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 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 22
The Pub / Has Beer as a whole declining?
« on: December 23, 2014, 07:14:44 AM »
I just read an aricle listing the decline of some major big beer brands over the past few years, and I was wondering if beer as whole consumed in the US is on the decline?

I know craft beer is very much on the rise as far as per capita consumptioon, but these are some pretty big numbers craft beer would have to make up for!

Equipment and Software / Re: Small Refrigerator
« on: December 21, 2014, 10:19:47 AM »
Small dorm fridges/wine fridges can be found for about $200.  (Have to be very careful to find compressor humps that can accomodate)  That holds one bucket.  For $300 I bought a freezer from home depot that holds 6 to 8 buckets.    Most of the price is for the chilling part of the system...

I have both a dorm and a freezer now.  I ferment in the dorm/wine fridge and store kegs in the bigger freezer.  Long story short, go as big as the space allows...the relative cost is pretty much the same regardless of size.

Equipment and Software / Re: Solenoid valve for brew system
« on: December 21, 2014, 09:53:06 AM »
More or less, it seems most all systems are essentially variations on the Brewtus systems.   

The traditioanl valve to use on these systems are ASCO valves.... those used to be cheap to get because they were so widely available on E-Bay as surplus from industrial places cleaning off their spare parts shelves.  Over time, the stocks have eroded, and they are much more expesive of E-bay now (closer to retail price), so many people are moving toward cheaper alternatives. 

For the home brewery, the ASCO valves are way overkill.  Mean time between failures is in the millions of cycles.   Cheaper hobby level valves are becomig more popular which are still good for 100ds of thousands of cycles... are better priced and for our purposes, just as good.

Fundimetally, there are different valve constructions.  some are "globe" style, which pushes a seal down from the top with a spring, and uses an electric actuator to pull the stem up and over come the pressure of the spring to open the water flow.   The issue with the valves, is that if you supply back pressure, that will also over come the spring, and allow water to flow backwards through the valve.

Ball style valves work differently in that they move a ball with a hole in it.  This style does ot have issues with back pressure causing the valve to open up when it is not supposed to due to the differnt mechaical design.

In the system I have, I have two paths into my pump, and two paths out of my pump.  What path the water takes going out of my pump....depends on what valve is open.  When I had globe style valves installed, I had things connected in a way that the back pressure would allow wort to wind up in some un-intended places.     Once I went with ball valves.... that eliminated the issue from happening. 

The globe style valve issue may have been correctable by flipping the valve 180 degrees, but I elected to go with ball valve style to make it more idiot proof.    My thought was that installing and removing valves on my system is a real pain (kind of like changing the oil in a car with the way I have the valves stashed)  so if I was going to re-do it, I wanted to make sure I did not have to keep messing with it. 

My advice is if you are buying valves... go ball and keep things more idiot proof.  The cost is about the same.

Equipment and Software / Re: All Grain pt. 2
« on: December 21, 2014, 09:22:55 AM »
May I make a suggestion?  The KISS (Keep it simple, stupid!) principle is something that all engineers embrace at some point in their careers.  A simple brewing system beats a complex system hands down.  A simple brewing system is more reliable because it has fewer points of failure. It is also usually easier to clean.

+1 on that.   

My system was VERY simple for a long time.  (turkey fryer pot and a cooler) The more parts, the more you have to haul out every time. (and more reason for the pain to keep you from brewing)   It was not until I had a dedicated room in my house for brewing, that I stating to aquire "parts".  Up until the point... more stuff to pull out actually made brewing happen less often.  (more stuff to clean, more stuff to haul up to the garage from the basement...etc. )

Long story short, you become a better brewer by brewig... The more you brew, the better at it you become and you learn what is critical and what is BS... (and what is BS often depeds on how/what you brew).  So the real criteria for choosig a system is:
1.)  What will let you brew most often.
2.) What will let me brew more easily.
3.) What will let me brew more consistetly.

Regardless.... brew often and ENJOY!!!

