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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: enso on January 05, 2010, 10:19:15 PM

Title: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: enso on January 05, 2010, 10:19:15 PM
As we know there are hundreds of ways of doing all parts of the brewing process and everyone needs to find the methods/techniques that work best for them.  I have my brewing process fairly well set.  Except one step that alludes me yet...

Getting the beer from the boil kettle to the fermenter!  I believe in doing things the simplest most economical (okay cheapest) and effective that I can.  I have tried a few ways.  Pouring through a funnel with a screen and mesh bag (PITA!  :o), straight up regular racking/siphoning (tricky to get started and maintain),  autosiphon (easy to start and restart), autosiphon after whirlpooling and settling the trub "cone" (never quite works as advertised) all of which end inevitably with emergency sanitizing of the funnel/mesh bag and scooping and scraping the funnel screen to free the flow...

I have thought about adding a spigot to the kettle but it does not seem that it will solve the trub/hop sludge issues and only add cost.

What part of the brewing process has alluded you in terms of what works for you?  Did you finally find the solution?  Do you just grumble and bear it?

Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: beersk on January 05, 2010, 11:14:49 PM
What I do is sanitize a pitcher (ones that you make frozen juice or whatever in) and scoop out the wort and dump into fermenter through funnel until I can lift the boil kettle and pour the rest in.  Works well for me.  I have a StarSan solution in a spray bottle so I just spray down the inside and outside of the pitcher and wait a minute then go at it.
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on January 06, 2010, 12:30:33 AM
I have thought about adding a spigot to the kettle but it does not seem that it will solve the trub/hop sludge issues and only add cost.
Spigot is MUST have on brew kettle.
I have 10 gal kettle for 5 gal batches.
My kettle has about a gallon of dead space.

I start boiling with 8 gal and when I am done I have a little more then 6.5 gal.
Then chilling and whirlpooling.
After that let it sit in covered kettle for 30 min.
This is the time that all the hot break, hop matter and cold break settle to the bottom.

Then I drain kettle thru the spigot leaving all the trub in dead space ending up with 5.5 gal in fermenter.
Sorry for the lengthy answer.
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: Kaiser on January 06, 2010, 01:15:40 AM
Transferring to the fermenter was a pain during my first few batches. Like you I tried to use the funnel and screen approach to leave behind the trub and it just kept clogging.

Then I tried the wirlpooling thing and let the trub settle. And that's what I stuck with since.  Key here is not so much a good trub cone. They rarely form for me and these days I don't even whilpool anymore. No, key is brewing more than you need, letting the trub and some cold break settle. Than you can rack clear wort from the top.

The remaining 2-4 qt of wort and trub are filtered through a paper towel set in aforementioned funnel with screen. The wort is then frozen and used for starters or priming. No waste here.

These days I improved on that technique. After I chilled to about 60-70f I set the pot in a party tub with ice water that has been elevated. There it will continue to cool and settle at the same time. An hour later I come back to rack the clear 44 f wort into a carboy.

I don't like auto siphons. Too many parts. I use a racking cane and hose. The siphon gets started with a turkey baster. Squeeze the bulb, put the tip into the hose and release the bulb. The wort is now sucked into the hose and the siphon starts.

I hope that helps. It certainly made my brewing more enjoyable and I didn't buy any new gear even though I was close to buying a large strainer from a restaurant supply shop.

Kai 
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: bluesman on January 06, 2010, 02:15:21 AM
I have a spigot on my 15 gallon keggle that works really well. I use muslin bags with whole hops. After the boil I will let gravity pull the chilled wort through the spigot and into a strainer that has the filled hop bags placed into it. I will drain as much wort as I can over the filled muslin bags and through the strainer until I get to the trub at the bottom of the kettle (usually about a quart of trub) and stop.

I am currently in the process of building a Brutus 10 system which will change my process, but the current process works fine.
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: blatz on January 06, 2010, 03:15:38 PM
converted keg + spigot + bazooka T + whole hops = crystal clear wort into the fermenter.

