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Messages - gmac

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61
Beer Recipes / Re: Kolsch grain bill
« on: May 15, 2014, 05:08:08 PM »
Why not?  It's your beer and from what I've read a lot of the character of Kolsch comes from the yeast so a bit of specialty malt for complexity likely wont hurt. Not sure I'd go 15 plus the wheat. Maybe 85:15 and skip the wheat altogether. I only add it because I bought a 55 lb sack for wheat beers. I wouldn't go buy it just for making Kolsch.

62
Ingredients / Re: Growing your own
« on: May 15, 2014, 03:45:52 PM »
If it turns out to be crazy thick, you may want to thin it out then. If its too thick, you will get problems with lodging (falling over). If 25 is good, 50 is not better. I'm sure you will be fine.
I'm just happy I can put that Masters degree in seed technology to use finally :)
I'm glad too! I'll see if I can find a typical looking square foot and get a count. I also read that high fertility can cause lodging so I didn't amend the soil like I would for a veggie garden, just a small amount of organic fertilizer.

High fertility, particularly high N can cause lodging in most grass crops.  High nitrogen promotes cell growth and elongation and you end up with a taller than ideal plant that can't support the weight of its own grain. 
In malting barley, you don't want overly high N anyway because the higher the available N, the higher the grain protein.  You need adequate N to get proper yield but if you have too much then you get too much protein.  Your approach to use a compost is likely best since you don't have soil tests (I assume) to properly balance your nutrients.  If you do use a fertilizer, something low and balanced would be best (10-10-10 or lower for example).

63
Beer Recipes / Re: Kolsch grain bill
« on: May 15, 2014, 03:31:30 PM »
I use about 10 percent Munich in mine and it has won gold before so I'm sticking with it. Maybe not typical but it's working. I have almost eliminated the wheat entirely in favour for Munich but I still use 2 or 3 percent.

64
Ingredients / Re: Growing your own
« on: May 15, 2014, 11:49:56 AM »
If it turns out to be crazy thick, you may want to thin it out then. If its too thick, you will get problems with lodging (falling over). If 25 is good, 50 is not better. I'm sure you will be fine.
I'm just happy I can put that Masters degree in seed technology to use finally :) 

65
Ok, you've got a carboy with negative pressure. At some point, somewhere in the process you're going to have to pull that plug to get the beer out and unless you are working in an O2 free environment you're gonna get air sucked in. It may be cleaner than the fridge air but pretty much all air is gonna have some bacteria floating around in it.

If you want to cold crash without any possible issue, here is what I suggest. Put a blow off tube into a jar of vodka or neutral grain alcohol and let it suck up a little of that as it drops in pressure. Won't hurt your beer, will prevent air from getting in, wont create a negative pressure environment and is sterile enough for our needs. I use vodka in my air locks, when I use air locks, so that if it sucks anything in, it won't be a problem.

I have been meaning to spray down the inside of my beer cooler with a mild bleach solution but haven't done it yet. For me, no problem cold crashing with foil but as they say in Internet speak, YMMV. Either way good luck.

66
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Can you bottle in canning jars?
« on: May 15, 2014, 09:05:21 AM »
I had 2 of 4 packages mysteriously 'disappear' last winter. Thinking that they got confiscated by customs as you are not supposed to ship alcohol across the border, I am trying to come up with a different packaging. Root beer sounds good.

That's odd. I would want to know why it disappeared even if it wasn't allowed. You should have gotten some indication I would think. I've had beer and homemade meat goods shipped to me here in Canada without issue but maybe I got lucky. Good luck with the root beer approach.

67
Ingredients / Re: Growing your own
« on: May 15, 2014, 09:03:17 AM »
Its actually already sprouting after four days! I saw a few last night and this morning a large percentage were up, half an inch long already. This is good news as I am counting on it to outcompete grass and dandelions.

How thick do you have it planted?  Ideal seeding rate for malting barley is 18 to 25 plants per square foot.  You will need this at least if you are going to outcompete the weeds without any herbicide.

68
Sure, it's gonna happen a bit but its either gonna suck in air or whatever solution is in the air lock.  I don't worry that much about it. If you have a fridge full of mouldy food, you may have other issues to work through.

69
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Planning
« on: May 14, 2014, 08:22:15 PM »
As much as I like to win contests I don't seem to be able to brew a beer that's totally to style and also really lights my fuse.

I'd rather lose the contest and have beer I enjoyed.

70
I've  been doing it without issue but I'm putting an elastic around it to hold it in place after fermentation. I doubt it really does much but it makes me feel good to go that extra mile.

71
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Can you bottle in canning jars?
« on: May 14, 2014, 08:17:47 PM »
What's the problem?  I've shipped beer south but never back home. But I am surprised you had that much of an issue.

72
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Pin lock to ball lock conversion
« on: May 14, 2014, 02:08:43 PM »
Is there much difference in height and width of ball vs pin?  I've got a bunch of ball lock but I need several more kegs and pin lock are about 1/3 of the price of new ball locks.  I can't find used ball locks anywhere.  As has been mentioned, switching adapters isn't that big a deal. I'd probably just switch two and leave three of my taps as ball locks and try to remember to use both.

As of today, I have all my kegs full and need 3 for kolsch, 2 for wit, 2 for bitter, 2 for irish red and 1 for saison that are all ready to go.  Buying bigger fermenters may have been a mistake...

73
The Pub / Re: Turning Scottish?
« on: May 14, 2014, 01:35:04 PM »
What's happening to me?

Apparently you're evolving. 

74
Ingredients / Re: Growing your own
« on: May 14, 2014, 01:32:33 PM »

yup organic. from Johnny's seeds. supposedly 99% pure. Not too worried about it. Not going to replant because I had a couple dozen heads show up with what I'm pretty sure was loose barley smut. I pulled most of them but a couple got away from me.

Good call.  Loose smut infects the seed this year and shows up next so you're right to use it up now and get new seed. Too bad it's not ergot, you could make some LSD Pale Ale. :) Maybe plant some rye for next year?

75
Ingredients / Re: Growing your own
« on: May 14, 2014, 09:18:20 AM »
It all depends on temp and moisture. In the spring it can be up in a week depending on conditions. It will probably be emerging two to three days before you actually notice because the mesocotyl is pretty pale in colour. It is the plumule that turns green when it emerges. So you will see little pale tube shaped things emerge first and they are hard to see against dry soil. After a rain or watering they become more apparent. If you don't see anything in the spring in 2 weeks, dig up a few and see if they've sprouted.
Thanks, gmac. I'm about to have a week of off and on rain, fairly warm so it might happen fast.

It's like waiting for water to boil. Go look every day and it seems to take forever. Go away and when you come back it will be fine. Many people joke that the best way to avoid farmer complaints is to give away a fishing pole with each lot of seed. Plant it and go fishing, don't keep hovering over it everyday worrying.

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