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Topics - EThome

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All Grain Brewing / Keg It?
« on: April 10, 2017, 04:39:24 PM »
I brewed a simple all-grain Kolsch recipe last week (4/2). Made a starter with two packs of WLP029 (just to be sure) and have been able to keep fermentation temps to around 60 F with ice bottles and a collapsible cooler. Fermentation started quick and appeared to progress very well.

Typically I just let fermenters sit for 2 weeks. I decided to take a gravity reading this morning (7 days after brewing) when I changed out an ice bottle. I have reached my final gravity of 1.008 (actually a point below expected).

I am planning on lagering for a solid month in the mid-30s while carbonating.

Any reason to let it sit in the primary until the weekend? Or would you transfer to the keg at this point and get a jump on the lagering?

All Grain Brewing / Step Mash Batch Sparging?
« on: August 25, 2016, 03:22:50 PM »
I have been brewing for several years with a couple dozen extract w/grains batches under my belt and have decided to make the jump to all grain (batch sparging). Have already converted a cooler to a mash tun, read up on the process, and have decided on the inaugural brew - Bell's Two Hearted clone. My initial questions come from the recipe published in Zymurgy back in 2011.

The recipe calls for a step mash; 45 minutes @ 150 with 4.5 gallons of water then ramp to 170 by infusing with 2.5 gallons of boiling water for 10 minutes and then vorlauf. The recipe calls for collecting 6.6 gallons total (I will probably collect more like 7 gallons based on my actual boil off numbers) from the mash and sparge, sparging with 175 degree water.

If I use the average absorption of 0.1 gallons per pound taking up 1.22 gallons (12.16 lb grain bill X 0.1) with the 7 gallons total in the mash that leaves only 1.22 gallons needed for the sparge. (7 gallons (4.5 strike and 2.5 infusion) - 1.22 = 5.78 expected from the mash; 7 - 5.78 = 1.22 gallons required for the sparge)

So is that all the sparge water I should heat up - just 1.22 gallons?

Or should I heat up and actually sparge with more and just collect the 6.6 or 7 gallons? If more, is there a limit to how much more I should sparge with?

Or am I not figuring something right?

I have been brewing only extract with grains recipes since I started several years ago. Have 30 batches done with the majority turning out really well. I haven't paid too much attention to the original gravity estimations that most recipes come with. Sometimes I get really close or right on - other times just close. I usually just measure O.G. and F.G. to get an idea of ABV at the end of it all. 

Over the weekend I brewed More Beer's Blonde Ale.
7lb Ultralight LME
8oz Crystal (steeped)
1 oz Willamette @ the full 60 min boil

The estimated O.G. is listed at 1.044 - 1.048.

My actual came in at  1.054 - both with a refractometer and the hydrometer.

I do full boils and there was 6.75 gallons in the kettle after adding the LME and 5 gallons in the fermenter at the end of the boil before pitching.

I'm not all that worried about the final product or the potential uptick in ABV, but anyone have an idea why the O.G.s would be so far apart?

Kegging and Bottling / Anyone share this issue with pin lock QDs?
« on: November 23, 2015, 06:43:04 PM »
Relatively new to kegging (4th keg in the 4 tap kegerator) I have been working through "issues" as they have come up. One that has come up that has been slightly worrisome is that the quick disconnects seem to have (every one in awhile) a rather tenuous seal to the posts.

I have all pin lock connections and did the requisite refurb of the posts, etc. when I first set everything up. I did not replace the poppets or the o rings on them, but they all seem to be in good shape and tight when they are inserted in the posts.

I have noted that on occasion the gas posts are rather "sensitive" to being moved as lines were moved around the inside of the kegerator. Moved slightly, you can hear the gas escaping. With a little fidgeting, I can always get the "flow" to stop.

The slightly more troublesome issue I have been having is that the QD for the liquid post on a recent keg seems even more "sensitive". On occasion, it has allowed a flow of beer out from under the QD. Again, a little fidgeting and I can usually get it to stop. I noticed the other day that a flow had occurred when the kegerator was closed over the course of a couple days as dried beer was evident on the side of the keg and around the bottom - sticking it to the floor.

