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Messages - gmac

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Slow Lager Starter
« on: March 15, 2011, 08:22:48 AM »
Took a gravity today, 1.034.  I don't think it's gone down much from the original (didn't take OG) but I'll leave it for a couple days and see if it drops anymore.  There is a slight milky layer above the yeast but I can't decide if it's just yeast still settling out of suspension or something else.  
I disturbed it when I took the gravity so I'll let it settle again for a few hours and try a picture.
Just not sure if its working or not.  Absolutely no sign of foam or bubbles or anything else even remotely similar to the ale starters I've done.  I know it will be slower but this is puzzling.

Equipment and Software / Re: Brewing Software for Mac
« on: March 14, 2011, 09:47:32 PM »
Thanks everyone. What I'm really after is a method for figuring out my strike temperature for the water that will be added to my grain.

The BrewMath app does that....
Thanks Oscarvan.

Brewmath hs now been downloaded to my iPod.  Now I just have to spend some time checking it out.  Another unproductive day at work I guess...

All Grain Brewing / Re: Acidifying the mash
« on: March 14, 2011, 02:28:43 PM »
I can't say how much as I don't measure. I acidify 20 gallons of my total brew day water at once in one container and monitor the PH actively. I add just literally a pinch at a time and watch the PH fall until I get it to where I want it. Usually right around 6.0.

What you are doing is to partially neutralize the alkalinity of the water. Depending on your water that may not take much acid at all. It's different when you are adding malt and the acid is used to drop the mash pH significantly.


I couldn't find lactic or phosphoric acid around here so I got citric from a wine shop.  Is it better to lower the water pH prior to mashing as noted above or should I add it to the mash (will certainly take me some trial and error to get that right)? 

Equipment and Software / Re: Brewing Software for Mac
« on: March 14, 2011, 11:44:54 AM »
Can't you install Wine and run ProMash on Mac?  I do it on Linux.
I can barely turn the thing on.  Not much of a computer person so unless it's easy and straightforward, I'm at a loss.  I'm sure it's good advice but I have no idea what Wine is.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Slow Lager Starter
« on: March 14, 2011, 10:10:34 AM »
It's prudent to know the actual pitching temp for future reference.

So I need to know volumes and now temperature?  This is getting far too complicated.  Maybe I should just buy beer and go back to playing World of Warcraft.... :D

On my next trip to the restaurant supply, later today, I will be coming home with a new long-stem thermometer and a 1 gal measuring cup.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Slow Lager Starter
« on: March 14, 2011, 09:24:34 AM »
Package says it was manufactured Jan 18, 2011. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Brewing Software for Mac
« on: March 14, 2011, 09:01:22 AM »
Thanks Jeffy.  That's what I was needing.  
I just played around with it for a few minutes (I really have to stop thinking about beer when I should be working) and it is interesting to see that the volume of water has much more impact than the temp of the grains.

Yeast and Fermentation / Slow Lager Starter
« on: March 14, 2011, 08:51:40 AM »
I started my first lager starter yesterday using Wyeast Czech Pils (sorry forget the #) and when I checked it before work this morning, it was completely flat.  There didn't appear to be any activity at all except that the yeast had all settled to the bottom. I gave it a good shake but I'm a bit worried that after 24 hours there is no appearance of any activity at all.  I've never used lager yeast before so maybe this is perfectly normal but I'm wondering if the yeast was bad or if I screwed it up in some way.

The starter is 125g of DME in 1.5L of water that was boiled for 5 minutes and then cooled in a water bath.  I don't know the temperature I pitched the yeast at but it was rather cool given the water bath.  I didn't allow the package to swell and don't usually if it's going into a starter.  I usually break the inner bag and let it warm to room temp and then pitch it.  Perhaps I should wait but then again, in this case I would have thought it was bad and discarded it by now given the lack of apparent activity.

I washed my starter container with bleach but rinsed it thoroughly and haven't had problems in the past with this.  I now use Star-San for my brewing vessels but for such a small amount, and given that I had no Star-San available, I went with bleach. 

So, should I just keep waiting patiently and shaking when I'm home or is this one a dud?

Equipment and Software / Re: Brewing Software for Mac
« on: March 14, 2011, 08:33:54 AM »
Thanks everyone.
What I'm really after is a method for figuring out my strike temperature for the water that will be added to my grain.  I sort of "winged it" last time and it didn't go as well as I would have hoped.  I know ProMash is supposed to help calculate this.  Besides that, I don't think I'd be using a calculator for too much.  I have used BeerTools on-line before to get a sense of how an idea compares to the standards for that style but I'm not really looking to re-create styles yet as much as perfect a plain pale ale.
I'll check all of these out.

Equipment and Software / Brewing Software for Mac
« on: March 13, 2011, 01:30:45 PM »
Is there any good brewing software for a Mac?  I checked out Beersmith and ProMash and neither are available for a Mac as far as I can tell.
Please let me know if there's something else I should be looking at.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Improving Efficiency
« on: March 13, 2011, 01:22:59 PM »
I was reading that a 20 minute rest at 114F before bringing the mash to temp will also increase efficiency.  Is this true? 

Also, does water volume in the mash matter?  Some people seem to be using a quart, some 1.25 or so.  Is more better or less or it doesn't really matter when it comes to efficiency?

All Grain Brewing / Re: % Extraction and help getting OG right
« on: March 13, 2011, 01:20:59 PM »
Or even better, the plastic 4qt/1 gallon cup I have from the local restaurant supply. IIRC I also paid under ten.

I agree.  I won't do another batch without a 1 gal plastic measure.  But, I put another starter on this afternoon so I think I'll need to get it soon. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Improving Efficiency
« on: March 11, 2011, 08:47:34 PM »
Ah yeah, that joke flew right over my head.

On a similar note I did mash in a BLUE coleman xtreme cooler.  Maybe my cooler was too dark a blue?  I should probably leave it out in the sun for a few days so it fades to a lighter more brew friendly blue.

Mine's blue too.  Is that a problem?  It's white on the inside but I can paint it if that'll help.

Equipment and Software / Re: Malt Mill
« on: March 11, 2011, 08:46:33 PM »
How it looks is one thing.....

How did it drain?

Actually it drained amazingly well.  I have a tap on my cooler and it flowed like a garden hose.  I was quite happy with that aspect.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long does a batch take/Grinding grain.
« on: March 11, 2011, 08:45:17 PM »
Snows melting so it went into a big puddle that is flowing slowly out to the road.  Didn't take that long to cool down.

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