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Topics - morticaixavier

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General Homebrew Discussion / Brewing with a Thirsty Bear
« on: January 21, 2014, 03:24:11 PM »
Here are some pics from my brew day yesterday at Thirsty Bear brewery in San Francisco.

The day went well. no major mishaps apart from a few grazed knuckles while stirring the mash.

The 8 barrels that will contain the brew in a couple weeks are on the right. the two fermenters in back are 30 bbl for the flagship brews, the two on the left are two of the 4 15 bbl fermenters.

This is the fermenter that now contains the base beer for bugs and cherries.

Me and Talula, the events coordinator at 7 Bridges in front of the barrels.

A very artsy shot of us exploring the bright tanks

Rice hulls and acid malt (I know, I always question acid malt, but it's what they use instead of 88% lactic so I'm fine with that)

I think I'm having fun

A shot of the whole fermentation area from atop the brewhouse platform

this is either the beginning of the sparge or the beginning of mashing in.

Mashing in

right about here is where the skinned knuckles happened

There go the rice hulls

Talula feeding the mill

mashing in again, this time you can see that when you are atop the brewhouse platform you are in the middle of the dining room.


Sight glass on the recirc

Brewmaster Brenden making sure the pump doesn't get away. (and rinsing the fermenter after it's acid wash)

Making sure it's clean (Are you looking at my bum? cheeky bum lookers)

just hangin out

Grain out

Hops in

Clearing the gunky yeast before transferring from a finished brew directly to the clean fermenter. We actually just pressurized the fermenter beside the new one and pushed yeast from the dump valve into the dump valve of the new fermenter.

Post brew tasting. The labelless anchor bottle in the background was mine. when we tasted it the owner suggested Brendan grab a bottle of their cherry sour to compare. they were surprisingly similar. Theirs had tart cherries instead of sweet and you could taste the difference. Theirs was also aged in the barrels and mine was not oaked. I could taste that as well. Just a note of vanilla that wasn't there in mine.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Bigfoot verticle
« on: January 21, 2014, 02:53:26 PM »
Well here goes.

I don't have my notes right now or time to transpose them but I'll post the pics so everyone can see.






There should be a picture here but it turns out my last bottle of 2010 evaporated at some point in the last year  :-[

2011 and 2012
There should be a picture here but it turns out after even just 1/3 of 6 bottles of bigfoot I get forgetful. I got notes on everything up to and including 2011 and we pooped out after 2012 so I'm going to continue 2012-2014 on another night.

Overall impression:
They were all good. the 2005 was the best of the pre-2008 vintages with the most malt complexity. The 2008 was amazing with a strong herbal hop character that was almost totally absent from the rest. This was also the year they went to pry off o2 barrier caps and you can really see the difference just in head retention and the hop character retention difference between the 2007 and the 2008 was marked. the 2009 was much less spectacular than the 2008 but still good. the hop character slowly faded back in from there until the 2012 had just barely started to lose it's edge.

Commercial Beer Reviews / 2014 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
« on: January 12, 2014, 07:24:56 PM »
well what did I see at the store today? a big ol' stack of 2014 expedition. woo hoo!

Later this month I will be posting the full 10 year vertical notes (Thanks to Jeff and Susan Rankert and Sarah and Eric Gangebin) but for now we'll just discuss the 2014 by itself.

First impression is that it is not nearly so bitter as the 2013 was new. There is still plenty of bitterness there to balance a big malty beer but it is considerably subdued compared to the 2013. I do not recall clearly enough the 2012 when it was new to make a comparison. It will be interesting to see how this beer ages next to the other 4 years I will have left after my birthday and the other years in the future.

On second tasting I would say that it's not the bitterness so much that is subdued but the harsh/grassy/astringent bitter notes that I usually get from this beer when it is young.

overall a tasty sipper just days after it's birthday. yum

Events / Non-standard 12 oz bottles and NHC
« on: January 12, 2014, 10:53:25 AM »
I'm sure this has been asked before but I'm lazy soooo....

I have a lot of anchor bottles in my collection. Not so much because I drink a ton of Anchor but because I like the way they look.

