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Messages - wingnut

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cleaning 'large' boil kettles
« on: August 18, 2010, 10:41:01 AM »
My "Clean in place" is a stool, scrubbie and a hose.  If I burn anything on the bottom, I use some PBW overnight and then drain, scrub and rinse.   

Once you get large equipment, you almost have to put it somewhere with a floor drain, or in the garage to drain outside.  Having a drain is key to cleaning up messes and keeping the brewday simple. 

I thought about doing something fancy, with a CIP, but the time, cost and effort was just to much.  This being the boil kettle, close will do, so no need to be overly meticulus or fancy!

Don't be afraid of keeping it simple! 

Beer Recipes / Re: Newbie dark pseudo-bock
« on: August 18, 2010, 10:36:15 AM »
It has been a while, but I recall the Coopers Lager kit being pre-hopped, but needing some Dry Malt Extract added, to the tune of about 3 LB of Dry malt Extract to make 5 gallons.  (Things may have changed, as may have my perception of reality in the past 5 years)  The 1Lb (500g) seems a bit light.  However, the more I examine all the addtions, I think I should ask if you are shooting for a smaller batch size than 5 Gallons (19 liters)?

Let us know

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Judged beer process\ingredients help
« on: August 18, 2010, 10:18:48 AM »
I would have probably entered it as a Saison vs Belgian specialty

I would tend to agree, as long as the alcohol character was not terribly evident.  For the most part, being off a few IBUs, a few SRM, a few gravity points.. etc.  are not critically evident in a competition judging.  As long as you are in the ball park of the guidelines, the judges will not dock you, in fact, if you do it right, it will set your beer apart from the others in the flight.  The key I think is to push the envelope a bit on a style, but not so far that the judge is smacked up side the head with the guideline creep.  If the change is subtle compared to the others in the flight, the scores are usually a bit higher than if your beer is smack in the middle of the guideline. 

That is my experiance anyway!

Ingredients / Re: Spring Water
« on: August 18, 2010, 10:09:25 AM »
What these guys said. Not the best idea to use any water for AG without testing it first (though you can get away with it, its far from ideal) For extract brewing you are better off using RO water.

+1, but I would use 5.2 stabilizer from 5-star if using "unknown" water in all grain.  It does a pretty darn good job of buffering all grain, regardless of water condition. 

Ingredients / Re: Anyone Else's 1st Year Hops Not Up to Snuff
« on: August 18, 2010, 10:06:49 AM »
Hops need a lot of Nitrogen.  Says that they use a 3-1-1 fertilizer.

If you have good soil maybe just Nitrogen.  My soil is poor, a combination of sand and gravel.  I need some potash.

Your first year picture looks pretty good, as you got some cones.

For fertilizer I have been using a powdered fertilizer for tomatoes.  You mix it with water or add to a miracle grow sprayer (connected to the hose) and water your plants with the fertilizer one a week or so.   Essentially, from what I have read, the tomatoes and hops have similar needs, so what is good for one, is good for the other! 

The weather has been ideal this year, but the cones and bine growth have been outstanding since I started using the stuff.   When I went away on vacation for two weeks, the Cascades began to have the lower leaves yellow... a sign of nutrient deficiency as the hops transfer the nutrients to the cones, sacrificing the leaves if needed.    Once I started to fertilize again, the leaves stopped yellowing and started some new lateral growth.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Judged beer process\ingredients help
« on: August 18, 2010, 08:40:04 AM »
I agree with everything Fred listed (He said it all better than I would have anyway!)

However, I do have on tidbit of personal experience to pass on... the low final gravity combined with the score sheet comments reminds me of an issue I had for a few months....  I had an infection in my brewhouse.

While the Acetaldehyde, Diacetyl, and Vegetal characteristics are spot on for a number of issues, it turned out my issue was with an infection I had.  The beers would slowly dry out over three to six months of storage at 55-60F.  The bottles also became a bit over carbonated...some to the point of being gushers when opened.  

What I also noticed was the malt character of my beers went away quickly, and then was replaced slowly over time by a vegital... almost sour note.  It turned my award winning Viennas into award winning American Dark Lagers... and then into beers that were not so good...  as the sour and vegital notes increased.

