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  1. Been somewhat more obsessed with guitars & music gear than brewing lately, but still getting a batch done here & there. Newer acquisitions include: Vox Stomplab, Vox Joe Satriani Amplug PRS SE Standard 24 PRS SE Singlecut trem. The SE Standard was more or less decided on, but I found a Singlecut Trem looking quite sad & lonely at JB Hifi, when I went there to test the feel on the necks of the PRS SE's they had in stock, prior ot purchasing the Standard. At first I thought it was mistakenly priced too low; $495, but after getting the Standard, I just had to check up on it, & sure enough, not only was it $495, but when we checked, it was missing the trem arm & gig bag (as well as the mini toolkit you usually get with SE's). So they knocked another $50 off. Some retailers still have SE Singlecuts (with stop bridge) for $729, so I really got a bargain. Not only that, but I contacted the distributor, enquiring where to get a replacement trem, & as a result one is on its way to me free of charge. This completes my musical gear list for now, (apart from an old harmonica I rarely pick up, & am not so good with, & likewise a glass slide that is exactly the wrong size; too small for some fingers, too big for others). I figure 5 electric & an acoustic pickup guitar is more than enough for a non gigging musician. Have to say though, I love PRS now, & I know the SE are the Asian made budget version, but they're still better quality than the equivalent Epiphone (Gibson budget brand) or Squier (Fender's Asian made instruments). The 339 is a great guitar too, but the finishing & attention to detail, let alone quality sound & pups in the SE leave the others for dead. I've previously owned a Gibson USA made SG 1975 model, & if I still had it, I'd trade it in for a PRS in an instant. Also have to say, for a brand new guitar, SE's feel like playing an old familiar guitar that's already been lovingly worn in, without the worn in look. - Can't stand relicced guitars either; why make a perfectly good new guitar look like it's been abused for 20 years?! Also the Singlecut turns out to be 4 years old, so clealry JB aren't so good are marketing & selling guitars, so with that in mind, putting aside the fact they're big box stores, don't underestimate the quality of musical instruments you can buy there, provided you know what you're looking at. They do sell some crap, but you can snag a bargain if you know your stuff. Just because an instrument has been overlooked & sat in a store for a while, doesn't mean it's a lemon. A good clean & polish, tightening on the tone pot, & my tech reckons I got a bargain; in fact he asked if there were any others around; not much chance there with a discontinued 4 year old guitar, but maybe that's what Ebay's for? I've never owned a Les Paul, but the look is somewhat similar, the sound is not too far off, & the weight & cut is more user friendly, so I know what I'd choose if it was one or the other.
  2. I recently did a European Lager with some added Saaz; 50g in 5 litres water for 15 mins. I found that using a hop/malt bag in the hop spider, as well as pouring the liquid through 2 strainers with chux cloths in between easily eliminated 99.9% of the sediment; kind of important with lagers, especially made with noble hops, maybe not such an issue with ales. After a few grassy flavoured lagers in the past, my tip is to avoid any sediment in your lagers, & doing a boil or steep is far preferable to a dry hop, which can taint your brew. Again, not such an issue with ales, but you can never be too careful. I'd rather be pedantic, or accused of being anally retentive than turn out a bad brew.
  3. Yeah, I was aware hops is a sedative, not surprising really, since it's a close cousin of hemp & cannabis; the difference being that hops is legal & doesn't have any psychoactive chemicals, or leave any fat soluble chemicals in your system that are detectable in your system weeks later. Probably goes part way to explaining why those of us that like a stronger hop flavour/aroma sleep more soundly than those that like less hops. The sugar in beer still gives you a sugar buzz, which can interrupt sleep, so it stands to reason you'd want to balance this with hops to offset the reaction of your body to the sugar as it metabolizes. That's why diabetics can have difficulty with alcohol, it's derived from sugar, & generally still has some sugar content (in most cases anyway), which the body of those with compromised pancreatic function can find problematic. I find beer without hops a bit bland & the malt/sugar yeast & carbonation really needs something to help balance it. Some like their brews without hops, or with other flavours such as fruits, but a beer just isn't a beer without hops to me. That said, I'm not much for darker ales, which I know often get their flavour, aroma & colour from roasted malts, & I can see that hops can be subbed with a good roasted malt; but clearly it's not the same, & wouldn't give the same sedative effect that hops does.
