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Messages - gmac

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1666
Equipment and Software / Re: Fermenter build questions
« on: June 21, 2011, 08:38:35 AM »
I wonder what the commercial ones look like.  Anyone have a commercial fermenter that they can tell me the ratio of diameter to height?  Then, I could just scale down accordingly.

1667
Equipment and Software / Fermenter build questions
« on: June 21, 2011, 08:05:35 AM »
I've decided to build a bigger fermenter and I have a couple questions.  In particular, does the diameter of the vessel matter?  I know if it was a pot it would impact boil-off rates but in a closed fermenter, does it matter if the fermenter is tall and skinny or narrow and wide? 

I'm looking to build something of about 15 to 20 gal capacity and we've ordered a 4X8 sheet of stainless to get started.  But, the dimension is clearly one of the key points to consider before we start cutting anything. 
I'm lucky that I have a good friend who has a machine shop and is slow right now so we are going to have the steel rolled to dimension and then a seam welded. He has a very good TIG welder on staff so I'm not that concerned about the weld as it will be done well and ground.  We're also looking at having a cone rolled for the bottom and welded. 

The other consideration was, would it make any sense to have the entire fermenter made conical?  Instead of having straight sides attached to a cone, would it make sense to have it all as a cone and weld wedges on the exterior to bolt legs to.  The lid will likely be formed with an o-ring groove and clamps to hold it in place.  Any other thoughts?  I've looked at some on-line and I don't know if I like how the lid attaches on some of them.
Thanks for the advice.

1668
Equipment and Software / Re: Extending the life of Star-San
« on: June 20, 2011, 09:21:49 PM »
I found distilled water at the drug store so I've got 12 L of Star-San mixed up.  We'll see how long this lasts but I'm happy to know that I can find water that will work.

1669
Beer Recipes / Re: Fruit beer base
« on: June 20, 2011, 02:26:40 PM »
I had a rhubarb blonde at the NHC.  He said he used 5 lbs of rhubarb for the last 15 minutes of the boil.  It had a distinct rhubarb flavor.  At first I thought maybe he should use less next time, but as I drank it the rhubarb wasn't quite as obvious.
Interesting.  I would have thought that putting it in the secondary would have been better.  That's why I was going to split 5 gals.  Given that rhubarb is so tart, what was the beer like?  I was thinking of the Vienna, Crystal and Pilsner malts to give a level of sweetness that would counteract the tartness a bit.  

I was thinking 2 lbs of rhubarb in 2 gals of fermented beer as a starting point.  Not sure about cherries.  But, maybe I will go with all rhubarb in 5 gals.  

Am I wrong about needing some sweetness?  Most of the replies have been advocating pale malt only which is fine if that's the way to go.  

1670
All Grain Brewing / Re: First Wort Hopping
« on: June 20, 2011, 10:09:18 AM »
I asked the same question a few weeks ago.  Seems like there are two camps.  Some think it's comparable to a 20 minute addition, others think it adds much more bitterness than that.  I just brewed a very plain cream ale using only 1 oz of Cascade FWH to make up my mind for myself.  I've also added 1 oz of FWH and then 20g of Northern Brewer to a 60 minute boil and I will say it was not as bitter as I would have expected 1.75 oz of 8% AA hops added for a full 60 mins so I think the FWH bitterness was less than it would have been added at full boil.  I like the flavour but I'm not sure that I'm going to keep doing this.  I think it depends a lot on the type of beer I want to make. 

1671
Beer Recipes / Fruit beer base
« on: June 20, 2011, 09:57:03 AM »
I think I've got some sort of Brewer's Block.  I just don't know what to brew next so I thought I'd take a stab at a fruit beer for those hot days in August.  Here's what I'm thinking.  Please tell me if this will work.
Since I don't usually drink fruit beers except for the odd Kreik lambic (when I can find it), I thought that I'd take a stab at a few different types.  I was thinking of brewing a standard base and then splitting that into two or three different carboys and adding different fruit to each.  Do you think this is a good idea or that it will work the way I think it will? 

If it seems like a reasonable approach, can you give me some advice on a base brew to start with?  I'm thinking of doing something with a decent level of sweetness and light body to show off the fruit colour and flavours.  My initial thought is:
5 lbs Pilsner malt
2 lbs Vienna malt
1 lb Crystal 45
I am expecting some additional fermentation from the sugars in the fruit so I thought I'd tone down the malt content to try to end around 1.050 - 1.055.  For hops I'm thinking of using only 1 oz of Cascade FWH with no flavour or aroma hops.  I assume that there won't be much flavour from the Cascade but what there is should be citrus and mesh with fruit.  My fruit thoughts are:
Rhubarb, Cherries and TBD (Mango?  Dried Apricot? Suggestions?)

1672
Other Fermentables / Re: Hard Lemonade
« on: June 20, 2011, 07:53:39 AM »
Wow, that's an intricate process.  I don't think I'm up for quite that level of soul crushing misery quite yet. 

