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Messages - AmandaK

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I want to brew bigger batches
« on: August 25, 2014, 12:59:12 PM »
I've decided that I don't need bigger batches, I need another temp controlled fermentation freezer. I like brewing and I like variety. I'd rather run four 5 gallon batches than one 20 gallon.

I hear you, Jim.  I brew 10 gallon lagers for the crowd and 5 gallon batches for myself and samplers who can venture off the path.  I went to two dedicated freezers (1 for fermenting and 1 for lagering) and run my ales in a separate brew chiller bag, rotating ice bottles, in the late spring/summer/early fall and in my garage on heater wraps in the late fall/winter/early spring.  Variety is what I have come to look forward to - but consistency on the standard offerings that my friends prefer.

Your friends are lucky that you run a taproom for them :)

What? This isn't normal?

But really, we do several things with 5 or 10 gallon batches:
- Production mode (10g), used for light lagers or low gravity stouts
- Investigation mode (10g), used for when I want to brew something similar to what Myles wants to brew, but he wants to do something crazy to it
- "Just for us" mode (5g), used for when we just want to make the beer and not fuss about it, e.g. bocks, fest-biers, RIS, IIPA, or similar

But back to OP - talk to your LHBS! Shipping on things as large as you will need is going to be fairly high anyway, so it would be best to get it local. 25g kettle, chest cooler, 15g+ HLT, and pumps will do you some good.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Trying the new Wyeast seasonal sour blends?
« on: August 23, 2014, 07:29:32 AM »
I have the Oud Bruin going now, about 1.5 months in. It's a fairly uneventful looking strain, no pellicle at all. The Pedio/Brett L next to it that was pitched on the same day has wicked 2" pellicle bubbles on it.

I'm too much of a wuss to try De Bom.

Equipment and Software / Re: ball valve or butterfly valve
« on: August 23, 2014, 07:26:59 AM »
Three piece ball on a boil kettle, but butterfly on the conical. For all the reasons stated above.

I do closed transfers with a simple inline gas QD system. If I understand what you're doing, you likely don't need all of the parts you're going for but I guess I'm still a little unclear on what's happening.

The Pub / Re: Natural Born Losers
« on: August 21, 2014, 02:18:32 PM »
It's funny when I find myself fretting about my spending and other habits, thinking I'm being irresponsible, then I read something like this.

Hahaha. I was thinking the same thing.  ;D

How is a scansnap different than a regular feed through scanner? I'm brain dead, so google isn't helping me.

I do 2.5 gallon batches and in one particular batch I sparged with 3 gallons adding 1.2 ml of lactic according to bru'n water. This batch had the highest amount of this tangy off flavor. Could this amount of lactic acid be causing this flavor change?

How are you arriving at 1.2mL of lactic with those volumes? Very high RA in your water? For reference, I'm using RO water, 10 gallon batches, with 0.5mL of lactic acid in the strike (12 total gallons) and 0.6-0.7mL in the sparge (7-9 gallons sparge).

We saved the scoresheets by entry number only and using BCOE&M it was easy to match scoresheets and entrants. All we did was do a search on the directory in the computer an drag & drop into an email, setup a generic email (Thanks for entering.....), and send.

Does it save money? yes. Does it save time? I think it does or at least it's a break even.

This is the process I would use if I could find the volunteers. Our shipping cost for our big comp (600 entries) is around $350. I would love to use that money to ship prizes to our winners, but it wasn't in the cards last year.

Equipment and Software / Re: Lowes vs Home Depot MLT
« on: August 08, 2014, 02:03:57 PM »

Am I the only one that doesn't wear pants when brewing?

Honestly, I never wear shoes. Even flip flops are optional.

You're a brave man.  I never brew without wearing jeans and shoes.  I've had too many mishaps when I dressed more casually.

That's what I'm thinking Denny!  :o

Equipment and Software / Re: Lowes vs Home Depot MLT
« on: August 08, 2014, 12:45:35 PM »
Another option is to forego the ball valve altogether.  I just have the tubing come directly out of the cooler and I tuck the end of the tubing up into the handle on the cooler.  When I want to drain, all I have to do is to lower the tubing into the kettle.  To stop, lift the hose up again.  Easy peasy.

this is what I do too. never (knock on wood) had a problem yet. I don't see it as any more likely to cause a problem than forgetting to close the ball valve.
Would not recommend this method.

I had this system for one brew day before the hose came loose from the clamp, sprayed 154F wort on my jeans and into my shoes. After attempting to secure the hose above the liquid level again, I had to kick off my shoes and rip off my pants due to the sopping wet hot mess I was wearing at the time. The kitchen was a sticky mess, my shoes and pants were a sticky mess, and the rest of the brew day was barely salvageable.

Safety first guys! Get the gate valve that Denny linked as a preventative measure at the very least.

I scorched a Munich Helles when attempting to learn the RIMS system I now have.

It didn't even make it to the boil kettle. Not worth my time.

The Pub / Re: F Cancer
« on: August 07, 2014, 06:44:30 AM »
F cancer.

I lost my dad a little over a year ago to synovial sarcoma. It is literally a one in a million cancer. He had a team of wonderful doctors at Washington University that extended his time with us by four years - long enough to see my mom start nursing school, to see my sister start college and me graduate college, to meet both of the men my sister and I would marry, to find his faith again, and to touch so many people during his treatment. For that, I am grateful. But cancer still took my dad at 55 years old. F cancer.

Some of my dad's tumors are at the Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis for research. I take heart knowing that the strides they are making by studying his cancer may one day help another. I also make it a point to send his Christmas present in the form of a donation to Siteman's Patient Care Fund. That same fund helped our family during our struggles.

Mike, I am truly sorry to hear about your loss. Know that you are not alone in your pain - feel free to reach out at any time.

Zymurgy / Re: Savant D ete
« on: August 06, 2014, 12:59:29 PM »
I believe "Bob's Red Mill" brand of organic things sells all of those. All of my local grocery stores carry a good line of Bob's.

Going Pro / Re: Consistency
« on: August 06, 2014, 12:42:33 PM »
Yeah, equipment has a lot to do with it. If you are using hobbled together equipment you will have a harder time repeating consistency.

Experience is just as much to do with it. Making the jump to commercial size operation is challenging no matter how good a homebrewer you are. It's a similar craft but different. The more you do it the better you get, just like homebrewing. I don't think my stuff got really consistent until about 2 years ago.

I'll echo these statements based on my experience in going from the "cheap and easy" method to a Sabco BrewMagic. Suddenly, my process needed to be spot on in order to produce beer. Sure, I could cheat a bit one way or the other with the cooler mash tun and gravity. But when you add in pumps, hard plumbing, recirculating mashes, etc... your process needs to tighten down. A lot.

I've spent nearly this entire year brewing 1.050 beer, 10 gallons at a time. Not varying any part of the process (same amount of grain each time, basically the same water treatment) has allowed me to learn this new system almost completely. I can brew the exact same recipe, several months apart, and have it be the exact same beer. I get that it's exciting to produce epic one-off beers, but if you can't produce the same (or close to it) pilsner every time I visit - I may not visit again. Just my $0.02.

So I absolutely think that these are the keys to consistency:
  • Don't go the 'hobbled together' route
  • Brew the same thing on it countless times to learn the ins and outs of it

Ingredients / Re: Water for Märzen
« on: August 06, 2014, 10:28:01 AM »
What if you do a bit of gypsum and a bit of CaCl2?

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