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Topics - lazydog79

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Equipment and Software / Fermenter Recommendations
« on: August 24, 2016, 08:04:39 PM »
I discovered the other night that my veteran BetterBottle 6 gallon primary fermenter has developed some sort of stress crack/dimple on the inside. Don't know how that happened but doesn't really matter - it's done.

So, I am in the market for a new fermenter.  While I liked the BetterBottle, I think I want to go back to a more durable material.  Actually thought about going old school with a 6.5 gallon glass carboy.  I would love to get a stainless steel conical, but my dogs blatantly refuse to crap gold nuggets to fund my brewery upgrades  ;D

Does anyone have any experience with these? NB has a promo on them through today. I like the idea of going back to glass but with a wide opening. What does the group think of them?

Beer Recipes / Would like Feedback on a Lager Recipe
« on: August 15, 2016, 04:17:07 PM »
 Howdy all! Long time no see! Basement Man Cave Construction has kept me away too long.  The basement project also drug my brewing schedule into an ally and beat it up. :'( This year's Oktoberfest never got done.  Oh well, there's always next year!  8)

Anyway, to replace it, I cobbled together a recipe from some fixings I had on hand (mostly from the Oktoberfest that wasn't).  It isn't really to any particular style - just going for flavorful, easy drinker.  I'm going for something that is fairly malt forward with a decent hop presence. Thoughts?

Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated Color: 8.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 25.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 84.7 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4 lbs 8.0 oz          Bohemian Pilsner (Weyermann) (2.0 SRM)   Grain         1        46.2 %       
4 lbs                 Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)                    Grain         2        41.0 %       
1 lbs                 Caramel Malt - 20L (Briess) (20.0 SRM)   Grain         3        10.3 %       
4.0 oz                Munich Malt, Dark (16.0 SRM)             Grain         4        2.6 %         
0.60 oz               German Tradition [5.30 %] - First Wort 9 Hop           5        13.3 IBUs     
1.10 oz               Hallertauer [3.10 %] - Boil 60.0 min     Hop           6        12.1 IBUs     
0.50 oz               Hallertauer [3.10 %] - Steep/Whirlpool   Hop           7        0.0 IBUs     
1.0 pkg               German Bock Lager (White Labs #WLP833) [ Yeast         8        -             

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 9 lbs 12.0 oz
Name              Description                               Step Temperature   Step Time     
Mash In           Add 15.16 qt of water at 162.3 F        150.0 F             75 min       
Mash Out          Add 7.36 qt of water at 211.5 F         168.0 F             10 min       

Sparge: Fly sparge with 2.99 gal water at 168.0 F

Beer Recipes / Spicing for a pumpkin ale
« on: August 09, 2015, 04:36:29 PM »
Greetings all.  I brewed a pumpkin ale up a week and a half ago.  I'm aiming to make something in the vicinity of ST Pumking.  Here is what I brewed:

Recipe Specifications
Bottling Volume: 3.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.088 SG
Estimated FG: 1.019
Estimated ABV: 9.2%
Estimated Color: 11.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 29.4 IBUs
Amt                     Name                                             
10.1 oz                Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM)                             
6 lbs 12.6 oz         Pale Malt (2-Row), US - Rahr (2.0 SRM)         
3 lbs 12.0 oz         Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
6.6 oz                  Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)               
11.0 oz                Caramel Malt - 40L (Briess) (40.0 SRM)           
8.8 oz                  Victory Malt (25.0 SRM)                         
4.0 oz                  Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.5 SRM)           
2.25 lb                 Pumpkin (Mash 60.0 mins)                           
0.40 oz                Magnum [12.30 %] - Boil 60.0 min             
0.50 tsp               Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins)                         
0.50 lb                 Pumpkin (Boil 15.0 mins)                           
0.60 oz                Sterling [7.20 %] - Boil 15.0 min             
1.0 pkg                SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04)                       
9.2 oz                  Brown Sugar, Light (8.0 SRM)

I am racking it to secondary onto two vanilla beans for a few days.  I plan to add my spices to my priming solution at bottling.  Where I am a bit stuck is the spices and the quantity.  I'm kind of flying blind and don't want to screw it up.  So, I would appreciate any insights from the experts.  What I originally had in the recipe was:
1/8 tsp   Ground Ginger       
1/4 tsp   Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp   Nutmeg
1/8 tsp   Clove

How does this look?  As I said, I am going with the "spice tea" method, so I think more flavor will carry over. Plus, it will be only 3 gallons in the secondary.  Alternatively, I could just use "pumpkin pie spice" but have no idea as to the amount.  Thanks!

