DC Area Group Grain Buy #25

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mclardass

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*** Please review the information below to save both you and me a lot of headaches. These guidelines are to help maintain my sanity (and marriage) and will hopefully not turn off long-time buyers. Realize these buys are Peter and me donating time and 3 Stars being generous to order and host, please be considerate to all of us. ***

* This group buy is open to HBT members who are local to the DC metro area including MD and Northern VA.

* The buy takes place 3-4 times per year and a new thread is posted each time we start a new round of purchasing. The buy makes use of a website for ordering and you must first obtain a login by PM’ing me your Real Name, Email Address, and Cell Number. I will setup the account and you will then receive a password reset email. Once you set your password you will be able to log in to the site. Your information will be kept strictly private and not shared with anyone inside or outside the buy. By establishing an account you agree to the rules (terms) detailed in this post.

* We allow splitting of sacks but please confirm that a split has closed before paying for it. Not all splits close and those items will not be ordered.

* PAYMENT is via PayPal only! Pay me at the personal email address I send to you when the buy is over. Do not use the email address you receive password or list messages from! Use the pay friend/family option and DO NOT pay via PayPal check! If you are not familiar with PayPal make sure you acquaint yourself before the end of the buy as it does take some time to setup.

* The pickup location is at 3 Stars brewery in DC and always on a Saturday from 1000-noon. You MUST pick up your grain on that day during that time or have someone do it for you, NO exceptions! If you cannot pick up your grain, you MUST arrange with someone else to do so and let me know who is picking up your grain, NO exceptions!

* If you fail to pick up your grains, or make arrangements for others to pick up your grains, you are solely responsible for your grains at this point! Failure to pickup your grains after one week from the original pickup date will result in you forfeiting YOUR GRAINS AND forfeiting YOUR FULL PAYMENT. I know this was considered in the past but it only takes one bad apple to ruin things for everyone. Repeat offenders to this rule will be BANNED from future group buys.

* The pickup will occur three weeks after the buy closes. The reason for doing this is it gives 3 Stars multiple chances to order and should greatly increase the chance of getting the entire order. In the past we have had issues with some sacks not showing up or the wrong sacks showing up. Be forewarned that this can happen although the three-week ordering window should help minimize this.

* The prices posted on the ordering website are not to be shared outside this group. Do not post prices in the forum.

* This forum is used to communicate the details of the buy and splits that are currently available.

* The brewery has growler hours at 1PM; they cannot sell you a growler before that by law. Don't ask. They can however sell cans, please patronize them as they help us out a lot!

* The brewery also has a small homebrew store, please snag some hops, yeast, etc. to show your appreciation.

* Finally, we always need help with the buy. Please collect plastic grocery bags and donate them to the cause each time you participate. We need 3-4 sets of scales and we need about 6-8 people to come early and help split sacks (10AM). We label every sack, so make sure your name is on it before taking something and please always check in and out with me.
 

BrewSavage

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I need either Melanoidin or Aromatic (they can substitute or one another according the webosphere) but on the last buy the melanoidin split didn't close. For those interested, what split would you be more likely to join?
 

IslandLizard

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I need either Melanoidin or Aromatic (they can substitute or one another according the webosphere) but on the last buy the melanoidin split didn't close. For those interested, what split would you be more likely to join?
Which Aromatic? Belgian Aromatic vs. Weyermann Melanoidin?
 

peter78

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I need either Melanoidin or Aromatic (they can substitute or one another according the webosphere) but on the last buy the melanoidin split didn't close. For those interested, what split would you be more likely to join?
Open one of each and claim what you need on both. Then you can play it by ear see which one closes and drop the other split....
 

zombiepiratemonkey

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Started Pale Chocolate, Flaked Oats, and Flaked Wheat splits. Let's get some more splits going people!
 
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mclardass

mclardass

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What's the estimated delivery on this buy?
Optimistically, February. Realistically, Summer(?).

