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Messages - kgs

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend?
« on: November 25, 2017, 03:01:58 AM »
First brew in the new house. We closed August 31, then I was busy with household move + business travel in September, then had an interesting month with nearly two weeks sheltering in place during the Northern California fires (all was fine where we were, we only lost gas service for a few days, just... wow).

Thinking I will probably repeat my last brew, which was a 3-gallon batch of oatmeal stout with Golden Promise, toasted oats, a little Victory, crystal malt, chocolate malt, and roasted barley, and Wyeast London Ale III. I had planned to flavor it with coffee and chocolate, but it was so good just as it was I didn't do that. I have had trouble with oatmeal stouts finishing too high and too sweet, but this batch was perfect. It was the first time I used that yeast so of course I assume that's why!

I will name it N-95 (for the masks we wore for a couple of weeks).

Equipment and Software / Re: Clear Beer Draught System - Questions
« on: November 08, 2017, 11:50:41 PM »
Am I correct that the size of the keg isn't an issue? It seems to me from looking at the product info that the Clear Beer system would work with my kegs (all 3-gallon).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Secondary Fermentation
« on: November 08, 2017, 11:46:02 PM »
That is my next question for the Russian Imperial Stout kit from Brewers Best.
The packet of yeast says do not rehydrate.
What is the best approach?
Pitch the yeast or follow the directions?

Can you also post the recipe for the kit?  If it's all extract, we may have recommendations on simple steps that will improve your fermentation and make sure that an all-extract big beer does not stall out or end with a super sweet high final gravity.

I found this online:

Looks like an extract kit.

The lids could be an issue, depending on their design. The "fermenters" I use (food-grade plastic buckets) have lids that have ridges and crannies that require extra attention. Concur on breaking down anything assembled. I admit I was several kegging batches in before I realized keg valves could (and should) be disassembled for cleaning.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend?
« on: June 17, 2017, 03:06:39 PM »
Going to drop the temp on my fermentation fridge and keg the oatmeal stout next weekend. I used Golden Promise and Wyeast 1318 for the first time, and this is the best stout I have ever made (for a style I do pretty well with). I also used Golden Promise a few weeks ago in a very straightforward mild, and while the end product seems too sweet for the style, I love it as whatever it is.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg Lines
« on: June 05, 2017, 01:20:51 PM »
Yesterday I took apart and cleaned two beer line quick disconnects, and after I took them apart I took a photo of the sequence and position of the components. That made it much easier to reassemble the QDs.

I had used both disconnects on and off for about 15 months, and while they weren't disgusting, they definitely benefited from cleaning. I plan to do that more often.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend?
« on: April 30, 2017, 02:44:40 PM »
Brewing a half-batch of Best Bitter with 5 lbs Golden Promise, a dash (1.5 oz) of chocolate malt, Styrian Goldings, and Wyeast 1768 Special Collection ESB. During down time when I'm not cleaning up I'm researching keg line cleaners.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend?
« on: April 02, 2017, 06:41:08 PM »
3-gallon ESB with a simple grain bill and Lallemand ESB yeast. Second time using distilled water + Bru'n Water calculations. First time with the yeast.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Favorite Brew Music
« on: April 02, 2017, 02:41:13 AM »
Today I'm listening to the S-Town podcast while I get my mash on and clean the house. I didn't like it at first but it grew on me (like kudzu, perhaps). I generally listen to news or story podcasts, though I have Pandora channels to fit whatever mood: War when I want to revisit the 1970s, Fairport Convention, old-tyme "wimmen's music," Topp Twins, jazz, whatever. Sometimes it's just me and my head.

Equipment and Software / Re: Temp control failure
« on: January 19, 2017, 07:37:21 PM »
I think the default setting for the jumpers is for cooling and you need to switch the jumpers to use a heating source.  Is this the first time you are using a heater with the controller?

