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Messages - Jeff M

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All Grain Brewing / Re: MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« on: March 03, 2013, 04:25:53 PM »
Mill is the first thing on my purchase list! I also need to make a Hop spider, because we lost a lot to hop pellets at the bottom of the kettle and no way to filter it all out.  whirlpooling only seems to work for Hop Flowers, or am i doing it wrong?

Can anyone check my math for my eff, i keep having this nagging thought that something is wrong.

Batch 1 was 1.060 at 65F and 7 Gallons.
Back 2 was 1.015 at 73F and 2.5 Gallons.(we added a bunch of corn sugar to this to see what would happen.  Free beer is free beer
The grain bill was 17LBs total.
If you could please show you work that would be awesome. im pretty sure i did it correctly, but its nice to know for sure.

I purchased Beersmith a few weeks ago, but didnt input the recipe because it was a kit.  Il going to put it threw and see what it says.

Mashing.  We also preheated our MT with about a gallon of boiling water and emptied it before adding the grist and water.  Im fairy certain it was at about this point our false bottom started floating and the grain got under it during the heavy stirring to make sure the grain didnt doughball to the bottom.  Im going to invest in a bazooka screen anyway, they seem cheap and its just a fun thing to play with.  I may use it in my kettle once i install the weldless bulkhead.

Water. Im going to research the water we are using and figure out what needs to be added. Ive been reading Gordon Strong's book and he recommends adding 2 different chemicals, one is gypsum and the other is calcium chloride?  He also suggests using physphoric acid for PH.  Ill figure out that whole mess in time.

All Grain Brewing / MY First All Grain Experience(Long)
« on: March 03, 2013, 05:58:09 AM »
So My Buddy and I just ventured into All-Grain.  The setup I purchased.
15 G Stainless Steel BC Pot W propane Burner, Weldless spigot to follow
10 Gallon Red Rubbermaid Drink Cooler
50 Ft Stainless steel immersions chiller, with a therminator waiting for when we are ready
8” gravity fed Fly Sparge Arm attached to an old leaky(ha) truebrew bottling bucket.
I also bought every chemical known to man and a whole bunch of other sundries which I had read where handy, such as a Thermopen.  How I lived without a Thermopen I just don’t know.
The Story of our first All Grain Batch.
My buddy Rob called me Thursday night and we arranged to brew.  It had been a while and we had stuff stacking up.  I had all this shiny new All Grain Equipment sitting in my house waiting to be used but knew that it would take a certain amount of prep before it was ready.  Hoses needed to be measured out, spigots needed to be checked for leaks and everything had to be cleaned.  So being the overzealous person that I am, I suggested to Rob that we drag all this stuff to his house so we could check it out while we brew an Extract Kit that we have had for a while.  He swings by my house about noon and we toss everything into his car and away we go.  After a stop at CVS for Yellow Kitchen gloves to save us from PBW and Iodine for starch Tests we hit his house.  After a small amount of conversation we decide to All Grain because why not.  Our LHBS recently started selling All grain kits and we chose to do the Dogfish Head 90 Min Clone kit I bought instead of a doing the recipe I found on the AHA forums for Old Richards Ale that I had pieced together that had very poor instructions for Newbies.  The Kit came with solid instructions and we knew what needed to be done.

The Instructions
16 lbs American 2-Row 1 lbs English Crystal Malt 2.75 oz Amarillo pellets 1.2 oz Warrior pellets 1.2 oz Simcoe pellets 1 tsp Irish Moss Dry English Ale Yeast Two Days before Brew Day
• Recommended: Prepare a 1.5 Liter yeast starter, using the yeast starter reference guide on Brew Day Prepare your water • Add 10.52 gallons of water to your Hot Liquor Tank; heat to 163.7° F. Mash
• Transfer 6.12 gallons to your Mash/Lauter Tun. While stirring with mash paddle, slowly add grain to the Mash/Lauter Tun to avoid dry pockets. Stir until mash temp reaches 150° F
• Cover your Mash/Lauter Tun & steep grain for 75 minutes @ 150° F. While steeping, heat the
remaining water in the Hot Liquor Tank to 168° F. After the 75 minute mash slowly drain 1 qt of wort at a time into a pitcher & pour gently back into the Mash/Lauter Tun until the wort is running clear. Fly Sparge
• Over 60-90 minutes, trickle the water from the Hot Liquor tank into the Mash/Lauter Tun while slowly
trickling the mash into the Boil Kettle. Adjust the ball valves to achieve equal flow rates. Stop the flow
when the Boil Kettle volume reaches 7.68 gallons. Use the thief and hydrometer to record the
temperature and gravity readings, adjust for temperature. Boil Schedule
Time Action Heating – untimed Heat the wort in your Boil Kettle to a full boil 0 minute mark Add 0.45 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 15 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 30 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 45 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 60 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 75 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets & Irish Moss 85 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 90 minute mark Remove from heat, Cool the wort to 70°F using a wort chiller. Oxygenation
• Drain 5.5 gallons of chilled wort into a clean & sanitized primary fermenting bucket/carboy. • Draw a sample with a thief; record temperature and gravity readings, adjust for temperature. • Oxygenate: stir vigorously or transfer wort between your fermenter and a second cleaned/sanitized
bucket. Fermentation
• Pitch the yeast into the wort • Seal with the lid and insert airlock. • Ferment in primary for 7 days at 68°-72° F. Transfer to secondary & dry hop with 1 oz Amarillo, 0.50 oz Warrior, & 0.50 oz Simcoe pellets until final gravity has been reached, about 10 days. • Keg or bottle as preferred; refer to for further information

