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Messages - wingnut

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226
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).

227
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Plastic Cases for 12 oz Bottles?
« on: October 14, 2010, 05:02:31 PM »
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....

228
Equipment and Software / Hot Water Heater Burner?
« on: October 14, 2010, 11:54:59 AM »
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!

229
The Pub / Re: Finally it is Hockey time again!
« on: October 14, 2010, 09:55:30 AM »
  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, NHL.com 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

GO WINGS!

230
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: 1056 and US 05
« on: October 14, 2010, 09:27:49 AM »
+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... 


231
Equipment and Software / Re: CFC to Whirlpool question
« on: October 14, 2010, 09:18:52 AM »

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!



232
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Contaminate Individual Bottles on Purpose??
« on: October 13, 2010, 09:53:56 AM »
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

233
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: 1056 and US 05
« on: October 13, 2010, 09:38:52 AM »
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.

234
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegged Pale Ales & More Head?
« on: October 13, 2010, 09:29:06 AM »
+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!

235
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. 

NOW THE IMPORTANT PART....

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!


236
Beer Travel / Re: Chicago this weekend
« on: October 11, 2010, 11:23:10 AM »
The last time I could not get into Goose Island, I found myselft at Hofbrau.  The ambiance is more of a bar than a restaurant, food is Octoberfest food (brats and pretzles) and the beer is very good.  (If you like German beer that is!)

There is a bottle shop near the Sheriden downtown that holds a special place in my heart (I forget the name, but I can stumble there from the hotel... it is near the movie theater, less than a block away) and the Whole Foods Market tends to have some regional brews that you cannot get in the rockies.  If you can found Goose Island Bourbon Barrel Stout in bottles, please let me know!!! It is sublime, and would be a great stocking stuffer for a few friends and relatives of mine!


237
Equipment and Software / Re: cleaning shirron plate chiller
« on: October 11, 2010, 08:37:59 AM »
I know star san's surficants will eventually come out of solution and leave a white gunky film... potentially clogging up the plate chiller's passage ways.  I do not know the effects of PBW's surfficants, however, being an oxidative cleaner, I suspect extremely long term contact with stainless is not adviseable.  While stainless is resistant to oxidation, it is not 100% impervious to it, and if you leave it in contact with an oxidative cleaner "forever" my guess is that you will see negative effects in the long run.

Also, if the inner workings of the plate chiller are aluminium or copper, then PBW is really not good for long term contact.


238
Equipment and Software / Re: RIMS and false bottom
« on: October 11, 2010, 08:33:09 AM »
I do not think the Blickman style false bottom will be any improvement compared to the screen you are presently using.  In fact, I think that it is a move in the wrong direction.  Using a screen, you essentially have the best ability to let wort flow evenly thorugh your grain bed.  The Blichman is pretty close to providing that, but the design is geared slightly more toward longevity and easier clean up.  It can support a larger grain bed, but as long as your screen is not warping, the more robust desing will not be a benefit.

Things that I have noticed that have reduced my mashes from sticking while sparging:

1.) Stir the Grist and get all the pieces in suspension before letting the grain bed settle.  The larger pieces will naturally fall faster than the small, reducing the small bits from clogging your screen.  To aid this I add the water FIRST, then add the grains.

2.) Open the valves 100% every once in a while.  I do not have a pump system, but I did notice that grains would sneak through and sometimes build up in front of my valve that is metering flow.  By opening 100% and then back down to the metering position, the grain bits get unstuck and normal flow continues.

3.) Grind the Grain a bit bigger/add rice hulls.  Depending on the mill, your husks may be getting chewed up a bit too much by your mill, and not providing the "large" filter pieces needed to prevent a stuck sparge.  If you love your mill setting and do not want to change it, add some rice hulls to your grist (.25 to 1lb of hulls depending on the amount of grist)  That will supply extra "large" pieces without forceing a change to the milling size.

4.) Cut cross channels in your grain bed during sparging... about 1/3 to 1/2 grain be depth.  I have noted that some malts are high in gummy proteins that really slow down sparging if not addressed.  One way to reduce the gummy proteins is to do a protein rest around 130F.   However, an easier way to address the issue is to cut cross hatches into the grain bed, about 1.5 in square into the grain bed to break up the protein gunk and allow flow.  One key identifier of the issue is a lot of grey sludge floating in the grain bed about 10 to 15 minutes after dumping in the grains.  NOTE: it is important to not cut the bed too deply as that will lead to channeling and reduce your efficiency.  It is also important to cut uniformly for the same reason.

Good luck!

239
The Pub / Re: Finally it is Hockey time again!
« on: October 09, 2010, 07:24:20 PM »
RIght color...wrong team... let's go Red Wings!!!!

240
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Beer Suffocation???
« on: October 09, 2010, 08:31:11 AM »

Bottom line, if everything else in your brew day has stayed the same, and you are pitching the same strain of yeast in the same quantity that you always have... the change in yeast behavior is due to the Freezer. 

I suspect between the more robust design of the freezer... possibly fans blowing where your wine refirgerator may have only had a plate, larger compressor allowing the coolant to get down to 10F instead of 30F... Carboy resting on the floor of the freezer and there being cooling coils in the floor of the freezer... are causing larger temperature swings along the outer layer of your carboy when the freezer is cycleing than it experianced in the wine fridge..   

I know my wine fridge can only get down to 40F because the plate in the fridge where the refrigerent flows only gets down to 30F.  (In the HVAC world the general expectation is that you can only get the air to within 10-12F of the temperature of the cooling coil)  I also know this becuase I wired it to run non stop for 4 hours and the lowest temp it got was 38F.  I suspect your wine setup to be about the same.

Regardless, yeast do not like to see things get cold quickly.  If you drop their temp more than a couple degrees in an hour, they are shocked into hibernation mode, and go to sleep and thow on a few extra protective  layers of protein to keep warm. 

What I would try next is to elevate the carboy off of the floor of the freezer using blocks of wood.  Also, if the freezer "blows" cold air, you may try and divert the blowing air so that it does not blow directly on the carboy.  The next step, if the issue if the freezer coils get colder then the ones in the wine cooler... make a metal box around the carboy...or a plactic bucket around the carboy would work too.. (I like the metal better because it conducts heat better)  keeping the carboy from touching the sides or bottom of this box.  This will create a chamber that act more like your wine cooler did with the cool covnecting from the walls of this box, at probably 10F or so warmer than the rest of the fridge. 


Hope this helps!!


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