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Topics - Pawtucket Patriot

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Going Pro / Trench Drain Plan
« on: October 16, 2013, 03:23:07 PM »
Hey guys,

We're working with our architect on our production-area floor-plan right now.  We've got a lot of things figured out, but we're still trying to sort out a trench drain plan.  I've got some ideas, and I've done a lot of research, but there doesn't seem to be any rule of thumb for this.

For you guys who are currently in production, do you have any suggestions?  Anything you'd do differently in hindsight?  I'm posting a drawing of our proposed production floor-plan so you can get an idea of the layout.  I'm also posting my ideas for trench drains.  You'll notice that I'm thinking of doing a round drain in the brewhouse area.



The Pub / Happy 4th!
« on: July 04, 2013, 06:51:58 PM »
With homebrewing legal in ALL 50 STATES, I feel a little bit more free today!  Cheers, and be safe!

Going Pro / Brewing Education
« on: April 23, 2013, 01:02:01 PM »
Hey guys,

I am currently enrolled in the American Brewers Guild's "Brewery-In-Planning" brewing course, which is an online course that culminates in a week-long, on-site mini-apprenticeship at the ABG's lab and brewery in Vermont.  The course starts in June, and the ABG describes it as an intensive and comprehensive course on brewing science and engineering for the brewery-in-planning (the ABG says it's the same course as the diploma'd course without the 5-week apprenticeship).

Even though I've been homebrewing for the past 8 years (160+ batches), I want the beer that we produce at Bauhaus Brew Labs to be consistently high-quality, world-class beer.  I enrolled in the ABG course in order to supplement my existing knowledge, hoping that it will help us to achieve our quality and consistency objectives.

Here's the rub.  I attended a beer dinner last night for Summit Brewing Co. here in Minnesota.  I got the chance to talk quite a bit with Gabe Smoley, one of Summit's seven brewers.  I asked him if he had received any formal brewing education.  He said he hadn't, but that he had worked as an apprentice brewer at a 5-bbl brewpub, which he eventually took over and ran for a few years.  I've talked with other pro brewers who have not received formal education either.

This is all leading up to the following question: is it worth my time/money to take the ABG course?  For you guys who have started breweries/brewpubs (Keith, Leos, Anthony, Sean, etc.), did you receive any formal education?  If you didn't, do you wish you would have?

I have a few opportunities to brew with some pro brewers here in the Twin Cities over the next few months.  I'm wondering if taking a few days off of work to periodically brew with some pros would be more beneficial (and less expensive!) with regard to preparing me for brewing commercially.  My father-in-law, who used to work as a research scientist at a pharmaceutical company, will be maintaining our lab and assisting with quality control.  Given his experience, is it still a good idea for me to take the course in order to learn more about brewing science?

Any and all insight and suggestions would be very appreciated!

Going Pro / Credit Policies...
« on: March 31, 2013, 03:14:10 AM »
For those who are self-distributing to on- and off-sale retail accounts, what sort of credit terms are you offering?  Do you even offer credit terms?  For a new brewery, it would seem that cash would be the most sensible option, but are retailers willing to do COD for your kegs/cases?

In Minnesota, we aren't permitted to extend credit beyond 30 days to any retailer.  But just because you can doesn't mean you should.  I mean, cash is always better, right?

Going Pro / Yeast Nutrient
« on: February 16, 2013, 04:15:13 PM »
What does everyone do regarding yeast nutrient?  I have rarely, if ever, used yeast nutrient at the homebrew level.  I always pitch a healthy amount of yeast (per Mr. Malty) and properly aerate the wort.  Never had attenuation issues that I believe were caused by pitch rate or aeration.  Is there any reason to believe that my current practice wouldn't translate to the commercial level?  Incidentally, we are going to invest in a 30bbl system with 4 x 60bbl fermentors.

I've read a few threads over at where there seem to be equal numbers of brewers who use products like YeastX and those who just rely on proper pitch rates and O2.  It also seems like there are brewers who avoid YeastX because they don't know the chemical composition and don't want unknowns in their beer (which seems like a valid concern to me).