Yes, it is. *Learning commences*

Equipment and Software / Re: Temp control failure
« on: January 19, 2017, 05:55:45 PM »
Sounds like you had the logic reversed on the controller.  You should be able to quickly check that by plugging in a lamp and place the sensor in a glass of water near the setpoint and adjust it up and down with additional hot and ice.

If the temp sensor was just sitting in the air around the fermenter, I doubt the beer got as hot as the air around it in that short timeframe. The batch may not be a goner if it just got into the 70's (depending on the yeast you're using).

With your ambient temps, you may need to cool and not heat during the early phases of fermentation. Just a hunch with no other info.

If pressed for time, I would leave everything disconnected and crack the door on the fridge.  Mid to low's 60's in the house plus a little heat from fermentation may keep your beer in the high 60's during the early and vigorous part of fermentation.

Unfortunately, the probe was taped to the side of the fermenter. That said I am away til next week and will just sit it out at low temps and see what happens. I'll test the controller when I'm home to see if I can replicate the problem (on a small bucket of water, not lovingly-handcrafted fresh AG wort). It looks as if the most vigorous stage of fermentation already happened (through the bucket walls I can see the "trub line" a few inches above the liquid line).

In the four to five years I've owned the controller I have never changed the settings other than to adjust the target temp (setpoint) or occasionally tweak the differential one or two degrees, but obviously reviewing the settings is a good idea, in case I accidentally canoodled with some setting other than setpoint. I plan to get a two-stage controller, though with this lesson, I will test-drive it as well.

Equipment and Software / Temp control failure
« on: January 19, 2017, 02:42:01 AM »
So I came home tonight (Wednesday) to a distressing discovery. On Monday morning I finished brewing a rye IPA and put it in my Danby fridge with a Johnson single-stage controller plugged into a Brewer's Edge space heater in the fridge. The fridge was unplugged. That night the temp seemed fine -- ca. 66 degrees. Same the next morning. I got busy and did not check last night or this morning--usually I let beers "be" while they brew. I came home tonight and the controller read... 100f. Naturally I quickly unplugged the controller and opened the fridge door. Predicting this won't be my best batch of beer.

The only thing I can think of is I didn't set the jumpers from cooling to heating. The next thing on my list is did the controller fail. (I also checked that I had the "right" things plugged in.) The temp in the house has been in the low 50s to mid-60s, so that's not an issue. I also had the "right" cords plugged in the right places.

I'm headed to a conference tomorrow so I'm mulling over whether to plug the fridge back in, turn it to the highest temp, and let things finish out in the high 50s (no controller, no heater). I don't have the time tonight or tomorrow to test the controller.

Me sad... but, it's beer. I can brew again.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Honing Your Skills
« on: January 16, 2017, 04:25:02 PM »
That makes sense. I do have Jamil's book "Brewing Classic Styles," so maybe I'll pick a beer with fewer malts and hops that's also a session beer. Unfortunately, that's not a style I like that much. Is it at least a good sign that I've hit my target OG on the beers I've made so far? Or did I just get lucky? :)

I have kettles, one for water and one for wort, and I have wooden spoons "calibrated" to their volume in gallon markings. From my own experience, I suggest brewing styles you like, and re-brewing a recipe you like repeatedly, which is where I pinned down some areas to focus on. Only introduce one process change at a time (I was terrible at that for years, and I'm still bad about documenting when I make a change). Use decent tools, and test and calibrate them (I just calibrated my hydrometer for the first time in years, and it's at 1.001, close enough.) Gently stir your wort before measuring your preboil gravity. And even if you aren't a joiner, going to  local club talks and tastings could introduce you the "visuals" of a process you have only read about.

My unpopular brewing opinion is in too many craft beers the main purpose of hops is to camouflage flaws in the brewing process.

Long ago, when I was stationed in Germany and living "on the economy," as we said (in a German village), my landlord commented that dry wines were harder to make than sweet wines because the winery couldn't cover up its errors with additions. A bad hoppy beer does sometimes taste like a lot of errors covered by hops.

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