If it were me, I might store a bottle or two of this Saison away for a couple months in my basement and see if you have a similar experience.  If you do, then there is something hiding in your brewery you will want to find, but more than likely, it is just the small process correction!

Contrary to other posts, after reading through the chemistry of Star San, and an experiment I tried (left plastic parts in the Star San for a couple months) I believe the milky coating is actually the surfactants in the Starsan being pulled out by the slightly charged plastic parts.  I have placed hoses in the stuff for months, and the diameters of the hoses have not changed.  The white goo had a distinctly metallic smell to it, but if you rinse off the stuff and let air dry, all of my clear plastic parts have returned to "clear" after a few days of air drying. 
Interesting, but that doesn't explain why my starsan gets cloudy at the same time the hose gets gummy.  Maybe it's just a coincidence though, I don't know.

Actually, that makes perfect sense... Essentially, the charge of the plastic slowly adds positive charge to the solution over time, until the PH is high enough that it can no longer keep the surfactant (detergent) dissolved.  If you were only getting the goo on your plastic parts and the water was NOT getting cloudy, then that would be an indication that the plastic is being eaten away. 

The effect is that the water can't hold the detergent any more so it get cloudy everywhere in the solution at the same time.  If it were eating your plastic away, it would be cloudy only near the hoses, since that is where the highest concentration of dissolved plastic would be.

Bottom line is, don't keep your plastic hoses in StarSan for weeks at a time, because you will get a sludge on them, and the StarSan will loose effectiveness...


I've noticed this with thin PVC tubing I use for racking and stuff. after a few weeks sitting in a bucket of starsan (don't ask) my tubing has gone a bit milky and sort of feels a little gummy, but I'm not really sure of the science of it all, or what's happening. Anyone smarter than me care to explain? In any case, with the beer line I use, I don't notice any of the milkiness or anything, everything stays crystal clear (and also sits for months at a time), so I'm assuming it's not doing the same strange gummy thing - but you're right, I'm not opening up my tubes or touching the inside. again, hoping someone smarter than me can explain potential problems - but as far as I can tell it sort of seems ok?

Contrary to other posts, after reading through the chemistry of Star San, and an experiment I tried (left plastic parts in the Star San for a couple months) I beleive the milky coating is actually the surfacants in the Starsan being pulled out by the slighty charged plastic parts.  I have placed hoses in the stuff for months, and the diamters of the hoses have not changed.  The white goo had a distinctly metalic smell to it, but if you rinse off the stuff and let air dry, all of my clear plastic parts have returned to "clear" after a few days of air drying. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Immersion Chillers
« on: August 17, 2010, 05:33:09 AM »
Cold on top, but plan to "swirl" the wort (even just one lap around the pot) while chilling every few minutes.  If you can do that in a sanitary fashion, the wort will chill a ton faster. 

Without the swirl, the wort gets cold by the coils, and takes a long time to transfer the heat to the rest of the wort.  By agitating the wort in some fashion, the move the hot wort to the coils for maximum effectiveness.

Also, if you are building an immersion chiller, think about putting hose couplings on both the in and out.  I use my hot water coming out of my chiller to clean up while  I am chilling.  With a hose coupler on the out side as well, I use a garden hose a safe distance away from the pot to clean.

Good luck!

Zymurgy / Re: 2011 Zymurgy topics
« on: August 16, 2010, 10:38:42 AM »
One topic I would like to see covered is recipe formulation with respect to Malt.  

Not just the standard, "use Munich to get bread crust flavor, pilsner to get the continental malt flavor, English two row for more biscuit flavor..." etc.  What the malts are supposed to provide is widely available already just by reading maltser's data sheets.

Instead, what I am looking for is information more to do with getting malt (and even hops) to show up in the beginning, middle, and finish of a beer.  A lot of beers I have formulated have a good parts, but could use some tweaking to enhance the "entire drinking journey".  For instance, my Vienna has great malt nose, beginning and finish have lots of beady malt notes, but it is "flat" in the middle. What techniques would change this?  If I want an American Brown with an up front hop presence, but a more restrained hop finish with substantial nutty/chocolaty malt flavors, how do I keep the malt to the end and mute the hop finish?  

