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Messages - kgs

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1
RPIScotty, we're very similar in our brewing behavior (small batches, no interest in "going big") and I agree on 2.5 to 3 gallon kegs. Should you ever step up in size, they'll still be useful, and since you fill them with CO2, you don't need to worry about too much headspace for even smaller batches. Just don't do what I did and buy three different small kegs, as their parts may be slightly different. :-/  All three kegs have worked out great, though.

If your local CO2 source only offers exchange versus filling, then there is no point to buying a tank, so research that question first. I bought a new 5-lb CO2 tank after researching the local options. It's only a little taller than my tallest small keg. I'm a little OCD about owning "my" gear when it comes to gases so I prefer to have my own tank and have it filled (I don't exchange my propane tank, either, after hassling with a couple of bad tanks 15 years ago or so). The local stores fill by weight, and they also won't fill paintball tanks, so that wrapped up my options pretty neatly. It's on my "git list" to buy a second tank. I am thinking of a 2.5 lb tank simply to have one that's super-portable; that's the smallest size I can get filled locally, and with small batches, that's still a lot of CO2.

I also bought a regulator gauge guard and some cheap bungy cords -- the latter secure the tank and keg upright in the fridge in case the Big One hits. I then built a four-port gas manifold using parts from the LHBS. I leak-checked the manifold and it's ready to go, but I've been so busy this spring I have only had one keg going at a time.

Kegging has its own challenges, but the first time I kegged my beer I realized that was the way for me. My "git list" also has a beer gun on it, for when I want to gift beer. Otherwise, goodbye messy bottling, and hello, the fun of kegging (and it is pretty interesting).

2
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Beer won't Come out of Keg :-(
« on: May 14, 2016, 03:17:49 PM »
The first time I kegged, I wasn't aware poppets came apart and started to panic when I put the posts in StarSan and all of a sudden they were in pieces... thank goodness for the Web, as I had no idea how to reassemble them.)
I'd recommend keeping track of which pieces you take off of which side until you really know your kegs. I found that as I started building an inventory of used pin locks that some of the parts were not quite as interchangeable as you would think. Even with two of the exact same "make" of keg, the poppets and other parts may have been replaced with non-standard parts that don't always work together.

That's great advice, thanks. I bought three different brand kegs (all 3-gallon) within six weeks of each purchase and then realized that by doing this I may have decreased the chance that parts would be interchangeable, so I've been keeping each keg grouped with the parts that came with it (once the parts are dry, I put them in a baggy and drop them in the keg for storage). The parts look the same to me, but it's not as if I checked with a micrometer.

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Beer won't Come out of Keg :-(
« on: May 14, 2016, 09:57:39 AM »
Check your poppet valve inside your beer-out post to see if there is a hop particle stuck in there.  This sometimes happens when dry hops make it into the keg.

That was indeed the issue, see above...  ^^^^^^  Good lesson, had not thought about tiny parts clogging. (Lots of things to learn. The first time I kegged, I wasn't aware poppets came apart and started to panic when I put the posts in StarSan and all of a sudden they were in pieces... thank goodness for the Web, as I had no idea how to reassemble them.)

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Beer won't Come out of Keg :-(
« on: May 13, 2016, 10:50:06 AM »
In a kegerator? Check to see that your beer line isn't between the back of the keg next to the condenser on the fridge. Even if that's me temperature isn't set too cold, the beer in the line can freeze over if it's being blasted with cold


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

It's an ancient fridge (freebie from our landlord) but temp issues are good to note. It turns out the poppet was jammed with gunk. I had a siphoning issue when I filled the keg, so not too surprised, in retrospect, though I hadn't thought about that before. I rinsed out the poppet and the tube, but then checked my other two (currently empty) kegs and found a tube that is almost identical but a little shorter. Sanitized everything, put it back together, etc. I'm going to let the keg sit for a bit. It's a 3-gallon keg so it carbs up pretty quickly, but letting the beer settle will help. I may put a sanitized stainless steel Choreboy on the end of the tube next time. And siphon better. :-)

5
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Beer won't Come out of Keg :-(
« on: May 12, 2016, 05:03:40 AM »
You likely switched the beer and gas posts.  They look the same, but aren't.
Yup, that's my guess as well or you flipped the dip tubes.

