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Messages - paul

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Long Mash Time - Problem?
« on: March 07, 2012, 08:11:48 PM »
I frequently mash for 3 or 4 hours.  But sometimes I'll just go for 1 to 1.5.  I haven't noticed a huge difference in fermentability between the two times for a given mash temp.  (I do see maybe a 1-2% improvement in efficiency though.)  If you want some added insurance against over attenuation, you could bump it a degree, maybe two tops. 

My observation fits with a graph I saw in a brewing book someplace.  It showed beta amylase activity versus time at various temperatures.  IIRC, at 150 F and higher, it is virtually gone after 45 minutes, so there's not much hanging around in your mash in hours 2 and 3 anyway.

Equipment and Software / Re: I hope this pump is strong enough...
« on: February 23, 2012, 10:20:46 PM »
This is the pump I have:

Bought it for a flooded crawlspace.  (Thankfully I get to put it to a more fun use now.)

I don't need all of the flow/head potential this pump has.  I have a small ball valve on the output that is probably almost half-way closed.  I measured the actual flow at closer to 1 gal/min or 60 gal/hour. 

Given all that, my pump is oversized.  Hard to say how yours will do; it's probably on the edge.

The Pub / Re: Compact fluorescent bulbs
« on: February 08, 2012, 08:10:00 PM »
I've looked into this issue a bit for my work, so I can shed some light :) on the topic:

Any lamp life is a "mean life" rating.  It means 50% of the population will last that long.  Half will not last that long and half will last longer.

The mean life rating for most CFLs is 8000 to 10,000 hours.  An average bulb in your home runs about 1,000 h/yr, some much more, others much less, but 1000 is assumed as a representative average.  This implies that CFLs will last 8 to 10 years.  There seems to be a lot of marketing hype that focuses on these numbers.

I read a study several months ago that looked at the effect of starting frequency on lamp life.  The standard rating of 8000 to 10,000 hours is based on a lamps that run 3 hours per start.  The study looked at a number of homes' usage and determined that most lamps have less run time per start.  The result, IIRC, was that most CFLs lives would be de-rated to 5000-6000 hours.  This would suggest a calendar life of 5 to 6 years.

In my experience, this is pretty realistic.  I moved into my house in 2007 and installed probably about 25 CFLs.  Since then, I've probably had about 5 fail…not too bad.

Once you get beyond the marketing hype, the reality is that they last a pretty long time, and typically pay for themselves in energy savings within the first several months of their operation.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Bohemian Lager Yeast at Ale Temps?
« on: February 02, 2012, 10:24:05 PM »
I don't have any firsthand experience with lager yeast at warmer temps, but I know that the book "Farmhouse Ale" by Phil Markowski talks about it.  Apparently it's common for Beires de Garde to use lager yeast at warmer temps.  The book mentions particular strains that can be used this way IIRC.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dry pasteurizing sugar?
« on: January 27, 2012, 05:58:50 PM »
I just dumped it in, dry and dirty.  If it gets infected, I'm inviting you all over to drink it.   :o

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dry pasteurizing sugar?
« on: January 26, 2012, 08:30:31 PM »
I understand that dry sugar may not be a breeding ground for bacteria, but neither is a clean spoon, and yet I sanitize it before dipping it into wort!  Thus, I pondered sanitizing sugar.

Also, I know that you can dry pasteurize at less than 200 F.  I visited a plant that dries egg whites into powder then dry pasteurizes them.  I remember the temperature was 160 F because I spent two minutes in the room and decided I didn't want to experience a temperature hotter than 160 ever again.  A brief internet search confirms it does take longer--perhaps two hours--to dry pasteurize at this temperature.

My original concern was whether 160 - 180 F would alter the sugar...carmelize it or something.  But it sounds like a few people have just dumped it in with no worries.  Maybe I'll give that a try.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dry pasteurizing sugar?
« on: January 26, 2012, 03:05:16 PM »
Wow, lots of perspectives to ponder.   ;D  But it did get me thinking!

I have heard that honey is pretty resistance to nasties because the high osmotic pressure it exerts on them.  I don't know if that would translate well to dry sugar, but probably wet sugar.  Perhaps if I made a really thick solution with sugar and partially fermented wort and let it sit for a few minutes, at room temp, that would be enough to make the solution pretty inhospitable to life.  Then add that to the fermenter.  No heating required.