The last two buys have been a learning experience and we may need to move to smaller overall buys placed on a set schedule. I'd like to hear opinions on moving to a quarterly purchase versus leaving the buy open until we get a decent order together. 3 Stars are almost too gracious with their time and flexibility in ordering but I don't want to place 4-5 sacks per order and ruin our relationship. If we set a schedule based on weather and "typical" brewing timetables (whatever those are) then maybe we can keep everyone stocked up. Just throwing out some drunken thoughts.
 
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mclardass

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On a completely unrelated note, one of the best brewers in my HBC is looking to upgrade his burner. Anyone have a good propane setup for sale that will drive a 20G pot?
 

popquizkid

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Optimistically, February. Realistically, Summer(?).

The last two buys have been a learning experience and we may need to move to smaller overall buys placed on a set schedule. I'd like to hear opinions on moving to a quarterly purchase versus leaving the buy open until we get a decent order together. 3 Stars are almost too gracious with their time and flexibility in ordering but I don't want to place 4-5 sacks per order and ruin our relationship. If we set a schedule based on weather and "typical" brewing timetables (whatever those are) then maybe we can keep everyone stocked up. Just throwing out some drunken thoughts.
I watch these threads and would like to order but have yet to participate in a buy. I would be likely to order now if I knew when the next delivery was. Having a decently busy schedule with kids, activities, etc it is hard for me to commit to a buy when I don't know when delivery will be, whether I will be in town, etc. A regular quarterly buy schedule would probably work better from my perspective.
 

IslandLizard

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Optimistically, February. Realistically, Summer(?).

The last two buys have been a learning experience and we may need to move to smaller overall buys placed on a set schedule. I'd like to hear opinions on moving to a quarterly purchase versus leaving the buy open until we get a decent order together. 3 Stars are almost too gracious with their time and flexibility in ordering but I don't want to place 4-5 sacks per order and ruin our relationship. If we set a schedule based on weather and "typical" brewing timetables (whatever those are) then maybe we can keep everyone stocked up. Just throwing out some drunken thoughts.
From what I've seen, most group grain buys coordinated through the HBT forum only happen around once a year. They range in size from 1 to 4 pallets (e.g., Southern NJ) to "we don't screw around" megabuys of 10+ pallets (e.g., Chicago area).

A brewer friend organized one in Southern PA (York area) once a year and usually got 2 or more pallets. He took at least 10-12 sacks for himself each time, but there were many smaller order 1-4 sack participants too.

Very few group buys have organized splits, most don't, although you may split whatever you want, on the side.
Our group buy used to have very few splits too, before we started organizing/coordinating them. But the malt selection (from CMG) was much smaller too then, and we did need to order full pallets to make the shipping worth it at ~$300 a pallet.

So yup, we're really spoiled with the luxury we have now. How do we make best use of it without wearing out our welcome?
Let's discuss our options for the next buy.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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Go 97 miles and take a right...
Similar to a drug addict my brewery needs malt. "Here's a free sample" and then the brewery is hooked.

I've purchased many bags in the past.

However, it is extremely difficult, traffic wise, traveling to 3 Stars each time.

Move the buy to VA, closer to Manassas, and I'm good for 5 to 10 bags each purchase.
 

peter78

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Similar to a drug addict my brewery needs malt. "Here's a free sample" and then the brewery is hooked.

I've purchased many bags in the past.

However, it is extremely difficult, traffic wise, traveling to 3 Stars each time.

Move the buy to VA, closer to Manassas, and I'm good for 5 to 10 bags each purchase.
Are there more people in that part of VA? Perhaps people can pool it and one picks up for everyone each time to make it worth it... The above mentioned megabuys in the Chicago area is probably what goes on there...
 

IslandLizard

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Are there more people in that part of VA? Perhaps people can pool it and one picks up for everyone each time to make it worth it... The above mentioned megabuys in the Chicago area is probably what goes on there...
Absolutely! Combining efforts, muling larger loads for redistribution in more remote areas.
Some guys participating in the Southern NJ buy move pickup truck loads of sacks back to the larger Philly region, easily a 90' drive each way, and beyond, for redistribution.
 
