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Messages - wingnut

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« on: October 18, 2010, 02:29:48 PM »
"Clear" may depend on your definition.

In my mind:
For mashing out, "Clear" means no bits of grain/husk.  The wort is basically free from visual debris, however, there are still starch and proteins that keep the liquid from being able to see through clearly.

After the boil, “Clear” to me means that there are no visual bits of tube, hops, break material…   The wort is clearer than before the boil, but not translucent (can see things through it)  Although it is fairly close.

After fermentation “Clear” to me, means that if I put a picture on the other side of the glass (assuming it is a lightly colored beer), I can see the picture on the other side. 

You say that you have never had “clear beer”.  I will concentrate on this one, since, in my opinion, “clear” in all the other steps has more to do with how long you have allowed the particles to settle/filter.

One thing to check is the calcium in your water.  50 to 100ppm is a good number.  Also, use irish moss or other similar product during the last 10 -15 minutes of the boil. 

If your beer is still not clear in the end, after these two steps (this has always worked for me), you can try fining before kegging/bottling.  Gelatin is a popular one, but there are many others such as polyclar to try.

One other thing that I can think of, is to check your sparging.  If you are sparging too much, you may be extracting extra tannins.  Essentially, chill haze is derived from tannins and proteins combining to form a haze matrix.  If you can lower your protein or lower your tannin levels, that will reduce the ability for the haze to form. 

One other thing I have heard some people doing, is to have a rest around 130F (could be wrong on the rest temp) to allow the enzymes to reduce the long chain proteins and create more “FAN”. (Free Aminio…nitrogen?)   I would have to re-consult with Greg Noonan’s Book “Brewing Lager Beer” to recall the rest temp for sure.  I also think I recall there being a protein content needed by the malt for this rest to provide a significant benefit.

If you do the 130F rest, it should only be about 10 to 15 minutes, or too much protein may be converted!

Good luck

All Grain Brewing / Re: Quick recirc question for the weekend
« on: October 15, 2010, 04:59:41 PM »
in addition to the sparge water for mash out, should I also be doing a recirc into the mash tun during (or before or after) the sparge? Or during the mash?

Doing a Recirc during the mash is OK... The extra movement may darken the wort slightly (you probably will not notice it), will help filter a little better, and will provide a more even access of starches to enzymes.   HOWEVER, the contribuition of each of these will be very small. 

The recirc during mash out will set the grain bed, however, and that may take some addional time off your brew day as some of the time spent on mashout... waiting for the running to come clear... will not be needed.

Bottom line, the recirc is not needed, but it won't hurt.

The Pub / Re: Finally it is Hockey time again!
« on: October 15, 2010, 12:35:03 PM »
I don't care how bad they are, but I don't consider a 3 hour drive local.  :-\

WOW, your are in BFE BFE!!! 

OK, now to digress in to a little rant...

The Idaho Steelheads are part of the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League), along with the Alaska Aces.... (I think someone needs a geography lesson!)

Next year the Big 10 will have 12 teams...
The Big 12 will have 10 teams...

We drive on parkways and park on driveways...

Am I the only one who is confused by all this?

Equipment and Software / Re: Hot Water Heater Burner?
« on: October 15, 2010, 12:32:48 AM »
Years ago Bill Owens put out a small "how to build a home brewery" book that included using an old water heater.

edit: looks like the "book" is still available on Amazon

Hmm... looks like another book to add to my christmas list!!

The Pub / Re: Finally it is Hockey time again!
« on: October 15, 2010, 12:13:30 AM »
Local team!!!! hahahhahaha!!! You kow live in BFE Idaho, right? I'm headed over to right now to see if it's my price raange. Thanks for the tip.  :D

What the Steelheads arn't good enough for you? 

Hot PBW in a cooler.. soak an hour, lables fall off... most of them.

The ones that do not, I take the plastic square that came with my pizza stone for cleaning it and scrap the label off. 

My alternate method is to soak as above and take a green scrubbie to the label. (some foil labels require this).

