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Topics - rjharper

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Yeast and Fermentation / First time with Brett
« on: December 08, 2011, 08:41:44 AM »
I brewed a Belgian Strong Dark about 10 days ago. It was 1.099 OG on WLP 550 Belgian Ale slurry, mashed at 156F, with D180 syrup.  Smells gorgeous.  SG after 10 days is 1.040 and its still going, albeit slowly, tastes good alrady but still sweet.  I've never Brett'ed before but its tempting, and this seems like a good candidate if I cant get it down to the target 1.018.  I'm tempted to let Sacch run its course then throw in a vial of WLP650 Brett Brux.  But I have unknowns, so help.

Starters.  Do I need a starter for WLP650? It says you can pitch direct, and that Brett should be underpitched. I;ve also read that its slow to get going so dont waste time, just pitch and be patient.

Bottle conditioning.  I don't want to put sour beer through the keg system.  Do I just wait for Brett to finish out, then prime and bottle like normal?  Do I need to to worry about bottle bombs?

Reusing equipment.  I've seen the argument of dedicated Brett equipment.  I've also seen the argument that PBW and sanitizer will take care of it. Just stick to metal and glass that doesnt scratch.  Maybe dedicate a bottling wand though.

Stuck fermentations.  Brett will eat what Sacch wont, right? So if your fermentation sticks, and you cant get it down low enough, and the style is right, one option to save the beer is to Brett it and forget it?

Thanks in advance.

Equipment and Software / Kettle Caramelization with BeerSmith?
« on: November 28, 2011, 06:21:38 PM »
Does anyone know of a way to account for kettle caramelization on BeerSmith with regard to extra boil off or increased SRM? I mean I could fudge it for volume by increasing the boil time, or I could create a different equipment profile with an increased boil off rate.  I'd like a way to record it other than just putting a comment on the notes page to remind me to add an extra 3qts to the sparge or something similar.

It would be nice to be able to specify some boil details such as this, or when to add sugars and extracts other than just full or after boil.

Any thoughts?

Homebrew Competitions / Oklahoma FOAM Cup and MCAB
« on: November 23, 2011, 01:45:38 PM »
Just wanted to brag a little.  I entered FOAM Cup this year in OK (my first comp ever) and took Golds for my Blonde Ale and my Barleywine, and a Bronze for my Russian Imperial Stout.  I also took 2nd place Best in Show with the Barleywine. :D

FOAM Cup is the only AHA sanctioned competition in OK, and an MCAB qualifier, so in 2 weeks, I've gone from never entered a competition, to planning for MCAB. Wooo...

Beer Recipes / Scottish 70
« on: November 22, 2011, 11:52:52 PM »
As a Scottish expat who "grew up" on pints of heavy, I'd love to brew a good 70/- to bring back a few memories (and get a yeast cake for my Traquair clone).  Trouble is, the BJCP guidelines are for a very basic malt profile (Marris Otter or Golden Promise) with some roast barley and guides against crystal or other modified malt, yet every recipe I see had lbs of crystal and brown and chocolate etc...

I'm tempted to take my Traquair recipe (actually it's basically Denny's recipe minus the fungus!) of 99% Golden Promise and 1% Roast Barley, and dial back the grains and hops to ~1.038 and 16 IBU accordingly.  I'm thinking single infusion @ 152F:

7.5 lbs Golden Promise / Marris Otter (depends if LHBS has Promise)
1.5 oz Roast Barley
.5 oz Kent Goldings @ 60 mins
.5 oz Kent Goldings @ 15 mins
WLP028 Edinburgh

This hits OG and IBUs but puts me low on SRMs, but I plan to compensate with some kettle caramelization.  Any thoughts?

All Grain Brewing / Strong RIS Mash Schedule
« on: October 07, 2011, 11:38:26 AM »
I'm about to brew a 1.130 RIS this weekend.  I'm looking for full body finish (Beersmith projects a 1.025), and is suggesting 30 mins protein at 122F then 30 mins sacch at 156F, and 1.3 qt/lb.  That sounds rather quick to me, especially given the 28lbs of grain, so I'm tempted to push it to 60 mins sacch, and change the ratio to 1.1 qt/lb. 
I've brewed some strong tripels and stouts in the past but those were extract, so any thoughts or suggestions from the more experienced crowd would be appreciated.  I've already knocked back my projected efficiency by a couple of points, and extended the boil time from 90 to 150 mins to account for the high gravity push.  And it goes without saying its big starter time, going to use a WLP007 yeast cake.

Classifieds / 1 spare ticket for GABF Fri evening and Sat afternoon
« on: September 27, 2011, 12:06:05 PM »
Looks like I'll have a spare ticket for Friday evening and also for the member session on Saturday afternoon.  Not member entrance unfortunately.  If somebody wanted to swap a Saturday evening that would be cool, otherwise I just need to offload them.  I'll be there to "will call" in person...

Yeast and Fermentation / Strong RIS - which yeast?
« on: September 17, 2011, 08:56:00 AM »
I'm planning a 15% RIS in the near future, something I can put away for years, or stick in a barrel if I can get one.  Anyways, I normally use WLP007 Dry English (WY1098) for my 11% recipe but I'm wondering if I should switch out for WLP001 California (WY1056) or even try WLP090 San Diego Super.

