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Messages - hubie

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lager Woes
« on: February 25, 2013, 11:38:02 AM »
Yes, when I ferment in a bucket I skim the kraeusen. when I ferment in a carboy I let it blow off. Others may have different opinions on this, though.

Is that what you do on all beers?  Do you harvest this stuff, or just dump it down the drain?  I was thinking about that meringue-like kraeusen posted earlier (; would you skim all that off?

Kegging and Bottling / Re: recarbonating
« on: February 22, 2013, 03:28:02 PM »
Out of curiosity, what was the highest temp it saw before you cold crashed it?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brewing with bread in the mash
« on: February 21, 2013, 03:59:54 PM »
You might want to so some searching on brewing kvass.  Michael Tonsmeire did an article in BYO back in the December 2010 issue on making it. There's a Basic Brewing interview with him regarding that article:

A quick search turned up a number of sites with recipes for it, but they look to be more of the dump bread yeast in soda bottles kind of thing, not necessarily homebrewer-focussed articles. 

Ingredients / Re: Polenta
« on: February 21, 2013, 12:19:28 PM »
Does anyone brew with cornstarch instead?  Shouldn't it be the same?  I believe it gelatinizes at mash temperatures.  I have heard from one person who loves using it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: First Wort Hopping question
« on: February 19, 2013, 09:15:10 AM »
Guess I'm a little confused about IBUs. I always thought international bittering units was a measurement of bitterness- something that is quantifiable. So how can a beer with higher IBUs have less bitterness but more flavor? I agree with Denny that beer should is best enjoyed tasted and not measured, but when working with FW hopping and dry hopping (especially using a new hop) it is hard to know how much and how long. Is there a way of measuring how much flavor/aroma a hop will impart based on Alpha acid or some other metric?

IBUs are easy to measure, but bitterness is not.  Bitterness depends upon complex chemical reactions in the mouth, cheek, nose, etc., and vary from person to person.  Bitterness does correlate with IBUs, but it is not predictable like IBUs are.

As for predictability of flavor and aroma, my reading of Stan Hieronymous' Hops book basically says you cannot currently predict flavor nor aroma.  You need to rely on experience with the hops. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Lager chamber
« on: February 19, 2013, 08:23:52 AM »
While it is true that the thermal mass of the carboy/bucket with liquid is much greater than the surrounding air and that their temperature should dominate, this is true only if you have good thermal contact between the probe and the carboy/bucket.  Unfortunately, unless you're using some sort of thermal grease or other goop between the probe head and the carboy, you don't have good thermal contact.  In my case, which is using the thermal sensor that came with my temperature controller, I have to try to get a hard cylinder (temp sensor) to make good contact with a curved hard surface (carboy).  Even in an ideal setting, that is a very tiny surface contact area, so thermal transfer needs to occur using the air trapped under the tape and/or through the tape itself. 

BrewQwest's observations make sense to me.  From a thermal engineering standpoint, you'd never attach a temperature probe to a surface unless you used some sort of thermal transfer material, like grease, along with it.  If you really want to know and control the temperature of the liquid in an absolute sense, you really need to use a thermowell or attach the probe better thermally.  I don't have a good feel for whether putting bubble wrap over the probe before taping it is better or not.  To me, making sure air cannot exchange between the ambient and below the tape is more important, and using bubble wrap in my opinion makes that much easier to achieve.

what the frick is a raspberry pi.

It is one of a number of very small computers that you can use to do just about anything you'd want to do.  The difference between this and a tablet is that this is just the computer part: no monitor, user input, etc., though you can add them to your project if you want to.  Most of these projects the computer is running Linux, which makes it much easier to program.  What this person did was basically to run it as a web server.  Neat, but not the coolest kind of thing you can do.  It would be easy to use one of these devices to automate your brewery if you were using valves and such that operate via relays.

More popular as a platform is the Arduino ( and the newer IOIO (, but new devices will probably pop out every few years or so as newer hardware becomes better, cheaper, smaller, etc.

If you want to see another homebrew-related project for the Raspberry Pi (and Arduino), there is a temperature controller (, or if you want network capability, this one will update you on Untappd every time you pull a beer:

Actually, I just found this, if you want to see what you can really do with these types of cheap devices, check out the Arduino-based Kegbot project:  I love the beer drinking statistics part. :)

All Grain Brewing / Re: where do you take mash pH?
« on: February 12, 2013, 07:37:59 AM »
I take my sample right after I vorlauf and let it come down to room temp.

If you're doing it after vorlauf, isn't that too late to do anything about it since you are done mashing?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Looking for a good AG recipe book
« on: February 11, 2013, 11:25:34 AM »
I borrowed 80 Classic Brews and discovered most, if not all recipes are written for extract.