Fast Forward to 2 O’clock.  After a ration of $#%@ from Robs wife for all the new boxes in their kitchen, we are off to the races to All Grain!!!!!  The New kettle, Immersion Coil, and a few other Stainless items have been Cleaned with PBW and I am grinding the 17 LB grain bill on our 20 dollar Corona Mill.  I moaned about buying a better Mill while cranking away and kept checking our crush.  Shredded hulls everywhere!  After getting our water to the suggested temp we start slowly adding our grains to the Cooler with about half a LB of Rice Hulls that I had bought at our LHBS because I just had one of those feelings.

Disaster #1
 After Mashing for about 30 Min we check the temp and we have dropped to about 146F, the recipe suggests 150F.  We got an additional ~1 gallon of water to a boil and added it and got back to 153F and put the lid back on.   Disaster avoided, although we have much more water in the MT then we really wanted.  At the end of our 75 min steep we were still at 151F and I was happy that our new Cooler held temps so well.  After some fidgeting we are ready to pull the wort.

Disaster #2
We start pulling the First L of Wort out of the MT to recirculate the wort and there is grain in it!  We had a false bottom in the MT and that just shouldn’t of been happening, I could only assume that the False bottom became disconnected from the bulkhead and we were pulling grain and all.  The Spigot quickly became clogged.  The only thing I could think of was to empty the MT back into our kettle to reattach the False Bottom and transfer everything back.  25 Scoops of hot Grist later and we get to the bottom.  The False Bottom is still connected and the Grist had managed to get under the False Bottom.  After a small amount of fidgeting we clear out under the False Bottom and transfer the Grist back into the MT.  Try #2 has no Grain in it and the wort is looking great!  Disaster #2 Avoided! Time to RDWHAHB.

As we start sparging we play with our Spigot to keep the Flow into the LT about the same as the flow coming out of the Sparge Arm.  Im pretty sure we failed this step but it is what it is.  There was some serious confusion between Rob and I because the Instructions told us to collect ~8 Gallons of wort during Sparge and we collected about that but had tons left.  We drained the remained of the wort into our 5 Gallon Pot and decided to boil it down to see if we could make a small batch of something.

We boiled the Wort for 90 Minutes and hit all our Hop additions on time and the wort was starting to smell hoppy and great.  We bring the Pot full of wort back in the house and start up the Immersion Chiller.  Why hadn’t we used one of these before! What an awesome device.  The 45F Tap water cooled that wort down to 68F in about 6 minutes.    Time to check the Gravity!

Disaster #3
1.061…. Why are we so low, we seemed to hit our temps and boiled down a good amount of the wort and had about what we needed volume wise.  We couldn’t exactly measure how much Wort we had, because our Kettle has yet to be measured and marked.  OG is marked on the Instructions as 1.084 so we are hugely off.  I did a little math and saw our Potential Gravity was 612 points but we only hit 427 Points.  So our Mash Efficiency was 70%, which was good considering some of the numbers I had seen.  But we were still super low.  I later found out that I had only ground up 12 Lbs of grain, which gave us a  Potential gravity at 432, so our Mash Eff was rather high in the 90% range, is that possible?  SO we fill up our Carboy and finish cleaning up.

Questions/comments I have about the process.
 We didn’t adjust our Water in any way.  We used Tap water, I don’t know what the mineral profile is for the Water we use, but we need to address that
We didn’t check PH in any way shape or form.  I did try once with the PH Test strips I had purchased, but the color on the Strip wasn’t anything near any of the example.  When should we be checking PH and does anyone have a PH meter they recommend?
We made a 1.5L starter for this beer, which is currently working away. Is one vial of yeast enough to make a starter of that size?
How do people clean their Kettles? 15G Pots are huge and just don’t fit in sinks.
The Propane Burner we used had most of the paint charred off due to the heat, is there a way to protect this piece of equipment from the rust im sure will be forming on it in the near future?
I tried doing a starch test and I never saw the color change that was suggested would happen.  I purchased Iodine at CVS, But it was Called Iodine-(something) is there a specific type of iodine needed for this test? Will a refractometer be better for me?

Thanks for reading all of this, I look forward to comments and suggestions to help my All Grain experience to be all the better,

All Grain Brewing / Brewing Calculator and Mash Eff
« on: February 10, 2013, 05:27:20 PM »
Hey All,

    So I'm set up for my first all grain Batch and i have a few questions.  How do you figure out how efficient your Mash is?  IS there a Recipe calculator out there that people use to determine potential sugars so you can take measurements and compare them to the numbers the calculator spits out?  Pretty nervous about doing this the first time:)


Equipment and Software / Re: Garage Setup
« on: January 31, 2013, 09:35:10 PM »
here is another thread:

Awesome, maybe someday ill understand what all that means;)  gonna start with propane, then maybe ill look at electric.

