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> Chat Transcript - Guest: Marty Nachel, Beer & Homebrewing author (12/21/03)
post Dec 22 2003, 08:30 AM
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Joined: 16-March 02
From: Mooresville, NC
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[quote]This week's chat will feature guest Marty Nachel, Author of "Beer for Dummies", "Homebrewing for Dummies" (both excellent reading material - even if you aren't a Dummy), and Beer Across America. He's also recently created The PalmBrew Guide for Palm OS devices and PdaBrew for PocketPC, put all you need to know about beer in the palm of your hand! Featuring facts about beer and brewing, a Glossary of terms, Beer and Food pairing suggestions, details on beer types & styles -- ale, lager ... , Beer trivia facts, and a comprehensive directory of US breweries and brew pubs. Marty has been very active on the Brewing seen for about 15 years. By day he owns and operates Beer Gear, based in Chicago.[/quote]
Dec 21 19:52:53 Casey Hello CJ, how was the game ?
Dec 21 19:53:08 cj_in_j Hey everyone, here I am sitting in HBA, talking with ale.
Dec 21 19:53:20 cj_in_j Game was great.
Dec 21 19:53:39 rich hey CJ!
Dec 21 19:53:43 cj_in_j Hey Casey, hey rich.
Dec 21 19:53:53 rich Sorry I couldn't join you guys last night
Dec 21 19:53:59 rich heard it was fun!
Dec 21 19:54:05 cj_in_j We missed you . . . for a while.
Dec 21 19:54:18 Beershasta Hi, this is Perry's wife. He showed me how to sign in and I moved the monitor so he could see the chat tonight. He'll be lurking for tonight's chat.
Dec 21 19:54:24 rich So how do you like Charlotte?
Dec 21 19:54:54 rich Hi Perry's wife
Dec 21 19:55:34 cj_in_j rich, we've been having a great time. Perry's wife, hi. Perry, hope you're doing okay too.
Dec 21 19:56:22 rich what did you think og RockBottom?
Dec 21 19:57:08 cj_in_j RockBottom was good. We had lunch with ale there and dinner with the whole crew. Today we stopped by SouthEnd on the way to HBA and had dinner.
Dec 21 19:57:19 cj_in_j I like Rock Bottom a lot better -- food and beer.
Dec 21 19:57:33 rich excellent!
Dec 21 19:57:52 cj_in_j Hey ted -- I'm at HBA. Where are you?
Dec 21 19:58:05 ted *slap*
Dec 21 19:58:30 ted I'm at home!! how the hell did you get in NC
Dec 21 20:00:01 cj_in_j I flew in yesterday to meet the HBA guys and go to the Panthers game. Flying out tomorrow.
Dec 21 20:01:06 cj_in_j HI aleconner. Ale will be with you in a minute!
Dec 21 20:01:44 ale Good evening, Marty
Dec 21 20:01:51 aleconner Good evening!
Dec 21 20:02:12 ale Glad that you could join us.
Dec 21 20:02:31 aleconner Glad I was invited to take part.
Dec 21 20:03:15 cj_in_j Hi Thomas.
Dec 21 20:03:21 Thomas hey cj
Dec 21 20:03:38 ale Formal chat will start in a couple of minutes, anything in particular that you want to discuss, Marty?
Dec 21 20:03:54 aleconner Not really- I'm open to anything
Dec 21 20:04:00 ale cool
Dec 21 20:04:00 cj_in_j I'm sitting at HBA, next to ale, chatting with you guys. How's things in MN?
Dec 21 20:04:03 ted hi Marty!!
Dec 21 20:04:18 Thomas good!
Dec 21 20:04:25 Thomas have you meet emanders yet?
Dec 21 20:04:25 aleconner Hello all...
Dec 21 20:05:26 cj_in_j em and I didn't get a chance to meet up. Too many family things on his side.
Dec 21 20:05:31 ale My clock reads 8:00 (CJ's reads 10:00AM). The chat's started.
Dec 21 20:05:39 ted Marty, I doubt you remember, but I met you at the HB Conference. I kinda hung out drinking 3 Floyds beers and talking to you!! =)
Dec 21 20:06:13 ale ?
Dec 21 20:06:19 cj_in_j go ale
Dec 21 20:06:19 aleconner Hello, Ted. You were one of many who were enjoying the THree Floyds beers with us...
Dec 21 20:06:58 ale Marty, How long an endevor was it to compile "Homebrewing For Dummies"??
Dec 21 20:07:40 aleconner Uh, about twelve years experience...but about 10 months of researching, writing and editing...end
Dec 21 20:08:32 ale Tell us a bit about your Palm products.
