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Messages - kgs

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Newbie Kegging Kwestions
« on: March 10, 2011, 07:03:24 AM »
The tendency is to sugar prime as you may recall.

Hmmm, righty loosey lefty tighty... that's not what I learned in the service... thanks.

More questions ahead...

These responses are all very helpful -- for example, re euge's comment about sugar priming, I didn't pick that up at all from what I've been reading, not that my reading has been at all indepth or methodical. I just checked How to Brew, and as far as I can tell there's no mention of kegging (though the book is poorly indexed). I tend to discount Joy of Home Brewing as being fun but dated, but to my surprise it has an appendix on kegging I ignored back when I was focused on the basics, and the appendix discusses sugar-priming and other methods of carbonation.

The Toobs are highly variable; a two-page PDF from Morebeer never once mentions sugar-priming, though it has some helpful explanations of keg components I haven't seen elsewhere. The Homebrewopedia has this much to say about kegging: "Kegging.[keh'-ging] Drawing beer from a fermenter to kegs." A lot of homebrewing store websites appear to assume people know what they're buying.

I am also just figuring out that all that discussion about "ball lock" and "pin lock" refers to two different types of gas-in and beer-out connection points, if I'm right (I do get that used Cornie kegs generally have one or the other style, and that new kegs appear to be all ball lock). The lid of the keg appears roughly equivalent to a large bottlecap that isn't ever removed. The picnic tap is like a garden hose sprayer.

So there are several ways to carbonate beer in a keg. Ok. Now I'm trying to work out in my head the... physics??? of what's going on during the dispensing of a glass of kegged beer. Is it displacing the volume of beer dispensed from the keg with CO2 so that the keg remains full and the beer is always blanketed with a non-oxidizing gas? Does the CO2 help push out the beer from the keg, essentially displacing space in the keg so the beer has to come out of the keg via the line?

Re the total weight and my fridge capacity... I brew small batches because that's what I can easily lift and move, and I'm the only one in this home who likes beer. Even as separate components, I don't have the space or desire to be juggling 60 lbs + 20 lbs. Several homebrew stores sell 3-gallon or 2.5-gallon kegs, and some homebrew stores sell alternatives (I don't know how well they work) to the large CO2 containers. Through a miracle, we rent a place with a humongous, fairly new Kitchenaid fridge. I cook a lot and the two of us still don't fill that fridge, which means we're wasting energy chilling space. Having a small keg in the fridge at all times would be environmentally responsible!  ;-)

Kegging and Bottling / Re: From swigtop to capped bottle
« on: March 09, 2011, 09:52:48 PM »
In the past for our competition this would be allowed for general judging and providing feedback, but it would be ineligible to advance.


Kegging and Bottling / Re: Tap-a-Draft
« on: March 09, 2011, 09:41:42 PM »
Mini kegs can work well, also.  Not sure about the Hieniken ones, but the style Bell's uses can be reused easily.

You can build your own tap, or buy one (Phil tap, among others).  You can also force carbonate in these if you build your own carbonator (basically a schrader valve on a hose barb).

I believe NB forums has a long thread on using these and building taps that is very current.

Thanks -- wouldn't mind a link or two. Reading up on kegging, still very unclear on the concept!

Kegging and Bottling / Newbie Kegging Kwestions
« on: March 09, 2011, 09:40:43 PM »
Reading up on kegging, and feeling confused.

So I brew beer, ferment it, rack it into a keg, attach a CO2 source, and force-carbonate for a week or so. Do I put all this gear in a fridge? If I have a 3-gallon keg, can the keg and the CO2 source fit in my kitchen fridge? Or should the keg be at cellar temp like the rest of my beer (a closet in the garage, which is chilly almost year-round)? Then what? How do I know when it’s done? How do I chill it?

How do I get the beer out of the keg? I know that sounds really stupid. Is that what the picnic tap is for? If I serve some of the keg but I have beer left over, how do I turn off the tap?

What exactly am I regulating with those regulators, and why? (Pressure of the Co2 canister, pressure of the keg?)

For CO2, I see big canisters, paintball canisters, proprietary small canisters... lots of choices. Weight is an issue for me. At the high end, what does a 5-gallon keg plus a large Co2 canister weigh? What about a 3-gallon keg with a paintball canister?

Why is there air? Oh sorry. Another forum. Thanks for any help you can provide!

Ingredients / Re: Centennial delivery
« on: March 08, 2011, 11:40:40 PM »
Are these recipes on the AHA brewing wiki? I ask because I spent 3 years in Florida and one of the few things I miss in NorCal is Bell's. Love that Centennial.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Tap-a-Draft
« on: March 07, 2011, 07:51:32 AM »
Thanks, all. I do like to tinker though these days my day job cuts into my tinkerability time. Tap-A-Draft is about $65 for a startup kit -- not bad, for what it does. What I'd really like is one of those 2.5-gal keg setups designed to coexist in a home fridge. But $$$.

Kegging and Bottling / Tap-a-Draft
« on: March 05, 2011, 03:03:57 PM »
I only see two posts on the Forum about Tap-a-Draft. I'm a homebrewer in an urban apartment -- as in, limited space. Bottling suits my needs for the most part (good for gifting, good for portion control :) ), but I wouldn't mind an affordable alternative to use for the occasional block party or holiday open house.

