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Messages - wingnut

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Water Chem. ... sulfate, carbonate, iron, and many other minerals

Grain Bill ... some grain flavors linger, others are more crisp (carmel vs pilsner malt for example)  Also, If you are using a lot of types of grain in a single recipe, try backing it off to two or three grain types only.

Hops ... oil content/ratio of  Humulone, Cohumulone, Adhumulone, lupulone, essential oils, etc can vary among types, some are crisper, others less so.

Each one has an effect and can add crispness or leave a little more weight on the palate. 

Sometimes, just adding some sugar in place of malt (keeping the same OG, though) will lighten a beer and make it crisper.

I have done each of these to tune a beer to make it lighter and/or crisper on the palat. 

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Advice on Leaking keg posts
« on: August 30, 2010, 06:54:30 PM »
Cool!  Thanks for the info!   ;D So maybe it was just my bad luck...  Regardless, at least now I can have a relatively unlimited supply to try.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry yeast fermentation temp
« on: August 29, 2010, 11:34:29 AM »
Just used it for the first time in years myself.  I fermented at 68 and got quite a bit of fruity "ale" flavors... more akin to the English Ales  I have been brewing.  There may even be a tiny hint of clove to it (notice it in one or two burps, but not in the flavor while drinking).  I am not sure if that was due to temperature or if there is more than just S-05 strain lurking.  (I am using in a new keg system and chose a neutral beer to show any flaws in sanitation or cleaning out the soda residue I may have)

WIth that in mind, if you would like a more subdued ale, I would go colder than 68 for sure.  If you want more fruit flavors, do not go above 68!

Good luck

Kegging and Bottling / Advice on Leaking keg posts
« on: August 29, 2010, 08:21:47 AM »
Hi all,

I just got the final pieces of keg system setup, cleaned and rebuilt the kegs, replaced seals...etc ... Spent a day locating and fixing leaks... and carbed up my first batch of beer.   

However, when I plugged in my faucet line, I had beer leaking past the post seal between it and the connector.  No amount of wiggling the connector, adding keg lube... etc would keep the beer from spewing past the seal. 

I finally removed the "brand new" o-ring and put one of the used ones on... and the leak went away. 

I got the new o-rings from a popular Homebrew supplier, and the gas side worked great... so I am wondering if my experience is unique... if there is a better cure than using an old seal, or if there is something to look for that will identify the o-ring as "not up to par" (aside from nicks and cuts).

Any and all wisdom is welcome!


Equipment and Software / Re: Need advice on new system
« on: August 29, 2010, 08:03:44 AM »
The question of cooler mash tun or converted keg kind of comes down to what you want your final system to look like?

If you are happy with single and double infusion mashes, then a cooler is fine.  If you are going to be doing decoction mashes, cooler is fine.  HERMS...cooler works...  RIMS...maybe.

However, if you want a direct fire or RIMS system, the cooler may not be the best choice.  Obviously, direct fire to a cooler is a bad idea, and for a RIMS system, you may be able to install an electric heating element in the cooler to recirc past... however the plastic may warp and not be a decent long term solution. (I have not done this, but those are the theoretical arguments)

The benefits of the cooler are that it is insulated, which adds stability and consistency to mashes as it isolates the mash better from the outside air.  So a mash in December comes out the same as in July.  Coolers are relatively easy to convert, (some you just pop out the cooler spigot and screw in your own valve) and can even be used for it's original use if needed for a party.  I have been using the same cooler in my setup for five years, and it is holding up great.   I am able to do two step mashes, and if I plan well, I can even do three step mashes.  If I need to do more than three step mashes, I tend to do a "mini decoction" where I pull part of the mash out and boil it in a separate container and then add it back in to raise the temperature.  (For real decoctions, I boil for a lot longer!!)

I personally, do not see a big need to do RIMS or HERMS, other than they look very cool and have a lot of gadgets!  Essentially, I have chosen to keep my mash systems simple.... In my opinion, the fewer dials to play with, the better the opportunity for consistency.  RIMS and HERMS supposedly have more controlled steps, leading to more consistent batches... however, unless there is a PID control involved, the ramp rates tend to vary.  When doing infusion, I can dump the same temp water in and get the same results EVERY TIME. 

If you like stainless, you may wish to forego the cooler as well.  I know I have shiny metal envy when I visit my friends who have all kettle systems, but at the end of the day, more of my beer is gone then theirs... I wonder why?

In the end, both are great choices, and the only real decision is what style of mashing you want to do ultimately, and what fits your price tag.

Have fun building your system!

