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Messages - svejk

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1
Equipment and Software / Re: Cleaning kegs with infected beer?
« on: June 15, 2015, 11:38:34 AM »
Have you considered using heat to sanitize?  You need to be really careful, but after all of the rubber parts have been replaced, you can put a half gallon or so of boiling water in the keg and slosh it around.  Any bugs that live through that deserve to have as much of my beer as they want.

2
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Belgium
« on: June 11, 2015, 01:28:06 PM »
I agree - without a car, it'll be difficult to visit some of the less accessible locations.  That said, you could choose a home base and take day trips from there.  I've done this from both Ghent and Mechelen, although I did have a car both times.  In Mechelen, I stayed at the B&B run by Het Anker Brewery.  From there, it's an hour or less by train to Brussels (Cantillon, Moder Lambic as above), Antwerp (Kulminator) and Ghent, and a little over an hour to Bruges. 

One great part about having a home base is that you don't have to bring your luggage with you everywhere you go, and each time you check in and out of a new location there is a fair amount of time spent on the transition.  If you stay in one place, you can travel light and catch a train in the morning to check out a new city, spend the day there, and then catch a train back when you've had your fill.

Have a great time on your trip, and fun planning it as well!

3
Beer Recipes / Re: Dark Strong Recipe - Opinions? Criticisms?
« on: March 23, 2015, 07:58:18 AM »
Here is an article that you might find interesting:

http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-21902-beer-guide-2014-beer-of-the-year.html

Pfriem's Belgian Dark Strong is the best American example I've had, and he doesn't use any Special B or Caramunich.  In my mind, specialty grains like Special B and Caramunich are the reason why American BDS examples don't taste like Belgian examples.  That said, it really comes down to what you're going for.  In my experience, dark strongs with specialty grains will more likely score higher in competitions because the dark fruit notes will stand out more when compared to others.  When tasting a non-specialty grain version on its own, though, my experience is that it is a much more pleasant experience because the lower residual sweetness allows the subtleties of the yeast flavors shine through.

4
Beer Travel / Re: Cologne and Dusseldorf trip in the works
« on: July 24, 2014, 11:06:03 AM »
You can walk to Uerige, Im Fuschen, Zum Schuessel breweries and the Schneider tap house in the Altstadt in Duesseldorf. Have one at each (.25 liter), then go back to your favorite for more.

Great suggestion - I took a walking beer tour in the Alstadt that did this and it was a lot of fun.
There is also a new Alt brewery there, Kuerzer, so I might have to go back someday.

I visited that one on my tour.  IIRC it has fermenters that are on the second level and only the very bottom of the cone sticks down through the concrete ceiling.  That was the first time I'd seen anything like that.

5
Beer Travel / Re: Cologne and Dusseldorf trip in the works
« on: July 24, 2014, 08:11:17 AM »
You can walk to Uerige, Im Fuschen, Zum Schuessel breweries and the Schneider tap house in the Altstadt in Duesseldorf. Have one at each (.25 liter), then go back to your favorite for more.

Great suggestion - I took a walking beer tour in the Alstadt that did this and it was a lot of fun.

6
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: First high gravity attempt
« on: July 14, 2014, 12:58:45 PM »
Another option if it seems to sweet is that you can age it for a while - maybe a year or more - and it could end up being a really nice barleywine.  A few years back I set aside an overly sweet IIPA in a keg and left it for a year and it turned out great - not an IIPA, but still great.

7
General Homebrew Discussion / Countertops and Homebrewing
« on: June 23, 2014, 10:56:11 AM »
When I brewed this Saturday it occurred to me how lucky I am that our kitchen is old so it didn't matter that I dripped some undiluted Starsan on the counter or banged it with a kettle that I was cleaning.  The old laminate looks just like it did before I brewed.  That said, I'm sure at some point my wife would like to make a change so I'd better start thinking about it. 

What type of countertops do you have and how are they holding up?  Heard of any disaster stories?

Thanks!

