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Topics - pehlman

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Equipment and Software / Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« on: November 07, 2012, 02:32:07 AM »
Ive come to the point in my brewing where I feel I am at a crossroads. I would really like to make my brew day easier and shorter if possible. More importantly, I would also like to take my quality and consistancy up a few knotches.

So here is my question....

Is it best to put more focus into buying better equipment and having a better system overall?

or... To put less effort and worry into it, and just learn how to fully optimize the system that you currently have? Given the system you are using already does all the basics to a certain extent (mash, lauter, boil, cooling, fermenting, packaging).

General Homebrew Discussion / IPA's and Caramel Malts
« on: November 07, 2012, 01:52:47 AM »
So it's no secret that American IPA brewers nowadays (especially here on the west coast) seem to shun the use of much, if any, caramel malts in their IPA's. Many of the the best IPA brewers (Vinnie Cilurzo and Matt Brynildson to name a few) have been very open about their dislike of crystal/caramel malts paired along side american hops.


As I sit here drinking a delicious glass of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, it has gotten me thinking. How do they seem to do it so well where as everyone else seems be going so far the other way? Just this season alone, having tried the Celebration Ale, Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale, Estate Ale, and even a classic like Torpedo... I am SO impressed and intrigued by how well they get that combo of crystal malts and american hops to work together.

Any thoughts???

General Homebrew Discussion / Dry-Hopping Citra DIPA
« on: October 16, 2012, 03:41:54 AM »
So recently I brewed the Kern River Brewing "Citra" double IPA clone from The Jamil Show CYBI on The Brewing Network. Im about 9 days in and Im pretty close to the numbers I should be hitting so far. I had an OG of 1.071 and today Im @ 1.012 ... Goal was 1.010, but I won't lose any sleep over that. So I think it's about time to start dry hopping.

Kern River dry hops this beer at fermentation temp, which is 68F

Here is my question:
Since I am fermenting in a 6.5gal carboy, I am going to transfer to a smaller 5gal carboy for dry hopping. My assumption here is that the smaller carboy will help reduce head space, thus less oxidation. Anyway... The dry-hopping schedule for this beer is 4 separate dry-hop additions over a total of 12 days. One new addition (no, not like Bobby Brown. Thats "Edition" with an E.) every 3 days. Since Im in a carboy, and really would NOT like to rack into a new vessel every 3 days (for multiple reasons), do you think i will be ok just adding the hops to that same carboy each time? That means the first dry hops added will be in contact with the beer for 12 days. Im just hoping that at 68F, 12 days wont be too long and start pulling out harsh, green flavors from the hops. What do you guys think???

PS - Ive heard people mention purging the Oxygen out of secondary fermentation carboys using CO2. This may sound dumb to ask... but how exactly is this usually done?

Is using a keg for secondary overall a better idea?

All Grain Brewing / Another water chemistry question.... Sorry
« on: August 31, 2011, 03:45:04 AM »
Was just reading through John Palmer's book in the chapter about water chemistry and I noticed something. He says "if the total hardness exceeds the total alkalinity, then nearly all the alkalinity can be removed down to the 50ppm limit."

After looking at my latest water report, my Hardness as CaCO3 is 246mg/L and my Alkalinity is 112mg/L

However, my Alkalinity doesn't say "as CaCO3" after it like the hardness does. Can I still assume it's pretty close?

All Grain Brewing / Maximum OG for yeast viability
« on: August 29, 2011, 08:39:58 PM »
What's the highest original gravity in which you can get likely get yeast to thrive and attenuate well? I have heard of people making very strong beers and having to start with a lower-gravity wort, and then adding small amounts of yeast and sugar as it ferments. Is there an upper limit as far as a how big of a beer one can make just using the usual method of pitching all the yeast at the beginning? Given proper yeast-count and aeration, of course.

Kegging and Bottling / Head space and forced CO2
« on: August 29, 2011, 08:20:59 PM »
I ended up with about a gallon less beer than I intended on my last batch. Looks like Im only gonna end up with about 4 gallons of beer in a 5-gal corny keg. I was wondering... Would the extra gallon of head space affect the pressure needed to carbonate it if Im just pumping CO2 into it?

All Grain Brewing / Water Chemistry... Please help!
« on: August 26, 2011, 06:41:57 AM »
Everytime I try to learn about water chemistry with regards to brewing I just always seem to end up confused and frustrated.

I understand the concept of appropriate ranges of minerals, and pH ranges, but it's putting that information into execution in a mash that I just start to get confused.

Here is my most recent water report levels:

Ca - 65 mg/L

Hardness [as CaCO3] - 246 mg/L

Mg - 21 mg/L

Na - 77 mg/L

Alkalinity - 112 mg/L (My water report doesn't show Bicarbonate HCO3)

SO4 - 160 mg/L

Cl - 78 mg/L

When I put these numbers into the equation in Ray Daniels' "Designing Great Beers" book

pH = (CaCO3 x 0.056) - (Ca x -0.04) - (Mg x -0.033]) x 0.028 + 5.8

I get an approximate mash pH of 6.1

The only way I seem to be able to calculate a mash pH of 5.4 (and still stay within ideal ranges of Ca and Mg) I would have to start with a negative amount of CaCO3 (which i assume means an acidic water)... this is where I begin to become frustrated. Can you even have negative CaCO3?

im confused...  :-\

Also, could anybody further explain to me using R/O Water vs. Distilled? At least as far as how the differences apply to brewing...

