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Messages - bigchicken

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Equipment and Software / Re: Preferred Gap Setting?
« on: May 24, 2015, 12:44:37 PM »
Great answers everyone! Lots of things I hadn't accounted for. Mill speed wasn't something I'd ever considered.

I've used a CPVC manifold, grain bag net, and a stainless braid as different options in my mash cooler. I'll likely stick with the braid, which should allow a fairly fine crush. Time to experiment.

And I love the idea of using a sharpie to mark out some settings. I wish they'd have been marked out by Monster in the first place.

Equipment and Software / Preferred Gap Setting?
« on: May 23, 2015, 05:17:43 PM »
I had to slow my brewing frequency to a near stop over the last year and a half. I have always ordered my grains crushed and when my brewing slowed, I found I was storing the grain much longer than I liked. Now that I'm brewing again, I want to buy in bulk and get uncrushed grain.

I recently bought a Monster MM2 mill. Since there were no instructions included in the box, I fiddled with everything to see how it worked. Well, I also adjusted the gap from the factory settings. I have gap tools to measure the gap and adjust, but now wonder what the best setting is?

Understanding all brewing setups are different, what are your preferred gap settings? Please chime in and tell me your opinions along with if you're fly or batch sparging. Thanks to all.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Back to basics - the perfect blonde
« on: November 23, 2014, 10:14:16 PM »
I love experimenting too much to keep me from switching recipes. To date, the only recipe I rebrew is a simple blonde with 1 hop type. I change up the hop to get ideas of how the hop tastes on its own, but I keep the IBUs the same and the malt bill stays the same.
5 gallon batch
7lb 2-row (Great Western)
1 lb caramel 10
1 lb Pilsner malt
20 IBUs
Safeale US-05
154 degree mash for an hour.
So far, favorite hop with this is Palisades. I've overdone it with Magnum making a beer more pale ale like. Using some of the new citrus flavor hops is next on my list.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Buying crushed grain on line
« on: September 01, 2014, 05:49:54 PM »
Online companies are coming up with better ways to seal up crushed grains. I'm finding the quality has really improved over the last year. Sometimes they're sealed so well with bags inside bags that they can be a pain to open. I have waited 9 months to use crushed grain without a problem, though I have noticed issues if I open and reseal grain when buying crushed in bulk.

At six months, I really don't see a starter being optional. Sure, you could pitch enough cells assuming you have enough slurry, but the viability is going to be somewhere around 20%. That much dead yeast is inevitably going to have some flavor impact.

S-04? Or US-05? S-04 is Fuller's strain and would be a good choice for any British-style ale.

I hadn't thought about the dead factor for flavor impact. That could change it considerably.

I meant S-04. Seems I've always had too much of a fruity flavor from it, even when fermenting cold. I'll have to check my brew logs to see what I've all used it in. May not have been the yeast, but more what I was trying to make with it.

Equipment and Software / Re: Makes me want a plastic big moiuth
« on: August 30, 2014, 01:12:20 PM »

Regular non gasket sealed bucket lids leak for me at times. I am getting ready to try a gamma lid as a replacement. If that doesn't seal well either, I'm going to the big mouth carboys.
My only issue with the gamma lids is the ring is designed to be permanent. Cleaning underneath would be a hassle. I know people that use the 14 gallon vittles vault (same lid) and have had zero issues, but I am hesitant.

I agree that cleaning it could be a pain. I have no actual plan to remove the outer lid at all. I will only remove the screw on top and just do my best to clean under the outer lid with several brushes I have.
I've thought of running a bead of food grade silicone around the outer lid portion, inside the bucket. That way there is a seal from anything getting under that portion. But doing that pretty much makes it a permanent lid.

The slurry is older than I'd like, dating back to Feb. 20th. The last time I used old 1945, it was a smack pack that had already swollen and was 9 months old. It surprised me by being extremely viable and blowing off a 6.5 gallon fermentor with a 5 gallon batch. That beer was 1.050 stout that nearly finished in 2 days, but then took a while to finish. I then took that slurry and waited 4 months to use it and it plowed through a 1.072 old ale fermenting in the low 60s. I didn't reuse it after that.

A small starter is definitely an option for the dry stout, or at least something to wake it up. I guess I'm wondering if S-04 is even the right choice for a dry stout? That was Northern Brewer's alternative to a liquid yeast when I ordered it, but I'm wondering if that is just because there isn't a good dry strain for it?

