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Topics - richardt

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Yeast and Fermentation / Wyeast 2206 smack pack won't swell
« on: March 24, 2011, 10:35:21 AM »
A Munich Helles is being planned in the near future.

I smacked a Wyeast 2206 smack pack 4 days ago and I'm not noticing much swelling, if any.

I can't detect a pack within when I press around -- could it be that the inner pack didn't get included?

It is about a year old (but kept at constant 36 F in the fridge).  I know the counts are down, but I plan to use it anyway--I'm going to toss it into a 1 L starter flask tonight or tomorrow.

Equipment and Software / DIY Randalls?
« on: February 21, 2011, 08:06:44 PM »

This looks sweet, but at $375... it seems a bit steep.  It looks easy enought to build, but what do I know? 

I'm still deciding whether or not to build an older version of the Randall with a whole house water filter (cost around $30), but it just isn't as sexy and is prone to excessive foaming with the versions I've seen in use. 
I even went to a brewpub that had a Randall in use and the bartender was using a spoon to remove the excessive foam from the pint glass!  Why use a Randall if you're going to remove the foam?!  Figure out how to reduce the foaming (chill the lines, for example).
Regardless, It'd be nice to build a Randall that remains chilled until service so the beer is less foamy.

Anybody recognize the components well enough to help me figure out where to get the parts/price them out.

Anybody have a great version of a Randall they'd like to share?  Post pics please!

Ingredients / Munich Helles Water Profile--Need Advice
« on: February 04, 2011, 07:10:08 PM »
I want to brew a great Munich Helles.
But I'm having a hell of a time figuring out the water.  I'm trying to build it from scratch, i.e., RO water + brew salts.
Can you help me out?

I'm watching LM's Vienna Lager thread closely as I suspect "Munich" water profile has similar issues. 
BJCP guide says to use moderate carbonate water. 

JP's HTB lists the Munich water profile as: 
Ca = 76, Mg = 18, Na = ?, SO4 = 10, Cl = 2, and HCO3 = 152.

BeerSmith lists the Munich water profile as;
Ca = 75, Mg = 20, Na = 10, SO4 = 10, Cl = 2, and HCO3 = 200

Seems impossible to build.  How does one get such high Mg but low SO4 levels? 
Did the Munich brewers basically boil the water and leave much of the HCO3 behind, like the Vienna brewers did?

I'm brewing a Munich Helles (SRM = 5).  I don't want it to end up like a dunkel. 

Equipment and Software / Batch Sparge Theory
« on: January 14, 2011, 12:44:07 PM »
I've read multiple posts on this forum as well as Denny's recent article about batch sparging. 

I get and agree with the whole "equal-concentration-of-sugars-throughout-the-mash" idea.

I have a hypothetical question regarding the lautering (or sparging) aspect of the process:

Assuming no change in temp, SG, wort composition, grist crush, etc., it seems that a larger drain surface area and/or shorter distance the wort must travel to get to the drain would be critical in terms of lautering (or sparging) speed.

What designs work best and why?  Has anyone ever tried a 3-D sparge manifold?  Why not?

I have a 10 gallon round Rubbermaid/Gott/Igloo cooler which can result in a grain bed of considerable vertical depth (e.g., up to the 8 gallon mark for high gravity beers using 25+ lbs of grain).  Lautering/sparging seems to take longer.  I suspect it has to do with grain bed compaction given its 12-18+ inch depth.

Hypothetically speaking, would a mildly domed 12-inch round SS false bottom with a 12-inch SS bazooka braid attached vertically help speed up batch sparging in a 10 gallon round cooler?

Ingredients / Building water for a BDS
« on: December 12, 2010, 10:28:09 PM »
I'd like to build the ideal brewing water profile for a Belgian Dark Strong (BDS) from scratch, and I'd like your suggestions. 
My local water is not ideal (Jacksonville, FL)--see "post your water report"--basically it is really, really high in sulfates.

Target parameters are SRM = 25 and mash pH = 5.2 to 5.4.

