Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - el_capitan

Pages: [1] 2
The Pub / Bricks and Flicks
« on: June 07, 2018, 06:31:08 AM »
Hey guys - My son Noah has created a YouTube channel for his Lego stop-motion videos, which I am truly impressed with. He's 10 years old and coming up with some cool stuff. He's trying to reach 100 subscribers, and we're at 89 right now.  if you're just tooling around, check it out. The YouTube channel is called Bricks and Flicks. Enjoy!

Here's a link:

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-J727AZ using Tapatalk

All Grain Brewing / Brewing with Oats - Water Chemistry Question
« on: February 11, 2018, 05:04:41 PM »
I found some great info on how brewing with larger proportions of oats can impact many key components of beer:

I'm subbing oat groats for flaked oats in a stout today.  Figured I'd still toast the oat groats in the oven before milling them.  After reading the info presented, I see a lot of benefits in using more oats in my beer.  I've been thinking about which ingredients I can grow myself, and oats might be a decent option. 

One question I have is in regards to water chemistry.  The author states, "Because husked and naked oats causes a marked reduction in nitrogenous compounds in mashes which results in higher pH values, making adjustments to your mash may be necessary when using a high percentage of oats. Both the Koch and Schnitzenbaumer studies found an increase in mash pH with malted and unmalted oats, which occurred more drastically with +30% oats in the mash."

So, is there a way I can account for this when using Bru'nWater? 

Ingredients / Clarity Ferm
« on: February 09, 2018, 03:54:11 AM »
I have a batch of red ale ready to keg in which I used Clarity-Ferm.  The guy who got me started in brewing 13 years ago is now gluten-intolerant, and I mentioned this product to him.  He owns the LHBS (although he doesn't brew anymore) and he ordered some in.  Seems like a good product. 

My question is this - since the product is an enzyme, is it still active in the yeast sediment?  Enzymes should remain active until they're denatured, from my understanding.  So in my mind, the entire dose of enzymes should still be in the yeast cake and theoretically should be able to reduce gluten in a second pitch. 

Of course, if I pitched only half the cake (which is the max I'd feel comfortable with) I'd only have half the enzymes.  So at best I'd get diminishing returns on the ability of the enzyme to reduce gluten.  Realistically, this is a $3 product which is a negligible cost.  I'm just debating whether to repitch from this cake to try to get more mileage out of the product.  I don't have a way to test for remaining gluten, so we'd just have to have my buddy try the beer and see if he reacts. 

I'm about to keg this beer, so if anybody has any input, it would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Going Pro / Starting Wage for a Test-Batch Brewer?
« on: August 18, 2017, 05:25:27 AM »
Alright guys, here's the scoop.  A couple friends of mine have successfully made the transition from homebrewers to professional brewers.  They opened a local brewery last Christmas after several years of intense planning.  So far, they have grown fast and are now nearing max production for their location. 

They're working hard to keep up production on the beers, and have really dialed in their system.  One crucial step that is lacking in their process is test-batch brewing.  This became painfully apparent a couple weeks ago, when they had to dump a batch of BGSA because it had problems with the alcohol balance. 

After that, I approached them with the idea of hiring me on as a test-batch brewer.  I would brew on their 10-gallon pilot system to help refine recipes before scaling up the full-scale batches.  They simply don't have the time to do that, alongside their current brewing schedule. 

A bit of background here - I've brewed for over 13 years and I'm at about batch 200.  These guys have learned quickly, but have only brewed for 4 years or so, and they're on about batch 40.  I've been helping them out behind the scenes by advising, evaluating beers, sharing knowledge, and sharing samples of my homebrew as ideas for future commercial brews.  It's been a lot of fun so far, and I'm excited about officially joining the team.

My question is - with my level of experience and knowledge, what do you think is a fair wage for that position?  This may be a step towards brewing full-scale commercial batches during the summer time, when I'm not teaching.  For now, I would help with recipe development and refinement, brewing the beer, monitoring fermentation, packaging it in kegs, and gathering evaluative feedback from groups of knowledgeable beer drinkers.  I also spend a fair amount of time researching new ingredients and techniques, and I share this knowledge with them too. 

