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Messages - malzig

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1
All Grain Brewing / Re: Cooler for all grain
« on: September 03, 2013, 04:42:23 PM »
A dip tube will solve dead space problems.  For the cheap and simple solution, just attach the braid to one end of a few inches of copper tubing and run the other end through a bung in the drain hole.

2
All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« on: August 26, 2013, 09:08:30 AM »
Once a wise old brewer told me that consistent efficiency is more important that how high. That's good, cuz I think I run about 70%, but I am always within a few points of my target or expected OG
I've found that one of the most reliable ways to get consistent efficiency is to learn how to approach 100% conversion on your system.  A pleasant side effect of converting all the starch is high efficiency.

I'm also happy with 75% efficiency, which is why I usually go no-sparge. It also gives me the arguable benefits to flavor.

3
All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« on: August 26, 2013, 04:14:15 AM »
I know that this is a YMMV-thing, but is a range of 70% - 80% considered normal efficiency?
If you sit down and do the math, an optimized, single batch sparge following complete conversion maxes out around 89% for a 1.050 beer, depending on the percent of your volume you boil off.  I usually get 87% for my typical 12 Plato beers batch sparged.  For a batch sparge, unless you have a large dead volume and leave a lot of wort behind in the tun, I would consider anything above 80% "normal" for a batch sparge, since that would indicate >90% conversion and about a pint of dead space.  For comparison, I get ~75% for a no sparge of a beer that same size, so I've almost completely abandoned sparging.

If you are stuck using a LHBS crush, you may never get good conversion without performing a step mash to higher gelatinization temperatures.  I crush very fine, and would have an occasional batch run slow if I opened the runoff too quickly.  Now I malt condition, so I never have a slow runoff.

4
All Grain Brewing / Re: First All-Grain - Overall success.
« on: August 06, 2013, 04:55:42 PM »
Excellent! My only suggestion for next time is to wait until 8ish before you mash in  :P
Whippersnapper, by then you've already missed the best part of the day! ;)

5
All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« on: August 04, 2013, 10:50:27 AM »
As for the dead space in my tun is a 10 gallon rubbermade with a mesh screen tube as the filter, 2/3 a gallon is what you would calculate my dead space to be?

A lower mash temp say of high 140s will slow down my conversion correct?
I estimated your dead space from the volume you added to the tun, minus 0.12 gal/# absorption rate, and your collected volume.  There seems to be about 2/3 gallons unaccounted for.

It's common for brewers to mash longer when they mash in the 140s.  I've never measured the effect, but below 150 F+ you are pushing the lower limit of efficient starch gelatinization.
I'd recommend a stir right before running off the first runnings, too.  When I have forgotten to do this I got reduced efficiency.
It's fascinating to hear about different techniques that people use.  For me, stirring before run off makes no difference.
I can only draw a correlation between lower than expected gravity on a few batches and realizing that I hadn't stirred.  It wasn't a solid data set, and the effect was minor, but it seemed to be reproducible and it threw me off my usually very predictable efficiency.  It's been a while, though, and it isn't really a variable in my current system, since I almost always do an alpha rest.   I saw a larger effect by forgetting to stir in the sparge water.  Not that I'm forgetful or anything...

6
All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« on: August 04, 2013, 08:16:52 AM »
Lots of good info in this thread. I noticed the O/P said he had  5* drop after stirring. I noticed early in my brewing that my first temp readings were terribly inaccurate right at stirring. Now I stir really well, close the lid on my cooler, wait a few minutes for things to stabilize and then adjust if necessary.
Excellent point.  If you take the temperature reading too early, you might still be equilibrating the temperature.  In that case, you could be mashing lower than you think because most of that heat will be lost during the first few minutes.  If you are mashing in the mid 140s instead of the low 150s, you could get reduced or slow conversion.

I stir in well, close the lid, come back in 5 minutes, stir, and check the temperature again.  That second temperature measurement is usually within 2 degrees of what it will be after an hour.

7
All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« on: August 04, 2013, 06:57:00 AM »
I'd recommend a stir right before running off the first runnings, too.  When I have forgotten to do this I got reduced efficiency.