I'm planning a 10 gallon batch so I'll be using RO H2O (16 gallons) and brew salt additions to create the liquor.
I'm prepared to use any or all of the 6 major ones:  Chalk, Baking Soda, Gypsum, Epsom Salt, NaCl, and/or CaCl). 
I'm using 27.25 lbs of grain + 2 lbs of sugar.  The calculated OG = 1.100.

Using Palmer's Mash RA Adjustment worksheet v2.5, I came up with the following salt additions:
15 gm chalk, 1 gm gypsum, 1 gm CaCl, 5 gm Epsom Salt, 15 gm Baking Soda, and 5 gm NaCl.

This gives me an adjusted mash of 108 ppm Ca, 8 ppm Mg, 269 ppm Alkalinity as CaCO3, 100 ppm Na, 58 ppm Cl, 41 ppm Sulfate.  EH = 82, RA = 188, Est SRM 21 to 25, Cl:SO4 = "malty."

Does this look right?  Will it give me the ideal mash pH?  Thanks in advance.

Ingredients / Maris Otter -- which one do you prefer and why?
« on: December 01, 2010, 11:18:31 AM »
Struggling with the choices for Maris Otter.

Which ones do you prefer and why?

Yeast and Fermentation / Washing yeast versus sanitizing equipment
« on: November 14, 2010, 07:37:55 AM »
Been reading the "Yeast" book.  They say yeast washing is done with phosphoric acid (at pH between 2.0 and 2.5) and at cold temps 36-40 F (2-4 C).

Other than warmer temps, how is this different from sanitizing my equipment with StarSan? 
Am I leaving viable wild yeasts behind in my fermenters and kegs if I just use StarSan?

All Grain Brewing / Full Sail Pale Ale Recipe?
« on: November 11, 2010, 10:11:32 AM »

I just like Full Sail Pale Ale--a lot!  I am amazed by the body and flavor.
From what I gather online, the two "secret" Northwest hops could be Columbus (for bittering) and Centennial (for flavor and aroma).  Another site suggests Nugget.  Hmm.  And the grain bill reportedly has 2-Row Pale and Crystal Malt.

If anyone knows the ingredients for sure and can point me to a great FSPA clone recipe, I'd appreciate it.

Ingredients / Brew Salts
« on: November 05, 2010, 04:56:28 PM »
Other than the label on the bag, how can one be sure the white powder or granules are gypsum, chalk, calcium chloride, etc.?

Is there some easy way to tell by using stuff that is around the house?

I just want to be sure I'm putting Calcium Chloride in my mash, and not Gypsum, or Chalk.


Equipment and Software / I bent my rod
« on: October 18, 2010, 10:01:54 AM »
Anybody know how to repair a bent rod on a Barley Crusher grain mill? 
Do I contact the supplier (<1 year old) to see about a replacement?

I don't know what happened, but I presume it bent a little due to my having to hand crank it so hard when I had the mill gap too narrow or when I excessively "malt conditioned" my grains.

I can't use the power drill anymore--it wobbles too much.  I accidentally triggered the rpms too fast yesterday and the whole thing just started leaping around like a possessed cat struggling to escape my grip.  No grains were spilled.  But I put the hand crank back on and did it old school.

Kegging and Bottling / CO2 pressure leaking through the relief valve
« on: August 31, 2010, 10:19:55 PM »
Gas is escaping through the relief valve!  Thankfully I didn't blow a whole 5 pound CO2 tank to figure that out. 

I brew 10 gallon batches (last was an American Wheat) and ferment in two 5 gallon plastic buckets.

After primary fermentation is done, I racked to two of my 5 gallon corny kegs.  I closed the lids and pressurized both kegs to well over 40 PSI (could have been as high as 60 psi).

I then removed the gas in QD and put it back on my still-to-be-drained corny keg containing my IPA.  That  keg got drained this weekend at a nice neighborhood party down the street.  So I come back home to get my American Wheat Keg and I spray my StarSan like I always do over the QD's, both posts, and the relief valve.  After connecting the QD's I was amazed to see the bubbles emanating from the relief valve with pressures of just 10 psi.

