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 ... 3 4 [5] 6 7 ... 21
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: The Beer Bug
« on: August 11, 2014, 05:38:54 AM »
I bought one of these back in May, and have two brews in with it.

I bought it as a "toy"... something to keep the fun in brewing.  I really liked the idea of being able to see how my beer was doing, without sampling every day.  (especially since I am often out of town for a week or so hence the only two brews)

I found it very easy to setup, and pretty accurate in indicating how the brew was fermenting.  Cleaning has not been a problem between batches either.

Now, while I said I bought it as a toy, I have found it to be a pretty good tool as well.  My last batch I was brewing... had some issues in the process:

1.) I had pitched three vials into a lager (first time not doing a starter)... and waited and waited.... 5 days later while out on a fishing trip, I opened up my phone and looked at the readings and I announced that it was actively fermenting!... ( I never have lag times that long and was preparing myself for dumping my first batch ever... me thinks I will always do a starter from now on...)

2.) I was able to track the drop in gravity and properly allow the temperature of the fermentation to rise to help the yeast finish out.

3.) A week into lagering, where i usually drop the temps a degree or two each day... I saw a temperature spike on my phone about three days in... (my son had unplugged the fridge accidently)  I caught the issue within 3 hours of it happening... so no real harm done.

4) Most of all, I really like being able to call up the graph a couple times a day during a hecktic work week and have a few moments of zen.

In my experience, you do see a spike in OG just as fermentation kicks off.  (I like it actually because it is a great indicator... it falls back to normal within a few hours)  The final gravity is not lab precise... My lager finished 1.008, and the bug was measuring 1.012... but that is not really an issue to me.  The big thing is the ability to monitor the fermenetation activity from anywhere, and the trend data really comes in useful in deciding when to allow the fermentation temps to rise up.

All in all, there are more important things to spend your money on... kettles, yeast starter equipment, fermentation chamber... but I would recommend this long before the digital refractometer, PID temp controlled burner, and conical fermenter.

Personally, I found it money well spent and would recommend it to someone like me who is a bit OCD with their fermentation.  (I failed  "pragmatic brewing 101" years ago  ;D  )

Equipment and Software / Re: Time for a New RIMS Thread!
« on: July 08, 2014, 07:53:08 AM »
Looks Like you are planning on NG.  Just a word of caution... size your supply pipe accordingly.  My dryer has 1/2in pipe... if I run it 60ft to the garage, I would not be able to supply the gas flow to support the burners you are looking at.   I would have to run bigger pipe (3/4 or 1inch I guestimate, but there are tables online to figure out how many btu for length and pipe diameter).

Keep in mind you may be running two burners at the same time, so size the pipe for that. (So if two burner at 90,000 btu, you will need to supply enough gas for 180000 btu)

Good luck!

Neat idea!  While I would not consider it to be any more sanitary than just flipping them over... I like that it keeps the dust off so they look nice when you pull them off the pile to dip into sanitizer.   

I always find myself rinsing the dust off the outside then sanitizing... this will definately help.

The only negative I can see would be if this traps moisture inside the bag, and creates humid conditons inside the bag that will allow molds to grow. 

I am thinking just leave the bottom "loose" like you have and only cover the bottles after they have dried... and it makes for the perfect dust cover....

(Now if I can only find a garbge bag big enough for my couch to cover them until company  comes...   ;D  )

Ingredients / Re: Frustrating Low finial beer PH
« on: May 17, 2014, 03:05:11 PM »
For me... I started just targeting the mash PH... and targeting lower and higher mash PH (5.0 to 5.7).

After doing some reading research, I found  indications that lower mash kettle PH would have clearer beers, and lower boil PH would not darken as fast while boiling. Lower mashing, however, had efficiency issues.   Lastly,  I also found that commercial lager I dring... would come in around 4.1 to 4.3, and my beers would be a bit higher than that. 

So... dropping the PH in the kettle was needed to drop PH down past 4.5 in the recipies I have been brewing.  I have liked the results, and the competitons scores suport a slight improvement as well.