Going Pro / Anyone Attending the Craft Brewers Conference in D.C.?
« on: January 11, 2013, 09:44:45 PM »
My brother and I will be there.  Call it a research/networking trip!  Anyone here going to go?  If so, we should get an AHA group together for some pints.

Equipment and Software / Banjo Burner Issue...
« on: December 26, 2012, 02:36:35 AM »
I've brewed twice on my new single-tier stand and, for the most part, it's awesome.  But there is a banjo burner issue that is really putting a damper on things.  I only seem to be able to get a great flame when there is no kettle over the burner.  As soon as I place a kettle over the burners, I get a big mass of propane that spills out and envelopes the kettle.  I've tried adjusting the burner height, but this doesn't seem to do much.  I'm using a 30-psi regulator going through a gas manifold made from 1/2" black gas pipe.  The burner orifices are the stock banjo burner orifices.  You can see what I'm talking about in the photos below.

I can control the flame by dialing back the gas shutoff valve, but then the burner doesn't put out enough power to heat my liquids properly.  It took me two hours to bring 8 gallons of wort to a boil last weekend.   :-\

Any suggestions?


Equipment and Software / Minimum Amps Required For Simple RIMS Setup
« on: December 01, 2012, 08:09:50 PM »
I've been researching RIMS systems for the past few weeks and I've realized that my 15A outlet in the garage may not be able to handle the RIMS setup I'm envisioning building next spring/summer.  I'm planning on building a RIMS tube that I will outfit with a 1500w low-density element and a liquid-tight RTD sensor.  I plan on incorporating a PID (Auber SYL-2352) and a 25A SSR.  I plan to house the PID and SSR in a custom electrical enclosure that will also control both of my March pumps.  I will only be using the RIMS setup to recirculate my mash.

The pumps only draw 1.4A max each, so I'm not worried about those.  But the element draws 12.5A max, and when you add the PID draw (probably pretty minimal, but I'm not sure), the total max draw exceeds 15A.  I don't want to burn down the house by not using a proper 20A outlet connected to a 20A breaker.

For those of you who have RIMS setups similar to the one I'm describing, what amperage are you using to power your setup?  Could I get away with using a 15A outlet?

Equipment and Software / Question re: Wiring March Pumps to Switches
« on: November 19, 2012, 02:42:16 AM »
I am trying to wire both of my pumps to separate switches that are both powered by one extension cord.  I am using a two-gang weatherproof box that houses a combination GFIC outlet and switch, like this one:

as well as a single pole switch, like this one:

The reason I am configuring it this way is so I can have an "always-hot" auxiliary outlet (i.e., it isn't controlled by a switch) as well as two switches for the pumps in one two-gang box.

Anyway, I wired up pump #1 to the GFIC combo box earlier today.  The switch worked great and there was power to the outlet.  Here is my wiring diagram:

Now, I am trying to figure out how to wire up pump #2 to the single pole switch AND have pump #2 protected by the GFIC outlet.  I think I know what I need to do, but I would greatly appreciate it if someone with greater knowledge of wiring/electricity can chime in.  What I think I need to do to protect pump #2 with the GFIC outlet is run a black jumper wire from the load side of the single pole switch to the load side of the GFIC outlet.  But I'm not exactly sure what I need to do with the white (neutral) wire from pump #2.  Do I jump this to the load side of the GFIC outlet too?  Here is my proposed wiring diagram for wiring pump #2.

Any suggestions from those of you who have wired up your pumps to switches, or have a better knowledge of electricity than me, would be greatly appreciated!  Wiring my pumps is pretty much the last thing that's left in setting up my single-tier stand.  Thanks!!!

The Pub / A Foam Gene?
« on: November 14, 2012, 03:52:29 PM »

I'm no scientist, but I have a hard time believing that a yeast gene is responsible for a beer's head.  I've always thought that there were multiple factors at work in determining head retention, most of which are completely unrelated to yeast.

All Grain Brewing / Batch Sparging on a Single-Tier System
« on: November 03, 2012, 01:11:26 PM »
I'll be starting to brew on a single-tier stand in the near future and would like to continue to batch sparge.  All of the liquid will be transferred via my march pump.  For mash in, I am going to transfer my hot liquor to the cooler mash tun via the ball valve I have going into the cooler.  Could I do the same thing for the sparge?  Or would it be better to just run the hose into the top of the cooler and let it flow on top of the grain?  I realize this would be dangerously close to fly sparging. :P

Also, with batch sparging, how important is it to add all of the sparge water at once?

