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Topics - brewsumore

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General Homebrew Discussion / Summertime beer cocktails
« on: July 09, 2017, 10:19:49 AM »
I'm interested in hearing what beer cocktails you enjoy.  Especially in hot weather sometimes this is very appealing.

I have a Mexican Vienna Lager (similar to Negra Modelo) on tap and sometimes enjoy making a michelada when it's hot.  These are popular in Texas -- I know to be on the restaurant/bar menu in numerous places in Austin, typically with light colored Mexican lagers.

My recipe: to a beer glass 2/3 filled with beer add and gently stir in 3 or 4 oz V8 / tomato juice, a shake or two of worcestershire and tabasco, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and then drop in 3 ice cubes.

Equipment and Software / Oktober Can Seamer
« on: October 30, 2016, 03:53:03 PM »

I had 5.2 gal of 1.085 wort to which I added 2 liters (one half gallon) of 1.035 starter wort.  I'm wondering if anyone knows of a calculator, or has the formula for determining the OG following the starter addition.

I realize it should be simple algebra but it's been a long time since I studied that.

I know, that's an awfully large starter to pitch whole for an ale... my excuse is old liquid yeast and a high OG.

General Homebrew Discussion / On tap for the Super Bowl
« on: February 05, 2016, 02:36:58 PM »
- Karmeliet Tripel Clone
- Robust Oatmeal Porter
- Raspberry Oatmeal Robust Porter
- English Brown Ale (Northern English)
- Blind Pig Squared IIPA
- German Hefeweizen (bottled)
- various cellared bottles are coming with guests including a sampling of some New Glarus - Score!!

How about you?

General Homebrew Discussion / Means to prevent sliminess in hard water?
« on: January 03, 2016, 01:06:42 AM »
So, I keep a couple buckets full of tap water in my wine/beer cellar into which dish towels are suspended and humidify the room via the wicking action, with help from a fan blowing on the wet towels.  I just keep adding water into the buckets every day or two as it evaporates.

However, I believe due to lots of temporary hardness (bicarbonates?  Alkalinity?) in my tap water, the water gets very slimy in the bucket and I have to fairly regularly (once or twice per month) wash the dish towels (they get crusty) and dump out the water in the buckets, scrub them out, and then refill with fresh water.

I'm wondering if I can treat my water to prevent the sliminess, so I don't have to revitalize my setup as often.  I was thinking that maybe adding phosphoric acid to reduce the alkalinity might do the trick.

Martin, I hope you see this question!  Otherwise it's time to experiment.

Here are several attributes of my water that might show what causes the sliminess:

Total Hardness, CaCO3      138
Bicarbonate, HCO3            151
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3      124
Total Dissolved Solids Est  183

I realize it's kind of an oddball question.  I know a lot of us deal with the similar problem of Star San solution turning slimy quickly when diluted with hard water.

General Homebrew Discussion / AHA Rally at No-Li in Spokane
« on: November 05, 2015, 11:45:28 PM »
Nov 15th, 1-3 pm.  Anyone going?  If so, I hope to meet you there.

Ingredients / Green Magic experimental hops
« on: August 22, 2015, 08:39:35 PM »
This past May I redeemed a coupon with YVH and got 8 oz of these for free with my order, leaf hops.  Does anybody have any experience with them?  Mine are still in my freezer.  Thanks.

Kegging and Bottling / Maximum psi for ball lock liquid side QD
« on: July 19, 2015, 11:12:50 PM »
Anybody know what they're normally rated to withstand?  I have a pal visiting from out of state tomorrow and to hurry along the carbing of a Pliny the Elder clone, I was hoping to get it mostly force carbed at 40 psi (34F) over 48 hrs.  I attached the liquid side to a faucet (in my kegerator) to check progress occasionally. 

I went and checked it and there was a bit of beer foaming out the top of the QD.  Had to clean a few ounces of beer from the bottom of the kegerator but no big deal.  I replaced the QD with another one and disattached it from the keg for tonight.

I'm thinking I had a bad QD - the top was screwed down tight.  Still, I'm curious what pressure they normally can take.

I couldn't find info after doing a google search.

Equipment and Software / New batch sparge picnic cooler mashtun build
« on: February 15, 2015, 10:42:08 PM »
Thought I'd share notes from today's new build.  First of all, this is my first MT build in a long time that is not using a blue Rubbermaid cooler and it hurts just a little bit. 

I bought a Coleman Extreme 70 qt rectangular picnic cooler, since it already had a drain hole in the right size and place, since it is a 5-day cooler, because the cooler interior is standard (no weird contours), and since I have seen how popular the Extremes are in the homebrewing community.  I do 11 gal batches.

