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Messages - hike20

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1
Equipment and Software / Re: Tilt Bluetooth floating hydrometer
« on: April 06, 2017, 08:26:52 AM »
Co2 bubbles
Yep.  Gravity is now reading 1.070 after 24 hours.  The guide says the Tilt should not be greatly influenced by CO2 bubbles, but it looks like it is.  We'll see if this settles out in a day or two, or if it only reads true once activity slows.

Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

I'd talk to the guy who makes these. He's good with standing by his product. I've never had my readings go up after pitching yeast, much less 10+ points. Usually I see a slight drop at pitch because I always have a little starter wort that goes in with the yeast.  The first Tilt I bought started giving me weird readings and they replaced it for me without a hassle.

The temperature reading lags behind because the sensor is inside of a container with air in it. But over time I have found it to be pretty close to if not dead on. Certainly close enough for the ramps I do.

2
Equipment and Software / Re: Picobrew Zymatic
« on: April 06, 2017, 08:11:08 AM »
For me, my Zymatic has really reinvigorated my brewing. After homebrewing for 6 years or so, I had started to get burned out and wasn't brewing as often. My system had become more and more complicated over the years and it became kind of a drag to get out all the equipment, set it all up and brew. I couldn't brew indoors with my propane fired setup, and winters are cold here in Iowa. Finding the time was also an issue as I had to be near by through the whole process.

Now I can brew indoors on a very compact and easy to setup system that I don't have to babysit. The repeatability and step mashing options really let me be as creative as I want with recipes and process. The real fun for me now is crafting recipes and trying new things to see what differences they create. Time is much less of an issue now since I can get a lot of other things done while I brew.

Price is a relative thing, so whether it's worth it to you or not is the question. Personally, I think the amount of work that went into the design and the support they provide (the have responsive tech support available even on weekends) makes it worth the cost. I know many home brewers who have spent way more than $2K on their brewing systems, and I probably had at least half that just in the upgrades I had bought over the years. The nice thing was I was able to sell off a lot of my old gear to recoup some of the cost. Win-win as other homebrewers got nice gear pretty cheap from me.

3
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: WHYM
« on: November 28, 2016, 02:35:26 PM »
The idea behind this is definitely the "nearly instant gratification" market. For people who don't want to wait a week (or 3-4) for their own custom drink creation. You certainly can't call it brewing, but I doubt the the target audience for this gives a s***. Will they be willing to deal with all the steps or wait a whole day? Time will tell I guess.

4
Equipment and Software / Re: Brewometer
« on: October 10, 2016, 02:39:51 PM »
I've been using one of these for a few months and am happy with it. It's easy to use as well as clean/sanitize. A point that I've not seen anyone on here mention is that the mobile apps (and i would expect easy to do with the Pi) is that it can track 8 different brews at once (one Tilt of each color). I use it mainly for progress tracking so I can fine tune my temp ramps, add dry hops at a specific point, or to transfer while still fermenting.

5
My homebrew club, the Cedar Rapids Beer Nuts, has been running an all homebrew festival since 2012. It's not huge, around 500 people attending, but we're working hard to expand it this year. There's gotten to be a ton of commercial beer festivals around here so there's no shortage of options for beer lovers. But we have lots of fun with it and we've got clubs from around the state participating. Another Iowa/Illinois club also started one last year in the Quad Cities area. I don't think another organization doing a HB fest necessarily hurts you as long as there's no date conflicts.

Like any major endeavor, you need to sit down with a core group of volunteers to draft out goals and a plan. How big do you want it to be, where will you hold it, how much will you charge, date (this is really important), how will you advertise? That's just a start. A fest is a lot of work so your group needs to be really behind the idea. You also need your club to donate a LOT of beer. For us that's not a big problem because our members love sharing beer at fests. We built a custom 10 tap portable bar and have a couple of 5-7 tap jockey boxes too, with plans to expand. We end up rotating through taps all day to get everyone's beer on. Between us and the other clubs, there's a dizzying variety of beers for attendees to sample.

We're extremely fortunate to have an awesome corporate partner, a local beer and wine store. They hold their own large commercial fest in the spring that our club has poured at for something like 10 years. They wanted to help us out and host our fest in the fall. They take care of getting city permits (we use the street in front of their store which gets closed down) and provide some things like sun shades and ice. We don't have to pay any kind of site rental or event charges. We would be hard pressed to pull it off without their help. As such, we don't have any other sponsors involved.

6
Equipment and Software / Re: HERMS and stuck mash
« on: October 28, 2014, 03:34:24 PM »
The suction from the pump, even when throttled, can result in an appreciable force when multiplied by the false bottom area. You void even be causing the bottom of the cooler to deform up. A castelated nut on the bottom should help maintain flow.

Is there much chance the local hardware store will have a castellated/slotted nut of the right type (1/2" NPS)? Do you think it would be adequate to make cuts with my dremel tool cutting disks or will they be too thin?

7
Equipment and Software / Re: HERMS and stuck mash
« on: October 28, 2014, 08:53:47 AM »
Just to clarify, the ball valve on the pump IS on the outflow, not the inlet. I run the valve on the tun wide open while recirculating.

