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Topics - 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 :)

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?

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.

All Grain Brewing / Another water question - too much CaCO3?
« on: August 29, 2012, 09:38:38 PM »
I'm making a 5.5 gallon batch of imperial-ish stout with 18 lbs. grain so I will use about 9.5 total gallons of water for my mash/sparge. I calculated that I need to add 5 tsp of calcium carbonate to 9.5 gallons of RO water to make it ~100ppm Ca and ~150ppm CO3. 5 tsp seems like a lot of CaCO3. Is it? Anyone ever use that much for a dark ale? Am I taking crazy pills?

I like to "make" certain waters by adding the salts to all of my pre-boil water that is low in salts (i.e. mash and sparge water). When using a salt table like in "Designing Great Beers" by Ray Daniels, would I look at the 5 gallon concentrations or the 10 gallon concentrations? I would assume the 10 gallon concentrations since I'm using approximately that much in my total water bill. My calculations for the high end concentrations of 150-250ppm for darker beers have me adding 10-14 grams (2.5 - 3.5 tsp) of salt per 10 gallon. Does this sound right?

I wrapped two saisons with FermWrap heaters and plugged them into the Johnson Dig. Controller only to realize that I'm not an electrician and could not understand the directions. Any help would be great as I can only find how to use these things in a refrigerator and they are NOT in a fridge as I want to heat them eventually to 80F.

I managed to move the little plastic thingy inside to close the connection for "heating" and changed the differential to 1 degree, but I still don't get the "Cut in" and "Cut out". I want it to read let's say 75F with a differential of 1 thus 74-76F. Currently I have it on "Cut in" but I don't understand why nor why I would change it to "Cut out". Any one have experience with this?

Kegging and Bottling / 3/8 cup vs. 3/4 cup for kegging?
« on: April 07, 2012, 04:28:44 PM »
Can anyone explain why the rule of thumb for adding corn sugar in kegging is 1/2 of the norm (i.e. 3/8 cup vs. 3/4 cup)? I've just been adding the 3/4 cup in my kegs and am carbing fine. I'm worried that the 3/8 cup would be too little and I'd end up having to force carb a bit.

All Grain Brewing / Batch sparging specifics
« on: April 06, 2012, 12:54:31 AM »
Does it matter how you batch sparge?

#1 - put about 1/2 your water in the mash, drain and then add the other 1/2 around 175F.
#2 - put ALL of your water in for the mash and drain.
#3 - put about 2/3 of your water in, add other 1/3 boiling for mash out of 168, drain.

Any of these options give better efficiency, body, flavor?

All Grain Brewing / Scottish Ale, Oak and Brett.?
« on: March 05, 2012, 06:09:23 PM »
I have a 3gal oak barrel that I've been using for sour beers. I don't sanitize it; I simply rack whatever is in it out and rack the new in. What if I racked in a primary fermented Scottish Ale on top of the Brett. c. and Brett. l. leftovers in the oak barrel? Would this be worth it or would it just be terrible? Any experiences?

Yeast and Fermentation / Stop yeast starter stir plate when it's finished?
« on: February 11, 2012, 11:31:14 PM »
I made a starter yesterday using Wyeast Trappist with a stir plate. Tonight, 24 hours later, the foam has receded and it looks all done. I'm brewing tomorrow and will probably pitch around 3pm (approx. another 24 hours). Question: should I stop the stir plate, airlock the flask and just let it sit until tomorrow or will the constant stirring not hurt it?

Beer Travel / Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago breweries?
« on: February 11, 2012, 12:47:06 AM »
Going to Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago in late June. Can I get some brewery info? Any must sees/drinks?

Equipment and Software / DIY - heated fermentation chamber
« on: February 07, 2012, 01:29:06 AM »
I have been heating a small bedroom with a 41" long space heater that has a thermostat for my Belgians that need 75F or higher. Obviously after 2 weeks of this thing heating the room even with the thermostat, my electric bill is not cheap. So I was thinking of building an insulated box about 48"Wx28"Hx26"W that could hold up to 4 fermenters/kegs, etc. The size is due to the size of the heater I have.

My question: What kind of insulation would you use to insulate this box? I've seen thin reflective type stuff. I know the about inch think foam stuff. And I don't think fiberglass would be a good option. Any ideas?

Oh and also, I'm assuming this is safe since I leave the heater on in the bedroom free from fabric, etc. and with the thermostat it shuts off when it gets to temp.

Equipment and Software / RIMS/HERMS universe... what are they?
« on: January 19, 2012, 12:57:37 AM »
Can someone explain to me in simple terms the difference (if any) b/w a RIMS and HERMS system?

How do they keep an entire mash heated by just re-circulating wort?

Is there one or two good books/websites to start researching to build one of these systems?

I made one other all Brett lamb. beer and it was great worked down from 1.063 to 1.010 in two weeks. This time though it's only come down to 1.026 from 1.050. I did use a starter and added 2 lbs of accidulated malt to the mash for acid.

My big question though is not only the lag of FG, I'm just going to let it sit another week or so, but the taste. It is definitely sour but the best taste descriptor is olive or olive oil. Is this a defect? Is it infected? Anyone have any experience with this?

I know these beers are supposed to change significantly but just want to know if I infected it somehow.

Equipment and Software / Hood for venting propane?
« on: December 13, 2011, 12:51:00 AM »
So if one were to brew with a propane burner in one's basement, what kind of hood would be needed to vent the fumes? I've seen regular, 30', chimney, kitchen hoods on line for $400+. Would this one be enough? Anything cheaper?

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