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Messages - gmac

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Using a keg as a secondary
« on: April 14, 2011, 08:46:21 PM »
Buy a wine thief when you're there to get samples out of your carboy.
Done - sort of.  I bought an auto siphon and I think I can sample with that.  As far as I or the guy in the store could tell was that a wine thief would allow me to put the sample back but I'm so paranoid of contamination that once something comes out, it never goes back in (too many GLP courses over the years).  So it shouldn't matter.

I bought two more 23L pails.  Brewed another cali common.  Only complaint (two actually but related) is that I can't get the damn plug to stay in the hole.  It doesn't have the little tight hole, it's just got one that fits a rubber stopper and since the stopper is wet with Star-San, it keeps coming out.  And if I drop the friggin lids one more time I'm gonna blow a gasket.  Other than that, they should be fine.

Equipment and Software / Re: Prepping a cooler
« on: April 14, 2011, 06:53:58 PM »
Just to bring some closer to my post, this time I added 20 quarts of 185 degree water to my cooler/mash tun.  Left it for 10 minutes and it was down to 171.  Added my grain (note to self - stir while adding next time...Holy grain balls!).
Had to add 2 quarts of cold water to bring it down to 156.  Also elevated the cooler off the floor.
After 1 hour, the mash was reading 154 so it only went down 2 degrees at most.  Clearly my problem was my procedure. Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

Equipment and Software / Re: Hops "Plants"
« on: April 14, 2011, 06:47:14 PM »
you'll need to closely monitor the water situation, and probably feed them.
Sort of like having kids then...

The Pub / Re: Brew Your Own place
« on: April 14, 2011, 04:06:08 PM »
Oh, I should also mention when I was trying to get 2-row, I asked if her supplier carried Maris Otter.  "What's that?"
This from a person who owns and runs a brew your own. 

The Pub / Brew Your Own place
« on: April 14, 2011, 02:33:47 PM »
I went into a local BYO place today because I was told that I might be able to order grain from them.  Turns out they were very willing to order grain for me from their supplier when they order LME and specialty grains so that was positive. Gotta wait a bit but at least I will get 25kg bags of 2-row without the 2 hour drive I was doing before.

But, we got talking about beer, brewing etc and I was so sadly  disappointed to see what they considered a "Recipe".  Basically, every recipe they showed me was:
X lbs LME
X time 2 glucose.
Probably 1/3 LME and 2/3 corn sugar in all of their recipes. They also only used dry yeast and all of the beer was fermented at 68 degrees regardless of whether it was a lager or an ale.  Just so sad.

I did see an interesting way to ferment though.  They had 50L plastic barrels with holes cut in them and then a plastic bag put into the barrel.  The beer was put in the bag and a twist-tie put on the bag.  That's it.  No fermentation lock or anything.  2 weeks in that, filtered and bottled for a week. and you have beer.   Or what they called beer.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Using a keg as a secondary
« on: April 14, 2011, 10:37:24 AM »
I have not used yeast nutrient but I know a lot of you do.  Would this help move things along on future batches?  I get a rapid krausen in the first 24 hours and then it seems to have a long, drawn out fermentation after this.  I don't yet have any way to oxygenate beyond shaking.  Would nutrient help?  I guess I  thought for all-grain that there was sufficient nutrient from the malt. 
Just wondering since I appear to be headed to my local wine shop (which has lousy homebrew stuff but it's all I've got unless I want to have pails sent to me via Canada Post which would cost about 3X what they were worth).

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Using a keg as a secondary
« on: April 14, 2011, 10:32:45 AM »
I have to admit, I don't know the FG.  I'm a bit afraid of contamination and I'm not sure how to get a sample out of the carboy without disturbing everything.  

OG was 1.058.  It hasn't dropped clear and still has some foam on top so it's probably still working away.  It's Wyeast London lll at about 64 degrees so it may be a bit cold.  I have a lager that has been fermenting at about 38 degrees for almost a month now and you can set your watch to the bubbles, about 1 every 30 seconds.  Now that it is finally starting to warm up a bit, maybe it will speed up but I'm planning on that one until May 24 (unofficial start of summer for most of Canada - first long weekend).

I'll give it a few more days and then I'll probably flame the mouth of the carboy and pour off some

I'm off to find some pails or something to brew into.  It's hard to have an obsession without enough stuff...

