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Topics - rbowers

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General Homebrew Discussion / Hop stands and bitterring addition
« on: April 12, 2018, 04:11:30 PM »
When doing a hop stand say for 30min at 180-190F (held constant by electric element) you will likely get some AA isomerization from the hop stand hops added after the boil- or at least that is my understanding/assumption.  Will you continue to get isomerization from your 60 min addition bittering hops and if so, how much?  Going to brew an APA with a 60 min addition, 30min hop stand at 180 or so, and dry hop.  Accounting for just the 60 min bitterring charge I assume about 23 IBUs (1oz of pacific jade 14.3%AA in a 12 gal batch).  The hop stand hops are going to contribute about 15IBUs assuming about 10% utilization (what I have read is best estimate).  Looking to get around 37-38 IBU total.  Is there a chance continued isomerization of 60min addition during the hop stand will push it much higher?  How much higher?

General Homebrew Discussion / Suddenly cloudy beer
« on: April 06, 2018, 08:57:53 PM »
I have noticed I have two kegs (rye IPA and English mild) that have suddenly gone cloudy despite being brilliantly clear earlier.  The mild especially was very clear.  Both kegs are probably 75% empty.  They Taste about the same currently as they did before, the IPA perhaps a little fuller.  Both hold a nice head still.  They have not been moved out of the keezer since initial placement there.  The rye IPA was fined with gelatin, the mild was naturally clear with a high floc yeast.  Any ideas what could be going on?

Beer Recipes / Southern Hemisphere Pale Recipe
« on: March 29, 2018, 08:01:11 PM »
Trying to use up some random hops I have in the freezer that have accumulated for one reason or another.  I was thinking an American Pale Ale with mostly NZ/AU hops (it just so happens to be what I have on hand).  Have not used these much before or do not have firm recollections of their characteristics and how they may go together. 

2 oz Nelson Sauvin
1 oz Wakatu
1 oz Galaxy

Also have:
2oz of Amarillo
1oz citra (lupulin)
1oz mosaic (lupulin)
1oz cascade
1oz czech saaz whole hops

I have read amarillo can go well together with some of the NZ/AU hops above. 
Any recommendations on flavor/aroma combos?  Mix it all together and add at 15/5/Whirlpool and Dry Hop?  Will use whatever is left out for a 60 min addition. 

Will target 35-38 IBUs or so.  Simple malt base of 95% 2 row, 5% crystal 40 or so. 

No doubt going by the LHBS so could supplement other hops too if someone has a suggestion but trying to clear out the freezer a bit and use what I have.
Last thing- some of these hops are 2+yrs old but are in original vacuum package and in the chest freezer the whole time.  Any concern they may be suboptimal?  Thanks

General Homebrew Discussion / Beer gun and warm beer
« on: March 19, 2018, 02:11:28 PM »
Going to bottle a brett saison today for the first time using a beer gun.  The beer is not carbonated- I am choosing to add sugar (done this morning) and prime in the bottle.  The beer has been sitting in a keg, dry hops now removed, for the last week at ~68F.  It had some natural carbonation to it but for the last week I have been letting off gas a few times a day.  I assume it is relatively flat or maybe has a little natural carbonation to it at this time. 

My question is: If I bottle it warm with the beer gun am I going to have foam issues even if the beer is not really carbonated?  I wouldn't imagine there would be too much CO2 left to come out of carbonation and it has been sitting at room temp anyways so there is no differential to cause extra foaming, right?  If I do chill it do I need to worry about dropping residual yeast out of suspension or if it is cold for just a short time will there be plenty around to carb up the bottles?

General Homebrew Discussion / Smooth Bitterness in an IPA
« on: March 18, 2018, 02:33:11 PM »
Curious to hear if anyone has ideas on creating a smoother bitterness in an IPA.  My attempts in the past, which I like (my wife not so much), come out on the harsher end.  Beers from New Belgium and Lagunitas for example seem to carry an inherent recognizable smoothness to them which I'd like to know how what factors to consider to drive towards that may generate that result.  I have tried using hops described as "smooth" (Magnum) but it doesn't quite get the desired result.

Is it a function of:
- Cl-:SO4 ratios in mash?- will higher Cl levels smooth out the bitterness or just mute it entirely?
- Residual Sweetness from higher FG or crystal malts that balance the bitterness differently.  I have made a cloyingly sweet IPA with too much crystal and I know that is not what I am after.
- Hop type? - other suggestions for smooth bittering hops?
- Specific yeast type?

Would just be interested to know what levers to toy with to inch towards a very smooth and drinkable IPA.

General Homebrew Discussion / Beer Gun and Brett Beers
« on: March 08, 2018, 04:32:10 PM »
I have a beer gun given to me as a gift that I have never used (pretty much keg everything).  However now I have a brett saison that I have been watching the last few months, now dry hopped, and ready to go.  I would like to bottle this: 1) to keep brett out of my keg lines and 2) would like to see what it does over a bit of time.

The beer has been in a 2.5gal keg under a little pressure.  The gravity has been relatively stable at 1.003-1.002 the last 2 months.  That being said, the beer is not entirely flat.  It probably finished a few points in the keg. 

