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Old 10-21-2013, 07:03 PM   #5051
RunDownHouse.
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Yes, I've been pro for going on eight years now. It's kind of tough to say what upgrades should come in what order, since you start getting into cost/benefit analysis for what is, at heart, a deeply subjective subject. I'd say a combo of proper pitching rate and oxygenation is the easiest way to go from, "Yeah, I could drink this homebrew," to, "This is fantastic." That's assuming you're already making good homebrew consistently, which means you're at a full boil, most likely all-grain, can control fermentations precisely, etc. You absolutely must pitch the correct amount of yeast and then give that yeast the right amount of O2 to make a great beer. After that, water chemistry control can really tweak the beer and bring out nuances, making your beer truly you and unique.

Ingredients/recipe is maybe the most overrated factor for homebrewers.

EDIT: As for the "easiest" part of your question, a stir plate and O2 setup can be had for under $100 altogether and will get you 90% of the way there, hard to beat that.
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:47 AM   #5052
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Great advice RDH. I've been paying a lot more attention to pitching the right amount of yeast in recent years, controlling fermentation temps, but I still need to get an oxygen tank.

Taking a trip down to Colorado Springs tomorrow for a mini brewery tour. Got 7 brewery coupons (most free pints) that expire at the end of the year, so it's go time! Will report back tomorrow or the next day.
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:14 AM   #5053
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

thanks, nice advice
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:24 AM   #5054
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Wait....there's such a thing as pint coupons?!?!?

Do you cut them out of the Penny Saver???

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Old 10-22-2013, 09:34 AM   #5055
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

For $15 there's this Colorado coupon book thing with something like 30-40 coupons. Many free $5 beers, some free sampler trays, a few different things (Odell is a free glass growler if you buy a fill). I've probably used ~8 breweries near me, so I've already got my money's worth, this is just a nice excuse to visit Colo. Springs (there are like 10 coupons to Colo Springs in the 2012 booklet coupons are 2 year expiration).

I don't plan to use nearly all of them, I want to visit a few that I don't have coupons to as well.

I peaked at the 2013 one I bought recently (expires Jan 2015), and there are liquor stores from Colo Springs in that one too. Pretty bizarre, there were no coupons allowed for alcohol stuff back in Chicago, I doubt most places allow it.
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:39 AM   #5056
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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I peaked at the 2013 one I bought recently (expires Jan 2015), and there are liquor stores from Colo Springs in that one too. Pretty bizarre, there were no coupons allowed for alcohol stuff back in Chicago, I doubt most places allow it.
You crazy Colorado people with your wacky laws....jelly
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:40 AM   #5057
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Quote:
Originally Posted by RunDownHouse. View Post
Yes, I've been pro for going on eight years now. It's kind of tough to say what upgrades should come in what order, since you start getting into cost/benefit analysis for what is, at heart, a deeply subjective subject. I'd say a combo of proper pitching rate and oxygenation is the easiest way to go from, "Yeah, I could drink this homebrew," to, "This is fantastic." That's assuming you're already making good homebrew consistently, which means you're at a full boil, most likely all-grain, can control fermentations precisely, etc. You absolutely must pitch the correct amount of yeast and then give that yeast the right amount of O2 to make a great beer. After that, water chemistry control can really tweak the beer and bring out nuances, making your beer truly you and unique.

Ingredients/recipe is maybe the most overrated factor for homebrewers.

EDIT: As for the "easiest" part of your question, a stir plate and O2 setup can be had for under $100 altogether and will get you 90% of the way there, hard to beat that.

This is great advice. If I had to do it all over again I would have went with a ferm chamber before the stirplate and O2 stone instead of the other way around but those 3 tools are very important.

