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Messages - wingnut

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Equipment and Software / Re: Speidel spigot sanitation
« on: Today at 06:03:20 AM »
One is that if you've ever had a spigot fail you'll find that one accident wipes out any convenience you ever gained. Two is that there is no way of knowing that the thing stayed sanitized during the long wait for the beer to finish. The tiniest leak, even just one drop, creates a petri dish that your beer has to flow over on its way to the keg or bottling bucket. I don't like them, so I don't use them.

Same here. I had a run of 4 batches many years back when I was using a bottleing bucket where all the beers just went south quick.    (competition wise I went from 38/42 to 28 scores...)  I finally traced it back to the spout of the bottleing bucket where beer had accumulated over time between in the pressed fit clear plastic/red plastic valve.  When I finally thought to try and take it appart, I found mold and gunk in it...   From that experience,  I bought 4 new valves and considered them single use.  Later that year (scarred for life  ;D) I switched to kegging.

I for one am very anti valve... unless you can take them appart and clean them!

Pimp My System / Re: Help with direct fired automation 1.5 bbl system
« on: February 09, 2016, 05:54:50 AM »
It is likely going to take more parts.

Advice on the existing system....

A second option, is to get a grill piezeo ignitor.  (battery or push button) and place the spark in a spot where it will ignite the gas.  I did this option for a couple years before the pilot.  (your 24v  ignitor may be essentially the same) .  I found positioning the spark and fixing it firmly to be key... changes in spark gap or dripping on it can effect it's performance.

Also, at 30psi, you may have to start with reduced flow to start with, or you will blow the flame out before it fully ignites the burner.  The spark just wont be able to get things going fast enough before the propane blows it out.   

If you are looking to use the PID and automatically start the unit, what I have settled on is using a Honeywell or other safety burner controller. (comonly used for water heaters, fireplaces...) It will prevent you from running the gas if the pilot is out, and it will also provide you with a standing pilot without all the ball valves and tees.  They take 24VAC to run, but you may have that already.  If not, a doorbell power transformer is usualy good enough to power it.      You will need to run the start signal of the Honeywell to the contacts on your PID (it will be a 24VAC signal )

You will also need to get the propane conversion in some cases for the Honeywell.  It will allow the Honeywell to operate at the higher pressures of Propane vs Natural gas.  (check e-bay... they usually have these gas safety valves and propane conversion kits)

It gets a bit pricy, but it is much safer than just wishing the pilot stays on, and the peace of mind is well worth doing it right!   

I started with a cobbled system, and wound up going this route, and am much happier.  A few extra dollars and the valve is much safter and better than anything I cobbled together out of parts.

Good luck!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: kegerator drilling question
« on: February 09, 2016, 05:28:31 AM »
Like Mainebrewer says, most likely on a dorm fridge, the coils are not in the walls of the unit.  However, sometimes, the tubes to the coils are in the walls.  It always pays to carefully look at the compressor, follow the tubes and have a pretty good idea of where the tubes go before cutting.

For extra insurance,  run the unit with the door open for 10 minutes, and use a lazer temperature gauge to locate spots that are hot or cold in the wall.  (inside and out).    If there is a local spot that is hotter than the surrounding area, or colder than the surrouinding area, then you likely have a tube going from the compressor to the coils in that spot. 

Once you are pretty sure there is nothing in the spot you want to drill, like Jim says, do a carful first cut, then poke at the insulation with a paperclip or cut it out caefully.

If you have a plastic wall on the inside, some people heat up a paperclip to "red hot"and melt through the plastic to get to the insulation and probe that way.  (reduced risk of cutting a line)

As an extra note: on full sized fridges/freezers, it is common to have the hot lines rout to the door opening to prevent condendation and posibly frost... so be extra careful on those! 

Equipment and Software / Re: Natural Gas
« on: February 04, 2016, 08:58:43 PM »
1/2 inch is plenty.  good for two burners

Equipment and Software / Re: The Beer Bug?
« on: January 25, 2016, 12:41:18 PM »
I have been using one for almost three years now, and really like it. 

Customer service has been very good (even got an email reply day after christmas).

It is pretty easy to use and I for one... really like being able to check on my beers while I am away... really helps in timing when to allow the temps to free-rise based on gravity.

Overall, I think I just love being able to check on it without opening the fermenter, and also being able to do it while I am checking E-mails on my phone (for the umptheenth time that day)

It is a toy, and not something I would buy as a means to make my beer better, but it has upped the amount of enjoyment I get out of brewing.

I guess the best way to rate it... if my beer bug died today, I would have one in the mail in the next few weeks.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg PSI
« on: December 31, 2015, 06:57:53 AM »
I recall in some of my older books, people putting schrader valves on a bottle cap so they could test if their naturally carbonated bottles were carbonated.  They would install a valve on a plastic bottle with a screw cap, and test the bottle with their tire gauge...

Sound like the same deal... but with a bit biger bottle.    ;D

You could install something like this in all your lids and then just touch each one with a tire gauge.

(there are threaded versions as well)

The lower tech way I have been doing it is just connect up the kegs to a CO2 tank at pressure and see if there is any inrush sound. 

Good luck!

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Specialty Grains Life Shelf? 3+ years
« on: December 30, 2015, 07:59:09 PM »
I sometimes use specialty grains that are "old".   I usually chew a few kernals of grain to make sure they are not mealy.  Crystal malt should have a hard texture, if it breaks easy in your teeth and has a kind of dry oat meal texture, I would not use it.  Otherwise, if the texture is good (and the flavor is good) I say use it.

I have had some malt that got humid... and I tossed it due to it having the funny texture.   

