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Messages - leejoreilly

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 02 level in wort
« on: February 18, 2016, 01:24:13 PM »
I don't worry about "consistent amounts" as much as I do "enough". After proper sanitization, I place the stone just under the surface of the wort, and open the gas valve until I just see a steady stream of bubbles. I then drop the stone to the bottom of the fermenter and move it around. If I still see bubbles, I reduce the flow; no (few) bubbles, just about right. I usually let it flow for at least 90 seconds for "normal" gravity wort; more like 2 - 2.5 minutes for higher gravity. I probably don't get the kind of consistence that you would with a gauge, but I do seems to get enough O2 in there.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Radiating beer experiment
« on: February 14, 2016, 02:09:23 PM »

Code Brown ale...  :-\


I had to go there.

Too much perhaps?  ;D

Uh yea, now I know what not to name my beers.  Back to my original ?, how would you guys go about organizing the tasting session?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I've got to ask - Are you confident that irradiated beer would be safe to consume? Would you warn the potential tasters about it before they consumed it? I have no evidence to the contrary, and I would imagine that med students would have thought of this before I would, but still...

Thanks for the replies! I think this info pretty much determines what my next equipment purchase is going to be for my home brewery. Cheers!

Controlling fermentation temps doesn't always require a full-blown (expensive) fermentation chamber, either. I live in SE Michigan, and our home has a basement. In Winter, the ambient temp in my utility room keeps my ale pail fermenters at about 62 or so (also easy to get the wort down to that temp, as our ground water is in the 50s). In Summer, I put the fermenter in a large plastic tub of water, with a couple of frozen liter water bottles; changing out the bottles a couple of times a day keeps ferm temps in the low 60s.

Equipment and Software / Re: pH Meter: Balancing cost and quality
« on: January 20, 2016, 02:36:19 PM »
I think this is one of those subjects that just depends on the brewer. Kind of like the old Sears good-better-best thing. If you dont think you need a meter, then dont get one. I love mine, but it was a gift. One day I plan to upgrade and regift it. As to colorphast, I found them useless.  Probably wasnt using them right.

All in all, you can make great beer without a meter. But you dont know precisely what your ph is without one.

Jim, I agree, and I think this is generally true throughout the home brewing process. Some things strongly affect the probability that you will make "good beer", like proper sanitation standards. Others will affect that probability less strongly, like using a yeast nutrient. Others may not have a lot of impact on the quality of your beer at all, but are an enjoyable part of the hobby, like knowing precise pH all through the process (once you use BrunWater to get you in the "high probability of good beer" area to begin with). There's stuff that you Have To Do, stuff you Ought To Do, and stuff that you Want To Do, and it's all part of the enjoyment of brewing.

Equipment and Software / Re: Choosing a brew kettle
« on: January 16, 2016, 02:29:05 PM »

On another note, I live in a major metropolitan area (Washington, DC).  There are over 100 breweries and brewpubs in the area, lots of craft beer bars and plenty of craft brews available in grocery stores and specialty beer stores.  I can get virtually any style of beer imaginable within a half hour drive or subway ride from home.  Why the heck would I want to brew my own beer?  Somebody talk me out of this!  ;D

Mike, think of it this way: just because there are lots of great restaurants near you, does that mean you shouldn't cook a meal yourself? There's more than just "drinking beer" involved in brewing; there's all the joy of planning, designing, producing and sharing Your Own Beer. Oh, yeah, also drinking it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: repitching lager yeast slurry
« on: January 16, 2016, 02:23:28 PM »
Denny, Mr. Semantics.  I find I get pretty good separation and it's become part of my process which works quite well.  I'm happy with the results so if it ain't broke....

Oh, I understand that!  But laziness always drives me to understand if something is really necessary and really produces better results.

Laziness is a virtue when used correctly Denny!

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It's not "laziness", it's "conservation of energy".

All Grain Brewing / Re: rice hulls
« on: January 14, 2016, 02:11:23 PM »
They're solidly in the "cheap insurance" category for me. No downside to using them (that I know of), inexpensive, easy to use. Probably rarely, if ever, necessary, though.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Episode 3 - Experimental Brewing
« on: December 11, 2015, 02:07:55 PM »

All-grain brewing is so time-consuming I think it will always be a niche hobby and could also fall out of favour a bit. Also no real financial saving if you start spending lots of money on shiny equipment.

So, apparently, you don't play golf?  ;)

Seriously, though, I don't brew to save money on craft beer. I do it purely for the enjoyment. And the beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: bicarbonates in water
« on: December 10, 2015, 01:32:45 PM »
I've followed Kai's guidance of no more than ..5ml / lb grist, and don't pick up any flavors. But with my well water , I had to far exceed that. Never tried phosphoric .

I use phosphoric since, at the levels I need to acidify for pale beers, lactic is at my threshold to smell and taste (1mL/gallon of hot liquor).


