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Topics - nateo

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Pimp My System / Brew Shed layout advice
« on: February 12, 2012, 04:59:17 PM »
Here is a mock-up of some changes I want to make to my shed for brewing. The exterior walls are preexisting, but the interior walls I'll need to build. Let me know what you think.

Equipment and Software / Jockey box for fermentor cooling?
« on: February 10, 2012, 07:45:40 PM »
I was wondering if anyone has seen a jockey box used to cool a fermentor. I've been googling around but haven't found any. I know winemakers use plates to chill their fermentors like this:

I've been using a freezer as a fermentation chamber, but want to do bigger batches that won't fit in it. I was thinking of using the freezer to chill water (or brine), then pumping it through the jockey box that's sitting in the fermentor.

The only advantage I see of using plates instead of coils is the plates are easier to clean, but the coils are about 1/3 the price and have a lot more surface area.

Any thoughts?

Equipment and Software / Wall mounted bottle "tree"
« on: February 05, 2012, 05:35:28 PM »
I was looking at my wife's thread holder the other day and thought, "that looks just like a bottle tree." Has anyone else thought of that? Hers looks like this, only it's hung on a wall:

I'm thinking of making something like that to store all of my empty bottles.

Going Pro / How hard is it to be a pro brewer?
« on: February 04, 2012, 12:49:18 AM »
This sounds like a stupid question, but I'm serious. Specifically, what sorts of skills and knowledge do you need to be a brewer?

My father-in-law wants to buy a brewpub (5-10bbl) in the next couple of years and wants me and my wife to run it. As far as the business end of it goes, he's good at that sort of stuff. He used to own/run a bar, among other things. My wife used to work as a sous-chef, so she can run a kitchen. Being into brewing, he wants me to run the brewery.

Is it realistic for me to gain the knowledge to run a pro brewing system in that time? I've been on the probrewer forums and have seen how many brewers are looking for work. Would it be wiser to hire a brewer?

I've read through a lot of threads on here and elsewhere about running a brewpub, and it seems like the brewing part is the least important part, with the restaurant and the "business" part of it being where most people struggle. 

I don't really have time to do an internship anywhere, and there isn't really anywhere close to me where I could. I've seen things like the Siebel institute online courses, but I'm leery of that. They seem to be just like the culinary institute, and I've worked with some graduates from culinary school that couldn't even dice an onion properly.

I've got a good handle on science and a bachelors, and I think I can learn things pretty easily. We're currently running a retail store / campground together, so I'm used to running a business and the whole "always on-the-clock, married to your job, crazy long hours" thing.

Any advice on how/where to get the skills I'll need? I've been reading some technical brewing books, but anything else?

General Homebrew Discussion / Brew shed advice
« on: February 01, 2012, 10:17:59 PM »
I'm looking to move my brewing into a corner of my shed I'm not using. The space I have is about 12ft x 30ft. Cement floor with floor drains, but no plumbing yet. I can get water in pretty easily, drainage I can't get easily. The floor drains just dump out the side of the building, which would be fine for wasted chiller water, but I'm not sure about cleaning chemicals and such. I use PBW and Starsan mostly. I was thinking of using a holding tank or something on a trailer body, and then hauling it to one of the RV dump sites I have, but that sounds like a hassle.

I was curious if anyone else is brewing in a shed, and if you have any advice for me as I turn it into usable space. It's basically an empty box right now. I've got plenty of tools and a bit of ability to use them. I have a vague idea of the storage and counter space I'll need, but any advice would be great.

I'm not sure if this is the right subforum for this, so please move it if not.

Yeast and Fermentation / Best way to increase attenuation in sour wort
« on: October 24, 2011, 03:20:13 PM »
I've been experimenting with pre-souring the wort when a clean lactic sourness is desired. I'm very happy with the results in small beers, like a Berliner Weiss. The issue I've run into is that the attenuation is very low, like 50-55%. Any ideas for increasing attenuation in low pH (2.3-2.6-ish) environments? I've tried rousing, but that didn't help much. I've been mashing at 148-149* and pitching about 1.5m/ml/*P.

Hi guys,
I have a Bayou Classic KAB4 burner, and a few extra 100 pound propane tanks. I have copper tubing and different flare fittings. Has anyone rigged up a big propane tank to run their burners? I'm not sure the best way to attach the tank to the regulator. My first thought was to cut the rubber tubing, use a barb fitting and a hose clamp to attach the copper tube to the regulator, but I worry about that leaking.

Any ideas?

Going Pro / High gravity brewing to increase production volume
« on: September 17, 2011, 10:08:03 PM »
High gravity brewing is something I've heard in passing that pro brewers use to effectively increase capacity. Basically, let's say you want to make 200L of a 1.050 beer, but you only have fermentor space for 100L. You would brew 100L of 1.100 beer then dilute post-fermentation to 200L.

For people whose business plan is to start out undercapitalized with a too-small system, this might be something to keep in mind while developing your recipes.

