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Messages - Alewyfe

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Using Brun'Water and reading Martin's, AJ's, Kais and Noonans work re: mash pH has helped me to actually start to understand what I'm trying to do with my water. Results today with a newly purchased pH meter indicates that I am getting very close to desired pH using Martin's spreadsheets. Results in recent competitions indicated that my attention to water was netting better beer.

Thinning my mash to 1.5ltrs/# has increased my efficiency from around 70 to 75%. Todays batch of ordinary, using the tighter controls the pH meter afforded has given me another 10% increase in mash efficiency. (what ever will I do with all the extra beer?)

Also got a pump earlier this year which has helped get wort chilled faster. Also like it for recirculating mash to vorlauf...beautifully clear wort into the kettle.

Equipment and Software / Re: Broke a glass carboy this morning
« on: August 19, 2012, 09:03:55 AM »
The only thing I lost was the ability to watch the active fermentation through the side of the fermentor

Pull airlock. Put eye close to hole. There's no step three!

Remove eye from proximity to hole. Replace airlock. (Can't fool me Sean Terrill!)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Weddings and beer
« on: August 16, 2012, 12:52:10 PM »
Here's to you Mic and your Brew-bride to be.   

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« on: August 16, 2012, 12:41:37 PM »
I take breaks as well, just because I have no more room for the beer. Some months I brew once a week, others I brew once a month or even skip a month.
You just can't be afraid to fail...don't be scurred lol ;)

Absolutely....don't ever get scurred or you'll quit for sure! 8)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« on: August 16, 2012, 10:46:11 AM »
I think I went through a similar phase one time when I was first starting. What snapped me out of it was learning the science behind the processes and competing.

The science part really was an awesome thing that really made brewing more than a simple mixture of stuff. It became larger. Tiny details became very large. It remains that way to this day.

Competing really opened my eyes. I can drink my beer fine, but it helped to validate, or dismiss, what I was tasting and smelling in my brew. Ultimately, it made my beer far better than I could imagine.

So buck up tiger - there is alot to explore and master. If you mastered it all in 8 brews, then brewing might truly have become bland. I am betting there are still mountains to climb though ;)

Compete for a bit of incentive....and humility! If you haven't joined a local club, you're missing a boatload of fun and camaraderie. Brewing with a friend is a great way to spend an afternoon. If you don't have a local club...start one! That will keep you Beery busy.  Obviously the friends you do have don't appreciate you enough. 8)  Get out of the kitchen...get a cooker and brew outside. Also, if I HAD to bottle everything I make, I may get disenchanted too. Consider a kegging set up. Have you done any side by side batches to compare yeasts, hops, malts or technique yet? Do you know everything there is to know about what the different malts/hops/yeasts will contribute to your flavor profile already? You can't have satisfied your curiosity about brewing and beer in 8 batches.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Sour taste from US-04. Fermented at 63*
« on: August 14, 2012, 09:24:06 AM »
I have used SO-4 at a variety of temps and always detect an initial taste of sourness in the green beer.
Once the yeast completely drops out, I no longer can pick up that taste. I'm guessing in a couple weeks it will be fine. RDWHAHB

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hop Harvest
« on: August 12, 2012, 09:51:23 AM »
I do what Jeff describes above sometimes.  I also use a food dehydrator, but it holds considerably less than I can get on a screen.

I do the same thing as Jeff, only outside. Covered the screens full of hops with cheese cloth or tuille so they wouldn't blow away and just put them out on my deck. The warm days and good airflow dry them in a hurry.
Make raisins from grapes the same way.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Boil kettle too big, not enough fire.
« on: August 12, 2012, 09:46:51 AM »
Is this the first ever brewing-related BFI thread?... If so...

I like turtles.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Efficiency Issues
« on: August 12, 2012, 09:29:04 AM »
I think Jeff is probably right that's not a very fine crush. The difference between 56% efficiency and 70% is like $2 worth of grain. I wouldn't stress about it as long as it's consistent. Efficiency isn't inherently good, but I'd argue consistency is.

That being agreed upon, I found one of the biggest improvements to my efficiency was when I loosened up my mash a bit.  I too was brewing in round coolers and adjusting my strike water to sometimes under a ltr/# to make 10-11 gal recipes fit in my cooler. When I scaled back my recipe by a gallon or so, so I could maintain around 1.5 ltrs/# of grain instead of reducing the strike water volume, it improved my efficiency by about 5% and this has remained consistent in subsequent brews. 

Homebrew Clubs / Re: That's my club!
« on: August 05, 2012, 01:38:10 PM »
Ours Denny....and a great team it is.

The Pub / Re: How to introduce a girl to brewing...
« on: August 04, 2012, 09:28:07 AM »
A nice Ordinary or Special...but for heavens sake, don't call it a "bitter". Puts n00bs right off. No matter how good it is they can't get past the bitter moniker. Save that explanation for later.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Ken Schramm in Hospital
« on: August 04, 2012, 09:21:59 AM »
Me and my bees are pulling for you Ken. Thanks for your great book too, btw.
Wishing you a speedy recovery.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 5 gallon starters and you drink them.
« on: August 03, 2012, 09:14:32 AM »
Our club just started doing 20-25 gal. batches on a local micro brewers pilot system. It will be served in his pub (with a discount to club members) and features our club's own tap handle. The brewer is hoping there will be enough interest for someone to brew a batch every month. It's fun for our club, but the brewer says in the long run it will save him money too. Instead of paying $xxx for a commercial pitch from WL or Wy he
will harvest a stepped up batch of yeast ready to pitch. That would be a 25 gal. starter that we can drink.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 5 gallon starters and you drink them.
« on: August 02, 2012, 02:24:36 PM »
I reuse yeast by saving in a ziplock gallon plastic bag.  If I use it within a month, I pitch directly with approximately a third, a half, three quarters or all (based on weeks from harvest).  After a month, I will rinse and make a starter or consider tossing it.  I write the date of harvest on the bag, along with yeast type.  I have used dark slurry for lighter beers without any appreciable effect on color of the repitched beer.  YMMV.
Why the plastic bag? 

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