I've never had an issue, unless I use >~50% of the hop bill as pellets
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: ndcube on January 06, 2010, 04:08:28 PM
I chill to 80F and rack everything into a carboy.  A course screen on my cane keeps out the whole hops which I squeeze the wort out of.

After the carboy settles its off to the fermentor to chill and pitch.
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: ndcube on January 06, 2010, 04:11:23 PM
I wish I had a better method of rousing yeast other than gently stirring.  I don't mind having the bucket open during the beginning of fermentation but towards the end it kind of bugs me.
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: denny on January 06, 2010, 04:24:59 PM
I wish I had a better method of rousing yeast other than gently stirring.  I don't mind having the bucket open during the beginning of fermentation but towards the end it kind of bugs me.

Actually, towards the end might be better, if infection is your worry.  By the end of fermentation, the low pH and alcohol content of the beer help make it more resistant to infection.
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: ndcube on January 06, 2010, 04:34:33 PM
I wish I had a better method of rousing yeast other than gently stirring.  I don't mind having the bucket open during the beginning of fermentation but towards the end it kind of bugs me.

Actually, towards the end might be better, if infection is your worry.  By the end of fermentation, the low pH and alcohol content of the beer help make it more resistant to infection.

I'm well past the fear of infection (until I get my first infected batch, I guess).  I'm still afraid of oxidation even though my batches don't come out oxidized.  I always wonder, how much rousing is too much?
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: enso on January 06, 2010, 05:31:48 PM
Transferring to the fermenter was a pain during my first few batches. Like you I tried to use the funnel and screen approach to leave behind the trub and it just kept clogging.

Then I tried the wirlpooling thing and let the trub settle. And that's what I stuck with since.  Key here is not so much a good trub cone. They rarely form for me and these days I don't even whilpool anymore. No, key is brewing more than you need, letting the trub and some cold break settle. Than you can rack clear wort from the top.

The remaining 2-4 qt of wort and trub are filtered through a paper towel set in aforementioned funnel with screen. The wort is then frozen and used for starters or priming. No waste here.

These days I improved on that technique. After I chilled to about 60-70f I set the pot in a party tub with ice water that has been elevated. There it will continue to cool and settle at the same time. An hour later I come back to rack the clear 44 f wort into a carboy.

I don't like auto siphons. Too many parts. I use a racking cane and hose. The siphon gets started with a turkey baster. Squeeze the bulb, put the tip into the hose and release the bulb. The wort is now sucked into the hose and the siphon starts.

I hope that helps. It certainly made my brewing more enjoyable and I didn't buy any new gear even though I was close to buying a large strainer from a restaurant supply shop.

Kai 

Hey Kai,

I actually learned of the whirlpooling technique from your write up.  Thought I was just not doing it right...  Thanks that does help.

Yes, I have considered bumping up the volume brewed and have to a degree.  I just need to push it a touch higher.  Right now I shoot for 7.25 gallons preboil and generally end up with 5.5-5.75 gallons.  I know that is a pretty high evaporation rate but it works for me I guess.  Guess I will shoot for 8 gallons as Thirsty monk suggests.  I do like the idea of having the extra wort for starters too.
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: enso on January 06, 2010, 05:32:51 PM
Anybody else have any parts of your brewing that just aren't as smooth as you want?
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: Kaiser on January 06, 2010, 06:17:27 PM
Right now I shoot for 7.25 gallons preboil and generally end up with 5.5-5.75 gallons.  I know that is a pretty high evaporation rate but it works for me I guess.

Just turn down the heat. You want to shoot for 10-15% boil-off/hr

[/quote]
Anybody else have any parts of your brewing that just aren't as smooth as you want?
[/quote]

I hate wort chilling. I’d like to set up a wort circulation system but for that I need to by a pump and possibly a kettle with spigot.

Kai
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: denny on January 06, 2010, 06:35:51 PM

I hate wort chilling. I’d like to set up a wort circulation system but for that I need to by a pump and possibly a kettle with spigot.

