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Topics - kramerog

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Ingredients / Cranberries in American Brown Porter
« on: November 29, 2012, 08:26:01 PM »
I got about 2 lbs of cranberries leftover from Thanskgiving sitting in the freezer.  I was thinking of adding them to 5 gallons of American Brown Porter (American here means more alcoholic and Cascade flavor hops, clone of Flossmoor Station's Pullman Brown).  I'm planning to add a 1 lb to the secondary, tasting it after a couple of days, and possibly adding more cranberries depending on the taste.

Questions:  Is it possible that 1 lb of cranberries would be too much as an initial addition?  Should I run the cranberries through a blender in addition to the freezing?


Kegging and Bottling / Can't find leak in regulator
« on: November 29, 2012, 07:32:25 PM »
If I open and shut my CO2 bottle really quick with the valve downstream of the regulator closed, the dispense gauge will shoot up to 15 psi or whatever my dispense pressure is and over then minute or so the pressure will drop to zero.  I've squirted Star San solution over various fittings of the regulator but can't find a leak.  What's my next step?

Equipment and Software / Curtain around brew stand
« on: November 13, 2012, 08:54:25 PM »
I'm thinking of putting a curtain around my 3-tier brewstand so that the combustion gases, particles and pollution are better captured by my 470 cfm through wall ventilator.  I'm thinking that the curtain would reach from whatever curtain rod I use to the bottom of my brew pot or so, which is about 8 inches off the floor.  My source of fresh air would be outside the curtain and the idea is for the fresh air to pass under the curtain. 

The curtain rod would be in a U to surround the brewstand.  Is there a way to do this so the attachment hardware does not interfere with opening and closing the curtain?

Any recommendations, thoughts, photos, gotchas?

I was thinking of fermenting in a heated water bath during the winter because the temperature of the beer tends to drop slowly throughout fermentation.  An aquarium heater with an adjustable thermostat appears to be ideal.  The water bath would be held in a plastic rubbermaid tote that I use for cooling fermenters in the summer.  Any thoughts?  Any recommendations for aquarium heaters that can hold the water at ale fermentation temperatures?

Ingredients / Best time to selectively pick hops
« on: September 10, 2012, 02:04:45 PM »
I selectively pick hops rather than picking all hops from a plant at one time because I see many immature hops on my plants.  I tend to pick hops just as they are beginning to brown whether it is brown tips or the emergence of brown tints in the leaves.  I also take into account the extent that the hop is opened up.  I believe that this may be the same criteria used by commercial growers to drop bines and harvesting all hops including ones that are not as mature.

Am I using the right criteria for selective harvesting?  Does it matter that my hops are primarily used for flavor and aroma?

General Homebrew Discussion / Best AHA Conference Seminars
« on: August 29, 2012, 04:22:47 PM »
Audio and slides from this year's AHA conference is now available to members at  What were some of the best seminars?

I have an opportunity to get a 5-year-old fridge for free from my neighbor.  The fan blowing cold air from the freezer into the fridge is broken.  I was thinking of getting the fridge and just drilling hole(s) through the bottom of the freezer into the fridge so I don't need to replace the fan.  I don't need the freezer. Good idea?  Any tips to make sure I don't drill through something important?  A search on the internet didn't reveal much.

Equipment and Software / Repairing cooler mash tun
« on: August 10, 2012, 07:14:27 PM »
My cylindirical cooler mash tun has developed two cracks on the inside and I melted some of the ouside.  The result, I have a leak.  Any thoughts about the best way to fix this?  Should I use water weld by J-B weld?

Equipment and Software / Cleaning and sanitizing airstones
« on: June 12, 2012, 05:30:30 PM »
What is the best way too clean and sanitize an airstone?  I got a cheapie blue aquarium bubbler that is 4" long.  Is it enough to leave it in sanitizer overnight?

Beer Travel / Albuquerque & Santa Fe
« on: May 21, 2012, 07:55:59 PM »
I'm looking to visit 1-2 breweries in each city during my family vacation in June. My preference is for a brewpub with a good selection of beers with <7 % alc. beer, preferably served at temperatures you can taste the beer.  Good food is important for the other family members, but doesn't need to be fancy.  I like most beers except lagers.  Thanks

General Homebrew Discussion / My homebrew smells like vomit
« on: May 02, 2012, 05:09:28 PM »
Due to being busy, I decided to mash in the evening and then sparge/boil the next day.  Since I was brewing an Oud Bruin, I figured that if I ended up with a spontaneous sour mash I would still be OK.  But what I got was a vomit-smelling mash.  After a week and a half of fermentation, the beer still smells of vomit.  What should I do?  Will this odor dissipate naturally?  Theoretically the butyric acid could react with ethanol to form ethyl butyrate which smells like pineapple. Should I pitch some Brett in addition to the lacto?  I was intending to split the batch to make a pseudo-kriek/Oud Bruin for this summer and a proper Oud Bruin for next year.


Heads up to folks in Illinois: The Illinois Liquor Control Commission recently cracked down on a festival that served homebrew and commercial brew.

I'm told that the AHA is going to seek clarification from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.

General Homebrew Discussion / Dubbel vs Belgian Dark Strong
« on: February 24, 2012, 06:46:06 PM »
When I look at the BJCP guidelines, a beer that I will bottle this weekend appears to fall into both the dubbel and Belgian dark strong categories based on both the narrative and the quantitative characteristics (e.g., F.G., O.G., IBUs).  Are there any specific things that point to a beer being doing better in competition as a  dubbel rather than Belgian dark strong or vice-versa?

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Late additions for partial boils
« on: September 27, 2011, 03:30:04 AM »
What are the pros and cons of late extract additions for partial boils?  I know of increased hop utilization.  Less chance of scorching although I've never encountered scorching when doing partial boils on the stove.  Less darkening.  Do you get full coagulation of protein with late additions? 

Are there some extracts which work better for late extract additions?

Ingredients / Bugs in my hops
« on: September 13, 2011, 05:16:44 PM »
I was picking hops yesterday and found myself swarmed by small, white, flying bugs.  They weren't there a week ago.  Any idea what they are?  Should I do anything about them?  I've picked about 1/2-2/3 of the hops already.  Thanks

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