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Messages - rkausch

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Thanks for the replies...

Cleaning isn't a hassle.  On the wort side I run acid 5 and pbw about every 3 brews and it stays just as clean as the day i put it all together.

Interesting note about the cleaning frequency.  I would have thought you need to clean with PBW after every brew.  Do you just rinse with water on the non-PBW cleanings?

any kind of welders or metal shops in your town?

I live in the south eastern Denver area, and have a couple of metal shops I've used over the years for standard steel box tubes (that's what I built the rest of the brewery out of).  I need to call around though for other sources. 

I can't claim credit for the idea on this, but I'm going to tie everything together with a "patch panel" with quick disconnects, so I can route any liquid source, through a pump, to any liquid destination.  Here's a pic of the patch panel as it was being built:

Ok, so, first things first, I'll admit, I'm a bit obsessive, and do some off the wall stuff, because I think it's fun.  No, this project isn't "necessary", but I'm getting a kick out of it.

So, I'm rebuilding my system, to make it easier to use on brew day.  I've decided to hard-plumb all the connections with solid pipe, and am having some trouble deciding what material to use.  My system is basically a 3 kettle system, in roughly the same layout as a Brutus 10, with all the kettles side by side, at the same elevation from the ground. 

The purist in me says "use stainless steel pipe", because that's what all of the connections, valves, etc are made of, and dang it, it looks pretty.  Problem is, it's not easy to find (unless I'm not looking in the right places), and rather expensive (IIRC, Grainger wanted to sell me a 10 foot length of Schedule 5 at around $40.00).

Well, the economist in me says "use copper", as it's most likely cheaper, and I can find it easily (home depot, etc). 

So, I know that copper kind of acts as a nutrient for the yeast if present in the boil kettle, which is a good thing, and stainless steel is easy to keep clean. 

So, are there any good reasons to use either approach? 

Thanks in advance!

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Aluminum or Stainless Steel?
« on: June 23, 2010, 06:28:24 PM »
Also, I agree, the hardest part about the drill bit is preparing myself to drill into a new kettle.

If you have a friend who is into woodworking, and has a full sized drill press (the kind that go on the floor, and are about 6ish feet tall), with an adjustable platform, give them some beer, and have them help you with the drilling operation.  I did this with my father's drill press on my new 25 gallon MegaPot, and had the same reservations. 

The drill press is a delta, and the table can lower down to about 1.5 feet above the base.  We clamped two pieces of wood on either side of the table, to act as a cradle for the kettle, and set the kettle on its side to drill.  Used a step-bit in the drill press, and went to town. It worked perfectly, and the drill press helped to keep the kettle from moving around while drilling. 

My only other advice is to wear gloves.  I'm used to wood working, and after a cut or drill, just brushing aside the sawdust with my hand.  I do it subconsciously, and tried to do the same with the metal shavings.  Those things are SHARP!  I cut my hand up pretty good (though I always cite superstition that if no blood is spilled while building something, the project is doomed to failure).

I did just find these, though I've never used them before.  I'm actually considering buying one and seeing if I can make it work.  Does anyone have any experience using something like this?

70 bucks for a 15 gallon "FDA standard compliant tank" (unsure if that means food grade, I'm still doing research) sounds pretty good though, and even if you have to add extra fittings to it, it might still be worth it.

Equipment and Software / Re: Custom Tap Handles
« on: May 07, 2010, 07:35:34 PM »
That really is pretty nice looking.  I'm going to attempt to replicate, and I'll make sure to take lots of pictures in the process.  Thanks for that!

Looks like I'm not the only one brewing heavy beers for summer :D

I always do stuff backwards... huge stouty beers for spring and summer, and ligher, pale type beers for winter.  So, in the spirit of that, we're doing a Blackberry Russian Imperial Stout on Saturday.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA Membership
« on: May 05, 2010, 06:42:35 PM »
I'm a member, and have been for about 3 years now.  Joined up at the 2007 GABF, which included a great hat, too!  I use this board (though I've only discovered it recently, don't ask me how I missed it), Zymurgy, and the pub discount program. 

I do have one interesting observation about the pub discount program though (and it's with the pub, not the program).  I'm not going to name the pub, because that's not cool, but they've recently grown in popularity A LOT.  They were in the back of the LHBS, and very small when I first started brewing.  Everyone there was incredibly friendly, and the pub discount worked every time.  Well, fast forward a couple of years, and quite few awards to the brewery, and their popularity has skyrocketed.  They've moved into a much larger space, and they're constantly packed.  Now, the AHA pub discount only works on week nights, excluding Fridays. 

From a business perspective, I totally get what they're doing.  They've become very popular, and the exposure they received from offering the AHA discount is no longer needed as much.  That being said, it kind of feels like they're forgetting their roots, and the people that helped get them off the ground.