Dec 21 20:09:43 ale Are palm type hand held computers really sophisticated enough to handle this sort of thing?
Dec 21 20:10:02 aleconner I was contacted by Choiceway, a California software company about compiling a bunch of information for a program for handlhelds (PDAs). We launched the program last Fall..end.
Dec 21 20:10:40 ted ?
Dec 21 20:10:55 aleconner Certainly. This is not really an interactive program- pretty much read only...end
Dec 21 20:11:10 ale go, Ted
Dec 21 20:11:12 ted are Palm products programs? or actual hand held computers?
Dec 21 20:11:39 Brian ?
Dec 21 20:12:21 aleconner Palm is a brand name and an operating system. Pocket PC addresses the needs of those who work with Microsoft products...end
Dec 21 20:12:43 ale go Brian
Dec 21 20:12:53 Brian Can you describe your homebrewery, and how often you use it?
Dec 21 20:12:58 aleconner I should mention that our program is available for both operating systems...end
Dec 21 20:13:22 ted ?
Dec 21 20:13:58 aleconner My homebrewery is still pretty simple. I still use plastic products and the trusty old carboy. I don't use it near as much as I'd like to due to my personal schedule...end
Dec 21 20:14:27 ale go Ted
Dec 21 20:14:28 ted when doing research for your book(s) what resources did you look at for compiling your info?
Dec 21 20:14:30 aleconner If I'm lucky, I brew about 4-6 times per year...end
Dec 21 20:14:59 steve_nc ?
Dec 21 20:15:04 ale go Steve
Dec 21 20:15:13 aleconner I contacted a lot of the ingredient suppliers for information...hops, grain, yeast, etc....end
Dec 21 20:15:14 steve_nc Marty, I read your article "Test your Mettle" in BYO's August Issue. I'm a beginner, but would like to get involed in competition. Would style of beer would you recommend for a rookie entering his first competition?
Dec 21 20:15:44 steve_nc excuse me....what style of beer would you recommend
Dec 21 20:16:39 aleconner Although I discussed the importance of beer style in that article, I think it's much more important that your beer be clean, drinkable, and well made. Quality is always appreciated by the judges...end
Dec 21 20:17:42 ale Marty, What introduced you to brewing?
Dec 21 20:17:45 aleconner ANY beer style is recommended if the representative beer is well-made...end
Dec 21 20:18:23 rich ?
Dec 21 20:18:55 aleconner I first learned about a local (Chicago) beer appreciation club back in 1984. When I joined them, I was immediately drawn to those within the club who were brewing their own beer....end
Dec 21 20:21:25 ale Marty, Please backtrack to Ted's question.
Dec 21 20:21:48 ted no ale, he did answer it, I missed it!! sorry
Dec 21 20:22:07 ale oops, go Rich
Dec 21 20:22:09 rich My favorite style has to be hefeweissen, what can you tell me about the style? Tips and such...
Dec 21 20:22:10 ted thanks!!!!
Dec 21 20:23:06 Cam ?
Dec 21 20:23:19 aleconner Regarding HefeWeizen- This is not only a very enjoyable style, but an easy one to make as well. I think the choice of yeast used is THE most important thing to consider when making one...end
Dec 21 20:23:30 cj_in_j go cam
Dec 21 20:23:44 rich Which is your favorite strain for hefe?
Dec 21 20:23:54 aleconner Wyeast #3068 Weihenstephan is my personal favorite...end
Dec 21 20:24:00 Cam Marty, I really don't have a question, but I just wanted to thank you for your Homebrewing for Dummies book. It's fantastic
Dec 21 20:24:04 rich thanks!
Dec 21 20:24:21 aleconner Thanks, Cam. Positive feedback is always appreciated...end
Dec 21 20:24:33 ale ?
Dec 21 20:25:28 ale Were your two "Dummies" books done together, or seperate projects?
Dec 21 20:26:21 ale I seem to recall that they came out close to the same time, but are still very different and unique>
Dec 21 20:26:30 aleconner They were definitely separate projects. BFD included 3 "test chapters" about homebrewing and got such a positive response from readers that the publisher decided to follow-up with HFD...end
Dec 21 20:26:53 aleconner BFD hit the shelves in 1986 and HFD in 1987...end
Dec 21 20:27:25 aleconner Oops! Make that '96 and '97...end
Dec 21 20:27:25 steve_nc ?
Dec 21 20:27:39 ale go Steve
Dec 21 20:27:40 steve_nc At this point I'm strictly an extract +specialty malt brewer. Can that realistically compete against the all-grain brewers in competition, or should I start investing in all-grain equipment?
