Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - wingnut

Pages: 1 ... 15 16 [17] 18 19 ... 24
Beer Travel / Re: Chicago this weekend
« on: October 11, 2010, 06:23:10 PM »
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!

Equipment and Software / Re: cleaning shirron plate chiller
« on: October 11, 2010, 03:37:59 PM »
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.

Equipment and Software / Re: RIMS and false bottom
« on: October 11, 2010, 03:33:09 PM »
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!

The Pub / Re: Finally it is Hockey time again!
« on: October 10, 2010, 02:24:20 AM »
RIght color...wrong team... let's go Red Wings!!!!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Beer Suffocation???
« on: October 09, 2010, 03:31:11 PM »

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!!

So I created a couple teas last night with coffee, and chocolate malts.

I tasted the teas separately, and mixed with the beer... (had an Octoberfest in the fridge)

Tasting on its own... there was plenty of roasted flavor, however, the flavor was sweeter than I expected.  Additionally, when mixed with the beer, I noticed not only increased roasty, but a lot more perception of sweetness on the overall beer than before the steeped additions.  The roasty quality was nice, but the sweetness increase was not expected. 

Based on the this mini-experiment,  I think I would stick with dmtaylor's recommendation of making a mini beer.  After reading his suggestion, I figure I can steep some grains and add some extract to something as small as a 2L starter flask, let it ferment out, and I will have something to blend with...without a lot of effort. 

Thanks everyone!

So I have an Brown Ale in the fermentor right now.... and I have been enjoying the snow globe of yeast activity the past couple days.

This is the first time I have brewed this I make up from scratch... and in taking my samples the first and second day... I did not detect the level of chocolate flavor I was expecting at this point.  Granted it is WAY too early to start worrying if the beer will turn out the way I intended, and in all likely hood, once the sugars get chewed through and the yeast flavor dies down a bit... the roasty flavors will start to shine through.

However, it got me thinking, about adding roasted, chocolaty flavors to beer post ferment and how best to do it.  It would be a useful tool not only to correct flavors in beers, but to come up with two different beers from a single recipe. 

My thought was to steep roasted grain in cold water for a period of time (cold water to keep tannin extraction from the husks to a minimum since the cold tea ph will likely be in a bad range), then boil the extract and add to the keg or bottling bucket. 

Anyone with experience doing such a thing, or know of a resource to read through as a starting point? 


One other thing that I have been pondering about my Keg-Fridge conversion...and it may apply here... How do the Fridge shelves tend to hold up to 5 gallon kegs? 

I ask because at present, I have my kegs sitting on the bottom of the Fridge (not on shelves).  However, with the compressor hump, I can only fit three kegs across.  If I used the shelving system of the Fridge, however, I could sit the kegs on the shelves of the Fridge and I could fit 6 easily then...   :o  (and in my story a ray of light from heaven shines down upon my fridge...  ;D)

My concern is that even though the shelves only span half way across (so I wind up with 4 brackets supporting the weight), with 6 kegs (or even three), that seems like a lot of leverage on the shelf supports!   (Figure about 40 to 45Lb per keg... and suddenly I am expecting the shelves to hold a grown man!)

Anyone with experience on how much weight the shelves in Fridges tend to be able to hold?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP Entries...Timing
« on: October 07, 2010, 12:46:14 AM »
I find that most of my hoppy beers take 6-8 weeks after bottleing/keging to reach their peak  The decline after that is not terribly steep... they are probably still doing well another two months after that.

So I time my beers to be entered no sooner than 6 weeks after bottleing, but if I haven't shipped it by three months after... then I just don't enter it.

Wood/Casks / Re: Oak Cubes trouble shooting
« on: October 06, 2010, 12:21:57 PM »
If you want to learn more about wood then you ever wanted... The Brewing Network did show on Oak a few years back that really had a ton of information.  Not just on using Oak in different points in the brewing process, but information on toast levels, differences between American/French/Hungarian, when to use chips/cubes and what all of those things provide to the finished product.  There was also a lot of information about using wine yeast that was interesting.

