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Messages - tomsawyer

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Too big a grain bill?
« on: January 22, 2011, 05:32:14 PM »
5lb of grain takes up about 0.75gal of space in my little tun, your 20.5lb would presumably take up about 3gal of volume.  add that to your 6.4gal of water and you have 9.4gal total.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Growing Hops, Which bines?
« on: January 22, 2011, 01:29:50 AM »
Been able to grow cascade, centennial and magnum in S.C.

Have to water them a lot though. That L Nino bi3ch or whatever has been holding the rain back for the past several years during the summer. If I ever run across that bastard... gonna knock the hell out of them.

Where's the third person voice?  You been drinking again?

+1 to Centennial and Magnum, very robust in hot conditions and disease resistant.  On the other hand, my Sterling has sucked hind teet for the last two years.  Susceptible to spider mites and jsut generally weak.

Keep in mind that if you plant different varieties, keep them well separated.  Mine were five feet apart and they are already starting to grow into each other after two years.

Could also be that the proteins are in fact charged and the salts screen these charges, allowing more hydrophobic interaction that results in coagulation.

All I know is, when I started just adding a couple grams of calcium chloride I got much more of that egg drop soup look in my kettle.  The effect was quite dramatic, and pushed me into learning more about water chemistry (which I was purposely avoiding for a long time).

Besides having enough Ca for good conversion, I noticed a big difference in the clarity of my wort after hot break and final beer when I started boosting Ca levels into the 50-75ppm range in the kettle.  Not sure of a cause-effect but maybe someone else can say something about that...

I've observed this too.  Might be more due to the pH issue than the presence of calcium.  Bring the pH closer to the isolelectric point of a protein and it helps it drop.

I believe alpha-amylase needs calcium as a cofactor.  Typically you want 50ppm Ca in your mash.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Topping Up with water...
« on: January 21, 2011, 07:39:40 PM »
From what I understand, corn syrup can be kind of variable in its fermentability.  You're probably better off using cane sugar or rice syrup.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sniffing the airlock!
« on: January 21, 2011, 06:47:49 PM »
Last one I smelled had the aroma of a fart.  Beer turned out good though.  Just sayin' it ain't all roses.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dry hopping.....
« on: January 21, 2011, 06:45:35 PM »
I do now....... ;D

They are finally starting to soak. I know they will never dissolve, nor do I want them to. Just the essential oils please.

Now, next question. How long before the dry hop (whole buds) has done it's job?

I've read that two to three weeks is a good amount.  A lot of folks also put the hop sock in their serving keg and leave it there for the duration.

Man, I can't wait to ask the kids to get the bacon stretcher out of the utensil drawer in the morning!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Topping Up with water...
« on: January 21, 2011, 05:42:53 PM »
I will occasionally top up with tap water if I happen to overshoot my intended OG.  The beauty of small batches (3gal) is I always have room to do this.

Topping up doesn't affect efficiency, that only happens if you boil it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Modified batch sparge?
« on: January 21, 2011, 05:39:22 PM »
I guess the question is, how much easier is this?  You are still mashing, still heating your sparge water and still running off x gallons total.  The only difference is when you add the sparge water, before or after lautering the first runnings.  I'm sure theres a reason thats associated with the system you're using, just wondering.

Also, why recirc for 15min after adding the extra water?  What is this supposed to do?  Other than a stir to homogenize everything, I'd suppose there would be no reason to wait.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Modified batch sparge?
« on: January 21, 2011, 04:06:03 PM »
The difference is dependent on the qt/lb and whether you add water to mash out.  At 2qt/lb and using 0.125gal/lb bound water, you are looking at a partitioning of 0.125gal bound/0.5gal total.  You get 0.375gal drained which is 75%.

At 1qt/lb, the percentage goes down to 50% (bound is half the total).  At 1.5qt/lb its 62.5%.

The more you leave behind to begin with, the more you'll pick up from the sparge.

Thanks Kai I was having trouble remembering that rule of thumb.

Paw the time to worry about the ratio is when you drink the beer, its a flavor issue.  Sulfate enhances bitterness, chloride enhances malt flavors.  Beers with a balance can benefit for a balanced ratio, although I think you should consider what the threshold and upper levels are when formulating.

You can do all your flavor additions to the kettle, it just seems parsimonious to me to use the acidifying salts to bring me close on my mash'es pH and calcium needs, and get the flavor profile close at the same time.  But the stuff isn't expensive so either way is fine.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dry hopping.....
« on: January 21, 2011, 03:51:54 PM »
I'm afraid they'll never dissolve.  Get hydrated and sink to the bottom, yes.  With apologies for my anal chemistry terminology thendency.

Oscar, you do know my "hydrator solution" was the brewing equivalent to a snipe hunt right?

Sounds like a plan Paw, as long as you have adequate calcium in your mash and you don't need to add too much lactic acid to get the pH right.  I've been told not to exceed 5ml per batch lest it might start to show up in the flavor as tartness.  Or maybe it was 5ml/gallon.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dry hopping.....
« on: January 21, 2011, 02:58:06 PM »
Did you not spray them with hydrator solution?  Sounds like you missed a crucial step in the process.

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