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Topics - Bad Brewer

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Other Fermentables / High gravity tangerine mead
« on: March 17, 2011, 10:45:44 AM »
The recipe:
6.5 gallons total volume
27lb orange blossom honey
1oz sweet orange peel
2 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
8-10lb honey tangerines (seasonal march tangerine)

Boil the starting water, about 6 gallons, add in the orange peel, clove, cinnamon.  Low boil for about 30 min or until your volume is 5 gallons or so.  Add yeast nutrient (I use white labs nutrient and "superferment" wine yeast nutrient, has yeast hulls and is high in DAP) and enough calcium carbonate to lower acidity by ~ 0.05%, boil another 10 min.
(edited to add- consider additional nutrient additions at various time points, usually at 12 hours and then when the yeast have consumed ~1/3 of available sugars)

Cool this to somewhere between 70F and 80F, put half into 6.5gallon fermentor.
(edited to change this- cool to 60F if using 71B, hold the fermentation at less than 64F.  71B will make you a batch of nail polish remover if it breaks 70F in honey, so running it at the low end of its temp range is probably best.)

Pour in your honey, stir well.
(edited to add- oxygenate with pure O2 and diffusion stone for 90sec to 2 minutes.  Repeat O2 addition for 60sec at 12 hours along with additional nutrients.)

Pitch 7 packets lavlin 71B yeast (rehydrate for 15 min per instructions).  This yeast will handle the high gravity of this must with no problems as long as it gets nutrients.  If it doesn't dry out enough, it might stall around 15-16% ABV, then rehydraye and pitch 4 packs of lavlin 1118 and some more nutrients, this will get it to 19-20% ABV usually without problem.

I highly reccomend using a blowoff tube instead of an airlock.  Swirl this once a day for the first week to degass.
(edited to add- swirl at least once a day to keep yeast suspended, until fermentation finishes. )

Once you are close to your desired final gravity, add the tangerines.  Monitor pH closely, the citrus may drop it to low.  Correct with small amounts of chalk (calcium carbonate) as needed.  If you finish fermenting at 3.5 or higher this probably won't be an issue.  Leave the fruit in for about a week, make sure you have a way to sink it (I use muslin bags with a stainless steel weight).  If you want more cinnamon or clove character add them here as well.

Let it sit for another week at least before considering a transfer into a secondary.  Bulk condition for 8 more weeks, bottle, age 6 months, then enjoy.  great for bringing a hint of spring to a cold winter night!  

Equipment and Software / Wort chilling
« on: February 06, 2011, 07:00:54 PM »
Here is my problem.  My tap water in winter is still 75F, except on the few days outdoor ambient temp is sub 40F.  My tap water stinks for immersion and counterflow chilling.  Takes about 20-25 minutes to get 10 gallons to pitching temp with my immersion chiller.  My solution has been to add a few extra feet (about 10) of hose between the faucet and the chiller, and drop that into a bucket of ice water.  This works fine, gets my time down to 15ish min.  It is a bit of a pain though.

I am going to move to a slightly more automated solution for chilling wort.  What I have in mind is this:  A large bucket with 50 or so feet of copper tubing coiled inside, fill the bucket with an ice water slurry (maybe make it supercooled), then pump the wort directly from my kettle through the inside of the copper tubing, and back into the kettle.  With a large enough surface area submerged in 15 gallons of 4degreeC (or colder) water I think I can get the boil-to-pitching time under 5 minutes for 10 gallons. 

The flow diagram would be-

kettle-->submerged copper coils-->pump-->kettle

The chiller could be cleaned and sanitized by placing the hose ends in a bucket of starsan and letting it circulate for several minutes and then soak.  Rinse with distilled or boiled water a few minutes before the end of the boil.

Anyone have any experience with hybrid or automated chillers? 

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