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Using a keg as a secondary
« on: April 14, 2011, 10:17:47 AM »
OK, I'll leave it alone.  Just itching to brew another beer and I'm out of carboys.  Finding it difficult to get ahead of consumption so I'm trying to brew at least once a week, usually on Fridays.  Probably need to go buy a few more buckets or something but my choices around here are pretty slim.
The beer I'm considering kegging has been on the yeast for 3 weeks now and it just doesn't seem to want to finish.  It's been bubbling away slowly, maybe once ever few minutes for almost a week now. 

Kegging and Bottling / Using a keg as a secondary
« on: April 14, 2011, 09:48:21 AM »
I've seen some posts about this and I'd like to put 5 gals of beer into a keg this afternoon but I have two questions.
First of all, the beer isn't 100% done fermenting yet.  It's slowed down an awful lot and only bubbles occasionally but there is still some fermentation going on.  Is this a problem?

Secondly, what is the best procedure.  I was going to keg it, seal it and give it a shot of CO2 to set the seals and then leave it for a week or so before putting it back on the CO2 to carbonate.  Should I just put it on and leave it on the gas while it settles?  I don't need the CO2 for anything else right now.


Equipment and Software / Hops "Plants"
« on: April 14, 2011, 07:14:09 AM »
Has anyone ever gotten hops in any other form but rhizomes?  I've been looking for hops and the ones I've found either don't ship to Canada or they require an extra payment for a phytosanitary certificate which I understand but don't want to pay.  So, I ordered some Nugget and Cascade hops from a Canadian supplier but they come as "plants" not rhizomes. 
Does anyone know when it would be best to plant these?  I hope they are plants derived from rhizomes or they may be pretty darn small.  Not sure when I would see a cone.

One other question, I don't have a very sunny back yard.  Will they take shade?  I have a lot of trees and I was thinking of trying to train them up some strings hung from the tree branches but if they won't handle shade at all, then I'll have to put them in a sunny spot.  I have one, it's just not that big. 

I am also going to order some Northern Brewer rhizomes from another supplier but he doesn't have any Cascade (sold out).  Is there a minimum distance you need to have them seperated or is it just enough that you can tell them apart at harvest?  The NB will likely go to my friend who has a gazebo that we are going to cover in hops.  May as well make it more valuable.


Ingredients / Re: Home grown hops
« on: April 13, 2011, 09:14:42 PM »
My plants are second year - I've poked around them a bit this spring and noticed 3 or 4 times the number of shoots getting ready to come up than I had last year.

Just wondering where you got yours?  I'm not finding many suppliers that will ship to Canada.

The Pub / Re: Exploding heart in 3, 2, 1...
« on: April 12, 2011, 07:15:13 PM »
This all reminds me of a lovely little line from Douglas Adams' Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul:

He stepped out on to the street, where a passing eagle swooped out of the sky at him, nearly forcing him into the path of a cyclist, who cursed and swore at him from a moral high ground that cyclists alone seem able to inhabit.

Great book.

All Grain Brewing / Re: When is your beer ready? Poll
« on: April 12, 2011, 06:53:43 PM »
It's never ready soon enough.  I'd say it's inversely proportional to how much you need beer.  Don't need it, it'll be ready soon.  Run out and you're gonna be waiting a while. 
I've been out of beer for a week now and my ESB is still bubbling away after 2 weeks.  It may get kegged tomorrow anyway.  I'm itching to brew and I only have 3 carboys and their all full.  It can finish up in the secondary keg for a week. 

The Pub / Re: bottle openers
« on: April 12, 2011, 12:10:56 PM »

No idea what language this is but it's in-keeping with the theme...Well, klein bottles,anyway, not openers...

All Grain Brewing / Re: Is This A Problem?
« on: April 11, 2011, 09:19:56 AM »
Just wondering, if the OP really isn't in any shape to finish the job, why couldn't he/she put the wort back on the burner and bring it back to a boil for a few minutes and then cool again, just like before.  Might lose some hop aroma but since the beers in the fridge, anything that could infect the beer shouldn't have taken off yet (or you're food would go off).  That would kill any small #'s of potential infectious bacteria and bring them back to where they were before the cold hit them.

Hope you're feeling better.  I lost a weekend to the same things a week or so ago. 

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