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Messages - rgnlkngtylrbmbstk

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP 670 not fermenting?
« on: August 27, 2013, 10:11:40 PM »
In regards to making a starter, I was under the impression white labs had enough viable cells to pitch directly into the wort?

If you do the math, 5g of 1.059 would love to see 200 billion cells, that's two vials coming from the lab on day one.
If your vial is two months old, it's at 60% at best, which means you have less than a third of the ideal yeast pitch. I've had plenty of success going with about 2/3 the George Fix number, or even less depending on the circumstances. More yeast growth will give a different profile, so you have to think of what you're after.
The best thing about a starter is that you have fresh yeast every time, completely beside the cell count.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keezer Issues
« on: August 27, 2013, 07:33:51 PM »
Yep, it can be very frustrating.
Make sure you're opening the valve on the tank all way tight.
If it's leaking, you should be able to find it. Look everywhere three times. Start at the tank valve and go all the way to the entire keg lid (posts, relief, main seal, etc.) Everywhere there's a connection. The entire manifold. If you don't have hose clamps on each side of all of your tubing then do that.

For the gas-to-manifold, you just need a 1/4" FFL swivel nut and 5/16" barb, hose clamps on both ends.

Thanks guys. I've unplugged it a number of times. Condensing coils are clear, but that back panel that should be in front of it (back of the normal freezer wall) has been removed, and I'm wondering if the fan blowing straight out into the whole fridge chamber rather than being forced across the coils are making the ice build up. It only happens right at the inlet of the coolant, possibly blocking further freon flow? Also the defrost heater is on the bottom of the coils, thinking the lack of forced air flow is keeping it from doing much to the coils themselves, certainly nothing all the way in the top right where the buildup is.
I was considering replacing the defrost thermostat, but maybe I just need to get a piece of FRP or something stuck up against it similar to how it was designed, see if that fixes it.

I would be scared to add sugar to a beer that went from 62 to 05!
Balance is more important than numbers, ya know....

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Beer Gun w/ highly carbbed beers...
« on: May 14, 2012, 04:49:36 AM »
Yup. It's a simple matter of resistance. The 10' of 3/16" ID hose is designed to absorb the pressure from the CO2 in solution, so that the beer coming out of the bottle is under fairly low pressure. For higher-than-normal carbonation more beer line (or beer line with higher resistance) is in order. One other tip not mentioned is that breakout inline is unavoidable; try to line your (cold and dry) bottles up and have an assistant to cap as you go. Keeping the beer flowing will greatly reduce the foam from breakout - worse the more line you use.
I haven't tried it myself, but it would be awesome to see someone's experience using less length of a higher resistance versus a long line.

I didn't peruse the entire thread, but if it hasn't been mentioned, somewhere around 2 hours into a boil you run the risk of redissolving the hot break. That may be a good thing for long-aged brews like the big Scottish beers, but in general it seems like fodder for infection.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Nitro bottling
« on: May 14, 2012, 12:50:08 AM »
If all you need is serving pressure, get a rubber stopper with two holes (I think #3 works for bottles) and put a blowtube in one hole, that reaches the bottom of the bottle. The second hole has a restrictor of some sort (e.g. modified bottle filler?) so that when you decap, insert tube and fix stopper, turn upside-down and blow, the beer is "shot" into the glass.

Alternately, we could avoid the reverse reverse engineering and enjoy a low-carbonated ale as it is. Pour aggressively for more foam.

Kegging and Bottling / kegorator (fridge/freezer) defrost problems
« on: May 14, 2012, 12:35:59 AM »
I have a fairly big kitchen fridge/freezer given to me years ago, so I'm guessing circa late 90's or early 00's.
I cut the divider between top and bottom, and gutted the plastic housings. It's worked great for about a year and a half, holding 11 kegs (9 taps) and running ~40° with a 2° swing, garage temps. Lately the it's running at about 52-56 and the inlet of the condenser coils has been building a blob of ice that won't go away on its own. In a normal setting this would indicate a problem for a professional, but I'm wondering if it's simply that I've taken the back of the freezer off, and now the "heat rises" function of the defrost won't get to the part that is freezing up.
Anybody know fridges and can help me diagnose? I know things happen, and as old as it is it may just be time to let 'er go, but I'd rather fix it!

All Grain Brewing / Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« on: February 20, 2012, 09:41:52 PM »
No wonder I spend so much on propane!

And I think this gets to the heart of it. Why are we trying for such high efficiencies? Going from 75% efficiency to 65%  amounts to a pound and a half of base malt in a 5g batch, something like $2. Less than 4 cents a bottle. There is certainly evidence that lower lauter efficiency can give better beer.

I'm guilty as anyone for trying to improve efficiencies, but it's because I enjoy it. It just ain't a problem in the real world.

