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Messages - Slowbrew

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Zymurgy / Re: May/June print edition shipping issues
« on: May 05, 2016, 01:21:52 PM »
Mine arrived in perfect condition here in Des Moines. 

USPS has been making some major changes in their system though.  Who knows if that's part of it or not.


Other Fermentables / Re: Fruit in secondary
« on: May 02, 2016, 12:22:51 PM »
I don't know you can say Freezing is = to sanitation.  Freezing yeast to normal freezer temps doesn't kill it, why would wild yeast die off?  I would think you really want to avoid Lacto, Pedio, and Brett in your melomel, but I don't know maybe you do?  If you want to avoid them I am pretty sure  Freezing for <24 hours wont do the trick.  Plus these berries have been through a lot to reach that shelf you bought them off of, who knows what dirt, from what surface got kicked up or came into direct contact to those berries...
From what I understand, honey has some natural antimicrobial properties in addition to the low pH and alcohol content of a finished mead. I've heard several reports of people intentionally trying to make a sour mead and being unsuccessful, so I have little concern with unintentional contamination.

Personally, I've never sanitized fruit in any melomel (primary or secondary) and have never run into any contamination issues.
Honey is said to be the only natural food product that doesn't spoil. According to accounts from the time Alexander the Great's body was packed in honey when he died to preserve it for the long ,hot journey home.
I made mead before beer and had to learn the hard way when I started brewing beer to take sanitation seriously. My girlfriend had been making mead for years before that and had come to learn that infections just didn't happen and would, for instance, give the bottle bucket and autosiphon a quick rinse with tap water before use. Now I apply the sanitation I find necessary for beer to mead just out of habit.

My understanding of honey's ability to stop anything from growing is only in its pure form.  The sugars are so condensed that the cell walls of any normal yeasts or bacteria are broken by the pressure thereby killing anything that gets in the storage container.  This won't be as true once you dilute the honey.  If the yeast can survive to ferment it, the bugs can survive to infect it, prior to completing fermentation.  As has been said once the PH drops and there is alcohol present you should be okay adding fruit, hops, coffee, spices, nuts or whatever.


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Help!
« on: April 29, 2016, 04:07:45 AM »
+1 What Blair said.

Ales can finish the majority of the primary fermentation very quickly.  If it were me I'd just keep an eye on it.  Take a hydro reading when it starts to clear and see where it's gotten down to.

It sounds like the timeline for many beers I've made over the years (next batch is #250). 


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentation Temp - what is the impact
« on: April 15, 2016, 04:31:14 AM »
Your beer ferment at a temp higher than the ambient room temp due to heat produced by the yeast.  I would think you should okay at the temp in your basement.

The major problem I run in to with temp is not being able to get down to the recommended temp.  If the fermentation gets too warm if can produce rather nasty off flavors. 

That being said, you can go too low too and cause the yeast to go dormant or ferment very slowly.  this can give infections the time they need to get a foothold.


The Pub / Re: What's the Weather Like Where You Are?
« on: April 13, 2016, 07:52:48 AM »
Sorry to hear about the hail.  Keep an eye on the roof.  You see a hail damaged roof very easily when you tear it off by the round spots on the bottom of the shingles.  Each big hail stone can weaken or puncture a shingle.  It won't be that obvious from the top but can allow water to seep thru if bad enough.

I'm happy to have gotten by with only 2 hard freezes this week.  It looks like we should finally be warming up around here.  Low of 22F on Sunday night, a low of 27F on Monday but was in the 40's last night.  Heading towards the 60s or 70s by the weekend for highs.


Back when there was a lot of talk on boards about hot side aeration I think the general rule was <100F. 

Now days I start swirling the IC as soon as I can touch the output line without burning myself.  It's probably around 120 to 130F.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« on: April 07, 2016, 04:30:44 AM »
I'd imagine by mosts folks standards a population of 150k+ is more of a small city vs a small town. To me a small town is <5k, maybe 10k. Not to say that any given town or city can't have a small town feel. Or even neighborhoods within a city may feel small.

I grew up in a small town.  <400.  About all towns that small can keep in business is the Farmers CO-OP.


Should I be concerned that this weekend is still January 2014?   ;)


In 18 years I've dumped maybe 4 beers.  One or two so flawed they were undrinkable and a couple with major infections of some kind that I just couldn't force myself to drink.

I tend to force myself to drink everything I make since it was my fault and I should be punished for making it.   :-[  It makes you try harder to avoid stupid mistakes.

Like was said earlier some batches that I thought were terrible on day were pretty good when the keg kicked.


The Pub / Re: this is the scariest thing you will see today
« on: April 01, 2016, 10:54:01 AM »
Northern Brewer's ad for April 1st is the only one I've seen yet today that I laughed at.  The rest have been lame.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Fermtech Auto siphon.
« on: March 28, 2016, 01:04:28 PM »
I have no additional answers to the siphoning issue. 

I siphoned from my kettle to the fermentor for years but eventually added a valve to the kettle.  It's one of the best upgrades I ever made.  For all the troubles I've heard about people having with auto-siphons over the years I'd recommend your best fix is to port your kettle and forget about siphoning.

Until then, check for leaks and make sure the vertical drop is sufficient to maintain the siphon.


I prep the grain and water the night before and try to setup my brewing area.  Then I roll-out around 5AM the next morning, grab a cup of coffee and start heating water.

I brew two all grain batches each time I brew and starting early gets me done around 1:00. 

I used to take my kids to school and had to time things around the drive.  5AM worked to the 1st batch cooling while the second is still in the mash.  The kids are driving themselves (or in college) now but I still brew on the same schedule.  Old dogs, new tricks and the like.   ;D


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: You Might Be A Homebrewer If....
« on: March 18, 2016, 04:35:28 AM »
The AHA forum is bookmarked on every one of your laptops.

You get both Zymurgy and BYO in the mail.

You haven't bought commercial beer in a while.

Cheers Everyone! My Friday starts tonight... 8) ;D

Just one update to your list. ;D

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: You Might Be A Homebrewer If....
« on: March 16, 2016, 04:32:31 AM »
your biggest concern about your daughters graduation is if you'll have beer ready for the reception.

Equipment and Software / Re: Best size for a new kettle
« on: March 16, 2016, 04:30:16 AM »
In my opinion a 15gal kettle would work for both.  I have a 12gal one that works well for 5 gallon batches.  Lots of headroom.  The biggest consideration I have to work around is boil-off rate.  The larger surface area increases evaporation.  You can adjust for it but it can surprise you on really low humidity day.


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