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Messages - yeastmaster

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Other Fermentables / Advice for yeast and honey amounts for mead
« on: December 10, 2015, 02:48:07 PM »
I am planning on making two 5 gallon batches of mead sometime in the near future.  I'd like to try two different yeasts.  I believe last time I did a mead I used 12# honey and D47 yeast and it came out very dry.  This time I would like to have a sweet and a semi-sweet or dry mead.  Does anyone have any recommendations for yeasts  and honey amounts (I have a large supply right now).  The last time I made a sweet mead I used Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead and it came out overly sweet (can't remember how much honey I used and it may have fermented cold), is that typically a problem with this yeast?


Equipment and Software / Re: Promash Status
« on: November 27, 2015, 01:57:45 AM »
I finally switched to BeerSmith a couple of years ago.  It took me some time to get used to it but I really like it now.  I like being able to use the phone app during my actual brewing.  I didn't realize that Promash worked on the newer operating systems.  I used to run it on a laptop with XP.  When I upgraded that laptop I couldn't install promash because I have it on old floppy discs and no longer have a drive for those.  If it ever does get re-released I'd love to give it a try again

Equipment and Software / Replacing burner on my old Camp Chef?
« on: November 27, 2015, 01:53:05 AM »
I have a Camp Chef burner and the burner is getting rusty and not burning well.  It needs to be replaced.  The current burner used by Camp Chef is rated at 60K BTU (my original is listed as 70K).  The only problem is that the shipping to me in Alaska is more than the cost of the burner.  I found the Bayou Classic BG10 burner on Amazon which I can get with prime shipping.  Does anyone know if this can be used/fit in the Cam Chef frame?  It looks like it is rated for 150K BTU, can the Camp Chef frame handle this?


you could convert your 10 gallon to a hot liquor tank and run a HERMS coil in that. Your mash would rest while you stop the pump and heat the water to sparge temp.

I frequently am brewing outside in well below zero temps.  I am planning to have my pump and as much of my lines in an insulated box.  I mash in a cooler and plan to build a 2 inch foam cover or sleeve to go over it.  I think it will be easier for me to put together a herms tube that is inside my insulated (and potentially heated) box vs maintaining a kettle at temp for an extended period of time. 

Of course if I would just build a space where I could brew indoors that would solve some problems......Tend to burn a lot of propane when it is 20 below!

I'm planning on sticking primarily with propane but would like to add a rims tube to the mash system so I can better regulate mash temps.  Eventually I might go all electric but I don't have a convenient 220 outlet where I brew right now.

I'm in the process of upgrading my system.  I currently have a 10 gal kettle with propane and a large cooler for doing infusion mashes and have used that for years.  I now have a 19 gallon kettle and a couple of kegs to play with along with a pump.  I'd like to start having more control over my mashes and was thinking a RIMS setup would work well for me.  I was wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction for instructions or plans on building a RIMS tube?  I also envision eventually building this out for some automation and would like to know where to get started on getting information for electronics for temperature control, etc.


Ingredients / Cacao Nibs in a porter?
« on: August 17, 2014, 10:49:17 PM »
What do folks recommend for using cacao nibs in a porter?  Boil?  Fermenter?  Keg?  Planning on doing a porter tomorrow and got a hold of some nibs today and not sure how best to use them.  Thanks!

All Grain Brewing / Re: cold-weather brewing
« on: March 05, 2014, 06:50:47 PM »
I brew in Fairbanks, Alaska, lots of cold weather brewing up here.  Winter is my biggest brewing season because in the summer there is so much other stuff to do it can be hard to find time to brew.  I boil and heat water outside.  I do an infusion mash in a cooler.  I usually carry the hot water inside and mash inside.  I sparge indoors and carry my wort back outside to boil.  After boil I bring the whole batch back in for chilling (37 degree well water  ;D).  I have no problem keeping my boil going at 20 or 25 below temperatures although I do blow through a lot more propane.  The only time I've run into issues with my propane was this winter when I was doing a Barleywine and was doing a 2 hour boil.  The propane tank started to freeze up and I had to swap it out for the one on the grill.

I've got the stainless to start doing 10 or 15 gallon batches but the way I have to carry all those hot liquids around 5 gallon batches are my limit.  I think I'm going to get my large system running for summer brewing.  I have some ideas for enclosing my brew space and getting a portable heater so I can do those large batches outside during the winter but haven't followed through on them yet.....

