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Messages - tumarkin

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Aging Homebrew Poll
« on: October 28, 2010, 10:19:00 PM »
Yeah, I have beers that I drink right away, and others that need (or that I want) to age.  I'm not sure how old the oldest ones are, I'm doing a good job of pretending they're not there. :)

that last part is the key, pretending they're not there or having the willpower not to drink them even when you know they're available can be a b****. but if you've got the willpower, it can be incredibly rewarding. though I've got a few of my homebrews cellaring, most of my aged collection are commercial beers....... mostly barleywines, RIS, and belgians of a variety of styles. I've got a few that date to the late 80's, but most are significantly younger from babies to 10-12 years old.

when I first started dating my wife, she found my beer closet and had moments of wondering if she'd gotten involved with an alcoholic. I'm trying to build my stash, but it's difficult - space, money, limited willpower. I'll never get to be like my friend Jim Ritchhart, though I'd really like too!! He's got cases of beer, some  going back to the 60's-70's, possibly a few significantly older than that.

luckily, he's willing to share. we've did a vertical tasting of Thomas Hardy going back to the first examples in the mid-60's, 1965 was the first I think. That was truly an amazing afternoon.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Black Ale recipe
« on: October 28, 2010, 09:05:52 PM »
Why do you have to use carafa?  I used 1/4 of black malt in my last IBA.  It was tasty.

Carafa, being debittered, will provide more restrained roastiness, bitterness, etc. It minimizes the flavor contribution that you get by using dark malts. The other approach is to use Sinamar, which is essentially a cold extract of carafa. The idea being to get the black color with minimal dark roastiness.

It's this concept that many people have trouble with regarding these beers..... what's the point if it's just color and not flavor? I don't have an answer to that. Still trying to expolre more commercial examples (and homebrewed as well) to get my head around this 'style'.  The naming thing is another whole issue, but I'm more concerned with flavor/brewing issues. The name will shake out over time.

Zymurgy / Re: Aging beer
« on: October 28, 2010, 07:01:55 PM »
Corks aren't impervious to oxygen either, although the longer the cork's contact surface with the bottle the slower the oxidation, and the wine world will tell you that a cork works by being kept wet to keep the seal (bottles stored on the side). Wax would presumably work well, assuming that you could be sure to get a full seal.

That's an interesting point. As you note, the wine world univerally ages wine on its side to keep the cork wet. This is an area of question with vintage beer. You'll find opinions on both sides, but it seems the majority age their beers upright (I agree with this approach). The cork does dry and degrade but over a long period before it is significant.

I've found that beers that are cellared for many years (10+) often (though not always) go flat. This is true for both corked & capped beers. I've seen examples (primarily meads) at competitions that have both a cork and are capped. There are a number of beers and wines that are waxed. Lots of approaches to dealing with the seal and potential oxidation. Oxidation in cellared beers is not necessarily a bad thing. There are positive & negative flavors that are oxidative in nature. That said, keeping oxygen away from the beer is generally a good thing. One big thing to look for in choosing beers to cellar is to go with yeast conditioned beers, and to avoid filtered or force carbonated beers.

Zymurgy / Re: Aging beer
« on: October 28, 2010, 11:28:18 AM »
I've thought about writing such an article for a long time, but I can't speak to the science side of things. I'm not a scientist, nor do I play one on tv. I wish beer had been a topic of consideration during science classes in high school - I would have paid a lot more attention in class.

On the other hand, I love vintage beer. One of our Hogtown Brewers club members, Jim Ritchhart, is a vintage beer fanatic. His 'cellar' is a large stairwell closet in his home. He is also a belgian beer fanatic and goes to Belgium at least once a year. He looks for and brings back vintage beer regularly. He has the patience to store them and then, being a generous guy, he holds occasional vintage beer tastings that rival anything held anywhere. I've had the privilege to attend a number of these tastings. The changes big beers can undergo over long periods of time can be truly amazing.

