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Messages - Slowbrew

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Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: New Guy - In deep
« on: October 02, 2015, 09:28:12 AM »
Generally you will hear the following advice:

1) Be patient, the beer will get done when it gets done.

2) You can speed it up a bit after the gravity gets down by warming it up a bit.  Raising the temp won't hurt at the end of the ferment.

3) There really aren't a lot of reasons to rack off to a secondary.  There are many good reason to leave it in the primary longer.  The main one being that it will give the yeast time to clean up after themselves.

4) When you do get to packaging, pull some samples and do controlled additions of the extract in small amounts of beer.  A couple os ounces of beer at a time and add extract with a dropper.  Each drop has a standard addition measurement (I don't recall it right now but others will).  Guessing can get you in trouble when adding fruit flavorings as they cannot be removed.

Over all it sounds like you are doing very well with the batch.


All Things Food / Re: Growing food - The Garden Thread
« on: October 01, 2015, 01:52:55 PM »
Bell peppers are finicky as heck to grow. I grow a few different pepper varieties and most either do not flower during the hottest part of the summer or the blossoms drop off because it's too hot (much like tomatoes). I've tried growing them off and on for a few years. I finally found a plant that seems to tolerate the heat here but like most of my pepper plants they only develop fruit in the late spring and fall.
One thing I learned about peppers is that you will have problems with them flowering and fruiting if the temp gets below 50. Around here that means not planting until June and still covering them once or twice.

I also didn't plant until it was about 65-75+, which really allowed them to take off once they got outside.

But... I have real problems with pepper diseases, which is why I switched to drip irrigation. Too bad it rained and rained and rained and rained here, so I lost a couple plants/fruits to a bacteria spot. The hot peppers didn't seem to mind, my one large bell pepper plant nearly died (Red Beauty), and my little lunchbox sized bell peppers did quite well despite the disease they had early on in life. I'll be saving seeds after this year from the ones that did well and trying out another variety or two of bell peppers. We make a bell pepper soup that is freakin' awesome, so I have to figure out a way to grow more peppers!  :)

Thanks for the info on the bells.  We've always grown bells and jalapenos along with many other things when we had garden space.  Now that we are trying to do container gardening I'm having to completely relearn how to grow plants.

Our yard doesn't have any spot in it where we get enough sun for a garden anymore as the trees have gotten too big We have 5 - 45+ year old maple trees on a 1/2 acre lot (I didn't plant them they were here when we bought the place).  The grass struggle too.

The one spot that gets some sun also flip flops from a swamp to a desert 10 or 15 times a year so it didn't work too well either.  We decided to plant a tool shed and try containers.  Last year worked pretty well but the abnormal weather in Iowa this year confused everyone's gardens.  Tomatoes were small and subject to more blight than normal.  Peppers would blossom and then a blast of heat would knock them off before the set fruit.  Even the flowers didn't grow normally.

The largest tree also has some serious rot going on since a storm 14 years ago tore it up pretty badly.  My wife and keep looking at it dreading the price of having to take it down.  The bright side would be that we could probably make a garden again.  The dark side is we would have to grow our own food to afford the tree removal.   ;)

Oh well, there's always next year!


All Things Food / Re: Growing food - The Garden Thread
« on: September 30, 2015, 08:51:38 AM »
We are finally getting some peppers from our container garden.  We put in Jalapenos and a type of bell pepper but we didn't get any blossoms until mid-August.  It's been a very strange year for growing in Iowa this year.


Kegging and Bottling / Re: kegging for twerps
« on: September 30, 2015, 04:55:30 AM »
I agree with Jim on sanitation.

Like anything else in this hobby, if it isn't clean, it's a problem.


Equipment and Software / Re: Advice for a Newbie
« on: September 28, 2015, 08:22:50 AM »
The simple advice I give people is buy a Homebrewing Starter Kit.  Don't bother with the "Advanced" version with the secondary until you really need a secondary.  And go buy a 20 qt. or larger stock pot to get started.  It doesn't have to be a great pot, one from Sam's, Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond are good enough.  The kits contain all the minimum amount of do-dads they need to get batch #1 under their belt and they can add things as they learn.

Another good purchase is a two of three cases of good beer in reusable bottles.  Drink two cases of the good beer so you will patiently wait for the first batch to get done and then use the bottles to package that batch.  Drink the third case while you wait for it to carbonate.  Then start the next batch.

The hardest part of the first few batches i waiting until they are actually finished before tasting them.   ;D



Awesome, Marshall and Denny. You guys are some of the giant dwarfs on whose shoulders I stagger!
Did you just call me a dwarf?

Okay everybody sing... "Whistle while we slurp..."  ;D

Completely agree with keeping an open mind and trying new things.  My brewing procedures are totally different now than when I started.  I brew better beer faster and with less effort than I ever thought I would. 

