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Messages - Richard

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Yes, a 10-gallon kettle is a bit limiting for 5 gallon BIAB batches, but not too bad. I can handle 13 lbs of grain and can get OGs in the range 1.050 - 1.060, so not exactly session beers. For stronger beers I either add some extract after the mash or I mash with less than the full volume of water and top up the kettle after pulling the grains.

I do 5 gallon batches using BIAB, so I need a 10 gallon kettle to hold 8 gallons of water plus grain. I got this one: on sale at Christmas a couple of years ago. Not the highest quality, but perfectly adequate for me and I am happy with it. I added a Blichman electric coil to it myself, which was easier than I thought it would be. Now I can brew inside, right next to the sink, in any weather.

Also, if  you are going to use a ball valve I would strongly recommend a valve that can be fully disassembled for cleaning. Every time I take mine apart for cleaning I am surprised at how much stuff has managed to survive all the flushing and rinsing and stay in the hidden regions off to the side of the ball, around the handle, etc.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Optimizing yeast starters.
« on: July 14, 2018, 04:55:34 AM »
I read it, and I am sure that your scheme will work well, but it seems like overkill for most people. I didn't comment because all I have to add is my personal opinion about whether the extra effort is worth it or not.

I agree with Jim. Also, if you are going to spend a lot of money on a kettle, make sure you won't be itching to replace it within a year. I started with a small stovetop kettle for partial mash and extract brews and quickly wanted to upgrade. It was less than $50, but it is now sitting unused. I eventually purchased a 10 gallon kettle on sale for $49 and added an electric element myself. I saved hundreds of dollars and have been using that happily for a couple of years. Think carefully before dropping a lot of bucks on equipment and make sure that what you buy today will work for you next year.

Another way to reduce cost is to buy in bulk. I used to buy 1lb at a time when I was starting off, then 4lbs, now 8lbs. Maybe one day I will work up to 50lbs. I also shop those chemicals on amazon because they are widely used.

Today's prices for 5 lbs of ABW:
Amazon: $42.99
MoreBeer: 29.99

Big difference! I didn't search all suppliers, so there may be even lower prices out there. It is worth looking around.

The Pub / Re: It was only a matter of time
« on: July 09, 2018, 09:42:49 PM »
Use a black light?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: "watery beer"
« on: June 11, 2018, 04:57:11 AM »
For today's brew, I pulsed my boil heater 20 secs on / 40 secs off, circulated the wort, and had the lid on about 3/4 of the way. I'm happy to report that I only had about 11% evaporation loss, which is a far cry from 25%. I have a pulse circuit designed, but I'm wondering if it makes more sense to buy another thermocouple and use the PID instead?

There's no reason to use a PID during the boil. During the mash, yes, to maintain the right temperature and overcome heat losses. The temperature differences during a full-power vs a reduced power boil are very small (1-2 F), so the tuning of a PID would be very tricky. You really just need a power or duty cycle controller during the boil. Try a couple of batches (or just experiment with water) and you will soon figure out what duty cycle gives you the boiloff you want.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: "watery beer"
« on: June 06, 2018, 01:50:12 AM »
Thanks, I'm glad we get to benefit from Martin's research.  And yeah, 4% is tricky (and I still get more like 5-6 if I'm not careful with the burner level;) I was stuck at 10% for quite a while.  But I saw your question on a new thread, there is more to it.

For a small-batch brewer it is hard to achieve 4% - 6%. For boiling in larger vessels, the decrease in surface area to volume ratio should make it easier to achieve lower boiloff rates. For commercial brewers this is a matter of economy because the energy costs money, regardless of whether it produces a better beer. I have been able to reduce my boiloff to 7% - 8% with my electric kettle, but attempts go go lower have produced anemic circulation so i am going to stick with what I have now.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: My Kingdom For a Good Bottling Wand!
« on: June 02, 2018, 01:59:15 AM »
Only works if you have a keg...

Kegging and Bottling / Re: My Kingdom For a Good Bottling Wand!
« on: June 01, 2018, 02:43:33 PM »
The spring can get compressed so it doesn't have enough force to close hard enough to make a good seal. Take the thing apart and clean it, making sure that the sealing surfaces are clean and smooth. Stretch the spring apart to elongate it and put it all back together, making sure to push the end cap all the way onto the tube as far as you can get it. This can work for a few times, but eventually the spring gets weak and needs to be replaced.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP028 krausen won't fall
« on: May 31, 2018, 04:49:47 PM »
Thanks for the input. I have used WY1332 several times and it usually clears slowly between days 6 and 10, but it does have a persistent gooey layer. The current batch is in a carboy with a spigot at the bottom, so I am going to cool it down to 34 for a few days, then drain it out from the bottom. I'm not sure I could go in from the top and scrape it off.

Yeast and Fermentation / WLP028 krausen won't fall
« on: May 31, 2018, 03:03:31 PM »
I am brewing a Scottish Ale with WLP028 Edinbugh Ale Yeast, and the krausen isn't falling. The gravity dropped to 1.017 (right on target for FG) within 5 days, and there was a 3" - 4" layer of "gooey" krausen on top at the peak of fermentation. There has been no noticeable airlock activity or change in gravity in the following 5 days. The krausen has thinned to about 1/2", but it is still covering the whole surface. I bumped the temperature up from 67 to 70 on day 7, but three days later there is no change. I am now running the temperature down to 60 to see if that will encourage the krausen to drop out. Anything else I can do other that wait it out? Is this typical behavior for this yeast?

Beer Recipes / Re: Any Recipe Tweak Ideas?
« on: May 31, 2018, 02:55:51 PM »
I like a fair amount of Munich malt in my amber ale. You could use Munich DME instead of some or all of the amber DME. You could also try a different yeast to get more flavor, like WLP041 Pacific Ale Yeast or WY1332 Northwest Ale Yeast. I don't like hoppy amber ales, so I would leave the hops alone.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: One for the physics gurus...
« on: May 15, 2018, 02:28:26 PM »
Putting a fan on it will help, but it will still likely take hours to get within 2 degrees of ambient. Those last few degrees are slow.

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