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Messages - ukolowiczd

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All Grain Brewing / Castle vs. Dingemans Pilsner malt color
« on: February 19, 2013, 02:59:59 AM »
This past summer my homebrew shop switched to Castle pilsner from Dingemans. My brewer partner and I bought a 50 lb. bag of the Castle malt and made a saison. The color turned out orange (~7 or 8 lovibond). We were shooting for a 4 lovibond which makes that nice yellow straw color that we got so many times before. We brought the bag back w/ the wort sample and showed them that this must be a reject, perhaps it was Munich malt or something. We stayed away from it until recently we made a Belgian Single that has that nice yellow, straw color w/ a 4 lovibond. We used Castle and it was again orange (7-8 lovibond)! Both these beers we've made before and the color difference is extremely noticeable.

Has anyone had any experiences with these two pilsner malts and their color differences? The lovibonds say they are the same (both around 2) for Castle and Dingemans but this is impossible. BTW the beers tasted great :)

Beer Recipes / Re: Just Kinda Happened
« on: February 14, 2013, 12:37:27 PM »
Batch sparging is so wonderfully easy. 83% every time on a double batch sparge.

What do you get with only one sparge?  I get 83-85% with one.
I don't know how you do it. I get around 74% with my mill set at .035".

The first couple times I batch sparged, I was getting around 68% efficiency. I was also using really small hosing to drain my mash tun - it was taking ~15min! I changed out my hosing to 1/2", drain in 3 min and am now getting ~83% efficiency. Not sure why this worked but I've never looked back.

Fuggles beer sounds awesome.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: My water profile
« on: February 13, 2013, 02:38:31 AM »
How much pilsner are you making? I only use bottled water. 2.5 gallon water jugs cost $3 or so (maybe less; I can't think how much off the top of my head). That water profile was high in CO3 and alkalinity. Since most of bottled water is low in most ions, I basically treat it like soft water. It's perfect for pilsners which usually use soft water.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brewing Calculator and Mash Eff
« on: February 13, 2013, 02:34:01 AM »
I use It's free, online, saves recipes and you can set all your own standards like mash efficiency. It's got some bugs but still great.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Off taste in new keg system - cleaning?
« on: January 08, 2013, 10:05:10 PM »
So I did a little experiment and switched out the plastic tasting hose from a hose from my local homebrew shop and low and behold no nasty plastic taste. I just smelled the hose that I took off - whew - stinks. It has "superflex pvc tubing" on the side rated at 212F, thus I'm not feeling this is food grade. I called and left a message but thanks for the tip about switching out the hoses. Beer tastes fine now.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Off taste in new keg system - cleaning?
« on: January 07, 2013, 02:29:19 AM »
The hose came from of which I've ordered tons of stuff from and is a homebrew company.

Kegging and Bottling / Off taste in new keg system - cleaning?
« on: January 07, 2013, 01:21:01 AM »
I just hooked up a new two-tap faucet system in my fridge downstairs that's fantastic, but I am experiencing a plastic off-taste when I let the beer sit for a day or so in the lines (about 5 feet). Last night and tonight I even experimented with tasting the first couple ounces after sitting over night vs. getting it from the keg - a definite plastic taste vs. no plastic taste.

Is there any way to pre-clean these lines so they don't have this taste or do I just have to wait for the lines to get un-plasticy?

Equipment and Software / Re: best bottling equipment
« on: January 07, 2013, 12:17:15 AM »
I do something similar, but simpler.  I push a piece of tubing long enough to reach the bottom of a bottle in a #2 one hole stopper.  Put the top end of the tubing in a tap and seat the stopper in a bottle.  Open the tap.  The bottle will fill about 1/3 f the way before pressure builds up and the flow stops.  At that point, use your thumb to very slightly crack the stopper.  The flow will begin again and you can control; the flow rate with your thumb on the stopper.  When the bottle is full, seat the stopper and close the tap.  I get virtually no foam doing it this way.

This sounds great. Does the beer stay carbonated In the bottle?

Equipment and Software / Re: best bottling equipment
« on: January 06, 2013, 07:59:18 PM »
I bottled several cases over the holidays using a piece of racking cane and a stopper.  Worked great and actually got me thinking I should bottle more.  I used oxy caps for a little extra insurance.

