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Messages - beersk

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Used kegs
« on: December 17, 2014, 01:53:50 PM »
Moving into kegging....thank goodness.  I just can't handle bottling any longer.  Seems like ball locks are the pricy ones as my LHBS has a deal on pin locks 1st one for $45 and 2nd $35.  Not a steal but better than $80 for a used ball lock.  Even if I convert to ball lock they are still under the used ball lock price. 

But the new ones sure are nice.

Yeah, that is a pretty fantastic deal. Jump on that.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: long tail?
« on: December 17, 2014, 01:49:06 PM »
I'd add that sanitation practices are paramount as well. But temp control would be number 1 and good aeration/yeast management for number 2. Good beer can be made with slightly less than ideal water.

But, I'd say, you should look at brewing like playing an instrument or learning a skilled craft: you're never going to perfect it and there's always, always, always, going to be room for improvement.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Used kegs
« on: December 16, 2014, 07:55:14 PM »
A friend of mine bought a couple kegs from AiH when they were $89 a piece for 5 gallon kegs. They're great quality. I'd buy them for sure. I'm seriously considering getting a couple 2.5 gallon kegs from there when they have another sale. They had them for $69 on Black Friday...didn't have any money though.

I bought a couple of their kegs over Thanksgiving.  Ended up returning them, but maybe I am too anal.  See my post:
That's too bad. I've been eying the 2.5 gallon ones, I might pick up some of the 3 gallon pin locks though. Or I could just put 2.5 gallons in my existing 5 gallon kegs. But for some reason, it just irks me to not have a full keg.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Northern Brewer 3 Gallon Keg System
« on: December 15, 2014, 01:40:27 PM »
In the text from NB it says that the poppets can't be replaced or removed from this particular keg.
Well, that's simply not true. A needle nose pliers does the trick. Go to AiH for kegs, they're great to deal with.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Northern Brewer 3 Gallon Keg System
« on: December 14, 2014, 10:52:18 PM »
Poppets are the tiny springs that keep the posts sealed up. I had one keg with stuck poppets. I yanked em out and replaced them with universal poppets. I don't know if this will work with all kegs
This. I replaced all my poppets with universals. On the new kegs they can in fact be yanked out.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Lacking malt character
« on: December 10, 2014, 09:54:56 PM »
Good point, Jonathan. I'll try that too.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Lacking malt character
« on: December 10, 2014, 08:50:37 PM »
Jut a WAG, but I think it's the yeast.
Yes, my guess to.

Use less O2 before pitching, try to cut the pitch rate down. A local brewpub that uses the WLP-022 Essex Ale strain will make a pretty clean ale by using more O2 and doubling their normal pitch rate.

I have stopped using O2 on British ales and just pump over with the valve open which gives lots of splashing and foam. That helped, the next is to cut the pitch rate.

Procedures for lagers will help make clean ales, too clean for British styles IMO.

Interesting. I've been aerating with pure O2 for 60-90 seconds and pitching a lot of yeast. But how would this kill the malt character? Wouldn't it just diminish the esters created by yeast? These beers are clean, I mean, SUPER CLEAN and the malt character is pretty tame. It's working great on my current IPA, that's for sure, the hops are popping like crazy, and that was brewed with my tap water not through the RO filter. But it's annoying on these beers I want some maltiness on. Maybe I'm wasting my time on the RO filter and should just acidify with phosphoric...

Alright, so it sounds like I could be:
Over aerating
Over pitching
Serving too cold
Over carbonating
Not using enough calcium chloride
Not using the right yeast

... lot to think about and work on. I don't think the beers are over carbonated, but are probably too cold. That's an easy thing to test and fix.

My next beer is a taddy porter, the last of the 1335. Then I'm doing a blonde ale with 1450. Perhaps I'll brew with only calcium chloride in these beers and see how they turn out. I think I'll keep with the RO water and get a TDS meter. I might not warm my kegerator setting up though, because when it gets warmer it collects a lot of condensation on the bottom. As it is right now, it's right at the point where it doesn't really do that. I can just let beers warm up as they drink.

I'll try to remember to report back. And if anyone has any other comments or suggestions to add, please feel free! Thanks for you help, everyone!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Lacking malt character
« on: December 10, 2014, 07:01:46 PM »
Speaking from experience (water issues, ph issues, etc). It could certainly be pH due to the membrane of the RO nearing its end. Your water will be harder so you would need more acid to bring it into check. If you are like myself and have the RO off softened water, this would be driving sodium levels up as well.