I switched from braid to straight bazooka screen I believe about 8 years ago.  It works great.

This build was different than those I did previously, in that I used epoxy putty between the cooler walls to solidly reinforce that area, and to putty in the pipe nipple.  This idea was given to me by Maxieboy on NB Forum almost exactly 6 years ago and now is the first chance I've had to try it, since I recently cracked my other smaller MT (inadvertently kicked the ball valve).  Maxieboy, if you're out there, THANKS!  This thing appears to be basically bulletproof, meaning built to last, with no leaks or rot at all.

Photos follow but here's how it went today, with excellent results:

1) I used a 2 1/2" long, 1/2" ID pipe nipple, not shown in the photo, which worked just right with my materials.
2) After removing the drain plug, using a long, slender, small head screwdriver, my finger, and a dust buster, I removed ~2.5" insulating foam all the way around the hole, and it took some time and care, especially since I also scraped the inside walls bare of sprayed foam in this circumference, to create a bonding surface.  2" would have been plenty, and would have required a bit less putty.
3) After thinking about it and sight-testing it, I realized that I would need more of the pipe nipple and pipe threads on the outside of the cooler, less on the inside.
4) I screwed the ball valve all the way onto one end of the loose pipe nipple, and marked the top of the pipe with magic marker as the "up" position when installed.
5) I wrapped the pipe nipple threads with masking tape everywhere I planned not to have putty, transferring the "up" mark onto the tape.
6) I kneaded and then stuffed epoxy putty (check Home Depot/other HW store plumbing section) to completely, firmly fill the cavity.  I used the Rectorseal brand, at $3.81 per tube.  It took seven 2-ounce tubes.  Look for the more economical 4-ounce size.  I had underestimated and originally bought only three tubes so had to run back to the store mid-project.  After kneading, you only have 2 - 3 minutes to work the putty before it QUICKLY sets hard -- it sets to like steel in 15 to 20 minutes. 
7) immediately after packing the cavity with putty, I used what I needed of what was left to pack a little collar of putty around the exposed outside of the pipe nipple up to the tape.
8 ) I stuffed the putty-wrapped pipe into the hole, removed the excess, and using my finger quickly packed a little more putty into the remaining outside crack, inside and outside of the cooler where the pipe protruded.
9) again quickly, I pulled off the masking tape before the putty smeared onto it had a chance to set hard.
10) an hour later I tightened down my silicone washers backed by SS washers, and bazooka screen inside, and brass nut outside.  The silicone washers cover the hardened residue of putty.  Also, although not really needed to prevent leakage (the putty does that by itself), the silicone washer/SS washer/nuts balance each side with equal opposing pressure, so there' not constant pressure on the hardened putty. 
11) There's plenty of room on either side of the bazooka screen to stir with my mash paddle without hitting the screen.

Rectorseal Epoxy Putty MSDS:

Yeast and Fermentation / Should I refrigerate dry yeast
« on: February 14, 2015, 09:48:09 PM »
So, for years, I have found some LHBS's that store their dry yeast at room temp, other refrigerated.  My standard operating procedure either way, has been to toss the yeast packets into my fridge when I get home thinking that most companies recommend this for extended, higher percentage viability.

Until this week when I bought some set out at room temp, and asked the owner why he doesn't store it refrigerated.

His answer was that he used to work at a brewery that used dry yeast, and their practice was to store it at room temp with the understanding that temp swings, i.e. putting it into the fridge from warm, actually ruptured cell walls, making the yeast less viable than if they maintained storage of it at room temp, and I believe this was with the understanding of using it within 3 months.

When I buy dried yeast, should I put it in the fridge for anywhere between a few days and a few months, or should I leave it at room temp?

Ingredients / Is German magnum a noble hop?
« on: February 10, 2015, 08:17:13 PM »
It appears that it is a variant of hallertau gold or tradition (per beersmith link below) and so I deduce (and the article states) it is a noble hop, but I wanted to get confirmation, since at least what I ordered is a high-alpha hop, advertised as 12 - 14%AA ( )

I'm brewing my first German Pils this Sunday, and want to know "for the record" if I'm using all noble hops, including the magnum as a bittering hop.

The other two hops in the recipe definitely are noble hops:  hallertau mittelfruh and spalt.


Beer Recipes / Blind Pig IPA clone
« on: June 28, 2014, 04:38:31 PM »
I told Narcout I'd be happy to post this adaptation, and I think this is worth sharing.  I based it on other threads from folks who communicated with Vinnie, as well as from the Zymurgy clone recipe, so kudos to Brandon and others for their talent and notes to forums.  I'm a batch sparger.

