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Topics - Matt B

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I just got a reverse osmosis system (man I love craigslist.) I got tired of making trips to get the RO water from the local safeway. But the 2 gallon storage vessel isn't enough for a 10g batch of beer. So right now I'm letting the clean water into a keg that I drained, rinsed, PBW'd and starsan'd through the sanke tap. However, it'll eventually fill up and over flow. So I was wondering if anyone else has done something similar and how you set up an automatic shut off for it.

I'm guessing the normal tank will build up pressure and when the faucet opens, fwoosh, when it closes the pressure of the street water through the RO system will build the pressure back up. I'm not entirely sure this will work with a large 15g vessel, but I'm open to suggestions one way or the other.

Regardless of whether I do let pressure build up, that probably won't be enough to drain enough RO water for a full batch, so I'm going to have to hook up some other system to push the RO water through at a reasonable rate.

And the black hose is the highly mineraled drainage water, and the blue hose is the good water right? :)

Kegging and Bottling / Sterilizing kegs
« on: June 21, 2010, 01:39:14 AM »
I was curious as to how everyone sterilizes their kegs. Seems straight forward, but apparently not so for me.

I've had this perpetual problem where some of my beers are being slightly infected with what I think is lacto. I've determined that it's likely the kegs because I just tried some from the keg, has that sour twang to it, and the bottles (that I was saving for competitions now that I'm actually starting to do that) didn't. You're probably asking if I tasted it when I bottled/kegged it as well as take the FG: yeah, I did. I just don't remember tasting the twang, though I've discovered I have a hard time picking it up in a non-carbonated and warm beer, as I've kegged beer that was clearly infected and didn't really notice it at kegging time, so who knows.

I store my kegs filled with water with a couple cap fulls of iodaphore, clearly this doesn't seem to be enough. Every keg that I go through now I'm washing with PBW, boiling the posts, and running a torch along the dip tube to make sure anything that's in there is DEAD. Then running a gallon or so of star san through it, and storing it with the star-san and giving it a shake every couple of days. I haven't kegged anything since I started this regimen, I'm hoping it'll be enough .. this is miffing me off, I'm likely going to pour out 10g of american amber that actually came out reasonably good, and I just finished a pale ale that had a similar problem and just wasn't that enjoyable, I just had a hard time dumping it. I'm now past that point.

I have a 2 micron aeration stone that I use in an in-line aeration manifold that I built. Works grest. I have been using pure O2 since I have it and it's under pressure, and needed to buy nothing more. However, I think I may be over oxygenating the wort as it's really hard to control and gauge just how much O2 is getting in there.

So I bought a 10 gallon whisper air pump from the beer store and a sanitary filter. Well. The pump lacks the sheer oomph to push any sort of air through this stone, and even left me with 10 gallons of under oxygenated amber ale that I'm going to have to repitch to get it to terminal gravity.

I was wondering what everyone else was using as far as air pumps go to push through their stones? Or even any suggestions on using pure O2.


Ingredients / Mineral Analysis Reports
« on: April 04, 2010, 03:33:13 PM »
Just an idea. If you've gotten a mineral analysis report, please post the results as well as the location and date the sample was taken. This could be useful for other people in your area, so that not everyone will have to spend the $20 to get an analysis done. I think a lot of us live in an area where the water isn't served up by a municipality, or that municipality just doesn't do a good job of making available this information.

Me, I'm in Santa Clara CA, and will be sending a bottle off to get analyzed unless someone else has done it, as getting the water department to give me a detailed mineral analysis is proving a futile effort. Apparently people are more concerned with fecal coliform bacteria and arsenic than calcium, sodium or magnesium.

I'm curious to see what other methods people use to clean off or prevent beer stone in their boil kettles.

I haven't found a good way of preventing it personally. Would love to though.

I've taken a gallon of el cheapo white vinegar and poured it into my 15g stainless keggle, filled it up with water, and let it sit till .. whenever I can get back to it. Quite often a whole week. Initially I was trying to use a toilet bowl brush to scrape off the now loosened calcium oxalate but it didn't work very well, but I found a normal scrubby pad works fairly well. I would also note that you shouldn't use steel wool on stainless, it scratches it up too bad.

Does anyone use any other chemicals? Has anyone found a good way of preventing beer stone? What do the big boys do? What about those with aluminum kettles?

Equipment and Software / insulating converted kegs for mash tun & HLT
« on: January 25, 2010, 04:18:19 PM »
I have some converted kegs I used as my mash tun and my hot liquor tank. I've been using the reflectix stuff to insulate them, as they do experience some temperature loss, especially during recirculation through the uninsulated counter flow chiller (heater?)

The reflectix I've been using works okay, but I get wort between the reflectix and the keg that gets funky after a while. And my HLT is close enough to the burner for my keggle that it eventually warps and shrinks and becomes ineffective, and I've got to rewrap, tends to be a pain. That and the duct tape doesn't hold up so well to the elements. So I'd like to do something a bit more permanent, and also try to do something with the CFC to insulate it as well.

One of the members did have his kegs sent off to a place to have a seriously large coat of bed liner put on them (I forget the member name, sorry..) and was wondering if anyone had tried anything else, such as spray or paint on bed liner that worked reasonably well, or a spray on silicone. Unfortunately, all the products I've found don't exactly list heat transfer or R ratings, since they're not really intended to be used as so-so insulators.

Otherwise, I'm going to be ordering a few different products and doing some experiments to see which ones work the best. Just hoping someone's already done the leg work here :)

Classifieds / in-line wort aerator
« on: December 31, 2009, 12:27:35 AM »
Okay, I got bored. Built another in-line wort aerator since I had the bits to do it, and I just enjoy making this stuff.

1/2" female NPT for wort in/out and a 3/8" nipple for you to attach whatever you want for gas (barb, valve with barb, gas QD). I used a 2 micron aeration stone, this is more than sufficient while doing it in-line vs .5 micron on a wand in your fermenter. Also used 3/4" copper instead of 1" as the 3/4" still had plenty of room around the stone for full flow which made it far more compact than the 1" I'm currently using.

You'll notice some gunk around the barb end of the stone where its inserted into the tube, this is food-safe JB weld to keep the thing attached, I didn't want to try and weld it on even though the pipe itself is stainless steel.

All Things Food / Club soda: doing it at home?
« on: December 06, 2009, 09:19:15 PM »
Since most of us are no strangers to force carbonating liquids, and I have a 20lb co2 tank dedicated to force carbonating kegs of beer, as well as a tendency to go through a good amount of club soda (a la Schwepps), I was thinking about doing my own club soda at home, save on the cost of actually buying it, as well as reusing some of that nasty plastic before getting it to the recyclers.

However, all of my attempts at finding a recipe for club soda have resulted in nothing but what to use club soda *in*. The only things I've found is a suggestion of adding a bit of baking soda to seltzer water, or that club soda may contain in unspecified amounts:

table salt
trisodium citrate
sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
potassium bicarbonate
potassium sulfate
disodium phosphate

Neither of which are very useful. Does anyone have any experience with doing their own club soda? Found something that makes a passable club soda using tap water + some of the above or even using distilled water and a specific ingredient list or kit?

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