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Messages - lazydog79

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Equipment and Software / Re: Fermenter Recommendations
« on: August 25, 2016, 07:12:10 AM »
I use the Fermonster 7 gallon and 6 1/2 gallon Bigmouth Bubblers. I like the large openings in both when it comes time to clean or remove hop bags. 

The Bigmouth Bubbler has some dimpled areas which make it a little harder to clean, but a microfiber cloth helps. It also has a 2 piece lid, which some have problems with.

I like the fact that the Fermonster is much smoother and has a single piece closure. Personally, I prefer both to BetterBottles, if for nothing else the larger capacity. I find no need to use a blowoff on the Fermonster and seldom on the Bigmouth Bubblers. I ferment 5.5 gallons.
Bob - You reminded me about the Fermonster, Thanks.  I had forgotten about them - don't shop on MoreBeer all that much anymore.  I like the Fermonster - you summed up the benefits well.  I also like that they use #10 stoppers since I have a bunch from my BetterBottles.  I need to order some keezer parts from MoreBeer anyway.  Now to decide on the 6 or 7 gallon.  I'll probably go with the 7 gallon - space is nice and it's only a dollar more.

Thanks all for the input!!

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermenter Recommendations
« on: August 25, 2016, 06:58:53 AM »

Well, it's not like I sit and look at it all day like I was a stoner staring at a Lava Lamp.  ;D 
Now I don't care who you are - that's funny!  ;D

Equipment and Software / Fermenter Recommendations
« on: August 24, 2016, 01:04:39 PM »
I discovered the other night that my veteran BetterBottle 6 gallon primary fermenter has developed some sort of stress crack/dimple on the inside. Don't know how that happened but doesn't really matter - it's done.

So, I am in the market for a new fermenter.  While I liked the BetterBottle, I think I want to go back to a more durable material.  Actually thought about going old school with a 6.5 gallon glass carboy.  I would love to get a stainless steel conical, but my dogs blatantly refuse to crap gold nuggets to fund my brewery upgrades  ;D

Does anyone have any experience with these? NB has a promo on them through today. I like the idea of going back to glass but with a wide opening. What does the group think of them?

Beer Recipes / Re: Would like Feedback on a Lager Recipe
« on: August 17, 2016, 03:35:14 PM »
Thanks for the input all.  Turns out - I din't have crystal 20 anyway.  I futzed around with my malt bill using what I have.  Through all my messing around, I actually knocked it into a Vienna Lager style space, but it's not a show pony.  Think I'll call this one "Iron Brewer!"

Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Estimated OG: 1.055 SG
Estimated Color: 9.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 25.1 IBUs
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4 lbs                 Bohemian Pilsner (Weyermann) (2.0 SRM)   Grain         1        40.0 %       
4 lbs                 Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)                    Grain         2        40.0 %       
1 lbs                 Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.5 SRM)   Grain         3        10.0 %       
12.0 oz               Caramunich I (34.0 SRM)                  Grain         4        7.5 %         
4.0 oz                Caravienne Malt (22.0 SRM)               Grain         5        2.5 %         
0.60 oz               German Tradition [5.30 %] - First Wort 9 Hop           6        13.2 IBUs     
1.10 oz               Hallertauer [3.10 %] - Boil 60.0 min     Hop           7        12.0 IBUs     
0.50 oz               Hallertauer [3.10 %] - Steep/Whirlpool   Hop           8        0.0 IBUs     
1.0 pkg               German Bock Lager (White Labs #WLP833) [ Yeast         9        -             

Beer Recipes / Re: Would like Feedback on a Lager Recipe
« on: August 15, 2016, 09:53:55 AM »
I would ditch the Crystal 20, or limit to 4 oz.
You jumped right at my big hangup.  Not sure where that idea got in my head from.  Looking for a light sweetness, but at 10%, that is definitely pushing my limits of light crystal. Was thinking maybe the hops might balance it out, but I agree, it might be a lot.  Maybe cut that. I also had some CaraVienne on hand that I thought about using.

I've been wanting to try that WLP833, should be yummy.
See, I'm the opposite.  I use 833 all the time.  It's pretty much my go to lager yeast - especially for O'Fest, Munich Helles, Bock, and German Pils.  Thinking I need to branch out more!  ::)

Beer Recipes / Would like Feedback on a Lager Recipe
« on: August 15, 2016, 09:17:07 AM »
 Howdy all! Long time no see! Basement Man Cave Construction has kept me away too long.  The basement project also drug my brewing schedule into an ally and beat it up. :'( This year's Oktoberfest never got done.  Oh well, there's always next year!  8)

Anyway, to replace it, I cobbled together a recipe from some fixings I had on hand (mostly from the Oktoberfest that wasn't).  It isn't really to any particular style - just going for flavorful, easy drinker.  I'm going for something that is fairly malt forward with a decent hop presence. Thoughts?

Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated Color: 8.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 25.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 84.7 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4 lbs 8.0 oz          Bohemian Pilsner (Weyermann) (2.0 SRM)   Grain         1        46.2 %       
4 lbs                 Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)                    Grain         2        41.0 %       
1 lbs                 Caramel Malt - 20L (Briess) (20.0 SRM)   Grain         3        10.3 %       
4.0 oz                Munich Malt, Dark (16.0 SRM)             Grain         4        2.6 %         
0.60 oz               German Tradition [5.30 %] - First Wort 9 Hop           5        13.3 IBUs     
1.10 oz               Hallertauer [3.10 %] - Boil 60.0 min     Hop           6        12.1 IBUs     
0.50 oz               Hallertauer [3.10 %] - Steep/Whirlpool   Hop           7        0.0 IBUs     
1.0 pkg               German Bock Lager (White Labs #WLP833) [ Yeast         8        -             

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 9 lbs 12.0 oz
Name              Description                               Step Temperature   Step Time     
Mash In           Add 15.16 qt of water at 162.3 F        150.0 F             75 min       
Mash Out          Add 7.36 qt of water at 211.5 F         168.0 F             10 min       

Sparge: Fly sparge with 2.99 gal water at 168.0 F

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!

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