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Messages - tumarkin

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer in the Bible
« on: October 18, 2010, 12:29:34 PM »
My favorite quote out of the Bible is:

"But Beer was lonely. So God created Pretzels. And it was good."

Guinessess 5:20

couldn't find that in mine, what version do you have, the Saint Gambrinus version?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: fermentation woes - chlorine?
« on: October 18, 2010, 12:15:06 PM »
as you're aware, making a starter is certainly advisable, but not absolutely necessary. you obviously got fermentation, but not enough to lower to target fg. take home lesson.... make starters in the future. on the dry yeast, as mentioned there have been a couple of recalls recently. certainly possible you got a bad sachet, thus no surprise on it not helping.

you mention using  Zephyr Hills water..... are you using their spring water or their distilled? There are a number of things that can limit fermentations. minerals are certainly one, and if you're using distilled (probably not, but....) then that could be an issue. certainly more of an issue with an extract batch than with all grain.

your higher temps would lead to a faster, more complete fermentation, but also one with potential off flavors - but that's not the source of this particular problem. for the future, it is possible to get cooler ferm temps without a dedicated brewing fridge. put the fermenter in a large tub of water. fill two gallon jugs about 3/4 full and put in your freezer. put one in the tub in the morning when you go to work, swap it out for the other when you get home in the evening. low tech but effective temp control. given your ambient temps, you may not get as low as you like, but should help considerably.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Midnight Sun Brewing!
« on: October 17, 2010, 01:15:09 PM »
hmmmm...... if they're available in Virginia, they might be available in Atlanta. Whenever I get up that way, Green's is always one of my stops. They're a great liquor store with an extensive selection of both beers and single malts (other stuff too, but that's what floats my boat). Certainly, they've got a lot of things that aren't available down here in Gainesville, FL. I'll have to see if they've got anything from Midnight Sun next time I'm there.

The Pub / Re: Distilling
« on: October 17, 2010, 01:10:52 PM »
I hope that the laws change here because we should have the right to make what we want as long as it does not hurt anyone else.

After all, it is only taking beer to the next level...right?  ;D

If this were in the bible thread, I'd say "Amen, brother!"

as to taking beer to the next level, I've been known to refer to distilled product as 'Beer that got too close to the fire.'

That comes from a little fantasy scenario that came from the deep recesses of my twisted brain after I'd read about very early distillation in Scotland. I'm not saying it happened this way.... but it could'a in a mythopoetic sorta way, maybe??

The early Pictish peoples in Scotland built arched stone houses, shaped somewhat like a bee hive. They were accomplished brewers (see stories of early heather beers). So give me a bit of suspended disbelief for a moment, and imagine a group of those early Picts somewhat in their cups from a night of drinking round the fire. They drank their ale from shallow bowls. Imagine that one of them set down his bowl 'too close to the fire.' Close enough that, given a bit of time, it started to steam. That steam rose up, hit the colder stone ceiling, condensed and dripped in a runnel down the wall. Now imagine that one of those happily inebriated fellows noticed that dripping, running stream.

Hell, this is my dream; so let's imagine that it was the brewer of that heather ale. He notices the dripping stream, and curiosity causes him to reach out his finger and touch the dripping liquid. It's only human nature to then stick that wet finger into his mouth. Wow!!!! Can you imagine his reaction? He's the brewer, so he's obviously one of the brighter guys in the clan and he puts an empty bowl beneath the runnel to catch the drips. He collects a bit more in the bowl and passes it around the circle. Wahooo!! it's party time, with maybe some significant, shamanistic back story that develops over time.

Well, it could have happened that way....... as I said, it's my mythopoetic fantasy so enjoy it, or ignore it.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Midnight Sun Brewing!
« on: October 17, 2010, 09:05:51 AM »
The house beer at Humpy's in Anchorage is one that I drank in large amounts.  Turned out it was made by Midnight Sun.
Midnight Sun Humpy’s Sockeye Red.  The limited amount of their other beer that I had was very good.

You got a special treat there in Florida!

