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Messages - surfin.mikeg

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lager Fermentations
« on: August 25, 2015, 06:31:37 AM »
5) I find that noble hops in the full duration of the boil add a very elegant spicy hop flavor that you just can’t get from generic boil hops.  Try it sometime and see.  I think you’ll find that it’s NOT a waste of noble hops to boil for a full 60.  Try it.

This is insightful, thanks.

+1 BIAB.

THis is a great way to experiment;  my last one was brewing the ingredients listed for NB's Fat Tire in simple combinations, blending to taste, and then scaling up.   Learned I really don't care for Munich Malt by doing it this way.

Dry yeast is a little easier to measure out in smaller quantities.

The only odd thing in my setup is a wrapping of small copper tubing for a wort cooler that is pumped with a 12v cpu cooler pump; that works well for getting things chilled quickly.

Equipment and Software / Re: Thermometer probe length
« on: August 16, 2015, 12:06:49 PM »
It also helps to warm the whole thing up by letting it sit for a bit with with the hot water as a precursor to mashing in.
I'd rather just adjust my strike temp to account for the extra few degrees needed to heat up a room temp mash tun. One less step to forget when I'm still half asleep and trying to mash-in.
My thoughts as well. Every time I have tried to preheat my tun, I have missed my mash temp. When I just tell beersmith that my tun and grain are at 72 or wherever, it calculates a strike temp that gets me where I want to be very reliably

I would do the guessing on the calculations if I could get it to work for me, but my variables include outdoor temperature and it didn't work well.  I don't care how long the overall setup, and so I do a dry run to set up dead space, drink coffee, checking fittings, more coffee, then mill and mash in.  The mash water is warming up as the tun sits.

For fun: today is a 6.5 gallon porter, 5.3% ABV.  I'm splitting the fermentation with different yeasts (005, 023), one will be chocolate raspberry and the other maybe left alone.  Have to bottle, and so wanting smaller volume of each style.

Equipment and Software / Re: Thermometer probe length
« on: August 16, 2015, 08:14:46 AM »
Since I didn't get one of the super insulated coolers, I toss an old sleeping bag over it once I draw the pH sample @ 5 minutes.

What I do is place weights on the top, such that the lid is clamped down tightly.  It seem to have an effect in helping keep heat in.  For an hour long mash the temp stays even.  It also helps to warm the whole thing up by letting it sit for a bit with with the hot water as a precursor to mashing in.

Equipment and Software / Re: I finally did it
« on: August 15, 2015, 05:04:04 PM »
I'd recommend going bigger. I use 6 gallon better bottles and my initial volume is 5.5 gallons, it works but isn't ideal. I use a blow off on every batch and some batches blow a lot off. I know John (Hoosier) uses 7 or 8 gallon buckets intended for wine.

Edit - sorry to hear this and glad you made it out unscathed.

I recently switched to 6 gallon better bottles and needed a blow-off on 4 out of 5 batches so far. I wish the came in 6.5 gallon or 7 gallon.

I hear you, but I don't want to lift anything like that.  Splitting the larger batches into two buckets for now, targeting the 5 gallon keg size.  Cheers!

Equipment and Software / Re: I finally did it
« on: August 15, 2015, 05:00:05 PM »
surfin_mikeg - I feel your pain. I broke two carboys, got cut both times. Being a Dad, enough was enough. I use these big wine fermenter buckets and love 'em :

Thanks.  I'm a dad as well, and the dogs were more of a problem.  It's not so much of a loss as realizing I'm lucky to not be cut like yourself.

The beer turned out well, trying for a Session IPA style SMaSH - 5.2% ABV of floor-malted Pils, Belgian blend yeast, and Centennial hops.  Hop-forward and about 40-45 IBU, the yeast and hops blend well together, no dry-hop.   Right time of the year for it.

Equipment and Software / I finally did it
« on: August 15, 2015, 02:30:53 PM »
I dropped a 6.5 gallon glass carboy. 

It's been 10+ years of usage and taking extra steps to be cautious with them.  I usually work with them on top of wood and carry/store in a clean plastic trash can, but looked past the wood part just this one time.  My hands were soapy as I was cleaning/moving it.  I simply lost friction while holding, like only glass can do, and it shattered something fierce with the 1.5 foot drop over textured cement.  No injuries, but two extra hours to clean up with so many tiny tiny chips and shards.

Now switching over to 100% plastic, picking up 5 22L food-grade buckets. Wow, these things are much more practical.

Why post this?  I'm sure there are others like me who are aware of the dangers but use them anyway.  Simply a data-point that continued use of them was more risk than I realized.


Beer Recipes / Re: first irish red
« on: August 04, 2015, 09:17:58 PM »
With an Irish Red the BJCP guidelines mention a subtle toffee/caramel sweetness; curious if anyone knows if it is possible with the recipe as is?  Wondering if some of the wort should be pulled aside and reduced like a scotch ale to achieve this flavor.   I'm not sure how else to achieve it.


