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Messages - narcout

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Equipment and Software / Grainfather
« on: October 21, 2015, 08:19:06 PM »
Is anyone here brewing with one of those Grainfather systems?  If so, what do you think of it?

When all those automated systems first came on the scene a few years ago, I had absolutely no interest in them, but I'm starting to change my mind.

Maybe it's because I can only brew at night now due to the baby (that means I'm up until 1:30, which is tough because I get up at 6:30 every day), but lately brew days have started to seem like more of a chore than something to look forward to. 

I never had any desire to set up a recirculating system or an electric one (after 10 years of brewing, I don't even own a pump), but the Grainfather has definitely caught my eye.

At 12.5 ppm, Iodophor only needs a few minutes of contact time to sanitize. 

A long time ago the Basic Brewing Radio (I think it was them anyway) did a show with the manufacturer.  It's worth a listen.

Ingredients / Re: Post your water report
« on: October 21, 2015, 11:42:31 AM »
Similar to other posters, my water make dynamite stouts, and my amber are pretty good, but when I try to go to IPAs and Pale Ales, it is hit and miss. Trying to understand the water chemistry and mash additions. -Eric

For those paler beer styles you are going to want to reduce the alkalinity of your water to keep your mash pH from climbing too high.  The easiest thing is probably to cut it with RO or distilled and then add minerals back as necessary (for IPAs and APAs you will want to bump the sulfates up with some gypsum).

Check out Bru'n Water if you don't have a copy already, and read the Water Knowledge tab.

Iodophor works well and is no rinse at a concentration of 12.5 ppm. 

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Line Length PSI for first time.
« on: October 19, 2015, 03:37:58 PM »
If the beer is over carbonated, you can shut off the gas to the keg and periodically vent the head space.

You want to properly balance your system so you don't have ongoing issues with foamy pours. 

Here's a quick rundown on balancing:

Note the difference in restriction between 1/4 inch and 3/16 inch tubing.

And that makes perfect sense if you think about the role of oxygen.  It's to facilitate cell growth.  If you pitch enough healthy yeast, then you need minimal, f any, cell growth.

I think the idea is if you pitch yeast with sufficient UFA and ergosterol reserves, they already have what they need for healthy replication and do not need to synthesize further sterols or UFA, which would require access to oxygen.

The healthy pitched yeast is still replicating, it just doesn't need much dissolved O2 to do so.   

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Line Length PSI for first time.
« on: October 19, 2015, 03:07:06 PM »
What PSI should I be serving at for my IPA?

That depends on your desired level of carbonation and the temperature of the beer. 

Check out this chart:

5 ft. of line is pretty short. I'm running 8 ft. (of 3/16 inch tubing) in a 38 degree kegerator, and I typically have the reg set at 12 or 14 PSI.

I like to carbonate and serve at the same pressure.

This is cool. It seems like the only expensive item is the pressure cooker.  What is the minimum size pressure cooker that will suffice?

Regarding the pre-poured plates, do they need to be used relatively quickly or will they last for a while if properly stored?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How Pilsner Urquell used to be made
« on: October 18, 2015, 06:51:02 PM »
That was so cool.  He was incredibly ahead of his time.  Luckily, I was able to pick up a copy of the Beer Companion for under $10 at a used book store a few years ago; it is a really interesting read.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Correct Category for a Kottbusser
« on: October 17, 2015, 12:18:43 PM »
Yes, I used 1007.

Beer Recipes / Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« on: October 17, 2015, 10:14:20 AM »
One of my highest ever scoring competition beers was a BSG that was just pilsner malt and dark candi syrup. 

I like the one I have on tap now better though, and I used some Caramunich II in that one. 

I do love Special B.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« on: October 17, 2015, 08:04:32 AM »
I also brew with distilled water which makes things pretty easy if you have a decent gram scale.  I've only been using gypsum, calcium chloride and 10% phosphoric acid.

Beer Recipes / Re: Suggestions on Belgian Dark Strong?
« on: October 16, 2015, 04:33:54 PM »
Yeah, I would ditch all those specialty malts and just keep it simple: Belgian Pilsner or Pale as the base, some medium crystal malt (like Caramunich II), and a generous helping of dark candi syrup (maybe 2 or 3 pounds for a 5 gallon batch).

For hops you could use, among many others: saaz, hallertau, target, spalt, etc.

I think Wyeast 3787 (WLP530) works well, but you could certainly use others.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend? 01/18/2014
« on: October 16, 2015, 09:45:30 AM »
With a little luck, I'll be brewing the German Pilsner I've been trying to brew for the last month.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Distilled Water, salt additions and PH
« on: October 16, 2015, 09:27:52 AM »
I have recently moved to LA from NYC and so I have switched to using distilled water for brews and I have both salts and acids I can use for ph.

I made that move myself in 2007.  I'm not sure where you are at in LA, but there is a pretty decent homebrew store in Culver City (Culver City Homebrewing), and they recently opened a second location in Eagle Rock if you happen to be out that way.

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