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Topics - surfin_mikeg

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1
Pimp My System / Mill Prototype
« on: May 21, 2015, 09:40:16 PM »
One of my goals is to DIY my homebrewery as much as practical; and in this case I put together this grain mill in a one step at a time "just get it done" mode.  That is to say, functional & good enough so I can get onto brewing.  The second goal is to recycle and spend as little as possible.  I'm in about $15 on this one for wingnuts, bolts, and an adapter to fasten a gear to the drill.



I need to finish the hopper, replace the drill/motor, and fine tune it a little bit, yet I'm good for somewhere around 70%-73% efficiency and no mash-tun clogging with two batches so far.  I really really really want to go with larger rollers and the 4" aluminum rollers was the best I could do.

Learned lessons:  the mill does best when going as slow as possible.  I tried a few different drills to power it, but fell back on the smallest drill I had and kept the feed light.  Using a voltage regulator to keep the speed as minimal as possible.  Cutting the gears out of plywood was easier than imagined and I'm surprised it runs as smooth as it does.  Gap setting is for a credit card to pass through but not where the numbers are printed, thinking this is slightly larger than 1/64".

The start of batch one of two for NHC Club Night.  Cheers Yo.




2
Yeast and Fermentation / lager starters?
« on: October 20, 2013, 08:18:38 PM »
How do you put together a strong stater for lager yeast?

The background to this question is that I recently did a 2L starter of Wyeast 2206, bavarian lager.  My first lager where I've had good temp control (6 gallons of doppelbock, ~1.080).  From what I'm reading, the starter should have been a yeast cake of 3/4 to 1 inch in thickness that corresponds to 5L of starter. 

That's a big starter for me.  If I understand correctly, the process for building that would be something like so:

2L starter:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
add 2L more of wort:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
add 2L more of wort:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
brew, pitch at 50+ degrees

Am I over thinking this? I'm at day 8 after pitching, 53 degrees, and the batch still has krausen with a full flocculation.  Not that there is a problem, just curious as to what people do for a stater in the context of colder fermentation.

3
All Grain Brewing / Decoction Tips?
« on: September 23, 2013, 10:21:04 PM »
I need to brew a DoppelBock (club competition), and decoction is not something I've done before and I'd like to give it a try. 

I'm reading through Kai's documentation on Braukaiser.com and am thinking about a double or enhanced double decoction.  Does anyone know if I will get more complexity if I take the time to do the longer decoction?

Other questions:

Is there a recommended way for accounting for volume loss of the heated decoction, i.e., how much will it affect the pre-boil gravity?  I can plan it out but typically I end up needing to adjust either temps and times at some point.  I don't have the best heat control when stepping up a mash on an outdoor burner.

Can someone get by with using a cooler as the primary mash tun, or do both tuns need burners?

Lastly, I've never done proper checking for starch conversion, and Kai mentions testing for this.  Given that I'm working with fully modified malt, is it preferred to do this vs simply tracking time?

Thanks.

4
The Pub / The Beer Hunter
« on: August 06, 2013, 09:50:13 PM »
"One weekend in Belgium changed my life"  Apparently, the last interview with Michael Jackson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weTb1UFjuow

Finding out that a number of his shows are available online, these are great:  https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=the+beer+hunter

New for me, simply sharing.

(via metafilter)

5
Commercial Beer Reviews / The Trooper
« on: March 13, 2013, 10:43:07 PM »
Traditional cask ale, with nice color, 4.8%.  Bucket list?

http://laughingsquid.com/trooper-iron-maiden-creates-a-premium-british-ale/


6
Equipment and Software / hop rhizomes newbie
« on: March 05, 2013, 02:47:38 PM »
On a whim I ordered some rhizomes; planning to drop them on a hill that has vigorous plant growth without watering.  It's north facing, coastal, with some direct sunlight.

Asking for insight:

* what's a minimum depth for soil?  It's 1 to 4 inches of hard-pack on clay, all needing rework to make loamy.  Can I get by with 8 to 12 inches of depth?

* are hop vines trainable?  I can set them up to go 16' tall, but I'd rather have them run horizontally after a 3 to 6 foot rise.  Would it negatively affect the plant?

Thanks!




7
Ingredients / Maris Otter Floor Malted Malt?
« on: December 14, 2012, 08:57:50 PM »
Anyone used floor malted MO?  I have not heard of it before, looking to use it for an IPA to hopefully build a malty backbone.  The semi-LHBS said not to use more than 20% as compared to using regular MO for all the base malt.  I don't see many references to it on the web.

WAYRTTD: I figured on using roughly 20% of this, then 2.5% of British Crystal 70/80, 2.5% Carapil, with the remaining 75% being 2-row.  Apollo is the bittering hop.  On the aroma side, the plan is to blend ibu's of 50% Cascade with 50% Apollo and Chinook.

Happy brew-day to you all.

8
Beer Travel / Poland?
« on: November 03, 2012, 12:19:39 PM »
The latest issue of Zymurgy has a great, great article on Grodziskie.  On my last trip through Poland (mostly through rural areas), I didn't find this.  Anyone know where to expect to find it beyond where it is made or if it is imported?

I'm no expert, just a random traveler.  The best I could find was on tap, Okocim.  The Polish do meats and mushrooms very well, and pairing anything like that with Okocim was great (and notably inexpensive; $2 a liter).

A question is what are craft or BJCP beer judges looking for in good Pilsners.  Most of the pilsner beers there were advertised as award winning, but if it was good it was also quite green. This meant huge yeast aromas, much more than I've ever noticed before.  I'm wondering if that is desirable or simply different from the beers sent to contests.   

Would love to find something like either one of these in the US.