Sorry for the rant!  I still love all the benefits from the AHA!

Ingredients / Re: Using Pomegranate
« on: May 04, 2010, 11:03:55 PM »
Hi Enso-  
   Thanks for the reply.  I delayed my response until now so that I can provide more insight into how the process went.  I went with effectively a clonebrew of the O'Dell's Easy Street wheat, but a little darker than the original.  To that, I went with your advice on the addition of the juice, adding it to secondary fermentation.  We sat down with a measuring cup, put in 10 oz of the beer before racking to secondary, and started adding the pomegranate at about a half ounce at a time, tasting after every addition.  After we hit our desired taste, calculated how much juice we needed, and poured 32 ounces into an empty carboy.  Then racked the beer (5 gallons worth) into secondary on top of the juice, capped it.

I've pasted the recipe here, for anyone else who's curious (and will happily provide the beer smith file if anyone wants it).

10 gallon all grain recipe:

Hops Used
AmountItemType% or IBU
1.40 ozCascade [5.50 %] (60 min)Hops14.1 IBU
1.00 ozTettnang [4.50 %] (2 min) Hops0.7 IBU
1.00 ozSaaz [4.00 %] (2 min)Hops0.6 IBU

Grains Used
AmountItemType% or IBU
9.00 lbPilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM)Grain48.99 %
9.00 lbWheat Malt, German Red (1.5 SRM)Grain48.99 %
0.25 lbCaramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)Grain1.36 %
0.12 lbBlack (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)Grain0.65 %

Other Ingredients Used
AmountItemType% or IBU
64 ozKnudsen's Just Pomegranate (

Yeast Used

AmountItemType% or IBU
1 Pkgs(starter to 1.5 liters)German Ale/Kolsch (White Labs #WLP029)Yeast-Ale

I can't give a report on final taste just yet, but will update after I keg it!


Equipment and Software / Custom Tap Handles
« on: May 03, 2010, 07:42:37 PM »
I'm doing the beer for my wedding (which is a year away, so I have plenty of time), and am going to build a 4-tap jockey box.  I'd like to do custom tap handles with the special beer labels that we're putting together, and am wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to do this.

Thanks in advance!

Ingredients / Using Pomegranate
« on: April 12, 2010, 08:01:24 PM »
I'm looking to craft a recipe with pomegranate, and am just beginning my research.  I know the basic flavor of pomegranate juice, and am looking to infuse that into a "summery" (easy drinking) beer.  My initial thought is a wheat, using the tartness of the fruit to complement the flavor of the wheat. 

So, has anyone used pomegranate before, and did it turn out?  I'm thinking of adding about a gallon of pomegranate juice to secondary fermentation, but am open to other ideas (bearing in mind costs and difficulty of "fruit extraction").  Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

All Grain Brewing / Re: I accidentally created a Sour Pale Ale
« on: March 31, 2010, 07:30:42 PM »
Please don't take this the wrong way, but I'd use tried and true recipes and get a dozen or so batches under my belt before I started tinkering around.

No worries there, constructive criticism is always appreciated.  I've not read the books you've mentioned.  I'm pretty much going off of the Complete Joy of Homebrewing, and its supplement, the The Homebrewer's Companion.  I'm still reading the companion though.  I'll see if I can pick up a copy of the two you mentioned.


I actually didn't think of that.  I have had very inconsistent results with head retention, I wonder if that's the cause?  I'll have to try the next batch without using the dishwasher and see if I get a different outcome.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew - It all tastes the same
« on: March 31, 2010, 05:26:11 PM »
What's your procedure for chilling your wort down to pitching temp?  I know that if you let it sit for too long, it can pick up some nasty stuff. I've outlined one of my favorite tricks when doing extract with the bottled water below.

On brew day, pick up 6 gallons of artesian water (not distilled, that takes out too much of the good stuff in the water).  Put 3 gallons in the freezer when you start brewing (or, if you can plan ahead, put 3 gallons in the fridge the night before).  Don't let the water freeze though.  Then, make your wort as you normally would.  After you've finished your boil, you should have about 2 gallons left.  Add the 3 cold gallons of bottled water to your wort, take a temp reading, and pitch when you're at your target temp.

  I've used the sanitize setting on my dishwasher for quite a while now, and have had mixed results.  Here's my process, though I'm going to tweak it with your oxiclean setup.

1.  Rinse bottles as they are used.  Alternately, for the bottles with the crud, rinse with hot water (I have no kids, and can set the water heater to 150 degrees) and scrub until you see no more crud inside.
2.  Run through dishwasher with sanitize setting.  I usually do this with about 6 bottles at a time (as we consume the beer), and store them until brew day.
3.  On brew day, sanitize bottles using star san run through a vinator thingy, or dip soak them in a bucket full of star san.


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