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Messages - markaberrant

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: To our Governing Committee
« on: April 27, 2012, 07:23:22 PM »
Is the problem that one brewer maybe had 70 entries, or that the competition currently allows a max of 7500 entries?

Deciding how to deal with this depends on the long term goals of the AHA and NHC.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 1st round NHC results
« on: April 27, 2012, 04:44:20 PM »
Great summary Cryogen of all the advance work, planning, coordination and post-competition work that goes into running a successful large comp.

The amount of hours put in for this year's Canadian Qualifier was staggering, but we had a ton of people step up and flat out TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS.  It is was a privelege to work with all the volunteers and judges, and I am extremely proud to have been part of it.  And it sure feels good when the out of towners give you compliments and feedback on running an oustanding event, certainly makes you feel like all your effort was worthwhile.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 1st round NHC results
« on: April 27, 2012, 02:43:09 PM »
There are always lots of things that can happen to your beer by the time it gets to the judges, and of course judges can just be off that day, or fatigued, or skewed by a really good or bad sample before yours.  We all know this and accept that competitions and judging are not perfect.

However, as a judge and as an entrant, I particularly like that a whole bunch of pale ales or stouts or pilsners all get judged together.  Good judges can easily pick out the flaws in this format, anything slightly off will stand out, which as a brewer/taster you don't always notice when sampling your beer on its own.  I have personally entered some really good beers that don't win in the Canadian Qualifier - I am sometimes able to taste the medal winning beers against mine after the judging session is over, and it is usually quite obvious that mine is indeed inferior.

This is also why I like doing themed tasting events, usually with a mix of commercial beers and homebrews.  Recently did a large RIS tasting, doing a lambic/flanders red tasting tomorrow night.  It gives you an excellent opportunity to see the variety/creativity within a style, and also brings the flaws to the forefront, and is a great way to sperate the men from the boys so to speak when you taste a whole bunch of "world class examples."

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Boulevard Chocolate Ale 2012 = FAIL
« on: April 27, 2012, 02:21:26 PM »
I tried this on tap in Austin Texas earlier in the year.  It was interesting, but nothing I would need to drink again.

Same goes for their Tripel Julep that I tried in Sioux Falls, SD.  Bourbon barrel aged tripel with mint added.  Crazy sh!t indeed, but that doesn't make it a great beer.

Going Pro / Re: "The Grand Timeline"
« on: April 23, 2012, 06:03:39 PM »
That is why our tap house will be serving pints less than 4, we feel at 4 you cross the line. If costs dictate maybe we will resize the glassware.

20oz imperial pints of craft beer start at about $8 in Canada.  Paying $5 or less for a 16oz pint in the US is a great deal for us when we visit!

Going Pro / Re: "The Grand Timeline"
« on: April 22, 2012, 02:59:42 PM »
I agree though with everyone and their brother opening up a brewery something's gotta give.

Hence why some of us that have been around for awhile are somewhat skeptical, and trying to offer some cautionary advice.  You need to know what you are getting into, not just the work and cost involved in setting up a brewery, but the market you are getting into.  I'm not saying craft beer has "peaked," but the unprecedented growth in new breweries is likely not sustainable/viable, even in the short term.  Instead of one shaky new brewery in a single market that can stumble along for years until finally getting their act together (ie; Anchor, Sierra Nevada, DFH, etc ad nauseum), you might have 6-12 shaky breweries opening in a single year, and there are also some established stable breweries in the area/region that you are in competition with.

I don't want to see it happen, I hope it doesn't happen, and there will indeed be many new successful breweries, but anyone with a basic understanding of economics can look at the craft beer sector and see that many of these new operations likely won't survive the next 5 years.  I am not saying YOUR brewery or YOUR dream of a brewery can't make it, and I give full credit to anyone with guts to give it a try, but as the saying goes, "only the strong survive."

Going Pro / Re: Brewing on a schedule
« on: April 08, 2012, 04:47:29 PM »
Most commercial breweries stick with a select number of strains and recipes*.  They know how the yeast will perform, the right temps, the right cell count, O2, etc.

I have no plans to "go pro" but I do stick with a select number of yeasts/styles/recipes/ingredients, and I manage my fermentation temps.  This allows me to fairly reliably know how a given recipe will ferment, and more importantly, what it will taste like.  Been doing this for the last 3 years or so, and my beers have taken a dramatic leap forward in terms of quality and consistency.

*although this seems to be changing with the drastic increase in seasonals and one-offs, not always for the better.  Many brewers treat these similar to "test batches," and frankly many of them shouldn't be released to the public, but there is a strong market for these products these days, and consumers are more than willing to shell out top dollar for something that may or may not be any good simply because it is rare/limited (aka white whale).  These days, I personally find myself returning to longstanding classics that are more enjoyable and typically cheaper, instead of chasing the latest/greatest hype.  /rant

All Things Food / Re: BBQ Style
« on: March 25, 2012, 11:23:37 PM »
I'm smoking some chuck roasts now to make those sandwiches markaberrant posted a couple of days ago.

