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Messages - kgs

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46
All Grain Brewing / Re: Cooler for all grain
« on: August 31, 2013, 03:37:12 PM »
I have a two gallon cooler I use for most of my three gallon and smaller batches. I have a round ten gallon cooler for bigger batches. I got the ten gallon cooler because people kept saying I would want to be able to brew bigger and bigger batches. I didn't. It's fine that I have the capacity to mash a large batch but the problem is on smaller batches where the cooler is half full it loses temperature faster than a more full mash tun.

Several months back I moved from a 5-gallon round cooler to a 9-gallon rectangular Coleman Xtreme (blue :-) ) for my small batches, which are generally in the 2.5 - 3.5 gal range. The reason it works is I'm not sparging (part of a general effort to streamline the brewing day, plus I'm liking the results).  But it seems for someone doing typical 5-gallon batches and sparging, 70 qt seems typical.  5-gallon feels like a squeeze.

47
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: dry yeast question
« on: August 28, 2013, 07:53:51 AM »
My trick question is this.  Are the folks that are just sprinkling the yeast in adjusting their pitching rates?

Nope, there's no need to.  I get great performance from a single rehydrated pack on beers in excess of 1.075.  Statistics are great, but it's performance that counts.

Wait... Denny... are you switching parties? ;-) "Quote from: denny on August 25, 2013, 08:35:59 AM  I'm another one who has tried both ways and settled on no rehydration."

48
Beer Recipes / Re: Coconut porter recipe?
« on: August 26, 2013, 07:33:10 AM »
Here I was all set to make a porter... but the idea of a coconut stout is delicious. Of course, I could do both.

I don't keg (though I do tap-a-draft some batches) but timing the addition five days before bottling sounds about right.

49
Beer Recipes / Re: Coconut porter recipe?
« on: August 25, 2013, 08:22:35 PM »
Thanks a bunch. I'm inclined to go with your recipe because it's a simpler grain bill, similar to the one in Brewing Classic Styles, though I like your WLP007 choice. I have a brew day coming up this week. I'll report back!

50
Beer Recipes / Re: Coconut porter recipe?
« on: August 25, 2013, 04:28:33 PM »
Seems like a couple bags of shredded coconut, perhaps toasted, would be the way to go. Lazy version. I don't even like peeling eggs

I'm with you. (And yet, we brew our own beer.) Flaked coconut -- really big flakes, not tiny shreds -- was $3.15 a pound at Rainbow Grocery, where I also picked up cocoa nibs. It smells delicious. I suspect the flavor will come out in the toasting more than anything else and that it will still be subtle.

51
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« on: August 25, 2013, 10:14:11 AM »
I wonder if one of our mechanical members could design a stand with a fulcrum boom swivel that would lift a 5 gallon fermentor, swing it over a freezer, etc. Maybe with a locking pin to hold it up in the air for racking?

An interesting AHA research project would be a feasibility study on various approaches to improving accessibility for homebrewing. Less formally, a wiki page on easing the physical process would be easy enough to kick into gear. Hoists, wagons, lifts, small-batch brewing, etc. I personally am happy with my RAID setup (Random Array of Inexpensive Danbys) but there are many approaches and I still haven't solved for other parts of my workflow. Even a scenario exercise would be useful for visualizing the physical challenges that crop up in a typical homebrewing workflow.

In terms of homebrewing and accessibility, the situations I observe the most are a) women who share with me that they find homebrewing too cumbersome, especially at the 5-gallon level; they find the hobby interesting but frustrating, and b) posts on discussion boards where someone who has been brewing a long time comments that he has scaled back because of a physical life event such as a strained back, illness, etc.

52
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« on: August 25, 2013, 08:06:44 AM »
For the right balance of price and ergonomics I went with a small all-fridge refrigerator (a Danby, http://www.danby.com/en/US/our_products/refrigeration/dar044a2sldd ). It was at CostCo and I happened to have a CostCo rebate check that paid for most of it. I wanted to avoid lifting items in and out of a freezer and I had seen discussions about using this fridge.

As a 3-gallon brewer, it works great without further modification. The fridge doubles as a printer stand. :-) However, you'd need to modify it to fit standard fermenters, and this newer model requires more work to do that (the previous model had a door panel that screwed off, this one is glued in). There are Youtube videos if you're interested.

I use the Johnson controller and it works great. I put velcro on the back of it. But the two-stage controller was probably overkill... I doubt I will ever use it the "other" direction.

It's limited to one batch at a time, but even without considering the advantage of controlled-temp brewing, the advantage of no longer lugging a fermenter up and down stairs cannot be underestimated. 