I just racked to kegs and added the dry hops, and it tasted phenomenal already.  I pitched yeast at 64F, held it there for 30 hrs, then up to 65F, and after 7 days up to 66F for 79% attenuation.  The West Coast Ale yeast is very clean/neutral, and flocculates better than US-05, although much slower to attenuate.  It takes a full 2 weeks to ferment dry.  Still, it will be my new house yeast for IPA and PA.

Apologies to 5 gallon batch brewers - I am sharing this as an 11.5 gal batch, since the ingredient amounts aren't so fractional this way.  Although I had planned to leave behind 1/2 gal of wort in the kettle along with break material and hop spooge, I ended up collecting most of the wort, first carefully strained through a fine mesh strainer to omit most break material from entering my fermenters.

I think I will now go add the oak chips since I want to see what that adds.  I've never used untoasted oak before.

The IBUs are in line with previous brewers' take on bumping up from Blind Pig's actual, which I believe is 61 calculated IBUs.  Based on my taste of it today I'm glad I did.  I let the 0 minute hops addition steep 10 minutes before chilling the wort.  Pre-dry-hop it still isn't over the top hoppy.  I'm going to keg hop 4 days at 65F and then 4 - 5 days at 35F.

The reason my hop alpha %'s are odd is because I use the potency loss function in ProMash. 

Based on my own tastes I slightly decreased the amount of chinook as bittering hops from the Zymurgy clone, and increased slightly the carapils since I like a bit of body even in my IPAs, both ideas that Brandon also suggested he might try in future brews of his take.  :D  From what I've seen, the wheat malt is optional.  I left it in there for what I still believe adds foam positive results.

Here's mine:

06-15-2014  Blind Pig IPA Clone

A ProMash Brewing Session Report

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal):        11.50    Wort Size (Gal):  11.50
Total Grain (Lbs):       24.00
Anticipated OG:          1.060    Plato:            14.69
Anticipated SRM:           5.7
Anticipated IBU:          82.2
Brewhouse Efficiency:       78 %
Wort Boil Time:             60    Minutes

Actual OG:  1.059   Plato: 14.51
Actual FG:  1.012   Plato:  3.07

Alc by Weight:  4.85      by Volume:  6.20  From Measured Gravities.
ADF:            78.9      RDF         65.6  Apparent & Real Degree of Fermentation.

Actual Mash System Efficiency: 78 %
Anticipated Points From Mash:  59.79
Actual Points From Mash:       59.69


   %     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM
 85.4    20.50 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row)              America        1.037      2
  4.2     1.00 lbs. Wheat Malt                    America        1.038      2
  4.2     1.00 lbs. Crystal 40L                   America        1.034     40
  6.3     1.50 lbs. Caramel Pils Malt             Belgium        1.034      2

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


   Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
  2.10 oz.    Chinook                           Pellet   7.56  32.4  60 min.
  1.10 oz.    Columbus                          Pellet  13.94  31.3  60 min.
  0.50 oz.    Cascade                           Pellet   4.12   2.1  30 min.
  1.90 oz.    Amarillo                          Pellet   8.25  16.3  30 min.
  2.00 oz.    Amarillo                          Pellet   8.25   0.0  0 min.
  2.00 oz.    Cascade                           Pellet   4.12   0.0  0 min.
  2.00 oz.    Centennial                        Pellet   7.80   0.0  0 min.
  2.00 oz.    Simcoe                            Pellet  13.00   0.0  0 min.
  2.00 oz.    Amarillo                          Pellet   8.25   0.0  Dry Hop
  2.00 oz.    Cascade                           Pellet   4.12   0.0  Dry Hop
  2.00 oz.    Centennial                        Pellet   7.80   0.0  Dry Hop
  2.00 oz.    Columbus                          Pellet  13.94   0.0  Dry Hop


  Amount      Name                           Type      Time
  1.25 Tsp    Wyeast Yeast Nutrient          Other     10 Min.(boil)
  1.50 Unit(s)Whirfloc                       Fining     5 Min.(boil)


Mangrove Jack M-44 U.S. West Coast Ale

Mash Schedule

Mash Type: Single Step
Heat Type: Direct

Grain Lbs:   24.00
Water Qts:   40.17 - Before Additional Infusions
Water Gal:   10.04 - Before Additional Infusions

Qts Water Per Lbs Grain: 1.67

Tun Thermal Mass:      0.00
Grain Temp:              65 F

Saccharification Rest Temp: 153  Time:  75

Sparge Temp:                168  Time:  10

Total Mash Volume Gal:    11.96  - After Additional Infusions


To soften hop edge/punch, you can add 1 oz untoasted American oak chips/cub
es per 5 gal, although adding oak has been discontinued by Russian River. 
Steam them for 15 minutes and add in hop bag to keg ~10 days.

