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Messages - jjflash

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Couple years back I bought two large stainless steel welded "hop spiders" in 300 and 400 mesh.
These are absolutely the best in the kettle, 300 mesh for pellet hops and 400 mesh for whole hops.
Multiple pellet hop additions during the boil by just pitching the hops into the hop spider.
Whole hop stands in the 400 mesh at the end of the boil.
Mine are very well used over the years.

That said they have been a challenge to keep clean.
The 300 mesh (larger screen) cleans up well with hot PBW or oxyclean / TSP and lots of elbow grease.
Not so the 400 mesh.
The 400 mesh inside and out come clean.
But in between where you cannot reach has become encrusted with crud.
So much crud it has become no longer useable.
I have been working on trying to clean the hop spider the past year.
I soaked it in hot PBW.
I soaked it in hot oxyclean / TSP.
I painted it with CLR.
I soaked it in muriatic acid.
I soaked it in Acid#5.
Nothing worked.
I gave up and was ready to order a new 400 mesh hop spider as I felt this one was at its end of life.

Then I was out power washing the pond and I thought, what the heck, power wash the hop spider.
If it breaks, I was going to buy a new one anyway.
It is unreal how well that worked to clean the stainless steel mesh.
Both these hop spiders are spotlessly clean.
Did not break the welds.
Put new life into both these hop spiders.

Equipment and Software / Re: DO meters
« on: May 27, 2016, 08:23:19 PM »
I have used a Hach dissolved oxygen meter for years.
Works great but was very expensive.
That said I almost exclusively brew big beers > 1.100
Use it all the time as I dose oxygen before and during fermentation.
Never felt the need to have one when I brewed regular / light beers.
Of course back then I used air via aquarium pump and stone.
In my opinion it is one of the last instruments you might add after you have purchased every other piece of gear.
In search of perfection I have gone to full instrumentation.

Ingredients / Re: Hop storage lifespan ?
« on: May 19, 2016, 04:57:38 PM »
Heat, light and oxygen are the three evils on hops. To avoid these three I have used the following technique for years.

I take a 16 ounce disposible PET water bottle, flush with CO2, pour one pound of pellet hops in, cap with a ball lock carbonation cap, then pressurized to 15psi with CO2.  Toss them into the freezer.  Take them out and pour what I need, flush and repressurize with CO2.

I will have several bottle in the freezer at any time ready to use.  Some varieties of hops that I use infrequently may sit for a year or more in these bottles.  The rest of the hops remain in their mylar sealed bags till ready to use. All these hops remain in good condition with this technique.

Ingredients / Re: Hop storage lifespan ?
« on: May 17, 2016, 05:05:02 PM »
During the 2008 hop shortage I way over bought pellet hops in a panic thinking I would not have enough.
They were all noble hops or their offspring with similar characteristics.
I have stored these in a freezer at zero degrees since they arrived.
I continue to use these for bittering additions with only slightly decreased bittering noted.
Have not noted any off flavor issues.

Equipment and Software / Re: Any feedback on this fermentation heater?
« on: April 05, 2016, 09:18:10 PM »
I have several of these now in my refrigerators and freezers.
Self adhesive backing and slap them on the back wall.
Used them for many years and they work great.
Only had one break - burned out.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: AHA Yeast Starter Video
« on: February 20, 2016, 02:24:41 AM »
For years I made starters in Erlenmeyer flasks I put on top the refrigerator.  Every time I walked by I would shake the flask.
Made great beers.

For years I made starters in Erlenmeyer flasks on a stir plate.
Made great beers.

For years I made starters in Erlenmeyer flasks on a shaker plate.
Made great beers.

The answer how to make great beers must be Erlenmeyer flasks!!

All the above methods work if you use good technique.

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermentation Heaters...
« on: February 16, 2016, 05:10:47 AM »
Brewer's Edge space heater pad.
Only 25 watts power.
Slap one on the back wall of every refrigerator I use for fermentation chambers.
In the dead of winter they keep the refrigerator at 78 with no problem.
Used them for many years and only burned one out.
Running six refrigerators with them in now.

Equipment and Software / Re: Natural Gas
« on: February 06, 2016, 10:25:08 PM »
Switched to natural gas years ago.
Way better than dealing with propane tanks.
Using natural gas on my Blichmann Top Tier currently.
Was so happy with the switch I changed my big meat smoker to natural gas also.
Beer + BBQ = heaven
This is the hose I use and recommend it highly.
Quick disconnects are great.
I use the 1/2 inch hose.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Phosphoric acid to adjust pH
« on: December 29, 2015, 04:19:21 AM »
Which version of Bru'n Water are you using?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Nutrient
« on: December 25, 2015, 06:54:37 PM »
So why does Wyeast recommend dissolving in warm water before pitching in wort?
I bet most, like me, toss it directly into the boil.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: how to "improve" "finished" beer?
« on: December 05, 2015, 03:02:25 PM »
The best way of improving a lager is to let it sit in the fridge for months.

+1  ales too!!
Time in the fridge is magic.
Often my big ales on racking taste drinkable but not memorable.
Several months in the fridge and they are outstanding.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hop addiction
« on: November 26, 2015, 02:11:51 AM »
During the great hop shortage of 2008 I freaked out and bought about 20 pounds of hop pellets.  I have no idea why I bought so much.  They now sit at zero degrees in the freezer.  Open packages are in CO2 filled PET bottles.  I am amazed how well they have kept over the years. Use them all the time for bittering and aroma additions.  Seems to have minimal degradation.  For aroma I use leaf hops that I use up rapidly.  Have not tried storing them long term.

Bought several of the Arbor Fab hop filters couple years ago.  They are the best.  Little pain in the arse to keep clean, but well worth the investment.  I even throw whole piloncillo sugar cones into them and they dissolve without burning.  Two thumbs up on this product.   

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sanitizer Comparison
« on: November 24, 2015, 05:01:23 AM »
Broke down and purchased a 5 gallon bucket of powdered peracetic acid last week.
Awaiting delivery now.  Will report back once I have a used this.

Equipment and Software / Re: pH meters
« on: November 15, 2015, 10:52:34 PM »
Your water may be close enough to give you good results.
It is just another tool to aid us who are always in search of perfection.
"My next beer is going to be even better than this one."

My water is very hard with pH 7.2 - 7.8 depending upon season.
It requires significant phosphoric acid to get anywhere near ideal pH for conversion.

Equipment and Software / Re: Milwaukee pH meter drift issues
« on: November 15, 2015, 10:45:59 PM »
Milwaukee MW102 has ATC, that is why there is a "temp probe".
All samples are at room temperature.

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