Kegging and Bottling / Keezer Build: Faucets on the Collar or Towers?
« on: March 09, 2015, 08:22:50 PM »
As I am getting ready to pull the trigger on my keezer build, I am at a bit of a fork in the road in the design process.  Do I:

1: mount the faucets on the collar as such:

or 2: Mount dual two tap draft towers as such:

I am planning on incorporating my keezer into my basement bar as part of the back bar - probably as the centerpiece of the back bar.  I like ease of installation of the on the collar method and can make a sharp keezer, I think (as seen in the example).  However, as part of the bar area, I like the draft towers.  I think I would be happier with the serving height too.  Price is pretty much a wash.  Beverage Factory has double Perlick towers for $160, which is what it would pretty much cost me to do two on the collar.  I'm thinking drilling a hole in the lid, or removing the lid and installing an insulated wood one.

Any wisdom from the experts?  Thanks in advance!

Beer Recipes / Pumpkin Beers
« on: March 08, 2015, 09:20:48 PM »
Howdy all!  Long time, no chat!  Been busier than a one-armed painter here, but the weather is getting warm, which means it's time to get to brewing.  I think I would like to do a pumpkin beer for the fall. I know, I know! Some people are sick of them, but I like them and so do my beer pits/friends.  I've scratched together a couple of recipes.  Which one sounds better?

Option 1 (a Southern Tier PumKing Clone-ish)

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 6.57 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.72 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.090 SG
Estimated Color: 10.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 24.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 83.2 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
3 lbs 3.2 oz          Pumpkin (0.0 SRM)                        Adjunct       1        15.8 %       
1 lbs 9.7 oz          Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM)                     Adjunct       2        7.9 %         
8 lbs 13.4 oz         Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         3        43.6 %       
4 lbs 0.3 oz          Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)         Grain         4        19.8 %       
1 lbs 0.1 oz          Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)    Grain         5        5.0 %         
12.9 oz               Victory Malt (25.0 SRM)                  Grain         6        4.0 %         
12.8 oz               Brown Sugar, Light (8.0 SRM)             Sugar         7        4.0 %         
0.46 oz               Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           8        17.6 IBUs     
0.50 tsp              Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)              Fining        9        -             
0.91 oz               Sterling [7.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min        Hop           10       6.8 IBUs     
2.0 pkg               English Ale (White Labs #WLP002) [35.49  Yeast         11       -             
5.00 Items            Vanilla Bean (Secondary 14.0 days)       Spice         12       -             
0.13 tsp              Ginger Root (Bottling 0.0 days)          Herb          13       -             
0.50 tsp              Ground Cinnamon (Bottling 5.0 mins)      Spice         14       -             
0.25 tsp              Nutmeg (Bottling 0.0 days)               Spice         15       -             
0.13 tsp              Clove (Bottling 0.0 days)                Spice         16       -             

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 20 lbs 4.3 oz
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 24.33 qt of water at 163.7 F        152.0 F       60 min       
Mash Out          Add 13.63 qt of water at 200.7 F        168.0 F       10 min       

Sparge: Fly sparge with -0.08 gal water at 168.0 F
I know the mash is all jacked up.  I have to work on that yet.  I have cobbled this together from several sources and think I have ended up with a "kitchen-sink" style mess!