  4. Considering the topic of this thread, this link may be of some interest; it may actually come down to the fact that although there is a colour difference, you can't, or simply have difficulty with perceiving it!: http://fox6now.com/2015/03/02/how-many-colors-do-you-see-this-simple-test-may-or-may-not-reveal-something-fascinating-about-your-eye/
  5. BTW I recently got an Epiphone ES 339 Pro. Essentially an Epiphone version of the Gibson 339, with dual Alnico Pro humbuckers with coil tap/splitting. I went for the vintage sunburst colour. I also got a Digitech "Screamin Blues" pedal, which has now been discontinued along with pretty much most analogue pedals. Next planned acquisition is a Vox Stomplab GII, as the Zoom G1Xon can only do 4-5 effects at once, though it does have inbuilt rhythms & a 30 second looper; whereas the Vox has neither, but can run 8 simultaneous effects. I figure if I want more effects & rhythm/loops at the same time, I'll just chain the Vox to the Zoom. If I want to use them with one of my amps, I'll probably have to make sure I've got the amp modelling off & use the clean channel, or the feedback will probably blow the windows out! If I play anything I'm really happy with I can use the BR80 to record it. Now if I only had the skill & confidence to play outside the home?!
  6. I've got a fairly basic Coopers Euro Lager in the lager phase in my new FV in the brew fridge. Used the Quick lager method from Brulosopher, & it seems to me this is likely to be my best brew let alone lager so far. It's happily sitting at 1c, & due to be bottled on Monday, so should be ready to drink in about 3 weeks or so. 1 x Coopers European Lager can 1kg LDM 15g Hallertau hops 1 pack Saflager s23 + yeast pack from the can made to 23 litres. The hops (which was really just a bag of finishing hops the LHBS threw in with my order) was put on the boil for 15mins with 500g LDM in 5 litres of water. Other than that, it was a pretty straightforward K&K brew. As it's still pretty cool here, & I want another crack at making lager before the weather warms up, the plan is to do pretty much the same brew again within a day or two of bottling this batch. Supplies are running low, but my drinking's reduced, & I'm going for quality over quantity for now, so assuming this one works out OK, & I can replicate it, I'll have 2 great brews after the last 3 were pretty ordinary, & led to the old FV being thrown out. Still not 100% sure it was the culprit, but sometimes it's better to have a fresh start than feel stuck.
  7. The temp controller is an STC 200; I've checked the temp against the STC 200, the stick on thermometer attached to the FV, & a magnet thermometer, & the FV thermometer was the odd one out, so I trust the STC 200 now. I do have the instructions that came with the STC 200 somewhere, & seem to recall calibrating it some time ago, but it may be an idea to follow your lead, & at least check the calibration every few batches. Cheers.
  8. I threw out my 3 1/2 year old FV last week, as it was council cleanup. It had scratches on the bottom of the inside (from early attempts at mixing brewing enhancers or malt with can contents & water), had a few brew with off flavours, & towards the end, some unmistakable infections. The tap was taken first, which I thought a little odd, then sure enough someone took the rest of the FV a few days before council took away the massive pile of furniture & bric a brac sitting out by the kerb. I've since got my first brew fridge fermented lager on the go, using the quick lager method, & after a week at 12-14c (depending on which reading you believe, the temp control or the stick on thermometer), I'm now ramping it up to 18c for D rest, & to finish the ferment. Having taken a reading last night & smelled & tasted the sample, it actually seems the best brew so far; so I have to wonder how long I'd been using a sub standard FV which was carrying infection from one brew to another, no matter how well I cleaned it? Some of the brews at the end were pretty well instantly tippable, but some were fine; either way, when in doubt, definitely cheaper to throw it out. As others have said, $30 - $40 for a new FV is much cheaper than throwing out several batches of beer that cost more than that to make. Personally after my experience, I wouldn't use a second hand FV for anything other than a plant pot, or the like. Life's too short to make substandard beer with questionable equipment.