Edit: Denny, two things you might consider in your planning are a) where is your brewing "pain point" and b) how long you plan to be brewing in the future.  You've mentioned the lifting issue several times in the past--it seems to be the thing that takes away from the hobby for you. For me, I'm not a champeen homebrewer but I'd like to be brewing my little batches for a good long time to come, and that means ensuring my brewing workflow is designed around my gently aging self. My dream is to build a highly accessible, all-electric brewstand that could be used by someone with limited physical mobility and less-than-acute vision. I will never be the world's best homebrewer, but with enough planning I could eventually be the oldest. ;-)

53
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: dry yeast question
« on: August 25, 2013, 07:32:44 AM »
I went back and forth for years, but several batches ago had a contaminated batch (my 2nd in over 4 years of brewing, the first happened on my 2nd batch) and my process is otherwise so good I'm going back to sprinkling. I don't see any difference in lift-off and if I were worried about it one bit I'd sprinkle another half-packet. Make sure you have fresh yeast and keep it in the fridge until brewday.

Without knowing your temps, I concur you may have killed your yeast. The persnickety process of ensuring the rehydration water was within the right range is probably where I introduced contamination.

54
Beer Recipes / Re: Coconut porter recipe?
« on: August 24, 2013, 03:39:45 PM »
I wouldn't use coconut in the primary.  No way for you to control the flavor impact.  I generally add toasted coconut to the secondary in my 5-0 Hawaiian Porter.  It also has cacao nibs and Hawaiian coffee in it.  Not sure if that is a deal breaker for you?  I would be happy to share the recipe.

Not a deal breaker -- I haven't used a secondary in several years but I certainly could. I like the additions (I do stouts with cocoa-coffee). Would love the recipe.

55
Beer Recipes / Re: Coconut porter recipe?
« on: August 24, 2013, 08:57:05 AM »
There's another one in the March/April 2013 Zymurgy. It uses toasted coconut in primary.

Thanks, I've been away from brewing for a couple of months (starting a PhD program while working FT, so brewing is now something I do between semesters). I just saw there's a Zymurgy app. I do wonder, would it be good for the AHA to put the recipes on the wiki?

56
Beer Recipes / Re: Coconut porter recipe?
« on: August 23, 2013, 05:13:18 PM »
So there's this thread about judging and coconut porter ( http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=16116.0 ) and by the time I got to the end of it I was craving exactly that (the beer, not the judging...). But there is only one recipe on the AHA wiki http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/KokosNutStout . It obviously did ok in a competition but I am that sort of person who likes to look at a few recipes, and I note it uses extract, versus toasted coconut. There's nothing wrong with that, just wanted to look at a few recipes.

I got home and Zymurgy was waiting for me, and there was a recipe for Coconut Porter! HOW DID YOU DO THAT???

57
Equipment and Software / Re: anyone use a hop spider
« on: August 23, 2013, 02:10:00 PM »
I flipped the coupler upside down so the neck keeps the bag "poofed" out during the boil. I think it does have a little impact on hoppiness, though with small-batch brewing the answer is... throw in more hops.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kgs/sets/72157630594736916/ (That's not me about to fire up my burner on the office carpet... it's just where I stored my burner and kettle until I got a nice big shelving unit.)

58
Beer Recipes / Coconut porter recipe?
« on: August 23, 2013, 01:56:03 PM »
So there's this thread about judging and coconut porter ( http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=16116.0 ) and by the time I got to the end of it I was craving exactly that (the beer, not the judging...). But there is only one recipe on the AHA wiki http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/KokosNutStout . It obviously did ok in a competition but I am that sort of person who likes to look at a few recipes, and I note it uses extract, versus toasted coconut. There's nothing wrong with that, just wanted to look at a few recipes.

59
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Best Beers You Ever Brewed?
« on: July 02, 2013, 06:01:59 PM »
I am right now tasting my first-ever fermentation-controlled homebrew, a Cal Common from a recipe called McSteamy. I'm having a major "whoa" moment. I've brewed this recipe before and it was pleasant, but this batch is... oh, mmmmm. Mmmmm. Like... me, I brewed this?!

My other best beers were a stretch where I was brewing Denny's RyePA, and despite lack of temp control it was really yummy, and my stouts.  I also have a batch of Janet's Brown Ale (pre-ferm-control) that came out nice.I still brew horrible Belgians, and I've brewed other beers I would rather forget. For the next several years my brewing time is hugely limited, so I may keep going back to the recipes I know work. Redoing everything with fermentation control would be a good move, methinks.

60
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brewstrong
« on: April 29, 2013, 07:44:28 AM »
Basic Brewing Radio was very useful to me when I started homebrewing in early 2009, not just for information about homebrewing but also as my travel companion for long drives around Georgia for a job I had back then. I still listen and enjoy the shows, and don't find them at all dry. They are professionally done and often very amusing, and I feel comfortable recommending the shows (and the DVDs) to new homebrewers. I also appreciate the emphasis on entry-level brewing and on cost-effective approaches to have fun with the hobby.

I gave up on BN. There are gems of information in those podcasts, but the signal to noise ratio just isn't worth it.

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