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Messages - reverseapachemaster

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Belgian Corks for Champagne Bottles?
« on: February 12, 2014, 08:45:52 AM »
Not sure if you can get those corks squeezed down to fit in the bottles. Like Belgian bottles, there is some variance in the size of the mouth. Champagne bottles that held beer seem to generally have wider mouths than the bottles used for wine. I use champagne bottles for my sour beers and I cork them with plastic corks (it's not very classy but effective and doesn't require a corker). With bottles that held beer I can usually push the cork in by hand and carbonation will try to push the cork out without a tight fit on the cage. Some formerly beer bottles need a little extra work to get the cork in. The bottles that once held a sparkling wine almost always have tighter mouths and I have to (gently) hammer the corks in.

The bottles used by commercial brewers tend to fit a 29mm crown if you have a capper/corker that you can adjust to the larger bell. Might be easier (and cheaper) than buying another size of corks. Most of the champagne bottles you find in homebrewing shops fit the standard American crown. Same for Goose Island 750ml bottles.

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermentor/temp control equip
« on: February 12, 2014, 08:36:11 AM »
I have an old dorm fridge that I picked up off of craigslist. It used to be a kegerator. It's probably from the 70s. Maybe older. It's about a third the size of a regular fridge.

It just barely fits one of the taller ale pails. It's slightly too short for the airlock so I cut the bottom of an airlock off, attached some tubing to it and run the tubing into the bottom of another airlock I tape to the side of the bucket. There's a half shelf I can remove and that will just barely fit a corny keg. Not sure it will fit with the disconnects though. I have it hooked up to a temperature controller. I can get the temperature down to about forty before the internal temperature controller cuts off. So I can ferment lagers but can't lager down where I need to. I can make drinkable lagers with that set up but they definitely aren't winning competitions.

Beer Recipes / Re: Ah ha moment
« on: February 12, 2014, 08:24:57 AM »
Cut it with those IPAs you can't seem to get rid of.

Beer Recipes / Re: How do you plan your recipes?
« on: February 12, 2014, 08:24:26 AM »
I think about what I want in the beer and start piecing together the parts. The less experienced or familiar I am with the style the more I look to other recipes to help fill in the gap to find what will get me to the desired beer.
I often look at commercial examples that share some of the attributes I want in my beer to see what they did. I also look at some homebrew recipes but the problem with relying on homebrew recipes is that I never taste the beer and often there is no assessment of the beer to determine whether the recipe matches what I want. With commercial recipes I can at least rely on my own experience tasting the beer. I also have several books and recipes pulled from magazines that I look to.

If you're just looking for good recipes to brew then picking out commercial recipes on beers you like is a good place to start. You already know you like the beer and you can make small tweaks to make that beer your own. It's also a good way to learn how ingredients and processes produce certain results in beers. There are excellent homebrew recipes out there but just because they are winning recipes doesn't mean they are good recipes to you.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Thank You AHA community
« on: February 12, 2014, 08:10:22 AM »
Will there be an option to skype into the meetup for those of us who can't make it to the NHC?

Ingredients / Re: Grain life/ crushing
« on: February 11, 2014, 08:10:52 AM »
I've read online that some plate mills will potentially throw metal shavings into the grain. Have you had that issue?

I have not seen any shavings in my grain but I also haven't tried running a magnet over it. I will give that a try on my next batch and report back.

I'm not sure where the contact point would be that metal is grinding aggressively enough that it is tearing apart. The plates shouldn't be grinding against each other

All Grain Brewing / Re: How Fast do you Chill Your Wort Post Boil?
« on: February 11, 2014, 08:04:34 AM »
Isn't the obvious answer here to try cutting down the hop stand after flameout?

Ingredients / Re: Grain life/ crushing
« on: February 10, 2014, 08:05:51 AM »
I have a plate mill like the one linked above. Works fine. I don't think the crush is as good or as consistent as a roller mill but I'm still making good beer with it.

I brew a lot of small batches so it's not that big of a deal to hand-crank 2-4 pounds of grain but it's a whip to hand-turn the bill for a larger batch with 10+ pounds of grain. You can drive them with a drill but I haven't done that yet.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Pitching temp. vs. cool down time
« on: February 10, 2014, 08:00:01 AM »
If it's late at night and the wort is at 80 then I'll go ahead and pitch and stick it in the fermentation chamber, especially if it's a small batch. The wort gets down into the 60s within 30-60 minutes.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Using Lactobacillus in my Gose
« on: February 10, 2014, 07:52:12 AM »
I've made two no boil Berliner Weisses.  If you use a commercial culture, whether Wyeast or White Labs, the lacto only eats glucose so you don't have to worry about stability IIRC.  I've bottled one of my no boil BWs without any issues.
Lacto fermentation doesn't produce CO2 though, so you don't have to worry about bottle bombs.

Yeah but all bets are off if you are culturing off the grain and not boiling because you'll definitely get more than just lacto from the grain.

All Grain Brewing / Re: PH Test Strips
« on: February 10, 2014, 07:46:12 AM »
I wonder if your readings changed based on temperature fluctuations across your three readings. In a small vessel it's easy to have wider temperature fluctuations, especially if you used your freezer to cool it quickly, and that could affect how accurate your three readings could have been.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hop Utilization
« on: February 10, 2014, 07:41:32 AM »
I find the calculators in beersmith are effective but like Jim said, using a calculator and basing it on whatever AAU listing is on your hop package will only be an approximation.

The most important thing, IMO, about using beersmith is to adjust the equipment profile to match yours and make sure you adjust the right variables on each recipe. That will make a difference in how useful the software is. For extract there are fewer variables to adjust but you still need to set your equipment profile correctly.

Again, not really 100% true. The only recipes that require approval are those with special ingredients or those that could increase abv. (like fruit/spices) or bbl aging in bbls that previously held liquor. As long as you're going with malt/adjucts/hops/water/yeast - no recipe approval necessary.

Which is why I said "in part". The TTB regs enumerate ingredients that do not require recipe approval. Everything else does, if the beer will be shipped out of state. By the time you add TTB, state ABC, state public safety regs and state/local health regs together, there is not much left for the FDA that isn't already regulated through one of those other channels regarding your manufacturing. Their resources are better used on industries that do not have as much oversight duplicating their own. 

Ingredients / Re: making Torrified Wheat?
« on: February 08, 2014, 10:24:34 AM »
I'm not sure what the difference would be with malted wheat but torrified wheat is made from unmalted wheat.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Malt head?
« on: February 08, 2014, 10:11:13 AM »
In 4.5 years of brewing I have made exactly one IPA and it was a black IPA that could easily have based as a porter.

I like an IPA every once in a while but I'd rather have a pale ale with lots of hop flavor and a lot less bitterness. 

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