However I wonder if that would disqualify an entry for a contest, particularly the NHC.


I'm guessing the answer is no but it can't hurt to ask.

Scheduling my Pro-Am pre day with Thirsty Bear in SF and my recipe calls for ~1 lb per gallon of organic cherries.

I brewed the original batch in the spring and added cherries in early summer.

Questions about the forum? / new forum look
« on: December 17, 2013, 12:26:30 PM »
I miss my 'Top' and 'Bottom' buttons  :'(

also, getting some odd timeout messages and having to resign in on occasion. probably growing pains but I figured I would report them

General Homebrew Discussion / US Unincorporated territories and homebrewing
« on: December 13, 2013, 12:40:30 PM »
I was looking around at the state by state law listing on the AHA main site and I realized there is no info for the unincorporated territories. Does anyone know what the state of Homebrew laws are there?

General Homebrew Discussion / Training up the new Assistant brewer
« on: December 09, 2013, 03:30:43 PM »

He's already learned the importance of smashing the dough balls

General Homebrew Discussion / A minor conundrum
« on: December 09, 2013, 11:14:33 AM »
I have two 1 gallon jugs at home each with ~2 quarts of beer in them on the yeast cake. I think they are pretty much done as they have both dropped clear.

I would guess that each contains ~1.5 quarts of clear beer with .5 quarts of trub/yeast cake.

Normally I transfer from Primary to a keg (or bottling bucket, secondary, barrel, whatever) by filling my syphon hose with star san and draining that into a separate container to start the syphon. This time around I don't really want to deal with the losses inherent in filling the syphon, transferring to the bottling bucket and then into the bottles so I'm trying to work out the best way to get as much of the beer out of there as possible. If I can get two 22floz bottles out of each that would be great.

So far the best I've come up with is just to use a really short tube/racking cane combo (maybe cut the end of a plastic racking cane so it's only 12 inches long? and straight to the bottling want maybe?

Hmm, this might necessitate a trip to the LHBS.

Am I right in thinking that as long as the interior volume of tubeing/bottling want below the elbow of the racking cane is greater than the volume of the cane + a little I should still be able to start a syphon by filling that portion with star san right?

Am I way over thinking this?

Going Pro / CSB (Community Supported Breweries)
« on: December 06, 2013, 08:54:43 AM »
So what are everyone's thoughts on this model? CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) seems to be going strong after a decade or two run up. Farmers running CSA's make a heck of a lot closer to a living wage than those working for the wholesale market. They face a lot less risk each year as well already having much of their income pledged or even delivered regardless of actual yield.

Of course a lot of breweries can retail their product easily anyway but they still face the risk of opening the doors to the crickets and sitting on barrels of good beer as it goes bad (although from comments on another thread that may not be a problem right now). Also, many of the CSBs I have seen so far offer a set volume of product for your membership so the brewer does not gain the protection against major product losses that the farmer gets either.

So for the small start up brewer does the CSB model provide any of the benefits that the CSA model does for a small farm? If you could pre-sell memberships could this not provide a big boost over the first major barrier to entry into the business? Namely the cost of facilities/equipment.

I can also see how potential investors, seeing a pre-sold customer base might be more willing to risk their money with a new brewery.

But what about as beer drinkers/lovers. Would you pay up front for a years worth of beer? I imagine a lot of folks would at first at least to support a new brewery, a local brewery, a friend/relative, whatever. But, assuming the beer was good enough, would you re-up at the end of the initial term?

What considerations might make you more or less likely to re-up?

It's an interesting business model especially in this age of the 'local' and 'slow' food movements.

Ingredients / Gypsum post fermentation
« on: December 03, 2013, 01:22:19 PM »
Anyone want to help me with some math?

If I want to experiment with post fermentation gypsum additions and I only have a scale that reads 1 gram or more (no decimals) I will need to dilute a much larger amount of gypsum with something else so that I can realistically measure a given amount into my pint glass (or 1 pint mason jar, or whatever).

