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Messages - drjones

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Looks like just 16 for me, plus 1 cider and a recent mead, but I haven't been at it too long.  Most of these were my own creations, though, and NOT exactly to style.  Hope to add one more this weekend.  Time for a hefeweizen before summer is over!  My most repeated category is Saison - still searching for that perfect combination.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Refractometer Sale
« on: July 11, 2013, 05:20:26 PM »
...15 Brix~1.058 on the refractometer's scale (with nothing on the plate) - should be closer to 1.061 (0.28% higher)...
I'd consider that to be off by 5.3%, etc., but I suppose that's semantics.
Hmm.  I calculated 1.061/1.058 = 1.0028, so I should instead calculate the change as 0.061/0.058 = 1.0517 (~5.2%)?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: US-05 at low temp
« on: July 10, 2013, 04:54:57 PM »
Only once have I used dry yeast (S-05), and as in everything else I do, I researched rehydrating exhaustively and followed what I learned to the best of my ability.  It was a bust.  Nothing.  I ran down to the LHBS and picked up some wet yeast and off it went.

I've never experienced any issues with US-05 - it has always been fool-proof.  I have normally just sprinkled a single pack over the foamy head on the wort after aeration and not stirred to give it time to absorb fluids slowly.  Lately I've been rehydrating my dry yeasts (e.g. Belle Saison).  It is probably wiser to let the cells gently absorb H20 and build up their cell walls, but I have not experienced any fermentation issues when I have not done so at the 5-gallon batch size for normal gravity beers.  I've also seen some "old schoolers" from a nearby club just dump a pack into their very high-gravity IPAs.  They seem to do fine.  I always keep US-05 on hand in the fridge for any unanticipated brewing needs.  It's a work horse for most American style ales.  I'm a fan of dry yeast - perhaps I'm just cheap.  My last liquid purchase was a Koelsch - liquid is obviously great for specialty varieties like that. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Refractometer Sale
« on: July 10, 2013, 03:09:06 AM »
OK, something funny may in fact be going on with the Brix-SG scale in the dual scale refractometer I have.  The side to side scales look good until you hit the 15 Brix range.  15 Brix~1.058 on the refractometer's scale (with nothing on the plate) - should be closer to 1.061 (0.28% higher).  20 brix~1.078, should be about 1.083 (0.46% higher).  30 Brix~1.117 - should be 1.129 (1% higher).  I've tended to brew under 1.060 since I've had the refractometer, so nothing really jumped out at me that suggested a problem.  I did just make a mead that read 30 Brix - and in this range I suppose I will not be able to trust the SG readings.  Hopefully the Brix value is at least correct.  I did some quick tests on sugar solutions, but now need to explore that a bit further at higher gravity ranges.
Anyone else's dual scale have similar values?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Refractometer Sale
« on: July 09, 2013, 04:22:43 PM »
Lately I've been doing mostly 6 gallon batches split into two three gallon fermenters to experiment with different yeasts.  Greater variety of beer for essentially the same effort, and I'm learning more.

Re. refractometers - the one on amazon looks identical to one I picked up last year (for twice the price!), though mine came in a soft case and did not include the adjustment screwdriver.  I've been very pleased with it.  I'll have to check the gravity scale against the Brix reading using another calculator sometime, but I have had no reason to believe it is inaccurate.  The main reason I went to the refractometer is that I was sick of breaking hydrometers - when it was starting to cost more than a new refractometer at $50, I made the plunge and have had no regrets.  The adjusted FG calculated by the Beersmith refractometer tool appears to give very reasonable numbers - but this, too, should be checked against the hydrometer - maybe someday when I'm feeling less lazy.

Going Pro / Re: Why Plato?
« on: July 09, 2013, 04:00:20 PM »
I says to myself - I'm sure there is a SG refractometer out there. Sure enough - dual scale ...
AND IT'S ON SALE FOR $15 (from $90). SCORE!!!