That would prevent diluting the wort any more.

It would minimize the chance of infection, if sugar even presents such a risk.

It would dissolve the sugar...whether that's a concern or not.

And I could avoid heating the wort/beer.


General Homebrew Discussion / Dry pasteurizing sugar?
« on: January 26, 2012, 07:50:55 AM »
I forgot to add sugar to the kettle in a Belgian golden strong ale, so I'm adding the 3 lb in two doses to the fermenter.  In the first dose, I added 1.5 lb of sugar to a small amount of water heated to around 180 for 12 minutes.  I really don't want to add more water.  The fermenter is close to full, and the amount of water needed to dissolve the sugar is significant.  Could I dry pasteurize it in a pot in the oven at 180 F?  Anyone ever do this?  Sugar melts a good bit higher than this temperature doesn't it?

Equipment and Software / Re: borosilicate flask and ceramic cooktops
« on: January 24, 2012, 01:45:53 PM »
I have a ceramic cooktop and wouldn't exactly say "no problem."  Make sure you have a nucleation point for the boiling to occur, such as a stir bar or some sort of stir rod touching the bottom.

Without a nucleation site, superheated liquid can build up at the bottom, setting up a rather unstable situation.  A slight bump can cause all of the superheated liquid to vaporize in an instant, causing a hot-wort volcano. 

How do I know this?  Well, you may be able to guess.  :-\

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Advice needed: Lager Bottling
« on: January 20, 2012, 07:37:20 AM »
I think I've read that DME is harder for the few remaining yeast cells to eat, so it could take longer to carbonate than with simple sugar. 

Also, I've had beers carbonate in the bottle with no notable sediment on the don't assume that no sediment means no yeast.

You might need to let the bottles warm a bit, say 68 or 70 F, and give it a couple more weeks before trying anything drastic.

Equipment and Software / Re: Hood for venting propane?
« on: December 13, 2011, 11:02:05 PM »
The guidelines also address solid fuels as well that probably don't burn all that well as cooking with grease.  I don't think it's any harder to capture little unburned propane or carbon monoxide than it is to capture smoke, steam, and grease particles.  I think the main point is that you need to provide a sufficient airspeed to capture the contaminants.  The guidelines do call for higher flow rates for some cooking equipment.

Equipment and Software / Re: Hood for venting propane?
« on: December 13, 2011, 10:20:10 PM »
This document looks helpful:

If I'm reading this right, it's recommending the following for stovetop, non-grease application:

Hood should be no more than 4 ft above the cooking surface
Hood should overhang cooking surface by 12-18 inches on all sides.  To me this implies a hood that's roughly 4 ft by 4 ft.
Minimum flow should therefore be 75 ft/min x 4 ft x 4 ft = 1200 cu ft/min
Duct diameter should be at least 11 inches to maintain a duct velocity of 2000 ft/min.
1200 ft/min of tempered makeup air must be provided.

This is my guess based on a smidgeon of knowledge and about 10 minutes reviewing the guidelines.

I've been curious about this since I've been wondering about brewing in my basement.  It looks like quite a bit of mechanical work if you want to comply with the codes and be safe.   

Equipment and Software / Re: Hood for venting propane?
« on: December 13, 2011, 09:50:49 PM »
Oh, and another important consideration is to ensure you have enough makeup air to avoid backdrafting your other gas appliances (water heater and furnace) if they're near where you'll be installing the flow hood.

Equipment and Software / Re: Hood for venting propane?
« on: December 13, 2011, 09:47:38 PM »
I don't think it's intrinsically unsafe to do this...flowhoods are used to capture and exhaust all sorts of unsafe gases.  It'll just be important to design it right.

I think the place to start is a commercial kitchen supplier.  They could probably tell you the recommended flow rate based on the BTU output of a burner.  I think the it's also important to consider the dimensions of the flow hood--how high above the kettle will it be and how wide/deep will it be--in order to ensure it will capture the majority of the combustion products.

If the supplier can't answer the question, they could probably refer you to a mechanical engineer/designer who could.

Questions about the forum? / Re: Most recent thread view?
« on: December 09, 2011, 11:02:09 PM »
Never mind, a little searching answered my question.  If anyone else is interested, the "unread" link near the top right of the page seem to do what I was looking for:;start=0

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