Equipment and Software / Gas Pipe Question
« on: November 01, 2012, 07:37:30 PM »
I'm going to try to hard plumb the burners on my new brew stand this weekend.  The Ace Hardware down the street can custom cut/thread black iron gas pipe, which is nice.  But I'm not sure what diameter the pipe should be.  I'll be using propane, if that makes a difference.  Any suggestions?

Equipment and Software / SS Kettle MLT Question
« on: October 17, 2012, 01:05:34 PM »
For those of you who use a SS kettle as your MLT, what is your preferred method for draining the wort?  False bottom?  Mesh braid?  Something else?

Also, if you're using a false bottom in this situation, do you also need to add some sort of filter to the ball valve (the end that is inside the kettle) to prevent grain particles from getting through and/or clogging the valve?

Edit: let me clarify that I am talking specifically about a megapot false bottom, which does not have a steel elbow connection to connect to the ball valve.

Pimp My System / Sculpture Build For The Non-Mechanical Brewer
« on: October 09, 2012, 03:06:55 PM »
After 7 years of lugging kettles full of hot wort up and down a flight of stairs, I'm thinking about building a three-tier gravity-fed sculpture over the next year.  I've thought about doing this before, but my limitations have always been: (1) not being very mechanically inclined; and (2) not being able to weld or not knowing someone who can weld. 

Well, my next door neighbor is very mechanically inclined (and a very nice guy) and I'm confident that he either knows how to weld or would know someone who does, probably on the cheap.

Anyway, this is sort of long introduction to a few questions I have:

1) Are welders able to build a sculpture without a detailed CAD drawing?

2) What sort of details does a welder need to build the sculpture?

I've only just started looking into building a sculpture, so I'm sure I'll have other questions along the way.  I would be grateful for any suggestions!  In particular, it would be helpful to know what sort of materials I should procure for building the sculpture frame.

Beer Recipes / First Barleywine
« on: October 01, 2012, 12:17:15 PM »
For my 150th batch, which I'll brew later this month, I'll be brewing my first barleywine.  I don't usually brew big beers; I prefer 4-6% beers most of the time.  Anyway, this is sort of a milestone for me, so I'm going big!

Here's what I've got so far.  Any of you barleywine connoisseurs out there have any suggestions?

American Barleywine
19-C American Barleywine
Author: Matt Schwandt

Size: 5.26 gal
Efficiency: 65.0%
Attenuation: 78.0%
Calories: 343.19 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.102 (1.080 - 1.120)
Terminal Gravity: 1.023 (1.016 - 1.030)
Color: 15.22 (10.0 - 19.0)
Alcohol: 10.62% (8.0% - 12.0%)
Bitterness: 101.5 (50.0 - 120.0)

18 lb (75.0%) 2-Row - added during mash
4.5 lb (18.8%) Light Munich - added during mash
.75 lb (3.1%) Caramel Malt 60L  - added during mash
.50 lb (2.1%) Victory® Malt - added during mash
.25 lb (1.0%) Caramel Malt 120L - added during mash
1.75 oz (25.9%) Columbus (12.9%) - added during boil, boiled 60 m
1.5 oz (22.2%) Centennial (8.7%) - added during boil, boiled 20 m
1.5 oz (22.2%) Cascade (5.5%) - added during boil, boiled 20 m
1 oz (14.8%) Centennial (9.0%) - added during boil, boiled 1 m
1 oz (14.8%) Columbus (12.9%) - added during boil, boiled 1 m
2 ea Fermentis US-56 American Ale
1 ea Danstar  Nottingham (Bottling)

Single infusion batch sparge
-Saccharification @ 154*F [60 min]
-Mashout @ 165*F [10 min]
-Sparge @ 170*F [10 min]

-Primary for 1 month
-Secondary for 2 months
-Add 1 pkg Nottingham dry yeast to bottling bucket when bottling
-Bottle condition for as long as humanly possible before cracking one open!

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