Since it isn't a "brewing" process that most of us can replicate, I think I'll shelve the whole idea.  I can mix vodka and lemon juice in a glass (it doesn't have to be fizzy) for the few times that my wife would like something besides beer.

1673
Other Fermentables / Hard Lemonade
« on: June 18, 2011, 05:28:12 PM »
With summer here, I'd like to make a batch of hard lemonade but I'm not sure where to start.  Is this something that's fermented like adding lemons, zest, juice etc to water and sugar and then fermented which I would think would be incredibly dry or is it just something that's batched together (lemonade and grain alcohol mixed and then carbonated)? 

I'd love to find a recipe that actually brewed something but then I'd need to know how you back sweetened it so that it didn't end up as lemon wine?  Any other suggestions? I'm wondering about a hard cranberry or a blend of orange/lemon/grapefruit or something like that.
Any thoughts are welcome.
Thanks

1674
Ingredients / Re: What hops with rye?
« on: June 18, 2011, 05:20:40 PM »
So, this is actually pretty darn good.  Beautiful gold/copper colour, nice flavour although I can't say for sure if I can detect the rye in it or if I just imagine the "spicy" notes.  The hops that I ended up using seem to mesh well with the overall profile of the beer.  I'm really liking this one.  It ended up close to 8% ABV so it's not exactly what I'd call a session beer which is OK but I think it could sneak up on you if you weren't careful.  I may try it with different hops next time I brew it but I will definitely brew it again.
Thanks for all the suggestions.

1675
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Where's the Flavor?
« on: June 18, 2011, 05:14:50 PM »
What flavour are you looking for?  If you wanted a hop flavour, you probably needed more hops, if you wanted a malty flavour, then maybe you need some specialty malts.  I've found that beer tasted green and uncarbonated will change as you carbonate it and age it. 1.048 should give you a decent beer with good body and taste so I don't know exactly what you're looking for.  I didn't go looking for your other post although I remember it so I'm not sure what your recipe is but in my limited experience, I've found my beer to have decent flavour from the ingredients and not a lot from the yeast but I use Wyeast 1056/WLP001 almost exclusively and as Denny has said, that is neutral and doesn't give you much flavour.  Your fermentation temp seems to also play a role in how the yeast develop any potential flavours.

I'd look at your recipe and not your yeast for future adjustments.  Post it up here and see what people think and describe what flavours you are after (list commercial styles you'd like to emulate if need be) and you'll get an overwhelming amount of help to get you where you want to go. 

And finally, go buy Palmer's "How to Brew" book.  If you want to know more about yeast, Jamil Zanishef (spelling?) and Chris White have book called, surprisingly "Yeast" that is quite interesting.  And of course, the Papazian books that got most of this all started.

1676
Yeast and Fermentation / Low lager ferment temps
« on: June 18, 2011, 08:02:43 AM »
I have a fridge that I'm going to use to brew lagers in as soon as my new freezer arrives for kegs.  I only have one temp controller that I plan put on the freezer to keep it at about 32 degrees or so.  But, if I use the fridge for lager fermenting, can I just set it at it's highest setting and leave it there?  I expect that it will be far below 50 degrees even at a high setting. 

Is there a downside from a flavour and quality standpoint to fermenting at lower temperatures?

I don't really want to buy another controller because I don't do many lagers and I was just going to leave the fridge unplugged and slightly open when not fermenting.  I was going to replace a small freezer and this fridge with the new, larger freezer but now I'm wondering if I should keep the fridge for this purpose.  If it's not a good choice, I will send it to the recyclers. 
Thanks

1677
I put it in the mash once too because I forgot.  The beer turned out fine but I don't know if I actually "saved" it or did nothing but make myself feel good.

1678
Equipment and Software / Re: How long's your hose?
« on: June 17, 2011, 09:28:28 PM »
Does it still work?

If so,why change it?

Because when I vorlauf and things are running perfectly clear and I hit the 10 quart mark, I start to get grain chunks again.  It's happened 3 times in a row now.  It seems that once it hits a certain point it must release the suction on the husks covering the hole or something and then I start to get problems.  I "re-vorlauf" and eventually I'm good but it's a pain.

1679
Equipment and Software / How long's your hose?
« on: June 17, 2011, 04:41:53 PM »
I have a Coleman cooler mash tun and after 15 batches the braided steel hose looks like heck. It's got kinks and dents and other damage. It is the length of the cooler and obviously I stir too hard. Does it have to be that long?  How do you keep it on the bottom and not kink it?  I'm going to replace it and just want to get it right this time.
Thanks   

1680
Jim.
Although not a direct water quality question, here is something that I did today that got me wondering.

I mashed with 22 quarts of my regular tap water and forgot to add a Campden tablet to it before I mashed in.  Could I have added one to the wort that I got from the grain?  Not a big deal as I've forgotten before and things have been fine but it got me wondering if there was anything I could have or should have done at that point.
Thanks
Graham

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