I cleaned that up, took apart the QD, checked, cleaned and sanitized all the parts, and replaced it - being extra careful when I redistributed the lines and closed the door.  I made sure the cap plug was well tightened down. Every so often I just crack the door to be sure all is in good order.

My main question/concern is has anyone else experienced the same "sensitivity" with pin lock QDs? And is there anything I should be doing different? Is this something inherent with pin locks?

A lot of beer has not been wasted to this point - nor gas (as far as I can tell). But it is worrisome that I can't just close the door and forget about it. It doesn't seem like the QDs should be that sensitive.

Kegging and Bottling / How Big a Problem?
« on: November 15, 2015, 06:59:46 PM »
Being new to kegging, I am working through issues. My latest mistake/problem is that I just kegged an IPA last night. Without checking the pressure set at the regulator, I mistakenly put 30 lb of pressure on the newly kegged beer, took off the gas disconnect and worse yet, compounding the mistake, I put the disconnect back on.

Took some liquid in the gas line. Luckily it did not make it all the way the manifold. I have since removed the fouled line and cleaned it and the disconnect.

However, I then tried to relieve the pressure in the keg by depressing the poppit on the gas post and proceeded to spew beer out through the gas post. Trying again today to relieve pressure - the same thing - beer spewing out of the post.

Do I just let it all sit for a day? days?

As is, obviously if I try and connect the gas disconnect again I'll wind up with the same fouled gas line - correct?

What are my options?

At least I know the keg holds pressure well.

All my brews thus far over the few years I've been homebrewing have been extract with specialty grains. So, all I have ever done is to steep the specialty grains as the base malt is replaced with dry or liquid extract.

I'm going to brew a clone of Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA this weekend. The recipe calls for 11 lb of 2 row, 1.75 lb of 10L Munich and 0.75 lb of 75L crystal. The extract option has me replacing the 2 row with 8.25 lb of pale LME. No issue thus far.

It then mentions "mashing" the Munich and crystal at 155F for 40 minutes then draining and rinsing. Normally I would simply steep the specialty grains at the temp suggested (or there abouts) in 1 - 2 gallons of water.

So my questions:

- Will actually mashing the specialty grains make enough of a difference?
- Assuming I should mash as directed, would using grain bags make a difference, or should I treat it as an actual mash and add the grains loose?
- Again, assuming mashing, and since it's such a small quantity of grains, anyone have suggestions on the ratio of water to grain?

My plan, if mashing, is to get the water to temp, add the grains (loose or bagged depending on answers to the above), and then stick the pot in the oven set at 155F for the 40 minutes. 

Kegging and Bottling / Kegerator Build/Set-Up Question
« on: September 04, 2015, 03:29:18 PM »
I'm going to be diving in to my upright frig-to-kegerator conversion this weekend and I think I have all the pieces and parts and have done all the research and layout necessary (we'll see).

Over the next couple of months I will also be kegging my brews for the first time - first one likely around the 20th of this month. So I am sure I will be back as things come up and questions pop into my head. Like this one;

In all my reading of conversions and set-ups, I don't recall anyone discussing whether you should "clean" the brand new, never used lines/faucets or if sanitizing them is sufficient.

I know this seems like a basic/no-brainer kind of thing (why not just clean 'em - you never know where they've been) but wanted to get input from those who have been there done that.

Kegging and Bottling / Leaking Keg Lid(s) / Newbie Kegger Question
« on: August 24, 2015, 09:26:48 PM »
This is likely one of those newbie questions that I think I already know the answer to, but would like to confirm.

Have had 4 kegs (pin lock) I purchased last year - don't remember where - for $99. Couldn't pass it up even though I wasn't ready to start kegging. I am now!

I just got around to re-furbing the kegs - although I did a thorough rinse last year. Over this past weekend I soaked the insides for several hours with PBW (with the pieces and parts inside), replaced all the o-rings (lid, dip tubes, posts), and lubed them. When I re-attached the tubes, posts, and top I inverted the kegs to let the PBW hit the tops for a bit. Water leaked out from around the lids - all of them.

I am assuming that since the keg was not pressurized at all with gas (all the accessories are on their way) the lid would never be fully sealed. Should I withhold the final verdict until I'm able to put a little gas on them?

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