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Messages - gmac

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stepping up a very weak starter
« on: April 07, 2011, 08:46:19 AM »
So should I just put in all 3 liters now then?  Is there any reason to do it in increments?

Equipment and Software / Summer Lager Temp Idea
« on: April 07, 2011, 08:33:28 AM »
What do you guys think of this idea?

My house is basically sitting on springs (the water type, not the boing - boing type).  Because of this, I have cold water running through my footing tile 365 days a year.  The water is clean cold and probably drinkable but I'm not going to do that.  What I am considering though is opening the backflow access hatch in the cold room and putting a line in with a small pump that would pump the water into a coil (basically make a cooling coil) that would be big enough to encircle a 5 gal keg.  Then, I'm thinking put the keg into big rubbermaid tub and filling it with water and then putting the coil and carboy into the tub.  Then use the cool water to cool the fermenter down to around 50 or so so that I could lager in the summer without having to come up with a 3rd fridge/freezer (one is for food etc, one is for cold beer).
Just wondering if anyone thinks that this would be possible.  Maybe even hook a temperature controller to the pump so that it only came on when needed.  I don't know the water temp but it's pretty cool.

Just thinking while I wait for my mash to finish.

Yeast and Fermentation / Stepping up a very weak starter
« on: April 07, 2011, 08:21:21 AM »
I'm brewing today and I'm going to pitch a healthy starter of Wyeast 2112.  Last time I brewed, I saved the last 3 litres of my sparged wort for use in a starter.  The OG of this is pretty weak about 1.020. 
I was thinking of doing the following and wondered what you thought or what you suggested.
Once I pitch the starter, I was going to add 1L of boiled and cooled sparged wort to the container that my starter is in.  My intent is to try to culture the remnants back up to a pitchable quantity which I will then wash and store in the fridge for a future batch or pitch right away if necessary (I intend to do another batch before the current one is done).

I've asked about this before and people have said this would work but my question for the day is:  Is 1.020 too low?  I have 2 more liters that I was going to add in a few days to keep building up the population but should I up the OG of that?  Would 3 L of 1.020 be enough?  If not I have some DME I can add to bring it up when I boil it but I wondered if starting off at 1.020 was OK. 
Not that DME is expensive but I figured if this will work, why not.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast cake rehydration
« on: April 05, 2011, 07:30:41 PM »
If you were using an ale yeast, I'd suggest using only part of the slurry.  But since you're doing a lager, I'd go with the advice above.
What's the rationale for only using part of the yeast cake for an ale?  I know lager need larger starters but what's the downside to using a large starter for an ale?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Hopping a California Common
« on: April 05, 2011, 01:24:31 PM »
Thanks everyone. 
Unfortunately, I got sick over the weekend so this didnt' happen yet but it scheduled to happen tomorrow (work permitting).  I know some people use C hops in Cal. Commons but I don't have any and can't really get any for a while so I'm going to have to go with the Northern Brewer.  I really prefer Anchor to some other US IPA beers (I know they aren't the same) so I think for my tastes, NB will be a good starting hop anyway although I appreciate the suggestions.  I am also leaning toward the schedule Euge suggested but that could change.

As for as competing goes, that isn't likely in my future or at least not for quite a while.  I do wish I had someone nearby that knew what they were doing that could try my beers and tell me where to make improvements though.  My friends do not have discerning palettes.

Regarding Sulphates, my water is 37 mg/L.  Is this high?  That was mentioned elsewhere but I didn't get a reply to my number.  My water is fairly hard which I know isn't ideal for this type of beer but it is what I have to work with.  I have been acidifying my mash with a very low amount of citric acid which I have yet to detect as an off-flavour but there are more beer in primary's still to try.

The Pub / Re: For da Weaze
« on: April 04, 2011, 09:38:40 PM »
Dude, when you are stuck in MSP. make sure you hit the Rock Bottom Brewery, in the D concourse. Awesome pulled pork sandwich, and the IPA is great! I try and schedule all my flights through there with a good three hour lay over.

I'll give it a try.  I'm usually headed elsewhere from DTW at about 4 in the morning but I'll try to set something up for a longer layover at a better time of day.  Can't believe I'd want to spend MORE time in an airport though....

Equipment and Software / Re: Keezer built!
« on: April 04, 2011, 01:55:58 PM »
No offense but the part you built looks so much better than the rest of the freezer. 
Has anyone ever tried painting one of these with something to duplicate a wood grain finish?  The wood and taps look fantastic but the freezer needs something to pull it all together in my opinion.  I like the look of the wood clad ones but I'm not ready to take on that much work right now.
Great job. 

