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Topics - In The Sand

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All Grain Brewing / Slow Carbing Bourbon Porter
« on: February 15, 2014, 01:32:32 AM »
I brewed a bourbon porter which I added 7 oz of Maker's Mark per 5 gallons to the keg on 1/17/14.  I set the CO2 to 20 psi.  Here we are several weeks later and it's still very flat.  I know the keg is holding pressure because I have to pull the PRV when I take a sample and it's very full.  Plenty of headspace for CO2.  Any ideas what could be causing this issue?  Is the Maker's Mark not allowing it to carb or making it take longer?  I can't figure it out... :o :o :o

Equipment and Software / Weird Gas Post
« on: February 10, 2014, 12:55:32 AM »
Anyone ever seen a gas post like this? Red plastic?

Going Pro / Pros (or wannabes) - Propane or NG
« on: February 05, 2014, 08:42:40 PM »
This may get moved by the forum police*, but I thought I'd put it here anyway.  If you had to use direct-fire rather than steam, and say your system is no bigger than 2-3 bbls, which would you rather use: propane or natural gas?  I suppose it depends on what is available and what the rates are, but I would think they're generally consistent throughout the US.

*EDIT:  Forum "pruner"  ;D

Yeast and Fermentation / How long to leave stir plate on
« on: February 01, 2014, 02:26:27 PM »
This may be a stupid question but I read something somewhere that has me questioning my process. How long should the stir plate stay on when you're making a starter? Throughout the entire fermentation, or turn off when active fermentation starts?

Beer Recipes / Which Cocoa Powder for a Mocha Stout
« on: January 24, 2014, 12:42:07 AM »
Want to brew a mocha stout.  Not planning on adding any lactose, so maybe I can't really call it a mocha stout.  I plan on adding cocoa powder to the end of the boil and cacao nibs after primary is finished.  I bought two types of cocoa powder:  Nestle Nesquik and Hershey's Natural Unsweetened Cocoa.  This is a 10-gal batch that I could try each if I wasn't adding it to the boil.  I'm using about 3.5% each of roasted barley and chocolate malt.  I'm also using 2 lbs of oats.  Yeast of choice is a 2 L starter with WLP004.  Any ideas as to how I could get a sweet chocolate taste balance with a roasted coffee-like flavor, but keeping the chocolate as the dominant flavor?  Is there anything wrong with using Nesquik?  Maybe some preservatives that will inhibit fermentation?

Equipment and Software / BeerSmith 2 & Inventory
« on: January 17, 2014, 03:02:22 PM »
Thinking about upgrading from 1.4 to whatever the latest version is.  Anybody using it?  I really would like it if when you brew something it automatically removes the ingredients you use from your inventory.  I have probably 175 lbs of grain and around 15 lbs of various hops and I don't always remember to remove what I use from my inventory after I brew.

Yeast and Fermentation / Starter Timing
« on: January 16, 2014, 04:06:26 PM »
I know there are two schools of thought on when to pitch starters, but for the sake of this topic I want to pitch my starter when it is at high kraeusen.  I'm using two new vials of WLP001 to pitch into a 1.066 IPA (slightly underpitching I know, but I don't have a large enough flask to do bigger and don't want to buy another vial of yeast).  I plan to make the starter using 200 grams of DME to equal a 2 Liter starter.  Starter will be on a stir plate at around 67*F temperatures.  Do you think it will be at high kraeusen within 24 hours?  I use this technique from JZ's Yeast book.

EDIT:  And will it have enough time in 24 hrs to reproduce to close to the amount of yeast I'll need?

General Homebrew Discussion / Cold Crashing
« on: January 12, 2014, 10:12:48 PM »
I typically cold crash for about 3-5 days before I keg my beer and have been toying with the idea of skipping the cold crash altogether.  My reasoning is that the beer is usually pretty clear at fermentation temperatures and I'm going to let it sit for a few days at 35-38*F in a keg before drinking or serving it.  Usually I have to scrap the first pint anyway because of the settled out yeast.  Any thoughts on the advantages of cold crashing compared to just doing it this way?