I made another batch of this yesterday.

Brined the chuck first in 1L of thick and malty RIS with 2 tbsp salt and 1tbsp brown sugar (my standard brine ratio).

Smoked for 3 hours, then wrapped in foil and finished in the oven.

While this was going on, I sauteed the onions, peppers and garlic, then added the leftover brine, pureed, and reduced it down to a thick sauce.

Pulled the beef, added the sauce, and took it to our homebrew club's potluck dinner.  There wasn't any left to take home! *** I did keep a little at little at home for tonights dinner.  Yum.

Next up is turkey pastrami.  Anyone done it before?  I picked up an awesome deli slicer (Chef's Choice 609) on my recent trip to the US, does a beautiful job on my beef pastrami, need to try something else.

Now I just remembered we have another potluck next Saturday, so I'll probably have to make some more BBQ.  Maybe I'll do pulled pork, the debate will be whether to do my vinegar sauce or mustard sauce.  Sweet tomato sucks!

All Things Food / Re: BBQ Style
« on: March 19, 2012, 07:25:03 PM »
No pics, but last night threw the following on the smoker:

baby potatoes
brussel sprouts
beer brined hot wings (make my own crazy sort of beer hot sauce brine that eventually turns into a sticky finishing sauce)
steelhead trout

It was a fine feast indeed, and only took an hour to cook (30 minutes for the trout).  Just saying that not all BBQ takes hours and hours.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: New Belgium's Dig
« on: March 10, 2012, 02:13:58 PM »
Had some at the brewery a few weeks ago.  Thought it was pretty tasty pale ale.

All Things Food / Re: BBQ Style
« on: March 09, 2012, 09:54:32 PM »
Is this a dial thermometer?  I'm spoiled by my digital remote temperature probe - I can read it from the kitchen while I do other things.

Yes, it is a dial thermometer, so I do have to walk over to my patio door to read it.  My whole setup is very lo-tech, but works well.

All Things Food / Re: BBQ Style
« on: March 09, 2012, 08:36:14 PM »
How do you have the temp probe set up?  Mine sits at the side. :-\

Drilled a small hole in the side of the barrel, then stuck a spare turkey fryer probe (extra long) in there and secured it to the outside with duct tape to keep it level on the inside.

All Things Food / Re: BBQ Style
« on: March 09, 2012, 08:32:19 PM »
I understand your teqnique.

My point is that it requires more energy to get the internal meat temp to the desired level when you start with cold meat than meat at R.T. which ultimately leads to more wood/charcoal usage and more time. Basically a longer smoke and some additional energy. Not that it's a concern for you but it is a concern for others.  :)

Ok, I see what you were trying to say now.

I am still thinking that 30 minutes on the smoker at 225F as compared to 30 minutes on the kitchen counter is going to be far more effecient and well worth the additional energy.  It was also suggested to submerge a sealed brisket in warm water, I suppose this method may lie somewhere in between, but still don't really see how this is any more effective than just putting the meat on the smoker.

Unless you are using a massive smoker with massive quantities of meat, or you are just using a really ineffecient smoker, I hardly see how putting the meat on cold is going to result in much of an increase in fuel.

All Things Food / Re: BBQ Style
« on: March 09, 2012, 06:50:02 PM »
There's not necessarily a "problem" with it, however adding 5 or 10 lbs of cold meat will cause a significant  loss of thermal mass. This equates to more time and charcoal for all of the wood/charcoal users out there. It doesn't take any effort to allow the meat to come to R.T. unless you don't have the time to do it.

Ok, but just opening the smoker is going to cause a big drop in temp.

My meat goes on cold in my UDS, the internal temp probe, which sits about 1/16" below the grill dead center, comes back up to temp within 5 minutes.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Entries closed....
« on: March 08, 2012, 05:49:21 PM »
I know there's been talk of running this thing in three tiers before and I believe expense/staff time have been the two biggest killers of it so far.

I can just see poor Janis face if you tell she now has to find at least 10 more sites of reliable judges. :)

Asolutely, it is the biggest "con" to increasing the number of sites/going to a 3 round comp.  Like I say, would need to crunch the numbers, see what the increased admin costs and effort would be, what the increased revenue would be, and see if it makes sense to hire more people.  I personally don't think there is anyway this thing can continue to grow at the rate it has been with just one paid staff person managing the whole thing.  That isn't to say Janis isn't doing an outstanding job, I get to work directly with her and it is fabulous, but one person can only do so much.

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