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Messages - erockrph

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: To clone or not to clone
« on: May 06, 2014, 10:13:45 AM »
Why imitate when you can innovate?

A) You have to start somewhere
B) The challenge
C) You can learn a lot about how to design recipes by brewing proven ones yourself
D) You really like the beer
E) You enjoy one (or many) of the dozens of other parts of our hobby aside from the recipe design process

Why roll the dice on 5 gallons of a brew that might be horrible when you can brew a tried and tested recipe?

Frankly, there's no difference between brewing a clone vs brewing a kit vs brewing someone else's recipe. Unless you're designing every single one of your recipes entirely from scratch, then it's all the same. And even then, if you're brewing a particular style, you're not really innovating anything anyways.

Brew what you like.

Ingredients / Re: Enriched Corn Meal
« on: May 06, 2014, 06:51:52 AM »
Most steel-ground (i.e., degermed) cornmeal is going to be enriched to replace the nutrients that are stripped during processing. Since they're just replacing what has been removed, I don't see an issue. I'm pretty sure most store-bought cornmeal is going to be enriched. I haven't used either, so I can't speak from experience.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Changing step mash to single
« on: May 06, 2014, 06:03:41 AM »
+1 to skipping the Melanoiden malt. Not that I dislike it, but (flavor-wise) I honestly don't think it's a substitute for doing a decoction. There's no need to further alter the recipe, IMO. Just brew the recipe as-is with a single rest at 150ish and you'll be fine.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pics of recent brews?
« on: May 05, 2014, 11:01:34 AM »
Still waiting for it to finish carbing up, but I couldn't wait any longer to pour a tall one. Enjoying a märzen on brewday:

The Pub / Re: Tangents
« on: May 04, 2014, 08:58:48 PM »
Phantom of the Opera would be so much better if they used the Iron Maiden song as the theme.

Beer Recipes / Re: Zymurgy Pacifier IPA recipe
« on: May 04, 2014, 08:56:39 PM »
If you miss low on your OG, the best way to approach it is to either let it ride (if it's close enough for your liking), or use DME to raise the gravity to where you want it. Boiling longer will end up increasing your IBU's and driving off some of the flavor and a lot of the aroma from your late hop additions.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Calculating weight of BIAB grain bag
« on: May 04, 2014, 01:11:19 PM »
I mash 3-gallon BIAB batches in a 5-gallon beverage cooler, and boil in my 5-gallon kettle. Fermcap is required to prevent boilovers, but otherwise it is quite manageable.

I can actually do that (I have a 5-gallon cooler I stopped using when I got a 9-gallon Coleman Xtreme) but I'm curious what I'm getting from this procedure that I don't get from my setup and process, aside from upper-arm exercise. I went no-sparge a few batches back and haven't looked back. So BIAB would be the difference between lifting a bag out of a cooler and transferring the cooler's contents into a kettle, versus opening a ball valve and draining into a kettle (I often do push the boundaries and boil 4 gallons in a 5-gal kettle using Fermcap). The bag won't magically transport its contents to the compost bin, so it needs to go somewhere, and that somewhere will need cleaning as well.

I went the separate cooler mash tun route because I'm lazy and didn't want to deal with monitoring mash temps if I left everything in the kettle. Otherwise, the main advantage of BIAB is that it's a 1-vessel system, so there's no additional equipment beyond the bag.

For me, what I like about the bag vs a manifold/false bottom/bazooka screen is that there's no dead space and less grain absorption. Since I'm only mashing in a 5-gallon cooler, that added efficiency boost lets me brew some bigger beers using my normal setup without having to take extra steps (like adding DME). But frankly, why I really like my system is because I worked it out myself, and because it works well for my purposes (i.e., brewing 3-gallon batches indoors).

Also, if you did want to batch sparge, you could certainly use a bag the same way you'd use a false bottom or screen.

In general, BIAB isn't necessarily a solution to improve all-grain brewing for someone who already has a setup that works for them. But it is an easy way to step up from extract brewing without having to buy a lot of new equipment. It is also quite well suited for brewing smaller batches. If a brewer typically brews 10-15 gallon batches, but wants to brew a 2-gallon pilot batch, then BIAB is a simple option.