Let me know your thoughts.  Thanks!

Yeast and Fermentation / SNS Starter Fail
« on: May 30, 2017, 04:03:52 AM »
So there I was, just shakin' that gallon jug like mad, waiting for that big foamy froth to rise up... and nothing.  Shook it even harder... nothing.  Then I thought, "Oh... Fermcap in the starter.  Whoops."  So I fired up the stir plate this time, and I'll give SNS a shot next time. 

Don't put Fermcap in your SNS starters!  Should have been obvious, but hindsight is 20/20.

The Pub / Volcano Collapsible Stove
« on: February 14, 2017, 02:55:57 AM »
I am researching a home design and looking at building a rocket mass-heater (RMH).  Anyway, I came across some info on the Volcano Collapsible Stove.  Looks pretty sweet to me, in that I could cook, brew, or even bake virtually anywhere with any available fuel - propane, charcoal, or wood.  It would work great with a lot of the cast iron cookware we have too.  Have you guys heard about this yet?  It collapses to 5" tall and comes in a carrying case.  Could be kind of difficult to regulate, but it does have adjustable air flow.  They're $150, but man, I'm interested. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Apple Juice Yeast Starter?
« on: February 09, 2017, 02:17:16 AM »
Hey guys - I'm reviving some very old yeast strains - WY2633 Octoberfest Blend @ 17 months old, and WY3944 Belgian Wit @ 20 months old.  I know - it sounds crazy, but I pulled a Kolsch strain back from 24 months old, grew up a good culture, and had a great batch.  But I've never attempted that with a lager or Belgian strain before.

They had like a 2 day lag time, and now are fermenting pretty well in 1-L stirred starters.  Of course I'll crash them and taste the wort, but this is really a first step.  Now comes the crazy part - I am out of DME, but I do have some apple juice on hand.  I thought about using that to grow the starter further and get some cider out of the deal too.  I could just pitch these now at high krausen in the starter and treat it as a mini-batch. 

So, assuming the yeast is coming back strong and true, do you see issues with growing yeast in a starter batch of cider (with nutrients), and then going back to beer with it?  I kind of think that the yeast is going to chew through whatever sugars you throw at it, and as long as you have the proper nutrients in place, it should end up healthier for the deal.  I just don't know how quickly a yeast strain might shift toward a different input. 

Your thoughts?

Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast Disasters
« on: February 06, 2017, 05:07:50 AM »
Post your worst yeast-related disasters here!  I had one yesterday...

I boiled up some wide-mouth quart jars to save some slurry.  I had three nice quarts of slurry on my table, settling out.  I walked past and noticed a little bit of brown liquid, and thought, "Now how could that have overflowed?"  I picked up the jar, and BAM!!  The bottom of the jar fell off and the quart of slurry went everywhere.  Wasn't expecting THAT! 

Yeast and Fermentation / Belle Saison in a Witbier?
« on: February 05, 2017, 03:54:35 AM »
I'm trying to streamline my yeast bank and eliminate some strains that don't get used very often.  One such strain is WY3944 Belgian Wit.  I typically only brew that recipe once per year, so it doesn't make sense to bank that yeast for a year and try to revive it.  I'm looking for dry alternatives for some of these oddball beers.  If I can use a particular strain at least once every six months, then I'll keep it around.

One option would be to brew a witbier in the spring with Belle Saison, then use that same strain later in the fall to brew up a saison.  The other option would be to just go with fresh dry packs for those two beers.  So my question is - do you guys think Danstar Belle Saison would work in a witbier?  If not, can you suggest another dry strain that might do well in that style? 

