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Messages - imperialstout

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1
Just got an email from Northern Brewer, as most of you have. They sell a set of 3 narrow range hydrometers for $60, link below. Anyone have experience with these or other PRO grade and expensive hydrometers?

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewery-essentials-advanced-gravity-testing-assembly.html?utm_source=The+Northern+Brewer+Newsletter&utm_campaign=54ce7a1057-AdvancedGravity-02282013-CD&utm_medium=email&ct=t%28AdvancedGravity-02282013-CD%29&gooal=eyJjaWQiOiI1NGNlN2ExMDU3IiwidGFnIjoiQWR2YW5jZWRHcmF2aXR5LTAyMjgyMDEzLUNEIiwidWlkIjoiYTllZjQ5NzcxODQwZWJiZWVmN2RkZTc3OSJ9|dXMxODYzQGdtYWlsLmNvbQ==&mc_cid=54ce7a1057&mc_eid=%5BUNIQID%5D

2
Zymurgy / DIY version of "Pimp My System"
« on: February 27, 2013, 08:21:47 PM »
Wondering if there may be room in AHA on-line or in Zymurgy magazine for a Do-It-Yourself brew system section? I like to look at the brew set ups in "Pimp My System" for the same reason I like to look at restored and tricked out cars at the auto shows, they are interesting and awesome to look at but largely unattainable by most people. Most of these systems cost in the thousands of dollars if not more. Nice but only a few can afford to build them. They may be owner built and operated but still the club is limited.

Wondering if a similar section about systems costing in the hundreds of dollars could be developed. "Charlie Asks", a system capacity survey on the AHA home page, reports that 60% of respondents have 5 to 10 gallon systems. I believe most of these brewers have just moved out of the kitchen and into the garage, built a simple plywood bench, heat with a 10" propane burner and brew by hand without automated computer controlled pump systems.

With so many brewers using a simple but cost effective garage based home built system I suspect there would be a lot of interest in a DIY brewing system section. A DIY section would also attract advertisers with $200 8-10 gallon brew pots, $100 propane burners, $50 cooler / mash tuns and various accessories.

Would anyone else be interested in getting ideas of how the average working person moved from the kitchen into the garage and the affordable brewing systems they put together?

3
Just got, rather made, an oxygen aerating wand to use with an oxygen welding tank. Heat garage with a portable open flame kerosene heater. What precautions should I take to prevent the wort from bursting into flame? Plan to aerate at most 90 seconds. Kerosene heater is about 10 feet from the brewing bench.  Garage is 5K CF (21x28x9). Will have a through-the-wall ventilation fan installed before brewing next time. It draws about 800 CFM. Am thinking need to do nothing. Any excess oxygen bubbling out of the wort, which I keep to a minimum, will be vented outdoors in short order. Just the same, wanted to know what your experience has been with open flame heating and aerating with oxygen.

4
Yeast and Fermentation / Barleywine vs Imperial Beer at 10% ABV
« on: February 25, 2013, 08:42:37 PM »
What is the difference between brewing a Barleywine at 10% ABV and brewing an Imperial IPA or Imperial Stout at 10%? The reason for the question is I am about to brew my first Barleywine and gather from Barleywine by Zainasheff and Palmer that much longer fermenting / aging time found in most Barleywine recipes is recommended. Most Imperial brews have a little less than half of the fermenting  / aging time.   

Typically brew Imperial beers with 18 to 20 pounds of grain. Most come out good. Shoot for 10% but generally get about 8.5 or 9%. Fermenting / aging schedule is generally 14 days primary, 7 to 14 days secondary, bottle condition 28 days and age 28 days. According to Barleywine, fermentation / aging typically is 14 days primary, 14 days secondary, 90 days tertiary and 90 days aging in bottles.

Do Barleywines really require that much fermentation / aging time or should I have I been brewing Imperial brews with a similar fermentation / aging schedule?

5
Equipment and Software / Re: Zip ties in the brew kettle
« on: February 18, 2013, 12:45:09 PM »
Thanks for the info. I'd heard of the hop spider and after looking it up, it looks like something I'll try. I've read that utilization may be an issue because confining the hops to one area would restrict movement, any thoughts on that?

No problem. I use what might be called a modified spider. Got the idea here. Instead of having the PVC ring sit in the center of the pot with long arms extending to the sides, I hang the PVC from the side of the pot with a wall mount coat hanger used up-side-down like this one from Lowes.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_89226-89973-P27115-SC_0__? productId=3061071&Ntt=wall+mnted+coat+hooks&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dwall%2Bmnted%2Bcoat%2Bhooks&facetInfo=

The coat hanger must have two hooks so it stays securely on the pot edge without rocking back and forth. Just attach to a PVC ring, think they are connectors to put lengths of PVC pipe together, and hang. I use a 2" PVC ring as the pellet hops go in fine. Have a 3" set up for when I use fresh hops.