There appear to be multiple variables associated with the topic, including water formulation, malt variety/maltster and mashing temperatures/schedules.  

While there has been a lot of attention given to hops in the past 5 years, and there is a lot of information available on Hops, there has not been the same attention given to Malt. With the huge variety of malts now available to homebrewers that were not in past years, I think there is a largely untapped opportunity to cover malts more in-depth and have a better understanding of where/how they can be used to manipulate the flavor experience.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: US-05 Startup Time
« on: August 16, 2010, 07:26:02 AM »
I just brewed a batch with US-05... Took 12-24 hours to start.  By 36 it had a thick layer of yeast on top.  A week later, still a large layer of yeast, but at terminal gravity.  Chilled to 40, and the yeast have settled out after three days. 

I am now ready to rack, but I am waiting on a regulator for my keg system. 

Good luck

All Grain Brewing / Re: Missed Mash out Temp
« on: August 16, 2010, 07:21:57 AM »
Not hitting 170 for mash out is not critical AT ALL.

Essentially, heating to 170 does two things.  One, denatures Enzymes. Two, thins the mash (kind of like heating honey or syrup).

Since you mashed to full conversion, there were no more sugars for the enzymes to work on any way, and as for the slightly thicker consistency of the wort... so you leave behind a tiny percentage of sugars, or sparging takes an extra 30 seconds...  At the 5 gal level, the benefits of mashing out at 170 are negligible. 

In fact, I usually do not mash out.  When everything is converted, I drain the wort or sparge.  I do not want to risk getting above 170, where some noticeable tannin extraction becomes possible, and besides, it shaves 20 minutes off of my brewday.

Beer Travel / Re: Portland, Oregon - 9/7 thru 9/11
« on: August 16, 2010, 05:27:42 AM »
I was out at Portland about a month ago now... and had a blast!

I made a side trip to Independance, to check out the Rouge Hop Farms.  They were not open on the day I went, but I did get to drive through some hop and barly fields and watched some hops being picked.  They are giving tours and you can catch a bus from Portland to the farm, get a tour, and have a "tasting".

I cannot find the link now, but I beleive their schedule was to meet at Rouge in Portland and at 9am the bus would leave to independance.  I would E-mail Rouge (through the home page listed above) and they will contanct you in a few days with the details.

Other than that, if you have the chance, go to Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood.  We went on a clear day, and it was breathtaking!  The lodge is ineresting, but the view is fantastic!

I enjoued deschutes public house as well.

Also, check out the food carts that are all around downtown.  Ther serve fantastic food!  (I recommend the polish carts if you are into Polish food)

Have fun, it is a great town!

Ingredients / Re: Wet hopping with Chinook
« on: August 14, 2010, 11:48:11 AM »
I am afraid I am going to have to side with Denny.  I think measuring the volume of hops is like measuring the volume of a paper towel.

The only way I see around it is to "peletize" the wet hops.

A poor mans peletizer would consist of two pieces of plastic (or other) pipe.  Essentially one pipe has an end cap on it with an outside diameter that is the same inside diameter as the larger pipe piece.  (Maybe use a wooden dowel for the inner pipe piece).  Then you could compress the hops.   

Also the larger pipe will havea cap on it too, but needs to be removeable.

To use it, stuff the large pipe with hops and tap the dowel or smaller pipe with your hand or lightly with a hammer to compress the hops.

When finished, take the cap off the large piece of pipe and push the pellet thorugh. 

Even if you do not use it for wet hops, you may find it a good way to preserve your dry  hops.

Good Luck

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: STROH'S?
« on: August 13, 2010, 07:08:40 PM »
The Detroit brewery that made Stroh's closed in the early 80's.  (About the time my Grandpa had to give up beer due to diabetes... coincidence? Stroh's, Schlitz, Old Milwalkee are all the same company... until about 2000 when Pabst bought a section of the company.

Since Pabst re-introduced Schlitz, it makes sense that they would do Stroh's as well.  Heck maybe they will come back with Schaefer as well... another brand made by the Stroh's/Schlitz/Old Milwalkee company.


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