Any thoughts about this system, or alternatives to it?

nothing this weekend except bottle-cleaning, but brewing a Xmas barleywine next weeken, I hope. still pondering recipes.

2011 batch of Lenten Brew.  A group from church brews it.  We bottle it together about mid-Lent and it's ready for drinking on Easter.  A new take on Lenten Discipline.  (third year for it)  We don't drink the beer that we made just before Lent, during Lent.

Cool! I was actually planning to do this myself! I'm on a low-carb discipline through Lent (started early... my pants shrunk over Christmas), and was thinking about a Lenten brew for the same reasons. What did you brew?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: beer Books?
« on: February 21, 2011, 11:55:48 AM »
whoops.  i glossed over the bedtime reading part....  designing great beers is pretty in depth and not really casual reading.  i agree.

Something to keep in mind about DGB is that it's getting very dated at this point.  There are a lot of new ingredients and techniques that aren't covered in the book. 

Although DGB is very good for summaries of style history.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: how do you make a yeast starter?
« on: February 13, 2011, 06:18:03 PM »

That calculation caught my eye. A ten minute boil is a long time for a small amount of liquid.  I brought a quart of water to a boil in a two-quart saucepan, uncovered the pan, and set the timer, then turned off the flame and poured out the water as soon as ten minutes were reached. The water had lost 50% of its volume.

Very interesting.  I boil for 10 min. also.  I start with 9-10 cups and end up right around 2 qt.  some loss, but nowhere near 50%.

I assume an uncovered pan, and a rolling boil, with the ten minutes starting at the beginning of the boil? I was surprised by my boil-off results myself, but there it was. I'll test it again for repeatability. As tests go, it's an easy one :) This time, I'll wear a lab coat.

I wonder if wort boils off more slowly than water. I wonder if I'm over-thinking this and should RDWHAHB (actually I am!).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: how do you make a yeast starter?
« on: February 13, 2011, 02:04:41 PM »

If 10% of the volume of water is lost during the 10 minute boil (assume no solids are lost during the boil) ...

That calculation caught my eye. A ten minute boil is a long time for a small amount of liquid.  I brought a quart of water to a boil in a two-quart saucepan, uncovered the pan, and set the timer, then turned off the flame and poured out the water as soon as ten minutes were reached. The water had lost 50% of its volume.

Obviously, there are easy fixes: add preboiled water to restore the volume. Start with more than a quart of water. Cover the pan for part of the boil. Palmer recommends, "Put the lid on the pan for the last couple minutes" -- I do that anyway, to steam down any wort crystals and to kill the bugs -- and that would also help reduce loss. 

But the key is to know what your target OG should be for your starter and focus on that, and I can honestly say I haven't been doing that for starters (why, I don't know, since I am almost obsessive about hitting my OG for my beer).

Good thread!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: how do you make a yeast starter?
« on: February 13, 2011, 11:05:31 AM »
The Homebrewopedia offers a yeast starter recipe ( ). That said... several small observations:

* Its recipe for a yeast starter recommends 1 cup DME to a quart of water. Using Beersmith, if I go with 1 cup DME weighing .4 lbs, that works out to 1.071 OG -- pretty high. I can get to 1.045 OG if I assume 1 cup DME = .25 ounces.

* Providing weight for the DME in this recipe (in both US and metric) might encourage new brewers to make critical measurements by weight, not volume. DME is a hard thing to estimate by volume, especially for such a small amount of wort. I'm not saying don't list a volume measurement... just suggesting someone with credibility might want to add weight measurements to this fairly important recipe.

* Some interesting SEO: a Google search for "making yeast starter" or "yeast starter" doesn't yield a link to anything on the domain for the first twenty results--even though most of Google's results for these search phrases are related to brewing. If I force a site search ("making yeast starter"), it's the 7th result. If I remove the verb "making" and force a site search, it's the third result. I have to force a subdomain site search to make it the third result  ("yeast starter"). Shouldn't the AHA's recipe for yeast starter be *the* first result in any general Google search?

Now back to the work stuff I've been avoiding...


One thing this podcast will inspire me to do is set my timer and stir every 15 minutes.

I haven't listened yet, but I never stir during the mash.  What's the supposed benefit?

I'd have to listen again since my attention faded in and out (I was playing this podcast through my car stereo, at one point barely dodging a truck suddenly backing into an active lane of big-city traffic), and if the answer was scientific I probably tuned it out anyway, but I'm guessing stirring is saturation insurance--like the same reason you gently mix a cake batter for a minute or two after adding the last ingredients.

I've been reluctant to stir because I don't want to incur temperature loss. But I'd at least try it to see if a known recipe could pick up some efficiency. Three "stirs" with a warm spoon at 15, 30, and 45, just to see what happens. (Though since I don't crush my own grain I lose an important variable.)

Of course, efforts to boost my efficiency will be unnecessary when I get my blue mash tun.

I listened to the show today--really good. The 30-minute and 60-minute beers were drinkable, and the 60-minute mash tasted the best.

I often wonder what the upper limits of mashing are. I also liked Kai's point (or what I thought I heard was his point) that what people think of as the benefits of mashing-out may really be due to a longer mash.  One thing this podcast will inspire me to do is set my timer and stir every 15 minutes.

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