Yeast health and fermentation, 2 things that it seems 90% of my homebrew club ignore...its baffling actually. They are more worried about buying all the Amarillo and Citra, but dont realize they are sharing their Phenolic beers with us.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:32 AM   #5058
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

last night did a mini-tasting of

Zombie Dust
Drakes Aroma Coma
Pliny
Enjoy by 11.12.13

(in that order)

This is the second time I've had Zombie Dust - gotta say that while it's nicely done and tastes great I don't quite get the love for it. When tasted against great IPA's, it just kind of feels like...IPA Light. I guess some may prefer that, but maybe I've just been trained to think IPA > PA as a style.

the Drakes is solid

the Pliny is amazing. My friends who have no idea what label is what immediately noticed how great this one was.

after that the Enjoy By was noticeably boozier. Still a great beer but when tasted against Pliny I can tell which I preferred and also it was clear that either the Pliny hid it's alcohol better or the extra booze in the Enjoy By was just a step too far from what I like best. when it comes around for $8 I will buy it but the $10 I had to spend on this one was too much
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:01 PM   #5059
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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If I had to do it all over again I would have went with a ferm chamber before the stirplate and O2 stone instead of the other way around but those 3 tools are very important.
A guy I knew said his live-in gf was complaining about carboys in some part of the house, but that was the coolest spot for them. I told him to build a little enclosure out of that pink R-3 insulation, buy some stick-on wood veneer, and slap it over or next to an AC duct. She gets an upgrade over a carboy - faux furniture, even! - he gets some semblance of temp control. You can get really creative with ferm chambers, but in general I think you'd end up dropping a lot more than $100 for true temperature control. If you're on a budget, go the cheaper route and compromise by picking styles or yeasts forgiving of higher temps. Hope you like Belgians!
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:52 PM   #5060
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Did someone say Belgians? My buddy organizes a beer festival every fall here and has a gluten allergy so I got a lot of his leftovers for below wholesale.


Last edited by prana; 10-23-2013 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:54 PM   #5061
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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In general, shop the big online homebrew suppliers - Northern Brewer, MoreBeer!, Rebel, etc - and buy one of their kits. They're typically the same or even a little bit of a price break from buying the pieces individually and will have just about everything you need outside of a pot and a heat source. And this stuff is all generic/interchangeable, so shop purely on price. If you want to go the in-person route, use their kits as a template and maybe even bring the item listing with you to your local shop and see if they'll match price.
Cool. Thx.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:33 PM   #5062
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

So, Colorado Springs was really fun. Moving a little slowly today.

Stopped at Pikes Peak brewery first. Had their IPA, a lot of great flavor from the half dozen or so different hops used and their stout, with 50lbs of oats added... also a solid beer. They had a porter aged in rum barrels, but their label wasn't approved yet so you could only buy and drink it at the brewery... had to pass unfortunately, as a 750ML of barrel aged porter was not going to be a wise way to start the tour. I left with two 4 packs (both in cans), one of the IPA, and one of a ~38IBU red.

Dropped by Colorado Mountain Brewery next, right across from the air force base. Really nice building, though it had a chain feel to it. I just had the IPA with lunch (marginal wood fired pizza and a delicious mushroom and parmesan cream soup). The IPA was fine, maybe good, not great.

Went to Trinity next, probably the most well known brewery in Colorado Springs. A mix up on the server's part left us with far too much beer. I ended up drinking around 50 ounces here. The good news is I got to try all their beers. The farmhouse (which is apparently always rotating with different recipes, from light to dark style as well) was really good. The IPA and IIPA were good, but not great. I don't drink sours, but the sour was on the sampler platter and I enjoyed it (a gueze I believe). Nothing else stood out. The place was interesting, kind of a boulderesque hippy type joint.

After that I needed a break, so we drove through Garden of the Gods for a little bit, stopped and took a few pics. Nice place, but I think I'd need to hike there to get a real appreciation for it.

For the next stop, we were in downtown Colo Springs, which has a sort of a feel that it has seen better days. Possibly just the small section we were in, but a lot of old buildings that sort of seem to far outweigh the traffic around... it reminded me of some of the smaller cities in the midwest (to be clear, Colorado Springs is far nicer as a whole than those cities).

We went to Phantom brewery while we were downtown, which is a very large venue (tall tin ceiling, large room). I had a pilsner which had a lot of good taste to it and an IPA which I don't really recall much about. I bought a 22oz bomber of a IIPA here to go, and had some "brewery chips" which were just wedge fries with sour cream, green onion, cheese, etc. Those did not sit very well at all (also, wtf that's not brewery chips!).