Have heard using a bag may give you a drop in hop utilization of 10% but I don't think it really makes a difference. I use a 1 gal paint strainer bag and secure it to the PVC with a SS adjustable circular clamp. With a 1 gal bag I figure the hops have plenty of room to infuse into the wort. The nice thing is you can add hops at any time without. If you are at all concerned you could increase your hops by 10%.

6
Equipment and Software / Re: Oxygen aeration with tank
« on: February 18, 2013, 07:24:23 AM »
Thanks Tony. Another vote for the William's wand that I most likely will buy. Was only concerned with the SS stone in just the flex tubing (no wand) floating, as some says it does, when the oxygen is on.

7
Equipment and Software / Re: Zip ties in the brew kettle
« on: February 18, 2013, 07:20:54 AM »
I used zip ties all the time with no problem but changed to a small spider because fishing out the bags was a pain in the ass. Was adding bittering hops and then fishing out the boiling hot bag to add flavour hops at 30, 15 and 5 min not workable. The spider makes sense to me. I do still use the nylon zip ties when I need to dry hop a beer.

8
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentation time for barley wine
« on: February 18, 2013, 07:07:04 AM »
Thanks. Fermenting for 14 days or so sounds about right. My question about the long fermentation time (2 to 4 months) in some recipes may be because some authors include aging and/or bottle conditioning in fermentation time. I can't imaging having a beer fermenting in a bucket for 4 months, bottle it and then age it. I typically make big beers, primary for 14 days, secondary for 7 days and dry hop if needed, bottle and condition for 28 days, all in a temp controlled fermentation chamber, then age at room temp for at least 28 days. Big beers do get better the longer they age though. Just wondering if anyone really FERMENTS barleywines for 2 to 4 months and then bottle or keg it.

9
Equipment and Software / Re: Garage Setup
« on: February 17, 2013, 06:59:20 PM »
Question: How big is your garage and is it attached to the house? I just started brewing in our attached two car garage, about 25 x 25 x 12, with a 10" propane burner and do not need any extra ventilation. Hot water is brought from the kitchen sink in a 2.5 gal sanitized water jug, a few trips required but much cheaper than plumbing and heating the garage.

Brewing waste water, always a very small amount, is just dumped in the back yard. The cooling waste water, 5 gal from MT (I pump ice water from the 10 gal MT, through an immersion cooler and back to the MT) is likewise just dumped in the back yard. The brew table is a piece of 3/4" plywood, 6 feet long and 30" deep, hinged to the wall with fold down legs so it can be folded against the wall when not in use.

Having an electrician for a friend is great. He can help you layout the brewing area. My electrician is very busy. He told me what I needed to get at HD and let me run the wires and install the outlets and switches,  the most expensive part if the job, then he inspected the work, made the final connection to the sub panel and signed off on the job. If your friend is too busy to do all the work this may be an option for you.

I used fiberglass insulation as, like your garage, there were no interior wall coverings. We then used 3/8" plywood to cover the walls. Didn't want to constantly deal with broken sheetrock walls.

I heat the garage with a kerosene heater. It takes the edge off but don't expect to be able to brew in a T shirt. If you have a single car garage, which it looks like you do, and plan to heat it with a kerosene heater and brew with a propane burner, you may need some ventilation as others have suggested. Leaving a door or window open a but should work. A CO2 meter may add another level of safety.

Hope this helps.

10
Equipment and Software / Oxygen aeration with tank
« on: February 17, 2013, 05:03:30 PM »
Need advice on pressure setting and SS aeration stone size. Have the oxygen tank and regulator from my gas welding set up. What pressure setting do most of you use with an adjustable regulator. Think increasing the pressure until I see bubbles and backing off a bit will work. A ballpark initial starting pressure setting will help.

Air stone size. Commonly see .5 and 2 micron SS aeration stones. Thinking the .5 would be best as the smaller bubbles should get absorbed quicker.

Is the Williams air wand worth it? Thinking the stone at the end of vinyl tubing may float when oxygen is introduced. The Williams wand gets good reviews, just wondering if the stone and tubing works as well?

Just discovered Morebeer also carries a wand, $29.50 with free shipping. http://morebeer.com/view_product/18255//Diffusion_Stone_-_5_Micron_26%22_long
Beats the William's one for $34.90 plus $7.50 shipping if it is as good. Any thoughts?

