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Messages - Slowbrew

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Hop Growing / Re: Thinking about growing hops
« on: May 15, 2015, 04:39:15 AM »
I don't grow any hops but have read enough to help with the basics.

Hops are typically propagated using the rhizomes, or roots.  Growers dig up the root balls and cut out enough rhizomes to open up the ball for new growth and then replant and propagate additional hills.  This is the same way irises and rhubarb and many other plants are grown.

The first shoots are just the first growth each spring.  Each rhizome will send up multiple shoots which will become the vines.  To limit the size of the plant and increase production you want to limit the number of vines on each hill to 3 or 4.

As I understand it most hops prefer northern climates, a little cooler and lots and lots of water.

Search the forum a bit.  I know there is at least one thread dedicated to growing hops and has a ton of good info in it.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Is a scratched cooler mash tun a problem?
« on: May 14, 2015, 08:27:22 AM »

A few scratches in the mash tun won't hurt a thing.  Whatever may lurk in the scratch will be boiled for an hour so you should have worries.  There isn't likely to be enough of anything in a scratch to cause any carry over flavors either.  Definitely in the relax, don't worry category.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Virgin brewer!
« on: May 14, 2015, 04:28:50 AM »
Technically, it is wort up until you add yeast.  After the yeast is in it is considered beer, even if it is just starting.  I wouldn't nit-pic normally but you asked.   ;D

Welcome to the obsession and as said before, ask any questions you need help with.  We all started out at the same point and are happy to help.


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Moving fermenter
« on: May 12, 2015, 01:45:22 PM »
Keep in mind that fermentation is exothermic and is always a few degrees above ambient when active.  The cooler temp is actually about perfect.

About the only worry you have with moving a fermentor is stirring up the trub and stuff once it has settled out.  Your beer won't mind taking a walk now and then, but if you are ready to bottle, transfer out of the primary and move the secondary/bucket or what ever.


Can you post pictures of what you have?  That might be the most helpful to all the folks here.


Equipment and Software / Re: The ethics of keggles
« on: April 30, 2015, 02:38:15 PM »
NOS means 'Not Otherwise Specified' - basically a designation for generic gas. Converted? Probably not, but you might be able to exchange it at a gas shop. If may need hydrostatic testing at this point though, which may affect value.
For the kegs, you're kind-of asking 'How long is enough?' Ethically, I'd say if you know you have someone's property the ethical route is to try to return it. In the large gray area of ethics, I'm sure at this point nobody knows they're missing. The gas cylinder, on the other hand, was probably owned by whomever left it there - or at least, you'll never figure out who owned it anyway.

That makes sense.  It isn't what I was told but in the machine shop I learned it in, it was probably easier to tell the young'uns "this one won't blow you up and these will" without going into details.   ;D

Still not to old to learn.


Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegerator Location
« on: April 30, 2015, 11:15:23 AM »
In the basement in our old laundry room (the kids call it the bouncy house because of the carpet pad we used).  It's a good location for three reasons: 

1) There isn't room anywhere else
2) the room is between the family room and wood shop/brewery/Dad Cave
3) If our guests can't make it downstairs to get a beer they probably don't need another one

Never had any major leaks, yet.


Equipment and Software / Re: The ethics of keggles
« on: April 30, 2015, 11:08:34 AM »
Bump for input,
     At work today, I found 2 old Hudepohl brewing Company half barrel kegs. They are left over from a company picnic at least 10 years ago. One is actually still about half full and pressurized. I also found a 20#(I think) tank of beer gas: labeled "compressed gas, N.O.S."
    So I have a few questions, as the brewery is operated by a different company now than when these were used at the party. I know there is a link in here for returning kegs, but at this point, is it worth it? Is it ethical to keep them? The second part also involves the question, They are metal, with rubberized tops and bottoms. Besides re-filling with beer, are they functional for anything around a home brewery? They have a metal American sanke head, and may just be rubber coated(and that is my guess) Can this rubber coating just be removed? I already have a 15 gallon boil kettle and use either a 48 or 70 qt cooler for batch sparging, so really no need for a keggle anyways. Also, any thoughts on the tank of gas? Is looks like on the other side of the label it says "Ultra mix" maybe. Can it be switched over to CO2 when I start a draft system?
     Any thoughts or suggestions anyone has would be most appreciated. Not looking to game the system, just looking for suggestions. Let me know what you think...

The only thing I can tell you is that "compressed gas, N.O.S." only means that it is non-flammable.  It's probably CO2 but you can't tell from just that label.

As for the rest of your questions... I'll leave those to others because I'm not sure where "found" 15 year old kegs fall on the ethical scale.   ::)


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: almost a lost year brewing
« on: April 29, 2015, 02:44:58 PM »
That's great!

Enjoy the fruits of your efforts!  Way to stick with it!


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: almost a lost year brewing
« on: April 29, 2015, 04:42:50 AM »
The strangest thing I see is that you continue to worry about what your fermentation looks like. Seriously. Relax about that.


Looks normal to me.  You really need to leave the bucket closed to maintain your "clean" environment in the fermentor.  It's like watching water boil, it doesn't go faster if you are watching.


Equipment and Software / Re: Ball Valve Cleaning
« on: April 25, 2015, 05:17:36 AM »
Pretty much the same procedure.  If it happens to get nasty I'll spend a bit more time on it but it noramally doesn't require much work.


All Things Food / Re: Pizza
« on: April 24, 2015, 02:19:37 PM »
To be fair, these pizzas had pretty thick crusts. My wife is still tweaking the dough recipe though, so eventually we'll get to a point where a thin crust is more workable.
Look up Peter Rheinharts recipe that uses ice water. It makes a super workable super thin crust with great flavor.
Here it is:

Ice water will make the crust more flaky.  That's why you make pie crust using ice water.  I read an article on why it works a couple of months age but don't have a link.  Basically it keeps the shortening from melting and makes pockets of fat surrounded by flour. So when you cook it the flower is pushed apart and kept from bonding with other flour.  I don't know why ice water would make pizza crust more workable but it might be related.


Equipment and Software / Re: Ball Valve Cleaning
« on: April 24, 2015, 01:58:35 PM »
I don't ever completely remove my valve from the cooler.  I'll take it apart now and then just to wash it out and run a brush through it to knock down the big uglies.  I have never gone as far as soaking it in anything.

Not saying I do it correctly but light cleaning seems to work for me.


The Pub / Re: Brand new beer style...
« on: April 22, 2015, 01:44:09 PM »
Try making a pink IPA.  :o It is for a good cause.

Don't want to derail the OP but I thought I understood the whole "brewery guys have beards thing" until I saw that guys mutton chops.  Just had to say it.  Sorry.

Back to your original programming.

I don't get the whole BIPA thing either.  Maybe it's just me being an old guy too set in my ways.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Refractometers in Heat?
« on: April 22, 2015, 01:36:49 PM »
+1 to what Denny said.

I still cool my sample down a bit before I take a reading but it probably isn't completely necessary.  The time of year I do most of my brewing I usually have a number of inches, to feet, of snow to use as a quick cooling source.  8^)


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