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Messages - brewsumore

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Aerating wort with pure oxygen is unnecessary.

But it is quick, easy and very effective.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: RO Water
« on: January 10, 2017, 01:58:38 PM »
My city tap water does not have any chlorine or chloramines.

That's curious. The only water system that I knew of that didn't add a disinfectant was New York City. They have since started disinfecting. Are you sure? It is the law per the Clean Water Act.

Yep.  I just re-checked.  I'm in a non-municipal (or at least not with the City of Spokane) water district, and our district checks and reports water quality monthly.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: RO Water
« on: January 09, 2017, 08:07:54 PM »
My city tap water does not have any chlorine or chloramines.  So it is already pretty great although it does have fairly high alkalinity.  I brew light pilsners with 50/50 or 75/25 RO/tap water, and occasionally for other beers, but mostly rely on tap water and phosphoric acid (for lighter beers) to get my pH down into range and still end up with very good beer.  That is to say, unless brewing a beer that really benefits from soft, mineral free starting point, I just manipulate my tap water so long as that stays within the guidelines for treatment without adding undesirable flavors.  I don't like the hassle of purchasing bulk water for my 11 gal batches.  I have learned to use plastic, not glass carboys to transfer RO water from the store!

I do think temp control helps a little. But it doesn't take beer to "the next level" - plenty of brulosophy experiments to back that up.
"The next level" is 99% placebo effect. That's not to say placebos don't work - they can be very effective, especially where subjective judgement is concerned.

By this logic no one would do anything to make better beer because it wouldn't make much of a difference.  Go ahead, you keep not caring about taking your beer to the next level - I choose otherwise. 

And I can easily demonstrate the difference between excellent and poor beer.  It is dramatic, and it is not rooted in confirmation bias, it is rooted in process, equipment, ingredients, recipe design, etc.

+1 to the nth squared.

Still, all have the right to make the beer they like and like the beer they make - which ever way suits them.  I have no truck with that, but don't think I ever desire to drink mediocre beer.  And I've made plenty of that through the learning curve over the years.

  Has anyone had a batch go bad in a fermentation bucket due to a scratch in that is somehow infected?  Is this a thing?  Evidence?

Yes, many times yes.  Even soaking in bleach water for like a month didn't kill the wild beasts.  This occurred multiple times in a row so I know it was the scratch in the plastic.  All it takes is one infection to ruin many subsequent batches.  I lived it.

By chance would you still have the bucket?  I'm curious about the plastic type and what the scratches are like.  The buckets I'm using have no visible scratches and I've had no oxidation issues (with rack/dry-hop x2), and so the switch-over from glass has been great.

Yes.  I suppose you wanted me to send pictures.  I could but don't know how well they'd turn out.  Suffice it to say that these are white buckets (yes more than one) from the homebrew shop that actually say "brew bucket" or whatever the heck on the outside so they were made for this, and yes, the scratches are visible to the naked eye -- I must have impacted the sides with a spoon or whatever.  Contamination sources could have been several -- I have soured beers on purpose before, and I don't think that ever came out completely.  Also I have experienced wild fermentations, probably when a fruit fly or something climbed in through the tiny gap in the lid.  All of the above.  I found that even after a lot of cleaning and sanitizing, sometimes I would get a good batch, sometimes not.  Odds were about 50/50.  After this happened for the 5th or 6th time, I said enough, and switched to glass, and haven't looked back since.  Oh yeah...... and I did get an infection from dry hops once.  Now I soak my dry hops in vodka before adding -- not sure if that helps but I don't think it hurts.
I'm paranoid about using buckets over the fear of scratching them while nesting.

I lid them and stack one on top of the other, in a corner in my basement.  Problem solved.

IPAs are the autotuned pop music of the brewing world.  Flashy.  Popular.  Uninspired and requiring very little talent to produce.

A big dose of hops can cover a multitude of sins. I still enjoy a balanced symphony of hop flavor. My brewing opinion is that any hop that has the potential for catty, garlic, not a good hop and should be eradicated from the hop fields.

