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Messages - dean_palmer

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1
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Co2 and Liquid Lines
« on: October 31, 2013, 12:42:11 PM »
I use 3/16" beverage line all the way around.  It works fine and saves me needing to stock 2 different sizes and remembering which is which.
Paul

This is the best solution and by using standard lengths with 1/4" flare connections on the end of all lines they are totally interchangeable for every use, everywhere. You can keep longer and shorter lengths ready to properly balance your system for carbonation levels that are outside the common range, and also with the flare fittings you can swap in short extra lengths to achieve this easily.

Also using the clear serving line instead of the colored "gas" lines allows you to see if you get anything back in the gas side, which will happen some time to everyone.

2
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: HLT or Mash Tun
« on: September 27, 2013, 10:59:07 AM »
Home Depot has the round Rubbermaid 10g cooler for $44.87 normal price as well. Get a kettle you can heat as your HLT, not a cooler.

3
Just added corrected pics now that all new kettles and components are in place. Added a March AC-5SSB-MD Beer Pump to really get the whirlpool moving :-) Thanks to Jeff at Depco Pump for that monster!

At this point I don't see the need for anything else :-)

4
Equipment and Software / Re: Cleaning keg exteriors
« on: June 03, 2013, 12:23:46 PM »
First use Goof Off to remove sticker residues, then Barkeeper's Friend if they just need minor cleaning. For really dingy ones I use a commercial cutting/polishing compound and a polishing machine. Sometimes they even need some sanding before polishing. That said after doing that a number of times I rarely even remove the sticker residues any longer :-)

5
Equipment and Software / Re: Pump Selection
« on: June 03, 2013, 12:19:21 PM »
I have the March 809 with the 815 impeller and I've never buy the 809 again. What a huge difference in priming and flow after upgrading the impeller!

I also have a Chugger stainless head with the larger impeller. I think they come with an impeller almost the size of the March 815, and the impellers are interchangeable between brands as well as I've done it.

The March 809 although becoming a standard is clearly not the best for our hobby. The 815 or Chugger works better than the 809, and the center input model with the larger (3/4"?) input I've seen work even better, and would be the one I'd buy next if I needed another pump.

My installations are textbook proper per the manufacturers so the only variable has been the impellers. Don't buy the 809 if at all possible.

6
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Naturally carbonating a keg
« on: June 03, 2013, 12:08:12 PM »
Unless you plan on using gravity you will need to eventually hook it up to Co2 for serving, to push the beer out, but you probably know that.

As for natural carbonation, you can use the same ratio of sugar as you would for bottling. Some folks have a preference of less or more after doing it for the same recipe many times, but your results will vary. Keep notes on time and temp for the next time and if you want to vary it you'll have a baseline.

All that said, I find it easier to carbonate a keg in a few minutes with Co2 pressure and get it perfect and not have to worry about variations.

7
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Is there an adapter for this?
« on: June 03, 2013, 11:59:45 AM »
Seriously, the commercial tailpiece is not the Mona Lisa, cut that crap off and install the 1/4" female flare, buy the tailpiece to flare adapter as directed, and then you can attach ANY type of adapter at any time ;-)

Also at the same time make sure that you are using the proper length of 3/16" ID thick-wall beverage line. Some setups come from the factory with incorrect line size and length and I have no idea why, but I keep seeing it on half the systems I'm asked to configure.

8
I have used the Blichmann chillers for many years, and sometimes two of them in series. No matter what you would normally want to do, and regardless of what filter you buy, there will always be debris in the process that will get into them. Taking that into consideration I consider the end of the brew process the first step in making sure they never have issues. (notice I didn't say they were ever perfectly clean)

1. Before use I flush with regular tap water. It's amazing what comes out after the unit has sat for weeks and you swear you clean the hell out of it last time it was used. (my sanitation is hot wort circulation in the last part of the brew process, nothing else)

2. Flush with water, swap the input and output a few times and burst the water off and on both ways until minimal debris is coming out. I use a white bucket for the water coming out to see what is coming out.

3. Sometimes I may place some PBW in one of the vessels and pump warm PBW through the chiller(s) for a while (after the above water flushing). This is done every once in a while when I have spare time but not every time. Rinse with water as above after the PBW.

4. Blow out excess water and store.

I have used everything from a Bazooka screen (fail), to false bottom(best), to Brewer's Hardware filter canister (fail), but all filtration seems to have its limit and has caused issues at one time or another. I have started whirlpooling and picking up from the edge of the bottom, but frankly there is still a ton of debris in suspension that goes through the chillers this way. Regardless of the huge debris load, no issues.

