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Messages - melferburque

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All Grain Brewing / melanoidin in an amber?
« on: June 25, 2012, 06:40:20 PM »
first off, it was awesome to meet so many of you throughout the conference. it was my first, and I was blown away. I definitely plan to attend more, but I doubt I can afford every year.

I wanted to make an amber beer, and I'm typically not big on ambers. I was thinking about changing it up a bit and going with a melanoidin malt, which I've never used. one of my clubmates said this was a bad idea and inappropriate for an amber, but I think they were worried more about style guidelines. I just want to try it out, but I also don't want to waste a batch of beer.

is there any reason why this absolutely would not work? if it comes out funky I'd be okay with that, as I said I don't really like ambers. if it comes out awful, that's another matter. thoughts?

5 gallons

7# maris otter
1.5# munich 10
1.5# melanoidin
1# crystal 80

1 oz centennial FWH
1 oz cascade flameout

US-05 yeast

All Grain Brewing / Re: FG is way too high
« on: June 13, 2012, 03:52:55 PM »
Yeah, exactly what wonderbread said.  You can use Sean's calculator to estimate the actual final gravity.

But a hydrometer is more accurate post-fermentation.

I did not know that! huzzah! I'm not making oddly refreshing beer with undiscernable massive amounts of non-fermentables. that's guys!

All Grain Brewing / Re: FG is way too high
« on: June 13, 2012, 03:44:25 PM »
Are you sure the thermometer you're measuring your mash temp with is accurate?

within a degree or so, yes. I have calibrated it and checked against my kettle thermometer. if it's off, it's not enough to cause that massive a swing.

All Grain Brewing / FG is way too high
« on: June 13, 2012, 03:06:17 PM »
I've been having some issues with the last few batches I've brewed. I've been getting pretty consistent OG yields (70% or so) mashing for an hour with a ten gallon igloo cooler at 152-154 degrees. I bought a refractometer and have had OGs of 1.061, 1.066 and 1.071. using fresh dry yeast, I've pitched two packets of US-05 for each of these (sierra pale clone and two IPAs), let ferment in a 60-65 degree room for 2-3 weeks in primary, and the yeast has pooped out around 1.030 for all three.

I've been using beersmith, and I know I'm mashing a bit on the high side (I like some extra body) but I should still end up with FG in the 1.0teens. I'm missing my final mark by a full twenty points, which makes for some weak (though not unenjoyable) beer. I just can't figure out why. the yeast is fresh, only a couple months old and kept in the fridge, warmed to room temperature prior to hydrating. 350+ billion cells should be more than adequate for those OGs. I've left them primary a full week or two after airlock activity has ceased, and I've done plenty of aeration of the wort prior to pitching. I don't have much control over the fermenting room temp, but so far this year it hasn't gone over 70 degrees in there.

any ideas what I might be doing wrong?

I'm taking a couple of these to my club meeting tonight (north seattle homebrewers), and plan to bring them to NHC assuming they pass muster with my club.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: slow starter
« on: March 18, 2012, 08:24:11 AM »
shooting for 1.065 on a chocolate stout.

Yeast and Fermentation / slow starter
« on: March 18, 2012, 08:11:15 AM »
I'm working on a starter for wyeast 1338, and I knew it was a slow yeast going in.  I popped it about 2pm friday, and it had swelled to maximum by the time I got my starter going at 7pm.  I'm doing a 1L starter, and it's currently at 1.022 (5.5 brix) after 36 hours.  I don't have time to wait any longer.  is there any harm with cold crashing this as is, decanting and tossing in what I have?  or should I use a dry yeast backup and let this go and use for next time?

All Grain Brewing / Re: repeated stuck mashes
« on: March 14, 2012, 04:32:27 PM »
All great ideas. But is it possible that it is as simple as losing prime? With the hose maybe it is just softening to the point that it draws air somewhere. I had a cooler tun that loss prime all the time before I just took it all apart and rebuilt it. Maybe a small addition of rice hulls might help?

I've also given serious thought to adding rice hulls, especially when using rye.  what's the normal usage for them?  10% of total grist?

