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Topics - rbowers

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Equipment and Software / Heating element for HLT
« on: August 12, 2014, 07:19:45 AM »
I am slowly working towards increased control of my current brew system and wanted to add an electric element to my HLT thru which a 50ft herms coil circulates.  I have little to no knowledge of electricity and prefer to buy a prefabricated model.  I was looking at the blichman 120V boil coil 10 gal models.  The HLT will likely end up being a old 15.5 gal keg but would only hold 10-12 gallons for the HLT and herms coil.  My question is does anyone have experience with these?  Will it work well on a old keg for an HLT?  Again, not looking to boil water obviously in the HLT but more hold temp between 150-180F.  Would use a Johnson controller to do that.  The heat efficiency calculation blichman lists states it would have an efficiency of ~1-1.5 degrees F per minute heating capability which seems reasonable.  Ideally I would opt for a 240V model but that incurs the cost of creating a new outlet which I'm not too interested in.  Any thoughts?

Kegging and Bottling / Super carbed keg
« on: June 10, 2014, 12:06:01 PM »
I kegged a RIS a few months ago and planned on letting it sit in basement around 60F for awhile before ultimately carbonating it further and drinking it. When it went into the keg the gravity was around 1.030 down from 1.10. I periodically checked to make sure it was holding pressure and never had a problem.  Today I put it into the kegerator and it is acting like it is pressurized way above normal.  I guess it may have gotten shaken up a little bit in tranfer but not like we rolled it down a hill.  Hooking it up to a gas line, the beer shot back into the gas line despite about 20 psi on the line.  I have disconnected the gas, tried pouring off some through the beer line and pulled the pin several times to try and off gas it a bit but eventually it starts shooting foam out the pin.  Also whatever I pour off is almost pure foam and coming out rather violently.  Any chance this is infected?  Doesn't particularly taste bad or off.  I also thought terminal gravity had been reached or at least very close to it (it had about a month to ferment in the carboy).  Any suggestions? 

Kegging and Bottling / Trouble with gas posts
« on: September 07, 2013, 07:20:17 PM »
I have a few ball lock kegs that seem to mostly have these gas posts with a star pattern.  I'm not too happy with them, they are infuriating to try and get off as I can't use a socket wrench (works fine with the liquid posts which have typical shape), and would love to find a replacement or better way to get them on and off.  Any idea what type these are?  Tried looking on keg but can't find any manufacturing marks to describe the keg (Firestone, challenger, etc).  I bought a matching gas post compared to the liquid post (it is def a gas post) but the threads are different I guess cause it won't screw on.

Yeast and Fermentation / Bugs in the bottle
« on: May 06, 2013, 06:38:56 PM »
Just bottled my first attempt at a Flanders red, 5 gal batch.  It spent 8+mos in the secondary, pellicle seemed to drop out so I decided to bottle.  SG was still a little high (not sure how much 3/4cup priming sugar would add to that) at 1.014.  Can I expect the yeast and bugs to continue to metabolize leftover sugars/dextrins and it to further drop over time or am I pretty much done beyond carbonation.  Also hoping it sours a bit more with time. I also threw in champagne yeast at bottling to help carb it up.

Beer Recipes / Belgian Stout Critique/Help?
« on: April 16, 2013, 10:53:55 AM »
Looking to brew up a belgian stout to be ready for fall/winter next year.  Aiming for something along the lines of Great Divide Belgian Yeti.  Here is what I have for the malt bill:

~75 % efficiency
16lb Belgian Pale Malt
1 lb Black Patent
1lb chocolate malt
1 lb chocolate wheat
0.25 lb special B

*May consider adding 1lb of the D180 candi sugar syrup and cut back on the pale malt a bit

OG ~1.088
FG ~1.020 or so
Single Infusion with a mashout, goal temp ~152F x 90 min

Hops: I'm not sure where to go here.  I don't make a lot of stouts so it is not familiar ground for me.  I typically use magnum or warrior for bittering.  Target maybe 60-70 IBU for this batch.  Are late additions appropriate and if so what type?  I'm open to all suggestions. I feel like a lot of the flavor if this beer is going to come from the yeast and malt, hops are mainly there for bittering balance.  Next topic: yeast

Obviously if its a belgian stout the yeast is going to belgian.  I have a vial of WL 550 Belgian Ale Yeast, will use a large starter given the high OG.  anybody had other success stories with alternative yeast?  I know wyeast makes a blegian stout strain but its seasonal.  I'm open to any and all thoughts on this one.