Definitely the bottle tree makes this process easier...

+1 on all counts.   I've been doing the racking cane/stopper thing to fill bottles from the keg for 2 decades (even for beers intended to cellar in the bottle for 2 years) and it's all you really need.

If the beer is conditioned properly, and the beer and the bottles are as cold as possible (ie., near freezing) at filling time, there is virtually no foaming  or loss of carbonation.  And being a very simple setup, it is easy to use, to clean and to sanitize.

The vinator & bottle tree (and StarSan for that matter)  are newer additions to my setup and have definitely made the whole process of sanitizing the bottles much easier (compared to all the years when I stubbornly clung to the 'bleach soak' method).

Very interested in this "don't have to buy a $70 counter pressure filler" method. Does it really work? How's it work? I get everything has to be cold, but the racking cane. Do you open the keg and put the racking cane in the keg? Or are you pushing out beer using CO2 but using the racking cane to fill bottles? Will they hold on to their carbonation for extended periods of time?

Equipment and Software / Re: best bottling equipment
« on: January 04, 2013, 02:23:02 AM »
+1 to the vinator w/ star san and bottle tree - changed my life by making bottling 1000% more easier & faster (wait make that 10,000%). I'm reading Dave Miller's new book and he mentions liking the Fermentap counter pressure bottle filler over all the others. I've never used any of them but am also considering purchasing in order to share keg beer.

Ingredients / Re: Need more hop "nose"
« on: January 04, 2013, 02:18:41 AM »
+1 to more dry hops. I usually add 2-3 oz. of high alpha hops (10AAU+) to 5 gallons so 2oz per 10 gal is too low. Just made a Black Wheat IPA (1.064) 10 gal with 2 oz Citra (15.6) and 3oz. Simcoe (14.1). Hop aroma extravaganza!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegerator psi?
« on: December 29, 2012, 01:35:32 PM »
The answer is yes.  You can balance your system so that you maintain the keg at a serving pressure 24/7.  You need to create enough resistance on the out side to balance the amount of pressure in the keg.  This is usually done by adjusting the length of the serving line but is also affected by gravity (the amount the beer has to rise from keg to tap).  It's also affected by the ID of the serving line.  For kegerator/keezer applications 3/16 line is what you want.

Sounds like you need longer lines.  I usually need at least 12 feet of line at 10-12 PSI and sometimes more to get the pour I'm looking for.

Yes, my current lines are about 2 feet! Looks like I need bigger lines. Thanks.

Kegging and Bottling / Kegerator psi?
« on: December 29, 2012, 03:46:20 AM »
Here's my theory on kegerator psi - which I think is completely inaccurate and would like some help on. Let's say my friends and I have some beers on a Friday. I completely gas out and set to around 2 psi to get a nice pour; we can then pour all night from the keg with no problems. When finished for the night or the next morning I re-carb the airspace with about 20 psi to make sure the beer doesn't go flat. The issue lies in the fact when I want a beer during the week or when someone comes over and wants a beer, I have to go through the whole de-gas, set to 2 psi, make sure the pour is okay, etc.

Question: Can you just set a keg to a certain psi that will allow you to pour correctly (no foam) and allow the carbonation to be maintained for a month or two?

Any help is much appreciated.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How hot for 3711
« on: November 24, 2012, 11:30:39 PM »
French Saison yeast is a workhorse (ie low FG, high attenuation) at any temp but still stays very subtle with the fusels. I've used it at room temp and 80 and it's been fine in either temp. Ive never gotten it to have that super Saison fruitiness of the Belgian Saison but at least you don't have to wait 6 weeks for the yeast to finish ( more like 4 days with the French!)

I love Northern Brewer, but I don't like that their system uses brass fittings or that it is set up for fly sparging (both are purely matters of personal preference though).

In my opinion, you'd be better off (and save a lot of money and sparge time) buying a rectangular cooler and outfitting it with these:

The only assembly required is drilling a small hole in the cooler wall.

I will also agree with this setup if you're just doing batch sparging. The bazooka screen works great and is cheap.

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