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Messages - chinaski

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Equipment and Software / Re: brew bucket
« on: January 14, 2018, 08:04:43 PM »
At some point I may move from carboys to stainless steel.  When I do, it will most likely be to corny kegs- they are the lowest priced option and can do transfers with CO2 pressure.  I'm surprised I don't hear more people singing their praises on the forum.  Maybe they are not as good as I think?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sage flavor with Conan
« on: January 02, 2018, 03:20:23 PM »
I found Conan to be a peculiar yeast that needs to have recipes designed for it.  I know that the versions that I cultured and are likely being sold commercially are probably not the same as those being used at the source (The Alchemist and VT Pub and Brewery) because they like originate from packaged beer rather than the fermenter.  The beers I made with it that I enjoyed all needed some simple sugar to dry them out enough.  I only once got off flavor from it, and that was after storing slurry for quite a long period of time.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hitting Cruise Control
« on: December 31, 2017, 08:02:17 PM »
Very good points made here- and a very good reminder of what its all about for each of us!

For all the great things that the internet provides, it also has provided a tremendously damaging yard stick for folks to measure aspects of themselves against others and lose the perspective that we all need.  This post is a nice reminder of that need.  As a parent of two young children I have found myself thinking about and talking about this often. 

Homebrewing is a microcosm of life?  Go figure...

Happy New Year everyone!

Equipment and Software / Re: Nitro System
« on: December 29, 2017, 03:40:31 AM »
If there are no leaks then maybe the regulator gauge is bad.  I have a bad gauge on the tank side of my normal CO2 regulator so I ignore it; the one on the keg side tells me what I want to know.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Specialty grain %'s when increasing base malt
« on: December 13, 2017, 11:03:52 PM »
The reason I can think of to just up the base malts is if extraction of speciality malt flavors somehow differs from the extraction of base malt gravity points.  I can imagine separating the speciality malts and steeping them in the wort instead of putting them in the mash (doesn't Gordon Strong advocate for this?) in which case I would guess that the extraction of the flavors is not dependent on the wort gravity.  If the speciality malts are in the mash itself, then perhaps those flavors get extracted at the same rate as fermentable sugars.

How's that for a scientific hypothesis?  I'm looking at you experimental brewers!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Silly bitterness in Grapefruit IPA
« on: December 13, 2017, 02:10:26 AM »
I'd say wait.  Instead of dumping it, you might considering blending it with a batch with lower bitterness.  I've taken that approach which I had an over-bittered pale ale once with great success (and twice as much beer).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Gelatin finings and oxidation?
« on: December 13, 2017, 02:04:41 AM »
I would try and get some additional opinions before you conclude that your beer is oxidized; the judges could be wrong or misidentifying a flavor or aroma in your beer.  At some point you have to decide if you like the beer and be OK with comments from judges that you may not agree with.

Based on the discussion thus far, you or a judge should be able to taste the oxidation right out of your keg.  Perhaps a side-by-side tasting of the same beer fresh from the tap and from a bottle might tell you something as well.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The pellet debate
« on: November 28, 2017, 07:53:51 PM »
I use my homegrown hops a LOT, almost exclusively for BITTERING.  Mine have an approximate alpha acid value near the middle of the normal range.  They are typically about 21-23% moisture when harvested, occasionally as low as 20% or as high as 25%, but about 22% is typical.  As such...

IF using undried hops, you'll want to use about 4.5 times as much as dried ones.

If you normally use pellet hops and are concerned about the difference between pellets and whole hop cones, then the OP is right, you'll want to use about an extra 10%, approximately, to account for that.

I don't see use of homegrowns for bittering as a novelty thing.  I see it as being very resourceful.  I don't have to buy a lot of hops anymore, even for bittering.

I'm with you- I've become hop independent & use my own hops for both bittering and late additions for about 10-15 batches a year.  This means I've done enough trial and error to figure out what works for me in the recipes I've developed.  I tend to assume %AA on the low side of what's reported for commercially grown hops, or in some cases lower.  I also use hop trial results from the University of Vermont since I live here and they are active in doing ag extension work to see what might be viable here on a small commercial scale.

I realize that what I do is not for everyone; this is a source of pride for me as a brewer!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Clorado Question
« on: October 25, 2017, 06:35:50 PM »
The goals of fermentation for bread-making and beer-making are entirely different.  In one, you are using yeast to provide CO2 bubbles in dough.  In the other, you are using yeast to ferment out most of the available sugar.  In Denver, your dough has approx. a mile less air pushing down on it than in Houston. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Wet Hops for Homebrewers?
« on: September 09, 2017, 11:08:38 PM »
I've done several wet hop ales with my own hops.  I chose an American Amber recipe and modified it: kept the bittering addition as regular dried hops to ensure some predictable IBU component to the beer, and then added loads and loads of wet Cascades in the last 10 min. of the boil.  The beer comes out decent- though I do prefer to use my hops dry.  Frankly, the biggest upside of using a bucket of wet hops was not drying and packaging those hops.  Its worth doing, just to try it out for yourself.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Quality
« on: August 12, 2017, 02:21:47 PM »
Question- why do grocery stores offer RO water rather than just carbon filtered?  What else are people using this water for?  If I'm not mistaken, its not a particularly good idea to drink RO water straight because it strips minerals from our bodies.

Equipment and Software / Re: Keezer wood size for collar
« on: July 18, 2017, 11:24:10 PM »
It is always nice to have the collar tall enough allow kegs standing on the motor.  You can carb them while waiting for space to dispense.
This works so long as you are tall enough to hoist the other kegs into the kegerator over the top.  I'm short (5'7") and my 2 by 4" collar is about as high as I can do.

Enjoy your project- its awfully nice to have draft beer!

Equipment and Software / Re: Accurately measuring gravity
« on: July 05, 2017, 09:54:04 PM »
I think when skepticism leads to a reality check like this its great.  That said, I've always used the same old cheap hydrometer for the past 15 years or so and the data it gives me is fine for my purposes.  If I were to have a second device for measuring, then I get that nagging feeling to know which is more accurate.  Better off not worry about it for my style of brewing.  I also brew exclusively with homegrown hops with no measurement of %alpha acids- I rely on available data and my taste buds to estimate it.  It works for me.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hop trellis
« on: June 10, 2017, 01:54:31 PM »
I recommend either cutting back the existing bines to prevent downy mildew infection or elevate the bines in some temporary way (up a metal fence post?) to allow the bines to stay relatively dry.  Once infected with downy mildew; the plant stays infected and can be a source of spores to infect the rest of your plants.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Imperial Pilsner Dilution...
« on: June 06, 2017, 05:30:10 PM »
I happen to read this the other day- might be what you're looking to do:

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