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Messages - wingnut

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg PSI
« on: December 31, 2015, 06:57:53 AM »
I recall in some of my older books, people putting schrader valves on a bottle cap so they could test if their naturally carbonated bottles were carbonated.  They would install a valve on a plastic bottle with a screw cap, and test the bottle with their tire gauge...

Sound like the same deal... but with a bit biger bottle.    ;D

You could install something like this in all your lids and then just touch each one with a tire gauge.

(there are threaded versions as well)

The lower tech way I have been doing it is just connect up the kegs to a CO2 tank at pressure and see if there is any inrush sound. 

Good luck!

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Specialty Grains Life Shelf? 3+ years
« on: December 30, 2015, 07:59:09 PM »
I sometimes use specialty grains that are "old".   I usually chew a few kernals of grain to make sure they are not mealy.  Crystal malt should have a hard texture, if it breaks easy in your teeth and has a kind of dry oat meal texture, I would not use it.  Otherwise, if the texture is good (and the flavor is good) I say use it.

I have had some malt that got humid... and I tossed it due to it having the funny texture.   

Good luck!

Equipment and Software / Re: Replacing burner on my old Camp Chef?
« on: November 27, 2015, 05:09:43 PM »
I replaced my 60BTU burner with a BG14 a few years back (and switched to natural gas).

The burner I had originally, bolted to a cross brace piece.   So a single bolt on the bottome of the burner was how it was mounted.

The BG14 had 4 threaded holes on the side of the burner, and used 1/4 20 bolts to  mount it.   I wound up just getting some long bolts and cut them to size, and drilled the bolts thru the legs of the burner into the new burner.  It worked great.

I would suggest looking if it is side or bottom threaded, and then deciding if you can modify your stand accordingly. 

Good luck!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Anyone share this issue with pin lock QDs?
« on: November 24, 2015, 05:58:29 AM »
I had the same issue when I first set up my kegs many years ago.  I found that the post O-Rings I had purchased wer not the correct thickness.  I forget if there is a difference between ball lock and pin lock post o-rings.  (once I found the correct size, I bought a bag of them and have had an "infinate" supply ever since)

My bag of 100 says "70 Buna size 112"  I picked up a bag of 100 for pretty cheap and do not regret having them handy.

Once I installed those... I am probably on 4 years or so on my kegs without leaks.

The only issue I have is with old poppits that spray when I pull off a QD.  I have been replacing those as I rotate through my kegs this year, and have found that the universal poppets work well.  (I have a number of styles of pin lock kegs..each with different poppet styles... so the "one size fits all" has been a god send)

Good luck!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sanitizer Comparison
« on: November 08, 2015, 09:04:37 AM »
Neat experiment.  And really nice that you shared the findings... motivational and informative!   (although, the results are somewhat surprising for the iodophor)   I wonder if the spore characterisitcs of the samples you took allowed the bacteria to wait out the sanitizers?   

I know what Star San does to my hands after using it without gloves for long periods of time... so I suspect it is somewhat effective on spores... iodophor and Ethanol.... not so sure about them.


Your plating idea has kind of cemented an idea I had to evaluate the cleaning practices in the brewery.  .... Take some beer / wort samples and streak plates to evalute the resultant colony formation.   

... so that brings me up to a couple questions that you may be able to help me with...
1.) Where did you source your plates?   I just started looking into making plates and I think having pre-poured plates would be a better starting point as I work through the mechanics.  (kind of like doing extract before all grain to get the basics down)  I know there are diferent agar solutions depending on what you are after, but finding a set of pre-poured plates would be a good way to get started into this practice.

2.) Is there any recomendations on a microscope to obtain?  (I have scoured the forums and not seen information on exactly what magnification is adequate for evaluating bacteria vs yeast... seems like the info I find is more geared toward cell counts.  Any places to read or articles to scoop up would be great)

Thanks again for the info!

Equipment and Software / Re: Counter top RO, not so RO
« on: September 16, 2015, 07:03:41 PM »
When I use mine, the first slug of water out the faucet has a higher PPM than you would expect.  After a few seconds, I measure again and it is back down where you would expect.

