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Messages - jjflash

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Oxygenation in first few days?
« on: October 19, 2013, 12:24:29 PM »
My current technique for big beers is to add oxygen as it goes into the primary fermenter, then re-dose that evening just before I go to bed, about 6 hours later.  Next morning active fermentation is evident.  Has made significant contribution to lowering my final gravity and reduced my occasional stuck fermentation issues with those finicky yeast strains. Have also tried adding oxygen the next morning before active fermentation started with the same results.

All Grain Brewing / Re: stuck mash on Blichmann Top Tier system
« on: September 02, 2013, 07:13:25 AM »
I use the Tower of Power with my Top Tier with Chugger pumps for recirculation. My system is sensitive to kettle heat and rate of flow which can result in a stuck mash.  I find 1.25 gallons/minute to be the best flow for the Blichmann 20gallon kettle. I also needed to increase my mill gap quite a bit. Occasionally will still get sputters without full blown stuck mash. 

Equipment and Software / Re: how to connect to natural gas
« on: August 24, 2013, 02:20:45 PM »
Try  I have not tried their hoses but I am happy with the burner I bought from them.

Bought a long one from Tejas Smokers for my natural gas fired Blichmann Top Tier system.  Works perfect and pleased as punch with mine.

All Grain Brewing / anyone add zinc sulfate / zinc chloride to wort?
« on: August 17, 2013, 10:21:07 AM »
Just read the latest BYO issue and Chris White has an article entitled "Brewer's Yeast & Brett Fermentation Flavors". Great article and a good issue.  Quoting from the article: "Many breweries make it a practice of adding food grade zinc sulfate, zinc chloride, or Servomyces (dead yeast loaded with zinc) to their wort at knock out in order to prevent acetaldehyde off-flavors."  I have tried Servomyces ($$) before to improve fermentation and wasn't impressed it made much of a difference to my beers.  Production breweries are trying to get these beers to tap quickly, so makes sense in that scenario rather than leaving the beer of the yeast cake to clean up acetaldehyde.  Little zinc is suppose to be good for general yeast health. Trying to figure if this addition benefits homebrewers in any way.     

Equipment and Software / Re: Star-San Dependence
« on: June 29, 2013, 07:25:53 AM »
After brewing for a while our equipment builds up crud in every crack and crevice. StarSan of course will not penetrate crud to sanitize.  I have always used hot PBW and oxyclean on my gear and thought I was doing an excellent job of cleaning.  Recently I used TM Desanamax caustic cleaner I was amazed at all the crud that came out of the places I could not see to clean! Personally I now believe failure to thoroughly clean is more of an issue rather than resistance to the sanitizer. 

After researching this issue I have a couple suggestions for cleaning the Therminator.

First of all I am convinced it is impossible to really clean the Therminator thoroughly due to the design of sealed plate chillers.  Since the chiller can never be taken apart there will always be trapped particles in the plate system.  I have run hot PBW, backwashed, baked in the oven, more PBW, more backwash and thought I had my Therminator reasonably clean. Was I wrong.  I saw this new caustic cleaner called TM Desenamax at Williams Brewing. Cool cleaner that is purple when clean, blue when dirty, and yellow when very dirty.  I ran two batches thru my Therminator and I was totally shocked all the debris that came out! I know Blichmann does not recommend caustic cleaners but this cleaner was fantastic.

Second, the only way to prevent reoccurrences is to prevent debris from entering the Therminator.  I use the Beer3 hopback just before my Therminator with the concept it would act as a filter when filled with whole hops.  The problem with this hopback is that the false bottom has 1/8 inch holes that allow too much whole hops to enter the Therminator.  My solution to that problem was to place a 400 micron canister filter in the hopback.  Mine came from Arbor Fabricating - Chad the owner/fabricator is awesome to work with and his products are the best quality.

