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Messages - leejoreilly

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The Importance Of Being Same
« on: October 10, 2015, 06:02:22 AM »

To echo the sentiments of others, "same" has different tolerances depending on what you're testing and the resolution of your measuring device. For a beer tasting, the ideal measuring device is my own palate.

"You don't need to measure with a micrometer if you're going to cut with a chainsaw."

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: pH measurements...
« on: October 07, 2015, 06:04:44 AM »
I've been using BrunWater the past few years, and I've found that my pH is always spot on, so I don't have to worry about making any adjustments to the mash. I do still take occasional pH readings, just to satisfy my curiosity (and it's geeky-cool to use the pH meter), and I always wait until at least 15-20 minutes into the mash. But if I knew that I might need to make an adjustment, I might take the measurement closer to the 10 minute mark, so whatever addition I made had some time to "work".

All Grain Brewing / Re: Does A Longer Mash Give Maltier Beer?
« on: September 30, 2015, 06:08:10 AM »
Just a thought, would mashing results be similar to soaking a tea bag? The length you steep a tea bag determines the amount of flavor and color to a certain extent, would this somewhat be the same with mashing grains?

I've read about people trying to push the limits of mash times mostly on the short side to save time but I'm wondering if that is hurting flavor extraction?

In my experience, once you've mashed for an "appropriate" time, you've converted all of the starches available, and further mashing doesn't do much. "Appropriate" mash time probably varies according to your equipment setup, temps, volumes, etc., but once you're done, you're done.

It's not effectively different for tea bags, if you steep as long as you mash; tea steeped for one hour isn't that different from tea steeped for two.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The way you use your yeast...
« on: September 30, 2015, 05:51:52 AM »
Mark, I disagree. The AVERAGE guitarist has no clue what you just said.

You can blame it on Nikola Tesla. :)

Wasn't he one of the guys in Milli Vanilli?

A wise man always questions his assumptions; Denny is a wise man.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« on: September 24, 2015, 06:03:35 AM »
The idea of people brewing an amount just because other people do is silly. We all do it our way.

Do we?

It might be more accurate to say that our equipment choices greatly influence our batch sizes. Once I've invested in tuns/kettles/coolers/kegs that support 5 gallon batches, it's a no-brainer to just brew a 5 gallon batch. Not to mention my recipes are dialed in at 5 gallons, too. I certainly could brew 2 gallons using the same equipment, but there's no big benefit to doing so (for me). I could save a little in ingredients, and maybe some time, but I'd end up with less beer for my efforts. And, being a retired man of leisure, a shorter brew day is not as great a value to me as it may be to some.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg Storage Long-term
« on: September 20, 2015, 05:17:57 AM »
I doubt that either technique affects the life of the keg itself appreciably. The life of the o-rings, however might be a different story. I'd guess that storing under pressure might keep freshly lubed 0-rings from deteriorating, especially the large ring under the lid, while o-rings stored in the open air might not fare quite as well. Purely opinion, though.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Opening Fermenter to check hydrometer
« on: September 19, 2015, 05:23:36 AM »

I'm wondering how you can get a gravity reading with krausen on the hydrometer.

Exactly my thought. Do you leave a hydrometer in the beer throughout fermentation? Don't Speidels have spigots?

Beer is probably fine, either way.

No, I drop the hydrometer in after a week of fermentation.  Also I sprayed the hydrometer with a star san solution before hand.

To each his own (should be the Homebrewers' mantra). But I think there is a benefit to drawing off a sample that you may be missing; with a sample, you get to taste your beer. I find it instructive to experience how my beer tastes at every reasonable opportunity.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« on: September 17, 2015, 05:24:54 AM »
consider smaller batches indoors on the stove (at least for the mash, if not also the boil).

This is all I ever do, winter spring summer fall!  I don't understand the obsession with large batches and big equipment.  Save time on brewing day, experiment a lot more, get more variety, yadda yadda.

I brew 90%+ in the garage, but my kettle is actually wide enough to straddle 2 burners on the gas stove. I wussed out and brewed a couple batches on the stove last winter - took a little longer to reach boil obviously but made 5.5 gallon batches just fine. Takes a wide kettle to hit 2 burners though.