Without mavericks like you two (and others) we would all be much worse off.


All Grain Brewing / Re: thermal mass for Gott 10gallon?
« on: September 23, 2015, 05:56:48 AM »
I preheat my 50 qt cooler with 2 gal of 180 degree water.
It sits in the cooler while I get everything else ready to mash in, maybe 15 min.
It reduces my thermal mass to "0".

I do pretty much the same.  I run about 4 gallons of water heater hot water (I haven't checked what that temp is) into the cooler and let it sit while the mash water heats up.  I drain it right before mash in. 

Works great!


The Pub / Re: Fractional grain amount
« on: September 22, 2015, 11:12:28 AM »
Unless I'm remembering this wrong, you really don't want to mispronounce "Boatswain" either.   ::)

Think Bosun not boat-swain.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Roommate drinking all the beer :(
« on: September 21, 2015, 04:06:51 AM »
You need to host the picture on an online photo site and then link to it using the "Insert Picture" button (button is right above the "winking" and "really happy" emoticons above).


Equipment and Software / Re: Boil Kettle Question
« on: September 17, 2015, 01:47:05 PM »
Bar Keepers Friends works well too. It comes in powdered or liquid form at your super market.  It really helps clean up stainless steel and is supposed help it passivate the kettle.

It has always worked well for me.


Aren't there laws against monopolization?  For when survival of the fittest one is less desirable than survival of the fittest several?  I know nothing about this but seem to recall such a thing.
In the US, that is called antitrust.  In Europe that is called competition law.  I can't see how this merger would be allowed to happen without divesting some major brands and some breweries in the US.  I'm not sure how dominant the these companies are in other countries, but I believe Heineken is independent of these two, so I'm not sure what would happen in Europe and other parts of the world.

If I was a beer distributor, I'd be freaking out.

Distribution will be next in line for consolidation.  Some will have to survive due to the 3 tier system in many states.  I can see the day when all of today's major distributors are reduced to one per major area.  As far as I can tell Des Moines already only has 2 or 3.  It has caused many problems from what I've heard for the craft brewers here.  One major one being the restrictions on growler sales which technically have to go through the 3 tier system for customers to take them home.  This may have been fixed but I haven't checked in a long time.

At one time several breweries downtown couldn't get any distributor to deal with them since the volume was too small to be worth the time.  With only one in a given area it would be even worse.


The Pub / Re: Ten Drinks a Week
« on: September 16, 2015, 09:19:05 AM »
You need to get out on those beautiful Oregon trails Denny.

Yeah' but that's not as easy as walking into the guest room and getting on the treadmill.  I need something so easy that I can't make excuses not to do it.  Besides, rainy season is starting!

I don't know.  Our treadmill is in the basement family room and I still do a fine job of avoiding it regularly. 


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: officially on pause
« on: September 13, 2015, 05:12:29 AM »
I've hit the point in summer that my reserves start getting low and our Oktoberfest is coming up in a couple of weeks.  I always shutdown the brewery for summer due to the heat and ground water temps. 

That said, I brewed 2 beers last month and 2 beers yesterday.  So my stocks going into Oktoberfest are 15 gallons ready in the storage cabinet and, hopefully, 9-12 gallons in the kegerator. With 10 more gallons still in fermenters. 

It's looking like a smaller crowd this year so we should okay.

Not sure at this point how much I will have to cut back on this hobby for the next year though.  I had to replace my old truck last week which was not really in the plan.  Some serious budget review going on at the moment.   :-\

I have enough grain and hops to fill all my kegs so that's a good thing and the new truck is beautiful.   :)


All Grain Brewing / Re: Golden ratio beer
« on: September 10, 2015, 05:33:28 AM »
No, but the ratio of the circumference to diameter of my kettle is and always has been 3.14.

On my kettle it a bit closer to 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128 but then I got tired and figured it was close enough.   ;D

I would be interested to know what ingredients you would relate to each other for this type of recipe.  It might be fun, I'm just not seeing an easy correlation this early.


** Edited to id what kettle I was making the joke about because it is also too early for me to type well.

The Pub / Re: Ten Drinks a Week
« on: September 09, 2015, 12:29:30 PM »
Ten drinks a week?  What am i supposed to do on Tuesday?     ;)

Seriously, that's probably not a bad plan.  Like many others on this thread I probably average 3 a night.  I have found that it seems more like a behavioral training thing though.  I can make 3 or trips to the kegorator a night but only fill each glass half full and still satisfied.  The next step was using smaller glasses and still only filling them half way.  Something seems to be not right if I only make one trip downstairs.

It worked for a while but didn't last.  The portion sizes tend to creep back up and that pint glass just feels "right" so I end back where I started.  It doesn't help to be an equal opportunity drinker either.  Happy? Angry? Depressed? Excited? Bored?  It's all the same.  Let's have a beer!


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