Good luck!

Equipment and Software / Re: Replacing burner on my old Camp Chef?
« on: November 27, 2015, 05:09:43 PM »
I replaced my 60BTU burner with a BG14 a few years back (and switched to natural gas).

The burner I had originally, bolted to a cross brace piece.   So a single bolt on the bottome of the burner was how it was mounted.

The BG14 had 4 threaded holes on the side of the burner, and used 1/4 20 bolts to  mount it.   I wound up just getting some long bolts and cut them to size, and drilled the bolts thru the legs of the burner into the new burner.  It worked great.

I would suggest looking if it is side or bottom threaded, and then deciding if you can modify your stand accordingly. 

Good luck!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Anyone share this issue with pin lock QDs?
« on: November 24, 2015, 05:58:29 AM »
I had the same issue when I first set up my kegs many years ago.  I found that the post O-Rings I had purchased wer not the correct thickness.  I forget if there is a difference between ball lock and pin lock post o-rings.  (once I found the correct size, I bought a bag of them and have had an "infinate" supply ever since)

My bag of 100 says "70 Buna size 112"  I picked up a bag of 100 for pretty cheap and do not regret having them handy.

Once I installed those... I am probably on 4 years or so on my kegs without leaks.

The only issue I have is with old poppits that spray when I pull off a QD.  I have been replacing those as I rotate through my kegs this year, and have found that the universal poppets work well.  (I have a number of styles of pin lock kegs..each with different poppet styles... so the "one size fits all" has been a god send)

Good luck!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sanitizer Comparison
« on: November 08, 2015, 09:04:37 AM »
Neat experiment.  And really nice that you shared the findings... motivational and informative!   (although, the results are somewhat surprising for the iodophor)   I wonder if the spore characterisitcs of the samples you took allowed the bacteria to wait out the sanitizers?   

I know what Star San does to my hands after using it without gloves for long periods of time... so I suspect it is somewhat effective on spores... iodophor and Ethanol.... not so sure about them.


Your plating idea has kind of cemented an idea I had to evaluate the cleaning practices in the brewery.  .... Take some beer / wort samples and streak plates to evalute the resultant colony formation.   

... so that brings me up to a couple questions that you may be able to help me with...
1.) Where did you source your plates?   I just started looking into making plates and I think having pre-poured plates would be a better starting point as I work through the mechanics.  (kind of like doing extract before all grain to get the basics down)  I know there are diferent agar solutions depending on what you are after, but finding a set of pre-poured plates would be a good way to get started into this practice.

2.) Is there any recomendations on a microscope to obtain?  (I have scoured the forums and not seen information on exactly what magnification is adequate for evaluating bacteria vs yeast... seems like the info I find is more geared toward cell counts.  Any places to read or articles to scoop up would be great)

Thanks again for the info!

Equipment and Software / Re: Counter top RO, not so RO
« on: September 16, 2015, 07:03:41 PM »
When I use mine, the first slug of water out the faucet has a higher PPM than you would expect.  After a few seconds, I measure again and it is back down where you would expect.

If it is not getting where you expect after running for a minute or two then yeah, something is not operating correctly.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lager Fermentations
« on: September 04, 2015, 04:56:16 AM »
I have tried to over pitch into lagers, and have not been able to do so.  I have put 4 to 5 times the recommened amount from Mr Malty... and had no ill effects with lagers.  (my method was to brew three batches of the same recipe in series, using the yeast cake for the next.  Measured in a beaker... and dumped in the next.  I was looking to find out how much was too much, but when I hit over 4x the first batch... and there were no differences we could make out... I figured that was enough)

However, you can certainly under pitch.  If you go half of what Mr Malty says, I think the lagers come out with noticeable differences.  (fruitier/ale like, more sulfur, and took longer to clear)

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP001 Starter Lag Time
« on: September 04, 2015, 04:43:57 AM »
after sitting for a long time, it ususally takes 24 to 48 hours for the yeast to work through the lag phase.  The 10 fold step up also takes a while as the yeast have to multiply (the lag phase) before active fermentation is visible. 

Note: if after 48 hours you have not seen active fermentation, take a gravity reading.  I have sometimes had starters on the stir plate that nevery throw a foamy head... they just ferment out to 1.012... with no visible signs. 

Glad to hear things kicked off for you, and it is another reason I always like to make a starter before pitching.  The yeast will startup much faster in the beer now, and you KNOW you have active yeast!

Enjoy your brewday!

Equipment and Software / Re: ph meter
« on: September 02, 2015, 03:51:43 PM »
I use a similar model.. it is 0.05 accurate instead of 0.1.  It works good with no complaints.

When you buy it, buy some calibration solution (4.01 is the one I use) to calibrate the meter before each brew session.

Also, keep in mind that with a precison of 0.1, when you read 5.3 on the meter, it might be 5.2 or 5.4 or anywhere in between.  To be honest, it is likely not a huge issue to be 0.1 off.  However, I bought the model that is 0.05 accurate so that I was within a point of the reading.  Compared to strips... it is a huge step forward in repeatability.   

I also bought one of these as a backup a while back.  THe price is sure right!

Equipment and Software / Re: Punching powder coated steel?
« on: September 02, 2015, 06:50:20 AM »
i work with powder coated electrical panels for a living.  We use tape over the hole (masking tape) and put the cup on the inside of the panel door.  The minimal chipping has always been to minor to note.  (until this post, I never even thought about it) (Keep in mind that nema rated panels usully have devices that are installed with a rubber gasket... so they more than cover up any tiny chips that may occure right at the cutting point of the punches)

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