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Topics - donsmitty

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Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Carastan vs. Caramalt
« on: October 22, 2013, 08:08:36 PM »
I just bought some grain for an extract I'm brewing.  The recipe called for caramalt (37 L).  The store didn't have it so I went with carastan 30 - 37.  What can I expect the difference to be? 

General Homebrew Discussion / Total Boil
« on: October 22, 2013, 02:14:03 AM »
I'm going to be brewing an extract kit brew and was wondering when it comes time for the boil, can I just put in the extra water to boil say 5.5 gallons instead of boiling with 3 and then adding water after the boil to bring it to a resulting 5 gallons?  Does it make a difference?

Beer Recipes / Temperature for Conditioning
« on: October 21, 2013, 01:30:48 PM »
I want to try a recipe but it calls for 1 week of conditioning after fermentation at 52.0 F.  I can't hit that number.  The coldest spot in the house is about 68.0 F.  I'm going to check the garage as the temperatures overnight are dropping but I'm afraid there will be lows and highs if I use that location.  So I guess the question is, what will happen if I choose to stay at 68.0 F for the week of conditioning before bottling?

General Homebrew Discussion / Priming Sugar or DME
« on: May 31, 2013, 01:57:28 AM »
I just bought a kit and it came with 1 1/4 cups Muntons extra light dry malt extract to be used as a carbonation primer before bottling.  I only have 5 batches under my belt and in all of them I have used priming sugar.  Is it common to use DME?

All Grain Brewing / Crushed Grains Life
« on: May 30, 2013, 01:28:34 PM »
How long do I have to use my grains once they have been crushed? 

General Homebrew Discussion / Room Temperature after Bottling
« on: May 08, 2013, 12:46:45 PM »
Throughout January - March, I had no problem placing my bottles in a room that was about 65.0 F -68.0 F and letting them sit there until ready for consumption.  The weather has now changed and I'm struggling with where to put my bottles where I can have a consistent temperature that is not too high or too low.  So I have to ask you all, does it really matter if my bottles are sitting in a room that is 60.0 F - 64.0 F or a room that is 65.0 F - 75.0 F?  Basically my basement or a room/closet on the main/upper floors of the house.  How will it impact my beer?

General Homebrew Discussion / Finding the right place....
« on: May 01, 2013, 01:16:27 AM »
So, we bottled up a Pliny clone on Friday and I put everything in the basement as I wanted them to sit at 65.0 F.  I found out today that the temp in the basement is really more like 60.0 F.  So I started moving an inside thermometer to various parts of the house and found a location that was at 68.0 F.  The question is, which location is the right place for this brew?  60.0 F or 68.0 F?  It was fermented at 68.0 F.  It will now sit in the bottle for 30 days. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast Starter Cells Created
« on: April 19, 2013, 01:42:53 PM »
If I start a 1 quart yeast starter using Wyeast 1056 (100 Billion cells), how many cells can I expect to gain?  I use BeerSmith2 and it tells me I need a starter plus 1 pack for 237 Billion cells.  I'm assuming it means that I need to create a yeast starter in addition to another yeast pack.  Since each yeast pack is 100 Billion cells I guess my gain from the starter is 37 Billion cells?  Am I understanding this correctly?  BS also says if I don't use a starter then I would need 3 yeast packs.  Is there a way to know how many cells I'm really gaining from a yeast starter? 

All Grain Brewing / Dead Space
« on: April 19, 2013, 12:47:19 PM »
How do you measure dead space in the mash tun?  I am using a 10 gallon orange cooler with a 12" false bottom. 

Equipment and Software / BeerSmith2
« on: April 15, 2013, 03:16:02 PM »
I just started all-grain brewing and my OG has been low in both batches.  I use BeerSmith2 and follow it to the T. Has anyone experienced issues with BeerSmith2?  The numbers look good from Design but after sparging my pre-boil numbers are off and they are off again after the boil.  What should I be concerned about when entering everything into BeerSmith2?   My equipment profile is:  10 gal orange cooler with 12" false bottom.  Sparge cooler is 10 gal orange cooler.  Boil kettle is a Blichmann 10 gal. 

Any suggestions?

Equipment and Software / Thermometers - Calibration
« on: April 15, 2013, 12:50:43 PM »
I have a Blichmann kettle w/thermometer and was wondering how to calibrate it.  I have 2 glass thermometers and one will track with the Blichmann and one is 4 degrees off.  My dilemma is, which one is correct?  If the one on the Blichmann is off I need to fix it but I need to know how to calibrate it correctly. 

All Grain Brewing / Whirlpooling
« on: April 03, 2013, 01:34:43 AM »
I tried whirlpooling on Friday night and it didn't work very well for me.  I swirled the wort and then let is settle for 10 minutes before siphoning into the primary.  I still had to filter it going into the primary as there was a lot of sludge all through the kettle.  I really didn't see any cone at all.  So what is your technique in getting a good cone in the middle of your kettle?

Equipment and Software / Brewing Calculators / Software
« on: March 31, 2013, 07:35:47 PM »
I'm new to home brewing and the first three things I did to prepare for this hobby was to join AHA to gain knowledge from the experienced brewers on the forum, read John Palmer's book How to Brew, and install a copy of BeerSmith2 on my Mac.  Now I'd like to reach out to all of you and ask what brewing calculators do you use or make reference to when brewing.   

All Grain Brewing / Mashing and Fly Sparring
« on: March 31, 2013, 07:21:35 PM »
I just completed my first all-grain brewing and did a fly sparging.  14.45 lb of grain were in the tun along with 4.75 gal of water.  My sparge water was 4 gallons.  Given my target was to have 6 gallons pre-boil, was I OK using the volumes I did?  And, how long would you take to complete the sparging?  The numbers were from calculations done in BeerSmith.  Reading John Palmer's book, he says to use 2 qts/lb for mashing.  If I did that I would be putting in 7 gallons into the tun and it wouldn't leave much for sparging.  I'm interested in knowing what you do for calculating volume for your mash tun as well as sparging.     

Yeast and Fermentation / My first yeast starter
« on: March 27, 2013, 07:31:22 PM »
I'm ready to make my first yeast starter and have a couple questions.  1.  The recipe from Wyeast is as follows:  Recipe
0.5 cup DME (100g, 3.5oz)
½ tsp Wyeast Nutrient
1qt.(1L) H2O
Mix DME, nutrient, and water.
Boil 20 minutes to sterilize.
Pour into a sanitized flask or jar with loose lid or foil.
Allow to cool to 70°F.
Shake well and add yeast culture.

The recipe from John Palmer is close to the above but he says to use 1/4 tsp Nutrient and a pint of water.  So which do I use?
2.  The second question is:  I'm using Wyeast 1056.  Do I activate the "smack pack" or just pour it into my flask without activating it?

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