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Messages - kgs

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46
Equipment and Software / Re: 1 gallon fermenters
« on: March 02, 2016, 08:00:12 PM »
One more option: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-equipment/fermenting-equipment/little-big-mouth-bubbler

I got one of these as part of a going-away gift from my last job about 15 months ago when I was given a starter wine kit. I never made the wine (pressure of new job, family illness, grad school, blah blah) and I assume the ingredients are bad, but the gear is pretty neat. I just need the right lil' experiment. (With beer, not wine...)

47
Kegging and Bottling / Re: A Rant...
« on: March 01, 2016, 08:23:21 PM »
Kegging is not all puppies and rainbows. Stuff happens.
How do you do it? When ever I grumble about kegging I get lynched. Well... almost
Still better than bottling!  ;D
There are times I wonder about how much better.

Leaky poppets, PRVs, and lids. Rebuilt one regulator. Leaky distribution lines. Gas bottles that go out of date. Like I said, it has some down sides.

Maybe it is the long line of experiences that can back up why Kegging has some drawbacks?

Yup. I'm of the extreme minority who doesn't mind bottling and has no plans of "upgrading" to kegging any time soon. My job entails a lot of work with high/low pressure vacuum systems, tubing, gas manifolds, etc and maintenance there of - I don't need to be doing more of that in my hobby. Bottling feels more pastoral.  ;)

That makes complete sense. To me, bottling became the household chores that are necessary but I don't enjoy and that cut into my leisure time. But I remember someone I met a long time ago when I was in the service who welded as a personal hobby, and when I asked why he didn't do it for his primary job, he said it would take the fun away.

It's no fun when a CO2 tank goes empty a day after you refilled it, or when a leak is hard to trace, or a keg has a crazy foamy pour you can't fix. (I still have beginner's luck, so this hasn't happened to me.) But pondering the mechanics of kegging is a joyous escape for me. Love my job, love my home life, need some third place to dwell. And I'm grateful, really appreciative, to have the time this year to ponder homebrewing. Last year wasn't like that.

48
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Issues with bottles.
« on: March 01, 2016, 08:09:19 PM »
I would suspect dirty bottles as well. It has happened to me and I'm real anal on my sanitation. I would hold the empty bottles up to the light and see if any gunk is still in there. 22oz bomber bottles are a real PITA for me cause the bottle brush doesn't make great contact toward the transition at the neck.

I agree. OP wrote, "I wash the bottles in mild dish washing liquid and as hot water as I can stand.  The about 10 min before I bottle I hit it with a dosage of star san." In my experience, what really cleans bottles is an oxygen-based cleaner such as Oxiclean or the equivalent (TJ's, Safeway, and Whole Foods carry them) dissolved in warm water, time (sometimes I soak for weeks... I love washing bottles!), a bottle brush, a strong jet-wash rinse, and an inspection of each bottle for gunk. The oxygen-based cleaner (or PBW, etc.) aggressively scrubs away junk that dishwashing liquid won't touch. I also soak bottle caps in StarSan right before bottling and make sure I sanitize the bottling tree.

I did also wonder, but this may be way off-base, if the dishwashing liquid was leaving a film that sudsed up later. But it sounds like dirty bottles.

49
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegging with less oxygen
« on: February 27, 2016, 02:22:57 PM »
Ha! No, just trying to move the needle a bit. I see what you mean, I think. In a way you're answering the question "how can we measure an invisible gas."

50
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegging with less oxygen
« on: February 27, 2016, 10:21:27 AM »
I'd say your procedure looks pretty good. Three pressurize/depressurize cycles won't get you to the oxygen levels of a commercial packaging line, but that may not be necessary for our purposes. I prefer to fill the keg completely with sanitizer, then push the sanitizer out with CO2, but if you need to dry-hop in the keg that wouldn't work. I also vent the keg using an airlock on the gas post, so that O2 can't sneak in through the PRV.