The Pub / Re: For da Weaze
« on: April 04, 2011, 01:49:49 PM »
Next time you're in Minneapolis, grab Pawtucket Patriot and head over to:
I'm in Minneapolis about 15 times a year and usually stay in that area a few times waiting for a plane.  Thank you for giving me something to look forward to the next time I'm stuck there.

The Pub / Re: For da Weaze
« on: April 04, 2011, 11:57:23 AM »
Just be careful what you do with all that bacon fat...

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Efficiency
« on: April 04, 2011, 11:53:12 AM »
Did exactly that last week.  1.058 OG was what I recorded for 5 US gallons.

All Grain Brewing / Re: single temp infusion
« on: April 04, 2011, 11:50:18 AM »
I was in the same camp as you a couple months ago and so here are my thoughts.
Regardless of the style of mashing/sparing you intend to do, you're gonna need a large pot to boil in, ingredients, a way to boil the wort and heat water etc.  So the only difference that I can see is the initial cost outlay for a system to try single infusion mashing.  Basically, I spent $50 on a cooler and braided line as outlined on Denny's site.  That's about all I can think of that I spent that I wouldn't need regardless.  To me, it is so simple and easy that I'd spend the $50 and start this way and then you can see what you think. 

Best part of it for me was that it has taught me a lot of the basics of all-grain without being overly complicated.  It may be the last method I try or just a stepping stone to something else but regardless, I am very glad I took this step. 
I've brewed 3 all grain beer so far and only the first has been tasted but it is very, very good.  Better than any extract beer so far but I am sure many others could brew better extract beers.  And I admit, there's a bit of personal pride in the taste just because I was able to do the entire process myself. 

I've also found it very easy to get better with this method.  My first beer was 65% efficiency, my next 83% and my last 87%. 
I may not have the best or final system yet but this is darn good way to get experience with all grain for a minimal capital outlay and what you learn with this approach will undoubtedly help you as you move further.
Hope that helps.

All Grain Brewing / Hopping a California Common
« on: April 02, 2011, 10:47:32 PM »
This question is hidden in another thread but judging by the lack or responses, I'm guessing it isn't to apparent.

So, I'm hoping to do a California Common tomorrow with Wyeast 2112, 9 lbs MO, 1 lb C40 and Northern Brewer hops.
I'm not that happy with the balance on my last few beers despite not using that much hops.  What would you recommend for good balance with distinct but not dominant hop character? 
I'm considering 1 oz @ 60 (AA7.8), 1/2 oz at 15 and 0 at flameout.  The BJCP guidelines I found on line didn't really give me a lot of direction when it came to hop flavour and aroma, just that it should be fairly bitter.  The last few beers I've done have been pretty bitter and although I like them, my wife is looking for more balance and malt and less hops.  This isn't going into any contest, just my belly.

Beer Recipes / Re: Maris Otter in a Steam Beer?
« on: April 02, 2011, 03:56:34 PM »
Hardness is 214, sulphates are 37 mg/L

Beer Recipes / Re: Maris Otter in a Steam Beer?
« on: April 02, 2011, 10:34:32 AM »
I'm gonna give this a shot but I wanted some opinions on hopping schedule.
I normally don't venture far from 1 oz at 60, 1 oz or less at 15, 1 oz or less at flameout.  I'm finding my beer to be a bit unbalanced and lacking in malt character with the hops dominant.
My last brew was 25 g at 60 (not quite an ounce), 15 at 15 and 15 at flameout.  We'll see how that goes.

But, since I'm going to do this before I get a chance to taste the last batch, I'm wondering what you all suggest for a hopping schedule for this.  I'm looking to get some bitterness but not an overwhelming amount as well an appropriate amount of hops flavour and aroma.  I checked the BJCP guidelines and they definitely discuss the bitter aspects of the style but not a lot about how much flavour or aroma you should expect in the style.  I'm not going to be entering any competitions but I'd like to get more maltiness and less dominance from the hops while still being close to the style.

I'm thinking 1 oz of NB hops (AA7.8) at 60 min, 1/2 oz at 15, no aroma hops.

I checked the recipe wiki for an Anchor clone but didn't find anything.  A search found too much...

All Grain Brewing / Thanks Everyone
« on: March 31, 2011, 05:48:10 PM »
I mentioned this in another post but it's sort of buried so I wanted to thank everyone who gave me advice on my first all-grain.  I tried it out last night with some friends and I have to say that I think it's pretty good.  Sure, there's lots of room for improvement but I'm sure that will come with experience. 

In particular I want to thank Denny for all his advice on batch sparging, Tschmidlin for his advice on starters and Euge for his real-time PM advice when things weren't going perfectly.  But also I wanted to thank all of you who weighed in with advice and encouragement. 

Thanks again.
ps.  This beer is a little sneaky.  Goes down very smooth but it certainly crept up on us last night.  Three guys went to work today with headaches.  Must be the water I used...

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