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Messages - leejoreilly

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Biggest thing I would have changed is taking most of the posted information online with less credibility. Too many people with high post counts or aggressive posting styles in forums saying very little of value.


What I've found is that there is a lot of good advice, but you need to sort through it.  If it contradicts your experience, rely on what you know.  Lurk and read and you'll figure out who is full of hot air and who knows whats up.

I fully agree with Joe; the value of advice varies greatly. Part of that may well be due to the knowledge level of the "adviser" - some folks actually know a lot less than they are willing to share. But there's also the fact that people with knowledge, experience and good intentions may not share your goals and preferences.

We have a wide range of contributors here; everybody from commercial brewers who brew daily to guys who brew once or twice a year. We have gear-heads and minimalists. We have folks who are fiercely competitive brewers and others who have never and will never enter a competition. Brewers who love to get wrapped up in process details and others who love to wing it. Newbies and Denny's (actually, there's only one Denny, but lots of wannabes). There are few absolutes that are totally valid for all these wide ranges of preferences and experiences.

For example, I brew in my kitchen, using an old cooler for a mash tun, two stock pots for boil kettles/HLTs, an immersion coil chiller and plastic fermenters that I've used for years. I have never entered a competition, and don't intend to. I brew maybe 6 or 8 times a year. I keg, and store and serve from and old kegerator. I brew to my preferences and for the enjoyment of my friends. I enjoy the entire process from recipe development though the brew day, fermentation monitoring, carbing and (probably most) consuming.

So, I use the BJCP guidelines as just that - guidelines that I'll violate at my whim, since nobody will be formally rating my beer. I brew what I like to consume (just ales, never lagers). I'll won't let my process get any finickier than I enjoy; so I'll happily ignore LODO concerns, not because I don't think they're valid, but because it would decrease my enjoyment of my brew day beyond any expected improvements in my beer. I don't keep detailed notes (outside of annotating BeerSmith "Brew Steps" sheets) because I know I won't use them for anything. I control fermentation temps using a variation of a swamp cooler - imprecise but plenty close enough for me.

These are the brewing factors that give me great enjoyment and beers that I am proud of. Could I make marginally better beer? Sure, but it wouldn't be worth it TO ME. I won't criticize anyone whose brewing factors differ from mine - they have different objectives and preferences. And, while I am unapologetic for my way, I'm always interested in what other brewers have to say; I may not use it, but I'll listen politely.

So, my advice: listen attentively, evaluate critically, and go your own way.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Quick Force Carbing
« on: October 25, 2017, 01:06:04 PM »

One issue came up. With the first keg I think I tilted it to far to the valve side and some beer got in my C02 hose. Not a lot but enough I could see little droplets in the hose. What is the best way to clean that and how important is it to get it cleaned?

I had this happen to me once, through my own inattention (about a 6 on the Bonehead Scale). At first I thought "Hey, no problem, it's in a nearly pure CO2 environment; nothing's gonna growth there. What could go wrong?" But I decided not to tempt the Fates, so I replaced the gas line and cleaned the connector. Any easy and cheap fix, and guaranteed 100% reliable.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: It's Official
« on: October 15, 2017, 01:10:12 PM »
Look at it from the other side as well. There are quite a few people that were active on this forum that have gone pro-lodo and prefer to discuss that stuff somewhere else.

What you say is true, Frank, but I think the point is how people should act, not where they should flee to, to find others who agree with them. I think this  sort of behavior is endemic today, not just on this forum: folks embrace opinions (valid or not), promulgate those opinions "publicly", and then rail against those who don't agree immediately. "You must accept my opinion as high, absolute truth - I can quote sources who agree with me", or "you must accept my opinion; it worked for me", and eventually "Your way is wrong because it's not my way".

The medium itself makes this kind of behavior easy. It provides a soapbox, but it's also basically anonymous, so one can act badly without fear of embarrassment, and then just go away when the temperature gets too high. Unfortunately, well behaved folks tend to leave the scene too.

