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Messages - kgs

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As turbulent as fermentation is, I'd assume things are within a degree or two of uniform.

For temp controlled fermentations, I know myself and others usually just tape the controller's temp probe to the vessel and cover it in some sort of insulation. If measuring the temperature through the wall of the fermentation vessel wasn't close enough, I think we'd know it.

That's easy enough -- thanks.

Kegging and Bottling / Growing the kegging empire
« on: February 20, 2016, 07:48:19 PM »
I was very conservative on my first kegging venture, but instantly "got it." This may be because I had beginner's luck and everything has gone very smoothly, but I am feeling very post-bottle these days.

Because I was conservative, I bought one (3-gallon) keg, a 5-lb CO2 canister, and a Taprite single-body regulator (plus pre-assembled gas and beer lines). I brew small batches so the keg size is perrrrrfect. Sold on kegging, I have already bought another 3-gallon keg from AIH during their Presidents' Day sale and am contemplating taking advantage of the Williams keg sale this weekend on kegs to get one more.

So about regulators. My expectation for the next year or so is I'll have up to two 3-gallon kegs on CO2 at any one time, though with the fridge I have for my kegs (a hand-me-down from my landlord), I could fit three or possibly more. I expect to get busy next weekend and every weekend through the remainder of 2016 with my grad studies, so I am assuming I will brew more than 2015 (three batches) but less than 2014 (not sure, 6-10?). Life could change that, but it's a plan for now, anyway.

I brew different styles; right now I have an oatmeal stout on tap as my first kegged beer, and today brewed a rye IPA (*waves at Denny*), plus have a Belgian tripel in bottles. Should I try using a splitter? Get a dual-body regulator? Get another regulator and canister? What do people do?

Get one of those stick-on liquid crystal type thermometers, they're a great way to measure fermentation temps accurately.

And FWIW, I've had good results fermenting at ambient temps-but note that I typically brew British styles that benefit from fermenting a little warmer than American styles. Also, the beers this has worked with never got warmer than 66oF, as measured by a thermometer as described above.

I have used those stick-on thermometers on previous carboys, but always wondered if they were measuring the wort temp all that well. I suppose better than just guessing, but particularly with buckets, are they getting at the thermal heat created deep in the burbling depths of fermenting wort?

One of those questions I have hesitated to ask ("I should know this by now") is whether I should set the  the temp of the fridge a few degrees lower. In other words, if a recipe says "ferment at 68 degrees F," is that the wort, or the ambient temperature?

It's wort temp that matters.

If you don't have a thermometer in the wort, is there a rule-of-thumb offset?

One of those questions I have hesitated to ask ("I should know this by now") is whether I should set the  the temp of the fridge a few degrees lower. In other words, if a recipe says "ferment at 68 degrees F," is that the wort, or the ambient temperature?

Kegging and Bottling / Re: best fridge for kegging system
« on: February 19, 2016, 11:09:25 AM »
It sounds like you are looking for a mini-fridge.  I made a two tap kegerator out of this Danby from Walmart  Currently $193 with free shipping.  You have to modify the door to get two ball-lock corny kegs to fit, but it works great.

I bought the same fridge (though I haven't converted the door -- I have the newer model where the door is glued in, and for various reasons I just never had a need to embark on this project). If you're a CostCo member, I see them in stock quite a bit in-store and they're about $50 less than WalMart.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Suggest an experiment!
« on: February 18, 2016, 07:14:28 AM »
I've hesitated to share this idea because I keep thinking it MUST have been done already and I just missed the memo, but dry yeast: hydrate versus non-hydrate (perhaps US-05 w/10 gallons of a basic IPA split two ways, same temp control, etc.).  Data points would be limited to side-by-side blind taste testing with expert and non-expert tasters. In terms of design, I don't know enough about designing this type of experiment to say whether it's better to have the same brewer rebrew several times or have multiple brewers repeat the experiment on the same timeline.

Note: I just realized Basic Brewing did this experiment in 2011. It's interesting that the conclusion was to not hydrate, but the results were almost evenly split. (I am a non-hydrater but largely agnostic, since I brew smaller batches.)

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Picnic taps
« on: February 15, 2016, 07:39:58 AM »
As long as the tap and line remain chilled there isn't a problem with staling or cleanliness. And I've never had a cobra tap leak on it's own accord- always something I did like squishing it between the door and side of keg or something along those lines.

A 5' line is a little better for maintaining the carbonation in the pour. There's a formula out there to figure out the serving line lengths needed for the desired carbonation volumes.

I've heard that about 5-foot lines. Looking at various online homebrew stores, most sell 5-foot lines. There must be a reason for that. Though per online calculators from reputable sources, the length should be shorter.

L = (keg_pressure – 1 psi) / Resistance
(per )
Fridge = 38f ; Desired carbonation 2.0 (I see a lot of recipes list 2.4 for oatmeal stout, but that feels really high)
Elevation of line = 0
Beer line characteristics: 3/16" D; cold
PSI: oh wait... I have it at 10... per this it should be at 6:

So I ended up carbonating at 2.4 anyway! I can't remember why I set it at 10. Though I have to say I have the taste impression that level of carbonation took what was a mediocre (for me) stout that finished too sweet (aiming for more mouthfeel, I think I mashed too high) and made it much better.

But anyway, following the formula, the line should be 3 feet long: (10 – 1) / 3. If I went down to 8, then it's L=(8-1)/3 which is even shorter; if I went down to 6, shorter yet. But I have yet to hear of anyone using that short of a line.

