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Messages - wingnut

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Equipment and Software / Re: Fermenting Fridge
« on: February 23, 2016, 01:49:05 PM »
cut a hole in the side.... making a new door?
With the refigeration coils out in the way at the top.. they should be out of the way of the wall of the fridge (check first of course)

Thinking hinge at the top, gasket material or foam window stripping along the edge, and a latch on the bottom two sides that keeps the side shut.   Could even just screw the door on and off to get your beer in and out since it will only need to be opened a couple times a month...

All Grain Brewing / Re: Potassium Chloride
« on: February 22, 2016, 12:41:56 PM »
For the most part... I think how much KCl you add depends on what you are after. ... add a little and you wont really know it is there.  A bit more, and you dont know it is there... but some flavors shift and might be brighter or more muted.  Add enough, and you have invented the first  potato chip beer.   ;D

I did some looking to see if there was a rational behind using K instead of Na, and found the article here to be interesting:

I still am not big on adding essentially table salt to brewing water.    It kind of reminds me of adding table salt to an IPA... It changes things, just not how I enjoy it.  (but my boss loves it... so what do I know!)   

In the end, if you are going to add one vs the other, it appears we get plenty of Na in our diet.  K, we need a bit more, so add it and we can drink more beer for our health!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« on: February 22, 2016, 12:11:18 PM »
FWIW I realize that clarity alone isn't the sole indicator of effectiveness. I test pH now and then to verify it's @ 3 or under. Just that since I started using distilled, I haven't measured it over 3 yet.

That was the key inidicator from a 5-star (makers of Star San) interview I heard many years ago on the Brewing Network.  (PH Below 3)

The cloudyness you see is the surficants coming out of solution (The soapish part that lets it get into crevices and causes the wonderful foaming).   If you leave your siphon hose in there a while, it will get cloudy too... even in RO based StarSan.   (Just rinse the stuff off and the hose is fine)

As long as the PH is ok, StarSan supposedly is OK, and I have used cloudy Star San enough times, I would expect that I would have had a major issue by now if it was not OK. 

If the cloudy bother you, then RO/Distilled water is the way to go. 

Good luck!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Potassium Chloride
« on: February 20, 2016, 12:52:39 PM »
Interesting idea.   

Not sure how potasium vs sodium would change things.  There must be some info out there about it from a food science point of view.

From a chemistry point of view, the ions are "the same".   I would not expect there to be much difference except that potassium chloride is probably harder to get and costs more.  (thinking water softner salt)

I dont add NaCL to my brewing water.  I usually stick with Calcium Chloride and Calcium Sulfate.     

Beer Recipes / Re: First Sour
« on: February 17, 2016, 01:53:20 AM »

I'm also a total noob to sour beer brewing and looking to give a small batch a try. Are you pitching the sour starter in with the wort and clean yeast right off the bat or waiting until sacc. does it's thing and then pitching this starter?

Both are good options, but all the versions I have done... Are a sac fermentation followed by a sour fermentation.    I like the strategy better. 

Ferment clean.  Transfer off the yeast and into a vessel with a sour culture.   It gives some ability to consistently tweak flavors one way or another.

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermentation Heaters...
« on: February 16, 2016, 12:36:40 PM »
I repurposed a Brew Belt I had from way long ago.   I just put it inside my freezer in the garage and let it maintain temperature with  a johnson controller.  (the same one that tells my feezer to cool in the summer time, but with the dip switch set for heat)

It just does not take much to keep the inside of the freezer at temp.  I would say 10 watts is plenty. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Walmart Clearance: 2 gal Coleman Stacker
« on: February 16, 2016, 12:28:00 PM »
I have done all grain in a setup like this.  When you pick one of these up, go to the baking section and pick up a set of the screens that fit over the pans to reduce spattering. (like from bacon grease)

One of those was the perfect size cut out and place inside the cooler to create a grain bed.  The spigot indentaion on the inside creates a nice dead space at the spigot making runoff easy.