8
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 1272 American II
« on: June 23, 2014, 09:27:33 AM »
Several years ago I did a bunch of split batches to narrow down my preference, and 1272 ended up being my go-to IPA yeast.  If you're up for it, I highly recommend splitting your batch and try half with 1272 and the other half with 1056 (or another of your regular yeasts) and see what you think.

9
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2014 NHC broadcast???
« on: June 14, 2014, 05:48:07 PM »
Is anybody able to listen to this yet? So far it says "event started" but there's nothing happening.

10
Equipment and Software / Re: Torn between purchases
« on: April 29, 2014, 08:00:08 AM »
Jumping in late on this one, but seeing as nobody suggested going for the grain mill I figured I would add my 2 cents.  There is no doubt that fermentation temperature control would do more for the quality of your beer, but a mill is one of the few pieces of equipment that will pay for itself and then allow you to save enough to buy that fermentation chamber. 

I pay about $0.77/lb for bulk base grain, while the LHBS charges $1.60/lb for the same grain by the pound.  For every 10 pounds of grain I use, I save over $8.  Over the last decade my mill has paid for itself many times over. 

As an added bonus, if you ever get into a bind and need to sell your mill, used mills go for almost as much as new ones so it is really a no-brainer!

11
Equipment and Software / Re: Indestructible hydrometer
« on: April 10, 2014, 08:37:24 AM »
Does it exist? I need one.

A refractometer is almost indestructible.  Admittedly, it is less convenient post fermentation, but I find that my hydrometers last a lot longer now that I have one refractometer and two hydrometers.

12
Equipment and Software / Re: Recommend a Grain Mill
« on: April 08, 2014, 12:58:41 PM »
Most brewers like their mill, and I'm no exception with my adjustable JSP maltmill.  The biggest selling point for me was that I was able to add the option of a gear drive for the second roller.  There aren't very many mills that offer that ability.

13
Beer Recipes / Re: Belgian Dark Strong recipe help
« on: April 08, 2014, 11:10:35 AM »
Another data point that might be worth considering is targeting a final gravity and letting that determine your OG to get the right ABV.  St Bernardus has a FG of 1.010 which means that an OG of 1.090 will be 10.5%.  Since you'll be barrel aging this beer, I can see bumping up the OG to stand up to it, but for general BDS purposes, I thought it was an interesting data point that St Bernardus finishes so dry.

I'm also intrigued by the blend of yeasts you mentioned and will try that on my next attempt.  One of the best examples of BDS that I've had from a US craft brewery is from Pfriem and it turns out they use the Leuven strain of yeast.  This isn't available to homebrewers currently, but maybe a blend will get close.  Here is an article that discusses the Pfriem beer:

http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-21902-permalink.html

14
Beer Recipes / Re: Belgian Dark Strong recipe help
« on: April 08, 2014, 09:47:46 AM »
After brewing several BDS versions over the years, I have settled on a strong preference for recipes that keep the specialty grains to a minimum, or even skip them entirely.  It really comes down to your preference since the category has a lot of latitude for the strengths of different flavors.  One very enlightening test would be to taste St Bernardus 12 and Rochefort 10 side by side.  If you prefer St B, then I'd recommend significantly reducing (or even eliminating) the specialty malts, and if you prefer Rochefort then you could probably leave them as is.

One other thing I'll add is my impression that beers with pronounced speciatly grain contributions will probably score better in competitions, but beers with minimal specialty grains will be much more drinkable on their own.

15
Equipment and Software / Re: very frustrated with my Barley Crusher
« on: March 17, 2014, 01:39:32 PM »
I had this same problem when I first purchased my JSP Maltmill.  Fortunately I was able to buy the gear drive option which solved it for good (luckily I had the Model A because the gear drive isn't available for other models).  I'm not sure whether Barley Crusher offers a similar option, but if they do I wouldn't hesitate to make the investment.  I'm also not sure if there are other mills that offer the option to drive more than one roller, but if my Maltmill ever needs replacing it will be a requirement for me.

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