The show is pretty information dense, and long, so I have found myself listening to it three times so far and usually pick up something that I did not the last time I listened.

Good luck!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Who messed with the grain mill?!?
« on: October 06, 2010, 12:12:17 PM »
+1 on just about any grain mill on the market will work fine.

However, hand cranking gets pretty tiresome quickly...even when your kids volunteer to do it!!!

I picked up a threaded shaft from More Beer a couple years ago so that I could connect my drill motor to the mill.  Now milling 12 to 15 Lbs of grain is no effort at all. 

I did modify the shaft, however.  It was perfectly round, and the drill would slip on it sometimes... so I ground some flat spots on the shaft so the drill chuck would get a good grip.

Enjoy your mill!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: bottle sanitizing
« on: September 30, 2010, 03:56:47 AM »
I have a "sanitize" feature on my DW. This approach will be tried this weekend.

A friend of mine swears by putting PBW into the soap dispenser, doing a full wash cycle, full rinse, and full heated dry with the "sanitize" feature on, then he pulls the bottles off the rack one by one while filling over the open door of his dish washer. 

His bottles are clean, sanitized and the mess is contained.

I think he is a genius... but I have had issues with my dish waster leaving gunk in my bottles from time to time.  I suspect that my issue is due to being on a well with hard water... and that has reduced the effectiveness of my dish waster to remove food particles from previous washings.  Hopefully your washer will perform!

Also, in my racks, I  cannot get 48 bottles to fit... so doing a full 5 gal batch is an issue.

Good luck

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Advice on Leaking keg posts
« on: September 30, 2010, 03:47:00 AM »
Naw, it was not a bad poppet, replaceing just the O-ring on the post took care of it.  Being new to kegs (this was my first one) I was looking for hints of operator error, and experaince on reliability of o-rings.  (Starting out with a .500 O-ring percentage is kind of alarming, and I was looking to find out that is common or if I was just lucky)

As all have suggested, I am well armed with a collection of o-rings, posts, poppets, and disconnects.  As Gordon pointed out, it is easy to ruin a batch of beer, and I would hate the cause of a bad batch to be a 2 dollar or 20 cent part!

Thanks all!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Mini Kegs
« on: September 30, 2010, 03:40:48 AM »
I had read an article somewhere, where a person used a two holed cork and some tubeing to connect the mini kegs to a CO2 dispenseing system.  I cannot find the article but it looked easy.

As for re-using the cans, you can use them multiple times, however, the cans are "coated" on the inside to prevent the acidic beer from pulling the passivated aluminum layer off the walls of the keg.  After a few uses, (and bumping) the coating gets cracked and allows the aluminum to add flavors to yoru beer.  So if you are careful, they can be re-used a lot!

Beer Recipes / Re: Imperial Octoberfest suggestions
« on: September 30, 2010, 03:33:14 AM »
If you are looking to bump up the flavor a bit, and you are looking to deviate from the German/Octoberfest spirit a bit.  (I am assuming by your more hops idea that you are)  Then try anywhere from a few ounces to a half pound of Pale Chocolate malt.  (Not the full 350°L, but pale chocolate)  The roasty character can add a really nice flavor while still keeping the malty tast that makes it an octoberfest.  The lighter kiln give the roast a much more subtle character than "normal" chocolate malt.

In my opinion, if you add enough additional hops, you will wind up with more of a German Alt  than an Octoberfest. (Both good beers, but O-Fest is about malt, while the Alt Beer gets a bit more hop character, but not to the point of a Pale Ale) So I would go in one of the two directions... add some roast or add more hop quality and instead of brewing an "Imperial Octoberfest", brew and "Alternative Octoberfest".  

Good luck

Pages: 1 ... 15 16 [17] 18 19 ... 24