Dec 21 20:29:41 aleconner There are a lot of factors -mostly personal- that you need to consider when making the jump to all grain. If it's any consolation, I still consider myself primarily an extract and specialty grain brewer.
Dec 21 20:30:18 aleconner I've always enjoyed the challenge of brewing great beer with extract and I've been fairly succcessful...end
Dec 21 20:30:59 steve_nc It's nice to know someone like you is still brewing with extract
Dec 21 20:31:06 cj_in_j ?
Dec 21 20:31:15 ale Comment: You CAN make great beers using extracts!
Dec 21 20:31:18 aleconner I think it was Ray Daniels who did a study of winning beers at the national level and extract brews did quite well...end
Dec 21 20:31:24 ale go CJ
Dec 21 20:31:41 cj_in_j Marty, any plans to update either book? Or write a new one?
Dec 21 20:32:13 aleconner Oh, I wish! It seems all the publishers have abandoned the world of beer and brewing for greener pastures...end
Dec 21 20:32:31 ale ?
Dec 21 20:32:35 cj_in_j Really? What can we do to persuade the that we have money?
Dec 21 20:33:16 aleconner Find a way to remove all the old homebrewing titles from the publishers' backlists ;-)...end
Dec 21 20:33:50 cj_in_j Old books? Or old authors?
Dec 21 20:33:59 cj_in_j (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/wink.gif)
Dec 21 20:34:15 aleconner Good one! Actually both...there's a lot of stale information out there...end
Dec 21 20:34:58 cj_in_j go ale
Dec 21 20:35:02 ale Marty, what sort of projects do you have lined up for the future?
Dec 21 20:36:27 steve_nc ?
Dec 21 20:36:27 Brian ?
Dec 21 20:36:28 aleconner I'd love to say that my desktop is littered with projects but that's just not the case. My specialty is writing and there just aren't enough viable outlets left for beer and brewing writers
Dec 21 20:37:06 aleconner The few magazines on the market seem to be enough to cover the demand...end
Dec 21 20:38:25 Cam ?
Dec 21 20:38:34 cj_in_j go steve
Dec 21 20:39:15 aleconner The internet is a great forum for beer and brewing, but its accessibility leaves the door wide open to questionable sources of information...end
Dec 21 20:39:29 steve_nc speaking of Ray Daniels....I just purchased his book. I was using the IBU calculations on a recipe that appeared in Zymurgy....
Dec 21 20:40:08 steve_nc and the ratings were way off. Do you have any opinion about the accuracy of clone recipes that appear in the magazines?
Dec 21 20:41:52 aleconner We've all got opinions...I really would like to know how the folks who formulate "clone" recipes go about getting important factual brewing information about the brew in question -if at all...end
Dec 21 20:42:17 Cam I need to go. I hope everybody has a great Christmas!!
Dec 21 20:43:08 steve_nc So do you believe most of the clone recipes in BYO and Zymurgy are not accurate?
Dec 21 20:43:18 ale go Brian
Dec 21 20:43:29 aleconner I 've made many attempts at cloning beers, but all without input from the original brewery. That makes it pretty difficult to recreate the original beer...end
Dec 21 20:43:36 ale ?
Dec 21 20:43:36 Brian From a previous question, you seem to favor extract brewing. Any particular brand of extract you're particularly fond of?
Dec 21 20:44:18 aleconner I'm not in a position to say that...I just wonder if they have any insider information (from the brewery) on which to base their clone beer...end
Dec 21 20:45:16 ale Comment: Clone recipes make me crazy....
Dec 21 20:45:33 rich ?
Dec 21 20:45:44 aleconner Brian: It's not that I necessarily favor extract beer over all grain, I just enjoy the challenge of brewing competitive quality beer from extract. I think Northwestern extract is of very high quality...end
Dec 21 20:46:37 ale Ingredients will set the stage, but they tend to ignore techniques, yeast management, and temperatures.
Dec 21 20:47:02 ale go Rich
Dec 21 20:47:04 rich have you ever been asked to make non-alcoholic beer?
Dec 21 20:47:37 cj_in_j ?
Dec 21 20:49:56 aleconner Yes, but I always decline. I think it's pretty pointless -and difficult...end
Dec 21 20:50:45 ale go CJ
Dec 21 20:50:52 cj_in_j Any plans on making a trip to Japan? I can show you the best brewpub in the country!
Dec 21 20:51:03 ted lol
Dec 21 20:51:13 aleconner Is that an invitation?...end
Dec 21 20:51:31 ted gets lonely in Japan
Dec 21 20:51:33 cj_in_j Sure, you and ale can stay at my house.