Ingredients / Re: Kohatu Hops
« on: May 04, 2014, 10:28:20 AM »
That's funny, because your description actually intrigues me even more to try this hop. Sounds like it would be nice with some citrusy and stone fruity hops in a fruit-bomb type IPA.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Spring 2014 Brewing
« on: May 04, 2014, 10:24:36 AM »
Got a Bo Pils on deck for Monday and Doppelbock the following week. That will be it for lagers for a while. Things will probably slow down with my brewing in general as well. I'll probably do a bunch of easy 1-gallon batches here & there, but as the weather warms up I'll be spending more time in the garden than the brewery.

The Pub / Re: Happy Star Wars Day.
« on: May 04, 2014, 10:15:37 AM »

The Pub / Re: Tangents
« on: May 04, 2014, 10:13:45 AM »
Speaking of kids, I can't wait for farmers market season to start up so I can get some fresh local goat cheese. Nothing like a good chèvre with beets.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: When Should I Call It?
« on: May 04, 2014, 09:44:06 AM »
Well, I gave it 30 hours and then pitched the 860 which took off in 6 hours and is now done.  You were all wrong..... :o ;D


I still say you probably just didn't give it long enough. I pitched a Smack Pack of WY2000 dated early Feb around 8pm on Thursday into a 2.5 L starter. Saturday AM (T+36:00 hours) it still didn't look like anything was going on when I shook it up, but I could start to smell a little bit of fermentation character. When I got home Saturday night (T+48:00 hours) it was chugging along and foamed up heavily when I swirled it up.

I think that A) lagers don't tend to be vigorous fermenters and B) starters tend to be larger so the initial lag phase takes longer before you start to see visible signs of fermentation.

Cool concept - can't wait to read about your beers.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Calculating weight of BIAB grain bag
« on: May 04, 2014, 09:27:21 AM »
I mash 3-gallon BIAB batches in a 5-gallon beverage cooler, and boil in my 5-gallon kettle. Fermcap is required to prevent boilovers, but otherwise it is quite manageable.

Grain absorption is much less than traditional all-grain, especially if you squeeze the bag. I'd start with 0.125 gallon/lb, but (depending on how much/hard you squeeze) it may be significantly lower than that. Absorption is so low, that I don't waste my time calculating out a specific volume for my mash. Almost every batch uses 4 gallons exactly, regardless of the grain bill. I use an extra quart for a 90-minute boil, and 2 extra quarts for a ridiculously hoppy IPA. This is close enough to get me within a couple of points of what I'm shooting for, and I'll generally just tweak the grain bill the next time I brew if I need to.

As far as weight goes, the most I've done is 8lb of grain at a time. This is fairly heavy to lift out of my cooler at first before it is fully drained, but it is manageable enough for my out-of-shape self. I wouldn't want to do a grain bill of more than 10 pounds or so without some kind of pulley system.

Equipment and Software / Re: jerry rigging a lauter tun
« on: May 04, 2014, 08:44:15 AM »
Might be an interesting opportunity to make a hybrid BIAB/ mash tun. Get a cooler and some nylon curtain material (might be easier to find than manifold parts). A needle and heavy thread and make a bag to fit the cooler. Get a baking pan that fits your cooler, round or square. Drill some holes in it for flow and devise some sort of short legs to get the pan false bottom an inch or two off the bottom (Ive used bolts in the past). The pan will make a nice false bottom, and the bag will keep the gran from clogging the outlet and will act as the filter screen. Batch sparge and you wont have to worry so much about the flow characteristics of a batch sparge. If for any reason the bag manages to work its way between the cooler wall and the false bottom to clog the drain,(although I doubt this will happen often) just a slight lift on the drain side of the bag will clear it. It's just a BIAB setup in a cooler instead of a pot. Although the traditional BIAB pot version will work as well, but in my experience, I had a harder time controlling the temps in the pot as opposed to a cooler.   
Hope this helps or gives you any ideas.

If you're using a BIAB bag, then you might as well no-sparge it as well. This eliminates the need for a false bottom or manifold. That's how I handle my all-grain batches. I do 3-gallon batches, and I mash with the full volume of brewing liquor in a 5-gallon cooler lined with a BIAB bag. At the end of the mash, I runoff to my kettle, set my bag on a colander over my cooler to drain, then press down on it hard to give it a good squeeze and get as much liquor out of the grains as possible.

It gets more unwieldy with larger matches, but my kettle efficiency is consistently in the 80% range. It works quite well for me.

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