Author Topic: Greetings from the Bold North  (Read 1510 times)

Offline BBShop10r

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Greetings from the Bold North
« on: February 01, 2018, 12:48:43 pm »
Hey beer lovers!  I'm Jeff from the Minneapolis, MN area.  I've been a foodie and craft beer lover for many years -- I'd rather have 1 good beer than 10 tasteless macrobrews.  I was a Chemistry major in college, but ended up in the IT industry for the past 30+ years.  A good friend is a BJCP judge and homebrewer and he has been on me to give it a go for years.  I finally succumbed to his persuasiveness about a year ago.

I decided to stick to extract brews for my initial batches, to make sure I enjoyed it before I made big investments in gear.  I'm glad I made that choice as I've learned a lot about the basic processes and my brew/bottle days have been steadily getting shorter and less chaotic.  I've brewed 5 LME/Steeped Grain kits from Midwest Supplies so far and I've been very pleased with the results.  I did have to recover from a poor fermentation, but with some research, I was still able to get a good product, which felt good and helped me gain perspective.

I don't really have a favorite style to brew, but my tastes run more to the malty side of the scale.  I do like variety, so I tend to vary my drinking by season and mood.  My first batch was a simple Brown Ale, as a relatively easy and forgiving brew.  I brew intermittently and during warmer weather (see below and MN climatology).   I try to make my brew days a social occasion, inviting friends (either brewers or not) over to kibbitz, drink a beer or two...and of course add some extra hands to the process. 

Brew System: My first batch was done with a basic kit from Midwest Supplies.  Having learned from cooking and DIY projects that good tools really do make a difference, I quickly invested in a 10Gal MegaPot 1.2 and I'm really glad I did.  I brew on my driveway (wife doesn't want the malt smell in the house) using a turkey fryer burner I got for free.  I built myself a counterflow chiller using plans from the Internet, after borrowing one from my friend and Beer Sensei.  I've added plastic Big Mouth Bubblers for primary and secondary fermenters and I love those too (can you say easy cleaning?).  I bottle in bombers to cut the number of bottles in half.  Kegging is in my future when I redo my lower level and build in the bar with 2-4 taps.

Future plans: I'm planning to start all-grain brewing this summer, so I can have more control.  Thinking about trying BIAB.  At some point, I want to build a shed by my garage and include space for a permanent, heated, vented brewing space, so I can keep brewing year round up here in the frozen north.

I look forward to all the great info on the AHA site and in the forums.  I appreciate all of your willingness to help and look forward to participating more as I build my skills.  Cheers!

Minneapolis, MN

(Note: Still building my skills and procedures with Steeped Grain LME kits, before venturing out and testing my Chemistry Major skills...)
Recent batches: Irish Red Ale, Dark Wheat Ale, Brown Ale
On tap: Citral Pale Ale
In the works: none
On the drawing board: Chocolate Stout, First All-Grain Batch

Offline denny

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Re: Greetings from the Bold North
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 01:41:51 pm »
Hi Jeff!  Welcome to the hobby and the forum!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline jpeets

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Re: Greetings from the Bold North
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2018, 02:28:23 pm »
Welcome Jeff

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Greetings from the Bold North
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 03:24:32 pm »

Offline Robert

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Re: Greetings from the Bold North
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2018, 03:30:26 pm »
Welcome, happy brewing, and good luck with the shed and bar!  (An old friend of mine from Edina used to say your seasons are -20° winter, 110° summer, and spring and fall last 6 hours each.  Better put A.C. in the shed too!)
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Greetings from the Bold North
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2018, 09:14:31 pm »
Welcome, from a fellow MN brewer.  My coldest brewday ever was 4 years ago, I think.  It was -32 actual temp, with a windchill of -51.  School was cancelled statewide, so I brewed a Helles out in the garage and called it "Helles Frozen Over".  Had to put the propane tank in a large tub of warm water to keep the gas flowing, and the beer turned out great.  Cheers!