Dec 21 20:51:37 cj_in_j ted too
Dec 21 20:51:52 ted lol
Dec 21 20:52:12 aleconner Domo Arigato (sp?)...end
Dec 21 20:52:20 cj_in_j but ted, you have to bring some beers. Marty can come free. Ale too.
Dec 21 20:52:40 ale Marty, tell us something about Beer Gear. Your day job.
Dec 21 20:52:52 ted I can do that!!
Dec 21 20:54:03 steve_nc ?
Dec 21 20:54:10 ale go Steve
Dec 21 20:54:15 steve_nc What would be the number one (and maybe number two) thing you would recommend for a beginner to improve his beer?
Dec 21 20:54:27 aleconner Beer Gear is a brick-and-mortar homebrew shop that my partner and I started back in the Spring of 2000. Retail was not really my goal in life, but the opportunity to do it came up.
Dec 21 20:55:56 aleconner Steve: Avoid using "kits", if you have been. Always use fresh ingredients and PAY ATTENTION to your beer -it tells you more than you know...end
Dec 21 20:56:28 cj_in_j except for HBA's kits!!!
Dec 21 20:57:00 ale I think by 'kits' Marty's referring to the canned kits.
Dec 21 20:57:00 aleconner Addendum to Steve: It doesn't hurt to familiarize yourself with lots of beer styles and bee judging techniques and jargon...end
Dec 21 20:57:21 ale I agree completely.
Dec 21 20:57:25 aleconner Correct, Ale. I did mean canned "kits"...end
Dec 21 20:57:50 steve_nc I haven't used a kit yet, and don't plan on it
Dec 21 20:58:18 ale Canned extracts do not have the shelf life of dry extracts.
Dec 21 20:58:33 aleconner Steve: Good for you! The more control you take over the ingredients in your beer, the better it should be...end
Dec 21 20:59:05 cj_in_j Sorry everyione, but I have to run. Early flight tomorrow. See you all on the Board.
Dec 21 20:59:30 ted see you in Chi CJ
Dec 21 20:59:37 aleconner S'long cj...
Dec 21 20:59:53 cj_in_j And, by the way, the HBA guys are great! As good in person as they are on the Board.
Dec 21 21:00:13 cj_in_j And Marty, see you in Japan . . . with ted and ale!
Dec 21 21:00:14 ale By using unhopped dry extract, specialty grains, your own yeast and hops of choice, you can create wonderful beers that are almost indistinguishable from all grain.
Dec 21 21:00:16 ted brown noser
Dec 21 21:00:29 cj_in_j ted -- NOT! It's really true.
Dec 21 21:00:35 ted lol
Dec 21 21:00:41 cj_in_j bye
Dec 21 21:00:44 Thomas lol;
Dec 21 21:01:31 aleconner Ale: absolutely. I'm convinced that extract beers can compete with all grain -with a few style exceptions...end
Dec 21 21:01:42 ale BRB -Verbal pleasantries and goodbyes for CJ...
Dec 21 21:02:24 steve_nc ?
Dec 21 21:02:34 Brian Go Steve
Dec 21 21:02:38 steve_nc The guy at my local homebrew shops says it's ok to pitch I wyeast smak-pak without creating a starter as long as you oxygenate well. I'll really don't feel to good about that. Is he right?
Dec 21 21:03:50 steve_nc From what I can gather pitching the right amount of yeast is very important
Dec 21 21:04:18 aleconner He's kinda right. IF the yeast is very fresh and you oxygenate the heck out of the wort, you should get a decent ferment. However, it's always advantageous to make a starter when working with a smak-pak.
Dec 21 21:04:45 aleconner Personally, I prefer the R-T-P tubes for ease of use. They are good to go as is.
Dec 21 21:06:23 steve_nc I experimented with using oxygen in my last batch. I thought the krausen would never stop
Dec 21 21:06:44 aleconner Regarding yeast amounts...more is always better...end
Dec 21 21:07:14 Brian Marty, are you planning on making next year's Homebrew Conf in Vegas, in June?
Dec 21 21:08:33 aleconner It's still a little early for me to pencil that in on my schedule, but I sure would like to attend. I'm holding out for another invitation to give a presentation...end
Dec 21 21:09:07 Brian Do they pay your way if you do?
Dec 21 21:09:14 ale Comment: A lot depends on if you're using the WYeast 50 ml. or the XL's
Dec 21 21:09:48 aleconner You know, I'm not sure. I presented at this past conference in Chicago, but I live here!...end
Dec 21 21:09:51 steve_nc My homebrew shop only carries the 50ml. I pitched two into my last batch
Dec 21 21:11:12 ale Sorry to disappear. CJ HAD to run. He explained to me that the Japanese (his wife) lack an enzyme to process alcohol, much like American Indians...