Although some exceptions exist, but remembering the acceptable uses can be tricky.  For instance summit hops are great as a bittering hop, and when used this way they impart no onion/garlic flavor.
The thing about Summit is that the tangerine character is so great that the onion thing makes it like a giant tease. I just picked up some Summit hop shot in hopes that it will somehow not have that savory onion/asiago thing going on.

True that. 

IIRC, the general consensus, and from my own experience, when using actual hops (vs hopshot) don't use the summits less than 45 minutes in the boil, unless maybe at 1 or 0 minutes, and you might also be ok using them as a dry hop, and that if the onion/garlic appears from the late/dry additions that it should fade after 2 - 4 weeks in the keg.  Do I have that right?

I'm intrigued by the summit hopshot.  I'd love to hear what you learn, however you decide to use it.

Other opinions:

The craft brewing revolution will grow and develop, and style guidelines will grow and more styles will be introduced, to keep things "new" and as innovation occurs.  I see no problems with hybridizing styles, but trust the wisdom of brewing with the tried and true guidelines for individual BJCP Styles.

It's a waste of time to say one style is better than another.  Biologically we are born with different tastebuds and proclivities.  That said, I don't like heavy over-flavored sweet beers, especially the ones with a consistency barely distinguishable from molasses.

You simply cannot generalize across a broad scale to say such things as commercial beer is better than homebrew.  You can say that many homebrewers really should either increase their efforts or take up something else like fixing cars, or running a dogsled team.

You can make acceptable (i.e. very good) beer and still cut a few corners / choose the quickest, easiest practices.  Much of this pertains to all-grain brewing, which I hope we all agree is the most advanced method.  For instance:

1. For chlorinated water, to remove the chlorine use pot meta instead of filtering.
2. In a pinch, you can get away with "punishing the yeast" as Denny says, and pitch a bit lower than the brewer's pitch level SO LONG as you managed mash/kettle pH, minimized trub collection at run-off to fermenters, used nutrient, aerated well (best w/straight o2), and have and know how to use temperature controlled fermentation.
3. Dry hop the last week in your primary fermenter instead of keg hopping (either/or).
4.  Use anti-foam drops (Fermcap-S) to reduce yeast loss from blow-off, and while reducing the need for a big headspace in your fermenter.
5. If you prefer to brew less often, make larger batches.
6. Do a time vs. efficiency brain check given your available time that day before determining how fine to mill your grist.  More coarse grist = lower efficiency but faster sparge run-off.
7. For cheap n' easy brewing use the batch sparge method, blue coolers are just better, but be sure to get the better insulated ones (5- or 7-day).

Some of my other unpopular practices:

1. If you want to make high quality brew, then be sure to manipulate your mash/sparge water profile based on good research and careful weighed measurements.
2. Yes, check your mash and kettle pH, and just in case learn how to adjust pH up or down quickly and effectively before the mash proceeds in earnest.  To keep it simple check pH with ColorpHast strips estimated 3 points lower than shown, rather than using a pH meter, which half the time I wonder if mine has a working electrode.
3. I breakdown and wash and sanitize every keg that comes out of my kegerator before it gets re-filled with beer.  I buy PLC or PBW by the pail - it's a cost of doing business!
4. I keep spare kegging/kegerator parts and surplus equipment in my brew basement so they're there when I need them.  Also true for propane.  Plan ahead and be prepared.
5. If brewing with a novice on a given day at your place, be prepared to forget amiable conversation, and drinking, so you don't miss a step in your process and recipe.  This is especially true for me since I do minimum 10-gal brews and I hate it when I screw up unnecessarily.


IPAs are the autotuned pop music of the brewing world.  Flashy.  Popular.  Uninspired and requiring very little talent to produce.

A big dose of hops can cover a multitude of sins. I still enjoy a balanced symphony of hop flavor. My brewing opinion is that any hop that has the potential for catty, garlic, not a good hop and should be eradicated from the hop fields.

