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Messages - rbowers

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General Homebrew Discussion / Best time to and finnings for Kolsch
« on: March 27, 2012, 06:35:36 AM »
I have a batch of kolsch fermenting in the primary now and plan to continue for at least 2 weeks.  I will then place into lagering keg for 4 weeks at 34F or so.  When is the best time to add gelatin finnings- into the lagering vessel or wait to add to serving keg?  I'm shooting for excellent clarity with this batch.

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermwrap Heater
« on: March 15, 2012, 07:49:47 PM »
I found a thermowell stopper works well.  The stopper has the normal airlock hole as well as a long SS extension that drops down into the beer- its hollow and the probe with Johnson controls can drop right down into it giving you pretty accurate temps.  I tape my fermwrap directly onto the carboy.  Be sure you really understand the switches and controls on the temp controller- I had a saison batch go into the low 90s because of a mistake in the setup- I was shooting for warm mid 80s- 90s was likely too much.  I suggest a trial run with some water in the carboy to make sure it clicks on and off when you want it to.

Equipment and Software / New Boil Kettle
« on: March 15, 2012, 07:44:12 PM »
I just picked up my new kettle from the welder today- I converted a 15.5G sanke keg into my new brew kettle complete with a ball valve and site gauge.  I calibrated the site gauge today and realized my dead space is a lot more than my previous kettle.  It came out close to 2 gallons (basically the volume left in the kettle after letting it drain without tipping it on its side. 
How should I account for this in recipe formulation and water needed?  In my prior kettle I did tip the kettle towards the end of draining it thru the wort chiller and into the fermenter to maximize my volume.  Any suggestions?

Yeast and Fermentation / Sanitation and Brett
« on: March 02, 2012, 07:13:57 PM »
Fermenting a saison with farmhouse blend that contains Brett- what is the best way to sanitize my gear?  I had it in glass Carboys (primary and now secondary), it has touched a metal SS racking cane with plastic tip, and a short length of tubing.  Can I boil all the small stuff?  I've heard that starsan can sanitize Brett.  If I keg this beer what can I do to sanitize the keg?

Just brewed up my second saison attempt 2 weeks ago using white labs American farmhouse blend which has Brett in it.  I emailed white labs regarding the narrow temp range posted on the vial 68-72.  Theyre reply was that specifically with saisons the increased temp can certainly contribute to flavor and attenuation.  The temp controller went a little haywire (probable user error on my part) and after a few days of warming up to 84 I came down one morning to find the temp resting at a smoking 91F!  I have since cooled it back down to the 84-85 range for the last week.  After 2 weeks I'm at 1.010, tastes a bit strange not quite funky yet.  I guess my point is while the high temps yielded some nice attenuation (and still bubbling every 25 sec or so) the flavor at least for now seems a bit off what I wanted.  My prior attempt kept in the mid to low 70s was quite tasty and in the future I may shy away from going anywhere above 80.  But we will ride this one through and see how it ends after hopefully letting the Brett clean up whatever is left.

All Grain Brewing / Short higher temp mashes
« on: February 25, 2012, 08:42:54 PM »
I recently looked over Stone Brewing's book that contains a fair amount of their recipes and I noticed some of these recipes call for significantly shortened mash times compared to the standard 60-90 min I'm used to.  Some are as short as 10-20 min at 157F followed by a mash out step.  What are the effects of this?  Will this add substantially to the body of a beer?
I have often felt my beers are sometimes a bit thin despite higher mash temps.  Is this something worth considering or am I merely going to sacrifice overall yield?  Any thoughts?

Yeast and Fermentation / WL 670 American Farmhouse
« on: February 18, 2012, 08:35:04 PM »
Has anyone used this strain before and if so what have been your impressions?  I picked up a bottle for a saison I have planned.  I was curious what anyone thinks about progressively increasing the fermentation temp may yield in terms of flavors.  The suggested temp range is 68-72 but I know a lot of saisons ferment progressively higher.  I was thinking of trying this going up into the high 70s thru primary fermentation to accentuate some of the yeast flavors but not necessarily sure how this yeast may react.  Any thoughts?

