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Topics - narvin

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Equipment and Software / Kettle condenser in lieu of ventilation
« on: February 01, 2018, 04:47:35 PM »
After a mini-hiatus due to moving I'm working on setting up an electric brewery in the basement.  I saw this idea here and thought it looked freakin cool.  Definitely better than doing the work to install a big noisy vent hood in an already finished basement, and it lets you dial back the boil electricity as well.  DMS?  I'm not worried about any DMS  :)

Getting everything up and running is still a ways off but I'll keep you posted if I try it.

The Pub / Seen at homebrewcon
« on: June 17, 2017, 07:28:37 PM »

I don't mean that I drank 20 pints a day, or invited my friends over and they enthusiastically "helped" me drink it all. 

This was the first batch where I dry hopped at the end of primary fermentation.  8 ounces per carboy went in on day 4 with ~5 points left to ferment.  Most of the IBUs came from a whirlpool charge, with only a tiny bittering addition.  10 days later I kegged, using my standard routine of pushing out sanitizer (iodiphor) with CO2.  Pushing out of the fermenter was also done completely under CO2 pressure.  It tasted great warm and flat from the keg... wonderful hop flavors.

On day 3, with just a hint of carbonation, it was amazing.  The full flavor came out.  Hop oil biotransformations were REAL!  I couldn't get enough of it.  Every last drop was delicious (and I think I had more than a couple glasses of it).  The next day I hurt (too much of a good thing), but a day later was Friday and I couldn't wait to get home and drink some more.  Well... they were gone.  All of the amazing flavors.  It was a standard, decent IPA at this point, but nothing like it was before.  This was a split batch with a friend, and he confirmed that his keg had also lost the majority of it's fresh hop flavor and aroma.

I can only conclude that force carbonation was the culprit.  Not even the transfer, but the carbonation process itself.  We know that whatever CO2 we get as homebrewers is not 100% pure.  The beer was incredible until it started to absorb CO2, and then it fell off a cliff.  Again, it's still a good IPA, and if I never tasted it before carbonation completed I wouldn't have known its potential.  But all of the fresh hop flavors have completely transformed to a more bitter, dull, and harsh flavor.

This is probably what I was used to in the past, even from some commercial breweries, so I never questioned it.  But at this point I don't think I'll force carb any of my beers ever again.  I'm looking into doing some tests on a split batch with force carbing with ascorbic acid and sulfites vs spunding with keg hops.  I'd rather not bother with hops in the keg but if it's the best solution, it will be worth it.

Beer Travel / It's good to be in Asheville
« on: March 12, 2017, 09:11:11 PM »

Beer Recipes / Narvin's Juiciest IPA
« on: June 06, 2016, 09:04:34 PM »

Just in time for HomeBrewCON!  I decided to go for it and do my take on the "Fruit Juicy" IPA that's so popular these days, with a few compromises. It's not gritty or overly yeasty.  Yes, there are bittering hops.  I also crash cooled to remove a lot of yeast.  But because of the time constraints, it was dry hopped in the primary as fermentation finished.  And I used raw wheat berries, which I keep around for traditional lambics but enjoy in everything from Saisons to IPAs.  Note that IBU does not take into account the massive whirlpool additions.

Edit: This will be at the conference but not at club night... I made some beers for the Maryland Homebrew Expo booth.  I'm hoping it will be on Friday when the AHA meetup is going on.

Narvin's Juciest IPA

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal):        12.00    Wort Size (Gal):   12.00
Total Grain (Lbs):       29.81
OG:          1.067    Plato:             16.31
Anticipated SRM:           5.0
Anticipated IBU:          45.1
Brewhouse Efficiency:       74 %
Wort Boil Time:             75    Minutes
Measured FG: 1.011
ABV: 7.4%


   %     Amount     Name             
 62.1    18.50 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row)           
 23.5     7.00 lbs. Pilsener                   
 10.1     3.00 lbs. Soft White Wheat Berries 
  3.4     1.00 lbs. Cane Sugar             
  1.0     0.31 lbs. Crystal 40L         


   Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
  2.00 oz.    Chinook                           Pellet  11.10  34.5  75 min.
  4.00 oz.    Amarillo                          Pellet  10.00   2.7  1 min.
  4.00 oz.    Centennial                        Pellet  10.90   2.9  1 min.
  4.00 oz.    Simcoe                            Pellet  12.20   3.3  1 min.
  4.00 oz.    Amarillo                          Pellet  10.00   0.0  0 min.
  4.00 oz.    Centennial                        Pellet  10.90   0.0  0 min.
  4.00 oz.    Simcoe                            Pellet  12.20   0.0  0 min.
  3.00 oz.    Amarillo                          Pellet  10.00   0.0  Dry Hop
  3.00 oz.    Citra                             Pellet  14.40   0.0  Dry Hop
  3.00 oz.    Simcoe                            Pellet  12.20   0.0  Dry Hop
  1.00 oz.    Azacca                            Pellet  10.00   0.0  Dry Hop
  1.00 oz.    Jarrylo                           Pellet  10.00   0.0  Dry Hop
  1.00 oz.    Mandarina Bavaria                 Pellet   7.00   0.0  Dry Hop

75 minute hop stand with recirculating whirlpool.  0 minute hops were added after 30 minutes of whirlpool when wort temp reached 180.