Pimp My System / Re: Poolside Brew Shed
« on: August 04, 2015, 08:58:55 PM »
I love this build, thanks for sharing.  In particular, the drawings, with color, it's a couple steps above what I do and I find it inspiring.

All Things Food / Re: Smokin time
« on: August 03, 2015, 09:47:00 AM »
For a wonderful and oriental flared poultry smoke  I was wowed with  this mix....

1/4 lb of black loose leaf tea
1/2 cup of brown sugar
the peeling of 2 oranges or tangerines

mix the above and put in an aluminum or sacrificial pan and flame under it ....
The sugar melts and the orange oils  flavor the tea smoke...highly delightful. 8)

I tried this while brewing up a SMaSH this weekend; the aroma and flavor was crazy good.  Added a lemon + some rosemary as well.

Equipment and Software / Re: Monster Mill Drill Question
« on: July 19, 2015, 09:48:17 AM »

If you could figure out a way to do this it would be great. I run my 1/2 drill on a  monster mill and just zip tie the trigger all the way closed. It runs much, much faster than it should which shreds the husks.

I picked up this link from a previous forum post.  It might be helpful for the zip tied drill. -T
Great!  That looks like a cheap n easy solution.

Has anybody tried using something like this to control a drill for a  grain mill?

Routers are high-speed low-torque and router controls work great with that. On drills, in my experience the voltage drop kills the torque.  You can use that but will also need to slow the rate of grain feed.  There are also low-speed high-torque drills on the market.  $$$ as the inexpensive ones look shabby.  The one thing the router control does well is being a convenient on-off switch.

Long term, some some sort of gearing with a decent motor would be the way to go.

All Things Food / Re: Smokin time
« on: July 17, 2015, 09:07:50 AM »
With a little further research, it looks like the kettle is from a weber performer.  Thus, it has the bracket already.

Looks like I'm back to rigging something up.  But the steel cross braces are a nice idea.  Maybe I can hang it with just some steel angles tapped into the kettle with SS bolts.

Yes, the older 22.5" kettles have the bracket, and then it's 1.25" square steel with high-temp paint.  The kettle and work surfaces are not attached to the frame.  There's a small cutout in the front where the tubing slides into - it all drops in and out for easier cleaning.  I don't see the bracket sold online, but using an L bracket would be the same.

I found that drilling into it and adding bolts as needed (for resetting the grill angle), was not problematic.  I've got 2.5" of space between the kettle and the oak and that's more than enough.  There are no heat issues.  This kettle is about 15-20 years old.

Regarding the rub, I started with this, but tweaked it quite a bit.  For example, I use a blend of chili, cayenne & habinero powders to get a smooth even heat that lasts a bit, but it took a while to figure out where to get quality spices (Penzeys).

The other item worth mentioning is using a Maverick dual wireless temperature monitor ($40-$80).  I couldn't dial in the process without it.

Happy Friday.

All Things Food / Re: Smokin time
« on: July 16, 2015, 10:57:20 PM »
Also curious if someone smokes salmon and has good tips.

Jumping in late to the thread -

I realized the two hobbies go perfect together after waaaay too much cleanup from double-batching 5g + 10g and needing to have more fun.  I still have not finished making a brew-stand but am happy to plan ribs and rubs as much as yeast-starters for brew-day.

Working on these bacon-wrapped sausage meat thingies, kinda nuanced to perfect:

finished ribs:

And the setup.  Maybe not obvious in the images, I liked working with the Webber kettle but tilted it forward 11 degrees such that access to the coals is easy with the grill edge figuratively meeting the lip of the kettle at the same spot.  Added a large workspace on both sides for ease of use, about 38" tall and 7' wide:

Spatchcocked chicken or turkey also smoke well.


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast shipped warm.
« on: July 02, 2015, 06:55:46 AM »
Have you tried getting your yeast from Morebeer?  With their distribution center in Penn., the transit time to Maryland should be minimal.  Keystone Homebrew has pretty quick turnaround time too. 

MoreBeer will wrap the yeast in ice for shipment.  In talking to the rep at NHC, one recommendation was to order two ice packs per vial of yeast:  Would be nice if they made this option more obvious; need to scroll the page to see it.

Personally trying dry-yeast as well this summer.

Equipment and Software / Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« on: June 18, 2015, 09:06:23 AM »
Thanks for the replies, I think I'm going with a 5 gallon cooler. If I want to make a big beer, I may have to scale back down to 2.5 or 3 gallon. But I think the 5 gallon cooler will be serviceable as I learn more.

I'd recommend a rectangular cooler since they're easier to use and less expensive.  A 48 qt. would be perfect for you.

I've tried both; when batch sparging there's less grist sloshing out when using a round cooler.

Denny, any advice on how many times a cooler can be used before it needs to be tossed?  Wondering if there's a chemical breakdown going on in the plastic when there's a little warping in the cooler.  Thanks.

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