Kai


I spurned my cheap'n'easy tendencies a few months back and got a pump mainly for the purpose of recirculating chilling.  I'm beyond happy with that decision.
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: hamiltont on January 06, 2010, 06:51:53 PM

I hate wort chilling. I’d like to set up a wort circulation system but for that I need to by a pump and possibly a kettle with spigot.

Kai


I spurned my cheap'n'easy tendencies a few months back and got a pump mainly for the purpose of recirculating chilling.  I'm beyond happy with that decision.
  Man I gota do that.  Stirring the wort is my biggest PITA right now.  It would free up 20 minutes to get some other stuff done too!
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: roffenburger on January 06, 2010, 06:54:01 PM
My wife and I currently live in an apartment. Equipment storage is a serious issue, among other things. I have a quite large closet dedicated for brewing stuff, however, when I need something, a lot of the other "stuff" has to come out for me to get to it.

The city water supply sucks.

I have to mash in the kitchen or dining room when its really cold outside. I boil with a turkey fryer on a 5'x10' wooden deck that I'm not supposed to have a propane burner on. Chill in the kitchen with an adapter for the sink faucet.

I love brewing too much to let it slow me down, and I have to say that the quality of my beer has improved a TON since moving to all grain last March and reading, reading, reading.

We'll be moving soon--into a house---and I'll hopefully have room to spread out a bit!


About your trub waste in the kettle-
I have recently accepted that I am going to be throwing out some wort. You have to leave it behind somewhere and I figured I would leave it in the kettle instead of the primary. In the past I have dumped all the trub in the fermenter. I don't know what in my mindset happened, but there is something awesome about crystal clear wort going into the fermenter. I have upped my recipes a little to account for more waste. Pennies, maybe dollars more for cost...not much.
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: ndcube on January 06, 2010, 07:50:49 PM
I have upped my recipes a little to account for more waste. Pennies, maybe dollars more for cost...not much.

Yeah, but you get that cost back with more beer in your keg / bottles.
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: enso on January 07, 2010, 12:05:52 AM
Space can certainly be an issue.  Lack of or "too much" where everything is scattered here and there...

My water supply sucks as well.  Wicked chlorinated and yet it also smells like swamp water!  I solved that by getting my water from a spring.  There are several roadside natural springs around up here in VT/NH and the water is wonderful!  Essentially there is a spring that has been capped with a concrete cistern and it runs through pvc pipes down to the roadside with a catch basin.  I have no idea the mineral make-up and I am sure it probably changes throughout the year but it tastes excellent and makes fantastic beer.  I have thought about getting an analysis someday... just for kicks. I take a trip every now and then and fill every empty bucket, keg, or whatever vessel I have and collect 30-40 gallons.  A bit of effort but well worth it in my opinion.
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: enso on January 07, 2010, 12:07:57 AM
One problem I have with evaporation rate is that up here in the winter in an unheated garage the steam gets wicked and I can't really see how hard it is boiling.  Not to mention the dryness in the air (especially when it is sub zero) increases the evaporation.  Guess that is another item I need to work on!
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: onthekeg on January 08, 2010, 02:49:13 AM
Right now I shoot for 7.25 gallons preboil and generally end up with 5.5-5.75 gallons.  I know that is a pretty high evaporation rate but it works for me I guess.

Just turn down the heat. You want to shoot for 10-15% boil-off/hr

Anybody else have any parts of your brewing that just aren't as smooth as you want?
[/quote]

I hate wort chilling. I’d like to set up a wort circulation system but for that I need to by a pump and possibly a kettle with spigot.

Kai

Kai,
you can always try No chill once to see how you like it!
[/quote]
Title: Re: Finding what works for you (me)
Post by: Kaiser on January 08, 2010, 03:05:29 PM
you can always try No chill once to see how you like it!

I'm not fully on-board with that but may give it a try at some point just to see how it works. I'll also plan to try BIAB. The biggest problem with these techniques is that they require equipment which I don't have.

Kai