Degas, check posts and tubes,

I read this last sentence about ten times and kept thinking, there's an AHA member named Degas?

Anyway, I bet this is my problem. The posts are on the right place and it's not a hoppy beer, but I suddenly thought, I bet I switched the tubes. Though I wouldn't rule out gunk. In any event, another useful Forum thread. I will "Degas" the keg and make sure the tubes are in the right place and blow out the tubes and make sure there's no ice and so on.

Clearly I need to name this Edgar's Cream Ale...
I think he was into harder stuff than beer


That may look like absinthe, but that's really me last week, winding down after work with a RR Damnation.

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Beer won't Come out of Keg :-(
« on: May 11, 2016, 08:53:07 PM »
You likely switched the beer and gas posts.  They look the same, but aren't.
Yup, that's my guess as well or you flipped the dip tubes.

Degas, check posts and tubes,

I read this last sentence about ten times and kept thinking, there's an AHA member named Degas?

Anyway, I bet this is my problem. The posts are on the right place and it's not a hoppy beer, but I suddenly thought, I bet I switched the tubes. Though I wouldn't rule out gunk. In any event, another useful Forum thread. I will "Degas" the keg and make sure the tubes are in the right place and blow out the tubes and make sure there's no ice and so on.

Clearly I need to name this Edgar's Cream Ale...

7
Some of the homemade "how-to" videos have been useful to me for learning new processes, particularly when there is a wide variety of advice on how to do it right or it's a hard process to visualize if you've never seen anyone do it. I often speed up the video to get through them faster or to hone in on a particular point. What these amateurs lack in video production skills they make up for in goodhearted willingness to share (love the kegging video where the guy is clearly in his pajamas... my kind of brew day! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFor3QCWCuo ).

I also enjoy Basic Brewing Video, which is professionally well-done and feels like what it is, a good cooking show where the emphasis is on the dynamic between the hosts.

9
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« on: April 06, 2016, 01:32:54 PM »
I personally think homebrew sales are down because there are MORE homebrew stores. When I started we had one and then a few supplies were available to members at a Co-op. Now I count at least seven stores in the same area and there may be a couple more lurking out there. I know homebrewing increased with the last drop in the economy, but a sevenfold increase in stores means unless the number of homebrewers increased by 7X sales had to drop for the single store.

Exactly.  As I read this thread I was wondering if it's total sales or same store sales that are dropping.

The hobby has grown so quickly I would bet there are too many stores.

Hmm good point. The interview pretty much said that there were too many stores and that was one reason they were closing. I was wondering when we would hit "peak homebrew."

I may still do an extract batch for fun. Do a cream ale for my better half or something like that.

10
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Is extract brewing patriotic?
« on: April 06, 2016, 06:48:19 AM »
Maybe homebrew shop sales are down as people are brewing more and buying bulk supplies.  As much as I want to support LHBS, I would be brewing less with the differences in cost.

I also wonder is the homebrew shop sales are including the sales online or are they just brick and mortar sales?

I brewed an extract batch back in December, but it was a hard root beer.

The sales are down all over, at least per the interview. It didn't sound alarmist, just an observation. AHA does do some very good surveys of brewer behavior. I understand the hypothesis (all-grain brewing takes time, therefore people brew less, more brewers start out with AG or move to it earlier in their brewing experience, and brewing less = fewer sales overall), though there could be other drivers, such as an overall "craft beer bubble" that is softening. Gary Glass noted a significant number of homebrew stores closing last year. Whether or not you agree in tinkering with market forces :-) it's a really interesting interview.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Is extract brewing patriotic?
« on: April 05, 2016, 08:51:26 PM »
For those of us gathered under the homebrewing flag...

I just listened to the Beersmith interview with Gary Glass. It had a lot of great information about homebrewing trends. http://beersmith.com/blog/2016/04/04/the-aha-and-homebrewcon-2016-with-gary-glass-beersmith-podcast-123/

A couple of the data points I kept noticing: more homebrewers are brewing all-grain (often from the first or an early batch) and are brewing less frequently. Also, homebrewing store sales are down (that makes sense, if brewing happens less frequently).

