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Messages - evandy

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Equipment and Software / Re: Broke my glass carboy today
« on: January 29, 2014, 04:26:03 AM »
That's why I switched to better bottles a couple of years ago.   You have to clean them right away, but other than that they work well.  I've dropped one full of wort and only lost a pint (note: the blue carry handles only work with the hard plastic stoppers, not rubber ones!).

This lets me use my no-muss, no-fuss, auto-shake aeration method:

Equipment and Software / Hydroflask Growler Filler
« on: January 29, 2014, 03:10:12 AM »
For any other hydro-flask growler owners out there...  an extra cap is just $5 from Amazon.  That plus some extra racking cane I had handy makes a perfect filler.  Just jam a cobra-tap on the top ghetto-filler style.  I used to use a large rubber stopper, but with the large area it was hard to keep in place.  Now I have mechanical advantage!  I may drill it for a schraeder valve down the road, which would mean I can fill with CO2 first and counter-pressure fill.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Force Carbing 3 kegs at once
« on: January 26, 2014, 01:32:06 PM »
If it's coming out of the tap seems like there's pressure to them.

I once had a CO2 cylinder go out, and I was still able to pour about a dozen pints before I noticed.  ADmittedly, that was with a 1/2 empty keg so there was more stored air pressure...   But, yeah, seems odd.

Looking at a CO2 volume table, 18PSI/65 degrees is about 1.9 volumes of CO2.  That's pretty lightly carbonated, but it should still be bubbling, if lightly.  But certainly not fully carbed for most styles at that point.   To get a more standard 2.5 volumes at 65F, you'd need 28psi.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Force Carbing 3 kegs at once
« on: January 26, 2014, 01:39:58 AM »
Are they completely still after a week?  I've had some kegs that weren't ready to serve after a week, but they were all at least effervescent.   If they're completely still, I'd check that the gas is on and flowing to all kegs.  (Pull pressure relief, confirm that you can hear the regulator hissing).   If they're getting there, then I'd say waiting another week is not that unusual...

Beer Recipes / Re: Oak an English IPA??
« on: January 25, 2014, 03:13:49 AM »
Just threw my Hydrometer in some tap water.  Not 100% definitive, but it looks like it's reading about 4-5 points high.  Dropping FG down to 1.025 (conservatively) gives me 70% AA, which is right down the middle for this yeast.  OG was measured with my refractometer, so that should be pretty spot on.

Beer Recipes / Re: Oak an English IPA??
« on: January 25, 2014, 02:56:59 AM »
Well, the beer finished fermenting a couple days ago, and I just transferred it to the keg.  Fermentation went really well; I was lazy and pitched it on the full yeast cake from a best bitter instead of washing the yeast, so it took off fast.  Started at 1.086 and went down to 1.027, which is 7.8% but only about 66% attenuation.  The yeast says 68-72%AA, so I guess it's not too far off.

Only problem right now is that it seems a little sweet.  The Bitter predecessor tasted similarly out of the fermenter, but when it finished carbing the acidity was just right to balance out everything.  Still, it's only calculated at 42 IBUs... I think I'll probably up the bittering addition next time.  Malt balance tastes great; it should be a tasty beer, at least.  If needed, maybe I'll grab some of the IsoHop extract from MoreBeer or somewhere and add it to bring up the bitterness.   At least I have options if I need them.

After it's carbonated and ready I'll see about oaking it.  If nothing else, I may pull off a quart or so and oak that just to see how it does.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg to keg transfer of carbonated beer
« on: January 22, 2014, 04:44:11 AM »
Whenever I buy a 1/6 barrel of commercial beer, I end up transferring it to a Corny Keg, as the Sanke keg (and tap) don't fit in my kegerator.  I never bother with extra chilling, or anything special...  as long as you treat it like a counter-pressure fill situation it's pretty simple.

1) Pressurize destination keg to 15PSI; vent a couple times to reduce Oxygen exposure.
2) Connect liquid-out to liquid out between source and destination keg
3) Connect source keg to the gas
4) Slowly vent destination Keg.

Beer transfers slowly and easily.  By the way; I usually get 1 Corny Keg + 1 Pint out of a 1/6 barrel. Just about perfect.

Beer Recipes / Re: Oak an English IPA??
« on: January 17, 2014, 11:13:25 PM »
Oh, sure, give me the reasonable sensible advice!

Just remembered to go grab a couple drops for the refractometer....  21 brix.  BeerSmith said I should come in around 1.078; looks like the steeping grains mashed well anyways.  With only 42 IBUs, hopefully I don't wish that I'd added another ounce of challenger.  I did add some gypsum to my water as well, since I usually have trouble getting a good firm bitterness.

I suppose I can always track down some hop extract to add after fermentation if I need it.....

Beer Recipes / Oak an English IPA??
« on: January 17, 2014, 10:41:35 PM »
I just put an English IPA into the fermenter, and am trying decide whether or not to oak it.  I haven't oaked a beer before, but I got an oak spiral to try and help an old ale that's a little flat.  I'm thinking about breaking off a piece and trying it in the IPA.   Any thoughts/suggestions?