11
Beer Recipes / IPA: Brewing Techniques by Mitch Steele - Opinions needed
« on: February 16, 2013, 09:31:54 PM »
Looking for opinions of IPA: Brewing Techniques by Mitch Steele. The reviews on Amazon include the following. I am looking for good book of recipes with in-depth tips on how to brew this particular style. Not much interested in the history. What has been your experience with this book?

lacking in real tips for brewing better (modern) IPAs. There is good recipe information for brewing historical IPAs circa 1800-1850 but none of the recipes are scaled for the standard 5 gallon homebrewer setup

book is dedicated to history…was looking for the end-all technical book on how to brew the perfect IPA…technical portion of the book is surprisingly short …haven't learned a lot I didn't already know …some of the information is vague…recipes are a little tricky to follow, with some not clearly stating hop amounts. So, if you're looking for technical how-to, you might be a little disappointed.

was hoping for actual recipes from commercial brewers but the hop schedules are silly. What am I to make of "use 30% Chinook in the boil, 30% Columbus at 30 minutes and 40% Simcoe at knockout" Unless you have the total amount of hops used this is worthless information, and how does adding 12 ounces of Goldings hops at the beginning of the boil of a 5 gallon batch only give you 70 IBU's? That is just from the first recipe...The history is fine but the recipes are horrible

very well written history of the IPA style with a few brewing tips and recipes thrown in towards the end of the book. Some recipes are so vague as to make you scratch your head and not be of any use at all.

recipes were all very interesting. I've tried two of the recipes so far, and they're both better than the previous half dozen I got online.

12
Beer Recipes / Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell - Opinions needed
« on: February 16, 2013, 09:25:30 PM »
Looking for opinions of Barley Wine by Fal Allen & Dick Cantwell. The reviews on Amazon include the following. I am looking for good book of recipes with in-depth tips on how to brew this particular style. Not much interested in the history. What has been your experience with this book?

discusses the unique problems, and solutions, in brewing high gravity beers, and includes 11 (mostly) all grain recipes. The approach is thorough, but practical, and does not dwell on scientific technical minutiae. Also included is a section with details of the ingredients and brewing processes used in 20 commercially produced Barley Wines. This book will allow you to approach your next batch of Barley Wine with confidence.

I found the discussion of fermentation of BW to be helpful addressing the longer duration and the issues concerning attenuation of such a high gravity beer.

The author give good information on various brewing techniques that can help people to master this style - split lautering (for making both barley wine and mild ale from the same mash), wort concentration/caramelization by long boils, using multiple yeast strains (a base strain for flavor, and other strains for higher attenuation/flocculation),

This book is a must read for any amateur homebrewer who wants to attempt this style with improved chances of success and satisfaction.

13
All Grain Brewing / Scotch Ale by Greg Noonan book review
« on: February 16, 2013, 02:06:30 PM »
Just got and read this book Scotch Ale by Greg Noonan twice, highlighting necessary information the second time as brewing details are not given in the recipes. You need to infer from the text what hops to use and when to add them. NO recipes are all grain. Recipes are only given for "liquid extract", "LME and grain" and a recipe to brew a barrel of beer. Converting to all grain is not straight forward either. Converting the LME to grain of course requires adjusting the mash and sparge volumes as well, but to what? The author uses a thick mash in all the recipes that he says requires a MASH temp, NOT strike water temp of 172 F, then over sparging to help extract sugars. Do you calculate the grain and water for a thick mash? What is the value of a thick mash? Why mash and sparge at 172 F when most recipes mash at 150 to 155? Most recipes say NOT to mash above 170 F to avoid extracting tannins. How much water do you use to over sparge?

LME is then used to hit the SG. Grain is calculated at 68% efficiency with a correction given for 65 and 70%. What if you typically get 75 to 80% efficiency as I do? All of this math can be worked out but it would require digging for hidden inferences in the text on what ingredients to use and how to brew them and then apply guess work to the recipe. I did that, reading the text twice and highlighting important info, and still have to guess on the recipe. The author states there is no way to accurately account for mash and brewhouse efficiency that affect the volume of water to use without knowing the specific equipment being used. My set up is typical of a lot of AG brewers, a 10 gal mash tun and an 8 gal brew pot. Other recipe books account for various equipment profiles and their nominal losses. My guess is the author expects you to make your best guess, brew the beer and make adjustments on the next batch. We all do that to some extent but the recipe should get us very close to the style parameters the first time. Without knowing what yeast to add and when, how much grain to use or how much water to add and sparge with for an all grain recipe, it's all guess work.

To give the author his due, it is a very well researched book as to the history and evolution of this style with some representative but incomplete recipes from 25 and 160 years ago. It is an interesting, informative and entertaining book from an historical perspective, but that's where the book stops.

If you want a book that gives you SOME history on the style but focuses on how to brew with usable extract, partial mash and all grain recipes, this is not it.

14
Thirsty_Monk, interesting gadget but how do you use it? I assume the threaded ends fit inline when draining wort from pot to fermenter but what do you attach to the barb to aerate with, bottled oxygen, an aquarium pump, what?

Thanks

15
Thank you CASK1. That article is everything anyone needs to do an iodine test correctly, and why. Had been using clear iodine, a different compound than the red stuff, at mash temps. Now know to use 1 part regular iodine, mixed with 9 parts rubbing alcohol and do the test at room temp.

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