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IslandLizard

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Move the buy to VA, closer to Manassas,
What exactly are you envisioning there?
We buy through 3 Stars, it's delivered there, along with their own (regular) orders.

Since you mention Manassas, a few years ago we tried to work with Jay's Brewing as our supplier. But that turned into one of the largest fiascos known to man (and women) in group buy world.

Jay's grain selection and pricing was excellent at the time, so good that the few participants from the NOVA area could not see any reason to wait for the group buys to wrap up, then drive to wherever in the DC/Moco area for pickup. IOW they could order and buy sacks of grain at any time at Jay's for pretty much the same price as at our group buy, but without the long wait and extra driving to the distribution location.

For you NOVA guys and gals, there may well be much better alternatives than the DC area group buy.
 

IslandLizard

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However, it is extremely difficult, traffic wise, traveling to 3 Stars each time.
I hear you on that predicament.
Previous buy I was surprised that it only took me a mere 35 minutes to get to 3 Stars (from Pasadena). But almost 2 hours to get back. Just "driving" up Rte. 650 (New Hampshire) to get back to the NE side of I-495 took well over an hour! A total [email protected]

So yeah, in your direction it's probably only worse.
 
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mclardass

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From what I've seen, most group grain buys coordinated through the HBT forum only happen around once a year. They range in size from 1 to 4 pallets (e.g., Southern NJ) to "we don't screw around" megabuys of 10+ pallets (e.g., Chicago area).

A brewer friend organized one in Southern PA (York area) once a year and usually got 2 or more pallets. He took at least 10-12 sacks for himself each time, but there were many smaller order 1-4 sack participants too.

Very few group buys have organized splits, most don't, although you may split whatever you want, on the side.
Our group buy used to have very few splits too, before we started organizing/coordinating them. But the malt selection (from CMG) was much smaller too then, and we did need to order full pallets to make the shipping worth it at ~$300 a pallet.

So yup, we're really spoiled with the luxury we have now. How do we make best use of it without wearing out our welcome?
Let's discuss our options for the next buy.
Thanks for the perspective, we've been in the 1-3 pallet range so that may just be the realistic order which takes time to build. I'm still thinking about ordering on a schedule but it may take a larger pool of brewers to get there. I like the upside of a ~fixed pick-up date so we can actually plan brews and purchases in advance but it would also certainly limit splits (a big downside IMO).

As for NoVA buyers, you have my sympathies. Coming from SoMD poses different traffic issues but can be a slog, as well. As Peter suggested, maybe someone picks up and redistributes to the NoVA area to save everyone from the hassle. We have a good relationship with 3 Stars but understand it is not the most convenient location.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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What exactly are you envisioning there?
We buy through 3 Stars, it's delivered there, along with their own (regular) orders.

Since you mention Manassas, a few years ago we tried to work with Jay's Brewing as our supplier. But that turned into one of the largest fiascos known to man (and women) in group buy world.

Jay's grain selection and pricing was excellent at the time, so good that the few participants from the NOVA area could not see any reason to wait for the group buys to wrap up, then drive to wherever in the DC/Moco area for pickup. IOW they could order and buy sacks of grain at any time at Jay's for pretty much the same price as at our group buy, but without the long wait and extra driving to the distribution location.

For you NOVA guys and gals, there may well be much better alternatives than the DC area group buy.
Yes, Tony told me about Jays. I tried Jays twice. Both times were bad experiences. I will not frequent Jays again.

I envision finding a brewery around here and doing the same as what is done with 3 Stars. Had a possible lead as a friend worked at 2 Silos. Then, she quit.

Better alternatives than the DC area group buy? Please provide information.
 

IslandLizard

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Better alternatives than the DC area group buy? Please provide information.
I didn't mean to infer I have a better model lying around here for ya, ready to go.
It was merely a suggestion that if travel is cumbersome and a major deterrent, other pathways may be more attractive. As you said, perhaps through a brewery (connection), there are several in your area.
Maybe contact the NOVA homebrew club (they always come to MASHOUT) and see where they get their grain. From what I gather the members brew quite a bit.

