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Messages - kgs

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16
Equipment and Software / Re: Fermentation fridge
« on: June 18, 2016, 09:55:59 AM »
I'm interested in this. Does anyone know if it would hold 2 x 3 gallon "square" better bottles? I do a lot of split batch (2 x 2 gallon with different yeasts). Looks like it might fit.

I pulled my two 3-gallon Better Bottles from the garage to see. Yes, they do fit, and even without removing the drawer you can fit them plus airlocks with room at the top. The Danby's thermostat is centered at the top, so the necks of the BBs go to the left and right of it. That said, I haven't used my 3 gal BBs in years; I moved to 5-gallon buckets because they are so much easier to clean and are a good fit for my 3-gallon batches, and I never am fermenting more than one batch at a time. I vaguely recall that a 5-gal BB with a standard airlock on it runs into an issue bumping up against the thermostat.

Helpful info - thanks for doing that!

I bought my Danby at CostCo several years ago (and agree they are often in-store when they don't show up online) so here's the model: DAR044A2SLD0 ... just in case the Danby changed. But I think the biggest change to the Danby happened when the door shelf unit moved from screw-in to glued-in (which is why I haven't dealt with it). I sometimes wonder if Danby, which got a new CEO in late 2015, knows that its little fridge is popular with homebrewers.

17
Equipment and Software / Re: Fermentation fridge
« on: June 16, 2016, 11:51:13 AM »
    Unfortunately the dimensional information from the HBT spreadsheet is of little use now, unless one is buying a used freezer. Two or three years ago the new Federal energy regulations took effect and almost all of the existing models of both fridges and freezers were discontinued. When we finally received the new replacement models the exterior and interior dimensions of all the freezers were substantially different - larger exteriors and smaller interiors to accommodate thicker insulation in the freezer walls. Additionally the length to width ratio changed, with most models of chest freezers becoming wider and shallower. Just an FYI.
Great info, thanks. I have been considering a second one so you may have saved me substantial grief.

Thanks, I modified my post to note that the list is outdated.

18
Equipment and Software / Re: Fermentation fridge
« on: June 16, 2016, 06:57:59 AM »
I'm interested in this. Does anyone know if it would hold 2 x 3 gallon "square" better bottles? I do a lot of split batch (2 x 2 gallon with different yeasts). Looks like it might fit.

I pulled my two 3-gallon Better Bottles from the garage to see. Yes, they do fit, and even without removing the drawer you can fit them plus airlocks with room at the top. The Danby's thermostat is centered at the top, so the necks of the BBs go to the left and right of it. That said, I haven't used my 3 gal BBs in years; I moved to 5-gallon buckets because they are so much easier to clean and are a good fit for my 3-gallon batches, and I never am fermenting more than one batch at a time. I vaguely recall that a 5-gal BB with a standard airlock on it runs into an issue bumping up against the thermostat.

19
Equipment and Software / Re: Fermentation fridge
« on: June 15, 2016, 06:46:23 AM »
I would suggest going to a big box store that has display models with your fermenter and seeing what the best fit is.
To avoid carrying my SS Brew Bucket around town,  I approximated this by cutting some cardboard to the dimensions of my fermentor. I had a piece for the footprint at the bottom, and another for the height/width.

I don't have it at my fingertips, but via Google I was previously able to find a thread on HBT where people posted some diagrams with popular models of chest freezers and various items that would fit. That works well for things like kegs, which are standard. In my case, the diagram didn't have anything like the Brew Bucket so I had to try it in store anyway.

This might be the HBT thread you're thinking of? Edit: Note later discussion: this list is outdated.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=377518

20
All Grain Brewing / Re: How do I start all grain brewing
« on: June 14, 2016, 07:01:00 AM »
I recommend starting with one or two small BIAB batches -- somewhere around the 2-gallon to 2.5-gallon range. Even if you do that once, you'll get a feel for the whole "malted barley wants to become beer" thing and whether AG matters enough to you, and the bag of grain won't be too crazy heavy to lift out of the pot. Except when I'm super busy (which is right now, actually) I enjoy the part of the brew day where ground-up barley turns into a sweet liquid. But I also enjoy making beer enough, and having my own beer on hand, that I just did an all-extract beer for the first time in seven years. Will I enjoy it as much as my AG batches? We'll see!

Full disclosure: I never did BIAB, because I was using a mash tun before BIAB became a thing, and it's physically much easier for me to use a mash tun.

21
All Grain Brewing / Re: How to add coffee to a stout
« on: June 13, 2016, 08:23:14 PM »
Cold-brewed coffee added at packaging works for me, but this works in part because my personal coffee habit, for the last oh 40+ years, is to make one large cup of french roast in the AM, ground fine and steeped through a #2 Melitta filter. So only a minor change to how I do things coffee-wise.

Steep fine-ground Peet's french roast in cold water for 24 hours. Run it through a Melitta filter. I add it to taste because coffee is a strong flavor. In a creamy oatmeal stout fermented with organic cocoa nibs and flavored at packaging with a discreet dash of good vanilla... yum.

22
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Quick fix for leaky poppits?
« on: June 04, 2016, 01:30:54 PM »
Release the pressure and leave the PRV open while you remove the post and replace the poppet?
  +1

Otherwise, each time you disconnect, move the poppit with a screwdriver, or other "poking stick" to position the poppit to seal.    If the leak is on the gas side, spray starsan over the poppit when you think it is sealed and see if there are bubbles.  If the leak is on the beer-out side, the foutain of beer will let you know if you need to keep going.

When I had a problem with beer not flowing I took a screwdriver and poked the beer-out poppet. "Let's see if the poppet is stuck or clogged," I was asking myself, not for a moment asking myself how liquid under pressure would behave. Thankfully I was in old clothes I use for gardening, and besides, I've heard beer is good for hair.

23
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).

24
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.

25
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.)

26
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. :-)

27
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.

28
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...

29
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.

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