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Topics - FirstStateBrewer

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All Grain Brewing / Is my water any good for all-grain brewing?
« on: June 12, 2012, 01:52:00 PM »
I've brewed extract for 20 years.  I've been living in my current house for the last 12 of those 20 years.  My extract brews always tasted great.   ;D  Until now, I've never had any reason to question the quality of my well water for brewing.

But, a year ago I finally switched over to all-grain brewing.  I've brewed a half dozen or so all-grain batches and no matter how hard I've tried, my mash efficiency has been horribly low.  I've been discussing this problem with other homebrewing friends and may post a thread specific to that problem, but that's not the purpose of this thread. 

At the advice of many, I sent a sample of my water to Ward Labs for analysis.  Here's the report I got back.  Now, I know NOTHING about water chemistry.  As I said, my water tastes good and have never had a problem with extract batches.

My question is this: 

Is my water the cause of my poor mash efficiency? 

Ingredients / Citra, Amarillo & Simcoe
« on: June 08, 2012, 02:22:38 PM »
I plan to brew an Imperial IPA tomorrow. Here's a link to the recipe.

I want to use Citra, Amarillo & Simcoe in the brew. However, I've never used Citra or Simcoe, so I don't know how much or when to add them. I just took a guess when I created my recipe. Does anyone think I need to change my hops schedule? I could substitute with Cascade, if you think that would work better. The last thing I want is a beer that tastes like cat piss! LOL!

Also, what should I dry hop with?

Your opinions will be appreciated!   :)

The Pub / SiriusXM launches the Pink Floyd Channel
« on: May 25, 2012, 03:44:36 PM »
Going to be listing to some tasty tunes while brewing this afternoon!

SiriusXM launches the Pink Floyd Channel, featuring music, interviews and historic concert broadcasts from the Pink Floyd archives. Hear classic Pink Floyd, their newly remastered catalog, recently released as part of the “Why Pink Floyd” campaign, plus solo albums by band members Roger Waters and David Gilmour, rarities, demos and more, hosted by SiriusXM host Jim Ladd.

The Pink Floyd Channel will air Friday, May 25 through Monday, May 28 on Ch. 27. The channel will be available again Friday, June 29 through Monday, July 9 on Sirius Ch. 142 and XM Ch. 43; and available as a 24/7 channel online on Ch. 802 and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App for smartphones and mobile devices beginning Friday, June 29 for an extended period.

Yeast and Fermentation / Maibock Fermentation Schedule?
« on: May 18, 2012, 02:30:31 PM »
I'm brewing a Maibock this weekend.  Now that I've build a fermentation chamber, I want to try to keep to a good fermentation temperature schedule with this batch. 

I'm using White Labs WLP838 Southern German Lager yeast.  Estimated O.G. of 1.070.  I've done some searches, but am having trouble finding a consensus on how I should ferment. 

What temp should I pitch at?  How long and at what temp should I primary it?  When should I do diacetyl rest?  What temp and for how long?  Temp and length of lagering?  How quick do I lower the temp?  And so on...

Yes, I know I am asking for a lot, but what's a brewing forum for?  LOL!

Pimp My System / Mobile Wort Chilling Station
« on: May 14, 2012, 02:35:33 AM »
I have combined my immersion pre-chiller with my counter-flow chiller.

The base is an old milk crate.  Inside I have a cat litter bucket to hold ice water for pre-chilling the tap water which runs through the counter flow chiller sitting on top.  I've attached wheels and a handle salvaged from an old garbage can.  The handle is screwed onto an old plastic shelf board. 

It may not look like much to you, but to me it's a thing of beauty! :-)

I just built a fermentation chamber for my garage.  (See My Letter to SWMBO)

I'm using a temperature controller and tried taping the probe to my carboy while covering it tightly with thick insulation. However, every time I opened the chamber door, within seconds the temperature displayed on the controller would rise several degrees. That told me my probe was measuring air temps, not wort temps.

Last night I moved the probe into a growler of water. Now, when I open the door for a few seconds, the temp does not change.

Is this the best solution or should I try to find a better way to affix it to the carboy?

Equipment and Software / My letter to SWMBO
« on: April 18, 2012, 02:30:08 PM »
I'm sure you saw the box in the middle of the garage when you left for work this morning.  That's the fermentation chamber I'm building. 

This will give me room to place my beer while it's fermenting and I won't have to carry it into the house and hurt my back anymore.  It will also allow me to make lagers, which require lower temperatures during fermentation.  It will be heated in the winter, so it will keep the same temps then, too!

I will use your old college mini-fridge that has been in our basement un-plugged for 12 years.
All the wood I'm using for framing was found in the basement.  I'll use some of that scrap plywood down there, too! 

For the floor of the box, I'm using the piece of insulation board that was cut out of the sunroom wall (that your mom bought us) when I installed the heater/AC unit.

Some of that dark-finished plywood from our old kitchen will be used for the front of the box.  That will look nice!  :-) 

I found some old casters in my workshop I can use so I'll be able to roll it out of the way.  I'll place it under your parents' old kitchen table which I have setup in the garage in front of your car.  That will replace the spot we had the dead upright freezer I just threw out.
All of these brewing related projects are keeping me busy at night and helping me lose weight!  I'm so happy!  :-)
It's amazing that I am able to build this super fermentation chamber utilizing all of these items we already have cluttering up our house!  But, I need to buy one more tiny thing.  I need Pactiv 2" x 4' x 8' Square Edge Insulation for just $26.98 from Lowes.  May I buy it?

All Grain Brewing / Oh no!
« on: April 16, 2012, 06:04:46 PM »
Help!  I brewed the following Abby Dubbel recipe yesterday and was confused why my gravity only read 1049.

I just now realized that I forgot to add the Dark candi syrup.   :'(

So, can it be saved?  when I get home from work, can I add the Dark candi syrup after first boiling with some water?  Or would that risk oxidation?  I'm sure by now there will be a vigorous fermentation going on.

I am such an idiot!   :P

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