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Messages - happywanderer

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: New to HomeBrewing
« on: July 24, 2014, 09:30:24 PM »
Northernbrewer has a kit for AG brewing. It consists of two 7.6-gallon water coolers (1 for mash tun, 1 for hot liquor tank).  That'll set you back $199.00. 

You can make your own rig.  You'd likely save a few bucks ... but $199 ready to go isn't bad at all.

For AG brewing, assuming you are going to be doing 5-gallon batches, you are going to need a pot capable of holding and boiling 7-8 gallons with room.  So - a 10-gallon pot.

Then you need a way to actually get that volume of water up to a boil.  Most stoves can't handle that volume easily (or at all in my case).  So you'll likely be in the market for a propane burner.  Many options available.  More BTU = better.  30psi regulator = better.  Need one that will be stable and able to hold the weight of 7 gallons+ of liquid.


I bottle and am going to step up to kegging soon.  Northernbrewer has nice single and double keg kits.  Figure on $200-$400 for full kegging kit (keg, regulator, lines, o-rings, CO2 tank, etc...)

Once it is kegged, you need to keep it cool/cold to force carbonate.  So that requires a fridge/kegorator.  That's another $150-$800 depending on how crafty you are and lucky with 


All this said, you can get into All-grain brewing with minimal cost by doing Brew-in-a-bag brewing.  This method requires only 1 or 2 large pots (7-10 gallons and a 5-gallon).  You will also need a grain bag.  Many options and if you can sew - you can make your own. 


If money is an object, you can also start off with extract brewing then slowly add equipment over time till you can do the full-on all-grain brewing.  I am using this method.  One small step at a time. 

Btw - bottling isn't that big a hassle.  Biggest hassle is finding a place to store all those bottles of liquid gold. 

Ingredients / Re: Deep red color
« on: July 24, 2014, 07:11:08 PM »
Love this question as I am now drinking my "Kiss Me I'm Irish Red" Ale.  Only two weeks in the bottle and it is already great.

I used roasted barley because I wanted to stick to tradition.  It came out PERFECT.  Brilliant deep ruby red color in the glass. 

Here's the recipe:
Amount    Fermentable          PPG    °L    Bill %
5 lb   Dry Malt Extract - Light           42   4    71.4%
1 lb   Texas Wildflower Honey   42   2    14.3%   
Steeping Grains
Amount    Fermentable                       PPG    °L    Bill %
8 oz   United Kingdom - Cara Malt                35   17.5    7.1%
4 oz   United Kingdom - Roasted Barley        29   550    3.6%
4 oz   United Kingdom - Golden Naked Oats   33   10    3.6%

1 oz   Kent Goldings   Pellet          5AA   Boil   60 min   
1 oz   Fuggles           Pellet          5AA   Boil   15 min   

Other Ingredients
1 tsp   Irish Moss   Fining       Boil   15 min  THIS IS KEY FOR CLARITY

Yeast Wyeast - Irish Ale 1084
Starter: Yes
Fermentation Temp: 65°F   

Method: Table Sugar          Amount: 3.3          CO2 Level: 2.2 Volumes

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: First partial grain - pellet hops
« on: July 24, 2014, 06:42:51 PM »
In the future, if you want less crap/sediment/trub in the fermenter, you can use a hop sock (hop filter bag).  I've got 3 or 4 of the things.  Great for keeping hops out of the bucket.

I also pour the wort into the fermenter through a fine metal mesh strainer.  I find I get far less trub and much cleaner yeast cake (if you are into yeast washing).

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Late extract addition
« on: July 24, 2014, 06:40:52 PM »
Here's from the forum... thought I'd find it:

Beersmith (and pretty much all homebrewing software) gets this wrong pretty dramatically. The formulas used by software are based on the old, mistaken belief that hop utilization is affected by wort gravity (pretty much all home brewing texts convey that myth too, though I'd expect it to be corrected in forthcoming additions of How to Brew and others).

Hop utilization is independent of wort gravity, and the impact (if any) of late extract addition on IBUs is much, much smaller than what software will calculate.

The most recent test on this was Basic Brewing Radio's experiment where they brewed the same recipe (same hop schedule) as a full boil, partial boil, and partial boil with late extract additions, then measured the IBUs of the 3 beers in the lab. Hop utilization was essentially identical (the three came out with nearly the same IBUs).
March 4, 2010 - BYO-BBR Experiment III:

You can listen to John Palmer's "What is an IBU, Really?" from 20 March 2008 where he discusses the issue in some depth (including apologizing for getting this wrong in the most recent edition of How to Brew):

Now, there are some effects that often correlate with wort gravity that can impact final utilization--e.g. isomerized alpha acids can adsorb to break material. Those are much smaller effects than what brewing software calculates, though, and are pretty minimal in extract brewing (see the test above).

More discussion here:

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Late extract addition
« on: July 24, 2014, 06:35:23 PM »
There was a study done by really smart brewers/scientists.  They studied late addition effects on hop utilization and determined there was no discernible difference. 

I don't recall where I found that thread or on which forum, but if I can find it I will post a link here.

All that said - I do partial late-edition.  I tend to add about 1/3 at start of boil then the remaining 2/3 at either 15minutes or flameout.  Adding at flameout would have the added bonus of helping cool your wort a bit. 

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Cooling a full batch extract brew
« on: July 24, 2014, 06:33:01 PM »
Cooling quickly is a concern for clarity. 

