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Messages - wingnut

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196
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Label your keggerator/keezer taps.....
« on: January 04, 2011, 09:54:22 AM »
Here's a pic.  I use a stainless steel mud pan attached with magnets for the drip pan.

I love the drip pan idea!

197
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's your first brew for 2011?
« on: January 04, 2011, 08:21:17 AM »
I'm on day 2 of fermenting my latest batch of Vienna Lager.  (Mashed and pitched on 1-2)

I love the cold weather to really get the wort down cold before pitching (45F, let it free rise up to 50F in the fermenting fridge), however, you do have to be sure to drain the garden hose properly after useing the wort chiller.  Otherwise the next brew day may not go so smoothly!


198
Hmm.... Looks like I will try a bit more O2 on this next batch.   I have been aerating with an aquarium pump and stone up until now, perhapse I will take the dive into O2 injection for the next batch as the process point I am changing and see how big a difference it makes.

Thanks everyone for the info

199
I should probably clarify a bit...

To start, the beer I am brewing, I have been brewing for about four years now and I have somewhere around 15 to 20 batches of it under my belt.  It is the beer that I change one thing at a time on and compare the results to help learn how to dial in beers.  I am placing in competitions with it, so the sulfur I am talking about is not a “knock you over” sulfur... but in doing triangle tests with some commercial examples, I find that I am preferring those commercial examples and I am picking out an elevated sulfur odor in my version that I not present in the commercial examples.  It is not bad, just different.  So in the next batch or two I thought I would work on dialing in that aspect. 

Process is one vial of 833, into a 2L starter, put on stir plate for three days at 70F.  Then either pitch into wort or store flask in fridge for up to two days before pitching into wort.  (sometimes life changes my brew day on me!)

Sometimes I pitch the whole starter, other times I pitch just the sediment...into 5.5 gallons of wort at 1.056 to 1.060

Ferment at 50F to 55F for two to three weeks, rack into corney keg, and lager for 4 to 8 weeks at 35 to 38F. 

I do not fine the beer, and it usually drops clear in that time. 

I do not off gas the corney during lagering, so that may be a start... is the proper process to push in some CO2 and then let it out, just to purge the head space?

Any other procedures for keeping the sulfur low during fermentation/mashing/etc would be appreciated!


200
So I am sipping my last batch of Vienna lager… pondering what to do different as I compare it to a number of commercial examples.   

I like the malt flavor, and I like the hop balance, but the Sulfur characteristic I am getting from the Whitelabs 833 yeast is a bit higher than I would like compared to the samples I am comparing it to. 

So with that in mind, is anyone aware of mashing processes for reducing sulfur or different yeasts that give off a great malty flavor, but with less sulfur?   I am brewing the next batch in a couple weeks, so any advice to ponder now while I formulate the next recipe would be much appreciated!

201
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sanitizing bottles in the dishwasher
« on: December 09, 2010, 11:55:43 AM »
I have not used the dishwasher to sanitize bottles, but I have used it to clean them. 

I would advise checking the first batch to see if there is any residue of sorts left inside the bottle (dried bits of ground up food for instance, or soap residue).  I had issues with gunk hidden iside the innards of the bottom of the dishwasher from the load before... getting sprayed and dried on the inside of a batch of bottles.  I also found that the long necks did not always allow the bottoms of the bottles to get clean if the bottle was tipped slightly.

However, if your dishwasher has a setting like my new one..."Sanitize" it essentially will pasteurize the bottles.  So if the bottles are already "clean" then I think it is a great idea!

Good luck!

202
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: pH and finished beer
« on: December 06, 2010, 08:26:38 AM »
I also was pondering a similar experiment with my Octoberfest/Vienna Lagers, and I have been looking for any data on what the fnishing PH of beers tend to be.  I have not found any data on what the PH of finished beer tends to be, or if it varies by style, or over time as the beer ages.  I percieve a change in malt character as it ages, and I percieve I have noticed this even in the comercial examples I keep on hand.  The PH papers I have on hand that go down to the 3 range, show a change in PH as well, however, since they do not have the significant color variation of the ColorPHast strips I use for the higher PH range, it is hard to get very exact... other than to say the PH dropped a bit as the beers aged. 

Some thougths I had for the experiment was to add a base as well as acid to provide a wider range of data values. I also have been trying to decide on the best acid to use... citric, lactic, phosphoric...other... each can have a flavor contribution if the levels get high enough, and that may cloud the results a bit.

What got me started down this line was my fist batch of cider I brewed a year ago... It was OK, but kind of "flat" tasting.  One day, while brewing, I had a bottle of cider in hand during the mash, and I decded to add some acid to it... just a drop of citric acid I had on hand... and it was a completely different set of flavors that I tasted.  As I read more, I found the PH in food is often sited as key factor in flavor perceptions.  However, I could not find any data on finishing PH and beer.   


203
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Looking to start kegging.
« on: November 21, 2010, 05:53:52 PM »
I bought a wine fridge at one time, about the size of a dorm fridge, but the hump allows me to place my buckket or carboy on the bottom, in front of the hump. (So there is plenty of room for two kegs).  It has a glass front, and when I am not fermenting in it, I put a few cases of beer in there. 

