, fewer incidents of heart disease).

Moderate is the key here.  There are many factors where this might not apply, such as someone predisposed to alcohol issues might turn their moderate consumption into heavy consumption and bring on all the negative health issues associated with that, or if someone is on medications that do not interact well with alcohol, then you're probably bringing on more issues than you might be solving.

Nutritionally, as you point out, beer in particular is not too shabby with it historically been referred to as liquid bread.

I say cut them some slack and let them be students and learn.

Nobody has an issue with wanting to help out people who want to learn.  The more skeptical among us are wondering whether there exists that desire to put in the work and learn, or just look up the answer in the back of the book (or in keeping with the times, look it up on Wikipedia) and try to fill in the middle afterwards.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Dry stout water profile
« on: September 26, 2013, 12:55:43 PM »
I am not sure if Guinness combines those worts prior to or after the boil.   

From a chemistry standpoint, would it matter?

Glad you said that!

I thought the HBD would perk up, but it did not.

Yeah, I think the people who were/are interested in those formats aren't interested enough to actually post!

When you make a big change like that, you pick up new people, but at some point you drive others away.  I would guess that a good number of people on Tech Talk moved over to the forum and found they liked it (or at least, didn't hate it), while another group said "the hell with this" and went elsewhere.  It's easy to throw around the Luddite label or talk of the march of progress, but sometimes one person's shiny new thing is another person's annoyance. 

Perhaps sometime in the not-so-distant-future there will be cries of how we need to retire the AHA Forum and move everything to Facebook because everybody uses Facebook now, it has all these new features the Forum doesn't, and that other brewing forum moved to Facebook and we have to too if we want to keep up, etc., etc.  When that happens, maybe you pick up new people, and you'll probably lose other people for good.  (Then the Next Big Thing after Facebook comes along (it will undoubtedly have to do with Big Data and clouds and new paradigms and stuff)  and then we all have to move with it....)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bottle Cleaning
« on: September 25, 2013, 07:10:56 PM »
I soak for up to a few days in ammonia. It's cheap and a great cleaner, though it does smell. There is not much it won't remove.

This was what I did until I got a big tub of PBW.  Ammonia is also great for removing labels.  I think I used to use 8oz ammonia per 5 gallons water.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bottle Cleaning
« on: September 25, 2013, 04:45:41 PM »
Powdered dishwasher detergent can substitute for PBW in a pinch.  I assume liquid would work just as well, but powdered would be easier to dose (1 to 2 Tbs per gallon).

Didn't mean to come across so harshly. It's just a pet peeve of mine when someone simply makes a post to a forum to finish their homework. If you were really serious about this product/project, then you are much better off actually engaging discussion on a forum like this. You'll get much more useful and relevant info that way. Otherwise it just comes off as "here - fill out my SurveyMonkey", and that kinda rubs me the wrong way.

I didn't follow the link for largely the same reason.  They would get far better information if they participated and engaged people in the forum.  If they're just dropping these one-post links to all the homebrew-related sites, then they're spamming and/or lazy.  Even something like "hey, I'm working on a homebrew-related design project and I don't know a thing about beer making, could someone give me some advice on what to put in a marketing survey" would be much better than the approach they took.

You don't see it here because it doesn't really come up, but a lot of the computer programming language forums have explicit "no homework" policies.  There is a huge difference in the politeness and information content in the response to "PLEASE HELP!  Can someone show me how to write a bubble sort function?" (usually from an account with only a handful of posts, followed by thread bump messages every hour), and "I can't seem to find the bug in my bubble sort function.  I've made a doubly-linked list but I keep getting a null pointer error.  Here is a sample of my code. ..."

Equipment and Software / Re: Wort chiller
« on: September 24, 2013, 07:42:04 PM »
If you go the DYI route, do yourself a favor and get a tube bender.  It is roughly $15 but will save tons of headaches and give you a good looking chiller.  Also...measure twice and bend once.

I made mine by taking copper and wrapping it around one of those fat (3 lb, I think) coffee cans.  These days coffee now comes in plastic containers with square cross sections instead of steel circular ones.  A square profile IC might look pretty cool. :)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Final Round Scores
« on: August 09, 2013, 06:17:20 PM »
Congratulations Frank.  From a recipe standpoint, I'm curious to know what you did to add the tart cherry.  Fresh, frozen, puree, etc.

Thanks for finding that out.  Bummer for me because that was always my go-to competition every year.  Now to figure out what to do with the beer I've been setting aside.  Maybe I'll drive down to Richmond and drop them off for the Dominion Cup (

I'm a bit ignorant on this.  Is the superintendent on the Fair side, or on the homebrew comp side, i.e., did the people at the Fair mess up, or was it something to do with the competition organizers?

Edit:  Of course, just after posting this, I see the post for the upcoming Maryland Microbrew Fest.

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