White Labs WLP001 California Ale

Ferment @68 for 10 days, raising to 70 at the end.  Dry hop @64 for 5 days.  Crash cool @ 32 for 4 days.

Water Profile (after additions)
Calcium(Ca):          71.5 ppm
Magnesium(Mg):         8.0 ppm
Sodium(Na):           21.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4):          59.2 ppm
Chloride(Cl):         90.2 ppm
biCarbonate(HCO3):    59.0 ppm

Mash, sparge liquor adjusted to pH 5.5 with phosphoric acid.  Kettle pH adjusted to 5.4.

I have some double strength canned starter wort that I want to dilute by 50%.  My plan is to use distilled, and I want to be lazy and use it as is.  No more boiling of anything.

It was purified using steam distillation and should be free of both minerals and contaminants.  But what about the bottling?  In theory it's fine.  In practice I'm sure it's even more fine, as people have topped off with tap water and not had infections.  The large quantity of yeast in a starter will quickly outgrow contaminants, anyway.

I think I just need some reassurance  :D

Yeast and Fermentation / Stir plate starter analysis
« on: June 26, 2015, 11:55:27 PM »
I'm making a starter for an IPA, and by popular request I'm doing a methylene blue stain and cell count on it.

Vital stats:

2 vials of WLP 001, expiration date Oct . 5 (produced on June 5)
2.5 L of canned starter wort:
  - Best Pilz malt,  enough calcium sulfate to hit 50 ppm ca, phosphoric acid to mash pH 5.4 room temp, yeast nutrient.
- No sparge, canned wort at 15 psi for 15 minutes.
  - OG 1.045 or so.  Higher than usual but part of an experiment with accommodating yeast to fermentation wort gravities.

I shook the starter for a whole minute, which is an eternity for one this big. 

Put on the stir plate this morning and left it alone.  After 10 hours:

I plan to stain and put on the microscope later, although if the krausen hasn't gone down yet before bed the cell count won't be accurate.

Beer Travel / Lines suck
« on: June 06, 2015, 08:21:55 PM »

Going Pro / The most expensive ingredient in beer...
« on: February 22, 2015, 05:03:42 PM »

I'm all for the lowering of excise taxes for small brewers, but these numbers don't seem to add up.  Any pros have a comment?

Equipment and Software / 15.5 gal stainless fermenter
« on: October 10, 2014, 06:07:52 PM »

Yep, it's a keg. Take the spear out and you effectively have a large stainless carboy.

You can hook up a fancy stainless apparatus for racking/thermowell/airlock on the top if you want since a 2" tri-clamp fits on a Sankey. Some places sell them pre-assembled, but it's going to cost as much as the keg itself.  I just use a carboy cap with a large hose clamp around it and it can hold enough pressure for racking.

Going Pro / Sewer ejector system
« on: October 18, 2013, 10:33:29 PM »
Kicking around some ideas for a nano brewery right now (no, I'm not going to quit my job.  yes, my whole life will be beer.  it already is).  I've found some space that's pretty well located, for an industrial park, and reasonably priced.  One of the odd things is that this warehouse is on the lower level of the back of the building and is below sewer level, so the landlord says an "ejector system" would be needed for waste water.  Any idea if this would be a problem to use with floor drains, yeast, etc?  I've only done preliminary investigation into local codes but none of the breweries around here seem to need any kind of sedimentation tank for their waste.

I also have no idea what kind of build-out allowance, if any, a landlord for an existing building will give for thing like water, waste, and power hookups. Is this something I should push for?  The space seems to have been vacant since 2012... oddly, it was an ice cream factory, so I don't know how they didn't have sewer.

Homebrew Competitions / NHC final round shipping address
« on: June 04, 2013, 04:22:12 PM »
The shipping address for final round entries isn't recognized by UPS or FedEx.  Any ideas?

Equipment and Software / Dead fridge, brought back to life!
« on: May 24, 2013, 06:49:21 PM »
My kegerator stopped working last week.  It wouldn't chill and the only noise it made was a loud click every few minutes.  This is exactly what happened to my last chest freezer that died, which I replaced.  This was a lot worse, though, since I have the fridge built into a larger bar and replacing it would be a total PITA.

I decided to do some more research and it sounded like it could just be the start relay.  I found the right part and ordered from, and lo and behold, it works again.  So if your fridge/freezer won't start and you don't hear any noise from the compressor, you might be able to fix it for cheap instead of throwing it out.

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