What I do is give the bottles a very good rinse to get all the yeast and solids out.   Then I put them, neck up in a milk crate.  (I found the crates you can buy in the store at back to school time are the right height for bottles).  

Then, after I have a collection of them, I fill up a cooler with warm water and put some PBW in it and let the bottle soak for an hour or so.  This lifts any labels off commerical bottles and possibly mold boogers from people that have not treated my bottles nicely.  (although now, I have a big enough collection I tend to pitch the nasty bottles)  Also,I have a plastic scraping thing for finishing off any stuck on labels...

After the soaking I rinse each bottle out at the sink and place them neck down in the crate.  That keeps dust from getting inside the bottle and provides an easy way to distinguish between clean and just rinsed bottles.  The crates stack nicely!!

On bottleing day, I make up a bucket of starsan and place the bottles in the bucket for 2 minutes and then, as I bottle, pull them out one by one, inverting to drain the starsan.

After I run out of bottles in the bucket, I put some more bottles in and then I cap the bottles while my 2 minutes ticks away.

All in all it is not a lot of effort, while still being rather obsessive about clenlieness!

A lot of people I have talked to just make sure the bottles are well rinsed and then on bottleing day, dunk the bottles for a few minutes and let the stanitizer do its thing.   However, since starsan does not get rid of big colonies of gunk, I am leary of how good a "cleaner" it is.   It appears to be a great sanitizer, but as with all sanitizers, if you have to much "soil load" on the bottle, then the sanitizer cannot get to all the nasties!

As for just keeping them in a bucket of starsan... there is no direct reason not to.  However, starsan tends to degrade over time placed in plastic or non-distilled water.  Essentially the surficants preciptate out and coat the bottles.   :P

Good luck and keep brewing!!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Double Batch Fermentation
« on: August 24, 2010, 10:17:22 AM »
The cheap and easy way is just to ferment two similar beers (mash on same day to reduce cleaning), and fill the two kegs half full with the two beers. (ie mix the fermented beers in the kegs).  Creating a bunch of tees and changing process is a recipe for headaches.  Keeping pretty much the same process will be much more enjoyable and have the same results!

Good luck, and isn't wonderful to have such a demand!!!   

All Grain Brewing / Re: Recipe scaling
« on: August 24, 2010, 08:39:41 AM »
Your recipe will not scale perfectly linear, however, if you know a few data points, you can make the correct changes to keep the recipe tasting the same.

  • Know your final gravity and make sure that your yeast will hit the same terminal gravity.
  • Know your IBUs and using the brewing software, adjust your additions to keep the same IBUs
  • Keep your hop additions after 30 minutes to the correct ratio (scale those up or down based on recipe size) and make any bitterness corrections to your 60 minute addition.  That way you keep the "hop flavor" correct and can account for any increase/decrease in efficiency
  • Know your different kettles evaporation rate, and different mash tun efficiency rates.  Calculate your grains accordingly (I usually keep the same ratio and just bump up or down the grain bill to compensate for efficiency.  Keep in mind the goal is the same final gravity, but if you are splitting the 10 gal batch into fermentation vessles simlar to what you use for 5 gallons and pitch the correct yeast strain/qty... the OG should work too)

So while for the most part you can go linearly in your recipe, just check these few items to be sure you do not need to "fudge" the recipe a bit to account for non-linnear conditions, usually associated with changing equipment or boil size.  

In the end, even if you do not consider these few items, the beer will turn out great! So as with most things in homebrew, you can sweat as many or as few of the details as you like!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Re-refridgerated Yeast HELP!
« on: August 23, 2010, 01:40:45 PM »
Should be OK, stick it in the fridge, and you can just pull it out a week later and dump it in.

HOWEVER, for the least lag time, dumping some fresh wort on the yeast a day or two before brew day would be a good idea.  It is always nice to catch the yeast at their peak!!

Rest easy and may your next week-end go better!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Oktoberfest Gravity (WLP820/WLP833)
« on: August 23, 2010, 01:00:32 PM »

Take a drink of the beer... yes, 1.018 is on the high end, but I have medaled quite a few times with a FG of 1.018.  If it is not too sweet, then I would not mess with it. 

If it needs some help, I would force a small sample and see if you can drop a couple more points (raise temp, add yeast to the small sample, etc) and establish that there is indeed more fermentables left in the beer.  If you cannot get it down, then don't stress the whole batch by forcing it.