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Plastic Cases for 12 oz Bottles?
« on: October 15, 2010, 12:02:31 AM »
I use milk crates. 

I found that the file storage sized ones that you get at walmart/k-mart/etc work well and are cheap. (between $2.50 and $5 depending on the sale) The "real" milk crates are more durable, but unless your boxes of bottles are going to double as stools as well, the cheaper ones work fine.  They hold about 20 bottles a box.

Do not buy the collapsable milk crates, however.  They are not sturdy enough in my experiance. 

The milk crates are the right height and stack up real nice.  I moved from cardboard when the handles of a box ripped and I loss half a case of beer around christmas time.  Takeing the box into and out of the cold created condensation, and eventually the cardboard did not hold up...  Now it is all milk crates for my bottles!

The only addition I have done is cut some screen material for lining the bottoms with.  That way, when I have washed, clean bottles, they are stored inverted and the neck do not fall thorugh the larger webbing of the crate.  That way I can tell my washed from unwashed bottles....

Equipment and Software / Hot Water Heater Burner?
« on: October 14, 2010, 06:54:59 PM »
So I am helping my brother replace his 20 year old water heater this week-end.  (His old one has developed a leak in the tank)

Being a homebrewer, I have become fixated on possibly detaching the burner unit from the tank and useing for brewing purposes.  I figure if it can heat up 30 gallons of water to 140F, it should be able to heat 5 or 10 gallons to 212F!!. 

My primary goal is to be able to use the house Natural Gas instead of going through propane tanks. Knowing that it has safetys for pilots not being lit....etc adds a layer of safety as well.

As a secondary benifit, I can probably connect some controls in place of the present thermostat to make my kettle a direct fire mash tun and have more control over mash temps than my present infusion/cooler setup.

Anyone have any experiance with useing a hot water tank heater as a burner? Anyone have advice on extrating the burner intact? (Since the tank is still in service, I have not seen how easy or hard it may be?)

Thanks for any advice!

The Pub / Re: Finally it is Hockey time again!
« on: October 14, 2010, 04:55:30 PM »
  The way my cable situation is here, sadly, no, I cannot. It's aa long, sad story, details with which I won't bore you.   :(  JUst pray for me.

Can't watch on the cable... but if you have internet access, has an internet package that is not too bad.  You can watch the any TV feed (except for the team in your local area and when the game is on NBC or Versus) live, and if you miss the game, ALL (even the local team) seem to be available to watch the next day. 

Even on DSL his feeds were pretty good.  (The quality of the Video depends on the bandwidth available...)

---That is what my brother tells me any way. 

I do know that last year I was over at his house three or four times during the playoffs and we would have the Wings on the TV, the computer playing 2 to 4 other games on monitors, I would bring the beer, and sometimes we even get in a game of pool! 

Sadly, he now has a woman in his life too, so the impromptu bachelor nights will not be a frequent this year...Sigh


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: 1056 and US 05
« on: October 14, 2010, 04:27:49 PM »
+1 on shipping liquid yeast in the summer. 

I usually order with 10 to 20 Lb of grain and request an ice pack.  The grains insulate the yeast from the extreme temperatures well... and the yeast from mail order tends to be extremly fresh.  Shipping is usually 2 days via ground... and I have never had an issue with the yeast from mail order.

In contrast, I am blessed with 4 homebrew stores less than an hour drive away (though none closer than 30min), and I have had a some liquid yeast from each of the stores that were DOA.  Each was near the end of the best buy date... so age had a lot to do with it... 

Equipment and Software / Re: CFC to Whirlpool question
« on: October 14, 2010, 04:18:52 PM »

So I'm curious as to how much movement you see, what pump you're using how far up/down your inlet is in your kettle, and what's the height difference between the top most point of your inlet and your pump. Me, I've got a march pump (I forget the model, the basic non-self-priming ones), pumps through the morebeer chillzilla which is maybe a foot above the pump, into the kettle which is probably another 3-4 feet up.