Yes, I said 'can be', it's certainly somewhat of a crap shoot. The better the cellaring conditions (more stable, temp swings bad, cellar temps in mid-50's-60's) the more likely you'll be successful. Best to have multiple examples and drink one once in a while. There can be a point where quality/flavor begins to be negatively impacted. Many of us don't have the patience or a good space for this, but it can be amazing.

If anyone's interested, I'd love to talk about this more, but gotta go now. In the meantime, check out this site....

The Pub / Re: Keeping chickens
« on: October 27, 2010, 06:39:03 PM »
That's a great idea, Tom.  There's a CSA down the road from me that does that with both chickens and ducks.

Denny ..... ok so what is a CSA (confederate states of america, chicken s*** amalgamator?)??

Tom - when I lived in Alvadore many years ago (not that far from Denny), I used to do what you're discussing. I built a frame out of 2x4's so it was a bit more solid & heavy. It was 8' square, and about 2' high. covered with chicken wire, and I'd throw a few plywood scraps over the top to provide shade & cover from rain for part of it. Moved it over 8' to new grass every few days. I used it for raising chickens for the bar b que so didn't have to deal with eggs, nests, etc. had a regular coop for that. Worked great, go for it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How do you take your AIPA, sir?
« on: October 27, 2010, 02:23:37 PM »
+1 on the Bell's Two Hearted. It's in my top handful of favorite beers because it's very hop-forward (nothing but Centennial's I believe) but has a strong malt backbone to support it. Love my hops but the best IPA's have a good balance, not just hops. Also not too dry or too sweet. Hard to get just right, but 2hearted does the trick.

Wood/Casks / Re: small casks for mead
« on: October 26, 2010, 03:48:56 PM »
Don't know if you'll be able to find a whisky or wine cask that small..... but you might check with some of the artisanal distillers/vintners, maybe you'll get lucky.

Another option (since you'll want to ferment the mead & give it plenty of time first) might be to get the cask now and fill it with some wine of your choice (it'd be a bit expensive to buy five gallons of a decent whisky) and leave the wine in the cask for a while, then fill it with the mead when ready.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The AHA needs your help!
« on: October 24, 2010, 12:45:33 PM »
Yes, I'd appreciate the contact info for your agent. Thanks!!

Anytime you look at insurance & the reasons/need for it, it tends to take some of the fun out of it. I've had these discussions with Gary and others at the AHA, and while no one is aware of an instance where an alcohol related accident after a club event or meeting has resulted in club or officers being sued, that could change at any time.  As your friend knows, we live in a litigious society and the lawyers go after everyone they can in hopes of tapping into the deep pockets. insurance is a good option if it's affordable and the club has the resources to buy it (our luckily does). so we'd at least like to look into the possibility.

this is the kind of thing where the AHA can really serve the members. an insurance carrier is going to be more willing to offer a reasonable deal to multiple clubs rather than just one.

The Pub / Re: scotch
« on: October 24, 2010, 12:32:51 PM »
Also, once you open it, drink it up. When the cap is off, and you pour it, it will oxidize, just like beer. Don't pour a couple glasses, and then shelf it for a couple more years. down the hatch ,with it!!
I don't think you need to worry about oxidation with whisky.  Some liqueurs have that problem, but most liquors don't.  In the case of that bottle, it's been sitting in a barrel for at least 10 years getting oxidized - how much more will it change in a closed bottle in your cabinet for several more years?  My bet is not that much, if at all - anything that was going to be oxidized probably already is.

but by all means euge, drink it as fast as you like :)

+1,  while there there are some dissenting opinions on this... the consensus seems to be that whisky won't oxidize or lose quality in the bottle. at least as long as it is well sealed. most whisky is corked. if the cork starts to look bad, just replace it with another that fits well.

used to be I'd only have one or two whiskies at a time and I'd drink them up in reasonably short order. over the years, as I've gotten to like whisky more, my bar has grown. I'm a drinker not a collector though, so I don't have any that last more than a few years. I've not seen any noticeable effects from sitting in the bottle.

here is a link to a discussion among whisky bloggers on this question.....

here's a link to a group of "the best whisky blogs" ....

