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Messages - greatplainsbrewer

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All Things Food / Re: Growing food - The Garden Thread
« on: March 14, 2012, 06:45:47 PM »
Sort of off topic but. . .

I homebrew, make my own BBQ, raise a garden, preserve food, etc.  I used to think that was out of the ordinary but the more homebrewers I meet. . .

It seems to be more of a "If I want it right, I'll do it myself" mentality than a strictly beer mentality.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Well that was cheap and easy.
« on: March 13, 2012, 06:53:13 PM »
FWIW I have a Blichmann mounted through the side of my cooler MLT.  Doesn't consistently read the same as thermometers in the mash (I don't recirculate or anything, not the fault of the thermometer).  If I could do it again I wouldn't bother putting one in.  Nearly cost more $ than the rest of the MLT.

All Grain Brewing / Re: First All Grain brew
« on: March 09, 2012, 08:34:15 AM »
I would calibrate my boil kettle- you need to know how much is coming out.  Might be a good idea to run water through the MLT and see how much remains when it quits draining- not sure if it will be exactly the same as when you mash/lauter but it will give you an idea.  You may want to take a lot more measurements than you did when extract brewing.  I'd figure what/when/how to take those.

Maybe even walk through the process and look for potential headaches in your system.  I'm pretty low tech which means lifting/carrying kettles full of hot wort and water.  If you have that type of setup make sure you are prepared for what could be potentially dangerous.

What will you do with your spent grains?

Make sure you have everything lined up and prepared ahead of time.  I like to make sure that I have a sixer cooled and someone to help drink it.  BBQ also helps.

Have fun.

All Things Food / Re: anybody have a weber?
« on: March 09, 2012, 08:25:42 AM »
Just echoing the earlier comments.  I have a 22.5 inch platinum charcoal and a WSM.  Both well-designed and durable.  Brew with a guy with a Genesis.  He loves it and it has to be nearly ten years old.  No issues whatsoever.

Beer Recipes / Re: Finnegans Blonde
« on: March 04, 2012, 07:55:50 PM »
I would second Big Chicken.  Ask them.  I just got off the phone with a friend who ran across a nice sweet stout from Empyrean in Lincoln. He told the staff that he liked the beer and had a friend who was a homebrewer.  Sounds like they gave him the recipe- we'll see tomorrow when he stops by.

Equipment and Software / Re: Malt Mill questions
« on: March 04, 2012, 07:52:31 PM »
Can't say anything bad about the Schmidling but I've had a BC for several years and really like it.  Adjustable and easy to power with a drill.  Does a nice job.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Lagering...Carbonation
« on: March 02, 2012, 04:01:06 PM »
In my limited lagering experience there is no reason not to go ahead and put the CO2 on.  It has worked well on the last six lagers I've brewed.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Short higher temp mashes
« on: February 26, 2012, 07:01:15 AM »
FWIW I did an iodine test on a batch of APA I brewed two weeks ago.  I'd run across an article (not from Stone) that basically claimed that domestic malt converted in a hurry- less than 30 minutes.  I did not show any starch at twenty minutes (Briess two row + C40 + wheat @152F).  I didn't see any disadvantage to letting it sit the full hour so I left it alone.

Just wondering- fully modified malt would convert faster than less modified?

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Another force carb question
« on: February 24, 2012, 04:12:48 PM »
Thanks guys.  No danger of overcarbing it if I don't exceed 11.5 PSI @ 43F (what I think will put it at about 2.3 vols) right?  No matter how much it is shaken it won't absorb too much CO2 if I understand the process.


Kegging and Bottling / Another force carb question
« on: February 24, 2012, 03:46:37 PM »
Normally I am a "set it and forget it" guy when force carbing but I'm kind of in a hurry to get a beer carbed.  I just kegged an IPA that I would like carbed and ready to bottle by next Thurs.  I don't like the idea of turning the gas way up to speed up the process.  Could I set the gas correctly (11.5 psi @ 43F) and shake it a few times a day to speed up the process?  Does shaking the keg force CO2 into solution faster?  Are there downsides to this method?

Thanks in advance.

All Things Food / Re: BBQ Style
« on: February 23, 2012, 06:51:50 PM »
Smoked jalepenos (chipoltes) at the end of the gardening season.

As far as equipment- I'm a big fan of the old Enteprise stuffer I picked up.  I don't use it enough to justify the price but I'm certain that if I ever want to sell it I'll come out ahead.

All Grain Brewing / Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« on: February 19, 2012, 06:04:43 AM »
I wondered about other effects as well.  The only reason I went that high was to balance (within a gallon) the volume of water in my mash and sparge.

Somewhat related.  I mash in a 48 qt cooler and have to drop my ratio to about 1.25 qt/lb when making a big beer like Denny's BVIP.  When I do that my efficiency will drop to about 70-71%.  Is that just the lower water ratio or is it just more difficult to wash that much sugar out of the tun?

I'm not a pro so efficiency isn't that big of a deal to me except that I would like consistency/predictability so that when I'm brewing for competition I am not adjusting on the fly like yesterday to stay within the style guidelines.  Otherwise not that big of a deal.


All Grain Brewing / water/grist ratio and efficiency
« on: February 18, 2012, 09:51:37 AM »
Quick question.  I'm a batch sparger and I seem to achieve a better efficiency with a higher water to grist ratio.  Today I mashed with a 1.9 qt/lb ratio and achieved a 78% efficiency.  Generally I'm closer to a 1.5 qt/lb ratio and a 73% efficiency.  Is there anything to this or should I look in another direction to explain the jump. 

I mill my own and haven't changed the settings.  PH was at 5.6 (a little high).

Ingredients / Re: Post your water report
« on: February 16, 2012, 05:51:24 PM »
Central Nebraska
Tested by Ward Labs Spring 2011

pH 7.3
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 290
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.48
Cations / Anions, me/L 5.2 / 5.1
Sodium, Na 11
Potassium, K 6
Calcium, Ca 73
Magnesium, Mg 12
Total Hardness, CaCO3 233
Nitrate, NO3-N 5.3 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 5
Chloride, Cl 4
Carbonate, CO3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 261
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 214
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: First I doing it right?
« on: February 12, 2012, 06:09:45 AM »
I assume that you didn't see any fermentation activity.  If you still have the empty yeast packet check the date (it does expire).  Sounds like you rehydrated it properly.  How was the yeast stored (extreme heat/cold is not good)?

I would try to swirl the fermenter a bit to get the yeast back into suspension (maybe raise the temp to around 70 F if possible) and if nothing happens go ahead and pitch another yeast packet.  If you sanitation was good you may still come out alright.  I had this happen about a year ago with a cream ale- for whatever reason the yeast didn't start and I pitched another packet.  To be honest it didn't quite taste right (3-4 day lag) but it wasn't awful either.

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