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Messages - lazydog79

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Home brew labels
« on: January 22, 2016, 07:37:08 AM »
I've never had good luck "reusing" the grogtag labels.  That being said, I keep a few around that I use to label gift bottles.  Other than that, I go with the "marker on the cap" technique.  This year, I ordered some different colored caps from Northern Brewer.  That way, I can color code them and be done with hit.  Hopefully, I will have my keezer done for next year and I can quit this bottling nonsense!

Beer Recipes / Spicing for a pumpkin ale
« on: August 09, 2015, 09:36:29 AM »
Greetings all.  I brewed a pumpkin ale up a week and a half ago.  I'm aiming to make something in the vicinity of ST Pumking.  Here is what I brewed:

Recipe Specifications
Bottling Volume: 3.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.088 SG
Estimated FG: 1.019
Estimated ABV: 9.2%
Estimated Color: 11.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 29.4 IBUs
Amt                     Name                                             
10.1 oz                Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM)                             
6 lbs 12.6 oz         Pale Malt (2-Row), US - Rahr (2.0 SRM)         
3 lbs 12.0 oz         Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
6.6 oz                  Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)               
11.0 oz                Caramel Malt - 40L (Briess) (40.0 SRM)           
8.8 oz                  Victory Malt (25.0 SRM)                         
4.0 oz                  Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.5 SRM)           
2.25 lb                 Pumpkin (Mash 60.0 mins)                           
0.40 oz                Magnum [12.30 %] - Boil 60.0 min             
0.50 tsp               Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins)                         
0.50 lb                 Pumpkin (Boil 15.0 mins)                           
0.60 oz                Sterling [7.20 %] - Boil 15.0 min             
1.0 pkg                SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04)                       
9.2 oz                  Brown Sugar, Light (8.0 SRM)

I am racking it to secondary onto two vanilla beans for a few days.  I plan to add my spices to my priming solution at bottling.  Where I am a bit stuck is the spices and the quantity.  I'm kind of flying blind and don't want to screw it up.  So, I would appreciate any insights from the experts.  What I originally had in the recipe was:
1/8 tsp   Ground Ginger       
1/4 tsp   Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp   Nutmeg
1/8 tsp   Clove

How does this look?  As I said, I am going with the "spice tea" method, so I think more flavor will carry over. Plus, it will be only 3 gallons in the secondary.  Alternatively, I could just use "pumpkin pie spice" but have no idea as to the amount.  Thanks!

If you want towers and don't mind some extra work, you could build the towers into your bar. Then place the keezer nearby and connect it to the tower with beer lines run through flexible, insulated tubing. You'll need to rig a fan to keep cold air flowing through that tubing. Then you have the best of both options.
I have thought about doing that as the wall behind my bar will be in my unfinished space.  I have thought about taking the lines through the wall into towers on the back bar.  Besides the pain of engineering all that, I don't really have a wall yet!  I'm wanting to go ahead and get the keezer built - sick of bottling  :P  Then, I will finish the bar around it.  I'm not really a fan of all these plans that fully encase the chest freezer.  I know they say they maintain enough airflow around it, but I'm not convinced.  I looked into buying an under-counter unit, but you are looking at $1600 or so, and three taps is the best you can do.

I found this keezer plan yesterday.  I'm kind of crushing on it a little.  As I slowly buy parts, I'm not super committed to anything until I buy shanks, I guess.  I am liking that four tap tower...  ;D

Assuming that your keezer is going to be top opening, opening the keezer may be inconvenient if you have the taps on top of the lid.

I agree but don't know what your basement looks like.  I will be doing the collar method to build the height up and give it a little more of a customized look.  For me that gives it a little extra, and towers on top sound like a PITA. 

You both hit my main reservation for the towers. I like the look, but they might suck. How long until I get sick of pulling the freezer out to open it? Better yet - how long until I bash a two Perlick tower into the wall?! You know - in all those pictures if the keezers with the super cool coffins on top, you hardly ever see one open! Probably a reason for that. I am definitely leaning towards a collar. Cheers!

Kegging and Bottling / Keezer Build: Faucets on the Collar or Towers?
« on: March 09, 2015, 01:22:50 PM »
As I am getting ready to pull the trigger on my keezer build, I am at a bit of a fork in the road in the design process.  Do I:

1: mount the faucets on the collar as such:

or 2: Mount dual two tap draft towers as such:

I am planning on incorporating my keezer into my basement bar as part of the back bar - probably as the centerpiece of the back bar.  I like ease of installation of the on the collar method and can make a sharp keezer, I think (as seen in the example).  However, as part of the bar area, I like the draft towers.  I think I would be happier with the serving height too.  Price is pretty much a wash.  Beverage Factory has double Perlick towers for $160, which is what it would pretty much cost me to do two on the collar.  I'm thinking drilling a hole in the lid, or removing the lid and installing an insulated wood one.