All Grain Brewing / Re: repeated stuck mashes
« on: March 14, 2012, 02:43:55 PM »
OK.  Just be aware that the round 10-gallon Igloo is only 12 inches wide and 24 inches high. 
It'll still help you make beer--it will just take longer to do it.
I just think the rectangular ones are better suited for the homebrewer who wants flexibility with batch sizes (much easier to stir high-gravity mashes) and who doesn't have the time and patience to wait around with slow/stuck lauters/sparges.

A good rule of thumb for mash tuns and boil kettles is to have it be twice the size of your batch size--i.e., a 10 gallon batch size means using a 20-gallon Cooler (MLT) and a 20-gallon Boil Kettle (OK if they are a little bigger).  Practically speaking, it means less mess (stirring and boilovers) and more options (step infusions, thinner mashes,  transfering the vessel safely, etc.).  It is worth the slightly extra up-front expense compared to the smaller vessels.  You'll be wishing you had if you skimp.

I've never attempted anything larger than a five gallon batch, and don't have any intention to at this point.  if I ever needed to do a large grain bill type beer (more than 18#) I would simply borrow my buddy's identical kit and split the mash in two.  I rarely go over 15# on my grain bill, hasn't been an issue yet.

All Grain Brewing / Re: repeated stuck mashes
« on: March 14, 2012, 02:38:25 PM »
I may be over simplifying but can you fit a piece of 1/2" copper pipe in there? If you have some laying around I mean.  You won't compress that.


that's what I ended up doing, I ran some stainless tubing inside the silicone.

All Grain Brewing / Re: repeated stuck mashes
« on: March 14, 2012, 12:03:08 PM »

It is also quite possible that, since you're using a round 10-gallon Igloo cooler, you are also seeing the effects of grain bed compaction (which you wouldn't see in a rectangular cooler).  Anytime the grain bed height approaches and exceeds its width, you're very likely going to see grain bed compaction which will significantly slow the lautering/sparging rate regardless of the false bottom used.

the last batch I did was only 8.5# of grain, so it wasn't compaction on that stuck sparge.  definitely could be something from the larger batches I'd done previously tho.

All Grain Brewing / Re: repeated stuck mashes
« on: March 14, 2012, 07:25:01 AM »
I checked with the LHBS, they didn't have reinforced tubing in the right size. they did suggest I reinforce the silicone tubing I have with something, so I used a bit of stainless steel dip tube (I only needed a couple inches and had a scrap).  I'm sure it will reduce my flow a bit, but reduced flow is better than no flow.  I also made a minor adjustment on the false bottom, I noticed I could move the bottom nut a bit.  we'll see this weekend if it works. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: repeated stuck mashes
« on: March 12, 2012, 12:02:25 PM »
My false bottom is held up by a bunch of stainless bolts/nuts in supporting spots.  If the false bottom is flexing, this could prevent that.

mine is just a basic dome like this: do I need to add some feet to it?

All Grain Brewing / Re: repeated stuck mashes
« on: March 12, 2012, 11:59:58 AM »
It's your avatar.  Get rid of the habs jersey and get a Leaf's one and everything will be just fine.

why would a laffs sweater help my mash?  there are no children around to molest...

All Grain Brewing / Re: A BIAB Brew day with lots of pictures
« on: March 12, 2012, 11:53:31 AM »

It will be fine.  I've used 5 gallon paint strainer bags with 5 gallon kettles no problem

Here are the bags I'm using but they are a bit expensive though.  I'd say you're right..  the mesh is very fine compared to the disposable paint strainer bags.  not sure if it makes a difference.

I bought the bag online from Jeff over at

Definitely recommend his bags!

I'm totally looking into this, I've been having nothing but problems with my mash tun.

All Grain Brewing / Re: repeated stuck mashes
« on: March 12, 2012, 11:34:33 AM »
the hose is just a 5" silicone tube connecting the 90 to the ball valve.  the false bottom is identical to my buddy's, very sturdy. I'll try the shim, maybe that will keep the dome from flapping around.

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