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Topics - jwaldner

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All Grain Brewing / High pH (Alkalinity) Help
« on: July 20, 2011, 02:51:51 PM »
I recently bought a pH meter and have been trying to watch/adjust my pH for brewing but am have a great difficulty adjusting it do to my water's high alkalinity. Typically, my water out of the faucet is anywhere from 7.4 to 7.9 pH.

I'm using phophoric acid to adjust based on some reading I've done and forums stating that it is the most flavor neutral. However, it's taking me on average about 10-14 tsp. to adjust my sparge water and about half that for my mash after doughing in.

It also seems impossible to buy this locally considering the quantities I'm using for each batch. Does anyyone have any recommendations or suggestions for reducing my alkalinity or where this can be purchased in larger quantities?


Equipment and Software / Infrared Thermometer Recommendations?
« on: May 02, 2011, 05:20:46 AM »
Does anyone have any recommendations on an infrared thermometer?

Also, what are some of the pros & cons of one (reliability, accuracy, any trouble reading through glass/plastic/steam, etc)?


Yeast and Fermentation / White Labs WLP570 Smoothie!
« on: March 09, 2011, 02:48:15 AM »
I've brewed a Golden Belgian Strong several times using White Labs WLP570 and just can't seem to get this yeast to flocculate and drop out.  The beer ferments out fine and I reach my FG like expected but the yeast seems to hang in suspension no matter what I try.  Initially I tried kegging it and letting it set for 4-5 weeks at about 38F but I still got a yeast smoothine when I tried to pour it.  I finally gave up on that batch thinking I had really screwed up somewhere in the process, dumped it and tried brewing it again.

I haven't kegged it yet but still see an enormous amount of yeast still in solution.  I've conditioned it for over a week at 36F and haven't noticed any clearing.  I then tried adding gelatin a couple of days ago and seeing if it would settle out but see no change.  Although I know this yeast strain is a low flocculater I'm at a loss and just don't know how to get it to drop out of solution or if I'm doing anything wrong.

Any help from someone who has ran into this problem with this strain or any type of similar yeast problem would be much appreciated.


Kegging and Bottling / Sanitize CO2 line & connecter?
« on: February 17, 2011, 12:44:59 AM »
This may seem like a dumb question but should I be sanitizing my CO2 line and connector before hooking up a keg or bottling with my Blichman Beer Gun?

I would assume that I would only need to sanitize the liquid side since it comes in direct contact with the beer but then I think I guess it's possible that the CO2 could push something into the beer that might cause an infection. It's probably better to be safe than sorry and sanitize, thus the dumb question.


Kegging and Bottling / Matching Keg, Post & Poppet
« on: February 11, 2011, 11:11:52 PM »
I've recently got into kegging and I think I've been having some trouble with my kegs leaking CO2 so I went to inspect my kegs and it seems I have some differences between the types of posts and poppets that came on my refurbished kegs.

All of my kegs are of the Cornealius type. However, my posts seem to be of the Type A for ball lock which I understand to be for Firestone, Challenger and Super Challenger kegs.  Upon further inspection, it appears some of my poppets are a mix of the Type A and Type B. 

If I'm using the wrong type posts to match the keg will this cause CO2 to leak?  In addition, if I have the wrong type poppet to match the post will this cause CO2 to leak? 

How critical is this to match exactly?


Kegging and Bottling / How Much CO2 Does it Take?
« on: February 09, 2011, 04:09:51 AM »
I started kegging about 6-months ago and although it's been a bit of a learning curve and I've had some issues I thought I was getting the hang of it.  However, I recently had to refill my 10 lb tank again only after about a month of use.  From other posts it seems a tank of this size should last me about three times that.

I have had some problems with poppets going bad but have replaced all of those and everything else seems airrtight.  I do carbonate all my beers to style some at 10 psi, some at 11 psi or some even lower and leave it at those setting until the keg goes dry.  I usually keep three on tap and have a seperate regulator for each beer. 

Does this seem normal to run through this much CO2 for three kegs in only a month?

Thanks and cheers

Ingredients / Ingredient Guides (Malt/Hops/Yeast)
« on: December 31, 2010, 04:24:21 PM »
Does anyone know if there are any guides published describing all of the malt, hop or yeast varities available?  I know there are some internet sources like the resource guide on BYO and some white papers by the manufacturers but I was trying to find something consolidated and in print for easier reference.