Option 2: Based on Northern Brewer's Smashing Pumpkin kit:
Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 6.59 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.88 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated Color: 10.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 24.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 69.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 78.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
7 lbs 8.0 oz          Pale Malt (2-Row), US - Rahr (2.0 SRM)   Grain         1        69.8 %       
2 lbs 8.0 oz          Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)                    Grain         2        23.3 %       
8.0 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)    Grain         3        4.7 %         
4.0 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)    Grain         4        2.3 %         
10.00 lb              Pumpkin (Mash 60.0 mins)                 Herb          5        -             
1.00 oz               Cluster [7.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           6        24.3 IBUs     
1.00 tsp              Pumpkin Pie Spice (Boil 0.0 mins)        Spice         7        -             
1.0 pkg               SafAle American Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-05 Yeast         8        -             

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 10 lbs 12.0 oz
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 16.51 qt of water at 161.5 F        152.0 F       75 min       
Mash Out          Add 6.81 qt of water at 211.4 F         168.0 F       10 min       

Sparge: Fly sparge with 2.54 gal water at 168.0 F

I am leaning towards the second one from a drinkability standpoint, but I would love for some other opinions.  Thanks!

Kegging and Bottling / To Build or Buy?
« on: January 25, 2015, 04:41:58 AM »
As I proceed with finishing my basement man cave, complete with bar, of course a kegerator is a necessity!  I have been planning to build a keezer - maybe in a coffin, maybe not; maybe with towers, maybe not.  Whatever I do, I'm planning on building a 4-tapper.  Something like:

Recently, I have been debating, though.  Why not buy an under-counter kegerator??  Something like this one:

By my chainsaw math, my keezer build will take about $1300 to build my keezer (including price of new chest freezer, hardware, etc.).  The under-counter model above is for sale for $1600.  Obviously, that's $300 more and I am loosing a tap.  However, I will have a unit ready to go that can be directly incorporated in the bar and the tower mounted on the bar.  I am finding myself a bit indecisive, so any opinions would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Equipment and Software / Possibly buying a kegerator - need advice
« on: August 07, 2014, 09:18:20 PM »
I have been planning a keezer build for a while.  What I had sketched in my head was a 4-tap kegerator built on about a 14.8 cu. ft. chest freezer - pretty standard stuff..  However, today on Craiglist, I found this:

It has a badge on it that says "Superior Mfg. Co."  I think this is a Bev-Air that Superior badged over, but I could be wrong.  The seller doesn't really know how old it is - bought second or third hand.  He says it runs great and is in working order.  He is asking $1700 with the tap handles, CO2 tank and regulator included.  I know that new, these retail for $3000+.  I figure with the parts needed to convert it to corny kegs, I'm coming out even or a little cheaper than if I build it myself.  I am saving myself the build time.  I mainly concerned if it might be too old and how I am going to get this bear down to my basement.  Thoughts??  Thanks in advance!

Yeast and Fermentation / Starter for Tomorrow?
« on: May 09, 2014, 09:59:45 PM »
This is a new one for me.  I kind of screwed up before I even started brewing  >:(  I'm planning on brewing a five gallon batch of ESB tomorrow.  The planned OG is 1.059.  Mrmalty tell me I need about a liter and a half starter (205 billion).  I usually like to get my starters going at least 48 hours prior so they finish out before crashing, decanting and pitching.  Unfortunately, I got busy and forgot to get yeast earlier this week.  I'm thinking 24 hours isn't long enough for a starter.  Should I pony up and get two vials and forgo the starter or would I get enough out of a 24 hour starter?

Oh, forgot to mention the yeast.  I was planning on using White Labs 002: English Ale.  I have a satchet of Dantstar Windsor in the fridge that was to go for a later brew.  Thinking I might just go with that.

Ingredients / Adding Strawberries
« on: May 25, 2013, 03:10:32 PM »
I brewed a basic blonde ale that is finishing up in primary.  My plan is to rack 3 gallons of it into a 3 gallon caroby onto 4 pounds of fresh strawberries (bottle the rest) for 5 to 7 days.  I am planning to purree the strawberries, pastuerize on the stove (180 degrees for 20 minutes), and then add to the carboy.  I am thinking I need to pastuerize since it is fresh fruit and the base beer is at 4.8%

Is my thinking straight or am I going to extra work?

