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Topics - ccfoo242

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Equipment and Software / More refractometer woes
« on: April 09, 2012, 11:34:03 AM »
I bought a refractometer because I thought reading the hydrometer was too difficult, but either I have a crappy device or I'm using it wrong because I can't seem to get consistent readings.

I'll calibrate with distilled water...0.0 brix
Take a wort sample...15.5 brix
Hmm...take another sample...16.5...16.0...16.2...
Check distilled water...still 0.0.


I finally take a large enough sample for a hydrometer and get 1.065, exactly what it should have been.

I took readings after the wort settled and after it was stirred up, always different. I rinse the surface of the refractometer with a little distilled water between readings and dry it with a clean cloth.

What am I doing wrong?

General Homebrew Discussion / Today's brewing disaster...
« on: April 08, 2012, 03:04:27 PM »
Perhaps there should be a running thread where people can post what disaster they had on their brewing day?

Today mine was setting the propane hose on fire...  ??? Maybe it was just old? The burner was over 10 years old.  I walked away for just a moment (how many stories start like that?) and I hear this scary swishing sound and look back to see flames shooting up from the side of my burner. I cut the gas off. The hose is partially melted.  Good excuse to get a new burner, huh? Which I promptly did. Maybe the beer gods didn't want me brewing today?

Hello all!

I'll be brewing a belgian blond this Sunday and I have a question about fermentation and aging.

Using advice from BCS and Jamil's podcast I'll pitch at 64F then slowly raise the temp over 7 days to 68F.

He then says it should lager for 1 month at 45-50F.

My question is: Do I bottle it and THEN lager it or do I lager it and then bottle it?  I'll be carbonating in the bottles so I was worried that the cold temperature would prevent proper carbonation. I'll have about 5 weeks until May 12th when I'll be entering it in a local competition, so should I let it lager in the primary until a week before the competition and then bottle it and let it carbonate at room temperature?

(I realize this question may actually belong in the bottling section of the forum, but I wasn't sure..soo...)

I'm a bit frustrated over differences in ways people convert refractometer readings to specific gravity.

I have a pre-fermentation reading of 12.9 brix which beersmith converted to 1.053 SG. lists 12.85 brix as 1.052, so its pretty close to beersmith.

Now I'm trying to use Sean Terril's site to convert a post-ferment brix reading into a final gravity.

I enter:
Original RI (°Bx):   12.9
Final RI (°Bx):   6.4

And it gives me this for results:
Original Gravity:   1.0501 (12.4°P)
Estimated Final Gravity:   1.0118 (3.01°P)
Alcohol by Volume:   4.9% (4% ABW) 12.9 brix 1.050 or 1.053? I'm confused.   :-[ It looks like he divides the brix number by 1.04 to get degrees plato. I think I may have screwed up my configuration in Beersmith as it requires you to calibrate your refractometer...which I sort of fudged... So this may be all my fault.

Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast advice for a Belgian Blond (18A)
« on: March 30, 2012, 05:41:56 PM »
JZ suggests WLP500 or wyeast 1214. Reading the descriptions of these and comparing to some of the other Belgian yeasts I really don't know which to try. I was looking at 3522 (ardennes) but Denny mentioned something about a tartness with that one in another thread.

So, I'm open to suggestions...

General Homebrew Discussion / BJCP and carbonation volumes
« on: March 30, 2012, 12:41:26 PM »
I've tried searching the BJCP site for this information, but can't find it.

Where can I get a list of their carbonation descriptions and what that translates into as volumes of CO2? So, when they say "medium-high to high carbonation" what is the range of CO2 volumes?  Beersmith will warn me when I'm out of the range, but I hate having to put numbers in by trial and error.

Ingredients / Northern Brewer hops question
« on: March 29, 2012, 08:40:52 PM »
Since I don't have any practical experience with this hop I'm relying on descriptions, but I see different descriptions from different sources:
According to
A strong fragrant hop with a rich rough-hewn flavor and aroma, ideal for steam-style beers and ales. Northern Brewer has a unique mint-like evergreen flavor

According to
Woody/earthy/fruity aroma and flavor

Is "mint-like evergreen" the same as "woody/earthy"?