Ingredients / Re: Frustrating Low finial beer PH
« on: May 17, 2014, 11:24:12 AM »
Interesting.... I have been taking beers down the PH scale to "brighten" flavors... I wonder which direction is the right way? 

Sounds like you are working more in the IPA relm, while I have been tinkering with the Eurpoean Lagers and English ales...(ie maltier beers with lower hop presence).

I have been moving toward 4.2/4.0 range and like what it does in those beers.

It would be interesting to brew a beer on the high side, and dose it a bit with acid to lower it and see where it takes it.  Maybe I will try to keep the PH higher on the next batch and try that idea. 

I also wonder if malt vs hop beers is a big difference on what the target is...

Good luck!

Ingredients / Re: Frustrating Low finial beer PH
« on: May 17, 2014, 06:52:09 AM »
In my experience, the more yeast re-production during fermentation, the trend toward lower beer PH.   iee. Higher initial pitch rates tends to keep beer ph higher then lower pitching rates.

Obviously, there are a great many other factors in play as well, but pitching rates are one of the variables.  Salts, acids, malt buffering and ph, etc are bigger factors that set up the initial conditions.   

I am curiouse why you are targeting such a high ph?   4.5 seems high for a finished beer.

Equipment and Software / Re: Inside of igloo cooler is cracking
« on: May 16, 2014, 08:19:45 PM »
Clear silicone caulk like what is used for fish tanks works ok.  You can pick up tubes in the caulk section at home depot.

Fixed my cooler 5 years ago when I pout a spigot in it... and drilled the hole a shade too big.

Events / Re: Recommend a taxi service for at the NHC
« on: May 12, 2014, 04:36:51 AM »
It has been 10 years since I used to grab a cap from work to the airport (I used to work in Grand Rapids) and we always used Metro Cab.   They were ontime the couple times I used them.

I can't rate them compared to the others, but I always got where I needed ontime, and they were always waiting for me at the airport when my flight arrived.

Zymurgy / Re: Cannot open issue on an
« on: May 11, 2014, 06:49:31 AM »
Yeah, the android app could use some work.  On the Asus transformer I have, the app crashes after turning a couple pages.  I wound up  finding where the app stores the base files, and open the issues in Adobe instead for reading. The issues are numbered like 106, 107, 108 etc.

It is too bad because I really like the feel of the Android app compared to the adobe reader.

I think the issues are stored in the  Android\data\ folder in the internal memory drive.

Good luck!  Hope this helps!

I work with electrical enclosures that are powder coated for a living.... they often get scuffed during installation and need a little "touch up paint".

You can probably get these colors ^^^  from Newark or local industrial electrical supplier.

I always get to farm the actual touch up part out... but cleaning off the oil on the surface followed by a mild scuffing on with sand paper is all I ask get done and I have had no issues.

Shut offs everywhere so you can isolate kegs, and make troubleshooting any leaks you may have easier.

Extra Pin Lock/Ball lock fittings... I keep inventing stuff, or using them for portable setups.

Use Starsan to check for leaks.

I keep a dedicated wrench in the brewery to remove posts on kegs.

Perl Faucets are more expensive, but the standard ones stick if not used every day... get the Perl's up front or you will find yourself replacing them later.

Dual gauge regulator is very nice, on top of that, I bought one with two attached regulators so I can run two different pressures, (I used this A LOT... mostly because I can) I keep one set for bottle filling with by Beer Gun, or set for English Ales, the other set for German Lagers. 


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Pitching Brett into Lager post-lagering?
« on: April 27, 2014, 10:57:39 AM »
Interesing idea... something very different! 

As I am thinkng through your idea... I think the two things to consider:
1.) What is the FG (Before pitching Brett)
2.) What temperature are you going to let the brett lager sit at?

I am thinking lager vs ale yeast to start is not a big issue, but how much residual sugar for the brett to munch on is the bigger thing....

I have not done a brett beer, but my understanding is that they work slow... and at lagger temps, might not work at all.   