Beer Recipes / Nelson Pairings
« on: March 17, 2013, 05:15:14 PM »
I picked up some Nelson Sauvin hops recently and haven't used them yet.  I am going to brew up a big base wort and split it between an English and American IPA.  The NS is going in the American side- I have heard good pairings with Simcoe.  I brewed an IPA recently that was heavy on the citrus/fruit side recently and wanted to swing back more towards some pine notes.  I was thinking of pairing the NS with some Simcoe and Chinook as flavor/dry hop/flameout additions.  I use magnum for most bittering additions.  Any thoughts?

Pimp My System / Brutus Ten Pressure question
« on: January 26, 2013, 05:39:03 PM »
I'm rounding up components for an upcoming brutus ten-like structure.   I've contacted a welder about the gas beam and he seems pretty excited about the project.  My question is about high versus low pressure.  I'm going to be using banjo BG14 burners (had one on hand, the other two arrived today).  These are sold as high pressure burners but could be converted it seems to low pressure?? (My research seems to say this is possible).  I like the control that high pressure affords with an adjustable regulator which I will likely purchase.  Is there any benefit to low pressure over high?  I am having a hard time finding tubing for a high pressure system.  The stuff at Home Depot/lowes that would be so incredibly convenient only is for low pressure.  I'm headed to an industrial hose supply store Monday to see if they can help.  Any suggestions?

Ingredients / Base Malt for APA
« on: December 28, 2012, 01:43:04 PM »
I was considering using a combo of pilsner and 2-row for an APA.  Looking for something fairly light, OG ~1.045-1.050.  Going to hop it with some cascade, sorachi ace (need to use these already!), and simcoe.  I thought the lighter malt would pair well with the lemon/grapefruit characters in the hops and I hear simcoe can pair well with the sorachi ace.  Overall goal is a crisp, citrusy, session type APA.  Any thoughts?  I figured i'd start with a 50:50 split of 2-row and pils + maybe a little crystal 20 to round it out a bit.

Beer Recipes / Critique IPA recipe
« on: December 03, 2012, 06:08:32 PM »
So I finally acquired some choice hops and here is how intend to use them.  I've had problems with IPAs before lacking in aroma and flavor and being mostly just unbalanced bitterness so I'm looking to avoid that this go round.  Really looking for some aroma/flavor to stand out in at least half the batch (going to use two different yeasts).  This will be my first 10 gal IPA batch.

- 19lb 2-row
- 2 lb Munich
- 1lb crystal 20
- .5lb crystal 40

- warrior 1.85 oz at 60 min for bitterring
- at 15 min: 0.5oz each simcoe, citra, Amarillo
- at 5 min:0.5oz each simcoe, citra, Amarillo
- at whirlpool: 0.5oz each simcoe, citra, Amarillo

Dry hop with an ounce each : Amarillo, citra, simcoe (in 2 separate dry hop stages)

Yeast: split to 2 five gal batches (California Ale and Irish Ale), toying around with different strains (one to showcase hops, the other more muted).

OG 1.062
Mash x 60 min at 150F

In a 10gal batch does this seem reasonable for flavor/aroma?  More/less? Suggestions appreciated.

Equipment and Software / Pumps
« on: November 20, 2012, 03:26:58 PM »
Doing some research on pumps and trying to decide on one to upgrade some features of my homebrewing setup.  Does anyone have opinions on the march pumps vs. chugger pump, or another brand?  I like the idea of a SS head if its not too pricey.  Need it to withstand boiling temps.