Definitely a treat. Jim's tastings are not to be missed.
From the Midnight Sun website, it looks like the Sockeye Red is one of their regular beers. Maybe someday I'll get the chance to try it.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Midnight Sun Brewing!
« on: October 17, 2010, 06:23:08 AM »
Midnight Sun Brewing!

Friday night I had the opportunity to attend a tasting of Midnight Sun beers. One of our club members, Jim Ritchhart, had been in Alaska and came back with a wide selection of their beers, mostly from their specialty & one-off series. The selection we had was strongly slanted towards their Belgian style brews; not a surprise if you know Jim.

Unfortunately, I left my notes at Jim's, so I'll probably miss some, but we tried Monk's Mistress, and the earlier version of it called La Maitresse du Moine, Panty Peeler Triple, Artic Devil Barleywine, TREAT (Imp punkin porter), Jupiter, Descent, Anchor (Brett wit), Pride (Brett Pale Ale), Because, and maybe one or two others.

I was very impressed. Consistently clean & well brewed (except where they wanted some wild funk), creative & experimental. Also had some standout art on their labels, as well as some entertaining creative writing in their descriptions. There was a discussion of label design in another thread. Midnight Sun has some very unique & attractive labels.... and their beer delivers on any promises made by those labels.

Anyway, try 'em if you can. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more of their fine beers. Probably won't show up often here in Florida, but you never know.

The Pub / Re: Distilling
« on: October 16, 2010, 08:31:02 PM »
Why not do a big mash and ferment with wyeast 4347 Eau de Vie.  Its got an reported alcohol tolerance of 21% ABV.  You might want to start with a regular beer yeast first to get some esters and yeast character in there.  Maybe 2row with a good dose of peated malt.

At the end of all that, freeze concentrate it like a Eisenbock.  Absolutely no distilling necessary and its nice and legal.  ;)

If you can get a 5 gallon batch to 15% with the 4347 and freeze out 1/3 of the water, you are up to 25%ABV, half the water and you are upto 30%ABV.

Freeze concentration is essentially considered distilling from a BATF legal perspective. They consider that a no no.

But in regards to Eau de Vie........The other night, I had a chance to taste Armand' Spirit, an Eau de Vie made from Olde Geuze by 3 Fonteinen. Check out the following link

Apparently a warehouse thermostat failure caused a warehouse of gueze to way overheat. They decided they wouldn't put it out on the market & came up with the creative idea of fermenting it.

On the subject of methanol & going blind..... mostly a myth. Very little reality there. Most incidences were in regards to illegal bootleggers adding cheap s*** to moonshine, making it with lead from old car radiator copper, etc. You're not going to get any or much methanol in a reasonably managed home distillation.

The reality is that the methanol volatilizes first. Then the alcohol is next. You discard the feints from the first and last runnings, and keep the middle of the run. Heads, Hearts, Tails. The skill is in knowing when to start saving the hearts, and when to start discarding the tails. Actually, they generally don't discard it but rather throw it into the next distillation batch to be cleaned up. You don't want any of the cogeners in a vodka, just neutral spirits. But in a whisky, you do want just the right amount as that's where the flavor comes in. Too much and you get headaches, just right and you taste heaven. Apparently the distinction is made by watching the temperature changes, and also by sniffing/tasting as you go. Nothing we couldn't learn if it was legal and we could play with the process.

Fuel distillation's another deal, you want to get as close to 100% alcohol as possible. I'm more interested in pot still distillation. Don't know that I could ever achieve the nectar they produce in Scotland, but I'd sure like to try.

The Pub / Re: Distilling
« on: October 16, 2010, 11:29:20 AM »
thanks, Denny,
I (we?) appreciate that it isn't being shut down. It would be a damn shame if it were. If we talk about it we may find that there is significant interest in distillation, and efforts to make it legal. That would be an uphill fight in this country. And a lot of that has to do with taxation issues - the first tax ever in this country was on whisky.

A quick google search shows that there are efforts to legalize home distillation. A MI congressman introduced a bill in 2001 to legalize home distillation. It was recently legalized in New Zealand, may be soon in Hungary. It'll be a while before that happens here, and it won't happen if we don't talk about it.