So in conclusion... I'll ignore the formulas, keep using the four-foot line, and when it's time to build a second line, make it five feet long. :-)

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Picnic taps
« on: February 14, 2016, 09:50:35 AM »
That's a thing of beauty. As you say, $100 per keg is kind of spendy for a single faucet (when a serviceable picnic tap line can be built for so little), but it is a great solution.

I have been draping the picnic line as mabrungard suggests with the same thought in mind.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Picnic taps
« on: February 14, 2016, 07:49:19 AM »
I've had one leak but it was because I put 30 psi of Co2 in the keg seating the lid with a serving line hooked up.  FYI - don't do that.  I now only hook up a serving line when the keg is adjusted to serving psi.

Thanks, this and other tips here are valuable kegging knowledge. For example, it makes sense, but it didn't occur to me the tap came apart. And of course, there's even a short YouTube video for that: .

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Picnic taps
« on: February 13, 2016, 06:41:39 AM »
The volume of beer in 1 ft of 3/16" line is about 0.18 fl oz. So your 4 ft line has about 0.72 fl oz sitting in it. ...

I never pour off anything. I had 10 ft lines for years and there was no problem with noticeable carbonation loss or staleness or anything else.

Thanks, that's good to know.

The lines will develop beer stone over time. You can clean with beer line cleaner every few months or just replace the lines yearly.

Also good to know. I bought a prebuilt line to eliminate one possible point of error/frustration for first-time kegging, but I'll probably assemble the next beer line from scratch (whether for this setup or a second keg) using line + MFL disconnects etc. I'm also assuming the gas line is essentially ageless.

Kegging and Bottling / Picnic taps
« on: February 12, 2016, 06:46:23 PM »
So. My first kegging is going preternaturally well. The beer, it is carbonated. It tastes delicious. And I was able to fine-tune the carbonation after it had been in the keg a while. No leaks, no drama. FYI, the keg, CO2, and everything else are in a fridge ca. 38 degrees F.

For the first week I attached/disattached the picnic tap. That became old fast, particularly once the tap and the post got sticky. I'm trusting (!) that the tap won't sprout a leak. But now that it's constantly connected, I have questions.

* Does the line to the picnic tap (4 feet) maintain carbonation? If not, what's the time period for leakage?
* Does the beer in the line get old? Should I pour it off?
* How much beer sits in a typical beer line, per foot?
* Any other good tips for maintaining picnic taps and ensuring a fresh pour, particularly if a pour is every other day? I am using (and will likely keep using) small kegs, 2.5 gal to begin with, probably no more than two (or at most three) at a time. I am looking at Perlick flow-control faucets, but picnic taps are a good value for now.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: urgent puzzled newbie kegger question
« on: February 06, 2016, 01:46:13 PM »
Why are you coming forward only now, after all this time? In order to get my frustration levels down to that of a suckling puppy I had to buy an expensive beergun, and now I have started bottling again from my kegs.  :( :( :(

There is an inevitability to beer guns. I already want one!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: urgent puzzled newbie kegger question
« on: February 06, 2016, 10:39:48 AM »
So no-one has an answer to my original question?  :(

I mulled this question over the last week while doing other research. I have asked this question as well.  I poked around to see if this dissertation had been cited in the Forum, and apparently not:

Murray, D. W. (2011). Home brewing and serious leisure: A mixed methods examination (Doctoral dissertation, Auburn University).

Murray states that past the beginner level, motivation to continue a hobby includes "the requirement that the activity involves overcoming hardships and difficulty, often necessitated in attaining competence coupled with a significant investment in goal-related behavior over time" (p. 18). I've seen similar claims in other scholarly materials related to motivation for leisure activities.

If you go back to the first time you bottled, you were probably excited that you were actually making beer! In bottles! But it likely didn't take long for your interest in bottling to plateau. Once you get past basic issues such as sanitation, measuring sugar by weight versus volume, using a capper, etc., bottling is... bottling. The laborious "laundry" of homebrewing.

There's plenty to suggest on the Forum and elsewhere that kegging requires a level of expertise that separates keggers from homebrew beginners, which itself is motivation enough for a hobbyist. This week, I'm excited that I appear to have no leaks or other errors in my first kegging attempt -- to the point where when I get home from work or even a shopping trip I make a beeline to look at the regulator, and have repeatedly tested the beer despite my intention to "set and forget" for at least a week. I am not sure what comes after kegging, except more kegs, but since it lacks the time-intensive drudgework of bottling, there's no *de*-motivating factor. But meanwhile, the frustration appears to be actually part of the motivation.

Sorry for this nerdy response... literature searches on this have been a side hobby for me this week.

All Grain Brewing / Re: no sparge
« on: January 31, 2016, 01:37:46 PM »
Denny, on adding the remaining water after the mash is complete: for my workflow this would work almost as easily as adding all the water at once, which is what I do now, so I'd be curious to know your rationale (efficiency, flavor, etc.). I think someone else in this thread mentioned doing this too.

  Also, I like to stay in a somewhat "normal" mash ratio range.  Now, that may be misguided, but it's my theory.  And it works.

Same reasoning for me.  I don't want to thin out the mash too much for the enzymes to do their work.

Thanks. It would be easy enough to try, and I could do a rebrew of one of my favorites. A small change to the process. At mash temp or at higher "mash-out" temp?

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