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Messages - garyg

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Hotel Nearly Full
« on: January 13, 2010, 04:08:58 PM »
It is true that the the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel, host of the 2010 AHA National Homebrewers Conference in Minneapolis, has sold out of all of their Traditional Rooms.  They are offering Deluxe Rooms at a rate of $129 as well as suites and Club Rooms for more (but discounted from the regular rate) for people registering for the AHA Conference.  The Sheraton will continue to offer the group rates on their remaining rooms until the hotel is completely sold out.

We will also be opening an overflow hotel next door to the Sheraton that will be honoring the $109 room rate.  We will post information on the overflow hotel shortly.

If you haven't checked it out, we have posted speakers to the site along with their bios on the conference website.  We'll be posting the seminar titles soon, along with a list of the clubs that have already signed up to pariticipate in Club Night.

This is going to be a great conference! I knew it was going to be big, but I did not expect the hotel to fill up as fast as it has.  If you haven’t already registered for the conference, be sure to do so ASAP as it will assuredly sell out this year.

See for conference details and to register. 

See you in Minneapolis.

Questions about the forum? / Re: Images
« on: November 11, 2009, 08:30:38 AM »
The reason for not allowing images to be directly uploaded to the forum is that we want to keep bandwidth manageable.  The cost of running the forum is based on bandwidth, so in the interest of keeping this forum alive for many years to come, we opted to only allow linked images rather than directly uploaded images.

I had never used an online photo service before we launched this forum, but I quickly found that flickr is easy to use.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Denny - Mailing Homebrew
« on: November 06, 2009, 10:54:37 AM »
Shipping homebrew for competitions is indeed a Government Affairs issue that the AHA and Brewers Association have been working on for the past few years.  It is a painfully slow process at times, though I am hopeful that we can make progress with a couple of key meetings over the next month or so.  If we get to a point in the process where we need members to get involved in contacting legislators, we will be sure to get the word out.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Posting Your Club's Profile
« on: November 05, 2009, 02:52:09 PM »
The Club Resources is now fixed to allow registered users to post new pages.  There had been a security setting that did not get switched over when the site went live that was preventing anyone who was not an Admin from creating new pages.

Sorry for the confusion.  Glad the comments in the wiki worked so we could figure out that there was a problem!


Hi Kai,

You can find a list of your posts under profile.  In Profile Info, click on "show posts".

Any boards that have new posts since you last logged in have a colored envelope.  Boards with no new posts have a gray envelope.

Kegging and Bottling / Draught Beer Quality Manual
« on: November 03, 2009, 04:54:43 PM »
For anyone who has set up or is considering setting up a home (or commercial) draught beer system, you should check out the Brewers Association Draught Beer Quality Manual.  It is very comprehensive, easy to read, and loaded with photos and charts.

1. Essential Draught System Components
2. Temporary Draught Disspense (e.g. jockey boxes)
3. Equipment and Configurations for Direct Draw Draught Systems
4. Equipment and Configurations for Long-Draw Draught Systems
5. A Matter of Balance
6. Preparation to Pour
7. Serving Draught Beer
8. System Maintenance and Cleaning

You can download the manual in its entirety, or by chapter, for free at

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Setting up keg for carbonating/serving pressure
« on: November 03, 2009, 01:35:22 PM »
Wahoo is correct, you want to serve the beer at whatever pressure you need to maintain your desired carbonation and then need to balance that with your draught line.

Check out Chapter 5 in the Brewers Association's Draught Beer Quality Manual for a complete description of how to balance your draught system:

Pimp My System / Post a System
« on: November 02, 2009, 11:07:37 AM »
This board is for posting descriptions and images of homebrew systems and home-built gadgets. The AHA will select a new System each week to feature on the home page in the Pimp My System section.

Please include a photos of the system/gadget you are writing about.  Note, you cannot directly upload or attach images to a forum post, but you can insert an image that is linked from a website.

To include an image in a post:
1. Image must be linked from a website (such as flickr or photobucket or a private website), you cannot directly upload images to the AHA Forum.
2. Put the cursor where ever you want to insert your image.
3. Select the "insert image" icon from the editor tool bar, which will insert "[ img][ /img]" into your post.
4. Insert the URL for the photo you want to include in your post between "[ img]" and "[ /img]"

Homebrewer Bios / Posting a Bio
« on: November 02, 2009, 10:57:55 AM »
This board is for posting short biographies of homebrewers.  You may post a bio of yourself, or of a homebrewer you know that you'd like to share with the community. The AHA will select a new bio each week to feature on the home page as a Brewer of the Week.