Went to Smiling Toad next, a small half barrel brewery just east of downtown. The owner was there, he bought this place from a friend (formerly KB Kraft) and we talked awhile. He was a really nice guy, he had an assistant brewing a lavender beer and the assistant came out a bit as well. His dubbel was very good, a nice malty beer with great fruit flavor at the back. The IPA was also right up there. He used to work at the local zoo and a trainer he knew was there, so they hit it off well with my gf (pursuing that area in school currently) and we got some free tickets and a promise of a personal tour from the trainer, which was nice.

Rocky Mountain Brewery was pretty good as well. I had a chili beer here (maybe a porter with chilies? I forget) and enjoyed it. I also had an IPA which was good.

At that point, I'd consumed more than my share of beer and those "brewery chips" weren't helping matters, so we skipped the last brewery (Bristol) and made for home.

I'll definitely be back, and probably try a handful of new breweries. I'll revisit Smiling Toad for sure though.

GF didn't drink a ton, since she was driving, but her favorite beers were the Pike's Peak IPA and this imperial pumpkin from Trinity.
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Old 10-24-2013, 04:05 PM   #5063
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Originally Posted by RunDownHouse. View Post
A guy I knew said his live-in gf was complaining about carboys in some part of the house, but that was the coolest spot for them. I told him to build a little enclosure out of that pink R-3 insulation, buy some stick-on wood veneer, and slap it over or next to an AC duct. She gets an upgrade over a carboy - faux furniture, even! - he gets some semblance of temp control. You can get really creative with ferm chambers, but in general I think you'd end up dropping a lot more than $100 for true temperature control. If you're on a budget, go the cheaper route and compromise by picking styles or yeasts forgiving of higher temps. Hope you like Belgians!
This is exactly what I tell new brewers, its what I did when I got going to. I would just plan to brew whatever the ambient temps in my basement would allow me to. Its probably why after 6+ years of brewing I still brew 2/3 Saisons, that and its my favorite style. But in the winter my basement will be a consistent 58f so I can do any style then.

But now I have a fermentation fridge with a wired up STC1000, oh and I have this on the way, cant wait till it ships in March.

https://brewbit.com/
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:45 PM   #5064
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Ran super good at the beer store yesterday. Picked up (in NY) a few Two Hearted and Jai Alai, plus a bomber of Enjoy By.

The Enjoy By was better after opening the bomber and consuming the second half on day 2. Odd.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:33 PM   #5065
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As a home brewer... I'm looking forward to contributing to this thread! I just wanted to put it out there that Wil Wheaton is doing a tap takeover tonight at stone brewing in Pasadena if anyone is in there area, 6-8pm. ( yes, Sheldon's arch nemesis Wil Wheaton)
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:45 PM   #5066
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Finally got to try Victory DirtWolf this weekend. Very solid DIPA, and affordable to boot. If this is available year-round I will be drinking it often.

Also picked up a 12er of Celebration! My favorite time of the year.

A couple of homebrewing questions:

1. I'm bottling a sour in the coming month due to my moving. It has only been ~6 months so I'm not sure how much gravity is left for Brett or whatever to eat up. Should I take this into account when bottling ie: use less priming sugar? Also, do I need to pitch some extra yeast?

2. Anybody brew up a RIS with a thick and motor-oil mouthfeel? Tips on doing this? Should I just use first runnings? Oats? Long boil?
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:27 AM   #5067
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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A couple of homebrewing questions:

1. I'm bottling a sour in the coming month due to my moving. It has only been ~6 months so I'm not sure how much gravity is left for Brett or whatever to eat up. Should I take this into account when bottling ie: use less priming sugar? Also, do I need to pitch some extra yeast?
Whats the gravity? Its hard to say unless you know that. It wouldnt hurt to add some wine yeast, or US05 at bottling. My first sour beer never fully carbed up, probably 2 volumes, and I think its bc I didnt re-yeast. But I have no evidence that thats true its just a hunch.

What are the bugs in it? Brett, Lacto and Pedio? Its it viscous at all? If its fully attenuated then youre probably safe, but its hard to say.
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:54 AM   #5068
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Last time I took the gravity, around a month ago it was 1.008ish.

