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Messages - kgs

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Equipment and Software / Re: Brew kettle thoughts
« on: April 24, 2010, 07:41:40 AM »
I did a very quick check and this looks like a pretty decent deal.  Full disclosure statement:  I am not affiliated in any way with this site.

"The 9 Gallon 18/8 stainless steel stock pot is 14 inches tall and 13 1/2 inches wide." Wait, does that seem right? Is it like one of those little cars where all the clowns come pouring out? I suspect a typo. :-)

Is there a confusion of steeping specialty grains or mashing for a partial mash here?

I didn't see any base malt listed to convert for a partial mash, without seeing the entire recipe I think this looks like an extract with grain recipe, which should be steeped and can be done at a higher temp. 165ish?

I do mostly partial-mash at this point, converting all-grain recipes to half-extract and mashing the rest in a 5-gallon cooler. It has been my assumption that it's a partial mash when at least a significant minority of the recipe relies on base malts for conversion, but I observe partial-mash being used interchangeably with what is really extract brewing with steeping grains and maybe a bit of base malt for flavor. I don't know if there's a formal definition of partial mash, or if it even matters. Though from this thread I guess it does matter a bit in terms of being aware of sparging and temperature-control issues.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brewing TV!?
« on: April 20, 2010, 08:41:29 AM »
We "guys" [sic ;-) ] look forward to seeing the debut show!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brewing TV!?
« on: April 20, 2010, 07:29:55 AM »
I appreciate the comments about BN "asshattery" (and lack of editing)... I wondered if it was just me. I've been pointed to shows where to get to the actual information being delivered I had to listen to the equivalent of Beavis and Butthead huh-huhing for well over an hour. I much prefer Basic Brewing, which is a very well-managed show.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Using the fermenter for the starter
« on: April 16, 2010, 08:27:40 AM »
Only two issues I see would be 1) if you use a stir plate, the fermenter is probably to large/heavy for it and I doubt the bar would stay centered and 2) I much prefer to decant off the oxidized spent beer from the starter - be kinda hard to do in a fermenter

#2 is definitely a good point--I have been doing that.

Yeast and Fermentation / Using the fermenter for the starter
« on: April 16, 2010, 06:02:03 AM »
The LHBS gave me this idea, and it seems so obvious that I'm wondering if this is common: using the primary fermenter for the starter (as opposed to using a flask or other vessel), and then just racking the cooled wort onto it.  Thoughts?

They brought this up when I mentioned that one of my hesitations about liquid yeast was the introduction of one more possible source of contamination. I do sometimes use liquid yeast (and make starters), but I admit dry yeast has a higher comfort zone for me in that respect.

I have a demanding day job I really enjoy, a family I love, and I also have a side avocation (writing) that is fairly exacting and sometimes disappointing. Homebrewing is a hobby/craft/art-form that allows me some room for failure without huge disappointment, camaraderie with other homebrewers at all skill levels, and the zen-like relaxation of the occasional "brew day." I think I almost get more out of planning the brew day than the experience itself... endless tinkering with recipes, mulling over ingredients, etc. It's a nice escape.

Kudos to those who want to move into brewing as a business... I like knowing I can pour out a bad batch and sleep well that night.

Bottling a half-batch of milk stout. Also going to peek at the propane burner I just got through Amazon and maybe fire it up to burn off the paint smell.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: full boil
« on: April 09, 2010, 08:00:59 AM »
I don't know if this is sufficient, but this is why I preboil and cool (covered) about 2 gallons of water in a smaller stockpot... even if I think I have a full boil.

Bottling my second Two-Hearted-Ale clone, one of my first two brews since relocating from Florida back to California.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cost Per Batch?
« on: April 07, 2010, 08:56:04 PM »
Another tip: periodically check Craigslist and Freecycle (if you have a Freecycle locally) for people unloading homebrew equipment. Sometimes people are scaling up, sometimes they have tried it and it wasn't their thing, but you can find some good buys or even freebies that way.

Equipment and Software / Re: Stopper stuck in Carboy
« on: April 06, 2010, 03:04:37 PM »
I had this happen two weeks ago (and it's not even the first time). This time I pushed through a cork with its airlock in it.

First, to loosen things up, I put in a couple cups of very hot water and a little Oxiclean, let the cork sit in it for five minutes, then after pouring off the liquid, jiggled the airlock into the neck of the carboy and eased out the airlock with pliers (the airlock is trashed, but so what). Then I took a coathanger, unbent it, doubled the end with pliers, eased it through the cork, let the looped-over section catch on the cork, and gently tugged until the cork came through.

I should add it took a few minutes, but I had already considered replacing the carboy, and after pricing shipping and handling (it's a 3-gallon Better Bottle and I couldn't find one at an LHBS), decided patience and thriftiness would win the day. Next time, I'm going to calibrate my wrists before pushing the cork into the carboy...

Dry-hopped my second attempt at a Two-Hearted Ale clone. The first clone was very tasty, but it wasn't quite on the mark for THA per se, and I realized that in halving it and making it partial-mash I had increased the percentage of Vienna seen in most of these recipes. This one seems good but I'm starting to think I liked the first one better! This was also my first attempt at using leaf hops for dry-hopping (with a sanitized chunk of pantyhose and some marbles). No brewing per se until mid-May.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Homebrew clubs in San Francisco
« on: March 31, 2010, 09:29:29 PM »
I've been mulling over your response. SF definitely needs an active homebrewing club, which is one issue. But as a separate issue, it would also be good to capture the thoughts and memories of people who were active in an earlier era. If anyone has good, current contact information for this group, please do share it.

Homebrew Clubs / Homebrew clubs in San Francisco
« on: March 31, 2010, 07:40:48 AM »
There are several good clubs in the Bay Area, but in San Francisco proper, the only homebrew club several of us have been able to find, San Andreas Malts, appears to have stopped meeting (at least  publicly-announced meetings) and has not responded to email inquiries. (There is one recent post on the club's website about a proposed "toast" to a deceased member, but it doesn't have info directed at people unfamiliar with existing members.)  Does anyone have different information?

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