Homebrewer Bios / Captain Morgan
« on: January 26, 2017, 01:28:39 AM »

Hey everybody -

I'm Morgan, and I live in Alexandria, MN.  I started brewing the same year I started teaching - 2005. I brewed some root beer with my 7th grade Life Science students and realized, "Hey!  I can brew real beer too!"  My friend's dad taught me to brew and gave me a starter set of equipment, and I was off and running.

Teaching science is a great job, and brewing is such a scientific hobby that I've been happily brewing and learning now for 12 years.  I brewed with extract for the first year, then moved on to AG.  Now I brew the occasional extract batch but I'm still mostly AG. 

I teach a couple beginner's homebrew classes each year at a local LHBS, and I act as kind of a local "brewing advisor".  In my community, I find that a lot of people brew but there isn't a solid homebrewing community, so I'm focused on connecting people who brew and widening the community. 

A couple friends of mine who I met through brewing about four years ago have just opened a brewpub in town, the first in over 70 years.  It's been cool to be working with them behind the scenes as they planned it out, brewed test batches, and built the brewery.  I have had the opportunity to brew a few batches with them, which has been really cool.  It's called Copper Trail Brewery - check 'em out!

I have to say that brewing has opened up a whole new world for me.  Once I got started with the DIY mindset, I quickly got involved with gardening, composting, woodworking and carpentry, etc.  I'm always interested in learning new things and I get a lot of joy out of the creative process.  I started quilting before I started brewing, and that is a great creative outlet involving color theory, mathematics, design, and an element of spontaneity - much like brewing.  I also teach beginner's quilting classes from time to time. 

I took my username for obvious reasons - during college my college radio DJ name was Captain Morgan.  Spanish is a fun language that sticks with me for some reason, so El Capitan it is.  I have to thank the AHA members and those who used to frequent the NB forum for sharing so much information over the years.  Continually learning from this community has helped me to keep growing as a brewer, and I share a lot of the information I learn here with other local brewers.  So, thanks you guys! 

With three young boys, I don't have as much time as I used to for forum posting, but I still read a lot of the info here and appreciate the community we've built.  Rock on!

Going Pro / Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« on: December 16, 2016, 12:24:20 AM »
A couple of my buddies are starting a brewpub here in Alexandria, MN.  It's our first local brewery in over 70 years, so it's pretty exciting.  I've been involved with their brewing journey and helping behind the scenes for a couple years now.  Yesterday, we brewed pilot batch #1, an Irish Blonde.  We were shooting for 7.25 barrels into the fermenter, and hit it pretty much right on.  We still had at least 10 gallons of clear wort in the kettle with a really nice sediment cone in the center from the whirlpool. 

Our question is - would it be legal for them to provide the wort to another person rather than just dump it down the drain?  For instance, could they each take a bucket of wort home and ferment it as homebrew, to be served through their home kegging systems?  Could I take a bucket or two of wort home?  Does it have to be a donation-type transaction, or could they actually sell the wort if people bring their own sanitized buckets to fill?

Take it a step further - I was thinking it would be cool to partner with our local homebrewing community for a brew-off.  Have interested homebrewers sign up ahead of time, so we know how much extra wort to produce.  Maybe each person pays a small fee of $15-20, which would not only pay for the wort, but also pay for eventual entry of their beer into a brewing competition.  The homebrewers could choose to take the base wort in any direction they wanted to - yeast strains and ferment temps, secondary additions, dry hops, etc.  Schedule a tasting session or local competition 6 weeks later.  Possibly even have the winner's beer brewed as a special release at the brewery? 

I'm excited by the idea, and wondered how it might work out legally with the TTB board.  I haven't mentioned it to the guys yet, because they're busy brewing pilot batch #2, an American Brown ale.  Just kicking some ideas around here.

General Homebrew Discussion / Hop Audition APA Series
« on: December 12, 2016, 05:05:49 AM »
Hey Guys - with all of the new hop varieties I'm reading about, I need an efficient way to test them out.  I plan to brew a bunch of 3-gallon batches of APA this winter, and I want your opinions on the best way to get a sense of what each variety will give me in terms of flavor and aroma.

