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Messages - yso191

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Critique my IPA recipe
« on: December 11, 2014, 12:19:30 AM »
I sure don't see anything wrong with it.  I like your grain bill and your hop combo.

*If it were me* I would add 2 more ounces to the dry hop.  I typically use one ounce per gallon - and I don't in any way think that is too much, but one has to stop somewhere.  I'm also not convinced of the value of spreading out hop additions.  I've gone to three: a 60 minute addition for all the bittering, a whirlpool addition for flavor and aroma, and dry hopping for aroma and flavor.  My thinking is that one only gets 2 things from hops: alpha acids and oils.  The best way to get the AA is with a 60 minute addition.  The best way to get oils is at ~175* and below because oils boil off at very low temperatures compared to water/wort.

But that is me.  What you have described above is not wrong.  I just do it differently for the reasons stated.  As so many say here regularly, try it both ways to see which works best for you!

Commercial Beer Reviews / Best of the Northwest 2014
« on: December 09, 2014, 10:01:38 AM »
I guess this is where this belongs...

Anyway, here is the annual list of Best of the Northwest brews.  Unlike a lot of this type of list, it is not about cult status or something that one simply cannot get.  That, and to the degree that I have tasted these beers I generally agree with him.

So here you go:

Yeast and Fermentation / Gravity for 1 pack dry yeast?
« on: December 08, 2014, 03:39:45 PM »
I am on a kick experimenting with dry yeast.  Part of my experiment is to just dump the pack into the wort rather than pre-hydrating it.  I know I will lose some yeast cells doing it this way, but If I'm going to prep yeast I'll do a yeast starter.  To me the advantage of dry yeast is that it is quick (well, and cheaper).

My question is: at what gravity level does under pitching become a concern?  My next brew is an AIPA with an OG of 1.058.  Will one pack do, or should I add a portion of a second?  In case it matters the yeast in question is US-05.

Equipment and Software / Re: Washing Mash Tun/ Kettles
« on: December 07, 2014, 04:20:42 PM »
Yes, I use a hose outside.  It gets pretty cold this time of year.

Equipment and Software / Mash Tun Jacket
« on: December 05, 2014, 08:53:26 PM »
I have three brews on my new Blichmann kettles, a 10 gallon BK and 15 gallon MT.  It was obvious from the first brew that keeping the mash temp up was going to be an issue.  The first one I had to add some of the sparge water to keep it up.  The second one I added that silver bubble insulation which did very little.  The third brew I added a thick blanket with a heating pad on top of the lid - that finally did the trick.

Being kind of OCD about things looking good, I started doing research.  I found Canvas Keg Jackets online at a place called Rapids ( for just under $50 delivered.  It is very thick and heavy duty.

I was pleasantly surprised that the thing fit over the handles & sight tube of the MT!  I'll have to cut a slit for the thermometer and valve, but that is minor.  There is even an opening on top (for the tap) so I can run the cord from the heating pad out of that.  Here it is:

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Doc Brown Ale Recipe/process critique
« on: December 05, 2014, 10:40:27 AM »
What yeast did you use?  That's probably the biggest factor.  Also have you ever checked or calibrated your mash thermometer?  You might be mashing hotter than you thought and killed some enzymes.

Yeah, in one shot on the video with grain in the wort, it looked like it was starting to boil.  Sure to undo some enzymes.

Beer Travel / Re: Best app for finding good beer places
« on: December 04, 2014, 06:21:53 PM »
I use Untappd for finding breweries.  I have only used it in the PNW though I assume it works as well elsewhere.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Icezilla SPAM?
« on: December 03, 2014, 02:52:02 PM »
I am glad to say I've never heard of it.

Equipment and Software / Re: Insulated stainless mash tun
« on: November 29, 2014, 09:24:00 AM »
Yeah, I was concerned about that.  What I think I'll do is put the heating pad on top of the lid with a blanket over it.  I did use the foil bubble wrap - one layer anyway.  More can only help.

Equipment and Software / Re: Grain Mill
« on: November 28, 2014, 01:12:05 PM »
Yeah, I actually sent two Captain Crushes back.  Neither one worked worth a hoot.  It could have been just an odd coincidence that I got two semi-functional ones in a row, but I was done trying.  The first one developed a screeching noise (after only 4-5 batches) that was so bad dogs in the neighborhood howled.  The second one would just spin the driven roller but never pull grain - no matter how I adjusted it. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« on: November 27, 2014, 08:50:00 PM »
It's not critical in that you are not going to spoil a batch of beer.  But you are putting a liter of bad tasting beer into what you hope is good tasting beer.  It takes no time to decant and it's not hard, so no reason not to.

The proof is in the starter.  Take a taste next time then ask yourself if you want that flavor in your beer.

Equipment and Software / Re: Insulated stainless mash tun
« on: November 26, 2014, 01:32:06 PM »
My meager insulation did not do the trick.  FWIW in this conversation, I have always preheated the MT.

My next strategy is to put a heating pad against the outer wall of the MT, underneath the insulation.  Hopefully that will work.

Equipment and Software / Re: Refractometer Calibration
« on: November 26, 2014, 10:57:01 AM »
+1 to taking your preboil sample after reaching a steady boil to get uniform mixing. Steve, I saw that your measurements were 1.041, 1.043, and 1.055. Let's throw out the 1.041 since it was taken before reaching boil.  How close together time wise were the last two taken ? Evaporation would obviously concentrate the boil and increase your readings. I just ask because on my system my preboil (on a 60 minute boil) is usually ~ 12 pts lower than my post boil OG, the difference between your last 2 readings.

The first was 1.032 pre-boil, then the post-start-of-boil two were 1.043 & 1.055.  The later two were maybe 10 minutes apart because I wanted to let the samples cool prior to testing.

I'll probably keep using it to see if I can establish a pattern.

Equipment and Software / Re: Refractometer Calibration
« on: November 25, 2014, 10:18:02 PM »
I stirred the wort in the boil kettle after sparging and took a sample.  My refractometer read 1.032!  It should have been 1.041.

IME, stirring isn't enough. You can't get an accurate pre-boil gravity until just after the boil starts, whether you're using a hydrometer or refractometer.

But sample 2 & 3 were post start-of-boil. Regardless, the refractometer is wildly innacurate.  And I calibrated it after these samples.  It zeroed perfectly.

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