Ingredients / spice amounts?
« on: October 24, 2012, 08:18:01 AM »
I am brewing up a holiday ale tonight with a belgian dark strong ale as the base, 6 gallon batch.  OG ~1.075, IBU ~ 17.   I was a little unsure on the amounts of spices but this is what I have so far:

2 sticks cinnamon
1.5 tsp ground nutmeg
1 oz peeled fresh ginger (minced)

I am also throwing in 1lb of dark brown sugar for some of the fermentables.

I was going to add all at 10 minutes left in boil unless someone can advise otherwise.  Does anyone have a critique on the amounts?  Should the cinnamon be ground up prior to adding? 

Beer Recipes / Saison de Noel
« on: October 12, 2012, 12:10:12 PM »
With the holidays around the corner I am planning a saison de noel for my holiday brew this year.  I'm looking to have a pretty high OG ~1.070-1.080.  Ive done a little research on typical recipes and this is what I've come up with thus far:

6gal batch

12 lb Belgian Pils
4 lb Munich
.25 lb Carafa II
1 lb Caramunich
0.25 lb Special B

1oz Aramis Hops @ 60 (8.1%AA)
.25oz Aramis Hops @ 20 (8.1%AA)
* I was looking for Strisselspalt hops but can't seem to find right now (aramis is apparently similar with higher AA%)

Yeast: Wyeast Farmhouse Ale, Belgian Ardennes, White Labs Saison Blend or other saison yeast

Mash 150F x 75 min

I'm a little up in the air with the yeast selection as I have not brewed this style before.  I enjoyed the Ardennes strain in a belgian IPA but not sure how it would do in this particular brew.  Suggestions?

Ingredients / Ideas for Sorachi Ace
« on: October 10, 2012, 07:38:44 AM »
I have had 3 oz of sorachi ace hops lying around that I haven't been able to come up with a great idea for.  Never used them before.  I was curious what everyone's thoughts might be on potential styles, good hop pairings, etc.  I have heard they can lend an oily, diacetyl type flavor to beer- is this anyone else's experience?  Are there ways to avoid this such as limiting it to early or late additions? 
The only beer I've had that I can remember this hop was Brooklyn's Sorachi Ace which I enjoyed.
I was thinking maybe a belgian IPA or a lighter beer such as an off-style kolsch (but with more hop flavor aroma).  A traditional IPA would also be good but I'm unsure what hops may go well with it.  I'm all ears

Yeast and Fermentation / Roeselare and secondary fermentation
« on: September 08, 2012, 12:49:19 PM »
So I brewed up my first Flanders red attempt recently.  I pitched wyeast 1056 + roeselare.  It showed a lot of activity for 4 or 5 days then stopped but now appears to be picking back up.  I want to rack off the yeast that dropped out but I am unsure when the best time to do this is.  Will it still form a pedicle if I rack it off now?

Beer Recipes / Emptying the hop tray
« on: September 06, 2012, 08:37:08 AM »
I need some suggestions for an upcoming recipe.  I'm trying to use up some hops left over in the freezer from previous batches/what I have lying around.  The beer will be a 10gal batch of American Amber with a malt bill of 65% 2 row, 20% munich and some crystal 40/120, victory and a little wheat.
My hops available are:
3 oz Sorachi Ace (originally destined for Belgian IPA)
1 oz simcoe
2 oz cascade
1 oz Columbus
2 oz mt hood
2 oz willamette
.25 Oz centennial
.5 oz chinook
.5 oz magnum

My original plan was to use the Columbus for bittering, cascade additions at 15 and 5 min.  But I get a bit lost after that.  The simcoe would probably be good as a late addition.  The centennial will likely just get tossed in at the end.  I'm not sure where the mt hood and willamette (or the sorachi ace) could fit in.  Ive always used willamette and mt hood in my english ales and like them there but haven't used them in any hoppy american style ales. Chinook and magnum would be alternatives for bittering.  Shooting for about 35-45 IBU.  Yeast will be split between wyeast NW ale 1332 and San Diego super strain.  I'm all ears.

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