If it is not getting where you expect after running for a minute or two then yeah, something is not operating correctly.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lager Fermentations
« on: September 04, 2015, 04:56:16 AM »
I have tried to over pitch into lagers, and have not been able to do so.  I have put 4 to 5 times the recommened amount from Mr Malty... and had no ill effects with lagers.  (my method was to brew three batches of the same recipe in series, using the yeast cake for the next.  Measured in a beaker... and dumped in the next.  I was looking to find out how much was too much, but when I hit over 4x the first batch... and there were no differences we could make out... I figured that was enough)

However, you can certainly under pitch.  If you go half of what Mr Malty says, I think the lagers come out with noticeable differences.  (fruitier/ale like, more sulfur, and took longer to clear)

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP001 Starter Lag Time
« on: September 04, 2015, 04:43:57 AM »
after sitting for a long time, it ususally takes 24 to 48 hours for the yeast to work through the lag phase.  The 10 fold step up also takes a while as the yeast have to multiply (the lag phase) before active fermentation is visible. 

Note: if after 48 hours you have not seen active fermentation, take a gravity reading.  I have sometimes had starters on the stir plate that nevery throw a foamy head... they just ferment out to 1.012... with no visible signs. 

Glad to hear things kicked off for you, and it is another reason I always like to make a starter before pitching.  The yeast will startup much faster in the beer now, and you KNOW you have active yeast!

Enjoy your brewday!

Equipment and Software / Re: ph meter
« on: September 02, 2015, 03:51:43 PM »
I use a similar model.. it is 0.05 accurate instead of 0.1.  It works good with no complaints.

When you buy it, buy some calibration solution (4.01 is the one I use) to calibrate the meter before each brew session.

Also, keep in mind that with a precison of 0.1, when you read 5.3 on the meter, it might be 5.2 or 5.4 or anywhere in between.  To be honest, it is likely not a huge issue to be 0.1 off.  However, I bought the model that is 0.05 accurate so that I was within a point of the reading.  Compared to strips... it is a huge step forward in repeatability.   

I also bought one of these as a backup a while back.  THe price is sure right!

Equipment and Software / Re: Punching powder coated steel?
« on: September 02, 2015, 06:50:20 AM »
i work with powder coated electrical panels for a living.  We use tape over the hole (masking tape) and put the cup on the inside of the panel door.  The minimal chipping has always been to minor to note.  (until this post, I never even thought about it) (Keep in mind that nema rated panels usully have devices that are installed with a rubber gasket... so they more than cover up any tiny chips that may occure right at the cutting point of the punches)

Equipment and Software / Re: Single tier system input
« on: September 02, 2015, 05:19:29 AM »
I wound up making my own a few years ago so that I could incorporate automatic valves.  (I wound up with an ugly jurry riged stand that I still frown at when looking at it... from spare parts... and put the money I was going to put into a stand... into valves and PLC controls to automate the brewing process) 

When I was dong my stand research though....

From a brew stand...standpoint.  I was going to go with the Ruby stand. The stand is powdercoated... so the paint is much stonger and robust than a typical painted stand, (and like the stainless stands.. it will last "forever") and I Iiked the design for mobility, and conviently tipping for compact storage.   The valves being accesible for the gas was a big thing for me, and the Ruby Stands are really set up nice to allow future expansion... and was just setup in a way that made adding a piece here or there as time goes on easy.  The frame has more places to bolt things onto, and looked more robust.  Since then, I noticed the local brew pub uses these stands for their brewing. 

They went with them because the guys making the Ruby stand were really easy to work with to put the bells and whistles onto the stand just they way they wanted.

Having said that, with what I know today... I would NOT go with the base burner package of the Ruby system.  The base burners are not really conducive to converting over to natrual gas. The burners on the Synergy system are.  (my old brew satand had the ruby style propane burners... and they were LOUD, and were not able to be converted to natural gas... my new brew stand, I made with burners simlar to what is in the synergy stand.  They are far quieter, I would even say silent, they  put out more BTUs evenly under the kettle, and I have since made them Natural Gas)  I know the brewpub has burners like the synergy stand on thier Ruby I know Ruby offers them.. but I dont know what the price difference is.