This is an issue of importance to our pro brewing brethren as well. I don't think anyone would argue that the craft brewing industry has benefited immensely by brewers who got their start & training as homebrewers. There is a large & growing movement of craft distillation (Anchor, Dogfish Head, Rogue, Ballast Point, and more all the time). If a brewery wants to venture into distillation, how does the brewer get the experience or training to do so before trying it as a business? You can go to Herriott Watt & and their brewing AND distillation program in Scotland. There are probably similar programs here, but you can't legally experiment at home. If you try, you risk having your home taken away.

As I said, it would be an uphill battle to legalize home distillation, but it certainly won't happen if we don't talk about it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer in the Bible
« on: October 16, 2010, 09:45:30 AM »
Well it was more of an acknowledgement that we had strayed from the path... ;)

straying from the path...... and on a biblical thread. am I reading too much into that? yep, I think so  :D

The Pub / Re: Distilling
« on: October 16, 2010, 09:15:17 AM »
Guys, distilling is not what this forum is about.  I'd appreciate it if this topic is dropped.

Denny, how is talking about distilling (not actually practicing it, of course) further from "what this forum is about" than talking about bbq, cooking, cheese making, etc?

Perhaps if we talk about it, we might realize there is a significant and/or growing number of homebrewers who'd like to see the laws against home distillation changed. It's not that far off from legalization of making beer or wine. It might be something we want to look at regarding our lobbying & legalization efforts.

The Pub / Re: Distilling
« on: October 16, 2010, 05:58:29 AM »
Maybe half a gallon of rotgut.

Absolutely don't agree. First of all, you'd likely get about a gallon, and it could be quite good. Distillation technology is very old and pot stills are very simple. Home distillation of potables is illegal but with a little learning & care, you can produce quite enjoyable drink that won't make you go blind.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer in the Bible
« on: October 15, 2010, 12:16:53 PM »
So, if you were to 'cast your bread upon the waters' with the intent of making beer...... how would you go about it? Recipe? Techniques? Yeast or Spontaneous?

All Things Food / Re: Sourdough Time!
« on: October 15, 2010, 11:03:03 AM »
Good luck!

I have something similar in my fridge. I need to wake it.  :o

damn, I must be growing up (or at least older). I can remember a time when I opened my fridge carefully in fear of waking some of the life forms in there.  :D

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Delerium Tremens
« on: October 15, 2010, 05:42:40 AM »
Delirium doesn't age well, it forms some nasty looking globules if held. Kwak does the same thing...try to drink soon after you buy. The taste doesn't change so much as the appearance will...

Don't know that I agree with this. I've had vintage examples of both Delirium Tremens & Delirium Nocturnum. It's been awhile, but I don't recall any globules or floaties in either. I do remember that the Nocturnum, especially, benefited greatly from the aging. I developed a lot more complexity due to the aging/oxidative processes. Loved it!!

All Things Food / Re: Leave Room For Dessert.
« on: October 13, 2010, 04:07:20 AM »
I'm not much of a baker, but I do make a habanero pumpkin pie... usually for Thanksgiving. Almost ashamed to say it, but it starts with Libby's canned pumpkin & a frozen pie shell. However, I spice it to my taste, not the recipe on the can, and I add some finely diced habanero. The amount varies depending on whether it's for my consumption or for the TurkeyDay table.

You'd be surprised at how well this combination works. Keep it restrained and even non-pepper lovers go crazy for it. The fruity habs mix with the pumpkin flavor in a really nice earthy way. Discard the seeds & the inner membrane, use just the walls of the pepper. You'll still get plenty of heat, but more of the distinctive hab flavor (this is generally true with any hot peppers). Most folks go for the heat, but I like the pepper flavors. You can always get as much heat as desired by using another pepper.

My wife's the baker. She recently made an incredible tiramisu for my birthday. She bakes the biscuit herself, rather than using lady fingers. She uses both turkish & regular dried apricots, killer chocolate, and Zaya (my favorite rum). I'll see if I can dig up a good picture from the birthday dinner.

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