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Messages - rbowers

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Poor carbonation in a high gravity beer
« on: January 31, 2012, 03:29:30 AM »
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, 10:55:55 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, 06:29:51 PM »
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, 05:38:06 PM »
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: January 01, 2012, 12:20:20 AM »
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, 09:26:28 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, 07:03:47 PM »
yeah I was thinking of making another hole for a thermometer probe

General Homebrew Discussion / Will this work?
« on: December 10, 2011, 06:54:31 PM »
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, 09:30:41 PM »
Really nice.

Pimp My System / Tap Handle Project
« on: November 21, 2011, 09:15:44 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, 04:10:27 PM »
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, 04:54:28 PM »
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, 04:15:23 PM »
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, 10:19:56 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, 12:46:38 PM »
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?

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