Good luck, hope your new stand, whatever directin you go, brings you many happy brew years!
Having said that, 

Ingredients / Re: Ella hops
« on: September 01, 2015, 10:44:08 AM »
Ella hops used to be "Stella" hops.  The name was asked to be changed at some point for marketing reasons.  Probably some big fancy brewery had an issue with it. :-)

Also, I was at Bells last week looking for the Ella/Stella hops and did not see them.  (might have looked right past them)  I was going to stock up for some future brew I was going to do using Magnum and Ella hops.  (A tribute to my brew dogs over the years...I figure even if it did not taste good.... the labels are going to be fantastic!!!)

When I sniffed some (then Stella) a couple years back, I got a lot of lemon and stone fruit like peach/apricot in addition to citrus.

I figured Magnum/Ella combination would work ok.... and for a while Northern Brewer sold a grain called Magnum (I think it was a two row). 

If you find a place selling some, please re-post to this thread, I would love to get some in the freezer for a future brew!


Kegging and Bottling / Re: Leaking Keg Lid(s) / Newbie Kegger Question
« on: September 01, 2015, 04:02:33 AM »
One thing I have started doing in the past couple years, is after I clean an empty keg, I sanitize it, and pressurize it.  The I pour some starsan around the poppits of the posts, and lid of the keg.   Sometimes I see a stream of small bubbles indicating a leak.... once I take care of all those, I leave it pressurized for a week or two and then test to see if it still held pressure over all that time.

Now I have a sanitized keg that I know will hold pressure when I am ready with the next beer.... once less thing to worry about.

Good luck!

Beer Travel / Re: Ireland
« on: August 31, 2015, 01:46:38 PM »
Dingle peninsula was the highlight when we went there.   When my wife and I go back, we may spend a few days in Dingle and around the peninsula. 

+1.. Guinness is a tourist trap now more than a tour.  You no longer get to tour a working brewery... and it has been turned into a  neat tour but.... it is only informative for a person that is new to beer brewing... the memorable part was being able to taste some different types of  Guinness on the top floor, but overall it was not as memorable as you would think.

I did not do the distillery, but that is where I would go.  ALso, I think Smithwick had a tour as well that we did not hit (lost the coin flip with my wife that day on what we would see lol)

Driving is an absolute experience.  If your rent an automatic... be persistant about it.  When we went to pick our rental up... they said they did not have anymore automatics and we would have to take a manual.... after 20 or so minutes of not accepting that solution, they did "find one".

I loved driving in Ireland, and I think it is the only way to go.  However, it was also the most stressful!  The roads are truely narrow and where we in the US have a nice white line to mark the edge of the road... in Ireland they have stone walls that have been in place since 1200 AD...  with plant and twigs growing out of them... making the narrow lane even more narrow.  LOL   Good news is, if your driving... no worries, your spouse will let you know EXACTLY how close you are to the wall at all times,  (just know you are not really close until they start to use four letter words... your mileage may vary)  ;D

I am looking at my screen background on my computer right now (it has been there ever since we went on our trip three years ago...and I am so enviouse of you right now!!!) 

I found that just about any town you go in has a pub... and they all have pretty good beer if you look for it.  Most lead with lagers now, but there are still some very nice ales everywhere.   If you are lucky, you can get a Guinness and Murphys side by side and have some real fun!  We ate at pubs for dinner at night and enjoyed the music whenvever possible.  Lunch at the pubs was pretty good to, but sometimes we would grab a take and carry from the gas stations while we drove.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: love my hydra
« on: August 09, 2015, 08:41:30 PM »
I have one of the "side filters".  Essentially it is just a large stainless mesh cylindar, with two hooks on it to hold onto the lip of the pot.   Starting out, I just moved it to hook onto the coil instead of the lip of the pot.

The strainer I use is this one:

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