If you're talking about Brewing Classic Styles, the evolution of the book is that Palmer wanted to write a book for extract brewers and Zainasheff said he could give him a bunch of recipes, which is why the book is split into the (Zainasheff) recipe part and the (Palmer) technical part.  The recipes are all-grain recipes converted to extract versions and every recipe is given with the all-grain part at the end.  It really is an all-grain book because the all-grain recipes are given.  You have to make sure you take the reviews with a grain of salt.  Because of the way recipes convert between the two, I remember an Amazon reviewer was complaining that the recipes called for odd amounts of extract, such as needing 2.7 pounds of LME and he was complaining that he could only get LME in set amounts like cans of 3.3 pounds.  The reviewer was complaining that it is unreasonable for him to measure out less than 3.3 pounds (which is funny because when I make bread, I don't ding my recipe book because my recipe isn't broken down into using only 5 lb sacks of flour).  I'd have to see what some of the negative complaints you saw, but if we're talking about the same book then I would say the bad review missed the mark entirely.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Open air fermentation
« on: February 11, 2013, 09:13:17 AM »
If you're not going for wild yeast fermentation, what is the advantage for open fermentation besides maybe top-cropping yeast?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Looking for a good AG recipe book
« on: February 08, 2013, 08:53:11 AM »
I see a lot of "I haven't brewed this yet, but it is going to be good"  ::)

Years ago that was my biggest frustration with the internet recipe sites like Gambrinus Mug and Cat's Meow  The other thing I would run into a lot was  "I'm going to brew this next and I'll report back how it came out" and there never was any follow-up.  Now that I"ve got a lot more brews under my belt since then I can better look at those kind of recipes and guess how they'd come out, but back then when I'm just looking for a decent recipe for a certain type of style, I couldn't afford to waste my time and money gambling on some random person's guess.  That is why I love BCS.  There are still styles I haven't made but want to, and I know I can get a good first beer by using one of those recipes.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Hop Addition Question
« on: February 07, 2013, 03:08:29 PM »
If you want the nitty-gritty, you can read Palmer's section on it here:

It includes a handy nomograph to use for calculations. 

The hop utilization numbers Palmer got from data taken by Tinseth.  If it were me, unless I was going for something very specific in terms of bitterness, I would just toss the hops in and go with the higher IBUs.  If I really wanted to try to correct for it, I would take a rough stab at it by looking up the utilization for the recipe pre-boil gravity and ratio that with the utilization for a full boil gravity.  For instance, say your recipe has you boiling 3 gallons of 1.080 wort for 60 minutes.  From the table that would be a utilization of 0.176.  Now you want to boil 5 gallons for 60 minutes, so your pre-boil gravity is 3/5th 1.080 or 1.048, and your new utilization is about 0.230 or so, so you could cut your hops back to about 0.176/0.230 = 76 percent.

Edit:  I used "efficiency" when I should have used "utilization" to keep the terminology consistent regarding hop usage

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The Mad Fermentationist's Top 10 Myths
« on: February 06, 2013, 12:54:04 PM »
Plus, I still have a case of bottles I need to label. 

I just Sharpie the cap because it would be a pain to have to get the old labels off the bottles when I want to reuse them.

And let's not forget, in most cases kegged beer tastes better!

I don't have experience with this for my own beer; is this generally held true, or is this something that one could argue should be item 11 on the list?

Events / Re: Congrats to the lucky few
« on: February 06, 2013, 08:23:15 AM »
Then the AHA posted the direct link on FB and I shared it far and wide.

I'm just curious, was this the only way the AHA reported the direct link?

Events / Re: NHC competition site change.
« on: January 30, 2013, 11:51:37 AM »
because the AHA is a US based, US focused lobbying organization/affinity group?

I belong to several professional societies that have "American" as the first word in their acronyms, and at various points are now or have previously belonged to other societies that are set up to represent and advocate for their members, promote and advance their craft, etc.  None of them, as far as I have ever been aware, would adopt this stance, even in spirit, on issues, and they all welcome Canadian and other foreign membership.  I would be very disappointed if this is the strongest argument used to defend eliminating the Canadian entry site.

Given the size and growth rate of the AHA, they might want to consider doing what other national organizations of this size does and go to regional divisions.  There is clearly a geographic element to the issue of entry sites and this is the kind of thing that is easier handled within a division.

I can understand the challenges Tom has put forth, but I think the resolution is short-sighted.  Canada does present a unique situation, but it sounds like they have a strong and motivated support system and put forth some reasonable suggestions to consider.  I don't buy into the argument about an unfair statistical advantage either, particularly since the region was expected to fill their slots.  Sticking with the fairness issue, if you're going to have regional competitions in the first round, then you should require people to enter their particular region to keep people from shopping for "weaker" regions or homebrew clubs from flooding multiple regions, etc.

If one wanted to argue slot statistics, I think the need to cap the number of entries is more telling.  Based on the average, it looks like each person who entered the competition entered about five beers.  I would be interested in hearing what the median entry per person was as well.  I recall reading that one of the medalists entered something like 50 beers!  It will be interesting to see whether this increases the number of people entering this year.  The Ninkasi goes to the person with the highest point total, but I think they ought to give mention to the person with the highest points per entry.

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