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Messages - surfin_mikeg

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Does it matter?
« on: July 22, 2012, 09:36:34 PM »
If you do water to grain make sure the mash tun is heated.   I started off mashing in a cooler(blue of course) and I did water to grain.  The first few times I did it without warming the cooler and I had to play catchup to get it to mash temp. Warming the cooler first made a big difference.

Depending on a couple factors, I add ~4 degrees to the strike water and I hit the temp I need without the cooler warm-up.  Orange also helps...  ;)

Great feedback, thanks.  Have not had this issue before, maybe it's simply saison season.

Do y'all think the 'leave it in the primary' logic also applies to lagers? 

I typically keep things in the primary from 3 to 7 days, however with my last pilsner I left it in the primary for slightly over two weeks (~60 degrees).  I've got a bread-like taste that hits right in the middle of the palate.  Not real strong, but enough of an off-flavor to where I'm not handing it out.

AFAIK, it's from where the live yeasts start feeding on the yeast cake of the fermenter.  I've not had this problem with other yeasts.


Equipment and Software / Re: Peristaltic pumps, revisited
« on: May 28, 2012, 05:34:52 PM »
Thanks for the feedback.  No, I do not have a U-Bend on the tubing, it's just the tube being pinched between the wood cutout and the rollers.  The spacing on the rollers was not designed for accuracy, so I've got'm wrapped in with about 1/8" of duct tape to get the fit right.  I should be able to remove the duct tape and add the U-Bend & clamps to keep the tubing in place.

Thanks again Richard, I appreciate the help  :-).

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.

Equipment and Software / Re: DIY pumps
« on: February 27, 2012, 05:27:09 PM »
afaik, the peristaltic/tube pump thing is perfect DIY material.  The cake pan implementation - very nice. 

Equipment and Software / Re: DIY pumps
« on: February 26, 2012, 10:04:39 PM »
Thanks for the feedback; off flavors would be the problem with this.

The Little Giant, especially with the detail on manufacturing, seems ideal but beyond my budget.

The March seems like the way to go.  I did not know they were available sans motor, I'll give it a try.  The gripe has come from guys who've built HERMS systems - I don't know exactly other than it's been a weakspot in their setup.


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?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How long in the secondary?
« on: September 21, 2011, 04:24:59 PM »

It's not the time spent in the secondary, it's the sanitation of the equipment that makes the difference.

Normally I'm tight with that but I agree with you, I gotta check again.  I was thinking most of the yeast had died off as well.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How long in the secondary?
« on: September 21, 2011, 10:28:54 AM »
follow-up.  My batch of Rye/Wheat IPA did go bad, and I do think it was a Brett-like infection.  Unlike a single strain of Brett, it was completely revolting.  It tells me that longer than 2-3 weeks in secondary is not a good idea unless lagering in cold temps & then kegging.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How long in the secondary?
« on: September 15, 2011, 10:30:56 AM »
Could someone share a bit more about secondaries and autolysis? 

My Rye/Wheat IPA (8%ABV, 88 IBU, 65 degrees F) spent two months in the secondary, and this white film started surfacing at the top of the beer's surface in carboy.  It didn't change colors, tasted like yeast, but looked like mold forming.  I bottled immediately but am not sure of what I have nor what to expect for shelf life, was going to wait a couple more weeks before sampling & maybe dumping.  All the samples I've done with this have been great so far.


Where simplicity does well - this is one gets a lot of great feedback & will be brewing this weekend:

All Pilsen malt + 1/2 pound of carapils
All Saaz whole hops (schedule is 60, 30, 10 on a 90 min boil)
White Labs Lager yeast

going for 6% ABV, 40 IBU, mash ~150, ferment at 65, dryhop with Centennial or similar.

All Grain Brewing / Re: High Gravity
« on: July 20, 2011, 09:39:12 PM »
This one is worth experimenting with, say to rack half or more of it and let the portion on the yeast cake have more time.  I agree with Bluesman on this in terms of process and recipe calculations, however when I leave a gallon or so sitting for an additional month there's a flavor intensity that's baking in (perhaps from hop particulate that I can't filter).  I've had no bad results so far when doing this with ales, and there's an obvious difference.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Newfangled bottle necks
« on: June 08, 2011, 08:37:21 PM »
Are these bottles the way of the future?  Hope not.

I consider bottle type and label peeling when buying.  Drake's uses a light glue that's perfect (and their beers are spot on excellent), kinda looking for something like that for custom labels, but the favorite are those 24oz Sierra Nevada bottles - anywhere to get those by the case?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash temps?
« on: June 03, 2011, 12:18:28 PM »
What kind of efficiency do you get doing this?  And when you don't do it?  What kind of mill?  Gap setting?

I built a mill from skateboard wheels fitted onto 12" x 2" pipes, powered by a hand-drill, and it mounts to a table.  No $200 mills in my budget and I needed something that works when I need it.  I don't know the gap setting - I adjusted it such that when I run dry grain through it, it's pulverized on the first run.  When the grain is soft, there's a bit of that such that I know it's working.  The main thing is that I get no clogging or slow-down when draining the grain bed and it's easy to stir.  It's also a little nicer when mixing into the composter.   I did need to add plastic scrapers to the mill's underside for anything that sticks to the rollers.

I moisten the grain such that it is damp with no extra water pooling at the bottom, kinda like if you used a spray bottle, at the beginning when I'm getting setup & eating or whatever, and mix the water in by hand.  I also do not measure efficiency, but my typical target of a calculated 6% ABV at 75% come out stronger than that. 

It's working well but I do get a raised eye-brow or two at the homebrew meetings. ;-)

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