Not knowing what carbonation level exists currently I am a little leery of priming with sugar and bottling.  The other option would be to put some CO2 on it for 2 weeks and force carb it.  I would like it to be fairly carbonated (around 3 vol CO2). 

1) Will force carbed beer at 3 volumes present significant problems with beer gun?
2) Would it be better to try and flatten the beer out over the next week or two by releasing pressure then prime with sugar?  Will this cause significant loss of dry hop flavor?
3) Any reason to worry about bottle bomb with a stable gravity as described above?


All Grain Brewing / Wort Chillers
« on: February 21, 2018, 07:27:30 PM »
I am in the market for a new wort chiller and looking for some general feedback/individual recs.  I have used a shirron plate chiller for years and I think it has runs its course.  The threads are damaged on the wort exit and I am getting leaks/having difficulty getting a nipple/quick disconnect on it.  it also never has quite got the wort down to pitching temps (65F).  Part of this is ground water temp which is in the mid-low 60s usually (better in winter) but it has always left me with an additional process to do to get the wort down low enough.  I have crafted all types of "prechiller" gadgets to get water temp down, tried slowing the exit flow, etc but no fixes I have been particularly happy with.  Now that the plate chiller is likely on its way out I am looking at the copper coil counterflow chiller on More Beer.  Pricey but seems to get great reviews.  An immersion chiller is not an option as the electric heating element will not prevent adequate submersion.

Regarding the copper coil counterflow chiller does anyone have good experience with these?  Are they prone to clogging?

I'd also like to be able to recirc the chilling wort back to the kettle to whirlpool but not sure the flow will be fast enough to generate a whirlpool (certainly is not with the shirron plate chiller).  Not a must have feature but would be nice.  Thoughts?

All Grain Brewing / Water Chemistry Calculators
« on: February 19, 2018, 02:30:36 PM »
I have been trying to dial in water chemistry a bit more accurately and have gotten some conflicting results from brewing calculators.  I have been using Bru'nWater the last several batches and it seems to over estimate the addition of acid (at least in the last batch).  I have looked around at other calculators and the same data entry seems to yield different results.  I have a water test kit and have gotten the following results

Base Water:

Ca++ 4
Mg++ 0
Na++ 20
SO4 0
Cl- 10
Bicarbonate 48
pH 7.13

Brewing tomorrow and have the following grist and goal water profile:
25lb Vienna
0.75lb Spec B
0.5lb Chocolate
0.5lb Carafa II
0.25lb Roasted Barley

Water Goal Profile:

10gal mash water ~1.5qrt/lb.

I guess my question is why is one calculator generating a mash pH with no acid additions of 5.28 and another says it will be 5.53?  I guess it is not a terribly big deal as both are in a decently acceptable range.  Last brew day though I went with the first one, added the recommended acid additions and ended up with a pH of 4.9.  Just trying to get a feel for which one to trust.  Does anyone have any logic to suggest one more accurate than the other?

Yeast and Fermentation / WLP670
« on: January 17, 2018, 05:21:25 PM »
Looking to do the Tank 7 Clone recipe on AHA website and want to use the WLP670 Farmhouse Blend yeast.  Couple of questions:

- Is it appropriate to do a starter with this blend or will that throw off the ratios of yeast within the blend?
- If no starter, is it best to buy 2 tubes of yeast instead or will underpitching create some of the more interesting flavors this beer may benefit from?  OG fairly high at 1.072
- Thoughts on conditioning time with this yeast after fermentation?  Some reviews seem to suggest it really comes alive if given an extra 2 months or so post-fermentation.


All Grain Brewing / Beta Glucan Rest for rye malt
« on: December 21, 2017, 05:40:37 PM »
Going to brew up a rye IPA soon with about 20% malted rye.  Is doing a beta glucan rest a good idea with that percentage?  I was planning on throwing in about 8oz of rice hulls to help lautering.  I use a continuous recirculation HERMS setup.  If doing a rest is recommended should it be the entire mash or just the rye malt or does that matter?  Also any recommendations on water to grist ratio?  I usually go between 1.25 and 1.5 qts/lb but have not used this much rye before.

Beer Recipes / Rye IPA recipe
« on: December 12, 2017, 11:02:47 AM »
I haven't used much rye in the past but definitely like the character.  This is what I have mocked up for a malt bill for a rye IPA I plan to brew soon.  Haven't found much info on Cara-rye so curious if anyone has feedback on that.

6 Gal Batch
10lb US 2 row (69%)
2.5lb Rye Malt (17%)
1.5lb Munich (10.5%)
0.5 lb Cara-rye (3.5%)

Mash around 150 x 60 min.  I haven't planned out the hops yet but curious if this will yield a pronounced spicy rye IPA.
Probably use Northwest Ale (WY1332) as I have some harvested from a recent batch.