Equipment and Software / Re: PH 101
« on: February 16, 2016, 12:23:44 PM »
I bought a bunch of small plastic dixie cups that work well.  put a half inch into the cup, and stick it into the freezer for 5 minutes... works great. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« on: February 16, 2016, 12:19:14 PM »
Depending on the initial gravity... if t was north of 1.065, and you just pitchd a tube of yeast with no starter, I would expect a long lag phase.  (Lag phase is when the yeast is multiplying, but not really making  a lot of bubbles). 

Liquid yeast tend to be sluggish out of the tube.  Giving them a starter wakes them up and gets them ready to brew instead of sleep. (it also increases cell count).  Putting a tube of yeast into a 1 pint starter will not increase cell count, but often takes a couple days off the lag phase in a 5 gallon batch. (my experience)

With more sugar in the beer, the yeast will multiply slower during the lag phase, and want to multiply more before starting active fermentation.

Those factors above,  and I am willing to bet you may have your bucket in cooler temperatures... possibly 62F or so (how active a yeast is at lower temperatures is strain dependant so your mileage may vary)... and slow yeast's desire to kick into active fermentation.    What I have observed is that with a yeast starter, the yeast will ferment just fine at lower temperatures.  Out of the vial, with no starter, they need warmer temperatures to help them wake up.    However, once they have been through a starter, even if it ferments completely out, I can ferment at 62 without issues.  Out of the vial with no starter, it wiill take 4 or 5 days for it to finally get going.

So in the end, if you can do a starter.. do it! It is always a good idea.


Equipment and Software / Re: Pin lock kegs and pressure bleed valves
« on: February 16, 2016, 12:01:59 PM »
I have all pin locks... always just filled the head space with CO2 pressure 3 or 4 times after filling and opened the gas post with a screw driver to purge. 

Seems to work plenty good. 

Beer Recipes / Re: First Sour
« on: February 15, 2016, 12:39:27 PM »
A couple notes that I have, as I have been looking to do someting similar on a 5 gallon batch.

-JP bugs do include Lacto.  In tasting, Bam Biere (they list as "Farmhouse Style") has a much more pronounced Lacto note than La Roja (more Flanders Style.  La Roja has always struck me as being more Lacto in flavor compared to other Flanders Styles... and I am looking to find processes that allow me to bring out more Lacto flavor in my Flanders.

- ""I think"" it is roughly the same culture for both beers.  It is more recipe that changes the flavors of the two.  (this is not based on any facts what so ever, just my perception that I thinking I taste the same fermentation products in both beers, just in different intensities)

- Bam Biere has a IBU of less than 5.   La Roja is something like 22 IBU.  The Lacto flavor is much more supressed in La Roja (possibly just hidden behind other fermentation byproducts), and on the Milk the Funk Wiki, many of the lacto strains they have listed are known to not perform well above about 10 IBU..many have isses above 2 to 5 IBU.   So I am thinking a mixture of alcohol and IBU supresses Lactic acid production.

- The best luck I have had with dregs from sour beers, is to grow them in a starter with no hops, and let them do their thing for about 1.5  months.  (Dregs into 250ml... then 3 weeks later dump that into a half liter or liter starter).  This seems to yield more consistent results, and (subjectively) I think better results.  Keeping oxygen at bay is key to keep acetic production at bay.

-When I put the dregs into a beer, I lower the PH of the beer before dumping in the dregs to 4.0 to 4.2 PH with lactic acid.  This supresses some of the less desireable things that may be in the dregs.   

- Note, I am dumping 1 liter into 5 gallons, if you are doing 1 gallon, I would just do the small 250 ml starter, and dump that into the gallon. 

This all may be way overkill... but it what my process has evolved to over the past couple years. 

Good luck!

Equipment and Software / Re: 30 Amp Double Pole Single Throw Question
« on: February 12, 2016, 12:22:08 PM »
If the switch is rated for 30 Amps, and your lode is less than that, you are good. (wall plug in your house is 15A in most places, usually 20A in your kitchen and garage in most modern housing)

These switches are made (generaly) for single phase (120V circuit) switching, however this one is rated to 277V.  So you could switch all the way up to a 240V heating element with it at 30Amps.   