General Homebrew Discussion / Best Order for a tasting?
« on: August 25, 2012, 01:13:24 AM »
Tomorrow, I'm hosting my first tasting for a group of people.  I'll be featuring seven of my beers and two guests.  I think I have a good order together, but want to see what the experts think  ;)  Here's what I'm thinking:

1. Am. Wheat - very light, almost BMC-ish
2. Scottish 70/-
3. Biere de Garde (Domaine Dupage clone)
4. Pils
5. Amber Ale - hoppier, west coast style
6. Black IPA/IBA (whatever you want to call it)
7. Bock - somewhere between American style and traditional
8. St. Martin Tripel
9. Stone Russian Imperial Stout

Any input would be much appreciated.  Thanks!

Yeast and Fermentation / Stuck Fermentation - Best Course?
« on: July 24, 2012, 03:44:47 PM »
Brewed up a a Robust porter two weeks ago.  OG. 1.065.  Fermented with WLP013 London Ale at 67 degrees.  It has been in the primary for twelve days.  The fermenter has been quiet for a couple days, so I pulled a gravity/tasting sample to see where I was.  I was expecting a FG somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.017, but I have 1.022 (insert favorite swear word(s) here  >:( ).  It tastes like the cloyingly sweet mess you would expect finishing five points high.  I haven't had a stuck/under-attenuated brew in quite a while.  What is my best course of action to save this batch?  Throw in some yeast energizer or run to the store to get some S-05 and dump it in?  As always, thanks for the advice.

Yeast and Fermentation / Best Yeast for an Oatmeal Stout?
« on: July 03, 2012, 03:25:46 PM »
I am putting together a recipe for an Oatmeal Stout.  I am using a clone recipe for Rogue Shakespeare Stout as the basis, but I wouldn't exactly call it a clone.  Obviously, the original recipe called for PacMan Yeast.  I can't source Wyeast, and I don't think they make that anymore. I'm looking on opinions for a good White Labs yeast for American/Oatmeal stouts.  I was thinking either WLP005 British Ale or WLP013 London Ale.  I am thinking of going with the London Ale.  Thoughts?

Beer Recipes / Strawberry Blonde
« on: July 03, 2012, 03:02:13 PM »
I have been scratching at this Strawberry Blonde ale recipe for a while and was looking for some input.  I'm not usually a fruit beer fan, but a local brewpub makes a good one.  It has just a subtle hint of strawberry - just enough to know it's there but not overpowering.  I was looking to try to replicate it.  Here's what I have come up with so far:

8.2 lbs. Domestic 2-Row
7 oz. Crystal 10L
.4 oz. Galena @ 60 min
White Labs WLP 011 European Ale Yeast
1 lb. frozen strawberries - secondary for five days
OG: 1.051; IBU: 18; est. FG 1.014; est. ABV 4.7%

I am pretty confident in the base beer.  The only switch I made was to go with the European Ale Yeast to compliment/support the fruit better.  What I am unsure of is the fruit.  I wanted to go with the frozen berries because I don't like extract flavors.  Not sure of the amount though.  I don't want it to not come through at all, but I don't want to make fruit juice either.  Thanks in advance for your input!

Yesterday was my brew day for my Bier de Garde that I am fermenting with WLP 011 European Ale Yeast.  Up until now, my SOP for starters was to make up an appropriately sized starter (per Mr. Malty) 48-72 Hours before the brew, let it ferment out, decant the starter beer, and pitch the cream.  With this brew, it took the yeast almost 36 hours to get going - from what I've read typical for 011 - so it didn't have time to ferment out.  Rather than risk increasing under-pitching and increasing my lag time, I decanted off about half of the 2.75 qt. starter and pitched the rest.

So far, I'm impressed with the results - I had slow bubbling within 3 hours of pitch and aggressive fermentation inside of 12 hours.  This is definitely getting me to rethink when to pitch.  My lingering question is how much starter beer is too much to pitch into a 5 gallon batch? 

Ingredients / Yeast for a Biere de Garde?
« on: August 03, 2011, 03:19:19 PM »
I'm planning on brewing a Biere de Garde tomorrow.  I had planned to use White Labs' 011 European Ale.  I made up a 2 qt. starter yesterday and pitched the yeast at about 7 last night.  As of 10 this morning - nada.  So, I'm thinking I have a $6 vial of dead yeast.  Anyway, I don't want to lose my brew day tomorrow - around here getting them is too hard!  What's a good dry yeast to use in a pinch?  S-05?  Nottingham?

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