The bottom of the cooler is flat to convex. I don't think the FB is flexing at all as it's very rigid. Seems like it can support way more than the weight of what I have in there with wet grain and water. There is, however, a very small bump in the center of the cooler bottom. I guess it's possible the there's just not enough clearance for unrestricted flow. I'm going to try and find a thinner nut or grind some grooves into the one I have to create channels.

If that doesn't work I'll try the grant idea. My reservation against that is more temperature loss and having another item to clean (Yea!).

8
Equipment and Software / HERMS and stuck mash
« on: October 27, 2014, 10:02:38 AM »
I do small batch (2.5 gallon) brewing and recently upgraded to a HERMS setup to improve my mash temp stability. I use a 5 gallon round beverage cooler for my mash tun, with a 9" domed false bottom. I circulate with a chugger pump through a 1/2" immersion coil that I also use for chilling the wort.

My problem is that the mash becomes stuck within a minute or two of recirculating. I've tried cutting back the flow from the pump as much as possible but it still sticks. I've tried adding rice hulls (generally around 1/4 to 1/2 lb for 5-6 lbs of grain which seems like a lot) and it helps some but I still have to watch it like a hawk and it takes a lot of patience to get it flowing well.

I've tried different mash thickness as well, from 1.25 qt/lb up to around 1.75 qt/lb. It doesn't make a difference. The issue seems to be the grain bed compacts like concrete no matter how much water is in there.

Here's what my false bottom looks like:
http://www.biyhomebrewsupply.com/collections/equipment/products/9falsebottom.

Do I need a different type of FB? If so, what do you recommend? Other ideas?

Thanks!
Randy Carris

9
Zymurgy / Re: Cannot open issue on android
« on: July 14, 2014, 02:49:57 PM »
I can't get any issues to load on my two Android devices. The app logs in and browses issues fine, but when I try to open an issue the app crashes.

Devices:
Samsung Galaxy S4 (US Cellular), Android 4.4.2
Nexus 7 (2012), Android 4.4.2

I hope it's fixed soon, as I only have the digital subscription currently.

10
All Grain Brewing / Re: smaller batches
« on: February 27, 2012, 07:46:57 PM »
I do 2.5 gallon batches in 3 gallon BB's all the time. I keep a blow-off tube handy but rarely need it. I do tend to ferment on the cooler side though. If you are really worried about it you can use fermcap. I've only  had one near accident and that was with a Belgian yeast if I recall.

As others said, yes you can generally just halve your recipe. I like using BeerSmith's scale tool though as I can also compensate for my equipment and differences in efficiency easily.

11
All Grain Brewing / Re: Small batches?
« on: August 13, 2011, 03:54:07 PM »
All I do are 2.5 gallon batches. I mash in a 5 gallon cooler, boil in a turkey fryer pot, and ferment in the 3 gallon better bottles. I'm kegging now and just use the regular 5 gallon ball lock cornies. I've got things tuned so that my setup works very well for me and I'm really enjoying it. I can have 3 taps running all the time for variety and rarely have a beer that get's past it's prime Not that all those same things don't apply to most brewers I know that do 5 or 10 gallon batches...They just have a lot more people helping drink their beer.

Best investment for me was BeerSmith. It makes scaling recipes easy. I've tweaked my equipment setup and efficiency in BS so I get consistent results. I set up a profile for Brewing Classic Styles too that makes entering and scaling recipes a snap.

12
I have a cheaper model (DWC3509EBLS) that I originally bought to keep wines and beers closer to the temp I like for serving. However, the thermostat was off on the warm side by about 12F. When I called Danby about it they said I would have to take it to an authorized service center for warranty coverage. They only have one such center in the state, over 3 hours away from where I live. Pretty terrible support if you ask me.

I ended up putting a temp controller on it and using it for my fermentation fridge, which works really well for my small batch sizes.

13
Naming debates aside, I think it's more significant to debate whether they really offer anything new enough to warrant yet another style. Pretty much all the ones I've tried taste and smell pretty much just like an American IPA. If I closed my eyes I wouldn't be able to tell a difference. A lot of good commercial IPA's I've had recently have a noticeable munich or vienna malt flavor or aroma. Does that make them a new style too? Possibly. Is it necessary?

Many feel we have too many styles now as it is. It sure makes studying for the BJCP exam a daunting task. I don't think every beer needs to fit into one of the defined styles. I would say change Cat 23 to be more open or create a "free for all" style. The problem with Cat 23 is that you have to give them a category to compare it to. It kind of discourages people from entering anything really unique in my mind.

14
So after reading a few posts, forgot which forum it was,  I wondered something.  I always store my empty kegs under pressure with a little Starsan solution in them.  My empty fermenters as well.  (I have glass and plastic carboys, better bottles)

Some people say you shouldn't store anything in sanitizer.  Is this true?  They say it breaks down the material.  Well my Starsan arrived at my house, full strength, in a plastic bottle, is it not ok to dillute it and leave it in a fermenter/keg (glass, plastic, Stainless steel)???

There's a good reason that acids are often stored in plastic containers. For a rather illustrated and very memorable explanation check out the 2nd or 3rd episode, 1st season, of a show called "Breaking Bad". Trust me, it will stick with you...

15
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Temp. Control with a heat lamp?
« on: March 17, 2011, 08:12:05 AM »
I just went to the pet store and bought one of those red heat lamp bulbs they use in lizard aquariums. I use it with a temp controller to keeps things were I want them.

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