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Topics - morticaixavier

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The Pub / A cool hack
« on: February 07, 2014, 05:40:51 PM »
So I was reading on the internet about ways to boost your fuel efficiency and I found one that seemed super cheap and easy so I am giving it a try.

I just attach 20 cents to the transmission of my car and, I guess the improved balance is somehow supposed to increase fuel efficiency. Well I don't know if that's actually going to happen but on the up side now anytime I want I can shift my pair o'dimes!

(I'm really sorry about that, I tried to resist and just couldn't) :o

The Pub / Perfect for the 'pub'
« on: January 30, 2014, 10:48:24 PM »
I was back east for a while over the holidays and I got to stop in at the decendant of my old home away from home and the place where I learned what good beer was.

The Three Needs is not a brewery anymore, just a decent tap room with great ambiance, but I did find evidence that a) I really did spend as much time as I remember there, b) I really was that young once, and c) we all seemed pretty happy there

middle picture on the right (the less effed up looking fellow) is yours truly. If you look close at the picture on the left you'll see Glenn Walter, one candidate for the creator of the Black IPA and owner of the joint and in the picture on the right is JT, the brewer at the time. I think about that time a lot. I would be waiting at the door come 4:00 PM most days and they would have to unlock to let me out many a night.

I don't think I could keep that pace up today. At least not without some serious training first.

Let's here about your third places. Do/did you have a hangout, a living room away from home? a beer alma mater?

The Pub / RIP Pete Seeger
« on: January 28, 2014, 04:14:06 PM »

This guy has been a big part of the soundtrack of my life and my son's I'm glad we will continue to have so much of his music and that he was around so long to make so much but it's still sad to think that he won't be making any more.

Equipment and Software / I've got an idea for an experiment
« on: January 23, 2014, 04:00:39 PM »
but not the right equipment.

When I was brewing on the 15 bbl system at Thirsty Bear the brewer mentioned that he whirlpools throughout the entire boil because one of the steam jackets on the kettle is less than optimal and it takes a really long time to get to a boil otherwise. but with a whirlpool going the artificial convection speeds things up.

Now on my system the 'whirlpool' is manual meaning I use a silicon spatula to get the mass of wort spinning and then let it settle. I could stir the whole time it's coming up to a boil but I'm just a leeeetle too lazy for that to sound like fun. I know some of you folks have fancy dancy systems with tangential inlets and pumps and... etc.

well I think it would be cool (or perhaps hot?) if you were to start recording time from flame on to boil and see if you can actually achieve faster boils with the whirlpool going the entire time. if so it seems like it should save some propane!

any takers? I'll accept and organize the data!

Beer Recipes / Marzen
« on: January 22, 2014, 09:43:26 PM »
Let's discuss this style.

I'm gonna brew one weekend after next. The yeast is a foregone conclusion at least for this first one because I just got a big pitch from the local brewery of their proprietary lager strain.

In looking around it seems like the commonalities in recipes here on the wiki and elsewhere is a solid portion of Vienna or munich malt, cut with some pilsner. I see a fair amount of dextrin, or aromatic, or similar high color or crystal malts.

I tend to veer sharply away from crystal malts unless someone can convince me I need them. I'm probably not going to do a decoction either but I might be talked into it.

What about hops? it seems like it's a pretty malt forward style and the hops are really just playing backup so does it matter a lot beyond using something noble?

Let's hear you thoughts.

also, I use RO water and build it from there. I'm guessing Martins 'malty brown' or 'malty amber' profile is going to be the way to go but again, I'm open to discussion.

General Homebrew Discussion / Brewing with a Thirsty Bear
« on: January 21, 2014, 10:24:11 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, 09:53:26 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 13, 2014, 02:24:56 AM »
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, 05:53:25 PM »
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, 07:26:30 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, 07:40:30 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, 10:30:43 PM »

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

General Homebrew Discussion / A minor conundrum
« on: December 09, 2013, 06:14:33 PM »
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?

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