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Messages - Slowbrew

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cleaners
« on: April 06, 2018, 10:58:30 AM »
The main cleaning/sanitizing chemicals in my brewery anymore are PBW, StarSan and Barkeepers Fried.  Other than that dish soap.

I used One-Step early on because it came with my first kit but it expensive and didn't really work any better the three I use today.


Equipment and Software / Re: Brewie party kegs
« on: March 28, 2018, 11:18:53 AM »
A long time ago I used mini kegs like these.  I have never seen the ones with a built in tap available to homebrewers before.  My system required a tap you needed to push through the bung.  The tap handle also housed a 16g CO2 bottle.

These look like they would work great for parties. 


One simple thing that would have helped me quite a bit, way back in my youth (feeling old today), is knowing a five gallon pot will work for extract brews but a 10 gallon pot will make better beer.

I have two small 5 gallon pots that work well for my two all grain batches a day brewing schedule but my 12 gallon kettle is the thing that makes it all work.  As was pointed out earlier, bigger can be better in some cases.  Don't assume "I'll only ever brew extract and five gallon batches" because you'll likely be wrong.  Get a big kettle if you can afford it.  That will save you buying it twice.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Second beer is done!
« on: March 21, 2018, 11:09:48 AM »
It's always satisfying to open the first bottle of a new batch.  So much work and worry and then, ahhh, great beer!

Time to start another.


Equipment and Software / Re: Aluminum Kettle
« on: March 14, 2018, 05:03:28 PM »
Is this a Ford truck versus Chevy truck thing?

I don't plan on dumping a ton of busted concrete in my kettle, but I think Jeff is saying I could.  As for Ford and Chevy beyond that, we're not supposed to talk religion on the forum.
Right! I forgot about that rule.

Not to open a can of worms, but the whole steel vs. aluminum design thing is a GREAT thing for consumers. More options are a good thing if people properly weigh the pros and cons and select what best suits their needs.

Just like with aluminum and steel kettles.

The only downside to the truck debate is if you're a Ford guy and want a steel truck, or a GM guy and want to try aluminum. Honestly I find the debate about pushrods vs. modular motors to be the more interesting.

The next time I'm on the market for a larger kettle I'm definitely considering the big pots at a local restaurant supply place.  Aluminum is fine with me.

On the truck side; I have an F150 with an aluminum body and haven't seen any issues.  Having owned both steal and aluminum trucks I can dent either one.   ???  I will say that no truck owner would willingly dump cinder block into their truck bed from 6 feet up. 


Jim is man with my own view of the world.  I too haven't used my hydrometer in years.  My refractometer gets me "close enough" and for me that's good enough.  I don't have to file federal paperwork or worry about audits so if my kegs don't explode, I'm happy.

Everyone's views have been interesting and informative but for me the need for perfection just isn't there.

Thanks Jim!


Kegging and Bottling / Re: DISH WASHER
« on: March 08, 2018, 06:57:58 PM »
My brother used to use the dishwasher all the time for sterilizing his bottles.  He had good results. 

It's all past tense because he gave up brewing not because he stopped using his dishwasher.   ;D


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Fermentation
« on: March 08, 2018, 06:55:24 PM »
You don't see as much activity with a lager yeast.  Ales ferment on top with lots of krausen.  Lagers hangout on the bottom and don't float as much stuff on top.  As long as you see some bubbles coming through the surface it will be fine.  Next time start cooler if you can, like Major said. 

I'd give it some time.  Lagers behave differently than ales.  It will get there.  This is the kind of situation that RDWHAHB was created for.  8^)


I don't disagree paul but a lot of lager strains still produce plenty of krausen even at cold temps. Agree usually not nearly as much as ales though.

OP: You can make a really good "mock" lager with ale yeasts. Dry yeasts such as US-05 can do very well and produce very clean results. It is important to get the temp down though. As was mentioned, the exothermic activity of fermentation is going to raise your fermentation temp well over ambient. Do a search for "homebrew swamp cooler" as an inexpensive way to control fermentation temps. Warm fermentation does not make the best beer.

I agree Keith.  My ales tend go huge on the krausen and the lagers behave better.  It definitely varies though.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Fermentation
« on: March 06, 2018, 10:33:22 PM »
You don't see as much activity with a lager yeast.  Ales ferment on top with lots of krausen.  Lagers hangout on the bottom and don't float as much stuff on top.  As long as you see some bubbles coming through the surface it will be fine.  Next time start cooler if you can, like Major said. 

I'd give it some time.  Lagers behave differently than ales.  It will get there.  This is the kind of situation that RDWHAHB was created for.  8^)


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: aftertaste
« on: March 04, 2018, 01:09:10 PM »
It is probably temp related but can you tell us what the aftertaste tastes like?  Metallic, cardboard or some other flavor?