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry Yeast for English Style Barleywine?
« on: January 01, 2014, 05:18:11 PM »
Well I ended up going with S-04.  I ended up pitching 3 packs into my wort with an OG of 1.100 (a couple of the packs were old so I wanted to make sure I had good viable yeast).  Took it from 1.100 to 1.018 in 7 days!  Tasting a little hot right now but I imagine that will mellow with age.  Tastes like good barleywine underneath the alcohol heat.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dealing With Non-Homebrewers
« on: December 11, 2013, 01:28:36 PM »
I share freely with my guests and expect nothing in return. When I go to their house I bring enough homebrew to share. When I attend a party I'm the guy who shows up with a keg or two. When my club has an event they can always count on me to bring a keg. I don't keep score and never expect anything in return. I brew often and always have a steady supply so I share what I can. Homebrewers are kind, generous, and cool.

I few weeks ago I sort of crashed a party, but since I brought a keg of homebrew I was pretty well recieved!   ;D

Equipment and Software / Re: Winter Fermentation Chamber
« on: December 11, 2013, 12:05:15 PM »
I'd like to discuss an idea for a temperature controlled fermentation chamber. Would it be possible/worthwhile to use the cold winter air to cool an insulated indoor box for the purpose of controlling fermentation temperatures? I envision a simple duct between the chamber and outside with an inline fan, controlled by an electronic temperature controller, and some type of flap to prevent air movement unless the fan is on.
In the bigger picture, why can't we use cold outside air for our refrigeration needs on our kegerators and even household fridges? Just imagine how much energy this could save if implemented on a global scale anywhere there's a cold winter!
It just seems like some kind of massive collective insanity to me to use precious energy to cool a space inside of a heated space in winter!
I'm sure it has been done. My big ideas usually turn out to have been already thought up by someone else.

I've definitely thought about that but haven't wanted to put the hole in my wall.  My thoughts are to build an insulated box like a "Son of a Fermentation Chiller" or one of the various versions with a fermentation chamber and then some sort of baffled cold air chamber connected to the outside world with a flapper to keep the cold air from blowing in when it wasn't called for and a fan to push it in when needed.  I think the exact design depends on how much of a temperature differential you are talking about.  In places with extreme cold it would be important to make sure there is a good seal between the fermentation side and the cold side so you do not inadvertently freeze your beer :0

Equipment and Software / Re: Counterflow chiller questions
« on: December 11, 2013, 11:50:17 AM »
I'm jealous of 40 degree chilling water.

That definitely helps a lot.  You probably wouldn't be jealous of me when I'm blowing through propane keeping my boil kettle going in 20-40 below weather!

Equipment and Software / Re: Counterflow chiller questions
« on: December 10, 2013, 03:25:14 PM »
Interesting to read everyone's comments.  My ground water is probably around 40 degrees so I can cool a 5 gallon batch down to 68 degrees fairly quickly (maybe 20-25 minutes).  I usually go agitate my IC every 5 minutes or so.  I wonder if adding some sort of motorized stirrer would work.  Has anyone ever built one?  Is hot side aeration an issue if trying to do something like this.  It would be nice to have something to get a whirlpool in my kettle to try and get some of the trub from getting out into the fermenter.

Equipment and Software / Counterflow chiller questions
« on: December 09, 2013, 12:46:04 AM »
I'm thinking about making or buying a counterflow chiller.  I currently do 5 gallon batches in a 10 gallon kettle (although next year I may move up to a 10 gallon system).  I am currently using a 25 foot immersion chiller and can get the temp to drop pretty quickly if I agitate the chiller as it sits in the wort.

A couple of questions about counterflow chillers.  Is 20-25 feet of copper tubing enough?  How do you separate out the cold break?  Theoretically I am leaving my cold break behind in my kettle when I am using an immersion chiller but it seems to me the break is forming as you chill in the counterflow chiller and will just go into the fermenter.  Is that a problem?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry Yeast for English Style Barleywine?
« on: December 08, 2013, 10:59:24 PM »
I like S-04 in a lot of English styles.  It is a champ in terms of working hard and dropping out when done....

A big +1 here on that.  I'm a dyed-in-the-wool liquid yeast devotee.
That said, S-04 has never disappointed me when doing a last minute, impulsive brew with no time to 'grow up' my preferred house yeast.
Ans it's great through multiple repitches as well.  I've even repitched S-04 yeast from a barleywine ferment into a mild ale ferment with no issues whatsoever.

I used to pretty much exclusively use liquid yeast as well.  Been switching back to dried yeast for the past couple of years.  My access to viable liquid yeast is somewhat questionable where I live.  I used to have quite a collection of cultures but I started finding it too time consuming to keep up with culture maintenance and getting my cultures started ahead of time.  I'd like to get my culture ranch started again at some point and get culture samples into the deep freeze so I don't have to worry about reculturing them, etc.  Next time I take a trip down to the States (I'm in Alaska) I might have to pick up a couple of fresh cultures to bring back with me.  For now I've been enjoying how easy dried yeast has been.

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