If you do get it to drop a few points, then you may try the technique that worked on the whole batch, or try to krausen the batch.  To krausen, I would rack the 1.018 beer off the yeast cake, make another similar or lighter beer, and put that on the yeast.  Once that new batch gets rocking, I would grab some of the beer and top-crop yeast (if possible) and put that into the 1.018 beer and see if you can get the last few points to go down.  The key is to have actively fermenting yeast, and not add priming sugar until the points have been dropped. 

My fear with adding some S-05 or other yeast that is not present in your base beer, is that it may add character that is not desirable.  If you can keep with the same yeast strain, your results will be more repeatable.

Good luck!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Oktoberfest Gravity (WLP820/WLP833)
« on: August 23, 2010, 11:40:38 AM »

Based on what I've read in this thread and from other sources, I have some options:
  • Gently swirl the carboy to get yeast back in suspension and wait it out.
  • Ramp up the temperature to 65 degrees F to get the yeasties to consume the last of the sugars, swirl, and wait it out
  • Take a sample and do a "forced fermentation" to see if the are, indeed, any fermentable sugars left.
  • Add a fresh inoculation of an attenuative yeast like US-05 or WLP001, swirl, and wait it out.
  • Rack to a secondary to see if any further fermentation will occur. If not, cut my losses.


One you Rack off the yeast cake, your done. (In my experiance).  What was the OG and SG so far?

Ingredients / Re: Grain substitution recommendations.....
« on: August 20, 2010, 07:33:55 PM »
I think the bicuit and aromatic additions are small enough that you can just bump up the munich a bit, or possibly do a small decoction, and come out OK  The munich and aromatic are very close to same. The aromatic has a slightly different process than the munich (or melenoiden), and if you do single decoction of about 8 cups of the solid part of the mash (for a 12 lb grain bill), you will make up for the process difference between the munich and aromatic, and probably wind up with a better beer.

(If you want, leave the biscuit and aromatic out and do a double decoction...since that looks like what they have been added to simulate)

Another thought would be to sub some brittish two row for the pils to make up for the biscuit, but I am unsure what percentage exchange would work, and bump up the munich and caramunich to make up for the aromatic.   

Good luck!. 

Just a funny thought, and it may already have been done (I do not read the Tech Talk E-mails as they confuse my feeble mind too easily :P )

Has anyone put together a brief "How to make the Forum work like Tech Talk"  message onto Tech Talk with some of the tips like these?  It may make the transition easier, and reduce the stress. 

FWIW, I had sworn off Forums, until I started looking at this site.  It is very well done, and easy to use. 

Beer Recipes / Re: Newbie dark pseudo-bock
« on: August 20, 2010, 07:43:31 AM »
Yes my can is the same.  After considering it, I think I will add about another 500g (1lb) of DME just to get a bit more body and bump the gravity up a bit.  Would you believe that the original recipe also calls for this to make 6 gallons?  I think I'll go for a five gallon batch though.

Wow, this has been quite a good learning experience in the research alone, but it is also getting me psyched about this next batch.

Thanks again for all the help.

I'll post the results ASAP, although I probably won't get a brewday in the near future.  Arrgggg the wait!!!  ;)

Sounds like you are off to a healthy and exciting obsession with brewing!!! Just remember as you go from this to other batches, don't get too caught up in the research to have some fun brewing every once and a while!!  There is a ton of information out there and a lot of details to get lost in when brewing.  Even Palmer's book tells you to stop after a chapter or two and brew something before you continue into the rest of the details in his book!!   

Just remember, to concentrate on sanitation, and after that... as long as you throw some hops, malt, water and yeast together... you will get beer!!  Making beer can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. 

My advice is to stay simple to start, get the process down (especially sanitation) by dong a few batches.  Once you have your base process down, and your brew days go fairly smooth... enjoy the exploration!

The Pub / Re: What's your favorite part of being a homebrewer?
« on: August 19, 2010, 02:01:36 PM »
Wow, I am humbled that something I wrote has made someone pause and ponder!

For me, beer is all about exploration and discovery… drinking beer is only part of the enjoyment.

 I love the gadgets, tons of beer styles, digging into all the geeky technical details, and constantly being critical of my process/methods and figuring out what to tweak next to improve my brew or my brew day.

I love serving my beer to people and having them be surprised that not only does it not suck, it is often better then any beer they have had before.   

Most of all, I enjoy exchanging knowledge and having friendly debates about what I and others have learned along their explorations of beer.  I brew the beer I do today because a lot of people shared their thoughts and experiences with me, and if I can help someone else enjoy this hobby as much as I do… Cool.

Oh, and having rock-star status among the neighborhood, does has its privileges! 

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