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Messages - reverseapachemaster

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331
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Rest Mash and Mash Out
« on: December 28, 2014, 10:05:11 AM »
I am also in the camp of sparging with 190F or so water. I brew a lot with wheat and rye so I am constantly tempting fate with stuck sparges. I get far fewer problems sparging with 190F water than 180F like I used to.

332
All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparge option
« on: December 28, 2014, 09:56:24 AM »
Sparging = rinsing.

It is really not that complicated. After you drain the mash you are adding back hot water to rinse the sugars left behind off the grain and then draining that liquid out and combining it with the liquid from the mash. Your pour in the water, stir and drain.

I have never tried the no-sparge technique myself but there are lots of people doing it. It seems to require a 10-15% increase in grain to account for the lower efficiency but otherwise it is the same as any other mash process except you are adding all the water to the mash and skipping the sparge step.

333
Equipment and Software / Re: Paddle
« on: December 27, 2014, 11:30:44 AM »
I have one of the long plastic spoons they sell at homebrew shops. I rarely use but that's because I rarely brew batches that need something that big. Somewhere along the way I obtained a large SS slotted spoon for the kitchen that works extremely well in my smaller batches for both stirring the mash and the boil. When I do brew a five gallon batch that long spoon does a great job of scooping up the dry grain along the bottom edge of the cooler and making sure everything gets mixed up. I couldn't see one of those big wooden paddles doing as good of a job in a small cooler. I'd probably feel differently if I brewed 15+ gallon batches though.

334
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Conicals again
« on: December 27, 2014, 11:26:55 AM »
I like the idea of a conical but it wouldn't be good value for my brewing. One gallon batches are too easily brewed in 5l wine jugs. There is somebody out there selling a one gallon conical but there's no way to dump the bottom to collect the yeast so it doesn't do me any good.

335
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Viability
« on: December 27, 2014, 11:21:26 AM »
If you get zero activity after a few days then all the yeast were dead. The problem is that if you pitch a large amount of yeast (such as a whole vial of yeast) in to a small amount of wort (such as a starter) then the fermentation can occur quickly and without much visible evidence so you only think nothing has happened. I often make starters at night and wake up to what initially looks like an unaffected starter but actually fermentation is just done. After you have made a few starters you will be able to look at it and tell whether it has fermented just by the color and clarity. You can also swirl or shake the starter and see CO2 coming out of solution. That is usually how I tell whether I am looking at the starter before or after fermentation has started.

Unless the beer kit sat under a Christmas tree that was on fire it is almost certain that you have plenty of live yeast in that vial. Our beers sit at room-ish temperature for 2-3 weeks and you can repitch the yeast from one batch into the next. Yeast naturally live at ambient temperatures. I expect your starter fermented out quickly and you have a big pile of healthy yeast ready to tackle some beer.

336
All Grain Brewing / Re: Brett Mash Temperatures
« on: December 27, 2014, 11:13:10 AM »
Thanks. That sounds like the best option. Do you recommend against bottling with the Brett even at the low attenuation I hope to be getting? Or should I let it sit in secondary for awhile still?

There is disagreement on the subject but I am not a big fan of bottling with brett. You have no control over brett in the bottle and any sugar-based fermentation by brett is necessarily going to result in CO2 and the only place for the pressure from excess CO2 to go is into the beer and into the headspace (unless the bottle explodes). It's a recipe for gushing bottles if you don't know how dry brett will get the beer on its own. My opinion is that if you want to bottle with brett then you should first brew a batch and use brett in secondary to see how dry the beer gets then you can dose at bottling on the second batch because you know how much fermentation to expect in the bottle and you can adjust your priming sugar appropriately. As you may have guessed, I am very much not a fan of gushing bottles.

Other people will tell you they have had good success and avoided the gushing bottle problem.

337
All Grain Brewing / Re: starting out all grain
« on: December 27, 2014, 10:56:50 AM »
I don't know how cheap any electric system is unless you are using an electric stove and part of that gravity system is you hoisting stuff up. There are plans out there for heatsticks but personally I would not mess around with those unless you understand enough about electrical engineering to avoid blowing circuits in your house or starting a fire. You may also not have enough circuits available in one place to run enough heatsticks or other heating elements without having to do some rewiring in your home. I know some people are using countertop induction burners but I don't know how big of a batch you can do on those.

Personally I wouldn't start dropping a pile of cash on an electric brewery or rewiring your house until you have brewed some beer and made sure this is a hobby you want to get into. Most of us fall into the obsession but there are people who brew a few batches and decide it's easier to just go to the store and buy beer.

