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Messages - thebigbaker

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The Pub / Re: Good day
« on: May 28, 2013, 12:48:08 PM »
That Brinkman was the first smoker I owned.  It's been almost 10 years, but I still have it.  It's been years since I've used it since I've been using my pit smoker for the past 3 years, yet, there's no way I'm giving it away!

Equipment and Software / Re: Plastic carboy
« on: May 28, 2013, 08:23:05 AM »
I just started using these Speidel fermenters and they are great.

They are hard plastic with handles built onto the sides.  At just under 8 gallons, I have plenty of head space.  The wide opening makes cleaning a lot easier than regular carboys.  The spigot valve makes racking a breeze.  They are a little pricey compared to regular carboys, but well worth the money in my opinion. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Pump Selection
« on: May 27, 2013, 06:40:52 AM »
I see NB has an 809 and 815. Would the 809 be sufficient? Also, is the flow controllable, or is it wide open when it runs?
You need to throttle the outlet with a ball valve.

Even though it says not to restrict the outflow side?

I'm not sure about March Pumps, but my Chugger Pump states not to restrict flow to the inflow.  I've attached a ball valve on the outflow.  When I was researching pumps, this is how most (March and Chugger Pumps) people have theirs set up. 

I also recommend some cam fittings, they make it easy to change and remove your lines to the pump/ ball valve.  I got mine at my LHBS but check our, I've gotten a few items from them.

Equipment and Software / Re: Blichmann floor burner review
« on: May 26, 2013, 07:19:20 PM »
What is the point of the legs?

The legs raise the burner off the floor 24 inches.  With the burner off the floor, it's easier to open the valve on the kettle to transfer the wort to the fermenter.  Also, I use a pump to whirlpool while cooling.  With the burner and kettle higher, it's easier to prime the pump and the pump works better when lower than the kettle. 

I tossed around the idea of building a small brew stand, but realized I can accomplish the same thing with the extension legs. 

Hop Growing / Re: Hops in pots 2013 (second year)
« on: May 26, 2013, 06:41:19 PM »
Wow, I'm jealous!  This is the first year for me and my cascade just broke ground about 2 weeks ago.  It was a snowy Spring this year in the Denver area, so maybe that had something to do with it or maybe it's just that it's the first year.  I'm not looking for anything in terms of harvest this year, so it'll be interesting to see what they do this year and compare them to next year.

Equipment and Software / Re: funnel upgrade
« on: May 26, 2013, 06:35:49 PM »
My funnel has a strainer and I like it.  Athough I don't worry too much about how much trub gets into my fermenters, it's nice to strain some of it.  You just need to be careful when you use a good amount of hops as the strainer will clog.  I use a home made hop spider for my pellet hops, so there's never enough "stuff" to clog my funnel strainer now. 

I don't think reduction of trub going into the fermenter is a bad thing.  The less that goes into the fermenter, the less than can make its way to your bottles/ kegs.  Most of it falls to the bottom of the fermenter, so as long as your careful while racking, you can get some good clean beer into your bottles/ keg. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Blichmann floor burner review
« on: May 26, 2013, 06:25:51 PM »
I too have the Blichmann Burner and the leg extensions.  I was going to build a brew stand, but the burner w/ the legs is basically the same thing. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Pump Selection
« on: May 26, 2013, 11:14:26 AM »
I recently got the Chugger Pump w/ the stainles steel head.  Works great and was a few $$ cheaper than the March Pump. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: LHBS
« on: May 25, 2013, 10:57:19 AM »
I too am lucky as I have a great LHBS close by that has fresh grain, yeast, just about anything I need (and don't need according to my wife ;D), they have a great staff and they put on some great homebrew events too.  They are also attached to a brewery, so they make their own LME, which was great when I was doing extract batches.  I'm always one to support you local shops, but if you have issues, there are some great internet based shops too.

I think these questions pertain to all brewers, not just extract brewers.  My sanitation process is just about the exact same as an all grain brewer as it was when I was doing extract.  I don't see anything wrong with your process, especially if its working for you.

I mix up Star San in a bucket and usually only mix up 2.5 gallons just after the boil has started.  As mentioned above, I then pour about a gallon in a carboy, shake it up and lay it on its side.  Every 10 minutes or so, I'll rotate the carboy to ensure the entire inside surface gets a few minutes of contact w/ Star San.  When I'm ready for the carboy, I pour the sanitizer back into the bucket through my strainer to sanitize the strainer. 

Also, get a spray bottle and put some sanitizing solution in there.  This can come in very handy for many uses.

I can't remember who it was on this board, but I went to Home Depot and picked up a dry wall mud tray.  This tray is perfect to keep utensils in sanitizer while you work. 

« on: May 23, 2013, 12:17:47 PM »
The garage space alone (with floor drains and storage for everything) is to die for.

+1!  I would love to have that much garage space and a drain.  Great set up.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison Dry Yeast
« on: May 22, 2013, 09:18:37 AM »
...I believe it needs a little more something so I am going to spice it, perhaps with lemongrass or even dill or basil or something odd like that maybe.  Perhaps even some olde gruit herbs.

At a recent "Homebrewer's Night" at my LHBS, I tried a cucumber basil ale that was actually really good.  Not sure that I would drink more than one, but it was a lot better than I expected.  I don't think I'm brave enough to brew up a basil beer, but as I was drinking it all I could think of is that it would go real nice with some good spicy Thai food.

As for the Bell Saison Yeast, I keep meaning to pick some up and with the results from this thread, I'll make sure to look for it next time I'm at my LHBS.  Thanks to everyone positing their results with this yeast!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« on: May 22, 2013, 09:10:31 AM »
When I first started doing all grain, I was using the "standard" 1.25qt/lb ratio.  After about 6 months, I switched to 2qt/lb and my efficiency went from the mid-high 70's to the low 80's.  I've recently done ratios at 1.5/lb and my efficiency was just over 82%, so not much of a difference with 1.5/lb and 2/lb.  I haven't gone back and tried a mash of 1.25/lb, so maybe it was something else that changed my efficiency, however, the grist ratio was the only factor that I changed. 

Also, with my batch sparge/ cooler system, when I use 2qt/lb I get equal amounts of first runnings (mash) and second runnings (sparge).  When I was using 1.25qt/lb, I was getting  a much lower amount of first runnings than compared to the second.

This isn't too bad either:  Then again, playing next to Warren Haynes is never a bad thing!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Collecting Cooling Water for Future Brews
« on: May 22, 2013, 07:39:51 AM »
just make sure you are using an RV hose or other potable water hose to connect to your cooling water source.  regular hose water is NASTY.

Thanks Blatz, I thought of that and getting an RV hose today.  I just moved up from 3 gal batches to 5 gal batches and started doing my boils in the garage w/ a burner.  I still heat my mash and sparge water on the stove in the kitchen, so I'v been looking for an RV hose recently so that I can fill my water in the garage.

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