The Pub / Re: Distilling
« on: October 23, 2010, 06:05:03 PM »
and if you're going to distill (should it ever become legal to do at home), you'll have all those equipment costs, opportunity costs, materials costs as well. plus you have to build or buy your still, still more cost (pun intended). and if you want to make whisky, you'll also have the cost of barrels, storage, etc. I'm with Denny, I recognize the costs, but I don't care. This is my hobby, and compared to fishing, golf, flying, etc, it's relatively cheap.

an additional cost with whisky, is the angels share (in addition to the real cost of cooperage & storage space). you lose approx 2% a year in the barrel. I suspect you'd lose more in a small barrel, more surface in contact with the wood relative to total volume. but using the 2% figure, that means you're losing almost 25% of your whisky when aging to a standard 12 years. Totally scary when you contemplate a 21, 25, 30 yr whisky (or older). makes you realize why those whiskies are so expensive.

beer or whisky; you're not going to make a comparable product without significant expense. either it's worth it to you or it's not.

Equipment and Software / Re: Better Bottle Stoppers and Dry Traps
« on: October 22, 2010, 02:43:35 PM »
thanks for the info. I guess I'll just get one or two & give em a try to see what I think. Glad that the price of glass carboys has gone up so much - I'll be able to recoup a big part of the cost of getting some BB by selling some of my old glass.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The AHA needs your help!
« on: October 22, 2010, 01:18:19 PM »
Just wondering if any progress has been made on this?

My club, Hogtown Brewers in Gainesville, FL, is incorporated & tax exempt, but we don't have any insurance for meetings, officers, etc. We also get insurance for a single event each year. We have the beer concession at the Medieval Faire run by the City of Gainesville. We are considering/planning a possible annual beer festival as well.

Does the  Beer Barons policy cover your annual beer event as well as meetings, etc or is that still covered under a separate policy?

I suspect that each policy is probably different (club size, events, other factors?),  but what is the cost of the Beer Barons coverage for meetings & officers?

Equipment and Software / Re: Better Bottle Stoppers and Dry Traps
« on: October 21, 2010, 10:26:01 PM »
Ferment fine.  Age fine, though typically if I am aging in a carboy I will transfer to glass.  Unless I get lazy.

Aging in the BB has been another question for me in contemplating moving to BB. I don't see a problem for beer, but I have concerns about leaving meads in them for more extended bulk aging. Have any of you left beer or mead for extended periods? any oxidation?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I miss TechTalk
« on: October 21, 2010, 03:41:58 PM »
The thing about tech talk was that I had a daily reminder that I was a member of a national organization.  I have time to check email once or twice a day, never minded that reminder, and usually read it.  For all the benefits of the forum, I have to remind myself to go and log in, and then browse to see if there's something of interest. 

From a pure solidarity point of view, I felt like more of a member, and valued my membership a little more with the daily reminders.  Now the only emails I get from the AHA are trying to sell me something or ask me to renew. 

This is a great point. Well stated.

I have been using the Forum; and while I like it, I find it is more of a time sink than TechTalk. I login & check the Unread posts... either reading all or just those I find of interest, depending on how much time I have. I like the Forum, & will continue to use it, but I really look forward to TT2.

The Pub / Re: Distilling
« on: October 21, 2010, 11:17:56 AM »
Punatic, I like where you're coming from (and I don't mean Hawaii, although I like that too).

As to aging, it is both time consuming and expensive. But it's one of the keys to making great whisky. A keg loses about 2% a year, so a 12 yr single malt lost almost 25% of the original volume to aging. This loss is called the Angel's Share (one of the most poetical descriptions, gotta love it!).

Cost is not the issue, as Weaze said.... it's a HOBBY. Cost isn't the issue (well, let's be honest, it is an issue, but we don't let it stop us). It's all about the process, the quality, and the satisfaction we get from making our own..... whether it's beer, whisky, cooking, bbq, woodwork, music, .......whatever our hobbies are.

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