Sparge temperature shouldn't make much difference unless you haven't fully converted your grain before the sparge.  A possible exception might be for very high gravity beers, but I can't speak to that.  For the beers I make, I often sparge with 150-160F water and still get efficiencies of >85%.

Nocosan, if your volumes are near accurate, they make it look like you have about 2/3 gallon of dead space in your tun.  If that is true, that will hurt your efficiency. 

Also, a starch test won't tell you if you have converted your grain completely, only that the starch in solution is converted.  Late in the mash, solubility of the starch becomes limiting, so that test is misleading.  You should check the gravity of your wort, after stirring and vorlauf, to see in your grain is converted.  Kai Troester has a handy chart that will tell you what the gravity should be based on your mash thickness, here.

One way to improve conversion with a less than ideal crush is to add a short alpha amylase rest up around 160F, which will improve starch gelatinization.

8
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Corny Keg Hardware
« on: July 24, 2013, 05:57:56 PM »
Beer lines should be 4-5' and gas is usually not an issue in length.
Length is going to depend on pressure in the keg and the quality of the particular line.  Many people require more like 7-8' to prevent over-foaming and flat beer in the glass.  There's some math that you can do, but my buddy, who prefers lively carbonation, just installs 10' and trims until he can bear the flow rate, but before foaming becomes a problem.

9
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Carbonation
« on: July 16, 2013, 03:22:12 AM »
Interesting, although found this also as well as several other technical articles and it really appears that on a home brew scale it really shouldn't be an issue
http://www.rpi.edu/dept/chem-eng/Biotech-Environ/beer/water2.htm
Hmm, I would have expected it to be more of a problem among homebrewers, since calcium levels are often poorly controlled, beer is often not cold conditioned prior to bottling, and beer is rarely filtered.

10
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Carbonation
« on: July 15, 2013, 04:21:59 PM »

We have found that after our beer has been bottled for several months that it has a very large head on it when we pour. It doesn't matter how slow we pour or how angled the glass is - it foams up like crazy. Are we doing something wrong or does this happen often with natural carbonation?
One common source of gushing that is often ignored is calcium oxalate, or beer stone.  If Calcium is low in your brewing process, beer stone can form in the bottle, instead of the tun and kettle, and lead to gushing.

Interesting, do you have a reference or can you explain, never heard of this...
Here's a quick one everyone should be able to access.

11
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Carbonation
« on: July 15, 2013, 03:58:59 PM »
We have found that after our beer has been bottled for several months that it has a very large head on it when we pour. It doesn't matter how slow we pour or how angled the glass is - it foams up like crazy. Are we doing something wrong or does this happen often with natural carbonation?
One common source of gushing that is often ignored is calcium oxalate, or beer stone.  If Calcium is low in your brewing process, beer stone can form in the bottle, instead of the tun and kettle, and lead to gushing.

12
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Got beef with "American IPA"
« on: July 12, 2013, 03:46:46 AM »
Ok so from now on IPA ( pronounced: eye-pee-ay) is now a WORD used to describe a particular style of beer. It is not an acronym for ANYTHING! Unless it's brewed in England.
What do you have against India?

13
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Refractometer Sale
« on: July 11, 2013, 04:54:58 PM »
Quote
...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%)?
I think so, since 1.000 means no sugar, which makes it your baseline.  Effectively, 1.000 is your "0" point.

14
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Got beef with "American IPA"
« on: July 11, 2013, 04:45:19 PM »
Black IPA, so what if it's not "pale"? Many IPA's and pale ales aren't very "pale" anyway.
Or we could call it by the name the Brits used for it more than 100 years ago, KK Ale, instead of making believe we invented something that no one has ever thought of before, so we get to name it.

15
Reading Mitch Steele's book and understanding just how much hops the original IPA had in it (6 lbs of hops per bbl, not including dry hops) and seeing how high the original gravity was (often times 1.070+) I realized how much more like our version of IPA is compared to what IPA in England has become. Sure, there are vast differences. Ours use pure cultures, are not aged for months or years, etc. But I think our IPA name is probably more accurate than what you would find in England.
I've had some of the historic recreations that Ron Pattinson has worked on with Pretty Things and beers were shockingly similar to the beers we think we have created.  In the 19th century, Brits were making pale colored, all base malt, hugely hopped beers with American hops.  Everything old is new again.

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