Pimp My System / Anybody use Minibrew?
« on: August 24, 2011, 05:49:43 PM »
Anybody have any experience with any of the MINIBREW equipment? Always thought their Mash-Lauter Tun looked pretty cool... plus Ive been interested, yet a little skeptical, of their conicals.


 - Mike

Homebrew Clubs / Orange County CA brew clubs?
« on: August 24, 2011, 04:29:25 AM »
Anybody living in the Orange County (preferably north OC) area, and belong to a good brew club? Im looking for one to meet with and share brews!  ;D

Beer Recipes / Deschutes The Abyss
« on: August 24, 2011, 04:11:33 AM »
Ok... So this is my favorite beer ever, and for a very long time I have been wanting to somehow emulate this beer.

Given the complexity of processes and ingredients that seem to go into making it, Im sure it would be next to impossible to actually clone.

Here's what Deschutes has to say about it:

Recipe type: All grain
Batch size: 5 U.S. gallons
Original gravity:   1.100
Final gravity: 1.018
Boil time: 90 minutes
Fermentation temp: 65° F
Yeast type: English Ale

MALT - NW 2-row Pale Malt, Black malt & black barley, C-120 & C-60
Malted Wheat, Roasted Barley, Victory or biscuit malt

HOPS - Millennium, Chinook

**Note: Temps, times and weights are the challenge. Happy Brewing!"

So here's what Ive come up with so far for a 5-gallon batch...

13 lbs - 2-Row Base (69.3%)
1 lbs - Crystal 60L (5.3%)
0.5 lbs - Crystal 120L (2.7%)
1 lbs - Wheat Malt (5.3%)
0.75 lbs - Roasted Barley (4%)
0.5 lbs - Black Patent (2.7%)
1.5 lbs Victory Malt (8%)
0.5 lbs Molasses (2.7%) In Boil

(Gives me a calculated finished-beer color of about 50L in Brew Pal)

Boil Time - 90min

   1oz Millennium (13%AA)@ 60min
   1oz Chinook (11.8%AA) @ 45min
   0.5oz Millenium @ 30min
   0.5oz Chinook @ 15min
   0.25oz Licorice Root @ 10min
(Approx. 67 IBU's calculated) 

Fermentation @ 65F with WLP007

This beer was originally a blend of a molasses stout with a licorice stout. Plus, they also do a myriad of barrel aging and blending of different oaks, as well as "dry-hopping" with Vanilla beans and Cherry bark... So that would be the harder part to emulate im sure!

Yeast and Fermentation / Cold Crashing
« on: August 24, 2011, 02:40:57 AM »
On a beer that is just going to go straight from the primary to the bottle (no secondary)... Is cold crashing the beer for a while at the very end, before bottling, recommended? Ive done the technique before of cold crashing the bottles after they carbonate to help it clear up but Ive never tried cold-crashing while still in the fermenter. I especially hear of this a lot in traditional belgian recipes.

Any recommendations?

Pimp My System / Wooden brew stand? Help with system design...
« on: August 22, 2011, 11:19:21 PM »
Ive been desperately wanting to get myself a nice brew stand in order to eventually consolidate my entire brewing process into one unit. Been doing some thinking, and Ive seen quite a few people that have built wooden brew stands. I have easy access to a full woodshop and somebody who would be willing to help me construct it. So all-in-all, im thinking that a wooden stand may just be much more practical for me.

Anybody have any good designs or personal experiences they would be willing to share? 

Also, my dad works for a company that specializes in fluid technologies, so I also have access to all kinds of pipes, hoses, pumps, heat-exchangers, and all that stuff at a pretty cheap cost if I need it.

So yeah, if anybody has some good ideas for a design... or input regarding making it a certain style, like RIMS or HERMS... Id really love any advice I can get! Thanks!  ;D

All Grain Brewing / Making up for Space under spigot?
« on: August 22, 2011, 07:04:42 AM »
Im starting to move towards doing larger batches (lager than the usual 5 gallons, that is) so I have recently acquired a couple new brew pots. One 15 gallon and one 20 gallon. But I have noticed one thing that concerns me a bit.

When you are using these larger-volume pots with spigots on them, do you usually account for the liquid that is left below the level of the spigot? It seems like it a pretty decent amount too... at least a few gallons.

Maybe Im just still so used to doing 5 gallon batches that this seems like a bigger deal than it is! hahaha

All Grain Brewing / Single-malt beers
« on: August 22, 2011, 06:32:41 AM »
Ive been wanting to dive into learning the different characteristics that the different kinds of malts add to a beer. Ive heard/read about people brewing a bunch of what they called "single-malt beers", featuring individual specialty grains to learn their flavor really well. This is what I am assuming they mean by "single-malt"...
For example. If i want to learn the flavor of Crystal-60: I would still use a base malt like Pale 2-row making up 75-90% of the grain bill, correct? And just fill up the rest with C-60.

I shouldn't just make a 100% C-60 grain-bill, right? ???

Hope that makes sense!!!    ;D

All Grain Brewing / Goodbye stove... Hello Blichmann!
« on: August 18, 2011, 10:40:54 PM »
Just got a Blichmann floor-stand burner for my birthday yesterday so I can finally take my brewing out of the kitchen. Going to be my first time brewing on an outdoor burner. Anybody using Blichmann right now who may have some tips and/or advice?

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