So I will boil and chill say 100 ml of filtered or RO water (RO probably better) and add ?? grams of gypsum. I will then add ?? ml of the resulting liquid to my 2 fluid oz of beer and taste. When I achieve the desired flavor profile I will multiply the ?? grams of gypsum represented by the ?? ml of solution by 320 to get the amount to add to the keg.

gypsum5 gallons = 320 * ((gypsum100 ml/100ml)*solution2 floz)

X = 320 * ((Y/100)*Z)
Where X is the total amount of gypsum for 5 gallons of beer, Y is the grams of gypsum added to the 100 ml of water, and Z is the ml of solution added to the sample 2 floz to achieve the flavor profile I want.

Is this right?

what would be a good place to start in terms of how many grams to dissolve in the initial 100 ml of water?

Kegging and Bottling / Keg hops - Pellets
« on: December 02, 2013, 01:38:20 PM »
Oh great and Powerful AHA(z)

If I put a couple oz of hop pellets in a fine mesh bag in my keg am I going to regret it when it comes time to serve the beer?

i.e. will there be little bits of hop gunk floating around in the beer and possibly clogging up the dip tube? I am hoping not, other wise I have to lay hands on some whole leaf hops toot sweet.

Equipment and Software / Monster mill - Issues
« on: November 25, 2013, 11:40:15 AM »
I have a Monster Mill 2 roller adjustable model and I have been having issues with the free roller stopping. It seems like the adjuster knobs are slipping but I can't figure out why exactly. I tighten the thumb screws and check the knobs for any movement and get none. I check the roller to make sure it's spinning freely and then put a couple lb of grain in and go. It gets through a couple cups and the free roller stops. I empty the grain and free the roller and start again. pretty frustrating.

It does seem like if I open the gap way up it works better but then I have to mill twice and there is no guarantee that it will behave any better the second time through. It seems like one side of the adjustable roller starts to move and once the two sides are far enough apart it stops rolling.

Any ideas? hints? I had the whole thing apart this weekend and cleaned everything well, does anyone oil the bushings? with what?

Yeast and Fermentation / How cold can brett go?
« on: November 16, 2013, 10:14:52 AM »
I've been playing around with the idea of fermenting either an all brett or mixed ferment at very cold temps. sort of a farmhouse lager. anybody tried something like this? intentionally or non?

My plan is to spit three gallons into 1 gallon fermenters and pitch straight brett into each and keep them at varying temps.

Right now that would mean room temp 60-70ish, what ever temp I set my ferm fridge at, maybe 50, and the serving fridge which is standard fridge temp so 38ish

Ingredients / malting
« on: November 13, 2013, 01:31:18 PM »
So last weekend I started malting some barley. I had a 5 lb bag of barley that I got for planting in the garden for next year and since I only needed about a lb of that for planting I decided to play around with the rest. This is not really a malting variety but it is what was available and should work for proof of concept.

On Saturday morning I put 500 grams of barley seed in a .5 gallon mason jar with a sprout screen lid and, after rinsing a few times I filled it up with water and let it soak over night, then I drained, rinsed and let sit for about 8 hours, filled it back up and soaked it for another 6 or so hours.

Upon draining again for a final rinse and soak I noticed the grains were already beginning to chit. there were little white bumps pushing out of one end of the grain.

So instead of refilling I laid the jar on it's side and started turning it every hour or so. The chits began to grow and branch out pretty quick and by last night they were about 1.5 - 2 times the length of the grain.

I took about 10 grains from a couple places in the mass and cut them in half and the acrospires was at least .75 times the length of the grain. everything I have read says that's when it's fully modified and the endosperm smooshed readily between my fingers so...

Into the dehydrator it went on the lowest setting spread between two trays. This morning it was getting nicely dried. The Chits were more or less completely dry and withered. I turned it up to 135*f let it ride a while longer. When I checked it before leaving for work it was 90% of the way there I would say. the grains were still a little soft so I left it to go a while longer.

They taste slightly sweet and... well... malty. so I'm pretty excited. It's only one lb but I figure I can make a test of it. mash it and see what kind of yield I see.

just thought I'd share.

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