Yeast and Fermentation / 90% viability necessary? Desirable? Unnecessary?
« on: September 17, 2011, 08:49:42 PM »
I've been re-reading White and Zainasheff's Yeast book, and they mention more than a few times how you should only use yeast if the viability is over 90%. From the MrMalty calculator, it looks like liquid yeast would have to be made within 10 days of your use to have 90% viability.

So, my question is, for people who brew a lot of the same recipes of beer with the same yeast, have you noticed any difference in the finished beer if your yeast was one week old, rather than two weeks old, or three weeks?

I've used yeast that's pretty old. I recently used some yeast made in April, and the beer turned out fine. Maybe it could have been better with fresher yeast, but I'm curious how much of a difference it actually makes.

I wonder if they're just talking about direct pitching without making a starter?

Beer Recipes / Avery 17th Anniversary-ish beer
« on: August 31, 2011, 07:14:45 PM »
Hey, does anyone remember this beer?

Avery took it off their website. They had posted stats at one time. Just wanted to see if anyone had thought of brewing something similar.

Edit: I guess I should post a bit more. I know it's a "schwarzbier" that's dry hopped with German hops. I remember it finishing fairly dry/thin like a schwarzbier, but it had maybe 7-8%ABV and a pronounced hop character. I don't brew many hoppy beers, so I'm most interested in what the hop schedule I might use. I have magnum, vanguard, crystal, and willamette on hand.

I'm not interested in doing a clone per se, but something along the same lines.

Yeast and Fermentation / Pseudo schwarzbier, 1007 or 2565?
« on: August 29, 2011, 06:59:42 PM »
Which yeast should I use for a pseudo-lager Schwarzbier? I have 2565 and 1007 on hand.

Kegging and Bottling / Temperature at bottling
« on: August 27, 2011, 07:07:08 PM »
Hey folks,
Sorry if this has been covered before. I searched and couldn't find an answer. Does it matter if I rack and bottle a beer at cold-crashing temperature, or should I warm up the beer first to rack and bottle.

I ask because it seemed like it was losing a fair amount of CO2 transferring and bottling while cold. Also, as the beer warmed up as I was bottling it, I'm guessing it would've off-gassed a little bit too.

Does this matter? Would I lose enough residual CO2 to worry about? Or am I thinking too hard about this?

All Grain Brewing / Partigyle questions, should I cap?
« on: August 25, 2011, 11:09:11 PM »
I've been reading about partigyle brewing, and I intend to do an imperial/regular pseudo-schwarzbier with that method. I've read that some people add different grains at sparging to darken or otherwise change the flavor of the second runnings.

I was planning on making 3 recipes on Beersmith, one with the total grain bill (to figure out mash temps and such), and one assuming 60% of the grist will go towards the big beer, and one assuming 40% goes towards the small beer. Will Beersmith accurately predict the color if I do it this way?

If the color and gravity on the small beer are where I want it to be, should I add grains? I gathered from my reading that the small beer will be lacking, which is why people add additional grains and the sparge. Can someone with some experience doing this verify that?

All Grain Brewing / Berliner Weiss questions (I'm an idiot)
« on: August 16, 2011, 06:19:41 PM »
This is new to me so bear with my dumb questions. I'm attempting to do a Berliner weiss by pre-souring the wort before the boil. I made a 4L sour starter of grain and dextrose to grow Lacto, kept hot (110-ish) for 24 hours. pH of starter was 2.9 when I pitched it into the wort.

So the first problem is that I collected a few too many liters of wort, which wouldn't be a big deal except I forgot about the 4L from the starters too. So my total volume was about 8L too much. My target pre-boil gravity was 1.028. Second problem was I forgot to take a gravity reading before I added the starter. So I'm not sure what my OG was. Even with 50% efficiency my wort should have been 1.020.

After 24 hours under a blanket with the carboys wrapped with brew belts, I took a sample. pH was 2.3 and the gravity was 1.016. The airlock was going nuts, so I think some yeast may have survived on the grain too and it was now fermenting.

So, now I'm not sure what to do about the gravity. I can either boil and ferment as-is, or I can try to fix it. I could mash more wort, I could use some DME I have on hand, or I could boil longer. I'm leaning toward one of the first two.

2.3 is lower than I was expecting. What pH should I target pre-ferment? I'm not sure what's typical for Berliner Weiss, but the lowest beer on Raj Apte's chart was 2.8.

Also, are there any concerns with pitching with such a low pH? Should I pitch more yeast than usual?

Beer Recipes / Any ideas for a historic wit?
« on: August 11, 2011, 09:53:59 PM »
After reading about the "original" witbier in Brewing with Wheat I've been thinking about how to go about making one of these beers.

The long and short of it is very low attenuation (like 50%), unconverted starches, sour to very-sour character, partially boiled, some spices, few hops. I'm thinking maybe turbid mashing like for a lambic and partial boiling like a Berliner Weisse?

Has anyone tried something like this? I've never tried to purposefully lower my attenuation, so I'm not sure how to go about that.

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