Beer Recipes / Tomme Arthur's Dubbel
« on: May 26, 2014, 10:18:18 PM »
Here is the recipe I used, which sticks very close to Tomme's recipe in "Brew Like a Monk", and brewing notes including my approach to adding raisins, Tomme's "secret ingredient" in the recipe, based on research as well as other member posts, plus basic creativity given ingredients on hand.

I decided to leave it as an 11-gallon batch recipe, since the ingredients fall into easy amounts at this size, again, while still remaining true to the published recipe.

I have brewed this a couple times before using WY 1214.  This time I split the batch into two fermenters, one using WY1214 (Chimay), the other using WY3787 (Westmalle).  I shoulda, coulda, woulda kicked it up a wee notch on ferment temps, but as done it still yielded two tasty beers.

Tomme Arthur's Dubbel

A ProMash Brewing Session Report

Batch Size (Gal):        11.00    Wort Size (Gal):  11.00
Total Grain (Lbs):       29.45
Anticipated OG:          1.070    Plato:            17.15
Anticipated SRM:          19.9
Anticipated IBU:          15.6
Brewhouse Efficiency:       70 %
Wort Boil Time:            110    Minutes

Actual OG:  1.071   Plato: 17.28
Actual FG:  1.013   Plato:  3.32

Alc by Weight:  6.00      by Volume:  7.68  From Measured Gravities.
ADF:            80.8      RDF         67.4  Apparent & Real Degree of Fermentation.

Actual Mash System Efficiency: 77 %


   %     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM
 60.3    17.75 lbs. Pilsener                      Germany        1.038      2
  8.5     2.50 lbs. Wheat Malt                    Belgium        1.038      3
  6.8     2.00 lbs. Belgian Dark Candi Syrup D2   Belgium        1.032     80
  6.8     2.00 lbs. Aromatic Malt                 Belgium        1.036     17
  4.1     1.20 lbs. Munich Malt                   Belgium        1.038      6
  3.4     1.00 lbs. Biscuit Malt                  Belgium        1.035     19
  3.4     1.00 lbs. CaraMunich Malt               Belgium        1.033     60
  3.4     1.00 lbs. Honey Malt                    Canada         1.030     17
  3.4     1.00 lbs. Special B Malt                Belgian        1.030    148

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


   Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
0.90 oz.    Styrian Goldings                  Pellet   5.50  11.1  90 min. 
0.60 oz.    Liberty                           Pellet   3.74   4.6  60 min.


  Amount      Name                           Type      Time
  9.00 Oz     Raisins (dark)                 Fruit      7 Min.(boil)
  1.25 Tsp    Wyeast Yeast Nutrient          Other     12 Min.(boil)
  1.50 Unit(s)Whirfloc                       Fining     7 Min.(boil)


Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey Yeast (one fermenter)

Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity (other fermenter)

Mash Schedule

Mash Type: Single Step
Heat Type: Direct

Qts Water Per Lbs Grain: 1.60

Saccharification Rest Temp: 152  Time:  70
Sparge Temp:                168  Time:  10

Efficiency Specifics
Recipe Efficiency Setting: 70%
Actual Mash System Efficiency: 77%

Fermentation Specifics
Days In Primary:      15
Pitched at 64F
Due to minimal fermenter headspace because of higher than expected wort yield,
to minimize blow-off, I maintained 67F first 3 days, and then ramped up
to 72F over next 6 days.  I recommend going hotter than that!
Held at 72F for another 6 days until reached terminal gravity.

Fermentation Notes

Probably best to keep fermenting beer below 75F during the first 72 hrs of ferment to avoid fusels,
and best to use extra headspace in fermenter and anti-foam drops.  But beware of boring beer
when maintaining low ferment temps, unless you like your Belgians really "clean".
Subsequent temps of I'd guess 74F and above yield more ester/phenol character and balance. 

I separated the two fermenters after about 24 hrs to dial-in temps to accomodate the
different yeasts.

Used Fermcap to reduce blow-off, but still got a fair amount with the 1214 (Chimay).

With the 3787 (Westmalle) be careful as it can permanently stall held below 66F and/or
due to temp controlling with a big/low swing.

