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Topics - stankonia

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Equipment and Software / Whirlpool Problem with Pump!
« on: December 06, 2011, 04:31:40 AM »
A couple weeks ago I brewed for the first time on my new single tier, 3 vessel system. It was also my first time using the march pump.

The pump worked fine for me as far as transferring from HLT to MLT, and MLT to BK.

I brewed using all leaf hops without a bag for them. I used a SS scrubby on my dip tube to filter them. I've done this before with no problem when using gravity to drain.

I installed a second ball valve on my BK with a side pickup tube (The SS one from BargainFittings) with the idea to whirlpool for the last 5-10 minutes of the boil, and during cooling. The inlet of the 2nd valve is installed at the same level of the outlet valve..just to the side of it. However, it doesn't have anything filtering it.

When I had everything hooked up to get it stated and turned the pump on there was instantly nothing going through the pump. I think what happened is when I opened the inlet valve (before turning the pump on) it sucked up some hops and clogged the hose coming from the outflow side of the pump. Could it have been anything else? Here is basically what I did:

1. Open Outflow BK valve
2. Open Valve on Outflow of Pump
3. Open Inflow BK Valve
4. Turn ON the Pump

This is my first time using a pump, so let me know if that looks wrong..

From reading around it sounds like I can run the pump while having the valve on the outflow side closed. Is that correct? Assuming that, maybe what I should have done:

1. Open Outflow BK Valve & Open Valve on the Pump
2. THEN turn the pump on
3. Open Inflow BK Valve.

Would that prevent anything from getting sucked up the tube I'm using on the inside of the BK for the whirlpool??

I REALLY appreciate any help! I want to brew again this Sunday...but I really need to figure this out before I do.

Equipment and Software / Insulation Jacket for MLT.
« on: November 17, 2011, 04:55:24 AM »
Just got done fashioning together an insulation jacket for my keggle MLT.

My system is a direct-fire recirculating mash, so that presented problems of how to insulate my keg.  I liked the idea of using reflectix, but couldn't have the flame going while it was on the keg.  I had used reflectix a couple times when doing all-grain BIAB, and it was a pain rolling it off and on when I needed to turn the flame on.

So, I went a bought a new roll today and came up with a plan to have 4 layers of reflectix insulating the MLT, while making it super-easy to remove when (hopefully IF) I need to take it off.

I appreciate any feedback and advice you guys have.  Also, I hope some of you guys find it helpful!

First thing I did was wrap the Reflectix around the keg 4 times and cut it.  Then I put some clamps on it to hold it in place so it could keep its shape when I slide it off the keg.

Now, this could be the final step, but with my fittings (outflow ball-valve, inflow ball-valve at the top, and a thermometer) I can't design it where I can simply slide it on and off.

So, where the beginning end, and ending part overlapped I poked holes, and bolted them together with fairly large washers on each side to help prevent the bolts from ripping through.  I put the flat part of the bolt on the inside, with the nut on the outside, and the bolts I got were just barely long enough.

After that, I went to the opposite side and cut all 4 layers straight down the middle..I could have used the same nuts and bolts set-up on this side to attach the layers together, but I opted for aluminum tape.

With the tape...

So now I have 4 layers all held together as once piece that can open up easily rather than unwrapping 16ft of this stuff. I held it together with some straps that are easily removed when I will need to turn the flame on.

 Here is what it looks like, along with a fitted cap I made for it. 

Kegging and Bottling / Re-Pitching Yeast on Bottling Day
« on: July 22, 2011, 06:18:19 PM »
This weekend I have a Brown Ale I'm going to bottle. I put it in a secondary a couple weeks ago to add vanilla beans, and cold crashed it when I had to leave town for the weekend and still hadn't gotten a Johnson controller.

So with being in secondary, and cold crashing I want to re-pitch some yeast just to be safe, but I had a couple questions. I used US-05 to ferment with.

How much should I re-pitch?

If I get US-05 I assume re-hydrating would be a must since to make sure it gets mixed in evenly with the beer.

To skip the re-hydrating step, would I be able to pitch a vile of liquid yeast, like WLP001?


Kegging and Bottling / Cold Crashing Before Bottle Conditioning?
« on: May 23, 2011, 02:35:35 AM »
Hey guys,

I'm getting ready to bottle my first batch, I'm just going to leave it in the carboy for a few more days.  From what I understand, cold crashing helps clear up the beer by causing some particles that are still in suspension to drop to the bottom.

If I'm relying on bottle conditioning for carbonation, then will cold-crashing the beer cause some of the yeast still in suspension to drop and result in less effective carbonation in my bottles? 