338
All Grain Brewing / Re: Dedicated home-brew store in your neighborhood?
« on: December 27, 2014, 10:50:24 AM »
I have five clubs in my metropolitan area although the further the distance the better the store seems to be. I do most of my shopping at the store fourth furthest from my house because they are the most reliable at carrying what I need and their prices are the most reasonable. I know I can place an order on my computer and when I pick it up in a few days the order will be correct. The problem is that it's a forty minute drive out there and I rarely find myself in that part of town at a time convenient to be out there. Their shipping is prohibitively expensive. So I often buy from one of the larger online shops where it is comparably expensive but I don't have to waste time or gas picking up the order.

339
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: having perplexing PH issue
« on: December 27, 2014, 10:43:29 AM »
I use to use EZ water

EZ Water is better than nothing but I did not get particularly great results using it. It was likely in part user error based upon the water profiles I was targeting rather than the tool itself. Bru'n Water is certainly a superior tool if for no other reason than the ability to input the grains and have it account for how they affect the mash ph.

340
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Rest Mash and Mash Out
« on: December 27, 2014, 10:40:26 AM »
I like the hotter water for sparging because I have a whacky idea that it rinses the grain better. Plus its all got to be heated to a boil anyway, why not get a bump in that direction

Me too. I still sparge at round 190ish.

Same here.

341
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: first homebrew with 5 gallon mash tun
« on: December 27, 2014, 10:37:06 AM »
Right....but I'm assuming that if I'm starting with a 5 gallon mash tun, I'm not actually fermenting a 5 gallon batch in the end, and that it will be substantially less?

You can certainly obtain a full five gallon batch out of a five gallon mash tun because you never have the total volume of pre-boil runnings in the mash tun at one time. You have the grain plus the mash water and then you drain the runnings and replace it with the sparge water and drain that. (Unless you are doing no-sparge brewing in which all the liquid goes into the mash at one time.)

I applaud your desire to jump into the deep end of brewing but based upon your comments here you might be getting ahead of yourself. You probably want to read How to Brew or Denny's website or some other decent guide to all grain brewing before getting into your first batch.

342
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: first homebrew with 5 gallon mash tun
« on: December 27, 2014, 10:31:53 AM »
There's not a single volume of water you want to use on every batch of beer. The grain volume is going to play a role in how much water you need. Generally you want between 1.25-1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain but some go as high as 2 qt/lb. You will also have your sparge water adding to the volume of wort collected from the grain. You will also have to account for the water the grain will absorb and not give back, which is approximately 0.15 gallons per pound of grain.

So total water volume will be: desired pre-boil wort volume + grain absorption + dead space in your system (places where wort gets stuck and doesn't make it into your kettle)

And you will divide the total water volume with 1.25-1.5 qt/lb to the mash and the rest to sparge water.

The general rule of thumb is that you want to collect six gallons of wort from your mash for a five gallon batch because you will lose approximately one gallon of water during a sixty minute boil, leaving you five gallons of wort post-boil. That's not always true, however. The more humid it is the less boil-off you will have. The intensity of the boil will also play a role in how much boil-off you have. Kettle geometry will also play a role in boil-off. You may not boil off a whole gallon in an hour. Your typical boil-off rate is something you will figure out with experience.

A five gallon carboy is way to small for a five gallon batch. You need 1-2 gallons of headspace so you don't lose a lot of beer as the krausen rises. I wouldn't put more than a 3.5 or 4 gallon batch in a five gallon carboy. You are welcome to brew smaller batches, as many of us do, but if you are targeting five gallons then you need at least a six gallon fermenting vessel but ideally larger than that.

343
Ingredients / Re: Malt with 'dusty' sensation/flavor?
« on: December 26, 2014, 08:57:03 AM »
Some people say chocolate malt creates that ashy flavor. I've used chocolate malt without problems but never in large quantities. I have had some dark beers with ashy flavors. I'm not sure if the amount of chocolate malt in those beers contributed to that character.

344
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Do you strain your wort?
« on: December 26, 2014, 08:46:32 AM »
Yeah I run through a strainer because I don't have a way to siphon out of the kettle and use a whirlpool to keep all that stuff out of the fermentor.

345
All Grain Brewing / Re: Brett Mash Temperatures
« on: December 24, 2014, 08:28:36 AM »
Brett was first isolated from English porter so its connection to English beer is less remote than you think. Brettanomyces is Greek for "British fungus" after all.

You'll end up with a lot of brett character whether you mash at 158 or 152. Brett finds plenty to eat no matter what. Brett can eat the dextrins created at warmer mash temperatures but it isn't necessary for brett to create all of its interesting flavors. Brett will have its hands full creating flavors out of yeast esters and hop compounds. I would not recommend against mashing high but I believe our insistence that brett beers need a higher mash temperature is not based on anything more than an only partially correct assertion that brett needs a dextrin source to ferment into flavors. I would instead say mash at whatever temperature you like but plan on sitting on that beer for 6-9 months (or more) so brett has time to manipulate the flavors in the beer.

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