I'd be very curiouse what you do with your temp, and how long it would take to get some decent character... (im thinking it might be three to six months depending on temps and sugar left)


Beer Recipes / Re: quasi CAP recipe help
« on: April 25, 2014, 05:05:49 AM »
From the ask 7 brewers, get 7 different answers department....   ;) 

I basically agree with Jim... it can both enhance the flavors of the malt, and take them away!

Corn does two things, bumps perceived sweetness (maybe) and reduces malt flavor

In my experience, corn provides a subtle flavor, one that I think I can taste if you tell me corn is used, but I don't pick it out on it's own.  I do not think corn adds the flavor of  sweetness per se, but... to me, it does round out the flavor profile in my opinion.  (I actually think it dries the beer out and helps the more subtle flavors of the malt "pop".  In other words, I think it helps un-muddle the malt flavors from the residual sugars, letting the characteristics of the different malts... like Vienna and Pils, be more distinctive )   However, too much corn and the body of the beer gets thinner, and the flavors go "flat" again... so it is a balancing act...

I have substituted corn/rice/dextrose and table sugar in my "lagerish ales" (like cream ale and sometimes ale yeast fermented American Pils) and I find I can use Corn, rice and sugars interchangeably.   A more experienced taster may be able to pick out corn...but I cannot.

Bottom line, I think you have a great base recipe for a CAP, and one that is simple enough, that you can play with different ingredients each time you brew it, and you can see what each ingredient does for YOU.


Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Lottery Limbo
« on: February 17, 2014, 07:45:14 AM »
As one of the people waiting to see if I get in or not, I have a few suggestions for future iterations of the lottery system.

(First off, I would like to say that I respect the difficult position of setting up a fair competition, and very much appreciate the many hours of consideration that went into creating the system we have in place this year.  If we were still running under the system we had in place two years ago, NO ONE would be happy!  What we have today is a vast improvement on where we would have been sitting without the many hours of effort and thought put in by our board members and competition organizers.  THANK YOU! )

Some thoughts on beneficial tweaks for future competitions...

1.)  As a an AHA member, one of the stated "benefits" is being able to participate in the National Homebrew Competition.  At this time, I appear to be one of the 200 some members that are not being extended this benefit. 

2.) In my entry, I listed that I would be willing to ship ANYWHERE, and I see that a number of entry sites are not at full capacity.  (Gary and Janis, thanks for the transparency on the process that was followed, it is appreciated, and helpful in allowing beneficial discussions on how to further improve the system).  I am confused that with the stated system, why I did not receive an entry position?  I would have thought by being flexible in where I shipped, I would not have been excluded unless all the entry sites we within 4 or less of being filled up.

3.) As has been stated elsewhere, the wisdom of allowing some members four entries, and some members none... seems counter intuitive.    I would be more supportive of a system that increments up the number of beers that can be entered by ALL entrants  (lottery system put in place like this year to govern what location your beers get entered), and then a second lottery to fill up any spaces left.  In other words, everyone this year would get to enter three beers, and then the remaining sites with space, go up for lottery.  What was done this year was not bad, but I am in the camp that would like to see everyone have at least one shot. 

4.) Lets start this whole process a few months earlier.  Some frustration I have felt on this process, is that I cannot execute beers for the competition now as we drift to less than 4 weeks until shipping time.  A big part of getting the best examples of beer to the competition is scheduling them to be at their prime at the right time...   Doing this lottery process by December (or November if December is too busy) would allow for a much higher quality, and larger variety of beers to be entered.  (The process for getting 6 beers ready at the right time is very different than getting ready!)

5.) PLEASE PELASE Send out notification E-mails to those that are in limbo next time.  Just something stating that you are not necessarily "out" but an acknowledgement that we are in limbo and thank/ask us for patience while the system plays out.   The personal touch goes a long way to sooth disappointment, and it helps to feel included in the process.  (having to piece together my status from reading the update on the website had me fuming for a day or two... even more so than being in limbo)

Overall, I think the system put in place this year is a VERY GOOD system put in place by the AHA, and I look forward to the continued discussion and evolution over the next year.  I know "the ship has sailed" on how this years competition will be executed, but I look forward to the discussions over the next year that will further improve the competition experience.      Thanks again to all involved!

Pages: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6 7 ... 21