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Topics - blair.streit

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All Things Food / Smoking without a Smoker
« on: February 04, 2019, 06:40:17 PM »
I’d like to try smoking meats. My brewing equipment takes up enough room that I would pay extra to avoid additional footprint. Looking for ideas here.

Does anyone know if I could buy a standalone widget that would allow me to load wood chips and smoke them (so probably electric), but do the actual smoking in a thing that I already have (probably my gas grill). To be even more picky, I’d prefer it to be something I could walk away from for a little bit (so would prefer to avoid open flames).

Am I wasting my time or is this doable?

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Over the last 10 batches or so, I switched back from RO to my local Austin water. While mostly low mineral and relatively low alkalinity, Austin water reports usually show more than 2.8 mg/L of Chloramines.

To combat this, I'm using a carbon block filter and then Campden tablets at the package recommended dosage (1/2 tablet per 10G of water).

My lighter beers seemed to be fine with this, but I've had feedback from trusted BJCP certified tasters on beers with more roasted grains (i.e. Bock) suggesting that there's a Chlorophenol issue. I do detect something off, though I would not have immediately picked it out as Chlorophenol .

A few questions:

1) Has anyone seen good info on the amount of Campden required to neutralize a certain amount of Chloramine?

2) Has anyone noticed a change in the character of Chlorophenols in beers with more roasted grains?

3) If it's not a character thing, is it possible that somehow beers with more roasted grains have more precursors and are more likely to display Chlorophenols with the same level of residual Chlorine/Chloramine present?

It seems that simply adding a full Campden tablet would likely solve the problem. However, I'm also curious why this issue isn't obvious in other beers. Maybe it's a coincidence, but id there's a relationship there it seems worth understanding.

Equipment and Software / Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« on: June 27, 2016, 02:10:03 AM »
In an effort to simplify cleaning in my garage brewery, I had someone come out and give me a quote on having a utility sink installed. Unfortunately, due to the difficulty of installing a drain that won't be anything I could execute anytime soon.

In the meantime, I'm able to reuse and/or recapture a lot of my chilling water output for cleaning. However, I still usually end up needing to take my 10 gallon cooler mash tun back into the house, run hot water from the bathtub (closest to the hot water heater in the loop), and then schlep it through the house and back outside (trying not to wake anyone since I brew in the middle of the night).

My hot water heater happens to be in a closet out in the garage. I was curious if anyone has used the drain valve on your water heater to pull pre-heated water for cleaning, etc?  I know I should periodically flush my hot water heater through this thing (though I never have). Given my experience with cheap toilet/sink valves, I'd want to make sure the valve itself is of decent quality (or replace it with a better one) before deciding to use it with any frequency. That said, I'm curious if anyone has done this or has other ideas about cheaply getting a hot water source given my proximity to the hot water heater.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

I'm feeling conflicted about my yeast starter approach for tomorrow night, so I'd like to crowd-source an answer and see what comments I get. Basically I'm brewing a 5.5G batch of Marzen tomorrow night with WLP833 and need to get some yeast ready.

My plan is to do a SnS starter and pitch the whole thing at high krausen. Since I'm brewing a lager, I'm planning to do the starter tonight or first thing tomorrow and leave it in the ferm chamber at ~50F for 12-24 hours. That way I don't temp shock the yeast when I pitch them into 48F wort late tomorrow night.

I have two choices for yeast:

1) 500mL of WLP833 slurry from a Dortmunder (brewed 4/17, harvested 5/4, ~30 days old)
2) 3 vials of WLP833 that I already received from my LHBS (cheap since they expired on May 20)

The slurry performed well and has been stored ~38F. However, my GFCI tripped earlier this week so the chest freezer that the yeast was in warmed to ~68F over a period of ~12 hours. Once I discovered the issue I slowly decreased the temp back to ~38 over ~12 hours (to prevent shocking the yeast and/or breaking any glass bottles in contact with the walls of the freezer).

The vials were stored at the LHBS the whole time so I expect they've maintained proper temps.

Seems like either would work fine, but why make a decision and second-guess myself when there's such a great resource at my fingertips  ;)

The Pub / Lagunitas Hiring Software Developers?!?!?
« on: May 20, 2016, 04:28:26 PM »
Does anyone know why they are hiring an in-house software developer (for what appears to be a role on an established team)?

