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Messages - BrewArk

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg... "Logistics"
« on: March 17, 2014, 01:09:35 PM »
I'd have to start by relocating the compressor.  I lose a lot of space because of the lip it puts in the back of the fridge.  It's just something I don't want to delve into just yet.

if the bottom of the fridge was even with the compressor hump would there still be room for the kegs?

My keg fridge has a comressor hump and the former owner built a little platform out of wood that makes the floor level with the top of the compressor.
I was able to do this with mine.  Now I can fit two kegs and my conical at the same time (I put the CO2 outside the fridge just under the drip tray).

Equipment and Software / Re: Burner question
« on: March 14, 2014, 12:30:48 PM »
Lifting is not that much of an issue for me- the low burner I have now (maybe 18" or less at the top) is a pretty good height for me to lift/pour. I do like the idea of a mowing platform, I may put a pump on my list after I get my burner sorted out (1 step at a time).
The counterflow works well gravity fed? I am also looking into my chilling options.
The counterflow works w/gravity if it is long enough & the cooling water is cool enough so that the result is cool with one pass and that the keggle is high enough so that the wort travels downhill to the fermenter.  50' is plenty for me.  I support the hose with a chair, to get it above the carboy.  Then I raise the keggle to be above that.

Get rid of the ferret instead.

Equipment and Software / Re: Burner question
« on: March 14, 2014, 09:36:44 AM »
Since you are gravity fed, I'd say look at the logistics of how you cool and transfer.  Is it better to have your boil on a stand w/legs or is that not necessary.

Personally, I am working the design of my gravity stand.  Until that project is completed, I've purchased the last part of that system which is a hydraulic lift table from Harbor Freight.  I can put the burner & keggle down low during my brewing; then pump it up high enough to drain through my home made counterflow chiller, directly into a fermenter at pitchable temperature.  I got the Blichmann from an outfit in a state w/no sales tax.

My old system was a stand burner that had the whole system up higher.  It was serviceable but inconvienient.

Beer Travel / Re: Las Vegas road trip: where to fill my growlers?
« on: March 09, 2014, 03:09:26 PM »
Our timeshare is walking distance from Ellis Island.  The beer there is cheap (I think is was $8 a growler).  We have one of their growlers every night.  During football games they discount the beer even more.  It was like $2 a pint then.

Not the best craft beer in the world, but they brew it on the premises.

Hop Growing / Re: Indoor Hops?
« on: March 09, 2014, 03:01:18 PM »
I think that indoors isn't such a good idea.  I have some in a 55 gallon poly drum cut in half.  I made a cage of 6' welded fabric fence with wire going between the two halves at the top.

Last year, I only filled the drums about half way and the plants were very unhappy (they barely grew to the top of the fencing and didn't produce many cones).  This year I filled the pots w/soil.  With the rain & sun we've had here in the bay area, my Magnums are about 3' tall.  I hope to get them trained to go horizontal when they get to the top.

Don't know what I'll do if we get a late frost.

Ingredients / Re: Growing your own
« on: March 09, 2014, 02:51:27 PM »
I only watered when I first seeded.  Let the rain do the rest (hence my problems w/weak stems when the rain arrived late).  My biggest issues have been the lodging and aphids.

I got seed (Bere, Lacey, Excelsior) from sustainable seed last year, before they went out of stock on "malting barley" varieties.  They still have the "excelsior" (, that Fisher's Hombrewer's Garden recommended.  It's not cheap ($4.99 for 25 seeds), but after growing last spring, and this winter, I'll have enough seed for my garden so that I will have some to malt.

Equipment and Software / Re: Thermometer Recommendation
« on: March 07, 2014, 01:50:48 PM »
I've been using an IR thermometer for a while and really like it. It reads temp quickly and accurately, and because it doesn't contact the beer I don't have to worry about sanitization when using post-boil. The drawback though is that it only reads surface temps so everything has to be well-mixed to give good temperatures.

Plus I can use it on my cast iron pan to see when it's hot enough to put my steaks on to cook.

Ingredients / Re: Growing your own
« on: March 02, 2014, 01:50:57 PM »
Is that the Conlon?

My winter barley is lodging quite a bit.  I think I should have irrigated a bit more.  I planted in Nov. and let it go.  When the rain came in Feb it was too tall, and with the added water fell over.  I think I'll stick to spring planting (& just veggies in the winter).

The heads that I do have are not nearly as plump as yours.  Looks like you'll be able to plant again as soon as you harvest.

Look forward to hearing about the harvest, threshing, malting!

Hop Growing / 2014 California Drought
« on: January 25, 2014, 06:04:47 PM »
Yes kids, here in California it has been dry.  It has also been warm enough to fool the plants.  Here's a picture of my Magnums that I discovered are starting to come up today:

Ingredients / Re: malting
« on: January 24, 2014, 01:27:03 PM »
I made the call yesterday.  I put it into the dehydrator at 100°F while I was at work for the day.  When I got home, I raised the temp to 130°F for two hours, then maxed the dehydrator (~160°F) for another 3 hours.

Afterward, I cleaned the chit out of it, in a strainer.  The result looks a lot like Pilsner malt.  Very light.

Since I have some pilsner malt, I may try a side/side this weekend.  The only issue is the logistics of mashing/sparging/fermenting such a small batch.  Assuming that my conversion isn't as good as commercial, I'll probably plan a long mash, maybe a protein rest.

That's my challenge for the weekend. ;D 

Equipment and Software / Re: I've got an idea for an experiment
« on: January 23, 2014, 09:35:50 AM »
Some variables (boiler dimensions, burner output) can be controlled by using the same equipment for the experiment.  Others (water temp, ambient temp, wind velocity) might need to be documented.

If there is a big enough effect, they might be insignificant, but it would be a shame to come to the wrong conclusion if you were sabotaged by another variable that confounded the results.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brewing with a Thirsty Bear
« on: January 21, 2014, 09:37:15 PM »
Glad to see I'm not the only one who likes to brew in a hat. ;)

The hat's ok, I'm just glad he had pants!

Ingredients / Re: malting
« on: January 21, 2014, 09:15:37 PM »
Neat, altho i was under the impression that barley only put out 1 sprout. I was surprised to see that most of them seem to have 3!
Most of the drawings I've seen have 3-5 "chits" or rootlets.  There's one "acrospire" that will be the indicator of when the conversion has taken place.  So far I don't see much indicator of that.  But, it's early.  :)

Ingredients / Re: malting
« on: January 21, 2014, 08:47:39 PM »
Tonight I've got "good chit":

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