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Messages - rbowers

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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.

Pimp My System / Re: Brewenstein - The Brewing Monster
« on: November 21, 2011, 02:30:41 PM »
Really nice.

Pimp My System / Tap Handle Project
« on: November 21, 2011, 02:15:44 PM »
Got pretty bored with the standard black tap handles so I undertook a new project to carve some tap handles.  I have the luxury of having a DIY woodworking shop in town and got to use a wood lathe.  Had a lot of fun doing this.

Raw Materials- did away with the hockey puck idea after splitting 3 or 4 of them

Lathe work- lucky enough to have the shop guy show me a thing or two but surprisingly easy to do

Pre Stain

Post Stain- added a little polyurethane for a finish

Top-less handles- drilling the holes in the top of these was probably the hardest thing about all this, not perfect but it will do

New handle top idea was much more simple and in the end far better.  I cut out 4 equal planks of wood, drilled a hole in the bases; rounded out the sharp corners with sand paper and stained them after mounting them on some wood dowels.  I then used some magnetic primer on the fronts to allow for switchable labels to be made- I recommend taping off a square to limit the area for the primer and use at least 3 coats of this stuff, even after 4 coats the magnetic force is still a little weak but will do.  Covered it all in polyurethane and glued them down to the handles.

Finished product turned out well.  The magnetic labels switch out easily.  Got all this stuff at a local craft store.  I used Adobe Illustrator for my first effort at label design- insanely expensive software but you can sign up for a free trial month (I am going to have to find numerous other uses for the software prior to justifying the expense of buying a copy).  Added bonus for the magnetic labels - when not in use the labels can just stick to the front of the keezer.
Let me know what you guys think

Yeast and Fermentation / Using Orval dregs
« on: October 26, 2011, 09:10:27 AM »
My latest batch (a Belgian tripel) is now 2 weeks into primary fermentation and i was thinking of splitting the batch into 2 secondaries and loading one with some Brett.  In lieu of ordering actual Brett yeast online can I use the dregs of a few beers such as Orval?  I've heard about doing this but have never actually tried.  What would be a reasonable amount of bottle dregs (# of bottles) to pitch?  It's only going to be for about 2 gallons of beer for this small experimental batch.  I know it will take at least six months or more but I'm a fan of Orval so thought it will be well worth the wait.  Any thoughts?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Secondary Carboys and cool crashing
« on: October 24, 2011, 09:54:28 AM »
Thanks, I agree the risks don't seem to match potential benefits in this case with regard to the secondary

General Homebrew Discussion / Secondary Carboys and cool crashing
« on: October 24, 2011, 09:15:23 AM »
Is it necessary or beneficial to place a relatively straight forward beer such as the American blond ale I am fermenting now into a secondary?  I plan on cold crashing it prior to kegging to improve clarity.  Not the kind of beer i feel would benefit much from a secondary.  Would I gain anything by placing it in a secondary for a couple weeks after its been in the primary for 10 days or is it best to just cold crash it in the primary after fermentation is complete and then keg?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: crash cooling ales
« on: October 07, 2011, 03:19:56 PM »
Thanks for all the good info.  I went ahead and put the primary into the keezer yesterday at 34F.  I guess we will see how it goes.  After cooling I'm going to rack to a corny and treat as a secondary with addition of the bourbon oak cubes.  This will be left to sit at room temp for a week or two with frequent sampling to get the oak flavor right.  I'll keep you posted

General Homebrew Discussion / crash cooling ales
« on: October 04, 2011, 05:46:38 AM »
Does anyone know much about crash cooling ales?  I have a lager in my keezer now lagering for  6 weeks at 34F and wanted to put my two other ales (currently in the primary but likely done fermenting) in kegs and crash cool them to help clear them up.  Can these simply be rapidly chilled down to 34 degrees or is it better to slowly drop the temp down?  How long will they need to cool for- ideally I would just leave them in the keezer, force carbonate, and drink when ready.
Also one is going to be aged on some bourbon oak cubes in the keg for anywhere from 1-4 weeks depending on flavors obtained- can this be done at such low temps or would it be preferable to do this at room air temp and then crash cool?
Are there consequences to having rapidly shifting temps (32-68F) to beers after fermentation is complete?

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Too much head on beer
« on: September 28, 2011, 07:36:22 PM »
This brings up some points I could use clarified re: ball lock kegs and co2 in general.  If I were to carbonate at 30 psi for 2 days I assume once the co2 has dissolved the co2 tank continues to push a pressure of 30 psi onto the beer unless reduced.  If you do reduce the pressure prior to purging the valve or pouring a beer does the head space pressure drop to the new setting or does it remain at 30 psi?  Will the co2 tank only actually put more gas into the keg once the pressure drops at or below the new co 2 pressure setting?  Does the excess foam come more from too much carbonation suspended in the beer, too high a head space pressure, or some combination- or are these in the end the exact same thing?  I should have paid more attention in physics class I guess.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Too much head on beer
« on: September 28, 2011, 03:45:24 PM »
So I have lengthened the hose to 7 ft but still a lot of foam.  I've turned the pressure off and I am just letting off some of the gas every hour or to see if that helps.  Is it just difficult to dispense beer at higher temps because to keep it carbonated you have to have these high psi levels of 17 or so?  I am letting my lager warm up to get rid of some diacetyl but dropping the temp back down to lager temps over the next few days.  I'll have to wait and see how hints pan out.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Too much head on beer
« on: September 28, 2011, 12:30:20 PM »
I'm gonna try releasing all the co2 off for a few seconds and then retry at a pressure of 4-6 psi.  Keep u posted

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Too much head on beer
« on: September 28, 2011, 11:36:09 AM »
I guess my question is: once the beer is carbonated at the force carbonation pressure does reducing the pressure to say 7-10 psi result in any co2 coming out of solution?  Does it make any sense to say the beer tastes under carbonated but there is copious amounts of head?  Beer line is about 4-5 ft.

Kegging and Bottling / Too much head on beer
« on: September 28, 2011, 11:07:07 AM »
I just started kegging and my first beer on tap seems to have an inordinate amount of head (I'm pouring half beer, half foam).  I had the keg force carbonate at about 17 psi for several days at around 50 degrees.  After that time should the pressure be reduced to a certain pour pressure?  Will the beer stay carbonated if I drop the pressure to say 6-10?  I am planning on dropping the temp for my lager (same fridge as tapped beer)- what should I do regarding the pressure setting once it's at a much lower temp, say 36 degrees.

All Grain Brewing / lagerering vessel
« on: September 25, 2011, 08:33:26 PM »
For lagering (this is my frst batch):
1) Is it okay and/or recommended to use a corny keg as the lagering vessel?  Can beer be dispensed from the same keg after lagering is finished?
2) How close to final gravity should I be prior to lagering?
3) Is it best to cool the beer in the primary prior to transfer to the lagering vessel or rack and then cool?
4) If the beer lagers in the keg do I need to periodically release pressure so as not to affect yeast activity?


Pimp My System / Re: Keezer build + some questions
« on: September 13, 2011, 01:35:12 PM »
Ok let's try this.  Link should take you to the photos:

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