Equipment and Software / Re: All Grain pt. 2
« on: December 20, 2014, 06:45:52 AM »
In my opinion, the stainless stand looks nice... and I would love to have one to look at.... but as you say, the price is kind of prohibitive.   In my system, I cheaped out on the stand, and put my money into other things... temperature probes and burner control to automaticaly maintain mash temps...etc.   I put the money into things that will make the brewing process easier and more consistent, vs looking nice.  (Not that I did not spend HOURS and HOURS trying to convince myself that I needed a pretty brew stand!)

I still have the hurricane burner stands, but I retro-fitted better burners and went to natural gas vs propane... those were all things I thought were more important than a blingy stand.  I later put a cheap automation controller on the valves and burners so that wort production more or less runs itself... maintaining mash temps and pumping things over to the boil kettle.  (I still have issues with the march pump getting air logged though, and not priming and pumping)

The other nice thing about not having a stainless stand.... if it gets dirty from a boil over... no one cares!!!!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Anyone using Party Pig and how good is it ?
« on: December 19, 2014, 07:05:19 PM »
I have not used the pig.  When I moved toward smaller sizes, I picked up some 3 gallon kegs.   

One of the alternatives I saw this year was a product called the beerbox.

Looks like it works similarly to the pig, but uses tiny CO2 cartridges to  push the beer instead of the pouches. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: rice hulls and mash ph
« on: December 19, 2014, 05:56:23 PM »

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Northern Brewer 3 Gallon Keg System
« on: December 18, 2014, 07:07:41 AM »
I bought an aluminum tank with my original setup.  It looked nice, but the only way to keep the tank was to take it to a fire extinguisher company.  That used to be $15 to $20 to get it refilled.  Air Gas (welding supply company) will exchange empty cylindars with filled ones for about $10.  They are a little beaten up and steel... but I actually like the extra weight.  (The lighter aluminum one would tip over much easier and can ruin the regulator)

Later, after playing with the 5# tank, I upgraded it to a 10# tank.  It lasts WAY longer, and is about the same cost to refill.  (And it is heavier than the 5#, so it is very stable)

I have gone the rout of using AIH for kegs over the past few years,  I have 8 5 gallon used kegs that I like a lot, and recently bought 10 3 gallon used kegs from them.  All were great, just needed some cleaning and they were ready to go. 

I really like the 3 gallon compared to the 5 gallons... Lot easier to move around, and I recover space in my fridge twice as fast.  (A half gone 5 gallon keg...still takes up 5 gallons of space.... 

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Help with increasing efficiency
« on: December 15, 2014, 09:42:42 AM »
The other thing that sticks out at me... using a grain bag... how sure are you that there are no "dough balls".   From an all grain perspective,  I find I need to stir the mash a bit to break up the pockets of grain that stay dry, even when submerged in water....   On a couple batches, while cleaning out the mash tun, I used to find that  I still had pockets of dry grain even after the grain being submerged in water for over 90 minutes.... those batches had MAJOR efficiency issues...

Just a thought. 

Ingredients / Re: Melanoidin and Aromatic
« on: December 12, 2014, 06:09:35 AM »
When I formulate recepies...

Melenoiden is to me like a darker munich.   I use 7% to 10% in my vienna recepie (which made mini best of show in the final round of I must be doing something right  :))   

I kind of think of it as a 20L Munich.   Most of the recipes that I use Melenoiden in, also have Munich, and I have swapped out portions of Munich with Melenoiden over time to get a richer toasier flavor.  In other words, I think all the recepies I use Melenoiden in, started life without it, but with Munich... and I have used Melenoiden to tweak the flavor profile. 

I also use Aromatic in place of Melenoiden when I cannot find Melenoiden.  (That used to be the case quite often, but in the past couple years has not).  I use Aromatic and Melenoiden interchangeably.     The differences between the two at the quantities I use are not detetctable to me, but may be to some.

In my mind, Aromatic and Melenoien are products made by different maltsters to fill the same role in the malt market... a means to add flavors similar to decoction, without the extra three hours to the brew day. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Solenoid valve for brew system
« on: November 25, 2014, 06:28:08 AM »
I put BACO ball valves on my setup.  They are electrically actuated.  I went with 24VDC, but they have 24VAC, and 120VAC actuators as well.   I got them off of Ebay, but there are a few other sources as well on the web.  I spent around $30 a piece to get the model that is 1/2inch, stainless ball vavle and the actuator has a manual override.  (I would not get the manual override again as it is so hard to use, It would be faster to remove the valve).