9
Yeast and Fermentation / Fusel alcohols revisited
« on: October 05, 2012, 07:51:00 PM »
I'm on the opposite side of andrew000141's "fuel alcohol" thread where I want a strong ester profile for saisons and am just learning about temp control.  I just brewed a honey-orange saison (mash at 150 deg, WLP566, 6%, 40 ibu), and I upgraded the fermentation heater from 50W to 200W without testing first.  The high temp setting says 89 degrees, so I went with it. 

The next day after pitching I checked, it was krausening at 97 degrees.  Tasted horridly awful with fusels, and it fermented out at 85 degrees.  6 weeks later (w/ rack & bottle at ~60 degrees), the majority of fusel notes are gone and should be quite fine in a month or so.  No headaches.

I'm not tasting a lot of esters yet - does it help if the beer is mashed at a lower temp?
How about fatty-acid content to promote esterification - does honey help in that regard?

Any other tidbits?

Cheers.

10
Ingredients / Rye?
« on: August 31, 2012, 08:28:25 PM »
I don't know Rye.  At the stage of crafting my own recipes, which includes picking up random ingredients whenever found & tossin'm in.

Anyone have input on the rye below?  For a 6 gallon batch (~1.085), I used a pound of rye (upper left, moistened before crushing) + a half pound of flake (middle image), and the rye taste was brutally bitter lingering on the tongue for a minute or so (it was great, really).  Those without the 'lupulin shift' attraction would not go near it.

So, I figure I'd cut the rye way back, but can someone detail the difference on these ingredients as they impart flavor?  I picked up the flake on the lower right just recently, it's void of the green color.  When bringing together rye recipes, what is it that you use?

Thanks y'all.


11
Equipment and Software / Peristaltic pumps, revisited
« on: May 28, 2012, 04:31:48 PM »
One of my setup improvements this year was to add a pump such that I can recirculate and move wort without lifting wort. Based on comments in this forum (thank you), this is a prototype peristaltic pump:

(hoping this works, first time posting images)




As a guideline I DIY what I can and spend as little $$$ as possible.  This one is 5 skateboard bearings, 1" pipe connectors, pinch of aluminum, nuts & bolts: maybe $20 overall + scrap wood.  Drill and router speed control I had; it actually worked, lol.  It's all assembled with wingnuts to keep the build easy.  Just wanting something simple where I can recirculate the mash or move to boil kettle.

Seems like I gotta keep tension on the hose as it routes in & out of the pump as it gets rather soft when hot.  Any suggestions on how to accomplish this?  Curious if anyone's done something similar & can offer further advice, thanks.


12
Equipment and Software / DIY pumps
« on: February 26, 2012, 03:10:08 PM »
I'm moving back to a cooler/thermos mash tun and want to add a couple pumps to my setup.  With my brew-club, not everyone is thrilled with their march pumps and so I'm looking for options, in particular any centrifugal pump that is low budget, can handle high temps, and ideally where I can supply the motor (drill or whatever, 1/2 hp).
 
Is there any reason to not use oil pumps meant for engines?  Small block Chevy oil pumps are a starting point because they are cast iron and under $20 (re: Melling M55).  I get that I'd have to put some effort in on the fittings and a mount, but it seems like cast iron is cast iron.  I've not found info like 'does it has lead' or other toxic elements that I should be concerned about.  They're made for 1k+ rpm, I'm guessing once primed they should be more than sufficient.

I'm asking for a sanity check - anyone have a take on using engine parts for brew setups?

13
All Grain Brewing / Mash temps?
« on: June 02, 2011, 11:21:18 PM »
Greetings all,

As I moved from ice chest to an 8 gal insulated stainless steel pot (i.e., wrapped with wood), I'm tracking the mash temp a bit more closely and am realizing that there's a heat separation happening about 20 minutes in.  What I mean is that the heat is rising to the top of the mash and I don't have an even temperature through the depth of the grain-bed.  Does it matter?  What I'm wondering is there is any guidance for if or how often to stir the mash to even out the temp, as well as if y'all have any suggestions when heating in order to not go over a desired temp.  I'm looking to predictably go after a drier style, say a lager or saison.

Cheers! 

14
Kegging and Bottling / Saison bottle conditioning?
« on: May 10, 2011, 08:28:22 AM »
Hey brewers,

I brewed & fermented my first Saison, kinda a trial run for something I always want available.  My ambient storage temp is 62 degrees, and so I maintained the needed fermentation temps (started at 70 & slowly moved to ~78) by placing the carboy into a trash can, surrounded with water heated by aquarium equipment.  Worked great, and it did need a full 4 weeks to finish.  With bottle conditioning, does anyone add a different yeast for the carbonation step?  I'm hoping the answer is no, but then do I need to also keep the bottles warm to get full carbonation within a time period of a month or two?   Wondering if anyone has experience on that.  Yeast is the WLP565.

Thanks y'all.

- mikeg

15
Equipment and Software / Stainless Steel vs "Food Safe" Stainless Steel
« on: February 09, 2011, 09:44:53 PM »
Hi All,

I've been brewing for a while using a 48 quart cooler for mashing, but I can't get my temps quite right. To solve, I ordered a stainless steel kettle with a weldless thermometer & 304 stainless steel ball valve.  I'm on a budget & picked the cheapest 32 quart kettle I could find.  I'm wondering if this is a mistake and am asking for input.  Questions are:

1.  AFAIK, food safe means safe for storage for long periods of time, like a fermenting vessel.  Am I OK to use this for a mash tun?  Figuring, the longest I'd have grain in there for is 3 hours, more typically 1.5 hrs.

2.  Lead testing kits are available and lead should not be a problem, but what about copper or anything else that might leach?

I would not think any of this would be an issue, but my crafty blue-coller friends have questioned the quality of the steel and whether I should think otherwise.

Loving the AHA - thanks all.

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