Please include a photo of the homebrewer you are writing about.  Note, you cannot directly upload or attach images to a forum post, but you can insert an image that is linked from an website.

To include an image in a post:
1. Image must be linked from a website (such as flickr or photobucket or a private website), you cannot directly upload images to the AHA Forum.
2. Put the cursor where ever you want to insert your image.
3. Select the "insert image" icon from the editor tool bar, which will insert "[ img][ /img]" into your post.
4. Insert the URL for the photo you want to include in your post between "[ img]" and "[ /img]"

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Extract and DMS
« on: November 02, 2009, 09:53:15 AM »
In the process of making malt extract, wort goes through a boiling process (albeit a low temp, low pressure boil) to remove water from the wort and concentrate it into extract.  Does that process drive off DMS in the resulting extact?  In other words, does extract need to be boiled the same as all-grain wort in order to avoid DMS in the finished beer?

All Grain Brewing / Insulation For Mash Tun
« on: October 30, 2009, 04:00:43 PM »
I have a converted keg (legally obtained) mash tun. I'd like to add some insulation to the tun so that it holds temperature longer and more evenly.  I heat my strike water directly in the mash tun, so the insulation either has to be removable or fire proof.  Any suggestions?

Yes. To make changes to a post simply open the post and click on modify. You must be logged in to modify a post. You cannot modify anyone else' posts.

AHA Messages, Forum Rules & FAQs / How do I include an image in my post?
« on: October 25, 2009, 12:11:57 PM »
To include an image in a post:
1. Image must be linked from a website (such as flickr or photobucket or a private website), you cannot directly upload images to the AHA Forum
2. Put the cursor where ever you want to insert your image.
3. Select the "insert image" icon from the editor tool bar, which will insert "[ img][ /img]" into your post.
4. Insert the URL for the photo you want to include in your post between "[ img]" and "[ /img]"

Pimp My System / The Scales of Justice Brew System – by Rick Treusch
« on: October 22, 2009, 01:58:27 PM »

The idea came from the need to transfer wort from one vessel to another without the use of pumps.  I got introduced to home brewing in the summer of 2006 by two of my brothers Rudy and Tony.  They told me what equipment would be necessary to brew my first batch. With that, I bought a 34 quart  turkey fryer from Sam’s Club for the kettle and burner, and built the mash ton out of a 50 quart cooler, some ½” copper tubing and some fittings.  We came up with a recipe and a brew date and I was hooked.

The first thing I learned after how much I love brewing beer; it seemed like a lot of work for a small amount of beer. (A labor of love for sure.)  So I asked why don’t we make bigger batches.  Tony laughed and said sure, we just need bigger equipment, and told me he could borrow a couple of Pico systems and we would brew again.

I invited a friend, Nick Pacquin to brew beer with us on the Pico systems.  Nick and I did a batch on one system and Rudy and Tony on the other system.  We did a 10 gallon batch of an Irish Red Ale and I immediately realized we could be doing a 20 Gallon batch with this system.  So I asked, why don’t we do a 20 gallon batch on this thing?  Tony laughed again and said sure you can, double the recipe, two more car boys and a little more work and you can do just that.

So back to the question, where did the idea for your brew system come from?

We had a great time brewing on the Pico that day, but Nick and I decided that the weakness in the system was the pumps.  They got plugged several times that day and it was a pain.  I thought that I could build a system like this to brew 20 gallon batches without the pumps.  So I mentioned to the boys my idea and they agreed, that would be great.  I asked Nick if he wanted to be my partner on the project and he enthusiastically agreed.  Big Brew Day was a week away and we decided we should have it ready for that so I drew up some plans that night. 

I was going over the plans later that night, trying to work out some details when another friend of mine (Steve Albreck) stopped by to visit.

My original plan was much more sophisticated than this.  It had the burners sitting on top of the lever attached at three points, two pivot points with the third keeping the burner level with a simplest of small levers and gears.  So when you moved the kettles they always stayed level.