 This site has a good listing of the options.  If you shop around and can tollerate shipping from China, you can probably knock about $5 a valve off, but the prices are pretty reasonable here.

Stay away from this style valve for liquid transfers  (the actuator is fine, and I would still use these on my propane feed)

I had an issue with my setup on the above valves where the pump would apply back pressure on the valve, and it would "blow through" it.  I kept getting wort in my hot water pot... and could not figure out why!  Turns out the valve design on these are great for stopping flow  only one way.  If you get back pressure, it will lift the stem and allow flow.   

By going with a ball valve body, that eliminates the issue, but they valves are a bit more costly.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Timing a D rest
« on: November 25, 2014, 05:29:28 AM »
in my experience, a D-rest of 3 to 5 degrees with about 25% to go is my goal.   However, I have had many instances where I had to choose to bump up the temp early, or not at all due to having to travel out of town.   I have found that anywhere after 50% done seems to give the same results.   

The only other bit of advice I would give is even when you have a steady final gravity, you may need to leave the beer alone for another week or two.  Taste the beer when you think it is done, and look at it too.  I find that at 8 to 11 days, the beer is at a steady gravity, but still cloudy and depending on the yeast, I still detect diacetyl.  The cloudy is yeast still in suspension doing what they need to do for the lager.... dont cold crash yet if the yeast is still clouding the beer... let them do their work.  Let the beer stay at the d-rest temp for up to another two to three weeks.  (I have not had good results with the cool one or two degrees a day many people do).   

I find that the yeast will settle out just fine given time, and time is what the yeast need to clean ther beer up. 

You can even just grab some yeast off the bottom of the fermenter for krausening   (that way you can save the other packet)

If I need to get a yeast starting for another beer, I sometimes stick my racking cane into he yeast cake at the bottome of a beer and siphon off into a two liter flask and let it settle for an hour or so... then decant the beer on top and dump in some 1.036 wort I made up with DME. 

Do this an when the yeast is fully going, dump it in.

I would keep the yeast starter at room temp and dump into room temp beer. (That way temperature wont be a shock to the new yeast)  My experience is that you need to pitch in active yeast to bring the beer down further.   Sleeping yeast...stay sleeping.  Active yeast...stays active, and at the very least, grabs a bedtime snack before going to sleep.

John Palmers book "How To Brew" talks about this (great book and worth picking up... below is a pretty good take from his website)

Bazooka will result in a less efficient extract from the grain bed.  You are esssentially draining the sugers efficiently from a much smaller area compared to a false bottom.   With the bazooka the middle of your cooler is having the grain rinsed well, but the edges are not, and will have more residual sugars left in the grain since thw water flow through that section will be slower than the  flow of water through the grain on top of the bazooka.

Two options are to accept the reduced efficiency and adjust your recipe, or if you are getting less than 70%, switch to batch sparging instead of fly sparging.  (I consistently get 73 to 78pct efficency with a similar setup and batch sparging).

The other option is going back to the false bottom and really slowing the flow during your lautering.  That will keep the grain bed from compacting.   (Becaue your bazooka is pulling from a smaller area, it is creating less suction on your overall grain bed and not compacting the grain as much.) 

Good luck!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Vienna/Octoberfest Maltiness
« on: September 09, 2014, 11:28:35 AM »
My first attempt at an oktoberfest is currently in the fermenter. If my memory serves correct it was roughly a 4:3:2 ratio of pils to munich to Vienna with the remaining 10% being split between dark munich and some crystal 40. The crystal malt may not be traditional or necessary but I am not too worried about it as long as the result is good.

The malt bill sounds like it will do well.

A bit of advice... take some notes on your yeast type and fermentation temps.   I spent a couple years taking a recipe similar to what you have, and used different yeasts at different temps... I found that I could influence the Malt and hop flavors in the final beer a "suprising amount" just by changing yeast strains.  (Mexican lager is my go-to for this style).    In the end, if you are dialing in this style... from here I would keep fermentation the same and play with recipe... or keep the recipe the same and try a few yeasts.


Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 22