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Messages - jjflash

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How long does it take you to cool down to ground water temp through the plate chiller? Do you use ice to get you down to pitching via the pre-chiller?

From 204 to 110 takes about 10 - 15 minutes with kettle recirculation.
From 110 to 90 it slows considerably  and takes another 5 - 10 minutes.
Pitch the ice in the cooler and I can then go directly to the fermentor at 65 or less.
Shorter times in winter and longer times in summer.

Just got done brewing...

My tap water temperature out in my RV garage where I brewed today was 72 degrees.  My water hose runs to a 50 foot copper IC in a 10 gallon Gott insulated round water cooler. That connects then to the Therminator.  I run straight tap water thru the system until the wort is down to 90 degrees.  Then I pitch the ice into the Gott cooler and bring the wort down to 65 degrees.  Works perfectly... but a pain in the arse.  Got to go out and buy ice every brew day.  Messy clean up.

So I saw this beer line gycol cooler on Craigs List for cheap and started dreaming. Won't it be nice to just connect the hoses to the Therminator, press the on button and "poof".  Instant cold glycol surging thru the plate chiller. No mess. No fuss.  No ice. No clean-up.

I think you fellows are correct - probably can't circulate chilled glycol fast enough to do the job right.  Guess I won't run out and buy that toy. 


I am suprised I can't find a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there.
Was thinking of running glycol chiller in my Therminator instead of tap water with required ice bath pre-chiller to hit appropriate temperature. Tired of the pre-chiller mess and water hoses.
I have no great desire to build one from a refrigerated air conditioner/ice chest.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Pitching Rates and Ester Formation
« on: November 24, 2012, 08:15:13 AM »
Enjoyed the read.

Brewers on both sides of this fence:
More yeast, less oxygen.
Less yeast, more oxygen.

I believe the answer is complex.
There are more than these two adjustable variables significantly involved in the final equation.

Equipment and Software / Re: Pumps
« on: November 22, 2012, 09:58:16 AM »
I have a portable March pump that I lightly bumped on a table edge and broke the impellar housing. Actually hit the S/S on/off valve attached to the pump.  Luckily Williams Brewing sells new housings so it was repaired.  I am always tweeking my setup so the threads on my housings have been accidently crosss threaded. Can't seem to get them back to straight again.  That said I went to all Chugger pumps this year.  Like them better for these reasons. Make sure you buy the 1/2 inch inlet/outlet.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Wet milling fail / I'm an idiot
« on: November 22, 2012, 09:40:29 AM »
More important than malt conditioning is the quality of your mill.
Some mills will shread malt husks to pieces when set to narrow gap.
(Some are so poorly designed they seem to shred regardless of the gap setting.)
To compensate for this brewers will open the mill gap too large with resultant decreased conversion.
Some brewers will even routinely add rice hulls to prevent sparge issues.

The best mills will fine crush with minimal flour and leave husks more intact.
Quite often these brewers will have motor drives on their mills.
These quality mills can fine crush without lauter concerns and get great conversion.

So the bottom line is that some mills with malt conditioning will allow you to crush finer and which may improve your conversion. Will also help prevent lauter issues.

I suggest a quality mill with a motor drive.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Wet milling fail / I'm an idiot
« on: November 17, 2012, 09:57:28 AM »
0.6 ounces of water per pound of malt.
Apply with spray bottle.
Let stand 20 minutes or more.
I do this with all my grist.
Truly amazing how tight you can set the mill and the improved conversion.

Ingredients / Pumpkin powder?
« on: November 02, 2012, 10:18:17 PM »
I just stumbled onto this pumpkin powder.

I am thinking about trying this in the mash for my next pumpkin beer.
Anyone try this?
Any thoughts?
Perhaps save this till the end of the mash, sprinkle on top, then sparge?
Consistency of flour so might need rice hull addition....

Ingredients / Re: Chamomile
« on: October 20, 2012, 11:02:55 AM »
I use chamomile in my hopback.  Couple ounces of leaf hops on the bottom as filter bed and then whole chamomile flowers on top.

I used that exact same Northern Brewer System for many years in an all stainless steel hardware version.  Absolutely loved it and served me well for many years for infusion mashes. (Went to RIMS couple years ago.) I have no negative comments about this system.  I would recommend it to anyone starting all grain brewing. 

Wood/Casks / Re: Balcones Distillery Barrel
« on: September 18, 2012, 05:08:40 PM »
What was your method to "re-whiskyed" the barrel?

Equipment and Software / Re: GIve Up on ProMash??
« on: June 07, 2012, 08:45:47 PM »
I have used ProMash for many years and thought it was the greatest software for homebrewers... and for many years it was the absolute best.  Last year I decided to try BeerSmith after my brew buddies kept telling me how much they liked it.  Now as they say its hard to teach an old dog new tricks - I was very comfortable with ProMash and resistent to try, let alone change brewing software.  However, after struggling thru the learning curve of BeerSmith, I find it to be very, very good.  I still have both softwares on my computers and I find I have switched entirely over to BeerSmith. ProMash was the Volkswagen of beer software, very easy to use with instant good results. Still nothing wrong with it, works very well.  BeerSmith is more like the Cadillac, its got all the cool tools and cool gadgets. It helps to be at least 3/4 nerd or a rocket scientist to utilize all its capabilities. 

Wood/Casks / How can I humidify a barrel closet?
« on: April 02, 2012, 04:00:16 PM »
So I finally figured out my barrels need to be at 60 degrees and 60% humidity.
See my prior post for this info.
I stack my barrels in a commercial refrigerator so temperature control is no problem.
Now I have been trying to figure out how to hold the humidity at 60%.
There are many ways to do this with spending big bucks.
I first looked at wine barrel humidifiers - $1000 plus. No good.
I then stumbled onto these cigar closet humidifiers.
This $150 Le Veil DCH-55 has a remote digital control panel.
Suppose to work up to 55 cubic foot closet.
Only holds 1/2 gallon of water in gel base.
Not sure this is enough without daily refill.
I live in the desert southwest, can you say dry?
Any thoughts / suggestions?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: stuck ferment????
« on: March 23, 2012, 05:52:19 PM »
I would make a new yeast starter with dry yeast before pitching Beano/Amylase enzyme.  We all get stuck fermentations at some point in out brewing lives.  I personally have never found rousing the yeast, to kick start a stuck fermentation back on line, beneficial for me.  Make a starter with dry yeast - I use Safbrew T-58 becasue I am always brewing big Belgians.  Float the yeast in warm water then pitch into small wort starter on stir plate.  6-12 hours later pitch the entire active "restarter". 

The Beano/Amylase enzyme trick has worked for me. Though each time in my big Belgians it took several weeks of very slow fermentation. Can easily drop the FG way low, and is out of control until done.

Also, check the beer pH. If you screwed up somewhere and the pH is way off, then usually absolutely nothing may revive that dead beer. 

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Filtering finished beer
« on: March 23, 2012, 05:30:47 PM »
Yes, correct as above.
Also, make all beer transfers under CO2.
I use 7.5 gallon glass "acid carboy" fermentors with "acid carboy caps", you know the maroon colored ones with two spouts sticking straight up. Purge all lines/racking cane with CO2.  Stick the racking tube in the center spout with plastic tubing connected to the keg "out" port. Stick the CO2 into the second spout of the carboy cap. About 4-5 psi CO2 and the beer will flow out the fermentor into the keg, which already has a CO2 layer as described above.  This is a solid beer transfer under CO2.

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