Bugs are lacto from grain and bottle dregs from Jolly Pumpkin, Russian River, Boulevard, so probably some mixture. It's not viscous. I guess I'll just bottle it at the last possible moment and then re-yeast with champagne yeast.

Thanks Coff
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:36 PM   #5069
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Coff,

Looks like I was wrong.

Gravity on 9/23 was 1.011.
Gravity today was 1.011.
OG was 1.071.
FG after fermentation was around 1.023.

Think I'm safe to bottle? I know the cardinal rule is to not bottle above 1.010, but I don't think this is getting lower. I just fantastic, I'd love to get it into bottles.
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:36 PM   #5070
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

So I found a box of bottles when organizing the garage the other night. Tonight I cracked into them to clean and sanitize so I can bottle a DIPA tonight or tomorrow. Most of it was 1.5-2 year old lower ABV stuff that wasn't stored properly, so it was bad.

But then I ran across two bottles labeled "14% Bel 09." A 14% abv belgian I made in 2009, wow, this might be worth drinking.

Just cracked one open. It wasn't stored properly but it still tastes good. Starts with a sweet dark candy flavor, melts into plum and raisins. This thing is pretty damn good.

Just thought I'd share an unexpected treat. Going to save the 2nd bottle to share with a friend. I think the previous longest beer I've had of mine is a 3 year old barleywine years ago, I usually drink my stuff fresh. Pleasant surprise here.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:40 PM   #5071
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Coff,

Looks like I was wrong.

Gravity on 9/23 was 1.011.
Gravity today was 1.011.
OG was 1.071.
FG after fermentation was around 1.023.

Think I'm safe to bottle? I know the cardinal rule is to not bottle above 1.010, but I don't think this is getting lower. I just fantastic, I'd love to get it into bottles.
I dont think youre safe to bottle, thats 84% attenuation, it should be 90%. I suppose you could estimate how much more it will attenuate in the bottle and figure how many vol of carbonation that will give you and adjust your priming sugar accordingly. I dont have enough experience in doing that to tell you how to do it though.

Why dont you just rack to a keg and move it? Then you can let it ride another 6+ months. It seriously could take months upon months to dry out.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:44 PM   #5072
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

I have a few problems. I don't have an extra fermenter to rack this to, I'm worried about it sitting on the yeast cake and I'm moving in 2 months.

Very poor planning on my part, I know, but my curiosity about sours got the best of me. I guess I'll just wait as long as possible before bottling.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:26 PM   #5073
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

If it's a 5 gallon batch, I'd just spend the $15 and buy a new fermentor and rack right away if you don't want it sitting on the yeast cake. Then let it figure itself out more slowly.

When I moved across the country I had a full car and a small box with two 1 gallon glass jars filled with a belgian strong ale. The boxes were too short to close over the airlocks, so I closed them around the airlocks and put towels over them. I then bottled in a hotel room a few weeks later. Sometimes you gotta improvise.
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:36 PM   #5074
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

bringing 2 gallons of half brewed beer on a cross country move shows some pretty serious commitment
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:06 PM   #5075
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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My wife just gave me the ok to upgrade my brew system. She just had an expensive girls long weekend in Houston which made negotiating easier.

Leaning towards getting the High Gravity Brewing Electric Brew in a Bag system. As doing Full-Volume Electric brewing should cut down my brewing time dramatically. Which means I can brew more often.

Brewing the Gramarye clone tonight. Bought the grain last weekend while she was traveling, but with two kids alone - the brewing did not occur.

Pretty simple recipe - 6 Gallons:
8 lbs 2 Row
1.125 Rye Malt
.875 Crystal 45L
Mash 156


.25 oz Cascase FWH - (not in recipe, but I need FWH to prevent boil over and for IBUs to hit the recipe target)
.35 oz Columbus at 60
1 oz Cascade Flame Out
1 oz Amarillo Flame Out
1 oz Cascade Dry Hop
1 oz Amarill Dry Hop

WLP001

28 IBU
4.5% ABV

Should be a nice session beer.
Beer turned out pretty good, having my third pint. Got slightly higher attenuation then planned so right around 4.7%. Get more dryness then spice from the rye but it plays nice with the hops. A really sessionable beer. Super hop aroma. Cascade and Amarillo play nice together.
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