Re: Jay's. From what I've heard Jay himself is a great guy and built a very decent business. That all went down the tubes when he put Derek in charge of the store without the needed oversight. There is no excuse to not phone in a prepaid 30+ sack order to the distributor... With a capable manager in charge that place can possibly bloom (again).
 

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What's the difference between melanodin and aromatic? I was thinking of getting a refill on melanodin but then I thought about it and realized I've never used aromatic at all.
 

hannibalmdq

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Started splits for Simpsons Med Crystal Split and Roast Barley.

Question, how is fullfillment on some of the lesser user maltzers? I see Swaen and Proximity on the list now. I know there use to be a lot of trouble getting Patagonian and Irish Malting Company fullfilled.
 
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We had three sacks of Proximity delivered at the last buy without issue, regional maltster so that may be the difference. 3 Stars does try multiple times to fulfill the order but, of course, they're at the mercy of the distributor.
 

IslandLizard

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3 Stars has closed the DC Homebrew Shop :(
That's sad. Any reasons why?

As a tack-on to the brewery I always thought of it being a brilliant idea. But I understand the expenses outweighing the revenue, even when considering intangibles.

I hope this doesn't change our game plan...
 
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mclardass

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From Harmony:

"Yes, unfortunately, you heard right, we made the difficult decision to close the homebrew shop on January 31st. We are selling through the last of our inventory and will be having a liquidation sale within the next week or two.

We definitely intend to maintain our relationships with the homebrew community though by continuing to do group buys, HB competitions, competition drop-off points and such. We are also keeping a few things in-stock in the taproom for convenience like 5# co2 tanks and a select few of the most popular yeast and hops.

Just let me know when folks are ready for the next group buy. I’m also happy to coordinate special orders if any members know of equipment, ingredients, etc. they’d like to get at the same time."

So, we'll continue the long slog to the next order as planned, cheers
 

hannibalmdq

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It's kind of them to continue the buy even as they shutter the shop. I have a feeling there's going to be some contraction of homebrew shop option in MD in the future month/years.
 

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+1 for the scheduled group buys. Something like Feb, June, and October could make sense seasonally. It might take a cycle to get into the full swing of things. Or even just twice, like March/September.

I try to plan out my next 3 or 4 brews, and frequently have some party or other event that I plan to brew a couple beers for. The uncertainty of whether any group buy will close makes its hard to rely on the group buy.

And then on the other end, I tend to over-buy because I'm not sure when the next one will be.

Not to take anything away from what we have now. I really appreciate the work you guys put in to keep this going.
 

claphamsa

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FYI 3 stars said they would keep some hops and basic yeast behind the bar for people...so its still usefull in a pinch. it was a breakeven at best...and stopped being worth the trouble.
 

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I added a couple sacks...but was unable to add choc malt...Ill try again later :)
Hi Stephen,

I looked it up and you were trying to join split 4 CRI1061. However you were putting in the product code in the “Pounds” field, which will not work. Put the split id (4) in the “To join an open split or to add to a split you already joined enter id” field, and put the pounds you need in the “Pounds” field, and it will work out.

I just tried it myself and was fine. You can see it in the log.

Cheers!
 
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peter78

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I just added a split and removed it and it works. You can see it in the log. Stephen I don’t know why it is not working for you. The only explanation I have, and it is what is showing in the admin log, is that you are putting invalid values in the fields...

Maybe my wording in the fields is not as clear...

If someone else can test as well and see if it works...
 

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Really sucks that the shop is closed. No more employee discount for yours truly, but really, I already miss chatting about beer with other home brewers when they came into the shop.

On another note, guess I'll be back in on the next buy. I haven't done it in a while, and I can't remember the URL. Can someone send it to me, either in a DM, or email?

Thanks in advance!

edit - found the URL in my history, but it looks like I need to be added again as a member. I sent an email to Tony asking to be let back in.

Thanks all!
 
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