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Topics - gmac

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Beer Recipes / Very pale ale for a friend.
« on: January 05, 2014, 12:16:52 PM »
My friend wants to make 5 gals for his brothers 21st bday. The brother drinks Busch.

So I need something that we can pull together in a month.
Thinking of:
90% pils
10% Munich
1 oz of Hallertau.

That's it. Any comments?  Thought about simple sugar to cut the body down or minute rice. Replace up to 20 percent of the Pils?  Leave out the Munich?  Category would be American Light Lager. Slowly working him towards CAP but not there yet. What about rice syrup?  Don't see many folks asking about it.

Beer Travel / Florida beer recommendations.
« on: December 29, 2013, 01:25:06 PM »
In Florida until the 11th. Anyone have any "don't miss" beer recommendations?  We are doing a week in the Naples area and a week in Orlando for the kids.

Equipment and Software / Using Damp-Rid
« on: December 19, 2013, 07:24:08 PM »
My keg freezer has some condensation that I'd like to deal with.  I've got some Damp-rid in bags but do you just pour it into a bowl or something and set it in the freezer?  I bought a pail of it once that had a permeable paper layer on top but this is in bulk.
How do you folks use it in your freezers?

Pimp My System / 5 Tap Keezer Build
« on: November 24, 2013, 09:22:06 AM »
First of all, sorry for the quality of the photo's the Blackberry just doesn't have a great camera and heck if I can find my good one since we moved.

Our new house has a nice bar area but no room for taps.  Had to have some sort of taps but my wife was adamant that she didn't want something that looked like a freezer just sitting there.  The bar area is adjacent to a large "great room" where we entertain and spend most of our time so I can't say I blame her.  And my oldest son was getting pretty tired of going down to the basement to get beer.
So, I built this:

The bar is a distressed black finish so the intent was to match this or at least come sort of close.  The panels don't match perfectly but good enough for what I was after.
The panels are attached with 2x4's cut down slightly to give 3 inches of clearance all the way round.  There is no ventilation right now but if I find that the freezer isn't working properly I will add a computer fan and hook it into the temperature controller so that it comes on when the freezer is running.  The temp control is a simple Johnson analog control with the probe in a water bottle in the freezer.  The whole thing is on rollers so it can be moved and pulled away from the wall.  It has to be rolled out to get adequate clearance for the taps with the lid open anyway.

The taps are Peerless taps and the tubing was made for me by a friend that works in the food handling industry.  It cost me $50 for parts and a case of beer for the guy that welded it up for me.  Another friend who owns a machine shop made the fittings for the taps to screw into.  I've already more than paid for them with beer over the years....

The lines aren't insulated and I lose about 2 oz or so to foam with the first pour but that is not a major concern for me. I usually just start the pour into a solo cup and then finish in glass. The next item to add is a drip tray but I haven't gotten that far yet.  The peerless taps really don't drip much so if I wait a couple seconds, there isn't any issue.
The top is just peal and stick floor tile and the while top is attached to the freezer top with construction adhesive.  Everything on the walls of the freezer is also attached with construction adhesive to avoid puncturing anything.

I have a 10 lb tank in there right now running all 5 kegs so individual gas control isn't possible yet, and probably won't be.  The lines are 1/4 inch and it has taken some work to get them balanced alright but it's working for now although I may switch them out to 3/16 sometime in the future.  Right now I'm carbing new kegs elsewhere because I'm running pretty low pressure on this system.  The freezer will hold 4 cornies and a smaller 3 gal on the hump for the compressor. The 3 gal will likely either have cider or hard lemonade in it most of the time just for variety.  If we're having a party or something I may even mix up 3 gal of rye and ginger or something.

My wife made the sign for above the bar so that we can keep track of what is on tap although she's gonna have to be the one that writes on it because my penmanship is terrible.

Yeast and Fermentation / Phenolic off-flavour issue
« on: November 05, 2013, 07:37:21 PM »
Not sure where to put this so I guess here will do.

I've had my 2nd batch that has a strong phenolic off-flavour.  One was a lager, this one was an APA.  The hops are almost non-apparent and the phenols are dominant.  It's going down the drain.
But any idea what bacteria would be causing this?  I've gotten rid of most of my plastics and I'm going to get rid of the rest (what ticks me off a lot is that I re-pitched this into a 10 gal batch recently after kegging the APA.  I didn't notice any issues then but I'm pretty sure I'll eventually be dumping that too).

Any advice on how to clean both of the kegs that have had this?  The lager is actually still sitting in the keg.  I have new rings etc so I will be replacing these but is there a preferred cleaner etc for bacterial issues? 

Going to stainless, I'm done with plastic!

Beer Recipes / Mild APA - can it be done?
« on: November 04, 2013, 08:44:58 PM »
I'm drinking too much. There I've said it. Well maybe not too much as too high ABV beer. I find after a few on a Friday I'm getting too buzzed. Plus I've been dieting for a few months so they seem to be hitting me a lot harder.
So I'm wondering if a decent. 3.5 % APA can be achieved?  Brewed a batch of 60/- today at 1.038 and I have a lot of WLP001 yeast ready so does anyone have any thoughts on a low ABV but still somewhat hoppy beer?

I'm thinking a high amount of Munich as the base with a bit of crystal 40 and mash high with only late hop additions.

Kegging and Bottling / Balancing 1/4 inch beer line
« on: October 31, 2013, 05:58:34 PM »
I bought some new fittings and I'm trying to figure out how to balance the line etc.  I'm using 12 feet of 1/4 vinyl line (ID 1/4, OD 3/8).  I just moved the kegs and I'm getting a good amount of foam.  Not sure if it's because I just moved the kegs or what.  I'm using a Perlick faucet.
I've backed the pressure down to about 8 PSI figuring I could go up from there.  I normally ran the old lines at about 12.
Any help would be appreciated. 

