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Messages - kgs

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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.

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?"


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

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

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!


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

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

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.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Growing the kegging empire
« on: February 21, 2016, 02:42:27 PM »
I think the distributor is the way to go. Thanks.

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Yeast and Fermentation / Benefits of controlling fermentation temperature
« on: February 21, 2016, 02:41:44 PM »
Ok, thanks. I should listen to the podcast! (Which podcast?)

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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.

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