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Messages - surfin_mikeg

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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. ;-)

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash temps?
« on: June 03, 2011, 08:44:12 AM »
Indeed, it is not insulated on the bottom, I have it sitting on top of a burner.  I do get heat loss from the equipment, was much worse before I wrapped it, 1 degree per 5-7 minutes.

How I got here was that I add about 1/4 - 1/2 gallon of water to my grains before crushing and let it sit for an hour (the crush turns out quite differently as grains are more squished than crushed, I like it), but failed to account to this extra volume when calculating strike temps.  For this reason as well as wanting a bit more control (I'm in a cold windy coastal area), I needed the ability to heat the mash.  The heat / viscosity issue has me wondering what the science is. 

Recirculating the mash - do you use a pump for that?  Any recommendations?

Thanks again all.

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.


IPA time.  looking for some subtle flavors with 10% rye + 10% wheat, using Crystal and Smaragd Hops. 

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

Equipment and Software / Re: Stainless Steel vs "Food Safe" Stainless Steel
« on: February 10, 2011, 10:35:35 PM »
This is credited to the stain...Calculating Your Thermal Mass with ProMash

That's useful - is there a AHA wiki for collecting such references?

Also, following up on false bottoms - after sharing some urls, my steelworking friends say that the false bottoms sold by NB and the like are really good deals.


Equipment and Software / Re: Stainless Steel vs "Food Safe" Stainless Steel
« on: February 10, 2011, 09:08:16 AM »
Why were your friends concerned?  My guess is that it was made in China?

These guys weld & shape different kinds of custom metalwork, the cheaper Chinese steel they've been rejecting simply because it's not holding up the same.

euge:  Getting the temp right in the mash tun has been hit or miss, and when I'm low I gotta add more water to get the temp up.  I'm looking to fine tune asap and do better quality control.

oscarvan:  agreed, but wondering if it is possible to remove the guess.  Just thinking that I could send in a water sample to a lab after a decent boil, that would at least test for some minerals.  I'm on a well near the ocean, I gotta do water sampling from time to time and can fit it in.

Thanks again guys!

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