  9. Pretty much done with the cleaning, just the racks & a few re-movables sitting in a dry tub now, having been sprayed with vinegar after their soak & scrub. I'll give them a hose & wipe down in the morning, then pop them back in the fridge. I've got the fridge set for 10c, in prep for the brew I'm planning on starting tomorrow. I also decided that maybe using the damp rid I had sitting beside the fridge may be more useful inside, just sitting on the bottom, so soak up any moisture; obviously if there's no moisture, there'll be no mold or mildew! So now I just need to keep an eye that, & keep the damp rid going, & put another one in the room, just in case. Obviously if I see or smell anything suss I'll be straight onto it, but I think if the damp rid works as well in the fridge as it does in the other places I use them in the home, it'll work a treat, & cut down on stress, smell, & brew infections. So I guess my hot tip of the day, try using a moisture absorber in close proximity to your FV, to reduce moisture & chance of infection for airborne humidity loving microbes! They're pretty cheap, refillable, & only need emptying & refilling every couple of months or so, though YMMV.
  10. ATM fresh air in a new FV, having put the old one out to pasture, & replaced it. In the process of thoroughly cleaning the brew fridge (which I've just started a thread about), pending getting it back into gear. All that said, yesterday I went to the LHBS (Dave's), & got the new FV, as well as a can of Euro Lager, 1kg LDM, & some dry hops, along with carb drops. I just got a small pack of "finishing hops" (15g Hallertau), so the plan is to boil that with about 500g LDM in 5 litres of water, for maybe 15 mins, just to give the lager a bit more flavour/bite, but not much bitterness. Of course I also got some yeast to go with it (Saflager s23), so the plan is to make up the brew, pop it in the brew fridge, then rehydrate the yeast (both packs) for 20 mins, whilst the brew is starting to cool, then pitch, hopefully at close to initial brewing temp. I plan on doing a variation of the quick brewing method; time is an issue, as I have 2 batches of beer that are destined for the sink. So thinking around 12c for the first 5 days, then another 5-7 days at 18c, then down to as low as I dare go for another 2 weeks. I still don't have any heating at this stage, but trust using a brew fridge indoors will mean I won't have too much trouble letting my brew free rise for the D rest.
  11. After a few questionable brews, fastidious cleaning of my FV, then replacement, as well as fairly rigorous cleaning of the brew fridge, only to have it sit idle for more than a month; I've found my brew fridge pretty well contaminated with mold/mildew. Of course being the sort of person I am (obsessive, & always looking for more info on whatever I'm into), I found some useful tips online for cleaning a fridge contaminated with mold. Hopefully it won't happen to everyone, but it's fairly simple to fix; though simple doesn't mean quick, easy, or effortless. I ended up using a combination of bicarb soda, warm water with some dish-washing liquid, a non scratch scourer, & followed up with a good squirt of white vinegar; which is to be followed up with yet another round of a warm water wipe down, then paper towels to dry, as well as soaking the racks & removable parts. So I can tick that off the list for now; how to clean a brew fridge, but it begs the questions: How often do you/should you clean your brew fridge (presumably after each brew)? Do you keep your brew fridge running between brews (assuming it's not in use 24/7, 365), & if so at what temp? Have you had an infected brew fridge (or other fridge), & do you have any other techniques for cleaning it?
  12. Clearly I have terrible insomnia, & a bad sense of humour, but apples & potatoes in the fall - jeez keep away from wherever they're falling from!
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