Hey guys,

While my 1st batch is almost ready to bottle I'm looking around for ideas for my 2nd one.

I'm thinking about doing a stout or porter, and both extract kits call for a late addition (15 minutes left in the boil) of some of the liquid extract.  I was just curious as to what this does vs. boiling all of the extract for 60 minutes?  Does boiling the extract syrup different amount of times affect the taste and potential OG?

Kegging and Bottling / Bottle Conditioning in a 1 Gallon Growler?
« on: May 11, 2011, 05:35:49 AM »

I was wondering if it is possible to achieve similar results when bottle conditioning in a 1gallon growler as compared to normal 12-22oz bottle conditioning using new caps and a bottle capper?  Will just having a screw-cap not work as well?

I should be able to go through a gallon when sharing with friends and family, so it would be nice to be able to bottle 1/5 of my batch in 1 bottle, but also, it would suck to screw up 1/5 of my batch at the same time too  ;D

Equipment and Software / My Take at the DIY Fermentation Cooler
« on: May 11, 2011, 03:37:22 AM »
I finished making my cooler to use for fermentation.  The last 12 hours I have been doing a test run with a carboy full of 5 gallons of water.  It got down to 66-65 pretty quickly and without touching it or making any changes it hasn't gone back above 65 since 11 this morning.  The coldest it reached was 64.  My house temp is set at 73.  This was with 4 20oz frozen bottles in it.

It was inspired by euge, who posted his old version in another thread.  He used a 30 gallon tote with buckets.  But I looked all over and couldn't find one big enough to hold a 6 gallon carboy and be able to put the lid on.  Here are the pics-

Opened Up:


The front while closed:

These totes were way to small individually, but they were sold in a 2pk at Lowes for $22.  One placed on top of another was perfect for the carboy  without leaving too much free airspace up top.

I put 1/2" thick insulation board on the bottom of both totes, so one for the bottom and for the top of the cooler, it cost $11, and I used maybe half of the large sheet you buy.  I outlined the entire interior with reflectix from Lowes for $13.  I put a thin strip of styrofoam tape around the top half which was $3-$4.

I taped a digital indoor/outdoor thermometer from Radio Shack ($15, but you can probably find it cheaper) to the bottom tote and ran the cord inside and taped it to the side of the carboy so its not touching the bottom of the cooler. 

Luckily, the totes have 3 oval shape holes on each of the long-sides which obviously line up when stacked.  I got a few feet of rope cut into 3 pieces to create a "hinge" on the back holes, so I can easily lift the front open instead of taking the entire top off.  Also, tying them tight help seal it up.  To top it off I just put a little weight on top (1 gallon jug of water) to help the styrofoam tape seal up the opening.

At 11 this morning I put in 4 20oz bottles of frozen water.  It was around 64 most of the day, and in the 12th hour of being closed the temp slowly rose to 65.  I figure anywhere between 64-66 will be good by me.  I'm going to see how much longer it takes to get between 66-67.  But the 12-hour window is ideal to switch it out twice a day.

In the pics there isn't a carboy stopper and airlock in, but there was one while doing the test run.

Also, the cooler isn't tall enough by maybe 1/2"-3/4" to use a buble airlock.  It might work if you skipped the insulation board.

Hey guys,

For my wort chilling setup I'm planning on using an immersion chiller and using a pump to recirculate ice-water from a cooler instead of getting water from a faucet/hose (which isn't that cool to begin with in Florida).

So right now I'm looking for a pump that will get the job done.  I'm not currently doing all-grain so I won't need a pump to circulate hot-wort or hot-liquor.

Will a cheaper, lower-end pump work for this?  They don't get great reviews online, but that's usually from people who are running them for hours on end, not 15-20 minutes a couple times a month.  Could a $20 aquarium pump even work well enough for 30-40 ft of copper coiling?

Also, does the temperature of the water coming out of the IC be an issue I would need to keep in mind?


I'm just starting out and doing extract brewing.  What is the minimum size of Kettle and Carboys I should get for doing 5 gallon batches?

Is the difference between a 5 gallon and 6 gallon carboy noticeable when using a blow off valve?  I'm just wondering because some beginner kits have 6 gallon ones and others have 5.

Also, any advice on picking out a good kettle?  They are more expensive than I though, especially when getting ones larger than 5 gallons. But I don't want to be too cheap when getting one so I don't have to upgrade in a few months when I advance my brewing.  Generally what kind of stores (not online) sell kettles that are large enough, so I can feel/look at it?

Thanks for answering my newbie questions!

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