Although some exceptions exist, but remembering the acceptable uses can be tricky.  For instance summit hops are great as a bittering hop, and when used this way they impart no onion/garlic flavor.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend?
« on: January 01, 2017, 10:42:04 PM »
Yesterday was a tmavý ležák.

Interesting.  Very interesting.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend? 01/18/2014
« on: November 25, 2016, 11:47:03 PM »
Yesterday I prepped grain and hops and fermenters, and today I brewed:

11 gal of kaffir lime leaf + galangal (Indian ginger) saison (WY 3711) at 1.054 OG, plus

11 gal of a Red IPA I put together based on what was on hand, including 11.5 oz of mostly wet centennial hops that had been vac-sealed and hard frozen (2 yrs old but looked and smelled fine).  In the interest of saving time during runoff I didn't crush hard and came in low with a 1.062 OG, but recipe as follows:


Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal):        12.00    Wort Size (Gal):   11.00
Total Grain (Lbs):       30.00
Anticipated OG:          1.069    Plato:             16.72
Anticipated SRM:          12.1
Anticipated IBU:          67.8
Brewhouse Efficiency:   75 %
Wort Boil Time:           70    Minutes


   %     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM
 40.0    12.00 lbs. Marris Otter (2-row)          Great Britain  1.038      3
 33.3    10.00 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row)              America        1.036      2
 11.7     3.50 lbs. Sacchra 50                    America        1.034     50
  6.7     2.00 lbs. Flaked Soft White Wheat       America        1.034      2
  6.7     2.00 lbs. Wheat Malt                    America        1.038      2
  1.7     0.50 lbs. Carastan Malt                 Great Britian  1.035     34


   Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
  1.75 oz.    Summit                            Whole   13.20  38.3  60 min.
 11.50 oz.    Centennial                        Whole    1.60  15.6  30 min.
  1.00 oz.    Calypso                           Pellet  13.39   4.1  3 min.
  1.00 oz.    Galaxy                            Pellet  13.30   4.0  3 min.
  1.00 oz.    Simcoe                            Pellet  11.90   3.6  3 min.
  1.00 oz.    Amarillo                          Pellet   7.00   2.1  1 min.
  2.00 oz.    Calypso                           Pellet  13.39   0.0  Dry Hop
  2.00 oz.    Simcoe                            Pellet  11.90   0.0  Dry Hop
  1.00 oz.    Centennial                        Pellet   8.90   0.0  Dry Hop
  1.00 oz.    Cascade                           Pellet   6.00   0.0  Dry Hop

Fermentis US-05 American Ale

A long 11-hour brew day, but everything is clean and put away.  Hey that still less than 3 hrs per 5-gal keg of beer!

Equipment and Software / Re: Oktober Can Seamer
« on: October 31, 2016, 09:04:35 AM »

Yeah, it's not for everyone, me especially.

Equipment and Software / Oktober Can Seamer
« on: October 30, 2016, 03:53:03 PM »

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How long is your brew day?
« on: October 01, 2016, 04:41:15 PM »
I brew 11 gallons of wort for 10 gallons of beer, and my minimum time is 7 hrs including set up and put away.  I keep thinking I could cut down some time by getting a more efficient kettle than my keggle, but I like using my keggle, and my economical gas-sipping old propane burner with minimal BTU's.

It takes me typically up to 10 hrs with less conventional beers including due to extended mash and/or boil, hop stand, warm season water through my IC, etc.  However I did buy a pond pump to recirculate through a bucket of ice 1/2 way thru the chill.  Haven't tried it yet.

Once this year I doubled my output (2 different beers) in around 10 hrs. (IIRC), using 2 keggles and 2 burners, including an extended mash and boil for one beer.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Are hoppy beers slow to carbonate?
« on: September 22, 2016, 08:41:30 PM »
In my experience the hypothesis is sometimes correct.  I very recently again experienced a very slow carb time for an IPA, in both kegs carbed at identical pressure and temp.

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