My advice? question everything (including your own opinions), but expect to be questioned back. "Don't be a dick." Remember that opinions are like a$$holes; everybody has one, but no one really wants to hear all about yours. And sometimes, when someone is being a dick, the best course may be to just ignore them ("Never wrestle with a pig; you just get muddy and the pig enjoys it")

-end of rant-

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brun Water Question for Pale Ale profile
« on: September 03, 2017, 12:42:27 PM »

Need to get an automated Ph meter so I can be 100% sure I'm getting target Ph.

Thanks to all again!

I've been using BrunWater for several years now. When I first started addressing my water chemistry, I bought a nice pH meter and monitored pH closely. After a few brew sessions, I noticed that by following BrunWater, my pH was ALWAYS very close to what I intended. I rarely measure pH anymore as a standard brew day process; no need to. I do measure occasionally at different points in the brewing/fermenting process, but more to satisfy my curiosity than to monitor and correct levels.

My point is that you may not need to invest in a bunch of expensive equipment, nor will you need to do much monitoring once you get comfortable with BrunWater and follow it faithfully. A relatively inexpensive pH meter may be enough.

Equipment and Software / Re: brew day calculator/spreadsheet?
« on: August 09, 2017, 12:57:15 PM »
I agree - desktop BS2 is great, but the mobile app has limited capabilities. It's fine for carrying around a number of recipes (e.g., handy at brew club meetings when someone asks for recipe details) and as a convenient reference guide for styles and ingredients. It also has some nice timers, tools and converters (that I honestly don't really use). I do wish it had a way to carry my shopping list for me from the desktop version to my homebrew store - I have to print it out now (how 1980's!).

I don't miss not being able to formulate or adjust recipes on the mobile version. I would rarely have any need for that, and I'd much rather do it on a full screen and keyboard over my phone anyway.

All things considered, the BeerSmith combo is the best commercial product(s) I've found. YMMV

Equipment and Software / Re: Accurately measuring gravity
« on: July 04, 2017, 01:34:23 PM »
I have ranted about inaccurate hydrometers in the past on this very forum.  It hasn't done me any good...

Now I don't care (I'm telling myself).  Since it is for homebrewing purposes it is more about ballparking it and noting changes.  In other words the primary information you need is relative.

Steve, I've got to agree with you; for me, great accuracy on gravities doesn't bring much to my party. "Somewhere near 1.060" is close enough to tell me I likely didn't screw up too badly. I do recognize that "I just want to know" is a perfectly valid reason for pursuing greater accuracy, just not for me. If I get an OG of 1.059 or 1.061 rather than 1.060, I'm not likely to do anything about it (I COULD, but I'm not likely to), so the info is not worth much to me. YMMV

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg Lines
« on: May 27, 2017, 01:17:19 PM »
I have one of those homemade pumps for beer line cleaner (small pressure sprayer from Home Depot with a liquid-out post attached). When a keg blows, I'll run some beer line cleaner through the line and the tap for a minute or so. I'll leave the residual BLC in the lines until I hook up the next keg, which could be minutes if one is waiting, or a couple of weeks, depending on brewing schedule.

I'll also break down the entire "wet side" of the system, clean the parts thoroughly, and maybe replace the lines, but I only do this maybe every year or so.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I can make some delicious wort
« on: May 18, 2017, 12:19:48 PM »

But, I may have just gotten sloppy on fermentation. I have been cutting the time in the fermenter lately.  I looked at my notes and the blonde was in the fermenter for just 6 days. That's including a 24 hour cold crash. That may not have been enough time for the yeast to clean up. I have noticed fast flocculating yeasts (WLP041 in this case) sometimes leave behind diacetyl and need a rest. I may have rushed it.

The Kolsch was in the fermenter 10 days. But, it took 36 hours to Krausen and then I cold crashed 24 hours on the back end. I wonder if that was too fast, also.

To each his own, but that's a LOT less fermenter time than I usually allow (I brew all ales, BTW). I don't even check my gravity until my wort has been in the fermenter for two or three weeks or so. Even longer for higher ABVs. It can be hard to be patient, but I've found it's worth it.