All Grain Brewing / Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« on: February 13, 2012, 06:26:52 PM »
It seems what I said wasn't very clear, but maybe others have clarified it.
Repo, you get how the extract efficiency is very tied to runoff efficiency and that is tied to how close you can get to 1.012 SG or whatever your normal cutoff is. More grain needs more rinsing, simple. Maybe your system has a quirk we could all learn from. Can you give us the mash weight, preboil/postboil volume and OG of a couple of different-strength recent brews?

All Grain Brewing / Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« on: February 01, 2012, 06:30:12 AM »
Your initial runoff ought to give you about the same efficiency for a given liquor:grist ratio. What happens after that is where it changes:
10# of grain with 13qt of liquor will give you something like 2g of runoff.
20# in 26qt will give you about 4g of runoff.
If you want a 6.5g preboil, you get to run 4.5 gallons through that first mash, but only 2.5g through the second.

There is no way in hell to get the same efficiency. But if you take the same pound-to-preboil rate, and pull 13g preboil, and boil the hell out of it, you ought to be close to the same extraction rate as the smaller mash.
Make sense?

All Grain Brewing / Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« on: January 30, 2012, 05:55:40 PM »
Definitely calibrate everything so your data means something.
If you want to see your mash efficiency, simply measure your grains carefully and your mash liquor, then take a gravity reading before adding any sparge water. That will help narrow down any pH issues.
If you want to see your lauter efficiency, measure your runoff volume carefully and take a gravity reading. That will isolate mashtun deadspace and channeling issues (unless you batch sparge, which doesn't allow channeling.)
Also keep in mind that the bigger the mash in relation to preboil, the lower your efficiency must be.
If I have a 10# mash and collect 7g preboil for a 5g batch, that gives me 40% more volume for rinsing. You have 8g for 6g batch, 30% more, and you're using almost twice the grains. In theory if your "rinsing power," i.e., the volume preboil:postboil factor for a given weight of mash, stays the same your efficiencies should be pretty similar. That would mean if I can get 1.050 from 10# with a 7g preboil, I should be able to get about 1.100 from 20# pulling 14g preboil. In practice, there is a curve — not to mention the point of diminishing returns — but it should illustrate why I recommend "working out your mash efficiency" on normal-strength beers and then taking what you get on the big ones, keeping enough notes to know what to expect.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: serving pressure
« on: January 30, 2012, 05:36:03 PM »
Re-reading your post, it sure sounds like you don't have enough resistance. Just to be clear, you aren't simply looking for X feet of y-diameter tubing. You need a particular amount of resistance, to bring your pressure down from 11 in the keg to about 2psi at the faucet. So the length of line is a matter of its resistance value, not how big of a hole you're sending the beer through.
Do you know much about the serving line? Brand name and ID/OD would help.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: serving pressure
« on: January 30, 2012, 05:33:27 PM »
I've been having trouble with my serving pressure.
Did you get the pour you were looking for?
I have to say just increasing the resistance probably won't get what you're looking for. There's a sweet spot that keeps CO2 in solution throughout the serving line, and when the pressure drops below that you get "breakout" which will make your beer come out slow and foamy instead of fast and foamy. It can be maddening if you aren't aware of what's happening.

The tube on the end ought to be about 1/4" ID if I recall, which is bigger than your serving line, right? Was the faucet new when you got it? Have you taken the faucet apart? It's kind of tricky to get the side pieces lined up to go back together, so watch what you're doing when you disassemble. Make sure there are no obviously damaged pieces, anything that would make a bunch of turbulence as the beer goes through. If you haven't already, try pulling it wide open to pour, and shut it off somewhat abruptly, see if that changes the pint. I think they're really cool looking, so hopefully you can get yours working well. I had one for a while that wouldn't stop leaking so I gave up on it.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« on: January 30, 2012, 05:17:36 PM »
I bottled my first batch of beer about a week and a half ago.
Some slight carbonation has formed, but disappointingly little.
This sounds perfectly normal. I almost always have to try one after two weeks for fun, but three weeks at 70 is de rigeur. I have heard of people seeing full carbonation in even five days (yeast strain, temperature..?), but that's not my experience. Also, I recommend you put a bottle in the fridge overnight before opening, so that the pressure built up in the headspace has time to equalize, dissolving the CO2 into the beer.

A while back, a friend and I each weighed six different "3/4 cups dextrose" and the weights varied so much more wildly than I suspected it would. If you can afford a small scale (~$20?) you can dial your carbonation in much better for a given beer.

Let's look at a worst-case scenario:
You actually made 5.2g of ale, which with 12oz water for priming makes right at 6g, and that 3/4 cup weighed 4.2 oz instead of five, now you have about 2 gravity points instead of the wanted 2.6ish, depending on style. The best you can hope for then is ~75% of the carbonation you wanted (keeping in mind that somewhere around 33% is what we call "flat English beer"), so that "slight carbonation" you're getting, in some cases would be as much as you'll get.

Anyway, just give this one another week, chill and you probably have the carbonation you're going to get, assuming this wasn't a high-gravity beer. I bet it'll be fine. Maybe even great.

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