I have ingredients to brew 2 different beers with 3 yeast options. One beer is going to be an experiment all grain batch using cherry juice, cacao nibs, and an array of malts to create a chocolate cherry bomb stout that will be by Christmas batch this year. I planned to use 1945 NB NeoBritannia, which I have a slurry of. I also have a simple Northern Brewer Dry Irish Stout extract batch to brew on a day when I don't have as much time.

Here's my problem; I have the 1945 slurry that was rinsed several times and is very clean yeast, but due to the long time since it was last used, the viability is too low for my Christmas batch that should be at about 1.060 OG, per Mr. Malty. I need to make a starter for it in order to use it. I had intended on using a pack of S-04 for the Dry Stout, but now I'm wondering if I should use the 1945 and build it up for my Christmas batch? When I review sites about descriptions of the yeast differences, I think I can pull off the 1945 for a Dry Stout if I keep the temps low during fermentation. I shouldn't have to make a starter for the 1945 with the weaker stout, saving me time later when I repitch it for the bigger beer.

My 3rd option is I'll be bottling a blonde that used S-05 very soon. There will be plenty of yeast there for either beer, but I'm thinking it is too clean for either batch.

So, what are your thoughts? What's my best option for the Dry Stout with those 3 yeast options.
Thanks for the help with this and all my questions over the last couple years.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Safbrew Abbaye Ale
« on: August 29, 2014, 08:04:34 AM »
Here is the spec sheet, it lists total esters at 20 ppm (at 18 degress Plato at 20 degrees Celcius in EBC tubes):

Tthe fact sheet for US-05 lists total esters at 40 ppm:
If that means that US 05 has twice the amount of esters, then I don't understand why it is called an Abbey style yeast.

I was thinking the same thing.

Equipment and Software / Re: Makes me want a plastic big moiuth
« on: August 29, 2014, 07:52:57 AM »
Regular non gasket sealed bucket lids leak for me at times. I am getting ready to try a gamma lid as a replacement. If that doesn't seal well either, I'm going to the big mouth carboys.

Ingredients / Re: Your favorite Hops that are rarely mentioned...
« on: July 25, 2014, 12:47:09 PM »
UK Phoenix

I have a hard time finding this hop when I want to use it from suppliers I normally buy from. It seems that when I do find it, the supplier won't have the other ingredients I need, so I skip buying and find alternatives.

It's been a long time since I've used it, but I've found it works extremely well to add in combination with Chinook. I like a combo of them together for bittering and then just Phoenix at the end of the boil for a hint of aroma. It makes an old ale quite drinkable without waiting for the "old" part. It seems to balance the Chinook dank flavor.

All Things Food / Re: SWMBO ordered me a half a pork belly!
« on: July 15, 2014, 03:20:21 PM »
Chop & Brew did a bacon episode that is very informative. I've been wanting to try it, but local butchers aren't carrying pork bellies. I'm going to check outside of the big city of Lincoln to see if the smaller butcher shops carry them.
I'm curious, what is the expected price per pound on pork belly?

Zymurgy / Re: Cannot open issue on android
« on: July 05, 2014, 06:42:59 PM »
It may help if you list the OS version of Android you're using. Android apps run into many problems because they're are sooooooo many versions still in use.

I gave up on Android after Google's own apps were struggling with compatibility.

Beer Recipes / Re: Weizenporter?
« on: July 03, 2014, 04:05:30 PM »
I'm surprised there's no replies on this, but sounds interesting to me. I have no experience in this, but it seems like it may work.
I recently made a hefe using the Northern Brewer Wyeast strain to build up the yeast for an upcoming batch. It turned out to be a good beer that came out super clear with a crisp taste. The wheat didn't really come through, but still fun to experiment.
If you brew it or already have, post back the results.

Equipment and Software / Re: window AC for cold room
« on: June 06, 2014, 07:26:42 PM »
That second sensor is most likely there to detect ice build up on the coils and prevent damage to the unit


Depending on the age of the A/C, that thermostat may kill the compressor allowing the coil to de-ice while the fan still runs. Its not going to cool well in that cycle, but protects the unit. It will work much like the primary thermostat that controls your desired temperature. If its a super fancy window air, that second thermostat could control a warming device to prevent the icing.
It sounds like you have an option figured out. If you get curious, search the model# on the net and you may come up with a schematic. Sometimes a super cheap option is to replace the temperature setting thermostat with a refrigerator or freezer thermostat of the same voltage. Tricks it into thinking it is a refrigerator.

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