Cheers and have a happy New Year!

Ingredients / Impulsive 6-Row Moment
« on: November 12, 2010, 02:40:46 PM »
I'm fairly new to all grain brewing and recently I was in my local homebrew shop who sadly was going out of business. In an impulsive moment I bought a 50lb bag of 6-Row malt because it was on-sale and seemed like such a great deal. After having it for a few weeks I just can't seem to find a practical use for this much 6-Row malt.

I've read that this type of malt is manily used when a large amount of adjuncts are used in the mash but I typically don't brew with a large amount of adjuncts. In addition, I've read that it will impart a grainy taste of which I'm not sure what style of beer would this fit and it's supposed to have considerably less of a yield. I've also looked through quite a few recipes and clone recipes and don't even see 6-Row called for at all. Does anyone have any recommendations on how I can use this malt effectively?


Kegging and Bottling / Dextrose (Corn Sugar) vs. Malt (DME) for Priming
« on: November 03, 2010, 02:37:43 AM »
I'm trying to make a decision on whether or not to switch from priming with dextrose (corn sugar) or malt (DME). I've used both with success but am thinking I would only like to keep DME on-hand since I use it the most and it's one less thing to have to order. Not to mention it's not always easy to find Dextrose locally in 2-3 lb bags.

What are the pros vs. cons of either and what's your preferred choice?

Thanksand cheers!

Yeast and Fermentation / Beer Suffocation???
« on: October 08, 2010, 10:17:08 PM »
I'm not sure if this an actual fermentation problem or not and can't quite put my finger on it but I thought I would post it here to see if anyone else has experienced something similar.

I recently bought two chest freezers, one to use to control my fermentation temps and put a carboy in and the other to use as my keggerator/fermenter. I have never fermented in an enclosed space but two beers I recently made just did not turn out as expected and I have made these with the same process before with the exception of fermenting in the chest freezers.

One was an APA that the yeast just did not seem to get going on and lagged quite a bit and then developed some infection after several attempts to get it going. It had to be dumped. The other is a smoked porter I'm currently fermenting but the yeast also seems to be acting very sluggish and the porter is developing a slightly sour taste.

Again, my process hasn't changed at all with the exception of using the chest freezers for fermentation control. I'm really reaching here but is it possible that the enclosed fermentation and trapped CO2 could affect the performance/health of my yeast causing these issues?

Thanks and Cheers!

Kegging and Bottling / Drawbacks from kegging 2.5gal instead of 5gal?
« on: September 05, 2010, 11:16:17 PM »
Does anyone know if there are any drawbacks or special techniques to consider if only force carbonating 2.5 gals of beer in a 5gal Corny?



Equipment and Software / Garage Brewing & Water
« on: September 02, 2010, 02:58:04 AM »
I'm switching over from brewing in my basement with an immersion heater to brewing out in the garage with LP gas. However, there's no water out in the garage except what I use from my hose outside. Unfortunately, I live in a climate where I won't be able to use my hose in the winter.

How do other brewers work around this problem of brewing and chilling their wort without easy access to a water source?



Equipment and Software / More Beer 1100 BrewSculpture
« on: August 31, 2010, 03:24:50 AM »
I'm seriously considering buying the 1100 BrewSculpture from More Beer. Does anyone have any experience with this system to share the pros/cons?



Kegging and Bottling / Keggerator Anchor!
« on: August 08, 2010, 09:15:16 PM »
I just spent several weeks building what appears to be a very nice looking keggerator but may turn out only to be a very nice boat anchor! 

I kegged my first beer (Hefeweizen) 6 days ago and carbonated it to 2.7 vol. at 38F and am now only getting a lot of foam (spraying out!) and a flat beer. I even compensated for my elevation since I'm at 4,300 feet and added an additional 2 lbs of pressure from 13.34 to 15.34 psi. I'm using 5 feet of 3/16 ID tubing so I thought the system would be fairly balanced with 3.0 of loss per foot but it seems not.

I've read some say you need to dispsense at a lower CO2 level and others say you need to leave it where it is because that's the style otherwise I'll lose carbonation over time. In addition, I've also read it only takes 3 days to force carbonate and others say it takes 7 or more and that's just the set it and forget it method.

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone can shed some light on my situation and provide some troubleshooting tips so I can get this corrected before my next fishing trip.



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