Yeah, even using a "reasonable" degree of oxygen protection will be a pretty big move up for my setup, so if I'm happy with the results, there I go. I don't know that I need to dry-hop in the keg -- it was just something I was thinking of doing because kegging now makes that possible. But obviously makes other things not possible, like pushing out sanitizer.

Whenever I see instructions for pushing out sanitizer, they almost always say to completely fill the keg. The extra water is not a big deal, but is there some reason this wouldn't work with, say, a gallon of sanitizer?

51
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegging with less oxygen
« on: February 27, 2016, 09:03:54 AM »
I ferment 3-gallon batches in 5-gallon food-grade buckets.

I know it doesn't help for this batch, but have you considered fermenting in 5 gallon corny kegs?  Then you could do closed transfers under pressure to your serving keg.

Interesting, I was wondering about the rationale of fermenting in kegs. Thanks for the idea! It's one of those things that would be easy to try if a 5-gallon keg popped on my radar. Or if I go slightly smaller on batch size I could try it in one of my 3-gallon kegs.

For the next batch, I'm going to move to a spigot on a bucket. Take out the airlock and stuff a paper towel in the hole, and it will be a pseudo-closed transfer. :-)

This conversation is timely because I'm buying a gas manifold and I see it should have a valve dedicated to a  utility line for other uses, such as purging.

52
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegging with less oxygen
« on: February 27, 2016, 07:43:26 AM »
Some of us install spigots on our buckets and gravity drain into a purged keg. Less fiddly that way.

Retracing this thought: what spigot do you use? Do you add any sealant or have you had good luck getting the spigot to seal leak-free?

This one or very similar: http://www.northernbrewer.com/fermenter-s-favorite-bottling-spigot-for-bottling-bucket

Good and finger tight don't overtighten or it'll eventually break where it mates with the bulkhead. It'll dribble if you don't tighten enough though, but that's to be expected.

Originally, there was only one gasket and it was used on the outside. Now they're coming with two and one goes interior-side. I think the second gasket makes tightening enough a bit trickier but I'm adapting...  ;)

The idea is you can remove when cleaning and sanitizing. Works extremely well but they do wear out eventually.

Thanks. I once had a spigot fail catastrophically during bottling, which was frustrating, plus have had spigots and ball valves dribble now and then, so I'm always looking for better spigots or at least better "spigot method."

But... ok... gravity-draining into a purged keg. Purging unpressurized then? Connecting the QD to the beer-out side so the CO2 flows upward from the pickup tube? Then lickety-split draining the fermenter into the keg? I wish I could see CO2.


53
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegging with less oxygen
« on: February 27, 2016, 06:04:37 AM »
Some of us install spigots on our buckets and gravity drain into a purged keg. Less fiddly that way.

Retracing this thought: what spigot do you use? Do you add any sealant or have you had good luck getting the spigot to seal leak-free?

54
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegging with less oxygen
« on: February 26, 2016, 12:26:01 PM »
Some of us install spigots on our buckets and gravity drain into a purged keg. Less fiddly that way.

Yes, spigots are a good direction. I have a step bit and I'm not afraid to use it! For the rest, I'm contemplating the conversation between "gravity drain less fiddly" (done last time, on a stout, with good results) versus "hoppy beers better if limited access to CO2." For the latter model, the part that feels like a hassle, honestly, is the bucket that has no spigot on it. I prefer to clip the autosiphon to the bucket, but that gets back to that wide surface of beer exposed to air, assuming CO2 will drift away pretty quickly. I was even thinking, gee, what if I have saran wrap or waxed paper ready and drop some on the wort as soon as I pop open that bucket lid.

The rest of it doesn't sound that complex. It's just parts connected to parts. I could also go super-fiddly this time, and gravity feed next time.

55
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: yeast starter from dry yeast
« on: February 26, 2016, 06:32:43 AM »
I'm a primary user of dry yeast but they have to be handled properly. Or at least the Lallemand does. I expect they all have similar rehydrating and pitching characteristics.

