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Messages - svejk

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Equipment and Software / Re: Grain mills
« on: May 26, 2016, 08:31:16 AM »
   Thanks, all interesting and useful contributions. I've spent more than a day on the infernalweb searching for mills but was unaware of the Cereal Killer & JSP until now, at the moment I'm leaning towards the adjustable JSP. As a former Tin Knocker, fabbing a larger hopper should be gravy. Any of the JSP owners opt for the gear drive or hardened rollers? I'm hoping this is the last mill I have to buy, and am an admitted tool junkie, so spending extra for truly useful stuff isn't a problem.

I went with both the gear drive and hardened rollers on my adjustable maltmill because I'm a sucker for the upsell.  I have no idea if they were worth it or not, but I'm over a decade in with countless bags of grain and I still consider my JSP mill as my best homebrew investment to date.  I will say that my gear drive was on backorder when I first got my mill and I had a couple of experiences where only the driven roller spun, but that was probably operator error.  In any case, I was glad when the gears arrived because I never had to think about that situation again.

All Things Food / Re: Blue Apron
« on: January 25, 2016, 12:27:33 PM »
As someone who loves to cook I have trouble wrapping my head around this. Are the meals prepared and you just heat them up or do you get all the separate ingredients and recipes to follow? If the latter, do you get pre-chopped vegetables and pre made sauces etc?
It seems like a very limited market if its not just heating it up, otherwise its just people who kind of want to cook but don't want to do some of the work.

It's ingredients and recipes, but they aren't already cut up and you do make the sauces from the ingredients provided.  The fresh herbs come in the right quantity so you don't have more than you need and the same is true if there is another unusual ingredient that you'd need to buy a whole bottle of and not use again for a long time (if ever).  Last night's dinner had a quarter of a watermelon radish, just enough bread crumbs, and just enough fresh thyme for the dinner.  If I'd have shopped for those items myself, I'd have a lot left over that I would probably not end up using.

All Things Food / Re: Blue Apron
« on: January 25, 2016, 11:15:48 AM »
My wife and I have been using Blue Apron for about six weeks and we've been really impressed.  The best parts for me are:

- The variety of the meals has been great, and out of ~20 meals, only two of them have been less than excellent flavor to our tastes.

- Food waste has dropped dramatically since we weren't all that good about eating things before they went bad.  With this service you get what you need and only what you need for the meals so nothing goes to waste.

- I think we're actually saving money because it was very easy for us to drop $60 for a single dinner out (with drinks) because we were tired of the same old same old. Combined, I believe our grocery and restaurant bills have dropped by more than the cost of the service.

I assume that it probably wouldn't work all that well if somebody has kids that are picky eaters, and I also know that it isn't within everyone's budget, but I'm sure glad we gave it a try.

Beer Recipes / Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« on: October 19, 2015, 10:30:06 AM »
To your point, there are some characteristic flavors shared by the best of the style (Grande Reserve, ABT12, Rochefort 8, etc.) but definitely some deltas between them as well. It's a little like brothers that look alike but have personalities that are different enough to warrant the comment, "Funny they are in the same family...."

Good point, but I do find it interesting that in the 2015 guidelines they have retained both the Belgian Golden Strong and the Tripel styles even though the description for the BGS includes the words "Strongly resembles a Tripel...".  If I'm at a bar and order a Belgian Golden Strong or a Tripel, I have a pretty good idea of what I'll get within a fairly narrow range of flavors split over two categories where the BGS may have a lighter body.  If I order a BDS, then I need to take a sip before I can tell whether the beer is a Rochefort style BDS or a Westy/St B style BDS.  In the case of brewing a BDS, then a brewer could decide up front where in the spectrum they're shooting for and use that decision to drive their choice, levels or exclusion of the specialty malts. 

It just seems to me that if Specialty IPA can be broken into six sub-categories, then BDS could at least be broken into two...

Beer Recipes / Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« on: October 19, 2015, 09:35:34 AM »
In discussing Belgian Dark Strong Ales and whether Special B, CaraMunich or other dark caramel/crystal malts are appropriate in the grist, I think it is important to distinguish which type of BDS you prefer.  I'm actually surprised that both Rochefort 8 & 10 are in the same BJCP category as Westvleteren 12 & St Bernardus. Tasted side by side, these beers are significantly different and perhaps in a future style guideline they should really be separated into different categories.  The Rochefort style of BDS appears to me to have fairly significant flavor contributions from specialty malts like Special B, while Westy and St Bernardus appear to have little to none.

I strongly prefer the Westy/St Bernardus style of BDS and so far my best attempts at replicating this style of BDS have eliminated specialty malts entirely.  That said, I don't think my beers would score well in a BJCP competition because judges would likely be looking for the flavor contributions found in Rochefort style BDS recipes.  From a drinking perspective, however, I find the BDS recipes with specialty malts to be okay for a few sips but I quickly grow tired of them, while I find the non-specialty malt recipes to be much more drinkable over the entire drinking session.

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.

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!

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?


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.

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.

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!

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