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Messages - leejoreilly

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31
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.

32
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).

33
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.

34
Instead of building a kegerator cleaner with a sprayer, I just use a keg.  When the keg kicks, I clean it,and then hook the lines back up, pressurize with CO2 and run PBW through the lines and faucet.  Do the same with rinse water and sanitizer.  Clean kegs and lines all at the same time.

I used to do this, too, and it works just fine. But with the rise in cost of kegs, the modified sprayer option is a cheap and effective way to free up one more of my limited number of kegs.

35
Let me second Dave's advise - don't just pull a recipe out of thin air; at least not yet. Like a lot of folks here, I like to start by developing a "base" recipe, and then change one ingredient at a time until I reach the "just right" point. While a kit is certainly an acceptable start point, I usually research a number of recipes for the style I want to brew, especially any particularly good versions of the style that I've tasted, and then kind of average them out. Not average in the strict math sense, but find the common elements and use some combination of them. That way you can be pretty sure of starting off with a recipe that's reasonably close to where you want to be. Eventually you'll get to know your ingredients and your preferences and you can totally wing it to your heart's content. Finally, reading up on recipe design is great advice, too.

36
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer in Switzerland
« on: October 01, 2014, 06:14:15 AM »
I have found these two rules to be valuable guides while living (or traveling) in Europe. In fact, they work anywhere:
1) Go where the locals go (in Germany, that'll be a Gasthaus).
2) Drink (and eat) what the locals do.

37
Equipment and Software / Re: Beersmith2
« on: September 30, 2014, 06:10:01 AM »
I'm a big fan of BeerSmith2. I find it easy to set up and use, flexible and full-featured (sounds like a lady I once knew...). Recipe import, formulation and adjustment is simple and quick. I particularly like being able to print out the Brew Steps sheet to guide my brew day (and it keeps my electronics out of the brewhouse). Also the Shopping Cart feature is very handy.

38
Ingredients / Re: Wyeast yeast nutrient
« on: September 30, 2014, 06:02:52 AM »
I rehydrate ... in 5 gallons of boiling liquid

^^^ This

39
Ingredients / Re: Best hops to pair with Galaxy
« on: September 30, 2014, 06:00:48 AM »
My tried-and-true Pale Ale recipe is very straight-forward; Centennial for bittering and Galaxy for flavor and aroma additions. I like the "pure" results a lot, as compared to the idea of "a little this and a little that". My IPA recipes are usually more "hoptimally" diverse. Opinions vary...

40
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Moldy Star San
« on: September 18, 2014, 06:29:52 AM »
I keep a couple of gallons of Star San solution in a covered Home Depot 5 gallon bucket, stored in our (finished) basement. I have seen a "dot" of mold on inside of the lid once - just cleaned it off and wiped some of the solution on to sanitize it. I guess I just assumed that the lid would be an inhospitable place for mold; I'll be spraying it down occasionally now.

41
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Double batch blunder
« on: September 16, 2014, 06:08:47 AM »
Remember, it's not a mistake, it's an unplanned innovation...

42
All Grain Brewing / Re: Mashing Question Using Canned Pumpkin
« on: September 13, 2014, 06:29:57 AM »
Just to be contrary, why bother to mash the pumpkin at all? I just brewed a Pumpkin Saison yesterday using a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree and 2 15 oz cans of pumpkin pie mix, roasted (actually probably more sauteed on a stove top than roasted) for about a half hour or so to develop some color, then added to the boil with about 15 minutes left. I wasn't looking for the pumpkin to add any sugars (the base saison recipe has plenty, plus I tossed in some maple syrup, too), just some flavor (mostly from the pie mix spices) and color. It was certainly simpler, and I don't see a downside, except maybe the enjoyment of adding an interesting step to the mash process.
Pumpkin does contain a fair amount of starch, so that could lead to haze issues if it's not mashed. Pumpkin also contains pectin, so that could set into a pectin haze if boiled. Clarity issues aside, if you're happy with the results of using pumpkin in the boil, then I don't see much else of an issue.

Good point about the possibility of haze, Eric - I hadn't considered that. Not a big deal for me, but a valid point.

43
All Grain Brewing / Re: Mashing Question Using Canned Pumpkin
« on: September 12, 2014, 08:02:45 AM »
Just to be contrary, why bother to mash the pumpkin at all? I just brewed a Pumpkin Saison yesterday using a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree and 2 15 oz cans of pumpkin pie mix, roasted (actually probably more sauteed on a stove top than roasted) for about a half hour or so to develop some color, then added to the boil with about 15 minutes left. I wasn't looking for the pumpkin to add any sugars (the base saison recipe has plenty, plus I tossed in some maple syrup, too), just some flavor (mostly from the pie mix spices) and color. It was certainly simpler, and I don't see a downside, except maybe the enjoyment of adding an interesting step to the mash process.

44
Equipment and Software / Re: Super cheap pH meter
« on: September 05, 2014, 06:39:03 AM »
I also received my el cheapo pH meter and calibrated it in the buffering solution. I tested my water at 7.2. I think I should brew with 5.2 strike and sparge water. So, I'll add lactic acid.

I'm thinking the grain bill will change the pH so... Do I add the lactic acid to the strike water itself or wait to dough in and check the mash pH and adjust then?  Same with the sparge (batch sparge)?

I strongly recommend that you get and use some sort of brewing water calculator; Brun Water is one of the best available and can be downloaded free (https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/). The first tab (it's an Excel spreadsheet, so the format should be familiar) has some fairly in-depth water chemistry info and instructions.

As an aside, my personal opinion is that lactic acid can add some "sour" flavor elements at fairly low addition amounts. As a rule of thumb I avoid adding more than 3ml total (mash and sparge) for a 5 gal batch.

45
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« on: August 31, 2014, 08:06:19 AM »
First, let me note that I understand where S cerev is coming from; I'm an engineer by trade and personality (if you Google "anal personality" my picture comes up), so I also tend to focus on "the numbers". But I see beer evaluation as an aesthetic process, not a scientific one; the important point is how the beer is perceived, not what it's numbers are. The Guidelines are just that - guidelines that should be taken as a whole to describe a beer. I get to designate my beers' styles as I see fit, even if the numbers aren't exactly "right". And I see that as an issue of judgment rather than integrity.

I have a Pale Ale that I've been brewing for years now. It's a bit darker and higher in gravity than the guidelines say it "should" be. But it's my beer, and I choose to call it a Pale Ale even if it's closer to some other style. If I entered it in a competition as a PA, I'd expect it might be dinged for these excesses, but then again, maybe not. Maybe the judges would perceive it to be a solid PA, to their tastes. Just because the numbers say it's gravity is too high doesn't mean that it TASTES like it's too high. Aesthetic judgment...

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