My mash tun is a cooler, so it only takes a quick rinse and a swipe or two with a sponge to clean it. My kettles (I use two on a stove top) only need a rinse (though a more vigorous one than for my cooler) and a few wipes with a green scrubby. So I haven't seen the need for a more elegant solution. But then again, I brew in my kitchen, so the sink is conveniently nearby; brewing outside could call for a more inventive cleaning process.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Uses for a corny that won't seal?
« on: March 23, 2017, 12:53:33 PM »
Is there a preferred orientation for ball locks?  For consistency, I put the "in post" to the left when viewed from the top and I use red o-rings on the "in posts" for my kegs, so I don't mix them up as badly when hooking lines up. 

I don't orient them left-to-right consistently, but I do use colored o-rings - green for "gas" and blue for "beer".

All Grain Brewing / Re: No Sparge Single Infusion Efficiency
« on: March 20, 2017, 12:56:18 PM »
So shiny...

Back when I tried running my system like a BrewEasy (or any other BIAB system), I was getting around 80%.  The big things, I think, is the recirculation of the whole thing.  With the stuff just sitting there and no agitation, the efficiency drops notably.  I have considered "investing" in the doo-dads I need to run my system recirculating.  But, that is just more stuff to clean and to leak and to <blah blah blah>.  Eventually I'll cave and do it.

For me, a consistent efficiency is more important than a higher efficiency. I can certainly see the value of high efficiency to a commercial brewer, no question. I can also see the value of indulging an attraction to shiny brew-dads, and adding more "advanced" equipment/techniques (forgive me, Denny). So my consistent 70% might cost a couple of bucks in additional base malt to get to the same OG as compared to, say, 80%, but I'm happy with my equipment and process.

That having been said, a consistent high efficiency is pretty cool, too.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Uses for a corny that won't seal?
« on: March 20, 2017, 12:36:01 PM »
I had a problem with a leaky keg a few years ago. I bought an oversized 0-ring for the lid, and that fixed the issue. I'm sure they're widely available, but here's one source:

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: It begins...
« on: March 19, 2017, 02:25:38 PM »
Do pro brewers have some sort of responsibility to provide their customers with detailed recipes that will allow us to copy their commercial products? While I do deeply appreciate those pros who do share (I just brewed a Black Butte clone from a recipe that Deschutes shared in "Brew Your Own"), I consider that a generous gift by the brewer rather than my "right" as a consumer. I don't expect my favorite Italian restaurant to provide me with a detailed recipe for their famous red sauce...

Nobody is suggesting there is a right to a pro recipe but it has been the norm for a long time that when you buy a recipe kit that it comes with the recipe. To not offer the recipe makes the kit less valuable.

Sorry, that came across as a challenge and I meant it more as a question for discussion.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: It begins...
« on: March 18, 2017, 02:08:35 PM »
Do pro brewers have some sort of responsibility to provide their customers with detailed recipes that will allow us to copy their commercial products? While I do deeply appreciate those pros who do share (I just brewed a Black Butte clone from a recipe that Deschutes shared in "Brew Your Own"), I consider that a generous gift by the brewer rather than my "right" as a consumer. I don't expect my favorite Italian restaurant to provide me with a detailed recipe for their famous red sauce...

Further, I think that being able to develop my own "clone" for my favorite brew is one of the most interesting challenges in homebrewing. Although, truth be told, whenever I start out trying to perfect a clone recipe, I always seem to veer off toward my own preferences in version 2 or 3; but I digress. But I'm never gonna exactly replicate a commercial brew anyway - too many variables.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Am I ready to bottle?
« on: September 29, 2016, 01:21:09 PM »
I use refractometer to determine if I'm done, and hydrometer to get the actual number. My refractometer is garbage, so I'd maybe us it if it was higher quality.

This^^^. You're not using the refractometer to MEASURE FG, just to see whether it's stable yet. Taking repeated measurements with a hydrometer uses much more beer (though you can drink the sample after you take your measurement).

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