I kegged a little early following a 15-day ferment; could have left in primary ~65F
following reaching terminal gravity for an additional 2 weeks to better clean up wort
and drop yeast.  But I needed my ferment chamber for another brew!

Other Notes

Raisin Caramelize and Puree:  In large hot metal frying pan started them (9
 oz fresh dark Sun Maids)  with my delicious well-aged cherry port, and then
added 1 cup wort, and finished with more port, using entire split.  Determined
it would have been better to start caramelization with wort, since the port
evaporated very quickly at the high heat.  The raisins
caramelized well with the wort addition and then more port at med high - high,
but be very careful not to let them burn.  Added to blender and needed
about 4 - 5 oz brandy (I used E&J VSOP) to provide enough liquid to puree.
I pureed very well, knowing that I would later be running wort through a
strainer when transferring to fermenters.  Added puree to kettle immediately
after stirring in D2, last 7 minutes of the boil. 
Almost no puree was strained out at transfer to fermenters.

Tasting Notes

At kegging, both were full of flavor, but lacking a little of phenols and esters due to
the too cool ferment.
The 1214 was a bit fruitier and expressive.

Tonight sampling a glass from the 2 liters extra blended beer (mostly from the Westmalle batch)
carbonated with Carbonator Cap, it is a tad sweet, no off flavors, with dried fruit, alcohol,
caramel.  Very nice, if a little lacking in the "Belgian-y" character.  Very nice body and mouthfeel.

All Grain Brewing / Batch sparging: stir mash midway?
« on: May 17, 2014, 07:59:58 PM »
I've seen where some batch sparge brewers will stir their mash one or more times during the 60 - 90 minutes mash, to  keep the temperature uniform in their picnic cooler mashtun.  Due to temperature loss from opening up and stirring, they have to compensate by adding enough boiling water to get back to the desired mash temperature.  I'm just wondering how many of you do this, or just live with the inevitable range of temperatures inside the mashtun due to hot and cold spots.

I've always just hit my desired mash-in temp, closed the rectangular cooler lid, and left it alone until the mash is over.  As I brew outside, if it is cold outside I throw a couple blankets over the cooler to prevent additional heat loss. 

I believe that I receive the general desired effects from the mash temp I've selected, but I have nothing to compare this to.  My range of temps at the end of the mash due to hot and cool pockets inside the mashtun varies, but can vary by as much as about 3.5 degrees, but normally just 2 to 3 degrees.

Kegging and Bottling / Added a faucet
« on: April 06, 2014, 01:22:53 PM »
So, when I built my kegerator maybe three years ago I thought to myself, "I won't need more than 3 taps".  Well, considering that my 7.2 cf chest freezer kegerator efficiently holds 6 ball locks, I realized that adding another faucet would provide a more hygienic solution in comparison to using a picnic tap inside the kegerator when I wanted to add a fourth beer to the "currently on tap" list.

I placed the new faucet on the side where it would not interfere with moving kegs into or out of the kegerator.  Also, I can interchange that faucet with a nitro tap when desired, and it will be nice to have it separate on the side at that time.  When I do that, I will drill one more gas line hole through the wood collar to pass the beer gas tubing through it to reach the keg holding beer to go onto nitro.

The main thing I wanted to share is that I was very happy with the results from using a combination caulk/adhesive (available in caulk gun tubes) to attach the mounting board for the new single-faucet drip tray, and leaving a caulk bead of it around the exterior edges of the mounting board.  This will prevent liquids (beer, sanitizer, etc.) from dripping in behind the mounting board which would have made it hard to clean, and prone to bacteria growth.  It took a bit of patience as the adhesive began to set, to ensure it hardened in place, and used a level to keep checking that the mounting board remained level until it set hard, which took about 2 hours.

I had previously used the same all-purpose adhesive/caulk (I used Polyseamseal brand) to seal the open edges in a foam-insulated picnic cooler lid that I cut out when building a jockey box to hold ball lock kegs.  So I knew it would work for this application and provide a very strong adhesive bond.

Before I attached the mounting board to the kegerator, I added 4 coats of polyurethane to it and added the drip tray mounting screws.  I couldn't find beechwood to match the front faucet panel, put purchased a short light-colored board of poplar which looks good.

I also replaced a 5 lb co2 tank that provided gas to my 4-way manifold, with a 15-pounder with two leads off of the regulator.  The second lead is a short line with a gas quick disconnect that I can use to purge kegs, etc, easily without having to lift them into the kegerator.  The other 15-lb co2 tank I use to carbonate kegs and/or to serve beer at a different psi and one of its leads goes through a secondary regulator.

Here it is:

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