Recipe makes 5.5 gal in the fermenter...
1 lbs Amber (Crisp) (27.5 SRM) Grain 1 9.5 %
8.0 oz Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM) Grain 2 4.8 %
8.0 oz Crystal Dark - 77L (Crisp) (75.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.8 %
8.0 oz Crystal Extra Dark - 120L (Crisp) (120.0 SRM) Grain 4 4.8 %
8.0 oz Special Roast (Briess) (50.0 SRM) Grain 5 4.8 %
7 lbs Extra Light Dry Extract (3.0 SRM) Dry
Extract 6 66.7 %
8.0 oz Wheat Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry
Extract 7 4.8 %
1.50 oz Challenger [7.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 36.5 IBUs
1.50 oz Fuggles [4.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 4.4 IBUs
1.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 0.0 min Hop 10 0.0 IBUs

It's fermenting with repitched Wyeast 1768 (English Special Bitter Ale), one of the recent private-collection yeasts.  The yeast's first batch was a best bitter.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: British Yeast Recommendation
« on: May 14, 2013, 11:25:27 PM »
I make a lot of british ales... they are nicely balanced and I can't find too many here in the states that haven't been shipped over from England.

I've tried most of the Wyeast yeasts (London Ale 3, Thames Valley Ale, Irish Ale, London ESB, London Ale, etc.).  I've made Jamil's "Best Bitter" recipe at least 6 times now, with a bunch of different yeasts.  So far, my personal favorite by far is the WYeast private collection Thames Valley Ale II (1882). 

This is a GREAT yeast that I really love.  Last time I used it was for a brewin series with my homebrew club.  We made a Best Bitter, Northern Brown, and Brown porter about a month apart and repitched the 1882 between each batch.  All three of the beers were fantastic, but the Best Bitter was supurb.  THe next time it comes around in the WYeast private collection I suggest you check it out.

Personally, I'm thinking of starting a personal yeast slant of this one.  Once a year is not nearly enough.

Beer Recipes / Re: HAle 2012
« on: November 26, 2012, 02:26:32 AM »
Well, this was a massively happy fermentation, no surprise.  the morning after I brewed, the airlock was blown out of the fermenter, and maybe 1/2 c of beer on the floor.  Cleaned it up, and switched to the blow-off tube I should have added in the first place.  HUGE amount of trub from this one; but, then, I didn't wash the yeast from the first batch.  Kept fermenting for a good 5 days or so.

I finally managed to source some black treacle, per Jamil's recipe.  This is some TASTY stuff; smoother and more caramel than molasses.  Just dumped the can into the beer and shook to rouse the yeast.  Once this finishes, I'll decant to a keg and start aging it.  Hopefully it will be drinkable enough for a pint or two by christmas.  But probably won't be great until next year.

Question for the crowd:  I've never oaked a beer, but this one seems like it might benefit from it.  Should I give it a shot?

Also; anyone else been making old ales?  Seems to be a neglected style these days; along with a lot of the british traditionals.

Per the Recipe forum (, Just kegged a best bitter, and decided to have fun with the yeast cake.  An old ale blew the lid off the fermenter despite a good load of fermcap S, and has settled back down to bubbling merrily away.

It spent about 24 hours with a near constant stream of bubbles out the airlock.... sounded like a power boat.

Beer Recipes / HAle 2012
« on: November 17, 2012, 12:32:28 AM »
Decided that I shouldn't let the yeast from a Best Bitter go to waste (Thames Valley II)...  I rarely pitch on top of the cake, but for this Old Ale I think I will.  Should reach it's peak for next year, most likely.

As always, thoughts welcome....

HAle 2012
Old Ale
Type: Extract Date: 11/16/2012
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal Brewer:
Boil Size: 2.82 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Pot ( 3 Gal/11.4 L) - Extract
End of Boil Volume 2.60 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.25 gal Est Mash Efficiency 0.0 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
1 lbs Crystal Extra Dark  (C&F) (120.0 SRM) Grain 1 7.3 %
8.0 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 2 3.6 %
8.0 oz Honey Malt (Gambrinus) (25.0 SRM) Grain 3 3.6 %
4.0 oz Black Malt (Simpsons) (550.0 SRM) Grain 4 1.8 %
4.0 oz Crystal, Dark (T&F) (80.0 SRM) Grain 5 1.8 %
11 lbs 4.0 oz Extra Light Muntons Dry Extract (3.0 SRM) Dry
Extract 6 81.8 %
1.00 oz Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 38.1 IBUs
1.00 oz Bramling Cross [6.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 8 3.3 IBUs
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.092 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.046 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.023 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 9.1 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 4.7 %
Bitterness: 41.4 IBUs Calories: 151.6 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 25.1 SRM

Beer Recipes / Re: First Recipe comments....
« on: September 26, 2012, 01:29:04 AM »
If anyone is interested, this beer has finished fermenting, carbing, and aging.  When it was young, it definitely had an unbalanced feel to it.  Interestingly enough, the darker roasty and toasty elements from the amber and chocolate malts have been coming to the fore now that it's been on CO2 for a couple weeks.  I don't get too much hop-forward from this, but it's turned into a decent beer.

Definitely some tweaks to it next time around, but definitely better than pitch-it.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« on: September 03, 2012, 12:50:37 PM »
Personally, I am a "set it and forget it" man.  However, if you MUST shake-carb for whatever reasons, this procedure will guarantee it doesn't get over-carbed.  I know several people in my HBC that swear by this procedure:

1) Chill the beer to serving temp (DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP)
2) Set the CO2 to the correct pressure for the level of carbonation you want.
3) Commense shaking
4) When you don't hear any more gas going into the keg, you're probably done.

The reason this works is that you aren't setting the gas to "too much carbonation."  You will need to shake for a little longer this way, but you will not be able to over-carbonate either.  It is similar in mechanism to putting an aeration stone at the bottom of the keg, but doesn't involve all that assembly and disassembly.

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