Have you noticed a longer than average lag time on yeast?
What are your FG's?

Also pricey is a relative term.. how pricey have the beers you made and are not enjoying? I have this pH meter that works pretty well. I still use my nice Milwaukee but I bought this one to play around with and it does good.

Maybe I am crazy, but I would never use a spread sheet that is as critical to brewing as Brunwater with out the proper indicators telling me I am in check.. Namely a ward labs report, a TDS meter, and a pH meter. To me that is insurance, how do I know what I am doing if I don't know where I started? I am not ragging on you, I have been down this rabbit hole before. I am trying to help!

All valid concerns. The water tastes very clean, but a TDS meter would verify it for sure. Lag times and final gravities have all been in the normal ranges, nothing out of the ordinary.

However, I did brew an IPA with my tap water, now that I remember, and that beer seems to have no malt character either. The grain bill for 7 gallons was something like 8lbs UK Pearl, 5 1/2lbs Vienna, and 8oz Carastan.
So this point me to: the yeast (wy1335) and serving too cold. But this is why I'm asking for everyone's expert opinions. The water was adjusted mostly with gypsum, something like 4-5g for 5 gallons of mash and the same for sparge. The sparge water was acidified with 85% phosphoric, somewhere around 1mL.
Iowa City water is pretty good, so the RO filter isn't filtering softened water or anything.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Lacking malt character
« on: December 10, 2014, 06:26:32 PM »
A pH meter is one of those pieces of equipment I'm trying to avoid... just too much maintenance on those things, and they're kinda pricey.
I don't have a TDS meter, but I've been meaning to get one to check my RO filters.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: getting beers dark but not overly roasty
« on: December 10, 2014, 06:24:37 PM »
I really like blackprinz and Special B in my schwarzbier, and it's killer. Something like 8oz blackprinz and 6oz Special B for 6 gallon batch. Should be in the 25SRM range.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Lacking malt character
« on: December 10, 2014, 06:08:08 PM »
rabeb25 - I'm not actually measuring and going off of Bru'n water. I know that's a bit of a crutch, but it's worked in the past...I suppose it's not bullet proof.

Paul - I don't serve super low's in the 2.4 volume range. I think serving as cold as I do might be part of it. The beer is in the 35-37F range out of the tap usually. I'll let some warm up tonight and see what I think.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Lacking malt character
« on: December 10, 2014, 05:33:00 PM »
Actually, I have a pack of 1450 in my fridge for my next series of beers. Haven't brewed with it in a couple years, looking forward to it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Lacking malt character
« on: December 10, 2014, 05:08:31 PM »
Thanks, guys.

Eric - I'm using a Thermopen for measuring my mash, as far as I know, it's been very accurate.
I do serve my beer pretty cold. I keep my kegerator at 38, but the beer comes out in the 35-37 range, with 10 PSI going in. Perhaps that's part of it.
And for base malts, I'm using good German malts and British malts. Best and UK Pearl were the base malts for these beers.
Yeast for the oktoberefst was Saflager 34/70, which I've really liked. But perhaps it is too clean and dry for oktoberfest style...although a friend of mine brewed the BCS without the caramunich (forgot to add) with the same yeast and it was much maltier than mine. So that sort of points me to water. He used tap and I used RO with minimal additions. Mine was cleaner and more enjoyable, IMO.

So, it sounds like a combination of a bunch of things here: water (up the chloride), mash temp (mash a little higher, like 153-154), serving temp (serving a little cold maybe), and yeast (using yeasts that don't accentuate malt character).
Anything else you guys can think of that I'm missing?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Lacking malt character
« on: December 10, 2014, 04:22:52 PM »
Thanks. I think I will in fact up the chloride and the mash temperature. Are there any other potential causes for lack of malt character?

The oktoberfest was step mashed: 30 minutes at 145, and 40 minutes at 155, I think.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Lacking malt character
« on: December 10, 2014, 04:15:42 PM »
you've mentioned some of the culprits already.
depending on the beer, some munich, melanoiden can help.

I also had an oktoberfest back in September that was VERY clean, it was the BCS oktoberfest. It was really good, but also lacked malt character.

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