As an example; I noticed a metallic aftertaste from my American wheat last night but only in the first glass.  My second was clean.  In my case it is either oxidized due to old age or I need to clean my beer lines (or both).  Different flavors mean different causes, usually.

We;come to the fun!


The Pub / Re: Favorite unexpected learning moments
« on: February 28, 2018, 02:20:04 PM »
I was surprised by the Mona Lisa room too.  It was so crowded and everyone pushing and jockeying to get a better look at the lady.  When you turn around the entire other wall is a painting of The Wedding at Cana.  It is massive and gorgeous and no one even noticed it.  I wanted to hang out and just spend time that painting but the folks I was with had their list of "have to sees" so we moved on.

The British History Museum has so many amazing things in it too.  My wife and I wandered in it for 4 hours until the doors closed.  I could have spent 2 more days there.


The Pub / Re: Kids in brew pubs/tasting rooms
« on: February 20, 2018, 06:26:51 PM »
In Iowa, Des Moines area at least, if you only have a tap room (i.e. no food service) then no kids are allowed in.  Basically you are a bar and bars are adult entertainment venues, not family places.  It makes it easy for the bar owner since it's the law.

If you have a restaurant then kids can be there with you. 

It generally works okay.  I've only heard of one place having a problem with it.  That was because they are located beside a popular bike trail and if Mom and Dad wanted a beer, they had to ditch the kids somewhere.  They contracted with a couple food trucks to get around it.

I personally don't think kids really belong in bars but I also spent many evenings waiting for my parents to come pick me up after an out of town game at the VFW club since they were the only place open (unless the bowling alley got it license back for awhile). It's pretty slim pickings in a town of 350 out in rural Iowa.

Oh, and the bars in Germany are pretty nice.  The kids are used to being there and the parents still parent over there.  8^)

To each their own, and then some.  Prost!


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: New here, new to brewing
« on: February 04, 2018, 12:50:03 PM »
Welcome the forum and to the hobby!

Many people have decided to leave the secondary fermentor in the box for most beers anymore.  A week or 2 longer in the primary will generally clar the beer and not transferring to the second vessel reduces the risk of oxygen.  You can do a secondary if you like.  I did many of them when I started out too. 

Just something to think about.


Kegging and Bottling / Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« on: February 03, 2018, 01:30:21 PM »
Agree, especially replace all O rings.  I do this whenever I get a new used keg, and you'll want to do so once in a while in the future.

On general keg cleaning:  I break them down every time I clean them.  I've learned from long experience it's way easier to give a wrench a couple of twists than to come up with some elaborate CIP method. Fill the keg with cleaning solution,  drop the liquid dip tube in there, all the little pieces and the lid into a little pail of cleaner. Come back and rinse and reassemble whenever you get around to it.

I clean my kegs the same general way.  Sightly different method of keeping all the parts with the same keg.
I mix the PBW in the keg I'm cleaning and just drop the parts into the keg to soak.  When I start the next keg (I normally clean 4+ kegs at a time) I rack the PBW solution out of the first keg into the second.  Then I, literally, rinse and repeat until all kegs are clean.



All Grain Brewing / Re: Sudden Barley Crusher issue
« on: January 10, 2018, 12:25:36 PM »
My JSP mill has worked longer than my BC at this point, but the BC is a nice backup for my roast malts for hand grinding using the manual handle.  That way I don't have to worry about running some pale malt through it to clean it for the next full batch grind.
Don't want to think of ever moving on from JSP  (had fun building it out myself from the rather crude basic model too) but Jack is retiring/has retired? and parts and support will disappear.  Over a year since LHBS was cut off from ordering, and website is pretty much nonfunctional.  It surprised me that there was no succession plan for the company, but as I understand it this was a hobby gone wild, just run out of his house, Jack in the back manufacturing and his wife handling the business. So we have to have a plan B, and BC looks like it. Is there a better option? (Maybe there will be, but I don't  know how much life is left on my rollers. If only I'd bought the case hardened option up fromt...)

I have the same Barley Crusher story as most - worked great, until it didn't work any more.  I feel like I got my money's worth out of it.  However, when it started to have problems I bought a Monster Mill  - really happy with it, and it is a better mill than BC in my experience.  I don't know that I will ever have to buy another mill again, but if I did, I would not hesitate to get another monster mill.
2 or 3 roller?

I have the same experience.  I got a MM3 mill. 

I've only made about 6 batches with it so far and I am stilling learning the tricks to make it work correctly.  On the last 2 batches my extract efficiency is back in my "normal" range.  I'm excited to have more brewing time now that our kitchen remodel is almost done and see if I can push it higher still.

Adjusting a 3 roller mill is different than a 2 roller.  The videos on the web by Monster Mill are very helpful.  The way mill table is setup caused some binding on the drive roller but adding a pillow block to the drive shaft by the drive wheel relieved the pressure causing the problem.  Always new stuff to learn. ;D


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