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Messages - leejoreilly

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Year old grains
« on: November 02, 2015, 05:59:42 AM »
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, 11:14:57 AM »
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.

Equipment and Software / Re: hop blast aroma tool?
« on: October 17, 2015, 06:43:30 AM »
Or you can try the "Just a pinch between your cheek and gums" approach.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
« on: October 11, 2015, 06:15:04 AM »

I have a word of advice, and, that is, use alcohol, not StarSan to sanitize anything at this level.  StarSan is a not a full spectrum sanitizer, and you want to use an indiscriminate microbe killer at this level.  Most beer infections can can be traced back the to culture because that is when an infection has the greatest opportunity.  I keep 70% and 91% isopropyl alcohol in spray bottles for this type of stuff.  Isopropyl alcohol is only slightly more toxic to humans than ethanol.  For those who have problems with the idea of using isopropyl alcohol (it's no worse than using Star San which contains a detergent additive as its active ingredient), any 140 proof or higher clear liquor can be used as a sanitizer.

Mark, would this be a no-rinse sanitizer, or should I use some distilled water to rinse? Could I use your bleach/vinegar sanitizer instead, or does that take more time to be effective?

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

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