Two modifications that may be needed... the intlet to the pump (I am assuming thorugh a ball valve in the kettle), you may try an elbow inside the kettle to pull in the wort along the wall, parallel to the bottom of the kettle.  Also, the inlet you have (4" below the surface) bend that so that it is putting wort back into the kettle horizontally along the kettle wall.  That should increase the spinning motion.  Also, 4in below the surface may be a bit much.  Placeing it higher (say 2in below the wort line) will make the surface spin faster. 

I personally, just take a spoon to my 5 gallon batch and stir it  until the wort is spinning at about one rev per half second or so.  I do this after I have placed it on a table so that when everything is settled, I do not disturb it.  I then wait about a half hour for the particles to drop down.  Then, as I siphon, I do not siphon from the very bottom to start with. Instead I start siphoning about half way down and work slowly toward the bottom as the wort line drops.  I have found that this disturbs the cone of derbis the least. 

Another effect of how well the cone forms has to do with kettle proportions.  My kettle is twice as tall as it is wide... a change in height to width ratio will have an effect on the cone formation.

Good luck!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Contaminate Individual Bottles on Purpose??
« on: October 13, 2010, 04:53:56 PM »
I have accidently performed a similar experiment to what you are proposing...
It seems that at one time, the spigot from my bottling bucket was used on my mash tun. The plastic spigot had a sleeve fitting that had some mash gunk in it, and every time I bottled for a few batches, I would find my beers going sour a few months later. (Star San is only works on what it can touch...)
Based on that experience, I would say a single grain is plenty to inoculate your bottles... and keep in mind that acetobactor works best with oxygen.
What I observed was about 6 weeks after bottling, the beer had noticeable flavor differences.  After 12 weeks, they had a tenancy to foam a lot more.  By 14 to 18 weeks, I had gushers in many of the bottles.  I never had one explode, though.
That was all from just a few cells, not an entire kernel!  So I would expect your change to happen faster given the larger initial population.  Also, if the first experiments are only a partial success, experiment with different amounts of head space and purging head space with CO2.  The less head space, the harder it will be for the beer to be carbonated by the "extras".  Also, the less oxygen will effect acetobactor growth.
Good Luck

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: 1056 and US 05
« on: October 13, 2010, 04:38:52 PM »
All three are the same... but they are slightly different as the yeast evolve over time.  I do not think the differences are noteable unless tasting side by side... but last time I did that, I noticed a very faint pear like quality to the US-05 that I did not get in the other batches. 

I would say use them interchangeably.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegged Pale Ales & More Head?
« on: October 13, 2010, 04:29:06 PM »
+1 on the hops adding to head retention.  (I have read it in quite a few articles lately)

However, I suspect the Pale Ale is Dry Hopped, while the others are not.   My guess is that there are more micro hop particles floating around than the other beers, giving nucleation sites for the foam to start.  You could filter/fine more to reduce the head problem if this is the case, but it will also effect the flavor of the Pale Ale as some of those particles is what gives you the bright hop flavor.

I would try a different hose length and/or dialing the PSI down when serving as a start...

Good luck!

Back to the initial question about not hitting temps on the infusions...

I usually do not pre-heat my mash tun (insulated cooler) and the numbers come out good most of the time.  In Beer Smith there are some parameters that allow you to modify the thermal mass of the cooler that should help account for your calculations.

Also, did you re-calc your 2nd addition based on the lower temp?  My guess is that Beersmith figured your mash was at 152 when you added your second additon, not 149.9.  You also added water/ice to cool the overshoot of your initial infusion... that mass was probably not accounted for in the Beersmith Calc. 

The good news is, with a little practice, you will tweak things enough to hit your temps every time. 


HItting the mash temps dead on... is not life and death, and probably will not even make a noticeable difference as long as you are within 2 to 5 degrees of the first infusion.  Much more hinges on the grain itself, and fermentation.

Welcome to the other side, I have had a ton more fun tinkering with All Grain vs Extract, but be carful to only let it get as complicated as you like it!!!  All Grain can still be very simple and easy!

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