What is going on here?  Do I need to replace the relief valve with a new o-ring?  Or is the problem more complicated than that?
The beer tastes fine from the keg in question (not infected).

Never one to spoil a party.  I just put the keg back in the fridge and took the other 5 gallon corny back to the party and kept the guests at the party happy.  Just one more reason to brew 10 gallon batches, my friends.

General Homebrew Discussion / Longest Brewday? Latest Brewday?
« on: July 28, 2010, 09:24:46 AM »
Full day of work yesterday, but hurried home at 4 p.m. to get started brewing.

Wife had other plans for me and the family which involved a "quick" trip downtown and shelling out some dough for season tickets to the local NFL team.

By the time we got home and I got the brew gear ready, it was 7 p.m.  Was hoping for a quick brew day and be in bed by midnight or 1 a.m...

Didn't work out that way...  The LAUTER-FROM-HELL. 
Had to use the forehead strap light to see some of the things I was doing on the patio.

Got it all done and finally was in bed at 4:30 a.m.  I'm sure the neighbors loved hearing my banjo burner roaring at 3 a.m.

Got any similar stories?

I've been kinda busy.  I've had a yeast starter (Wyeast 1056) going for over a week now (1L size, 1.040 OG).  Nice and creamy yellow color, still got a small dimple in the top of the fluid. 

Assumming the yeast are done eating all the sugars and have attained maximum growth and reproduction, am I harming the yeast by keeping it on the stir plate and aerating it?  (Air only, no Oxygen).

How long can I let a yeast cake sit before reuse?  I just brewed a nice IPA (w magnum, summit, simcoe, cascade, and citra) using Wyeast 1056 (American Ale).  The fermentation buckets are still in the fermentation fridges (at 65 F or colder).  I might not be able to brew for another 5-6 days from now.

Kegging and Bottling / Using gelatin for fining and fixing flaws
« on: July 05, 2010, 09:46:55 AM »
I brewed JZ's Black Forest Stout (recipe and details mentioned elsewhere in this forum) and have two major flaws I'd like to fix, if possible.
1.)  Earthy/metallic off-flavor/astringency.  I'm unsure if it is coming from the use of Carafa I,II, III and Chocolate malts during the entire mash (rather than cold-steeping or first runnings) or the cocoa nibs (x 2 weeks) in the secondary, or both, or neither.
2.)  Hardly any cherry flavor or aroma to help balance the roast and cocoa aroma and flavor.  I could not find any suitable canned cherry puree (i.e., Oregon), and used RW Knudsen's 100% Just Black Cherry juice, instead.  The cherry result was barely detectable, and at the expense of thinning the body even more.  In hindsight, it was not the best idea I've had.  I'd like to boost the cherry flavor/aroma and body of the beer, if possible.  If it leaves the finish little sweeter, that's OK, too, but it isn't a big priority (the sweetness).

Any thoughts about using:
1.)  Cherry-flavored Jell-O?  Any personal experience with using it?  I'm intrigued by the possibility of "killing two birds with one stone," i.e., removing some of the astringent polyphenols and boosting the cherry flavors/aromas.  The clarity of the beer is already very good (for a stout).
2.)  Cherry-flavored Kool-Aid?
3.)  Cherry extract--tried a sample on one bottle--YUCK!  That imitation cherry extract is worse than just about anything.
4.)  Cherry Syrup.  I've found a few Maraschino cherry syrups (containing preservatives like Sodium Benzoate) and Rose's Grenadine syrup (same problem), but don't think they'd do well since they'd kill the yeast in the bottle wouldn't they?  I don't want to trade one problem for another (autolysis and flat beers). It tastes great, though, when I add them to the sample, stir, and drink it.
5.)  Cherry Schnapps.  Can't find it--and not so wild about making it a potent beer.  Though it may help mask some of the astringency.

In small samples, I've found the cherry jello and cherry syrup offer better aroma and taste, respectively.  I've not had the opportunity to try the Kool-Aid option, yet.

Just wondered if anyone else has ever encountered this issue. And, how to make it better.

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