Equipment and Software / Re: Garage Setup
« on: January 31, 2013, 06:42:01 PM »
I highly recommend stripping and acid cleaning your floor, then sealing with an epoxy based sealer - makes cleanup much, much easier and it looks nice too. 

As for electricity, plan out what equipment you will need, then consult with an electrician.  He'll probably also suggest some places to put outlets that you didn't think of.  GFCI is a must, as was mentioned, and if you do want to brew with all doors closed, a hood/vent fan combo is also needed.

Lots of "how tos" here:

Here's a pic of my brewery:

I talked to Rustoleum, Their Epoxy Floor Kits are not safe on asphalt, but im not 100% sure my slab is asphalt, so thats gonna be fun.  A very good friend of mine thats interested in brewing is an Electrician, so ill make sure everything is done correctly with options for a keezer and lagering fridge etc.  Any recommndations for what to think of when it comes to expansion, with this being my first foray into AG im unsure what i may need in the future.

You have an awesome setup man, im very jealous.  But ill get there in time;)  a breakdown of what you have going on in your setup would be awesome, im very curious.


Homebrew Clubs / MA North Shore CLubs
« on: January 31, 2013, 03:29:49 AM »
Any clubs int he North shore area in MA?

Equipment and Software / Re: Warming Fermenters a Few Degrees
« on: January 31, 2013, 01:33:29 AM »
MY LHBS has been promoting the Thermovest.  They have been using it in their shop(which is based out of a warehouse) in MA, where it has been fridgidly cold before today.  might be worth looking in to, altho they seem expensive.

Equipment and Software / Re: Where to get specialized faucet adapters
« on: January 30, 2013, 09:32:32 PM »

Any way, does anyone have a resource where I might find an adapter to attach a garden hose to the faucet?  I need this for filling and cleaning the carboys and kegs.  I also need this for running my city water through a filter to remove chlorine.

thanks for any help anyone can provide.

Fermtech Makes an adapter for there products that will fit your needs i think.  It has the standard faucet threadins one one side, and on the other its has a hose thread, and the smaller threadings commonly used with home brewing(1/2 MPT i think)  I looked ont here website and couldnt find it, but my i got it at my LHBS for ~5 bucks.  Ill see if i can dig the specs out when i get home, or you could just email fermtech.

Equipment and Software / Re: Garage Setup
« on: January 30, 2013, 05:16:51 PM »
One of the guys in our club has one of those small 10 gallon electric water heaters that fit under the counter and feeds it with filtered water.  Turns it on a few hours before brewing and BOOM, instant strike water!

Ill probably end up running a hose. the water in my hometown is quite soft so i can add salts etc to it for hardness.  ill get a breakdown of it from the local water company when brewing begins to tailor the water to what i want.  im more worried about drainage, as the frost line here is VERY deep, i have a feeling thats gonna be a headache.

Equipment and Software / Re: Garage Setup
« on: January 30, 2013, 02:16:47 PM »
GFI protection on your outlets. Oh, and one other thing too. GFI protection on your outlets.

If the garage is going to be closed up during brewing, you'll need a ventilation hood for steam and combustion gases (assuming gas burners). With proper ventilation the plastic sheeting walls are nice but not manditory.

A good friend of mine is a licenses electrician, ill be sure to tell him i need GFI protection.  The garage is well aired, it has 3 windows and a door, and they dont need to be closed during brewing, cept when its freezing out.  ill have to look at vent hoods.

Im assuming the only thing ill need permits for is water and sewerage, but ill go have a chat with whoever deals with these things at town hall.
Thanks guys:)

Equipment and Software / Garage Setup
« on: January 30, 2013, 05:56:05 AM »
Hi Folks!

       I have been getting pretty big into brewing and have decided to convert my garage into a brewery/test kitchen.  My problem is that the garage has been a open air exterior type garage for many many years.  While it has recently had work done to it, its still unfinished and "wild".   I have thought of a few things i need to do to it to make it a viable workplace, but i need unknowns filled in.

Things i think need to be done.
1.  Pressure wash of entire garage.(certain psi? Soap?)
2. Running electricity to and inside of garage.( how many outlets? suggested amps for things i dont know about?)
3. Water and sewerage, is the convenience worth it?  I live in MA.  Its Cold.  Running pipe threw the foundation for sewerage is out of the question, but is there another way?
4. Insulation.  Blown or fiberglass?
5. Walling.  IVe been looking at plastic sheeting since its easily cleanable and im worried about moisture problems in drywall, causing mold and other horriblness.  Would i need a vapor barrier? what else?
6.  Flooring.  Old asphalt slab.  i have seen cement floor finishers that seal and make pristine, is it worth it?

    IM sure there are things ive forgotten, but im really just looking for input because im out of my depth and i want to make sure i dont make rookie mistakes.


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