Ingredients / Using Biofine Clear
« on: October 09, 2013, 01:41:16 PM »
It's hard to find Biofine Clear up here (none of my LHBS have it apparently) but I went to a wholesaler to get base malt today and they had 4kg jugs of it that they supply to commercial brewers.  They gave me a few ounces to try but there were no directions with it.
So, how do you use this stuff?  If someone could tell me the volumes for a 5 gal cornie keg and the steps (cold crash, in fermenter?, in keg? rack off, don't rack off etc) that would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much in advance.

Are there any?  I need base malt and that's where I'm driving tomorrow.

Beer Recipes / Would this taste like crap?
« on: September 26, 2013, 07:56:09 PM »
Told a friend I would do a brew with her next week but I'm low on base malts and may not have time to get more.

5 lbs Vienna
5 lbs wheat malt plus rice hulls.
1/2 oz Simcoe at 10
1/2 oz Citra at 10
1/2 oz Simcoe at flameout
1/2 oz Citra at flameout.

She likes hops but not bitter. Thinking a late hopped wheat beer with pronounced hop flavour and less bitterness.

Hop Growing / Freezing Fresh Hops
« on: September 13, 2013, 08:09:07 AM »
I have a good bunch of Cascade ready to harvest but I won't have time to dry them all properly nor time to make enough beer to use them all.  Can I freeze them after picking or will this cause too much vegetal character when I thaw them for use later?

Equipment and Software / Using Sanke Kegs
« on: September 04, 2013, 07:48:00 AM »
Does anyone here use Sankey kegs instead of cornies?  I have about 10 cornies and I'm always finding a vent that leaks or a keg top that won't seal properly or some other little PITA with them.  I know most people use them and I do appreciate the ease of cleaning but I'm wondering if I would be smarter to just go buy a bunch of slim 1/6th or even some 1/2 bbl kegs.  It's not like they ever leave my house.

But, my question is really about how you clean, sanitize and fill these.  I am sure you can remove the spear and do it through the keg opening but I'm sure that would be a real pain and would likely end up with damage over time.  So, for those few commercial brewers here, how do you do all this with a sanke.  I'm understand that additional manufacturing may be needed to make these work. 

I guess I'm just curious if anyone is successful using Sanke kegs.

Beer Recipes / Should I just give up on lagers?
« on: September 01, 2013, 08:21:22 AM »
I've made some pretty good beers if I do say so myself.  Won some medals, had some really nice reviews from folks and generally been very happy with my ale brewing.  But man I can't seem to have any luck at all with lagers.  I don't know what I am doing wrong.
I've made some that are OK, but never a really nice crisp refreshing lager that I would want to make again or have on hand for the summer months.  I've tried again them a long time, I've tried drinking them fresher as in a kellerbiere style, nothing really seems to hit perfectly.

My process and ingredients are basically mostly Weyermann Pils malt (I use Weyermann because the distributor is close and I can get it for a decent price compared to most other malts and even though some may prefer other types, it can't be that bad since it seems pretty widely available).  I may add a touch of Munich depending on the colour I want and what I have on hand.  That's about it for malts.  I only do single infusion batch sparge because I don't have the equipment for decoction mashing and I'm not to the point where I think it necessary as I have far too many other issues with my lagers to worry about that yet.

Water is 50% RO and 50% tap (I have fairly hard water although I don't know the complete chemistry profile yet.  Getting a water test is on the list to do ASAP.  There is no chlorine/chloramine in my water as we are on a well.  The water does have a small amount of hydrogen sulphide which is slightly detectable by smell when filling the kettle but never detectable in the taste of either the water or the beer and my understanding is that this boils off anyway.

I've tried WLP830, 833, Wyeast 2035 and Mexican Lager (forget the #).  The last one I made was using 3 vials of Mexican lager in a 5 gal 1.045 wort as a starter for a larger lager brew.  I wasn't expecting it to be perfect as it was meant as a starter but I ran into new problems. This one has a very medicinal phenolic character and is obviously infected with something.  Made me mad because I wasted 3 vials on one beer!  I need to order new yeast so I'm open to suggestions.  I want to have just one go-to lager strain and WLP833 looks like it may be my first choice but is it the best "overall" strain?  I know it's malty but is that what I want in every case?

My fermentation temp is set at 48F in my freezer.  I check the temp of the water in the thermowell to ensure it is close to 50F and I assume the fermenting beer will be 1 to 2 degrees warmer which should put it right at 50F.  After fermentation ceases, I bring the beers out into the basement for a D-rest at 65 or so for about a week and then back into the cold.  I have never had a D issue that I could perceive.

I've tried using adjuncts in the form of both flaked corn and minute rice in the 20% range in an effort to lighten the body etc.  Hops are either Hallertauer, Saaz or Tettnang depending on what I have available and what my whim is.  I've been trying for something in the 30 - 35 IBU range in order to put it into the German pilsner range. 

So, I know you can't tell me what I'm doing wrong because you haven't had the beer but I'm just getting very frustrated with my lack of success with lagers.  Not sure what to do aside from giving up and just doing ales.  But, I would like to do some lagers this fall and winter in order to have them lager for next spring.  I even have a dedicated beer cooler set at 2C that I can lager them in. 

Please feel free to give me any thoughts or advice you may have. 

Other Fermentables / Pears - how ripe?
« on: August 22, 2013, 08:42:57 PM »
How ripe (soft) do I want to let pears get before juicing them for pear cider ? 

And any yeast recommendations? 

Ingredients / Would Mosaic work with Centennial?
« on: August 16, 2013, 06:18:49 PM »
I've got some of both and am thinking of an APA for Monday.  Would these two play well together?

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