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Messages - slarkin712

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Exit strategy
« on: June 26, 2013, 08:50:33 PM »
I think you've got a great idea.  Homebrew kegger funeral!  Also, AQ Chicken rules!  (On the coals)  I long for AQ.

Equipment and Software / Re: Fridges vs Custom Made Coolers
« on: June 12, 2013, 11:00:19 AM »
I've been in your conundrum twice recently.  And each time it came out much cheaper and less time consuming to just buy a fridge/freezer.  I wanted to put a cooler under my bar for a 3 tap tower.  With the materials cost, time requirements, and uncertainty in performance the custom option just didn't make sense.  I found a kegerator in great shape on craigslist for $200.  There is no way it was going to cost much less if I built a custom cooler.  Estimated cost for custom build:
AC unit/mini fridge to gut:  ~$50
Insulation/wood for framing: ~$40-50
Temp Control Unit:  ~$30
Misc items(fasteners/aluminum tape/etc.) ~$10-20
So, maybe $150 if there are no issues.  I'll spend the extra money for the fridge and save myself a lot of time and get some performance certainty.
Just recently I decided I wanted to expand my draft serving capacity.  This was going to be in my brewing equipment storage space, so it didn't need to look nice.  I looked for a month or so on craigslist and found a 21 cubic feet freezer for $200.  It will hold 10-12 corny kegs, and only requires a cheap STC-1000 temp control.  I love craigslist.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermenting in blue (or red) coolers?
« on: May 07, 2013, 07:32:01 AM »
A cooler fermentor is a great idea.  I've been wanting to do a German weiss in a shallow fermentor to see how the flavor profile differs from a typical bucket fermentor.  I've got a couple of long rectangular coolers that could work great for this.  Only issue is that they won't fit in my fermentation chamber.  I'll have to get some stainless steel tubing like you're thinking and give this a try.

Pitching rate is very important with this yeast.  I suggest pitching less than you would for a typical ale.  Pitch somewhere in the 4-7 million cells/mL range.  Here's a great thread with much discussion on pitching rate:

The Pub / Re: GABF co-babysitting?
« on: January 24, 2013, 12:59:03 PM »
Yeah, I saw that about the size. Wtf with 1 ounce pours? At GBBF the minimum pour is 1/3 pint, the max is a full pint. I dunno how I'm expected to get a feel for the beer with 1 ounce.

A 1 oz pour is perfect at GABF.  I've even thrown out some of my 1 oz pour after a first sip.  No need to wast time on a terrible beer I don't like (anyone try the beer last year that had smoked hops in it, yuck).  I seem to remember that there are around 2000 beers you can try at GABF, so to get to even a small percentage of those you need very small samples.  I went with a buddy last year and we shared many of each others' samples, and over 2 sessions we might have gotten to taste 500 different beers.  I took notes on a lot of these that I liked, and decent notes considering the 1 oz size.  Keep yourself armed with pretzels and water to keep the palate clean and to maintain sobriety.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What were your gateway beers?
« on: January 11, 2013, 03:48:45 PM »
I spent my formative years drinking Bud Light and Nat Light, but when I had the extra cash I always tried to get some bottles of Guinness.  The extra stout version of Guinness...seemed like powerful stuff back then.  I then moved to Sam Adams and Killians and a local craft brewery(Schlafly) that made some good beers.  But, I'll never forget the first time I had a Bell's Two Hearted.  I don't think any of the Two Hearted's I've had since seem nearly as good as that first six pack.  The whole beer world seemed to open up for me immediately.  And I was an instant hop head. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mashing cystal malts
« on: November 18, 2012, 07:51:04 PM »
I would think that long chain sugars within the crystal malt could be "whittled" away to shorter sugars to be more fermentable if left in the mash.  This may not be to the point, but I've read that you can extract more from crystal malts if added during the mash than if steeped.  Also, within the same article I've read that some of the crystal malt sugar can be consumed by yeast if mashed.  There was an experiment where crystal malts were steep or mashed and fermented and results were reported.  I wish I could find this post.  Might have been on homebrewtalk. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3711 French Saison
« on: October 31, 2012, 07:50:49 AM »
White wine character is spot on. We aged our summer saison in chardonnay bbls last year. It was described to us as "liquid sunshine". :)

Yeah, I was at a winery a few weeks ago and was sipping on a chardonnay from California.  It was a little warmer than chardonnay is usually served.  All of the sudden it hit me that it tasted just like a saison I had just made.  I had to tell somebody about my "aha" moment.  My wife was like, "OK, that's nice dear."  It's good that someone else has the same opinion.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3711 French Saison
« on: October 31, 2012, 07:04:31 AM »
I recently made an all pilsener saison with 3711.  Attenuated very well, from 1.058 to 1.004.  Nice and dry with some spice and a light amount of tart fruit.  The saison has a dry white wine character to it.

Homebrewer Bios / Re: Brewer Bio - Just getting started
« on: September 05, 2012, 12:43:07 PM »
Sounds like you're well on your way.  And you have the requisite facial hair to be a successful homebrewer.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Top Cropping
« on: May 16, 2012, 02:59:46 PM »
The benefits are that the when top cropping you get all healthy and clean yeast.  If you want to harvest yeast, this is a better way than rinsing the "dirty" yeast at the bottom of a fermentor.  You get nearly no trub and no dead yeast cells.  As far as contamination, to me this is no more riskier than taking a hydrometer sample from a bucket.  I can open a bucket, crop some yeast with a sanitized spoon and put it into a sanitized mason jar, and then close the bucket lid in two minutes or less.  As an aside, I find it easier to use a Burton Union type system as a yeast catcher/harvester.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Top Cropping
« on: May 16, 2012, 08:52:47 AM »
It can be difficult to determine how much yeast you have.  I usually crop the yeast into a quart mason jar(sanitized) and then add boiled(and then cooled) water to fill up the jar.  I shake it up good and then loosen the lid a little to allow some gas to escape.  I put this in the fridge for a day or so to allow the yeast to settle.  I usually have a nice compact cake of yeast on the bottom of the jar.  From there you can estimate how much yeast you have.  And the viability will not be effected too much if you use it in a week or so.

Equipment and Software / Re: FermWrap on Fermenator?
« on: May 15, 2012, 01:51:15 PM »
I would think it would work better on a SS conical than a glass carboy.  SS is a better conductor of heat than glass, and also thinner than a glass carboy.  Another thing to consider is the size of the conical.  A 10+ gallon conical will produce more fermentation heat, due to its overall mass, than a 6.5 gallon carboy.  I would think that a conical would be more difficult to cool and easier to heat than a carboy.

Saturday doing a 5.5 gal Westmalle inspired Belgian Dubbel and a 5.5 gallon "Double" Wit.  The Wit should be like a Grand Cru/Imperial Wit.  More orange in color, a little sweeter and hoppier than a typical belgian wit.

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