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Messages - rbowers

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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:

Pimp My System / Re: Keezer build + some questions
« on: September 13, 2011, 12:47:02 PM »
Ok obviously no pic- how are pics uploaded?

Pimp My System / Keezer build + some questions
« on: September 13, 2011, 12:41:17 PM »
So I finally got around to it and got to work on my keezer.  Surprisingly simple to do (I am not a handy person) and really had a good time with this. Trying to figure out how to post a pic so they may or may not be included below (suggestions if you can't see them?).  Going to have four taps going hopefully soon (big brew week ahead).  The design was taken off the web and I have to say was incredibly straight forward and easy to do.  A couple of questions:

1) For temp control I have a Johnson digital thermostat controller with the temp probe coming through the wood.  I have seen a lot of other people place the temp probe in a bottle of water- I tried this but there was always a big delay in equalization of the temps and at times the ambient temp would be close to freezing while the water bottle was still above 45 degrees.  Is this ideal or is it better to simply have the probe sensing the ambient and true air temp inside the keezer.

2) This finally gives me some temp control to pursue some lager brews.  I will have room for a carboy for primary fermentation and lagering.  Is there any problem with respect to the other beers on tap in increasing and decreasing the temp over a period of weeks between 35 and 55 degrees to allow for proper fermentation and lagering of future brews?  Outside of not being able to always have very cold beer all the time (which may not be a bad thing for some of the beers) could there be any other problems?

I still need to install a 4 sided manifold to split the CO2 tank across all taps but other than that its coming along well.

All Grain Brewing / Re: First lager batch
« on: September 10, 2011, 12:36:30 PM »
Thanks for suggestions.  Looking forward to having some more options with fermentation temp control now that I've invested in some extra equipment.  Lagers will be an interesting departure from my usual brew days. 

All Grain Brewing / Large Starters
« on: September 10, 2011, 12:33:48 PM »
What is the best way to make a large starter?  Planning for a brew day in 4-5 days for a lager batch.  I have one vial of German lager yeast (WL I forget the #).  Is it best to ferment a starter at room temp or at the specified temp ( in this case 45-55 F)?  Is it best to add the same amount of wort as usual, ferment, cool and then add more wort or to just add more wort than usual from the start?  Is it detrimental to the yeast to keep warming and cooling it with each subsequent addition of wort?  Suggestions?

All Grain Brewing / First lager batch
« on: September 09, 2011, 01:05:20 PM »
Going to try a batch of lager this week and haven't been down this path before so looking for a few tips.  The recipe will likely be an Oktoberfest or Shwarzbier (Sprechen Black clone?).  In terms of pitching: Is a starter necessary?  If so at what temp do I make the starter at? 
Is it ideal to pitch the yeast at room temp and then chill to 50 degrees or so or chill first. 
How long does primary fermentation take and what is a reasonable time to lager the beer for?  I am hoping to have it kegged and ready by thanksgiving.
I have a chest freezer (recently turned keezer) that I am hoping to use as the lagering and chilling vessel with the aid of a thermostat controller.  No kegs yet so I thought this would be an opportune time to use.  All suggestions appreciated.

Pimp My System / Re: Keezer time
« on: August 30, 2011, 08:49:55 AM »
All great suggestions.  I hadn't thought about the extra swing height if the collar is attachednto the lid and that may push me to just leave attached to the freezer.  Off to go pick it up now.  Thanks again

Pimp My System / Re: Keezer time
« on: August 30, 2011, 04:30:51 AM »
By at risk I mean malfunctiong to any degree.  Do you like the setup you have with the collar attached to the freezer?  It would certainly eliminate the weight concerns with the hinges.  Does it make it difficult to transfer the kegs in and out or is it a negligible problem?  What did you do to attach the collar to the keezer?

Pimp My System / Keezer time
« on: August 29, 2011, 08:49:53 PM »
So after months of tooling around with the idea of a keezer I am going to finally take the plunge.  I have a 8.8cf freezer picked out and will be starting shortly.  The one part I am concerned about is regarding the weight put on the hinges.  I'd like to attach the lid to the collar based on most of what I've read making it easier to load in the kegs.  I had plans for an inner collar of 2x6 pine with an outer collar of oak 1x8 to overhang the freezer a bit and give it more of a finished look.  The outer collar would only be on the front and sides so it can open ok.  Is this going to be too much weight and put the hinges at risk?  Also what is the best way to attach the collar to the lid- liquid nails seems to be a common product discussed?

All Grain Brewing / Re: First Wort Hopping/ Black IPA
« on: August 25, 2011, 04:14:26 PM »
So leave the magnum alone and maybe add an ounce or 2 of the cascade or centennial as a FWH and leave the recipe as it is in terms of everything else?  There was a pretty good amount of malt involved (17.5lb) so I am not hesistant about maybe adding some more hops to go along side of it. 

All Grain Brewing / First Wort Hopping/ Black IPA
« on: August 25, 2011, 03:50:53 PM »
Got a black IPA planned for next week.  This will be my first black IPA and I have been reading up on some finer points with regards to hops. First wort hoppping sounded interesting and something I have not done before but there seems to be a debate about how to re-arrange the rest of the hop profile around it.  The recipe (which I am altering to experiment with a FWH) calls for 3oz magnum (60 min), 2oz amarillo gold (1 min), and 0.5oz cascade (0min) followed by additional cascade and amarillo dry hop (2 oz apiece).  Is it best to move all the magnum forward to a FWH vs. a portion.  I plan to leave the dry hopping out of the equation for now.  Should I take a portion of all the additions and move it forward? 
And just to get this right- the hops are merely added to the kettle and allowed to sit with the sparged wort until and then through the entire boil?  Is there a set time to allow them to sit in the sparged liquid pre-boil? The desrciption this process seems to yield, based on my review on the web, is that of a hoppy but smooth beer with elements of blended bitterness and hop flavor. 
Any suggestions, as always, are very helpful.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Freezer for a Keezer
« on: August 18, 2011, 06:39:21 PM »
An excellent point.  To lager in a corny do you need a special adapter to allow the co2 to escape from the corny?  I'll be new to kegging

Kegging and Bottling / Splitting a batch to 2 kegs
« on: August 18, 2011, 01:16:09 PM »
Is there a way to split a 5 gallon batch between 2 5-gallon kegs and still carbonate effectively?  I was hoping to brew a black IPA and age half of it on some oak.  I assume force carbonation is going to be the only way to go?  Has anyone done this? 

Kegging and Bottling / Freezer for a Keezer
« on: August 18, 2011, 07:21:44 AM »
Looking into building a keeper sometime soon.  I am hoping for a 4 corny keg setup with room in the keezer for a 10lb CO2 tank.  A bonus would be extra room to lager a primary 6 gallon carboy possibly at the expense of one or two kegs at times.  Any recs on size/model/brand of freezer to look into?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Saison Brew Day
« on: July 10, 2011, 03:11:49 PM »
Rounding out the recipe notes here- I have not done a 90 minute boil yet.  What should I consider a fair starting volume to be to endure the boil of 90 minutes and not end up with syrup?  I was also considering adding some grans of paradise- has anyone ever used these?  What can I expect and what is a good amount to use?  Do I add them at the start of the boil, during primary fermentation, or what? 
I am using Wyeast 3711 French Saison and was planning on holding it in the mid 70s.  Is there a benefit to starting a little lower and ratcheting up the temp every day or so to a final goal temp? 
Looking forward to this one.

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