The AHA has over 46,000 members. Also, over one million people brew beer at home. (That's an interesting delta.) If every AHA member added an extract brew to his or her brew calendar every year, that would be a nice bump in sales. Just a thought. I've read Gary Glass arguing for more extract brewing, but I didn't put it together with the larger homebrewing ecology.

12
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: My latest peeve....
« on: April 05, 2016, 08:35:54 PM »
"Juicy".....how the hell did this descriptor come about?  What does it mean?  I hear about a "juicy" aroma, which just seems like a total oxymoron.  I hear a beer described as "juicy"...what, it tastes like say, orange juice?  I think I know what people who use the term are getting at, but it seems so incredibly wrong.  Why is juicy used?  WTF does it mean?

As a matter of fact, that's one of my current terms that I'm not sure if everyone is using in the same way ('dank' is the other).  For me, juicy has a few components.  There's got to be a slight sweetness balanced out by an acidity with a certain mouthfeel.  Grapefruit juice would be closer to what I'm referring to in most IPAs, although orange juice with Amarillo hops is certainly in that wheelhouse.  For an aroma descriptor, I'm literally thinking of the smell of grapefruit or orange juice.  The same aroma of fructose and citric acid would be present in the aroma (or at least the impression of it).

That being said, I think sometimes people are hearing other people use a term and just repeating it to sound like they know what they're talking about.

Well (may I pull out my MFA in creative writing?) if it's a sensory experience  it can be literal, no matter how fanciful it seems -- juicy, pillowy, etc. That's the point of sensation: what you think it is, is what it is (to you). I definitely get "pillowy" with a Chimay or La Chouffe on draft, for example.

I think some people reuse terms without reflecting what they mean, but I also believe a word or sensation is also hugely specific to each of us. That's what makes the Commercial Calibration column in Zymurgy so interesting. It's not where the reviewers come together, it's the delta that interests me.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: My latest peeve....
« on: April 03, 2016, 07:08:38 PM »
I don't know… I get an elitist stink when people start telling other people how they can and can't describe their beer. Calling it peeve suggests that you think it is wrong. Juicy seems pretty straight forward. I would use it not as a specific flavor descriptor but maybe a shorter way of saying the beer has both a bright and fruity presentation.

I am far from a hipster but I have tasted beers that are definitely, to my palate, juicy. Neddles gets it exactly right: bright and fruity. Sculpin (not just the grapefruit variation) is like this. It's a bright, mouth-filling sensation. Not perfume-y (I'm looking at you, watermelon Dorado... couldn't finish a bottle) but that sensation when you bite on segments of  a fresh mandarin or clementine and experience that rush of citrus and hydration.

14
I brew 3 gallons into the fermenter and 2.5 into the keg. I love this batch size. I am always sad when a keg kicks but it happens fast enough I get to brew at least once per month. I actually run fairly often because I give away beer to friends.  I kind of like running out though.
Same here.

I am the only one who drinks in my house, and it is usually only 4 or 5 beverages a week. If I have time to relax after the family and house is taken care of, then I'll settle down with a beer/mead/whiskey/sake/etc. The smaller batch size let's me brew 1-2 times a month without drowning in extra beer I can't drink. Plus, I like to experiment, so it doesn't bother me to dump a couple of gallons of beer that I don't want to drink.

Another advantage is that I can brew all-grain batches on the kitchen stove at this smaller size. No need to brew outside for me. I have heat in the winter, AC in the summer, and no need for pants ;)

All these reasons and more. In my early brewing days (2009) I was struggling with the lifting involved in 5-gallon batches. Going to all-grain in 2010 made small batches necessary. I like kitchen brewing. I like being able to experiment and know that I won't be dealing with 5 gallons of some huge mistake. I also enjoy how many 3-gallon kegs can fit in a standard fridge (I have a hand-me-down gifted from our landlord and I think I could squeeze four to six small kegs in there at least). At 58, I'm thinking I can keep brewing at this scale another decade without  accommodations. I may play with smaller batches soon-- not for physical reasons, but so I can go a little wild with ingredients.

For every brewer, the right size batch... that's the joy of homebrewing!

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Taprite Home Dispensing Guide
« on: March 26, 2016, 06:44:50 AM »
Really good find. I traced the original to the Taprite website, which has other downloads:

http://www.taprite.com/beer-downloads


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