I'll probably brew starter beers and pitch on yeast, so I need to plan ahead.  I'll have WLP001 available from an 10% IPA, which was resued from a 5% Blonde, so that would be nicely stepped up.  I also have an Irish Red planned for WLP007 to begin with.

Thoughts or experience? Thanks,

Ingredients / Saffron?
« on: September 10, 2011, 10:59:01 PM »
Heading back from a trip to Dubai, where I picked up, amongst other things, a quantity of really nice, fresh saffron and I was wondering if anyone had used it successfully in an ale, or whether it's best kept for the usual culinary uses. I know DFH used it in Midas, but other than that I don't know of any other commercials.

I was leaning towards a blonde or wheat base, to let the color and flavor come through. Perhaps a wit recipe without the orange and coriander? Add at flameout?

Equipment and Software / Help me improve my efficiency
« on: September 04, 2011, 09:22:49 PM »
I have a HERMS rig.  I mash at 1.2-1.5 qt/lb depending on style, then add mash out water to batch sparge with equal volumes between and mash and sparge.  My mash out is a 5 min recycle at 170.  After draining, sparge is a 10 min recycle at 170.  My grain is crushed by the store.  I've calibrated an equipment profile on Beersmith for my system w/ dead volumes etc yet I cant seem to get past 65% efficiency.  I know that grain crush can make a big difference, and that brew store crushes are notoriously inefficient, but what else can i try.  I went straight from extract to AG so I dont have a previous number to compare.  Help?!

All Grain Brewing / Brewhouse lesson of the day
« on: August 21, 2011, 11:51:07 AM »
Don't add your rice hulls before your grain when you're recirculating the HERMS.  They go right through your false bottom and plug up your lines down stream.  Its not fun pulling apart the hard plumbing at 160F against the clock...

anyone else got a good lesson learnt the hard way?  ;D

Pimp My System / My new HERMS rig
« on: August 14, 2011, 04:04:27 PM »
After 6 years of extract I decided to switch to all-grain, and figured it was time to go big or go home.  So after lots of research, and 3 months of fabrication in the evenings and weekends, its finally done, and I brewed by first batch on it today (a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone).  First day's efficiency wasn't great, 63%, but its all improvement from here I hope.

About the system; 3 converted Sanke kegs, 2 banjo burners, 1 March pump, 10 ball valves, 25' x 1/2" HERMS coil, hard plumed with 1/2" OD stainless lines.  The frame is 1-1/2" square x 1/8" steel tube, powder coated with 1000F smoker paint (and it still blistered by the burner!).

I'll post more pics once I remember how to make an image folder public in Google Docs.

Ingredients / Hot water
« on: August 13, 2011, 07:11:51 PM »
Has anyone used the hot water tank drain valve to fill the HLT and save time/propane?  My theory is that the house hot water tank is in the garage, which is where I brew, and I have an RV hose that normally hits the ourstide faucet, then feeds the undersink filter, then onto the HLT.  If I flush any major sediment first, then the rest is trapped in the filter, then I can save time.  Am I missing something here, or should it be this easy?


Yeast and Fermentation / California Ale screw up
« on: August 11, 2011, 10:45:10 PM »
So WLP001 California is my jack of all trades, and as I set out to make the yeast starter for my Sierra Nevada APA clone, I realize I've grabbed WLP051 California V the last time I was in the LHBS.  What makes it worse is WLP001 is the Sierra Nevada strain, so it would have been perfect! @#$#@@%@%@%@@#%&(^&!!

All ranting aside, anybody have experience switching these two out?  I've read that WLP051 can get really fruity (orange) if its over pitched or goes above 70F, so temp control is gong to be key here.  Any other input?


Other Fermentables / Suggestions / recipe for Hard Jamaican Ginger Ale
« on: August 09, 2011, 02:57:33 PM »
I really like dry, spicy Jamaican ginger ales.  I'd like to try a homebrew recipe that makes a hard ginger ale beer, ie maybe some Pilsen DME and ginger in place of hops.  Any suggestions?  I'm thinking the following, preparing the ginger by peeling and minifood processor.  Remember, I want it dry and spicy.

3 gal test batch
3lbs Pilsen DME
3lbs Honey
1.5oz ginger pulp 30mins
1.5oz ginger pulp 15mins
1.5oz ginger pulp flameout
WLP001 yeast

Anyone? Thanks!!

Equipment and Software / NPT fittings leak in a hard plumbed system
« on: July 28, 2011, 09:28:08 AM »
Thought I'd reach out to those of you who have built hard plumbed systems for some advice.  I've got a single tier, HERMS system coming together, but I'm really struggling to get the NPT fittings (valves, elbows etc) around the pump to seal properly.  I have not problem with my compression fittings (Swagelok) since I've worked on that stuff for years, but NPT is new to me, and frankly rather frustrating.  The real challenge is getting it to seal, and have everything line up.

It's 1/2" stainless steel NPT, right now I'm using regular white PTFE tape.  I'm about to try the triple density pink tape which is ASTM rated for 1/2" fittings and above.  Any other suggestions from those of you who've been through this already?

 ??? ???


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