I've had success using an overnight soak of Mark's (S. cerevisiae) solution of 1 oz bleach and 1 oz vinegar in 5 gallons of water. Works like a charm. Be careful to add the bleach and vinegar (separately) to the water.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I haven't had a dumper in awhile...
« on: December 06, 2015, 03:16:52 PM »
Okay, so slightly off-topic:  We agree that if you have a dumper, you dump it.  What if you have a beer that did not come out as you envisioned and you could honestly say, "this is not very good" but it's not really a dumper?  Maybe it's finishing slightly sweet or it has some slight ester or phenols or something along the edges and it's drinkable but it's not your best beer.  Do you "choke it down" or do you adjust it post-fermentation or do you dump it?

Good question. When I started brewing, I was so excited to be brewing my own beer that I drank (in hindsight) a lot of mediocre beer that I didn't hate but didn't love either, just on principle. Now, I've brewed enough beer over the years that I sometimes dump partial or full kegs of perfectly good beer (with no flaws) because I just feel lukewarm about the beer. Maybe it needed more/less bitterness for balance, a different combo of malts, etc. I give a lot away to friends and family and then dump to make room for a beer in the pipeline that I might like better. But I totally get the argument that somebody spent the time and $ brewing it, so they want to drink it. Just me.

I agree, Jon. For example, I made a decent Milk Stout a couple of years ago. There were no problems with it that I could detect; a good drinkable Stout. I had a few pints over a few weeks, and then my interest waned. Friends would try a sample, then say "Nice beer; can I have a pint of the IPA?". It got shifted in and out of the kegerator a few times as I put newer brews on tap. Eventually, I just dumped it - an okay beer that ended up just taking up room.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« on: December 04, 2015, 01:47:10 PM »
Don't mean to hijack his thread but i have question too..

Question 1: Do I Leave the co2 gas IN line "Connected" to the keg the entire time with the co2 gas open;  1 
                to 2 weeks for normal carbonation time under this scenario or do I disconnect it? 
               *Should I pre-chill my finished beer to 42F to speed up the co2  absorption?

                *Purging the air ?: I purge the filled keg with co2 then release 3 times using the purge valve?
                                          explain:  Please

Question 2: I understand  "DO NOT" connect the serving connection  at any time during this time unless Im   
                 ready to serve???
                 I don't want beer flowing into the closed faucet and or lines right, when and how to test
                carbonation then??? 

Question 3: what the max amount I should fill the keg too.. is their like a recommended head space of no beer
                 that is suggested?

My process: purge a cleaned, room temp keg with CO2; rack the beer, which is at fermentation temperature, to the keg, leaving head space of an inch or two below the Gas In port (my normal batch size almost always leaves this much head space automatically); attached the gas line and purge the head space with more CO2 at about 20-30 psi (which also seals the lid); check all connections for leaks with a Starsan spray; leave the gas line attached, with gas flowing at 20-30 psi, and place the keg in the kegerator; after 36-48 hours or so, reduce to serving pressure (for my system, about 11 psi); after about a week (could be sooner, but I usually just wait a week), my beer will be carbed and ready to serve - that's when I attach the Beer Out line. I always leave the gas line attached for the entire time until the keg kicks, but I recognize that some folks prefer to turn the gas off, in case of leaks that could empty their CO2 tank. I've never had an issue with that, so leaving the gas attached and flowing easiest for me.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Off-Flavors: How do I get rid of them?
« on: November 18, 2015, 01:33:57 PM »

Also as a general rule if your water tastes good it will make good beer. Water additives may improve things but not as dramatically as I suspect you are seeking.

Jack, I agree almost everything you've said, but I'd rephrase this part to "As a general rule, if your water tastes bad, it will make bad beer". I'm not sure that the converse is reliably true. Better to test it, use Brunwater, make adjustments, and see if your beer gets better. For some brewers, the results will be startling; for others, not so much. But it's usually worth the effort to see.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Year old grains
« on: November 02, 2015, 12:59:42 PM »
Keep in mind that grains (and hops, for that matter) are agricultural products that are available only after a harvest. I recognize the variations in harvest times - Northern vs Southern hemispheres, winter vs summer grain harvests, etc. But the point is still worth mentioning: the grain and the hops we use in our brews may be months (and months, and months) old when we buy them. I'm guessing that proper storage plays a huge role in grain/hop freshness.

But I can see that crushed grain may be more susceptible to staling than uncrushed, given the greater surface area exposure.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: New starter procedure trial
« on: October 17, 2015, 06:14:57 PM »
It doesn't make any sense to me, the idea that the foam disappearing would indicate that there is nothing to this method.  I would expect the foam to disappear - what else could it do?  The role of the foam is to have greater surface area for oxygen to get absorbed.  Once it is absorbed into the wort the job is done - the oxygen has saturated the wort.  But maybe I'm missing what is being said above.

But is the oxygen in the bubbles really absorbed back into the wort, or is it just encapsulated in the foamy bubbles? Once the bubbles bursts, the O2 is just released back into the air, not into the wort. Just like using a stone, if the O2 is bubbling to the surface it is escaping, not absorbing. It would seem that any O2 absorption occurs during the shaking, not as a result of the collapsing foam.

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