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Messages - BrewArk

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Does Brita reduce Bicarbonates?
« on: October 12, 2015, 08:34:56 PM »
When I had a water softener, we recharged it with salt.  I'd expect the same from Brita, Sodium ions for Calcium & Magnesium.  I doubt that you'd get any change in alkalinity.

Pimp My System / Re: 3 tier gravity
« on: October 03, 2015, 05:58:32 PM »
Still don't have mine up.  Congrats.  Looks fun!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: PBW Alternative?
« on: September 23, 2015, 10:38:14 PM »
I have bought the fragrance free type in the past, but these days I opt for the 14lb box at Costco and just rinse a bit better.
My theory is that it's like propane gas. The fragrance is good. You know you've done a thorough rinse when the odor is gone.
Fantastic thinking. I now am a fan of oxy with smell. In the past I tried to find oxy free, but used oxy versatile if I couldn't find the free. Now I'm sticking with versatile and remembering your theory
That's probably fine for glass, & steel, but be cautious with plastic.  HDPE can absorb fragrance oils fairly easily.  If you soak for too long you could get a build up that might transfer over to the plastic.  It's probably not enough to affect the taste of your beer, but I don't want any flowery perfume in my fermentors.

Other Fermentables / Re: Pressing apples and pears.
« on: September 15, 2015, 08:06:15 PM »
Couldn't you use a 5 gallon nylon bag from the LHBS?  Put the grindings in the bag inside a bucket, w/some pectic enzyme.  Wouldn't even need a press, just lift the small amount of solids that are left behind after a couple of days.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I guess I should make some beer.
« on: September 07, 2015, 11:28:45 PM »
Wish I got that many.  My Cascades are way off this year.  Uneven watering schedule.  (It's the drought, that's it! I'm sticking to that story.)

My Cluster's did ok this year, but they came in over three weeks - not all at once.

I'd let my senses be the guide.  If the hops smell cheesy throw them out.  The yeast will probably not be salvageable even with a starter.  The grains, taste & smell.  If they smell like last weeks leftovers, put them in the compost with last weeks leftovers.  The LME will probably be darker but in a sealed bag might be used with other replacements.

Most importantly, why wait a year between batches?  Get brewing man!

Ingredients / Re: Harvest Hops & Aphids
« on: September 05, 2015, 05:15:33 PM »
Next year watch for ants around the base of the plants.  They nurse the aphids and keep the lady-bugs from controlling the population.  When I did that (put some granules of the lawn type ant control), there were significantly fewer aphids to the point of not having to spray the plants.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Safe to bottle?
« on: August 14, 2015, 03:51:21 PM »
I wouldn't fault you for bottling now.  It's the Lazy Ant way isn't it?

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Wheats fall from grace
« on: August 14, 2015, 03:41:23 PM »

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bench capper
« on: August 13, 2015, 07:37:38 PM »
I'm still using the cheapie one I bought in 1986.  Did the Italians have better quality back then, or do you have bad karma?  :-\

If it were me, I'd go down the the LHBS & ask to test drive one, before buying.  I'd think they'd not have an issue if you told them your story.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Temperature of US-05
« on: August 08, 2015, 07:45:08 PM »
The Fermentis data sheet says that it'll go as low as 53.7°F but ideally not below 59°F.

This has always been a struggle for me as I serve and ferment in the same "beer fridge".
SWMBO says I can't get another fridge, so I'm left with the dilemma of serving slightly warmer than I'd like, or fermenting cooler than I'd like.

Anybody got a recommendation?

Equipment and Software / Re: Beginner supplies
« on: August 05, 2015, 04:55:17 PM »
Sounds like you want to go with brew sculpture.  MoreBeer makes them, as well as Blichmann Engineering. 

I've done brewing demonstrations for a Boy Scout (Venture) crew.  It was met w/a fair amount of indifference from both the scouts & their parents.

Ingredients / Re: Best Malt Brands
« on: July 02, 2015, 05:28:09 PM »
I've had good results with Castle (Belgian Pils).  I also like Simpsons for crystal malts.
The sack of this I bought was full of chaff.  I felt the need to winnow it before using.  I took a box fan and poured the grain through the breeze.  It didn't seem right to buy so much imported material that ended up straight in the compost.  Perhaps I got the bottom of the grain elevator, but I've been afraid to buy another.

(my beer was fine)

All Grain Brewing / Re: conical as HLT?
« on: June 29, 2015, 07:35:57 PM »

Good idea. If you get it hot enough it will be sanitized too.
I would still follow up with starsan personally.
Why? At the temp of the HLT there's not going to be anything in there.  Seems like more hassle w/the foam to me, let alone the cost.
Now if your going to make up 5 gal of starsan anyway for your utensils, then maybe it wouldn't hurt to double use it, but I wouldn't just for an already sanitized container.

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