Steve looked at my plan and in about two seconds said, that’s way too complicated.  Why don’t you make your fulcrum taller and hang your burner stands from the lever and it will level itself.  I agreed it sure would be easier to build, but I was concerned about the stability with the burners and kettles just hanging there and also the height.  The mash ton and one kettle would be taller and you would need a stool to stand on to look in the kettles.

Being I wanted to build it in six days, so it would be ready for the big brew day, simplicity of design won over possible safety issues and ease of use. In retrospect using a small stool is not a big deal and with reasonable care it has been reasonably safe to use.

I picked up the material for the system Monday afternoon made some calls to find some kegs, and Nick and I stated the project Monday night.   It was very convenient that Nick and his brother John own and operate a small shop (Laser Specialists) in Fraser, Michigan.  We had at our disposal a welder, plasma cutter, 3 axis and 5 axis lasers and plenty of room to work.  Awesome!

We worked very until 3 a.m. in the morning.  It was grueling, but we still had a lot of fun.  It was worth the effort.  We have brewed a lot of good beer on the thing.

Post-script: Having gotten confident with the system, we were recently brewing up a batch, and had begun to chill it. Both during the boil and the chilling, we move the brew back (we use two of the kettles as boil vessels) and forth to make sure it is well mixed, and, since we just have one wort chiller, it all get's cooled down to the desired temperature.

On this particular brew day, we had set up the system on some less than ideal surface (grass) that had experienced some rain recently, and we had a short water out hose (just a few feet). Well, as the water puddle under the stand, I looked out of the corner of my eye and I witnessed the stand starting to tip over and the upper kettle fell down, launching the previously lower kettle up and into the air.

If you are familiar with the French alternative to the catapult, the Trebuchet,

you then can imagine our shock at what transpired next. The kettle, with the 10+ gallons of cooling wort flew about 10'-12' into the side of a building. The kettle was destroyed, the wort lost and the building was, shall we say, the worse for wear. Lesson learned- this system needs a stable, solid surface for safety's sake. Fortunately, no one was in the way when this happened and no one was hurt. Startled, yes.

Pimp My System / Joe Gerteis Brewing System
« on: October 22, 2009, 01:11:57 PM »
Joe Gerteis Brewing System, SPHBC President.

The pictures show my garage brewery, which is still and always a work in progress.  For me, the brewing system had to be in the garage, and easy to move, disassemble, and store.  I only recently put in the heat resistant tile backer so that I can just keep it under the window (it opens up and I just hold it up there with a bungee cord -- poor man's ventilation!).  Maybe sometime I'll be able to move everything into my basement and pipe it into natural gas, but that will require more major work than I can put in right now.  So it's the garage for the near future at least.  

The first picture is the burners/stands and kettles.  I got the burners and stands from a company in Louisiana that sells them as crawfish cookers.  The tanks are new -- I used converted kegs with bazooka screens before.  You can see one of those kegs on the side.  The kegs work great but they are HEAVY and a bit of a pain to disassemble for cleaning.  So far these "Italian kettles" are great -- heavier bottoms would be ideal, but I like the dimensions on these.

The other picture shows my pumps and chiller.  Since all my kettles are at the same height, one pump is a necessity.  Two just makes life a little easier.  (The heavy-duty one is a March model AC-3C-MD, the other is a March MDX model with a threaded head unit that I swapped on, so sort of custom.)  I screwed the pumps onto some bits of pine board and put little rubber pads under the boards to help keep them stable and dampen the vibration while they are running.  The chiller is the normal Shirron plate chiller with an added coupler and disconnect for the wort-in side.  

I've upgraded elements over time as cash flow allowed.  Stainless valves from Northern Brewer on the kettles replaced cheapie brass ones.  I bought stainless reducers and valves for the pumps on sale online.  The other big upgrade besides the kettles themselves was the polysulfone disconnects.  For a couple of years I used a set of brass ones that I bought from McMaster-Carr.  They are really affordable and work fine but they get pretty hot.  The Polysulfone ones are great but I've managed to break a few, and they're a bit pricey.  

I have a secondary system (Rubbermaid cooler mashtun, smaller 8 gallon boiler) for kitchen brewing when it gets too cold for using the water supply hoses in the winter, but my stove is only just barely up to the task.  So I'm trying to figure a new way of running water lines out and back into my basement for the cold weather.  If I get ambitious I might try to use the extra welded coupler on the boil kettle to rig some kind of port for whirlpool...we'll see.

That's it!  

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