One thing to note, the original thermostat in the fridge only went down to about 50F.  I replaced the thermostat with a Johnson, and I can get down to 35F now with no problem. 

The brand name is an "ewave" and I got it new for about $125 to $150.

Good luck!

204
Kegging and Bottling / Re: CO2 question.
« on: November 21, 2010, 05:45:51 PM »
One thought is that you are disolving CO2 into your liquid solution... resulting in the fizzy sanitizer as you suspect. 

The other thought is that as you cool the kegs, the gas pressure will drop unless you keep the CO2 on the kegs.  ie the gas contracts and what was 5 gallons of gas, may become 4.5 gallons of gas as you cool from 80F to 32F  (numbers I suggest are just to show a trend, and may be no where near real life!!)   So the pressure may show as dropping, but what is really going on is your gas is contracting.

Either way, based on my two months of kegging, if you spray down the posts and lid, and any hose/fitting connections with Star San and do not see bubbles form, you are good.

205
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
« on: November 21, 2010, 05:39:48 PM »
And keep the keg parts together with each keg. I put the parts in a hop bag and hang it in the keg while it's full of PBW.

Indeed, I learned that one the hard way.  When I bought my 8 used kegs, I later found that one was not a "true" coney keg, and the poppets were slightly different.  Fortunatly, I kept all the old poppets and was able to diagnose the reason one of the kegs would not seal at the posts!  (of course I already had 5 gallons of beer in it when I found out!)

I guess for now, I will keep up with the same procedure I used when I got all 8 kegs.  What I did was something similar to what Lonnie is doing.  I took a spare 1/4 hp "sump pump" I had around the house... filled up a sink  and keg with PBW, and connected the sump to the gas and liquid posts.  Then I turned on the sump and let it pump hot PBW thorugh the tanks for a half hour a piece.  It worked great since I had 8 kegs to do and I just swapped each one every half hour or so during the day.  Then I re-built each one with new poppits and gaskets.

It seems a bit overkill for just one keg at a time, so I will probably rinse each one as it dies, and then when I get two or three..do the same thing I did when I got them.

Knowing the most critical things to makeing beer is sanitation, sanitation, sanitation, sanitation, good fermentation, and avoid oxidation... my hope to be able to be a bit more lazy may not be advisable!




206
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
« on: November 21, 2010, 07:42:34 AM »
Thanks everyone one for their comments!

I was somewhat inspired by Lonnie's technique for cleaning kegs, as his procedure is not too different from what I was thinking of doing.  The difference being that I was going to use CO2 instead of city water, and I was going to only partially fill the keg and shake it around. 

Essentially, I agree with most people's comments that taking apart a keg is not a big deal... heck I have been doing bottles for the past 35 batches or so... so a little keg tear down is really no big deal!  The real goal was to keep the keg purged with CO2 and do so "as efficiently as possible". 

However, most of what I am hearing from reading through the comments is that there is simply too much "gunk" left after a keg kicks, and the only really good way to be sure it is out of the keg, is to open it up and look.  Yeah, I may save some CO2 by just putting some Star San or PBW in and shakeing a few times, and then pumping it out, but the reward is not all that significant compared to the risk of leaving some gunk behind.

Cheers!

207
Kegging and Bottling / Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
« on: November 19, 2010, 01:33:48 PM »
I am relatively new to kegging, and I have read up on it a bit… but I had the following brain storm and I am looking for comments/experience, on if my thoughts are critically flawed or not.

Basically, I went to kegging as a means to reduce oxidation in my beers, and a more speedy packaging day is a nice benefit too!

My thought was that once I kick a keg, it is full of CO2 and a bit of beer residue.  What if I filled a keg with StarSan and pushed that into the sealed keg… essentially dispense the StarSan into the sealed keg… and shake the Star San around… invert the keg to make sure the top of the keg gets a good dose as well… basically rinse the keg with StarSan, and keep the keg full of CO2.  That way when I am ready to fill the keg again with a fresh batch, the keg will already have CO2 in it and be sanitized.

Obviously, the keg will need to be completely dis-assembled every three or four batches to keep the poppet and such extra good… but is a complete dis-assembly necessary after EVERY beer?

I look forward to learning from everyone’s wisdom!

Thanks!

208
Equipment and Software / Re: Cleaning used keg kettles
« on: November 01, 2010, 09:59:22 AM »
If you want your kettle to have a "mirror" finish, I have taken polishing compund or just 2000 or 3000 grit sand paper to the cornies I have to clean them up.  I would probably not spend my time on doing that with a kettle, but shiny SS makes every man green with envy!!

Glad the CLR/PBW worked for you!

209
Equipment and Software / Re: No weld fittings
« on: November 01, 2010, 09:55:26 AM »
I have one from Northern Brewer on my aluminum kettle. Two years so far and no issues.   I did purchase a replacement O-ring the last time I was in St Paul, however, just in case the O-ring eventually degrades with the heat.

I bought a step drill and made the hole myself, and I would do it again in a heart beat!

I can say putting the spigot on the kettle made transfering a ton easier!  I would not have a kettle without one now that I know how easy it was to install and how well it works.

210
Getting ready for the hollidays... Brewed a Porter and a Cream Ale.  The Porter may get some bourbon soaked Oak Cubes added in secondary, and the Cream Ale is my gateway brew to entice the Bud drinkers...

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