As always, thanks.

Equipment and Software / Organization
« on: December 26, 2013, 07:14:57 PM »
I'm going to make good use of my vacation time and get the garage/brewery organized.  While I like the idea of organization, I have to admit I'm not very good at it.  This causes me to get frustrated very easily when I'm brewing or kegging.  If you care to share, please post some inspirational pictures of your brewery organization.  All suggestions are welcome.  Thanks!

Yeast and Fermentation / Harvested Yeast Question
« on: December 23, 2013, 11:50:28 PM »
Harvested this wlp 001 from a pale ale last Friday. This is my first time and I'm about to use it to make a starter for an IPA I'm doing Friday. In this picture, you will see a very small light colored layer between the beer and the darker yeast(?) layer at the bottom. Is this light layer the only viable yeast from what I harvested?

Yeast and Fermentation / WLP 002 Starter Looks Funny
« on: December 18, 2013, 02:54:09 AM »
Made a 2 L starter with two vials of WLP 002 last night.  Directions say to take it out of the fridge 3-6 hrs prior to pitching.  I took it out about 1 hr before pitching.  It has been on a stir plate since then.  Today it looks very chunky.  Looks like the yeast is congealed(?).  Anybody ever had this happen?  Did I shock the yeast, or does it just need time to break up?  The wort was about 75F when I pitched and the yeast was probably around 65F.  Here's a pic:

Yeast and Fermentation / Puree vs. Autolysis
« on: October 17, 2013, 01:36:51 PM »
A buddy and I brewed a 10-gal split batch of cocoa/cayenne/raspberry stout on 9/20.  I used two packets of US-05 in my fermentor and he used a Wyeast 1084 starter in his.  We had some trouble finding the raspberries we wanted and it took a bit longer to add them to the fermentors than expected.  So on 10/14 I added the raspberries (at about 67*F).  The SG before adding the raspberries was in the 1.020 range.  Now about 60 hours after adding the fruit there is no action in the fermentors.  So we had a discussion about whether or not to pitch more yeast.  We are considering splitting a packet of US-05 between the two.  I am worried that the yeast will not have the resources to ferment properly and may give us some off flavors.  Any thoughts/suggestions?

Yeast and Fermentation / What % Attenuation To Dry Hop At
« on: August 25, 2013, 11:19:41 PM »
Just trying to figure out when the ideal time to dry hop is.  I know you kind of want a little fermentation still going on to scrub out the oxygen generated by dropping the hops in, but how much fermentation is okay?  I don't want to scrub off the dry hops with the oxygen.  I have an IPA that's been fermenting for 7 days.  It was well oxygenated with pure O2 and pitching temps were 65-68* F.  I pitched US-05.  The OG was 1.068 and it is now at 1.016 (76% apparent attenuation, I believe).  I've gotten as high as 90% with this one before.  I have 14 days of dry hopping to do.  What are your thoughts?

Ingredients / Hop Presence vs. Expediency
« on: August 14, 2013, 11:18:23 PM »
I'm trying to dial in the time it takes from grain to glass for some of my IPAs.  I've hear many pro brewers talk about their ability to go from grain to glass in 10 days or so.  I'm trying to figure out if this is attainable at the homebrew scale, while maintaining hop freshness and aroma.  I tend to get a oniony/garlic/BO flavor from these IPAs (regardless of the hops used) within the first day or so after the beer has carbonated.  Note: I quick carb using a diffusion stone set to serving pressure or a little higher for 48 hrs.  This onion/garlic/BO flavor usually subsides after a few days.  Anyone else have this issue or some advice on how to fix it?

Just curious.  I've done 116 gallons so far, but hopefully I'll double that by the end of the year.

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