Any wisdom from the experts?  Thanks in advance!

Beer Recipes / Re: Pumpkin Beers
« on: March 09, 2015, 11:36:14 AM »
That's pretty, much what I was thinking.  Thanks for the feedback.  Yeah, I know the spicing still needs work.  It's probably more of a philosophical question: big beer and medium beer.  I was talking myself out of the bigger beer for a while, but I agree with you.  I'm not always one to jump to high octane, but pumpkin beers need the big flavor.  Otherwise, they are kind of blah.

Thanks again!

Beer Recipes / Re: Boston Lager Receipe
« on: March 09, 2015, 11:32:36 AM »
Are those hops readily available?

Hallertau Mittelfrueh can be hard to find, but Tradition, which is basically a modern descendant of it, is pretty easy to source.  Tettanager shouldn't be hard.

Beer Recipes / Pumpkin Beers
« on: March 08, 2015, 02:20:48 PM »
Howdy all!  Long time, no chat!  Been busier than a one-armed painter here, but the weather is getting warm, which means it's time to get to brewing.  I think I would like to do a pumpkin beer for the fall. I know, I know! Some people are sick of them, but I like them and so do my beer pits/friends.  I've scratched together a couple of recipes.  Which one sounds better?

Option 1 (a Southern Tier PumKing Clone-ish)

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 6.57 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.72 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.090 SG
Estimated Color: 10.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 24.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 83.2 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
3 lbs 3.2 oz          Pumpkin (0.0 SRM)                        Adjunct       1        15.8 %       
1 lbs 9.7 oz          Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM)                     Adjunct       2        7.9 %         
8 lbs 13.4 oz         Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         3        43.6 %       
4 lbs 0.3 oz          Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)         Grain         4        19.8 %       
1 lbs 0.1 oz          Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)    Grain         5        5.0 %         
12.9 oz               Victory Malt (25.0 SRM)                  Grain         6        4.0 %         
12.8 oz               Brown Sugar, Light (8.0 SRM)             Sugar         7        4.0 %         
0.46 oz               Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           8        17.6 IBUs     
0.50 tsp              Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)              Fining        9        -             
0.91 oz               Sterling [7.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min        Hop           10       6.8 IBUs     
2.0 pkg               English Ale (White Labs #WLP002) [35.49  Yeast         11       -             
5.00 Items            Vanilla Bean (Secondary 14.0 days)       Spice         12       -             
0.13 tsp              Ginger Root (Bottling 0.0 days)          Herb          13       -             
0.50 tsp              Ground Cinnamon (Bottling 5.0 mins)      Spice         14       -             
0.25 tsp              Nutmeg (Bottling 0.0 days)               Spice         15       -             
0.13 tsp              Clove (Bottling 0.0 days)                Spice         16       -             

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 20 lbs 4.3 oz
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 24.33 qt of water at 163.7 F        152.0 F       60 min       
Mash Out          Add 13.63 qt of water at 200.7 F        168.0 F       10 min       

Sparge: Fly sparge with -0.08 gal water at 168.0 F
I know the mash is all jacked up.  I have to work on that yet.  I have cobbled this together from several sources and think I have ended up with a "kitchen-sink" style mess!

Option 2: Based on Northern Brewer's Smashing Pumpkin kit:
Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 6.59 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.88 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated Color: 10.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 24.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 69.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 78.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
7 lbs 8.0 oz          Pale Malt (2-Row), US - Rahr (2.0 SRM)   Grain         1        69.8 %       
2 lbs 8.0 oz          Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)                    Grain         2        23.3 %       
8.0 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)    Grain         3        4.7 %         
4.0 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)    Grain         4        2.3 %         
10.00 lb              Pumpkin (Mash 60.0 mins)                 Herb          5        -             
1.00 oz               Cluster [7.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           6        24.3 IBUs     
1.00 tsp              Pumpkin Pie Spice (Boil 0.0 mins)        Spice         7        -             
1.0 pkg               SafAle American Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-05 Yeast         8        -             

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 10 lbs 12.0 oz
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 16.51 qt of water at 161.5 F        152.0 F       75 min       
Mash Out          Add 6.81 qt of water at 211.4 F         168.0 F       10 min       

Sparge: Fly sparge with 2.54 gal water at 168.0 F

I am leaning towards the second one from a drinkability standpoint, but I would love for some other opinions.  Thanks!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: To Build or Buy?
« on: January 24, 2015, 09:57:20 PM »
In my opinion, I choose to build because either believe I will enjoy the process or end up with a better product than store-bought.  Or usually, both.  Isn't this what attracts people to homebrewing?
I hear ya! I might be friggin' DIY'ed out by the time I get this basement done, though!  :P  There is something about thumping your chest and saying, "I built that!"  I think part of it is debating towers on the bar or keezer as part of my barback.  I think I might like that better anyway.  Thanks again!