I don't have a wort chiller and do partial batches (3.5-4 gal starting volume gets down to about 3 gal after evaporation). 

I cool in an ice bath and change the water/ice as soon as the ice is melted.  I can cool to about 100 degrees in 20-25 minutes. 

All that said, my first few beers were cloudy. 

Then I decided to add irish moss at 15mins left in boil (rehydrate the irish moss first). 

My last "Kiss Me I'm Irish Red" Ale turned out crystal clear and brilliant ruby red. 

So - try irish moss if you haven't.  It is cheap and easy. 

I would be careful about steeping over 160 degrees.  I didn't know for my first batch, but above 160 you can extract tannins from the grains.  My first brew was definitely tanniny because I steeped at 170 degrees (actually closer to 180). 

Bring water to temp of about 162 degrees.  Drop in bag with grains and turn off heat.  "tea bag" the grains a bit.  Put lid on pot.  "Tea Bag" every 5-10 minutes.  I usually only steep for 20 minutes.  30 minutes for porter/stout. 

Ok - curious if fermentation has started for you yet.  Sometimes dry yeast takes a bit of time. 

That said, take a gravity reading if you don't see any activity after 3 days. 

ALSO - Your fermentation temperature.  One thing IMPORTANT to note.  The temperature for fermenting is NOT the air temperature in the room.  It is the temperature of the beer in the bucket.  Get a "Fermometer" if you don't have one already and stick it on your bucket.  This will give you a ballpark of the temp inside the bucket. 

Fermentation creates heat.  So the air temperature can be 70-74 but the beer can be 80+. 

Solution:  A cooler, water, and plastic 16oz coke bottles w/ frozen water.  This is the cooler I use and it is perfect for 1 fermenting bucket.

I keep it filled to about 1/2 way up the bucket because I was silly and placed the thermometer too low on the bucket...  The higher the waterline on the bucket - the better it will serve to regulate temps. 

Ok - so - get back to us when you see activity or take a gravity reading. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Russian beer factories
« on: June 20, 2014, 10:00:19 PM »
I've been to Russia many times via work and toured the brewery in Tomsk.  It was quite impressive.  Got to see every stage of the process from receiving grains to bottling. 

Very nice setup.  And the beer was quite good.  Had several varieties - a dark, light, a "live" beer or unfiltered.  Russia does have some good beer.  Baltica just isn't one of them in my opinion.

Yeast and Fermentation / WLP002 first experience
« on: April 10, 2014, 05:42:38 PM »
LHBS didn't have the yeast I wanted but did have WLP002.

This is fine because I was making a porter/stout.  Read the description and thought it would compliment fine.  No problems.

BTW - man liquid yeasts are expensive.  :o

Made my starter.  No issues.  Next day its floc'd out ... but I notice the yeast cake "jumping" or "bubbling".  Weird.  Cold-crashed the starter and the bubbling went away. 

Brewed and pitched my yeast.  Fermented great. But then the "jumping" or "bubbling" continued in primary for 3 weeks.  Thought I was infected.  I was freaked out.  This was an expensive brew.   :-[

Turns out this is normal for certain yeasts.

The sample I took tasted delicious.  And it fermented perfectly to anticipated FG.  So.  Didn't think I would use this yeast again... but I might.  The beer tastes great after all. 

Just weird first experience with this strain.  Thought I'd share for anyone else not familiar with "jumping" yeast. 

Beer Recipes / Re: Chocolate Stout Porter
« on: April 10, 2014, 05:32:15 PM »
Above I mentioned weird yeast activity.  This was my first time using a liquid yeast.  Here's EXACTLY what I was talking about:

Noticed it in my starter.  And it continued for all 3 weeks in primary.  It seems that WLP002 (and apparently WLP005 based on that thread) are bottom fermenters (at least in part) and due to the very high flocculation the yeast cake can remain active for quite a long time.  I'm at anticipated FG and its held there for a few days.  So...

Beer Recipes / Chocolate Stout Porter
« on: April 10, 2014, 04:24:47 AM »
This is my "color outside the lines" Porter.  Just racked to secondary after three weeks and sampled the gravity sample.  Delicious.  I call it outside the lines because it doesn't meet all technical reqs for a specific Porter.  Closer to a Robust Porter of course because of Black Patent and some benchmarks, but higher OG, FG, AND ABV in the Baltic Porter range (but I didn't lager). 

7lbs Golden Light DME
.5lbs Black Patent
.5lbs chocolate malt
.5lbs Crystal 80
Steeped grains at ~162 for 30 mins tea bagging often.

1oz Target hops at 60 mins - 11%
1oz Fuggles UK @ 15 mins - 5%

WLP002 - made a single starter. Weird yeast action and don't think I'll use it again.  Had me paranoid the whole time.

OG 1.071
FG 1.023
IBU estimated at 38
ABV calculated at 6.7 plus a bit from the vodka
SRM estimated at 38L (seems a bit lighter in the sample I took...but hard to tell).

Fermented 1st 18-hours with no temp control (by mistake).  Brought temps down to 64-68 for the remaining time.  Initial banana aroma was strong.  Gone after two weeks additional in primary. 

Added 4oz chocolate extract to secondary (soaked 3oz roasted cacao nibs and 1 vanilla bean in 5-6oz vodka for five days then strained thru a hop bag).

Will bottle in 1 week.

Really a delicious toasty flavor already. 

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