Dec 21 21:11:36 ale I think I got her really drunk =)
Dec 21 21:11:46 ted lol
Dec 21 21:11:56 Brian Good job, Ale
Dec 21 21:11:57 aleconner Always the perfect host!
Dec 21 21:12:09 Thomas lol
Dec 21 21:12:13 Brian ?
Dec 21 21:12:28 ale Us Europeans are a bunch of reprobates =)
Dec 21 21:12:34 ale go Brian
Dec 21 21:13:04 Brian To follow up Steve's question, what's the oldest liquid yeast, in terms of the package date, you'd be comfortable buying?
Dec 21 21:14:22 aleconner According to Wyeast's own packaging, ale yeasts are good for 4 months and lagers for 3. My partner and I always use outdated yeast for your experimental batches with success...end
Dec 21 21:15:25 aleconner I believe White Labs results are similar.
Dec 21 21:16:39 ale It's now past 9:00 and the formal chat is now over. The '?' protocol is being dropped and Mr. Nachel is off the hook. It's party time! ;()
Dec 21 21:17:06 steve_nc I decided to use pure oxygen in a recent batch. The fermentation seemed to really take off. Is there any problems with using pure oxygen?
Dec 21 21:17:34 steve_nc Woo Hoo....party time!!
Dec 21 21:18:03 aleconner pure oxygen prior to fermentation is fine.
Dec 21 21:18:11 ale Chris White from White Labs once told me that he did a viability test on a tube of yeast that was stored at room temperature for over a year...
Dec 21 21:18:28 ale Still > 50% viable...
Dec 21 21:18:45 ale Yeast can be a tough little bug.
Dec 21 21:18:48 aleconner Pretty impressive.
Dec 21 21:19:14 cmbrougham don't mess with the microorganisms... they're gonna outlive us all
Dec 21 21:19:56 aleconner Treat them well -they're our friends!
Dec 21 21:20:00 Brian I'm messing with some right now... in my glass
Dec 21 21:20:25 ted 50% viability after a year at room temp!! wow
Dec 21 21:20:33 steve_nc ok.....here's a real rookie question. Do I need to let the krausen completely disappear before transfering to the secondary?
Dec 21 21:21:19 Brian IMO, no. Do it when your hydrometer says you're at FG
Dec 21 21:22:09 aleconner Depending on how vigorous the fermentation was, it might take a while for the krauesen to go down. First, watch your airlock then put your hydrometer to good use.
Dec 21 21:22:19 ale Marty, How often do you get a chance to judge at competitions?
Dec 21 21:22:26 steve_nc so I should wait till fermentation is complete before transferring to secondary? I thought that it was just untill initial activity was complete
Dec 21 21:23:29 cmbrougham steve: secondary fermentation is kind of a misnomer... your fermentation, per se, should take place in the primary vessel--meaning you want to get to your target gravity (close, anyway) first
Dec 21 21:23:31 aleconner Ale: I was (past tense) judging at about 4 events per year. Unfortunately, I've been pretty inactive for the past couple of years due to my schedule.
Dec 21 21:23:51 cmbrougham secondary is more for conditioning and clarifying
Dec 21 21:24:46 steve_nc well, i just learned something new
Dec 21 21:25:06 cmbrougham that's what it's all about, brother
Dec 21 21:25:08 ale Steve, You want your beer in contact with the yeast until the job is done. The secondary is mostly for clarification. Yeast won't autolyze until their food has run out.
Dec 21 21:25:47 aleconner Steve: You really want to leave as much yeast in the primary fermenter as possible. What little is still in suspension when you rack over to secondary is sufficient.
Dec 21 21:27:56 ale Marty, do you still judge?
Dec 21 21:28:07 steve_nc thanks for the advise....this is my first time in this Sunday night chat. I think I need to come here more often
Dec 21 21:28:47 cmbrougham steve: the board is a great resource too... ask one question, and you'll get a dozen answers, all of them good, if not different
Dec 21 21:28:50 ale Maybe we could talk you into making a visit to NC for a competition.
Dec 21 21:29:27 ted steve, we seem to chat a couple times a week, check regularly
Dec 21 21:30:05 aleconner I haven't in almost two years, but I plan to get active again in 2004.
Dec 21 21:30:11 Casey ALe, the US Open is set for April 24 and is already registered with AHA and BJCP
Dec 21 21:30:40 Brian Marty: Why did you take the name "aleconner" for the chat?
Dec 21 21:30:47 steve_nc Any competitions coming up in NC soon?
Dec 21 21:31:11 ted U.S. Open?
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