Kegging and Bottling / To Build or Buy?
« on: January 24, 2015, 09:41:58 PM »
As I proceed with finishing my basement man cave, complete with bar, of course a kegerator is a necessity!  I have been planning to build a keezer - maybe in a coffin, maybe not; maybe with towers, maybe not.  Whatever I do, I'm planning on building a 4-tapper.  Something like:

Recently, I have been debating, though.  Why not buy an under-counter kegerator??  Something like this one:

By my chainsaw math, my keezer build will take about $1300 to build my keezer (including price of new chest freezer, hardware, etc.).  The under-counter model above is for sale for $1600.  Obviously, that's $300 more and I am loosing a tap.  However, I will have a unit ready to go that can be directly incorporated in the bar and the tower mounted on the bar.  I am finding myself a bit indecisive, so any opinions would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Equipment and Software / Re: Possibly buying a kegerator - need advice
« on: August 07, 2014, 03:30:14 PM »
I hadn't thought of that - good point.  It's going to be in the basement...which will one day be my basement bar, so I am not overly concerned by that. I'm thinking of paying a mover to get around the moving problem.  I think I might be talking myself into it.  I'm just thinking a commercial unit might be over-kill.

Equipment and Software / Re: Possibly buying a kegerator - need advice
« on: August 07, 2014, 02:36:51 PM »
It is a regular commercial grade kegerator - so a galvanized steel box with vinyl covering and a stainless steel top.  I know it looks nice.  As for the age, I'm sure these commercial grade kegerators can run a long time.  Just thinking of how I'm going to move it...

Equipment and Software / Possibly buying a kegerator - need advice
« on: August 07, 2014, 02:18:20 PM »
I have been planning a keezer build for a while.  What I had sketched in my head was a 4-tap kegerator built on about a 14.8 cu. ft. chest freezer - pretty standard stuff..  However, today on Craiglist, I found this:

It has a badge on it that says "Superior Mfg. Co."  I think this is a Bev-Air that Superior badged over, but I could be wrong.  The seller doesn't really know how old it is - bought second or third hand.  He says it runs great and is in working order.  He is asking $1700 with the tap handles, CO2 tank and regulator included.  I know that new, these retail for $3000+.  I figure with the parts needed to convert it to corny kegs, I'm coming out even or a little cheaper than if I build it myself.  I am saving myself the build time.  I mainly concerned if it might be too old and how I am going to get this bear down to my basement.  Thoughts??  Thanks in advance!

Yeast and Fermentation / Starter for Tomorrow?
« on: May 09, 2014, 02:59:45 PM »
This is a new one for me.  I kind of screwed up before I even started brewing  >:(  I'm planning on brewing a five gallon batch of ESB tomorrow.  The planned OG is 1.059.  Mrmalty tell me I need about a liter and a half starter (205 billion).  I usually like to get my starters going at least 48 hours prior so they finish out before crashing, decanting and pitching.  Unfortunately, I got busy and forgot to get yeast earlier this week.  I'm thinking 24 hours isn't long enough for a starter.  Should I pony up and get two vials and forgo the starter or would I get enough out of a 24 hour starter?

Oh, forgot to mention the yeast.  I was planning on using White Labs 002: English Ale.  I have a satchet of Dantstar Windsor in the fridge that was to go for a later brew.  Thinking I might just go with that.

Ingredients / Re: Adding Strawberries
« on: May 26, 2013, 06:36:44 AM »
If you wanted to live up to your name (lazydog) you could buy the purée instead of doing it yourself. Then you wouldn't have to do anything but add it to the carboy. I've never looked for strawberry purée though, but I'm assuming you can get it.

Agreed.  When I am busy, the Oregon puree is great - dump and run.  1)It is a little pricey - the local grocery store has fresh strawberries for $1/lb. and 2) Oregon doesn't have a strawberry, or at least NB doesn't carry it.  Oh well, fresh is probably better.  I could probably get away without pasteurizing it, but every time I get lackadaisical on sanitation, I get in trouble.  Better to be a sanitation Nazi and go through an extra step than have to trash a batch.  This is a lesson that has been learned to much sorrow.

Thanks for confirming my head is on straight - sometimes I wonder  :P

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