Yeast and Fermentation / Keeping cultured yeast/bugs alive over time
« on: November 30, 2017, 11:27:49 AM »
What is the best way to sustain yeast/souring bacteria alive that are cultured up from bottle dregs?  I have grown up a fair amount of yeast and presumably souring bacteria in a series of small flasks by combining bottle dregs and low gravity starter wort with the intention of adding it to a series of beers down the road.  I have already done this with one batch but am wondering how I can keep the culture I grew up from bottle dregs alive over several months.  The cultures were grown up from 2 Russian River and one Wicked Weed bottle.  The Russian River I cannot easily obtain so looking to keep it going if possible. 

I have been feeding it every 1-2 months with fresh low gravity wort after decanting off the spent wort (which tastes pretty good).  Is this ok to leave at room temp and just keep feeding it or should I be leaving them out a few weeks then cold storing in the fridge after each feeding?

Growth/fermentation is obviously happening as activity is seen in the airlock, the wort changes sour, and the yeast/bug cake seems to be increasing with each feeding.  However, are the majority of these cells dying over time?  Would it be better to plan ahead better and pour off some fresh slurry from a storage flask, add fresh wort, and dump that whole new flask in the beer after allowing for 1-2 weeks of growth?

I know to expect the ratios of yeast (brett and whatever sacc may be alive) as well as bacteria to change over time so results won't be consistent but still a fun side project.

Beer Recipes / Critique 1st attempt at English Dark Mild
« on: November 26, 2017, 04:10:28 PM »
Haven't made this style before and using mild malt which will also be a first.  Just looking for any input or tips on ratios as well as planned mash temp considering low attenuating yeast.  Mainly struggling around a balance of mild malt (leaves more sweetness), % of crystal malts and other non-fermentables, a lower attenuating yeast (63-70%), and an ideal mash temp (150 vs 154 vs even higher).  Final goal is an easy drinking but highly flavorable session ale

6 Gal Batch

7lb Mild Malt (89%)
Pale Chocolate Malt 4oz (3.2%)
English Medium Crystal (60-70L) 4oz (3.2%)
Crystal 120 3.2 oz (2.5%)
Black Patent 2.5oz (2%)

EKG 0.85 oz (~19 IBU)
WLP 002

OG: ~1.037 @78% efficiency

Mash at 152 x 60 min, Mash out 168F
Pitch & Ferment 65F x 1 day then rise 1F daily up to 68 and hold until complete

Water Profile: Ca- 75, Mg-6, Na-9, Cl-44, SO4-63, HCO3-49

Read quite a few articles about other potential specialty malts including brown and amber malt but I have also not used those before.  Thoughts?

Equipment and Software / Sanitizing wort chiller/thermometer setup
« on: November 11, 2017, 09:15:15 PM »
I finally decided to install an in line thermometer on the exit of my shirron wort chiller to monitor wort temps during my chilling process.  I have used a shirron plate chiller for years with fairly good success but have always had temps in the high 70s and 80s at the end and had to wait or place the fermenter in an ice bath to get the final temp drop to mid 60s.  Part of this is the ground water temp I use to chill (mid-upper 60s) but I was hoping that adding a thermometer to the line and a ball valve to control flow that I may optimize it further.  So this whole thing is screwed together on a SS t-piece.  PLumbers tape used to stop leaks.  It has quick disconnects to take it off and on the chiller. My question is what is the best way to sanitize this rig?  Taking it apart, re-taping everything, etc is going to be a bear.  Is running hot wort thru the chiller and the rest of the tubing for 5-10min sufficient (running it back to the kettle and then when ready to chill directing it to the fermentor as I turn on chill water)?  Should/Can I submerge the entire thing in Starsan?  Can brewing thermometers be submerged (essentially came from a weldless setup for a kettle thermometer I had lying around)?

MOREBEER sells these rigs already pieced together (I just had the parts left around from prior projects) so I know people use it, just looking for good advice on sanitation.  Thanks

All Grain Brewing / Water adjustment question
« on: October 24, 2017, 09:31:21 PM »
Been toying around with water adjustments and trying to gain more understanding of the various variables.  My water after carbon filtration is a fairly blank canvas: Ca= 2, Mg = 0, Na = 13, Sulfate = 0, Cl= 7, HCO3 = 13.  pH is 7.8.  I recently listened to the Homebrew network podcast series on water adjustments and they describe doing all your adjustments as expected for the mash water BUT NOT adding any adjustments to sparge water, rather adding those salts to the kettle following the sparge and before the boil.  Part of the reasoning on this is a lack of solubility of the salts in sparge water (which I have experienced in previous batches).  To that end I will be adding the salts to get my planned profile to the mash and then tossing in the sparge salts after the sparge into the kettle before the boil.  I am also messing around with BrunWater spreadsheet and it mentions some acid additions.  The mash will require 2.9mL of Lactic acid (88%) to the 6.4 gal mash water to hit pH 5.3 (this calculation accounts for a malt bill for a fairly light colored saison of 6 SRM).  It also mentions a sparge acidification and this gets me to my question:

?If I am not adding the salts to the sparge water should I add the recommended lactic acid to the sparge water?
?If not, should I add it with the salts to the kettle once sparge is completed?

Again, baseline water pH is 7.8 so not abundantly alkaline so tempted to just leave it out but if I do am I missing any benefits of it in the kettle once all is said and done?  I may be too deep in the weeds on this but looking for advice.

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