Equipment and Software / Re: Inline Aeration
« on: June 16, 2013, 03:02:20 PM »
Been using that same Beer3 inline system for years.  Works great. Use mine with oxygen, tho an air pump would surely be fine also.  Plumb into your system so it is the last before the fermentor.  You will never over oxygenate the wort with O2. Limited to maximum wort saturation and prompt desaturation. Over oxygenation is only an issue with yeast propagation using O2, and even then only with yeast repitch. Aerate / oxygenate the wort all you want.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottling for Competitions?
« on: May 27, 2013, 07:47:05 AM »
+1 Blichmann beergun

Increase the keg CO2 pressure by 0.5 to 1.0 volumes as you are shooting for bottle beer pressure and not lower keg pressure beer in the bottles.   

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: FYI: Yeast Aeration
« on: May 25, 2013, 02:38:33 PM »
I have been considering doing a constant aeration/oxygenation for the first 24 hours of fermentation for big beers >1.080.  Either by stone/aquarium pump, or stone/O2.  My current thought is an aquarium pump with constant low level aeration to encourage yeast propagation.

Going Pro / Re: Fermentation Temperature Control
« on: May 13, 2013, 07:33:53 PM »
I highly recommend a coolbot to keep the air conditioner working well

Tom, that is a way cool device, pun intended. Never seen this gadget before.

do wish that Blichmann (or someone else) would produce an efficient plate chiller which homebrewers could (1) afford and (2) take apart to clean.

+1 there.

I use a commercial homebrew hopback. It lets this hop debris get into the Therminator. Tried the oven heating trick to clean the Therminator. Works somewhat, but still not great. I think a good pre Therminator screen will be required to stop this problem.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash recirculation
« on: May 12, 2013, 03:37:07 PM »
Before I automated, I used a Blichmann kettle on my kitchen gas stove, wort continuously circulated by a March pump back into the mash. Used one of those aeration tips to disperse the wort over the grain bed. Work very well with tight temperature control and manually adjusting flame.

All Grain Brewing / Re: DO meter accurate?
« on: May 11, 2013, 03:35:47 PM »
Are your DO meter readings accurate?  The DO meters I used in laboratories had a built in stirrer because they did not work properly unless the water was circulating.  I'm not sure what type of DO meter I was using or whether chemiluminescent DO meters need moving water to work properly.

The DO meter is in the glass carboy as it is being filled by pump, so it is always in well circulated wort.  This is a very high quality Hach LDO. Even if it was off a point or two, doesn't change the trend of sudden oxygen desaturation, of a high gravity wort, in very short period of time. I will run this experiment over the next several brew days to confirm this finding. 

My current message to myself on this - I should pitch yeast immediately upon completion of wort aeration/oxygenation.  My previous method was to fill the carboy, stop and do a yeast count, calculate my pitch volume, then pitch the yeast. This all the while the wort was desaturating....

Thought about using Five Star Acid Cleaner No. 5 ....

Then send an email to Dan Blichmann, here is his response:

Do not use the Acid cleaner. This could damage your Therminator. I would try and bake it if you are not getting the Therminator as clean as you would like. You can bake it in your oven at 300 degrees for a couple hours. Following the bake you should flush it clean. We have had great luck with getting the debris out.
Blichmann Engineering, LLC

Been using this Blickmann Therminator for a couple years now.  I run 5 gallons of PBW at 140+ degrees then 5 gallons rinse water via pump to clean, then back flush till clear.  I thought all this time I was giving this plate chiller a really good cleaning out. Finished brewing last week and cleaned the plate chiller as usual.  Unplugged the unit and set it in the sink to drain. Everyday this week I have run the back flush hose and I am getting quite a bit of grain bits/whole cone hop debris.  I think I must have never, really cleaned this chiller out completely!

I am trying to come up with a good way to totally clean this plate chiller out spotless.  I have heard of brewers putting these in the oven and literally baking the thing.  Seems to me this would only burn the debris to the plates.  Thought about using caustic.....

Anyone got a great, sure fire, total clean method for plate chillers like mine that must be encrusted with barnacles of brew kettle debris? 

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