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Messages - leejoreilly

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All Grain Brewing / Re: starting out all grain
« on: January 03, 2015, 08:41:13 AM »
The cheapest legal way to all-grain brewing involves an aluminum kettle, a cooler, and a low-cost propane stove.

You might be able to go even a little bit cheaper if you happen to have a (fairly powerful) gas stove. I brew in my kitchen in two kettles (which span my gas burners better than one large one would), and mash in a Denny cooler. Also keeps me out of the Michigan winters...

Equipment and Software / Re: Paddle
« on: December 28, 2014, 07:33:31 AM »
Find a restaurant supply store near you; they'll have tons of long SS spoons for short cash.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: long tail?
« on: December 17, 2014, 06:34:25 AM »
1/ Temp control

2/ Tie -  Proper yeast quantities/health
             pH control, water profiles for AG brewing

Lots of things helped, but these things were huge, in terms of improving beer quality and consistency.


Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« on: December 09, 2014, 12:43:16 PM »
One thing I see is a need for backup gas canisters. I think its a 45 minute drive to the nearest place I can get them filled.

A back-up CO2 tank is a great idea. My primary tank is a 20#, which literally lasts me YEARS, but I also have a 5# for back-up. It's my experience that, when a tank empties, it tends to go from 800 psi to zero very quickly, and usually at the least convenient time. Having a spare 5# will let you carbonate and serve for quite a while, til you can get around to refilling the primary.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Separating Trub from Yeast Slurry
« on: December 05, 2014, 10:46:59 AM »
I use a very specific procedure of picking up the fermentor and moving it in an orbital fashion until the remaining beer has swirled up the yeast cake into the liquid, then I pour it into a sanatized half gallon mason jar.

Same here, except that I've had glass jars explode so I use a plastic container with a snap on lid.

I use mason jars of various sizes, too - I just don't tighten the lids so any pressure can escape, while keeping any nasties out of the slurry.

I also have a 5 gallon rye bourbon barrel that will be empty.

Just to clarify, rye or bourbon? I tend to like a bourbon barrel for "bigger" styles like a RIS or Baltic, but a rye barrel for somewhat less aggressive styles (the latest being a Pumpkin Saison... yeah, rye-barrel Pumpkin Saison). Pretty big difference between the two.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Storing Aging Beer
« on: November 08, 2014, 07:16:01 AM »
For me, aging beer tends to make it smoother and more complex (probably because I seem to be able to taste more of the subtleties in aged beer as the aggressive notes diminish). Given this, I look to bigger beers with some "roughness" for aging - all of the examples previously given match that criteria more or less. I especially like to age beers that have been in wooden spirits barrels (bourbon, rum, rye etc) to let those aggressive flavors smooth out. And you don't normally see "small" beers aged in wood to begin with.

As to how long, that depends on the beer and your preferences. I think it's best to put away several bottles of the same beer and then taste them over the months/years (more quickly for the "smaller" ones), so you can taste the progress of the aging process. You're also less likely to "over-age" that way, too. Temperature plays a big part in the timing of aging; as I recall chemical processes tend to double in speed for every increase of 10 degrees C or 18 F, so beers will age more quickly with warmer ambient temps. But I'd guess that, so long as the storage temps aren't extreme or variable, anything between maybe 50F to 75F or so should be OK.

Ingredients / Re: Is Wet Hopping BS?
« on: November 01, 2014, 06:58:12 AM »
Founders Harvest is grassy this year, but Mrs. R. liked it.

Arcadia Cannonball Gold was not grassy and we both liked it. Had it at the production brewery in Kalamazoo, and we tasted 3 versions, with wet hops from 3 small farms. The one from Hop Head Farms in Hickory Corners near Kalamazoo was the one we liked best.

Jeff, have you tried the wet hopped ale from 51 North Brewery in Lake Orion? I thought it was very good; not grassy at all.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Kolsch and Bottle Carb. Question
« on: November 01, 2014, 06:51:57 AM »

The gravity ( according to my refractometer is) 1.005. That's down from an OG of 1.047.
I should use a hygrometer to check that number but that's below the expected FG of 1.009.
If I get two or three of the same refractometer readings over a few days can I assume that its done fermenting and proceed to cold crash?

As far as I know, the refractometer is much better for reading OG than FG. But you can use it to determine the stability of the FG, just don't pay too much attention to the value. Get that from your hydrometer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: PH calibration and solutions
« on: October 25, 2014, 06:05:52 AM »
Not to hijack the thread (said the hijacker), but how often does everyone actually calibrate their pH meters? Every use? Every few uses? Every few weeks/months? I usually brew about once a month and got a meter (MW101) a couple of months ago; do I need to calibrate every time? Should I try calibrating it every brew session for a while and see whether it needs adjusting or not?

How does it taste? If you're OK with the beer as is, it's done, regardless of the numbers.

Equipment and Software / Re: Pretty neat growler, but $100
« on: October 21, 2014, 07:15:55 AM »
Are the deep woods growlers single wall or vacuum insulated?

The one I have is single walled.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sludge
« on: October 21, 2014, 07:00:08 AM »
I strain through a paint bag when dumping into the fermentor. I still get some trub small enough to get though the mesh, but not enough to tempt me to wash my harvested yeast after I rack off the yeast cake.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Some General Homebrew Questions...
« on: October 20, 2014, 07:17:09 AM »

1. Straight to kettle.

2. Whirlfloc, 15 min.

3. Depends: if it's not showing activity/krausen at the start of brew day, I'll turn off the stir plate and decant without chilling; if there's activity, I'll leave the stir plate on and dump it all in.

4. Just dump through a strainer bag.

5. Usually no less than 3 weeks, more for bigger/slower beers. Partially a function of "longer is better" and partially laziness...

6. Yeast nutrient in starter and boil.

7. Both yeast wranglers are high quality; I go with the available yeast strain.

8. I get all my grain from my LHBS and they grind it; no storage at all (aside from a day or two on the kitchen counter awaiting brew day).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Best vessel to dry hop in?
« on: October 03, 2014, 05:04:05 AM »
I dry hop in buckets and/or kegs.  Whatever is convenient.

+1, if in buckets I usually go 5-7 days, if the keg, I leave them in until the keg kicks.

Me too.

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