Yeast and Fermentation / A simple, Kosher alternative to gelatin
« on: March 20, 2012, 11:31:40 AM »
I didn't realize gelatin wasn't kosher, or at least the kind I bought wasn't. So my first couple of batches won't be sampled by a few close relatives of mine (more for me!).  But I would like them to try my beer.  But here's my quandary: I can't find kosher gelatin anywhere near me. I did find some on Amazon but it's stupidly expensive (and out of stock).  Isinglass is SOMETIMES kosher but the kind I can find isn't. And while I have no problem with non-kosher stuff, throwing plastic bits (PVPP) in sounds yucky.

My next batch is an oatmeal stout. Rather than bend over backwards to find something by this weekend, can I simply drop the temperature of my fermenter to just above freezing for a day? Would that be of ANY benefit? Or do I just forgo any kind of fining and bottle it as-is? Am I being irrational about my dislike of plastic finings?

Beer Recipes / Please critique this pale ale recipe
« on: March 19, 2012, 06:42:41 PM »
Starting with an SNPA clone then straying far away from it I'm up to this. I'm trying to get something that has a malt sweetness with a floral/fruity hop flavor and just enough bitterness to be called an American Pale Ale. The numbers are all in the middle of the BJCP styles, but since I'm very new to this I have no idea if this will be close to what I think it should be. Any comments welcome.

BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout -
Recipe: My Pale Ale 1
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Pale Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0)

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 7.25 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.50 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.10 gal
Estimated OG: 1.052 SG
Estimated Color: 8.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 37.7 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.8 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
10 lbs                Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        90.9 %       
8.0 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)    Grain         2        4.5 %         
8.0 oz                Victory Malt (biscuit) (Briess) (28.0 SR Grain         3        4.5 %         
0.750 oz              Magnum [13.10 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           4        31.2 IBUs     
1.00 tsp              Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins)              Fining        5        -             
0.500 oz              Centennial [10.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min     Hop           6        5.8 IBUs     
1.000 oz              Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 1.0 min          Hop           7        0.8 IBUs     
1.0 pkg               California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35. Yeast         8        -             
1.000 oz              Citra [12.00 %] - Dry Hop 7.0 Days       Hop           9        0.0 IBUs     

Mash Schedule: My Mash/Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 11 lbs
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 3.91 gal of water at 170.2 F        155.0 F       60 min       

Sparge: Batch sparge with 3 steps (Drain mash tun, , 2.40gal, 2.40gal) of 168.0 F water

Created with BeerSmith 2 -
Estimated OG 1.052
Estimated IBU 37.7 (Tinseth)
Estimated Color 8.1 SRM
Estimated ABV 5.2%

Ingredients / More floral hops, less grapefruit
« on: March 16, 2012, 05:35:58 PM »
Can someone tell me which hop varieties give a more floral aroma and not a grapefruit flavor?

Ingredients / Minty hop taste?
« on: March 16, 2012, 05:35:02 PM »
I haven't been able to pinpoint which type it is, but in some beers I taste hops as if they were minty. I really hate it. Anyone have a clue as to which variety might taste minty or is it just my taste buds?

Equipment and Software / Is this a poor shape for a mash tun?
« on: March 15, 2012, 07:05:11 PM »
This is the interior of a cooler I rarely use:

Wouldn't that hump cause a large patch a dead space that wouldn't get a lot of water rinsed through it?

It IS blue at least.  8)

88're watching an episode of Hoarders and notice that they're tossing a BLUE, rectangular cooler and think "damn, I could use that as a mash tun!"


Ingredients / Rule of thumb for using lactic acid for pH reduction
« on: March 13, 2012, 06:26:24 PM »
I imagine this had been addressed before, but I've been wading through dozens of posts of various sites and can't seem to find what I'm looking for.

Is there a rule of thumb for using lactic acid to reduce mash pH?  Like, X ml lactic acid per pound of grain, or per gallon of mash water to reduce pH by 0.1?

I'm looking for something that will help on brew day when for whatever reason my pH is too high.

Again, sorry if this has been addressed before, I just haven't been able to find it.

I told my co-workers I couldn't come in today because I had explosive diarrhea:

 ;D ;D ;D

I've read horror stories of fermentation pressures shattering glass carboys when airlocks get clogged, so I'm glad this happened in the plastic bottle. There was at least a half bottle of beer on the bottom of the freezer:

Using my lunch hour to get a blowoff tube from the LHBC...lesson learned!  ::)

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