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Topics - pfooti

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Kegging and Bottling / (California) Bulk glass bottle suppliers?
« on: May 13, 2011, 05:26:34 PM »
Hey forums,

I have a need for 22 oz bottles in rather large supply (not for homebrew beer, but other uses). I'm wondering if anybody has had any experience finding wholesale suppliers who would provide a couple hundred or so bottles. My LHBS (which is very nice) has a pretty good price of $1.00 per, but if I could find a way to drop the per-bottle price to $0.50 or so, my life would suddenly be a lot easier. I've found some wholesalers online, but they tend to be on the east coast and shipping wipes out pretty much all the gains made there.

Equipment and Software / Combination Sous-Vide and HERMS/RIMS setup
« on: May 12, 2011, 05:30:46 PM »
Lately, I've been experimenting with sous vide cooking. Vacuum seal the meat, drop it in a cooler with some water (I already have calibrated my cooler, and I have a thermapen). My setup loses some temp over time, so it's really the quickie sous vide that I can do right now: 60 minute steak or eggs, stuff like that. I want to build a regular recirculator.

At the same time, I'm dealing with mash temp control on my current brewing setup. Moving to a bigger system means direct-fire mashing is something of a PITA. I'd rather heat things to strike temp with my gas burners but then move to a set-and-forget electric system to hold mash temps.

Seems like I ought to be able to double up on these things. The hardware needs to accomplish the same thing: hold a liquid at a constant temperature for an extended period of time. I would like some advice before finalizing my design, though. Here's what I've got.

Currently my brewing setup is a 1/2 bbl thing based on 30 gallon pots, direct-fire gas burners. It's a 2-tier system with the HLT high and gravity feeding down into the MLT during the sparge. I have a single march pump for transfers and recirculation. In the three brews I've run on the system to date, I've been able to hold mash temps relatively constant without too much wild swings, but it's a big pain.

I've got a PID, thermocouple, and SSR on order. What I need to figure out is what to hook things up to. I'm also handy enough with wiring and construction that I'm confident I won't electrocute myself or the mash. Right now I have two basic ideas.

Thing one: a direct-heat system. I box up the assembly either as a single unit or maybe split into controller / heater units separately, with a heating element sticking straight out of it. It would look something like this, although probably with a LWD water heater element instead (and like I said maybe have the controller box separate). I could attach this directly to a medium sized cooler for sous vide, or find a way to run wort over the heating elements during the recirculation for mashing.

Thing two: a HERMS getup. I could work with my old five gallon pot and convert it to a HERMS setup. The heating element would be permanently mounted to the bottom of the pot and there'd be a coil for heat exchanging (either copper or stainless, depending mainly on budget issues). When mashing, I'd use it just like a normal HERMS system (although unlike traditional herms getups, I wouldn't be using the HLT as the HERMS vessel). When cooking, I'd just suspend all the food in the water bath itself. Theoretically, I could probably make the coil into a convenient basket shape so it would hold the food bags easily (and keep them off of the hot water heater element.

My current thinking is that the HERMS version is probably more likely to be useful and effective, but the RIMS version would be a lot cheaper and easier to build.

The third way I was thinking about it would be to just build a straight-up RIMS tube thing. I could either circulate wort through it or water. That's also pretty simple.

Advice? Ideas?

Beer Recipes / Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed
« on: April 28, 2011, 03:36:20 PM »
I'm fiddling around with my own take on the IBA/CDA category. This is what I brewed last time:

7 lb American 2-row
5 lb Munich 10L Malt
1 lb Carared
1 lb Oat Flakes
8 oz C 120°L
4 oz Pale Chocolate 200L

0.75 oz Warrior (16.0%) - 60 min
0.5 oz Centennial (10.0%) - 20 min
0.5 oz Simcoe (12.7%) - 20 min
0.25 oz Centennial (10.0%) - 5 min
0.25 oz Simcoe (12.7%) - 5 min
0.5 oz Amarillo (11.2%) - dry
0.5 oz Citra (11.1%) - dry

It worked pretty well, I think. Kind of a beefy american brown ale or riff on the CDA style (but more malty than as I understand the dark-IPA style). I mashed at 152F, hit 1.070 OG, 1.014 FG, and used Pacman yeast. This time around, I'm using 1056 (I'm getting really poor bottle-conditioning with a lot of my Pacman batches) instead. I'd also like to shift the recipe around. I'd love some feedback.

Here are some specific things I'm thinking about:

1) Change the oatmeal. I put that in there because Drakes Expedition Ale has oatmeal (or so they claim). I like it in oatmeal stouts a lot, but I think maybe just shifting to either wheat malt or a bit of carapils would be better. Unsure about this, but I'm mostly putting it in here for body and mouthfeel.

2) Swap the pale chocolate for a darker chocolate malt or a mix of chocolate and roast barley. I like the general taste of the beer, but I feel like it could use a little more roastiness.

3) Definitely change the carared for traditional C40, since I have about thirty pounds of C40 in my garage. Probably reduce the amount added to 12 ounces, since I'm not using pacman anymore (which seems to attenuate better, especially in crystal-heavy recipes).

4) Probably change the hopping schedule to include a 30 minute whirlpool / hopstand with the 5 minute additions. Just recently started doing that, and I like how it works with the late hop additions. Also worth noting that I actually brew on an 18 gallon batch size, but I figured the recipe would be more approachable at this size. So a half-hour whirlpool only drops my wort to about 175F or thereabouts.

5) Might bump down the warrior a tad and bump up the 20-minute additions on balance. More flavor, same bittering. I am worried though about the array of hops used here. That's a lot of different stuff. The beer doesn't taste muddled as-is, but I'm worried that if I mess with it, it will start tasting muddled and kitchen-sinky.

Overall, my goal is to take this beer and push it ever-so-slightly in a more toast-with-marmalade direction. A bit more citrus hops, a bit more roast from the malt.


Apparently, Viagra is available without a prescription in the UK. Or this is some elaborate hoax. Not sure.

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