Benefit is an "instant-starter" so making a starter out of dry yeast is redundant. However, mishandling causes problems enough to make you wish you'd made a starter. Reading the product sheet reveals essential tidbits like attemperating the yeast pitch to wort temp in 10* increments or risk yeast mutations in the case of Munich yeast.

Euge, thanks to you, I have learned the word "aliquot." In practice, it sounds as if attemperation would only need one interval (if the yeast is ca. 75f after 20 minutes, and your wort is even as low as 50f, and intervals are 50f, then it seems one dollop of wort for 10 minutes would do the trick??).

http://www.murphyandson.co.uk/datasheets/munich%20wheat%20yeast_tech.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliquot

56
Kegging and Bottling / Kegging with less oxygen
« on: February 25, 2016, 11:03:56 PM »
I ferment 3-gallon batches in 5-gallon food-grade buckets. The more I focus on oxygen, the more I realize that my practice of keeping the fermenter closed until bottling time, unless I have to dry-hop or add ingredients, has contributed to better beer. I am also evaluating whether to keep using buckets, at least this size. But for now, since I have beer to keg in 9 days...

How's this look for a oxygen-limited kegging from a bucket to a keg?

* Attach an MFL swivel flare adapter to the end of a piece of siphon tubing
* Sew dry-hopping hops into large muslin square
* Drop hops into sanitized keg
* Close up keg
* Purge keg with CO2 -- push CO2 in, release PRV -- x 3
* Insert tubing into autosiphon
* Insert autosiphon into siphon-sized hole in bucket lid
* Start siphon into 2-cup pyrex, stop at 2/3 cup mark (to fill tubing and get enough for a reading)
* Attach ball lock disconnect to beer-out post
* Attach swivel nut to ball lock disconnect
* Open PRV
* Fill keg
* Purge headspace
* Set pressure and go away for a few days

57
I agree that temp is number one, but a close second is pH, so if you can monitor pH, and adjust as necessary, your beers will improve greatly.

Over the last three or four years I have used a fridge, I have noticed a big increase for most beers through temp control. Even if I've been fuzzy about the narrow range, keeping temps within the mid-60s is a big improvement over letting them swing way up and down, and my favorite Common went way up in quality once I was able to drop and hold it to mid-50s after the first 7-10 days, per the recipe. It sounds as if water adjustments and mash pH are logical next steps, particularly given that water sources in California can vary so much due to the drought. Just not quite there yet... more gear, more consumables, etc. Not so much a cost issue as just... more to learn, think about, do. Using filtered or spring water with a pinch of Campden has been my go-to, and anything else is... more.

58
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Suggest an experiment!
« on: February 23, 2016, 10:38:24 AM »
Could also have been suggested, but in re-reading the various keg purging threads, another experiment could be splitting a ten-gallon batch of hoppy beer three ways and then racking to a non-purged keg, an unpressurized keg purged with N CO2, and a pressurized, purged keg. (You would need to define "purged" pretty clearly.) This experiment would benefit from replication using the same recipe and kegs of the same size.

Or you could do this instead as qualitative research and ask the kegs how they feel about being purged, and to share their purging experiences, then interview the beer as well. "Go on, share more." "That's interesting. Can you tell me more about that?"

59

Ok, thanks. I should listen to the podcast! (Which podcast?)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

I am not sure which episode. But here is the podcast link.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/experimental-brewing/id1056223392?mt=2

Thanks, Denny had noted "we discussed this on the last episode of the podcast" so I have been able to subscribe to the podcast and figure out which episode. The only downside of having a short commute these days is it has seriously cramped my podcast-listening time!

60

Ok, thanks. I should listen to the podcast! (Which podcast?)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

I am not sure which episode. But here is the podcast link.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/experimental-brewing/id1056223392?mt=2

Thanks so much! I'll add to my queue. Also was able to swing by an LHBS today and pick up two thermometers for the fermenters I'm using these days.

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