9
I use 1/4" flare fittings on the ends of all my lines and that allows me to swap any adapter, corny, or sankey, or anything else. I generally use a corny keg with a bit of pressure to clean the lines. The flare fittings are cheap, and I really have never liked the pressure tanks offered to clean tap lines and they are a ripoff. When it is easy to clean your lines you'll do it more frequently :-)

All it takes are these parts, and you can buy them at all of the larger homebrewing suppliers.

http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=150

10
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Handle on 20 LB CO2
« on: May 14, 2013, 06:10:51 AM »
I think it's about $24 for a 20lb tank swap. I use Matheson Gas here and they never charge for the hydro test if it is out of date, but I now exchange only and not have my personal tanks filled. It may be different and I know in some places you are at the mercy of the provider. I found that fills on-site were the biggest ripoff.

11
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« on: May 14, 2013, 06:06:26 AM »
I bottled from the keg for almost 10 years just using a bottling wand jammed into the end of a picnic tap. Works fine and you are bottling from a known CO2 level and won't have any variation in the bottle. For competitions this worked well as I rarely bottled for any other reason. I had bottled some Belgian Dark Strong using this simple method, and those bottles sat on the shelf for two years, and just won a gold medal in state competition. All my other entries before this year that won medals were bottled with the picnic tap/wand method as well. While winning in competitions doesn't mean these beers were flawless, they clearly had a low enough level of flaws from bottling that rarely would there be a remark of any suspicion of oxidation and such.

To improve my process I did finally buy a Blichmann gun. Frankly I would suggest that the gun is a great process. To me it's not worth screwing around building a makeshift counter-pressure gimmick that won't do much more than a wand shoved into a picnic tap :-) I love the CO2 purge ability with the same one handed operation.

12
I keep my temp probe in a sealed, dry, empty water bottle.

You can really improve your temp control by directly measuring what you are trying to control. Attach the probe to the side of the fermenter itself and cover it, or use a thermowell. Measuring the air in a bottle is inherently inaccurate as it doesn't properly represent the time it takes to change the temp of the mass of liquid that is your wort. It is only measuring the reaction of the air and that container. When this is important is where the fermentation is generating a lot of heat. By measuring the air in a bottle you are just creating a certain temperature in the fridge that is simply an ambient, but cannot react to the conditions in the wort.

13
All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash recirculation
« on: May 13, 2013, 02:07:53 PM »
I did a manually controlled recirculating mash system with propane burners for many years before building my RIMS system. It wasn't too tough to manually add heat as needed and keep the temps pretty accurate. It took some learning the system however. The next step was wiring the RIMS tube into a Ranco controller and that worked for another few years. Now I've gone full electric.

You'll find that doing it manually, and with a n that can be placed over the mash tun when not heating directly, yo don't lose a lot of heat, and a little added fire goes a long way. Most of the time my propane burner was on very low when adding heat, and of course the recirculation never stopped.

14
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: sanitation questions
« on: May 01, 2013, 08:09:40 AM »
Don't make sanitation tougher than it has to be :-) Sanitize right before you use the tool or vessel and be assured it is sanitized. Fresh sanitizer is always the way to go.

"Soaking" for extended times does nothing better and can damage some plastics. Use the contact time stated or a few minutes more. Nothing is gained by keeping things continually soaking.

For carboys and such put in just enough to slosh around and coat the surfaces. No reason to fill the whole thing and have all that weight to deal with and waste sanitizer for no reason. Filling a vessel is a waste at any time for sanitizing. For cleaning a complete fill and soak may be needed due to residuals, but that is for cleaning, not sanitizing.

Mix up only enough sanitizer that is needed to coat the surfaces by submerging or spraying. I usually mix up 1.25 gallons at most, some gets put into the spray bottle to be used as needed, and after the session the rest gets dumped if it will not be needed in the next few days.

StarSan is less than 25 cents per gallon of prepared solution so why waste time and money figuring out ways of keeping it for extended periods? Just because the ratio states one ounce to 5 gallons doesn't mean you make up 5 gallons each time.

Ph below "3" is still good if you can measure. I use strips or my meter if ever needed.

If you keep the sanitizer store it in glass or suitable plastic, not metal or stainless as it will etch the metals.

Hope my two cents helps :-)


15
Pimp My System / Re: Temp control options in Florida garage
« on: April 23, 2013, 10:28:54 AM »
Upright fridge or freezer with controller is the way to go. With Florida heat everything else is just too much work and has too much variance for me. I also ferment in a garage and deal with Florida heat.

Keep in mind with an upright fridge or upright "frost-free" freezer, they use an air recirculation system that is a lot more efficient than chest freezers and have much more ability to control temps quickly. They also have less lifting to get the fermenters in and out.

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