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Poor carbonation in a high gravity beer
« on: January 30, 2012, 08:29:30 PM »
They are sitting down in the basement which is around 62-65F.  I had planned on aging the beer a few months anyways but as usual I got a little excited and cracked one open to check the taste at 2 weeks.  I'll leave it alone another month and see what I get.  Thanks

Kegging and Bottling / Poor carbonation in a high gravity beer
« on: January 30, 2012, 03:55:55 PM »
I brewed up a belgian tripel back in October that I am having some problems with carbonation with now.  To run a little experiment I split the original batch up into to smaller secondaries (about 2.5gal each).  The first, I kept in the secondary for about 2 months or so then bottled.  To account for the smaller batch I simply halved the priming sugar, prepped in some boiling water, and mixed it in with the beer in the bottling bucket and bottled in early January.  The second part of the batch remains in a secondary with the dregs of some orval bottles- plan to keep it there for several more months.
The first batch's carbonation after 2 weeks was pretty poor.
Is this:
a) not enough priming sugar?
b) too high alcohol content to expect much yeast activity for priming at 2 weeks?
c) something else entirely?

Regardless, if carbonation remains poor at 1 month what is the best course of action?  Do i need to add a little yeast to each bottle or completely empty, add more sugar, and re-bottle?  Suggestions on yeast?

All Grain Brewing / Re: HELP! OG way too high
« on: January 21, 2012, 11:29:51 AM »
Well I started mucking around withi things.  I drew off about 2 qt of wort, replaced with water and now i'm down to about 1.056 with about 6.5-7gallons remaining in the kettle.  I'm starting to think my hydrometer is off.  With some manipulation I can get it to read 1.0000 with water it sometimes sticks to a higher SG.  I may have misread the OG.  I assume with a decoction mash you will get higher efficiency but I agree that 106% probably isnt right.  
I'm through mucking around with it for now.  Gonna leave it be and proceed as planned.  Thanks for the help- good to know how to do the calculation for the future though- thanks.

All Grain Brewing / HELP! OG way too high
« on: January 21, 2012, 10:38:06 AM »
Breweing up a All grain bock recipe today.  This is my first effort at a decoction mash.  I had originally plugged in the numbers to beer smith but now realized I used my baseline 65% efficiency as the standard.  Its got abot 14lbs of grain in it, mostly munich and pils.  My pre boil OG is coming in at 1.074 on an 8 gallon volume.  It's boiling now with plans for a 90 min boil.  I suspect the end boil OG is going to be ridiculous.  I was shooting for 1.066-1.07 but no way that's gonna happen after 1.5-2 gallons boil off.  Any suggestions on how to bring it back down?  I assume I could pull off a certain amount of wort and then replace it with water but I don't know how to calculate the amount.  Please help- boiling now. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Storage of a Starter
« on: December 31, 2011, 05:20:20 PM »
So I got ready to brew the other day by starting up a starter with a lager yeast- all went well until my back went out and now brew day has been cancelled.  I don't forsee me lifting heavy things for awhile.  Is it possible to salvage the starter?  This was the first starter I made with my new stir plate and it looks like everything went great- right now its just sitting in my fridge with foil over the top of the flask.  How long can it keep and should I change to an airlock?

Pimp My System / Re: Tap Handle Project
« on: December 22, 2011, 02:26:28 PM »
I drilled a hole in the base and dropped in an insert with threads- in retrospect the hardest part was centering the hole and making sure it went in the right direction.  Not perfect but works out ok.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Will this work?
« on: December 10, 2011, 12:03:47 PM »
yeah I was thinking of making another hole for a thermometer probe

General Homebrew Discussion / Will this work?
« on: December 10, 2011, 11:54:31 AM »
So I need a vessel for lagering as my interest has grown in making these beers.  The keezer is full of beer that I prefer not to chill down to 32F for long periods of time but I figure it can serve as the vessel for primary fermentation and some initial chilling to 38 or so.  My efforts at obtaining another freezer/fridge for the garage (this would be #3) have been met with strong opposition by my wife.  So here is my plan:
I am going to get a large heavy duty garbage can, cut some thick long strips of insulation (construction grade stuff) and line the entire inside (sides/bottom/lid) of the can then fill in the gaps with the spray foam insulation (maybe cover it all for good measure).  A small faucet or ball valve will be installed.
This will be filled with ice water into which my carboy of future lager will be submerged and left for 4-6 weeks. 
Obviously changes in ice will be required with draining off water but hopefully not too often ( ambient temps in winter around here are 40F- garage currently sits at 60F but hopefully will be chilling further as winter progresses).
Has anyone tried this?
How often do you think the ice will have to be changed?- I'm hoping that once the carboy is chilled down the cold thermal mass will hold pretty stable with minimal intervention.
Thoughts and suggestions appreciated.

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