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Messages - gmac

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Beer Recipes / Re: Fruit beer base
« on: June 25, 2011, 08:39:29 AM »
Well, I cheat a bit.  I do a 2-3L starter in a 1 gallon jug and then when I pitch it, I leave about a tbsp of slurry in the bottom and then add boiled/cooled wort to the slurry and start a second batch from the yeast that's usually ready about a week later.  Then, I keep and re-pitch the yeast so I sort of have two strings going from the same original vial. 

Beer Recipes / Re: Fruit beer base
« on: June 24, 2011, 08:04:07 PM »
I've never done a lager but imagine amarillo would  be nice in one. I'd go for the wlp 001 though.

Well, when I wrote this I had WLP001.  But since then, things have changed.  I have a fridge that has 3 kegs in the bottom and one shelf at the top with the CO2 tank and some jars of yeast.  Moved a keg, pulled the CO2 hose, yeast jar goes crashing to the floor.  So, I'll have to harvest some from another fermenter next week.  I wasn't going to harvest from my current batches because I've already gotten 6 or 7 batches from this yeast.  Time to refresh.  I guess one more won't hurt as long as things taste clean when I keg.

Beer Recipes / Re: Fruit beer base
« on: June 24, 2011, 02:32:03 PM »
I'm planning on an apricot kolsch for this weekend. Will use 100% pils malt and Amarillo. Secondary with apricot puree in a bag and keg. Too late for the 4th of July but not the hot months ahead.

Euge, how much Amarillo will you use for this?  The only yeast I have on hand is WLP001 or Wyeast 2112.  Any thoughts on how Wyeast 2112 will do in this circumstance?  Just curious.

Equipment and Software / Re: Finally got a chest freezer
« on: June 24, 2011, 08:53:02 AM »
Are you going to add a liner of styrofoam insulation on the cedar?  I'm not sure if you need to but I've seen that before.  Looks like you have room so it might not hurt.  I just bought a brand new freezer so I can make my older one into a beer freezer.  Not quite the deal you got.  Gets delivered today.

Beer Recipes / Re: Fruit beer base
« on: June 24, 2011, 08:44:13 AM »
Are fruit beer bases often big beers?  And/or often hoppy beers?  I have an APA that has a similar grist as this (obv much smaller and no honey) and am going to get some of those extracts.

I think the fruit beer question has sort of dropped off the radar on this thread.  No problem, I got the answer I wanted but I don't think you'd want to apply the mega-hops, big beer parts of the thread to fruit beers unless you're doing some sort of fruity AIPA (or double AIPA).

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermenter build questions
« on: June 24, 2011, 06:44:11 AM »
I think you should make it as big as you like. ;D

You've got the 60 degree angle for the cone, which I think is a good idea.  You've got to figure out the height and width constraints and use that as your guide.  But if you're looking for a number, I wouldn't go less than 18" wide just for the stability.  I would probably do 20".

If you have a cone that is 18" at the top, it will hold 5.7 gallons.  The cylinder on top, 18" across and 12" high would hold another 13.2 gallons.  So if my math is right you've got 18.9 gallons, which is in your 15-20 gallon range.  I think there's enough space on a 4'x8' sheet to lay that out, but I could be wrong.  Figuring out the geometry of a cone laid flat is more geometry than I want to do right now. ;)
You make a good point about it being at least 18" wide for stability.  I was going 14.5 just because that was basically the diameter from a 4 foot circle.  But, we can probably lay it out another way and minimize the waste.  I've also decided to keep my old fridge and use it as a fermentation chamber (gotta buy a temp controller).  Just bought a 17.5 cu ft freezer yesterday to hold kegs so the fridge will now be free.  Need to make sure that what I build will fit inside the cabinet of the fridge. 

The Pub / Re: Read any good book lately?
« on: June 22, 2011, 09:24:18 PM »
I really enjoyed Joseph Boyden's "Three Day Road",  It was a really WW1 novel about an aboriginal soldier returning from the war with an addiction and a whole bunch of demons to deal with.  Very good book. Also really liked the "The Curious Incident of the dog in the night time" by Mark Haddon

Problem is, I don't have much time to read but I listen to a lot of audiobooks when I'm driving or flying.  Mostly classics though.  On my iPod right now are:
Moby Dick
Heart of Darkness
Green Hills of Africa
Several Bill Bryson books (great travel writer - very funny) including "A short history of nearly everything" that I can probably recite from memory.
and Adam Carolla's "In 50 years, we'll all be chicks" which isn't teaching me anything but I agree with most of what he has to say.

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermenter build questions
« on: June 22, 2011, 07:09:02 PM »
You got an answer for everything.   ;)
He hasn't told me how big to make my fermenter yet. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermenter build questions
« on: June 21, 2011, 10:52:04 AM »
My ratio of ales to lagers is about 10:1 so far.  It gets pretty cool here in the fall/winter/spring with ambient basement temps about 60 degrees.  I'm thinking that I would not be refrigerating this much.  If I wanted to do a lager, I'd be back to using buckets in the fridge but for ales, I'm thinking I would be good at least 9 months of the year.  Hopefully with bigger volume I will be able to get some volume ahead for the hot months (and with the airconditioner in the house running, the basement goes back into the 60's pretty fast).  I expect that this larger volume will produce more heat during fermentation than a smaller volume so I may be unpleasantly surprised though.
Is there a reason for refrigerating that I am missing?  I fully expect to have to rely on pumps to move wort/beer as I know this is far too heavy to lift.

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermenter build questions
« on: June 21, 2011, 10:35:58 AM »
So if I do my math properly, a 1.2 foot by 3 foot cylinder would have a volume of approximately 23 US gallons.  The diameter of a circle with a circumference of 4 feet would be 1.2 feet.  That way we start with one cut across the sheet of steel.  The volume of a cone 1.2 X 1.5 feet would be about 4 US gallons so the total should be pretty close to 27 gallons.  This is likely taller than the Blichman models (I already checked them out on-line looking for dimensions).  This is a bit bigger than I was looking for but I could always cut the ht down a bit.  Volume of a cylinder 2.5 feet high is 21 gallons and the cone adds 4 for about 25 total.  Still more than I was originally intending but probably workable with upside volume.

Does this make sense?  That's about a 2:1 ratio of ht to width.  
I'll try to remember to take pictures.

Now, how to boil 30 gallons???  And does Coleman make a 45 gallon cooler???  Who's gonna drink all this beer???

Beer Recipes / Re: Fruit beer base
« on: June 21, 2011, 10:23:55 AM »

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.  

I think this is personal taste issue. I like really dry beers, wines, meads etc. There is a 100% blueberry wine out of vermont that I love, they make a sweet, semisweet and dry version and I like the dry version.

If it were me I would at least start with all pale/pils (pils will get you some sweetness anyway) and if I then thought it was too dry I would add some crystal to the next batch. but that's just me.

OK, I'll go with all pale and see how it goes.  I guess I could always add a small amount of simple syrup or something if it was undrinkable because of tartness. 
9 lbs Pale Malt
1 oz Cascade FWH
5 lbs Rhubarb added to secondary (still not sure about boiling it and how I'd get it out of the wort if I did or if it was boiled and then fermented on the rhubarb)
Can't get much simpler than that.

Beer Recipes / Re: Fruit beer base
« on: June 21, 2011, 08:59:06 AM »

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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