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Topics - zorch

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Equipment and Software / Insulating a mash tun
« on: May 17, 2016, 02:59:13 PM »
I have a gas fired RIMS setup, and lately I've been thinking about insulating my mash tun in order to save on fuel.
I know others out there do this, but I'm unclear as to what materials work best.
Anybody have any recommendations?

All Grain Brewing / Measuring acid additions by weight instead of volume
« on: August 01, 2012, 07:32:32 PM »
I'd like to start experimenting with using 10% phosphoric acid to acidify my mash and sparge water for my low-SRM beers.    I'm using the Bru'nWater to calculate the amounts to use, but the amounts to use are expressed in milliliters (and partial teaspoons).

I don't really have a good way to accurately measure volumes at that scale.  But I do have a reasonably accurate (0.01 gram) scale.     So if knew the density (g/ml) of my acid, I could just weight it out in grams.

Wikipedia tells me that phosphoric acid has a density of 1.885 g/ml, and that an 85% solution has a density of 1.685 g/ml.     I guess I don't understand the formula one uses to arrive at that 85% value, so I am not sure how to then get to the density of a 10% solution.

I know I could just assume 1g/ml, and it would be kinda close.   I just like knowing stuff.    My best guess is somewhere around 1.05 g/ml.    Does anybody know the actual value (at room temp, sea level, etc).?

I've got a batch of Denny's BVIP going, and it's just about ready for the next step:  Adding vanilla beans.    Normally, and in accordance with the recipe, I'd toss them into a secondary carboy, ack the beer on top, and let it sit for a week.

I'm wondering, though, whether I really need to bother with this racking step?     It seems that if I just toss the beans into the primary, I'd save some work and more importantly decrease the oxidation.

Then again, perhaps that primary full of goop is going to somehow interfere with the extraction of the vanilla flavors?

It seems that recent consensus on secondaries is that they are an unnecessary step, at least when it comes to clearing/finishing a 'normal' ale?   But is using a secondary still the best practice when adding additional flavors, or dry hopping?

Yeast and Fermentation / Smack pack already swelled on arrival
« on: October 13, 2010, 08:24:42 PM »
I have never bought liquid yeast via mail order before, but I wanted to try a Wyeast variety in my next batch (my LHBS carries White Labs exclusively).    I just received the order yesterday, and noticed immediately that the pack was already quite swollen.
The yeast was packaged in a separate padded envelope along with a cold pack, but it was no longer cold.    I am not positive how long this shipment had been in transit - No longer than 7 days, since that's when I placed the order in the first place.

Should I be concerned?   I am going to make a starter (I always do), but I would rather not waste my time if it's a lost cause...

General Homebrew Discussion / Cleaning 'large' boil kettles
« on: August 18, 2010, 05:34:10 PM »
I'm curious to know how you guys that brew larger (10+ gal) batches clean your kettles.    Do you drag it over to your utility sink and scrub it out?    Use some nifty CIP apparatus to recirculate PBW through it?   Or...?

I'm looking at upgrading my brewery to 10 gallon batches, and will probably go with a converted 15 gallon keg as my kettle.    I could just carry it over to my sink and clean it there, but if I can clean it easily without having to move it, I wouldn't need to worry about damaging the thermometer, dropping it on my foot, etc.

Yeast and Fermentation / Big starters for big batches
« on: August 10, 2010, 07:02:12 PM »
I'm curious how you guys who brew 10+ gallon batches deal with creating enough yeast.    I'm toying with the idea of upgrading my capacity to handle 10 gallon batches, but I am a little unsure about how I should handle my starters.   For example, when I'm building up yeast for a typical 5 gallon lager batch, I've got a 4 liter starter on a stir plate (in a 5 liter flask), and I feel like that's _barely_ enough yeast.

Do you guys run two stir plates at the same time?    Or perhaps make a smaller batch and re-pitch a bunch of slurry?  Or...?

Given the rest of my setup, I will probably ferment in 2 6.5 gallon carboys (since that's what I have, and I can get them both in my chest freezer).   So that tends to suggest that I'd be better off with a second stir plate... Splitting a batch of yeast into two equal pitches seems tricky and error-prone.    But I'd love to hear how others approach this.

General Homebrew Discussion / How long to age an Imperial IPA?
« on: February 23, 2010, 09:14:23 PM »
I'm planning on brewing an Imperial IPA soon (probably following the latest Pliny recipe from this summer's Zymurgy).   But I am not sure when to expect this beer to be at its peak?

My usual practice for big-ish (1.070+) beers is to age them at least a couple of months.  But hop aroma is a critical component of this style, and I know that's going to keep diminishing as time passes.

Is there a 'sweet spot' for this style, in terms of mellowing vs. aroma?   Or should I just drink it as fresh as possible and assume that the massive hop bill is going to stomp all over any 'green' flavors I'd normally be concerned about aging out?

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