They are going for $23 now - still way less than I paid just a few months ago.  If you don't have a refractometer, there is no more excuse not to.  Maybe it's overkill, but I love taking regular readings off my sparge runoff, from the fermenter, etc. a drop at a time.  Besides, the geek factor will bring oohs and aahs from your brew day audience.  That alone is worth the $23!  White lab coat anyone?

Thanks, Eric.  I appreciate the advice.  That gives me more confidence that all will go well.

Yeast and Fermentation / Go-Ferm substitute for rehydration? (mead)
« on: July 06, 2013, 01:48:54 PM »
Will be doing a mead this afternoon.  If anyone sees this in time and has some experience with meads, is there a close substitute for go-ferm during yeast rehydration?  I have on hand LD Carlson Yeast Energizer, Fermax yeast nutrient and some Wyeast Nutrient blend.  I believe the go-ferm is primarily composed of yeast-derived minerals/vitamins that help initial cell wall development.  I've also heard that DAP added too soon can be stressful to the yeast.  I suspect the Wyeast blend may be most appropriate.
Any thoughts?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How much head space in fermenter to much
« on: July 01, 2013, 05:21:03 PM »
That's at anchor brewery. there are three more like that in that room and another room with two more
How do these large facilities manage C02 buildup? I suppose you just need a low fan to draw it off, but it seems like it could become an issue (in any large brewery, I guess).  One of the NHC talks on historical brewing this weekend mentioned 19th C. basement open fermenting vats that sometimes resulted in very dead brewers going down to check on their beer...

If anyone still has any of the RGB Pilsner from the conference lying around you might want to get it out of the house:
I heard rumors of exploding cans Friday AM at the registration table.  Put mine in the car.  When I checked in on it just before the banquet it looked like the one pictured.  Very gently removed it, but apparently the walk toward the trash bin in the parking garage was too much - damn thing exploded in my hand.  Luckily just the top went, and luckily it sprayed (mostly) away from me.  Sounded like a bomb, but aside from a slight bruise I was unscathed.  Hope no one got hurt from one of those!  I suspect they rushed to can these for the event before they had fermented out.  Shouldn't you be filtering out the yeast if you are canning?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Who's going to NHC?
« on: June 27, 2013, 04:30:36 PM »
Tonight I'll crash at a friend's place on the way south from CT and hope to arrive early tomorrow AM for the first talks.  Can't wait.
Enjoy Pro-Night for me!!!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Best Beers You Ever Brewed?
« on: June 27, 2013, 04:22:46 PM »
How about a worst beer list?
I'd say my chocolate weizen experiment (schokoweizen - i still think it could be done right - but this one wasn't)  and very likely the Belgian double I just bottled with too much star anise as a late boil addition (1/2 oz - should have tried 1/2 tsp)... ah well, that's how we learn.

On the good side were the simple ones, like an APA with six row, 1# biscuit malt, and three cascade additions.
My last saison (wheat, pilsner, aromatic) hopped with Motueka was pretty OK, too.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Zymurgy Top-Ranked Beers
« on: June 19, 2013, 03:43:07 PM »
I just checked Chris Frey's 2010 AHA demographic summary /forum/index.php?topic=2717.0 but there is no mention of the proportion of members east vs. west of the Mississippi.  Anyone know this?  The top 100 certainly seemed to express a West Coast bias.
Pliny-less in New England

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Who's going to NHC?
« on: June 12, 2013, 06:43:57 PM »
I was only able to register for the Friday-Saturday slot, so I suppose I'll miss the Thursday get-together (and Pro-Night  :'().  Hope to bump into the forum crowd at some point.  I'll likely be in a black utilikilt much of the time.

Chiming in late - snuck in a Belgian dubbel (1.063) between Saturday chores.  The mash went three hours because I was running errands.  Split 6 gallons into two batches - one Ardennes (Achouffe), the other Belle Saison dry.  12# Maris Otter, 1# Munich, 0.5# special B, pale chocolate (2 oz), 1# dark jaggery palm sugar.  Kept it honest with 1.5 oz. Styrian Goldings at 60 min, and 1.5 more at 45, but then threw in 1 oz Mosiac at 5 min for fun.

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