In general, it will depend on what the circuit breaker/fuse is rated for amp-wise.  THe fuse/Curcuit Breaker should be rated to blow at an amperage lower than any of your devices... otherwise you switch will become the fuse....   :o

The only thing to consider on this switch, is that you will be using it in a wet enviornment, so you could have issues if water works it's way into the swtich. If you position it so that it does not get wet, you should have no worries. 

One last note,  make sure you use the wire size rated for the amperage you  will be carrying.  14 awg wire is not suitabe for 20A or greater loads, so use 12 awg or even 10awg if your amperage for the circuit requires it.   

Good luck!

Equipment and Software / Re: Speidel spigot sanitation
« on: February 10, 2016, 01:03:20 PM »
One is that if you've ever had a spigot fail you'll find that one accident wipes out any convenience you ever gained. Two is that there is no way of knowing that the thing stayed sanitized during the long wait for the beer to finish. The tiniest leak, even just one drop, creates a petri dish that your beer has to flow over on its way to the keg or bottling bucket. I don't like them, so I don't use them.

Same here. I had a run of 4 batches many years back when I was using a bottleing bucket where all the beers just went south quick.    (competition wise I went from 38/42 to 28 scores...)  I finally traced it back to the spout of the bottleing bucket where beer had accumulated over time between in the pressed fit clear plastic/red plastic valve.  When I finally thought to try and take it appart, I found mold and gunk in it...   From that experience,  I bought 4 new valves and considered them single use.  Later that year (scarred for life  ;D) I switched to kegging.

I for one am very anti valve... unless you can take them appart and clean them!

Pimp My System / Re: Help with direct fired automation 1.5 bbl system
« on: February 09, 2016, 12:54:50 PM »
It is likely going to take more parts.

Advice on the existing system....

A second option, is to get a grill piezeo ignitor.  (battery or push button) and place the spark in a spot where it will ignite the gas.  I did this option for a couple years before the pilot.  (your 24v  ignitor may be essentially the same) .  I found positioning the spark and fixing it firmly to be key... changes in spark gap or dripping on it can effect it's performance.

Also, at 30psi, you may have to start with reduced flow to start with, or you will blow the flame out before it fully ignites the burner.  The spark just wont be able to get things going fast enough before the propane blows it out.   

If you are looking to use the PID and automatically start the unit, what I have settled on is using a Honeywell or other safety burner controller. (comonly used for water heaters, fireplaces...) It will prevent you from running the gas if the pilot is out, and it will also provide you with a standing pilot without all the ball valves and tees.  They take 24VAC to run, but you may have that already.  If not, a doorbell power transformer is usualy good enough to power it.      You will need to run the start signal of the Honeywell to the contacts on your PID (it will be a 24VAC signal )

You will also need to get the propane conversion in some cases for the Honeywell.  It will allow the Honeywell to operate at the higher pressures of Propane vs Natural gas.  (check e-bay... they usually have these gas safety valves and propane conversion kits)

It gets a bit pricy, but it is much safer than just wishing the pilot stays on, and the peace of mind is well worth doing it right!   

I started with a cobbled system, and wound up going this route, and am much happier.  A few extra dollars and the valve is much safter and better than anything I cobbled together out of parts.

Good luck!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: kegerator drilling question
« on: February 09, 2016, 12:28:31 PM »
Like Mainebrewer says, most likely on a dorm fridge, the coils are not in the walls of the unit.  However, sometimes, the tubes to the coils are in the walls.  It always pays to carefully look at the compressor, follow the tubes and have a pretty good idea of where the tubes go before cutting.

For extra insurance,  run the unit with the door open for 10 minutes, and use a lazer temperature gauge to locate spots that are hot or cold in the wall.  (inside and out).    If there is a local spot that is hotter than the surrounding area, or colder than the surrouinding area, then you likely have a tube going from the compressor to the coils in that spot. 

Once you are pretty sure there is nothing in the spot you want to drill, like Jim says, do a carful first cut, then poke at the insulation with a paperclip or cut it out caefully.

If you have a plastic wall on the inside, some people heat up a paperclip to "red hot"and melt through the plastic to get to the insulation and probe that way.  (reduced risk of cutting a line)

As an extra note: on full sized fridges/freezers, it is common to have the hot lines rout to the door opening to prevent condendation and posibly frost... so be extra careful on those! 

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