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Messages - wtucker4

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Why do commercial brew kettles have lids?
« on: December 19, 2014, 02:14:18 PM »
Thanks, guys.  You have answered my question. :)

General Homebrew Discussion / Why do commercial brew kettles have lids?
« on: December 15, 2014, 12:09:11 PM »
I've been homebrewing for over 30 years, but I'm still learning.  All my education and information says you don't cover your brew kettle, in order that the bad stuff can evaporate.  But it just occurred to me that every brewery I've every visited has a top on its brew kettle.  Most of them are like an inverted funnel, and I assume they're feeding the evaporate up a smokestack to the outside.  So what is the purpose of this lid/funnel?  Does it contribute to some condensate falling back into the brew kettle?  Does bad stuff fall back into the kettle also?  It is to keep the brewery from becoming too hot and humid, or does it have some other purpose?  Should I partially cover my brew kettle?

I got the 7 gal Brew Bucket by SS Technologies last week.  I think it is a real bargain at the price.  I've been using a 15 gal plastic from Hobby Beverage for several years along with glass fermenters, so I'm in a position to make comparisons.  The only thing missing on the SS Tech Brew Bucket is a dump valve on the bottom, but I can live without that.  OK, there is no thermowell, but I stuck a fermentometer on  the side and it is reasonably accurate.  The quality of the workmanship is superb, and the rotating racking arm is clever but a bit short for my taste (I wish my Hobby Bev fermenter had one).  I have a beer fermenting in it right now, and I've used the racking arm to take samples for SG measurements (very convenient!).  So far, this thing is two thumbs up!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: English Beer Engine question
« on: November 16, 2013, 08:05:10 AM »
Thanks to both responders.  So apparently nothing is broken.  The pumps are working like they are supposed to, and I have to design or obtain some sort of breather mechanism to insure the pressure doesn't exceed 2-3 psi. 
I wonder how you keep a layer of CO2 on the beer to prevent oxidation if you use a wooden spile.

Kegging and Bottling / English Beer Engine question
« on: November 15, 2013, 05:20:33 PM »
I have two English beer engines/beer pumps (one is Hi-Gene and the other is Worthside).  After a lot of disassembly and repair they both work well, but if I attach them to a keg with more than 3-4 psi, the faucets drip.  Is this normal?  I realize that bitters are low-carbonation beers, and perhaps that is a designed way to tell you if you have too high a psi.  Or maybe I put them back together improperly, or there is some part not functioning properly?  Anyone have experience with beer engines who can help answer my questions?

Equipment and Software / Re: Reliability issue with Chest Freezer/Keezer
« on: August 24, 2012, 07:11:17 AM »
Thanks to all who responded for all the input and food for thought.  The message that came thru loud and clear that I have to reduce the cycling to prolong compressor life.  I can't do anything about the altitude (5300 ft), and I can't keep the keezer in the house.  So I will buy a new chest freezer and a new digital controller, and keep the sensor head in a gallon jug of water to act as a thermal buffer and reduce the frequency of cycling.  Now I just have to keep my eye on the sales to get the best bang fory buck.

Again, thanks for the help.

Equipment and Software / Re: Reliability issue with Chest Freezer/Keezer
« on: August 23, 2012, 02:58:02 PM »
We rarely get over 100.  I live in the mountains of southern AZ (Sierra Vista), only 5 miles from the border.

Equipment and Software / Re: Reliability issue with Chest Freezer/Keezer
« on: August 23, 2012, 02:56:12 PM »
I had one 6-head mushroom tap and two two-head taps, for a total of 10 taps mounted on the lid thru three holes which were well-insulated with spray insulation.  There were no cooling lines in the lid.

Equipment and Software / Reliability issue with Chest Freezer/Keezer
« on: August 23, 2012, 02:41:32 PM »
In the past 6 years I have had two 14 cu ft chest freezers, which I had converted to keezers, fail on me.  Admittedly I bought them at garage sales for <$50 each, but they were running and freezing well.  In each case I used my old Johnson Controls analog controller to keep the temperature 47-52 degrees, and in each case everything worked well for a year or so, then the freezer failed (stopped working).  So the question is:  did they die of old age, or is there something inherently destructive about running a freezer at refrigerator temperatures. Is my experience unique?  Am I doing something wrong?  I should note that I had them on a screened-in porch in southern Arizona, where the summer daytime temp can reach 95F (but its a dry heat!)
I'm really reluctant to buy a new freezer to convert to a keezer if using it this way will cause premature failure.

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