Perhaps the greatest invention of the late Stone Age is the concept of "indoors". 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Step mashing with declining temps
« on: September 15, 2015, 06:13:41 AM »
Strike water is a different thing.  I try to get it very precisely at the right temp (so I don't miss the mash temp by much).

For us homebrewers without mash temperature control, I think this is as good as we can get. I mash in a Denny-cooler, and, for a 60 minute mash I may lose about 2 degrees or so. But I ALWAYS lose about 2 degrees. My 152 degree mash is really a 152 sliding down to 150 mash. Every time. Also, I probably don't have close to the precision that most commercial brewers do regarding all sorts of weights and measures (and don't even get me started about how many yeast cells I pitch), so I do expect tiny variations batch to batch. But if I could keep my mash temp at precisely 152 for the entire 60 minutes, I don't know that my palate is sensitive enough to detect any difference at all over my current process.

Equipment and Software / Re: ph meter
« on: September 14, 2015, 05:29:51 AM »
I still love my MW101... although I do like the looks of the Thermoworks 8689 ;)

+1 to the MW101

Ingredients / Re: "unknown" hops - how to combine
« on: September 14, 2015, 05:28:24 AM »
Sounds delicious. Is there independent corroboration that Delicious is delicious?
I think so.
Too much eldorado seems to make it too sweet, though.

+1, to Delicious and to too much El Dorado getting sweet. I'd use less El Dorado than Lemon Drop to balance this. Just personal preference.

Yeah, I've heard this, but I don't perceive it as too sweet. Balanced hops/malt, yes, but not too sweet. Must be an issue of personal taste.

Ingredients / Re: "unknown" hops - how to combine
« on: September 13, 2015, 05:56:43 AM »
My current favorite IPA is an homage to Stone Delicious, at a lower ABV. I use an ounce of Galaxy at FWH, a half ounce of Lemon Drop with 15 min left in the boil, whirlpool with an ounce each of Lemon Drop and El Dorado, and dry hop with an ounce of El Dorado and half ounce of Lemon Drop (I'm sure you can do the conversion math to grams...). The base beer has an OG of 1.058 or so with nearly 80% 2-row plus some Munich and a touch of 40L Crystal for color. Theoretically it's about 75 IBU, but has a very nice balance between malt and hops.

Equipment and Software / Re: corny keg noob question
« on: September 05, 2015, 06:22:04 AM »
So this is what I would have to get for a minimal setup (apart from the keg itself)?

1 x filled, 2 kg CO2 cylinder.
1 regulator with 2 manometers.
2 quick disconnects.
Tube + ‘Picnic’ tap

Plus new o-rings to replace the smelly old ones.

Anything missing? I really don't know anything about this stuff. Is there a good manual somewhere?

I'd recommend ordering a larger CO2 tank. I use a 20 lb tank (which is about 9kg in the rest of the universe, I guess), so I have to change out tanks MUCH less frequently (maybe every 2 years or so). Of course, my tank is external to my kegerator, so storage size isn't an issue.

Equipment and Software / Re: corny keg noob question
« on: September 05, 2015, 06:17:05 AM »
I ferment in buckets, and maintain my fermentation temps by using a cold water bath with a wet towel covering the top of the bucket and some plastic juice bottles (nearly) filled with ice, as needed. I can easily keep my temps down to 60 - 62F in the dead of summer, in my basement (in Michigan). I transfer from bucket to keg (through a CO2 blanket) just using an auto-siphon. While this may not be a best practice for avoiding oxygen exposure, it has worked well for me so far (years).

+1.  I did the same for a couple years and had good results. Takes a little discipline the first few days of fermentation to keep the frozen bottles changed but I made good beer.

I found that if I changed the bottles (two at a time) morning and evening, my temps would stay pretty constant. Must be the large thermal mass of the water. I usually use this technique for maybe a week or so, then take the fermenter out to sit in the basement (usually about 65-67F) for a week or two longer to finish up.

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