I'm nowhere near there, but the idea that a brewery would have a staff of software developers is intriguing to me.

Yeast and Fermentation / Starter Water Treatment
« on: May 19, 2016, 09:03:40 PM »
I'm interested in what you guys typically do for water treatment on starters. I've had some problems with WLP833 taking a week or more to fully settle out in starters and I'm beginning to wonder if it's related to my water being so low in calcium (~14ppm). I do add calcium to my water for a full brew, but I've always assumed that whatever minerals were in the DME were good enough for my starters. Typically, the only thing I do to my starter water is add Campden to knock out the chloramine.

I'm starting to use the SNS method for my starters so settling and decanting may no longer be a big concern. However, if there's anything water-wise that I can do to promote yeast health in the starter, it seems like that would be effort well-spent. Thoughts?

All Grain Brewing / Dilute (and add bittering?) to Finished Beer
« on: April 30, 2016, 01:50:42 PM »
I screwed up a batch of Bock and it ended up finishing at 1.024 (likely a combination of yeast abuse and mashing  a little too high). My wife likes it better than when I do it the "right" way, but I think it's a little too much like Cherry Coke ;-)

Anyhow, I thought this might be a good chance to try out some small scale experiments and see what I can do with the flavor by diluting and/or adding a little more bittering.

I've done dilutions plenty of times, so I'll likely just treat/boil/cool the water and carb it up in a PET bottle. Then I can try diluting at different ratios.

I'm curious if anyone has any experience adding bittering post-fermentation. As a malt-forward lager, this seems to me like a straight IBU thing, as dry hopping would lend too much flavor/aroma. Not sure if anyone has done this via pellet hop tea, hop extracts, etc, but any experience/advice would be appreciated.

As I said I'm just doing small scale experiments, so I'm willing to try a few different techniques. I just figured folks that know a little about this might direct me so I can spend my energy on something that at least has a chance of yielding decent results.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Traditional/Dunkles Bock
« on: April 30, 2016, 12:55:53 AM »
Anyone have any suggestions for good commercial examples? Especially in the Austin, TX area? Of the ones I've been able to find, I like St. Arnold's Spring Bock. This seems to be one of those difficult styles to find. I can find many more Maibocks and Dopplebocks, but not a lot of Traditional Bock.

All Things Food / Sous-Vide Circulator Recommendations
« on: April 28, 2016, 07:48:42 PM »
I've become interested in sous-vide and have played around with doing it "mash style" on my stovetop. I'd like to simplify/automate a bit and am curious if anyone has come across good info about buying a circulator or other equipment for this?

I know Drew talks about doing this quite a bit, but unless my search skills stink, I couldn't find any recent conversations related to using them for cooking (rather than mashing). Yes, I know -- asking for non-beer info on the brewing forum. Hey, at least I posted in the right category :)

Equipment and Software / Brewing Water Filter or RO System
« on: April 20, 2016, 10:27:53 PM »
Other than high chloramine (which I treat with Campden), I think my water is pretty decent for brewing:

Calcium: 16ppm
Magnesium: 17ppm
Sodium: 26ppm
Sulfate: 47ppm
Chloride: 49ppm
Bicarb: 77
Alkalinity: 64

I can dilute if I want a really soft profile, but IMHO this seems plenty soft for most styles. It also doesn't take too much lactic to deal with the alkalinity.

I'm tired of holding my thumb on the fridge button to run out 10 gallons of water. I'm also tired of taking my coolers to the water machine and having people look at me funny in the grocery store lobby.

With that in mind, any recommendations for specific systems (either filtration or RO)? I'm leaning more towards a carbon filter that I can just hook up and let run slowly while I do other brew prep work. That seems cheaper and doesn't have the wastewater or space requirements of RO, but maybe I'm missing another reason why I'd want RO?

As for filtration systems, a lot of them seem like they would have a tendency to fall over on the concrete floor in my garage. I'm wondering if anyone has found one with a stand or some enclosure that would make it a little easier to keep it in place? I know these things can be built, but my time for that kind of thing is extremely scarce at the moment.


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