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Messages - lazydog79

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Kegging and Bottling / To Build or Buy?
« on: January 25, 2015, 04:41:58 AM »
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, 10:30:14 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, 09:36:51 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, 09:18:20 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, 09:59:45 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, 01:36:44 PM »
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

Ingredients / Adding Strawberries
« on: May 25, 2013, 03:10:32 PM »
I brewed a basic blonde ale that is finishing up in primary.  My plan is to rack 3 gallons of it into a 3 gallon caroby onto 4 pounds of fresh strawberries (bottle the rest) for 5 to 7 days.  I am planning to purree the strawberries, pastuerize on the stove (180 degrees for 20 minutes), and then add to the carboy.  I am thinking I need to pastuerize since it is fresh fruit and the base beer is at 4.8%

Is my thinking straight or am I going to extra work?

All Grain Brewing / Re: composting spent grain
« on: September 02, 2012, 09:41:39 PM »
Its imperative that you avoid letting the mass of grain go septic (anaerobic).  The smell is horrendous! 
I learned that the hard way the first time I chucked a load of grain in the composter.  Whoa!    Made me wanna put my head in a dumpster for some fresh air  :o

Absolutely.  The best way of doing this is to add in a lot of carbon(brown material) like paper or wood and to make sure the pile is well mixed so there are no pockets of anaerobic activity. I use free woods chips from our county.  Spent grain has a lot of moisture in it already so this is even more important to mix well and add carbon. Vegetables scraps, Coffee, Grass clippings, and green leaves/plant cuttings  are green material. The more you have of them in the compost pile the more carbon you have to add to the spent grain.  If you have a compost pile already, cover the grain with composted soil after mixing in the carbon.  Covering the spent grain will help keep the smell down and unwanted pests like mice and rats away.  I live in an urban area and our yard is small, so I have to pay attention to our compost pile or our neighbors will complain.  I think the most I put in my compost bin in a week was 40 to 50 lbs without problems.
+1 That's always a good way to get rid of shredder paper.  I've got a bin composter.  I'll put a little paper in, then the grains, and cap it with some more paper.  Keeps the stinkies down!

I would say my best overall change since I started brewing was going with a chest freezer and controller.  Lately, it has been to start using Bru'n Water (THANKS MARTIN!  ;D) and being more mindful of chemistry.  It has caused a lot of fluctuation in my efficiency, but I have some procedural steps I need to nail down to get some consistency back.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Best Order for a tasting?
« on: August 25, 2012, 03:12:20 AM »
Just my opinion, but I would move 5,6 to after the bock and tripel.  When doing a tasting I like to put the more hoppy beers near the end of the tasting so the tasters don't wreck their palate.

Just the question I had in my mind, Dave. I didn't really like where my hoppier ones were.  That makes sense to put them before the RIS and finish with that and the Porter fudge brownies I'm making.  Thanks for the tips! Prosit!

General Homebrew Discussion / Best Order for a tasting?
« on: August 25, 2012, 01:13:24 AM »
Tomorrow, I'm hosting my first tasting for a group of people.  I'll be featuring seven of my beers and two guests.  I think I have a good order together, but want to see what the experts think  ;)  Here's what I'm thinking:

1. Am. Wheat - very light, almost BMC-ish
2. Scottish 70/-
3. Biere de Garde (Domaine Dupage clone)
4. Pils
5. Amber Ale - hoppier, west coast style
6. Black IPA/IBA (whatever you want to call it)
7. Bock - somewhere between American style and traditional
8. St. Martin Tripel
9. Stone Russian Imperial Stout

Any input would be much appreciated.  Thanks!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Malt Analysis
« on: August 12, 2012, 07:52:40 PM »
I'll be curious to hear what you think.  I haven't tried that particular malt from them.
I'll let you know.  The first batch with it was brewed yesterday.  NB's description of "a fuller and nuttier taste" intrigued me.  I'm using it in a few darker beers - amber, stout.  I brewed a Weeping Radish Black Radish clone with it yesterday.  I love the clean flavor of Rahr in my lighter brews, but was shopping for a bit more character.  I'll keep you posted.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Malt Analysis
« on: August 12, 2012, 04:22:53 PM »
I don't look at it, I brew it and assess the results.  No matter what the color of the endosperm is, I find Rahr 2 row pale malt to be my favorite out of all the domestic pale malts I've used.

I'm a big fan of Rahr too.  I just bought a bunch of Briess Pale Ale Malt from NB to see how I like it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Efficiency Issues
« on: August 12, 2012, 04:21:34 PM »
Efficiency isn't inherently good, but I'd argue consistency is.

Here, Here!  I would gladly trade the 80-88% efficiency I've been getting for the constant 78% I used to get.  I would gladly get a 60% if I knew I could hit my target every time.  I've been chasing my tail for almost a year since we moved.  Frustrating beyond words  >:(

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Attenuation
« on: July 26, 2012, 07:39:14 PM »
Thanks for the breakdown. But it poses another question. If the recipe calls for a 152 mash and targets a 1.013 FG using the chico yeast and I am hitting that 152 and getting 1.008 FG with that yeast, theres something wrong there. What are your thoughts? Thermometer calibration? Perhaps my thermometer is reading 152 but I'm actually at 148 or so thus giving me a more fermentable wort and higher attenuation?

I've come to learn that mash temps, as with many other things, depend on your system.  I have figured out that a 150-152 mash on my system is like a mid 150s mash for some other people, and a mid-fifties mash is like an upper 50s.  Could be the thermometer, could be some other factors.  The key is figuring your system out.

I agree with several of the others, Chico is great if you want a madman of a yeast that is going to be a high attenuater, can take some manhandling, and will leave your beer fairly dry.  I will still use it for APAs, IPA's, etc.  It's not the yeast for you if you want a nuanced malt profile.  It used to be my "house yeast" but it doesn't really fit my goals for what I'm trying to brew.  Once size doesn't always fit all.

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