I plan to produce about 6 gallons of wort and split it evenly into two kettles, then conduct separate boils.  The grain bill will look like this:

11 lb Simpson's Golden Promise
.75 lb C 40
.75 lb Munich

Bitter with Nugget @ 60 min.

Now comes my question -

Should I chill to about 180 and then do a 30 min hopstand with 1 oz of my "test" hop?
Or should I split it and use .25 at 10 and 5, then .50 oz at flameout?   

Either way I want to target about 42 IBU. 

Seems to me that a single one ounce hopstand would be quite a bit easier.  I just want to be sure that I'm getting a good sense of what each hop will give me. 

Also, I would like to start out with a yeast audition to determine which strain to go with.  I just picked up some Omega Labs OYL-52, DIPA yeast (aka Conan) to play with.  I thought about putting that up against some US-05 slurry, some WY1450, and some WY1728 Scottish Ale.  I've read that Conan can give poor attenuation on the first batch, so I thought that an APA would be a good way to wake it up a bit.  Either way, I figured I could do some 6-gal split batches to identify my favorite APA strain too. 

Any thoughts about the hop schedule and yeast options would be welcome.  Thanks!

Kegging and Bottling / Are hoppy beers slow to carbonate?
« on: September 16, 2016, 03:55:32 AM »
I came up with a recipe as a homage to Surly's "Todd the Axeman" ale.  They use all Golden Promise and a combo of Citra and Mosaic in a 2:1 ratio.  I used all Maris Otter and flipped the hops ratio in the opposite direction, using twice as much Mosaic as Citra, since I had all of those ingredients on hand.

Preliminary results are really good, except that it's really slow to carb.  I cold-crashed for a couple days, then racked to a keg on top of 4.5 oz of pellets in a nylon stocking.  I like to keg hop at room temp for one week, and during that week I had the gas hooked up too. 

Now it's been in the kegerator and cold for a week, carbing alongside a saison and Palmer's Elevenses.  The other two beers are carbing nicely, but the IPA is still very minimally-carbed, even though it had an extra week to carb at room temps while dry hopping.

I've heard a hypothesis that IPA's are slow to carb due to hop oils floating on the surface in the keg.  What do you guys think?  Have you seen that your hoppy beers are slower to carb? 

The Pub / Any Josh Ritter fans here?
« on: September 14, 2016, 01:11:06 AM »
I've only seen Josh live once and it was an awesome show at First Ave in Minneapolis.  I've listened to most of his stuff, and I have to say that I don't think there are many other singer/songwriters out there who can match him. 

If you haven't heard any Josh Ritter, check out a few of these tunes.



The Curse

Getting Ready to Get Down


I could keep going here for a long time, but this gives you a pretty good sampling. 

As for albums, I think Hello Starling is a masterpiece, and The Beast in its Tracks is also solid.  If you ever get a chance to see him live, go for it!  Apparently, Stephen King is a big fan.  Josh also wrote a novel that I haven't read yet. Either way, if you're into handcrafted tunes, you'll like Josh.  Let me know what you think.

All Grain Brewing / Bru'nWater Pale Ale Profile?
« on: August 18, 2016, 04:43:52 PM »
I'm going to brew up an homage to Surly's "Todd the Axeman" tomorrow, and I'm doing the water calculations today.  I was thinking about using the Pale Ale profile in Bru'nWater.  Does anyone have experience using this profile?  I can get really close to the intended targets, but I've never amped up the calcium and sulfate levels that much before. 

I can't seem to upload a screenshot of my file, so I'll include the ion targets here:

Ca:  140
Mg:  18
Na:  25
SO4: 300
Cl:  55
Bicarb:  110

I purposely did not hit the intended Bicarb target because I wanted to keep my mash pH down around 5.3 for a crisp, light beer.  Other than that I'm darn close or right on to the intended targets.  I'm using RO water and adding salts.  Any input from those who have used this profile would be great.  Thanks!

Pages: [1] 2