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Messages - gmac

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2086
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brew Masters......up or down.....?
« on: December 26, 2010, 11:39:21 AM »
I have had Sierra Nevada PA.  Very good. 
I'm not trying to slam anyone for using Cascade or anything else, just my tastes.  If you like to chew Cascade hops - go for it.  Not sure I'd be into chewing on hops period, regardless of what variety but hey, to each his own.

2087
All Grain Brewing / Schematic
« on: December 26, 2010, 11:36:57 AM »
Can anyone post a general schematic of an enclosed home brewing system?  I'm looking for ideas and am going to start compiling materials in a week or so (just need some bigger kettles for now but eventually they would go into the system).  I've been checking out the "Pimp My System" posts and they look awesome but it's not always easy to tell where product flows, what are hot zones and what are cold zones etc. 

Some general questions.
What is better, a horizontal system with pumps or a vertical system? 
I'm leaning towards an Igloo cooler type infusion process rather than step mashing just because it seems easier but since I'm starting from scratch, what's better?
I have this crazy idea of incorporating some load cells so that I can weigh grain and water etc as I add it.  Does it need to be this precise? 
In the boiling kettle, would you include a cooling coil as an integral part or have a separate one for immersing?  Is it a pain to try to stir with a coil in that can't be removed?  I can see how it would be but hey, it's one less thing to have to move around.
Aluminum or stainless kettles?  Does it matter?

General advice would be appreciated.  I have the advantage of having a good friend (and main drinking buddy) who owns a machine shop so making/modifying stuff isn't a big deal.  His son is also an engineer so I am sure he can provide some helpful input as well.  Danger in this situation is making something over engineered, not under. 
Thanks
Graham

2088
Did a batch on Christmas Eve.  I have high hopes for this one as there haven't been any obvious screw-ups yet.  Or at least not ones that I'm aware of so far. 
Recipe, or a close approximation is on the Steeping Crystal Malt post I put on in Extract Brewing (and thank you once again to everyone for all their great advice - hence the no major screw ups).

Beer looks great, nice and cool with a wet blanket on it, probably 65 degrees.  Nice dark colour, can't wait until I get home from the in-laws to see how it's going.  Wish I could get it bottled in time for New Years but that won't happen.  So, I'll just drink something else.  I'm flexible.

2089
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brew Masters......up or down.....?
« on: December 26, 2010, 11:06:20 AM »
Only read the first 3 pages of discussion.  Seems to be pretty mixed.
I've only seen the show once when I was in the US.  Liked it but I can see what your saying.  Can't get it here in Canada yet. 
This is what I find wrong with Discovery/TLC/US TV in general - too many shows about guys just doing their jobs.  The first couple were OK, the rest are just spin-offs of the same genre.  After "This Old House" and "Cops", the rest are just rip-offs.

I did have a DFH 60 minute IPA that a friend gave me and it was quite good.  Pretty typical US IPA in my opinion (I'm not a huge fan but they're alright in moderation - too much use of Cascade hops in many that I've had IMO - too much grapefruit aftertaste for me).

Anyway, I will tune in again next time I'm in the States and it's on.  Even if it is an hour long commercial for DFH, it's about beer and what could be better than that?

2090
General Homebrew Discussion / Watcha get for Christmas?
« on: December 26, 2010, 09:20:32 AM »
So, anyone else get homebrewing stuff for Christmas? 

I got "Designing Great Beers" by Ray Daniels and a subscription to BYO. 

What did you get (things you bought yourself for Christmas are perfectly fine...)?


2091
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« on: December 24, 2010, 02:18:54 PM »
I ended up with a bit too much wort, closer to 6 gal finished instead of 5.  I took a hydrometer reading and it was only about 1.042 or 1.044.  Not quite as high as predicted.  I also put the last gallon into another container rather than dump it so I may have 6 gals of light beer.  Actually, I am fine with that.  I'd prefer a 4 to 4.5% alcohol beer.  Will I be close or do you think even less? 

Also, does a hydrometer read "light" or "heavy" if it is too warm.  Like I said, my thermometer is terrible but I expect the wort was slightly on the warm side when I took my reading.

2092
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Do I need a starter?
« on: December 24, 2010, 02:15:16 PM »
Well, the beer is made.  I decanted the "beer" off the yeast, left a 1/4 inch or so of liquid and swirled it into suspension and just pitched it.  There was activity in the air lock within 2 minutes.  Pretty impressive.

I had about a gallon left over from my boil and so I put that into the jug that had the yeast in it to see what would happen.  But, the mouth was a bit big and so when I put the rubber bung in, it slipped in too far.  When I went to pull it out, I got the airlock but no stopper.  So, there's a rubber stopper in the bottom of my 1 gal wort.  Anyone know if this is going to be a bad thing?  I am sure it isn't ideal but should I just dump it now or let it ferment out and get the stopper when I bottle.  I will definitely taste before I bottle.
Thanks.

2093
Equipment and Software / Re: Star San
« on: December 24, 2010, 12:22:29 PM »
OK.  No sense asking if I don't listen to the answers I'm given. 
Thanks again for all the help.

2094
Equipment and Software / Re: Star San
« on: December 24, 2010, 12:18:06 PM »
Feels weird to not rinse it.  ???

2095
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« on: December 24, 2010, 12:16:46 PM »
Ooops.
Should have gone back and read the post again.  Working from memory I added 2 oz of black patent.  Not the end of the world, just a bit darker.

I did have trouble keeping the steeping water at or near 155.  Probably ended up spending more time at 145 to 150 because I was scared of going too hot.  Also, my thermometer sucks.  Too late to put new digital thermometer on my Christmas list for Santa though. 

Wort is boiling with hops as I type this.  Here's hoping...

2096
Equipment and Software / Re: Star San
« on: December 24, 2010, 12:13:28 PM »
And I don't need to rinse it right?  I've had OK results with bleach but I rinse the heck out of stuff.

2097
Equipment and Software / Re: Star San
« on: December 24, 2010, 11:59:26 AM »
Thanks for the reply.
I'm afraid all I've got for water is plain old tap water.  But, we do have both warm and cold...
I'll scale it back to 2 1/2 gallons (10 L?) and add 1/2 an ounce by the measuring thingee on the bottle.  Only have a small pail to mix it in so we'll see how it goes.
Thanks again.

2098
Equipment and Software / Star San
« on: December 24, 2010, 10:40:59 AM »
I bought some 5 Star - Star San on line and it arrived in a jug inside a sealed plastic bag.  For some reason, most of the direction were smudged off on to the plastic bag. 
So, can some one please give me the direction for mixing this to sterilize equipment.  I need to do a carboy and siphon hose etc today and then bottles in a few weeks.
Thanks.

2099
Beer Recipes / Muskoka Cream Ale Clone
« on: December 23, 2010, 09:52:37 PM »
Need some help from my brethren here in Ontario.  I am looking for something that will get me close to Muskoka Cream Ale.  Any suggestions?  Extract is all I've done so far. 
Thanks.

2100
The Pub / Re: Favorite movies
« on: December 23, 2010, 09:49:35 PM »
I couldn't wade through 14 pages of this.  Did anyone say "Beerfest"?  Great movie.

For me, the best is, and always will be "Jaws"...  "Smile you sonofa.....BOOM!"

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