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Messages - enso

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1
Zymurgy / Re: Zymurgy online?!?!
« on: December 27, 2011, 12:57:05 PM »
I have mixed feelings about this.  As an additional benefit/feature it is great.  As a planned replacement for the print edition in the future (as was mentioned in the print article I read) I think it is not.   Please be aware folks that, yes, even in 2011 (soon 2012...) there are quite a few folks with no internet access available.  I have to drive 5 miles to the public library to use the internet and I have limited times in which to do so.  I will definitely miss the print edition when it is phased out as I am sure it will be despite the reassurances to the contrary.   :'(

2
Equipment and Software / Re: Propane hardware help please
« on: October 22, 2011, 10:17:15 AM »
For now I am looking at fully manual lighting.  I want to split the line to go to both burners.  I am unsure whether I should leave the regulators on each burner or have just one at the tank.  Do I need/want ball valves for each line and where should they go?  Can I splice the flexible (rubber?) hoses that I have somehow to hardware fittings I need?

3
Equipment and Software / Re: Propane hardware help please
« on: October 21, 2011, 08:49:55 AM »
I will have to take some photos.  I was planning on "showing it off" when I had it up and running.  It ain't that spectacular but I am excited about it.   ::)

I am comfortable with plumbing propane.  I have done it in my home, though with different fittings using flexible copper and flare fittings.  The 20 lb. tank and burners I am not familiar with the fittings.  I have seen that many folks use rigid steel piping for the bulk of their setups.  It is the adapting of this to the flexible hoses and regulators that I already have I am unsure of.

4
Equipment and Software / Propane hardware help please
« on: October 21, 2011, 08:04:33 AM »
I recently upgraded my brewstand adding a pump and a dedicated HLT (and lots o' shiny stainless fittings!) with a burner.  So, now with 2 burners I would like to "hard-wire" the propane from one tank to the two burners so I do not have to keep switching the burners attached to the tank.  I have looked at hardware stores/ home centers and cannot figure out what fittings I should use to accomplish this.  I have also looked around on the internet for what other folks have but have not seen enough detail or explanation as to the fittings.

Can anyone help?  My burners are the simple blowtorch type with high pressure regulators that attach directly to the propane tank.

5
Equipment and Software / March pump. Center inlet versus side?
« on: May 20, 2011, 12:10:05 PM »
Are there any major differences?  Is one preferable to the other?

6
Equipment and Software / Re: Johnson Controls
« on: May 18, 2011, 05:50:30 AM »
I realize these don't have the prestige of all the controllers mentioned but it has worked well for me so far (about a year now)

http://cgi.ebay.com/Mini-Digital-Temperature-Controller-Thermostat-Aquarium-/270748803893?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f09e2e335

just another option.

7
For those folks with a simple setup.  Why is it that I always see a ss couple and then a hose barb in the inlet.  Is there not a hose barb that can attache directly to the pump?

8
So for the QD's did you use the polysulfone ones?  If so that would be a 1/2" male disconnect to 1/2" npt for the outlet side and a male disconnect to female 1/2" npt for the inlet?  Then with the females they are hose barbs on the other side?  Plus I will assume say 10' at least of maybe the thermoplastic hose?

So it looks like (looking at northern brewer prices) for your setup I would be looking at ~$85 worth of parts in addition to the pump?  Sound about right?

Your setup sounds simple enough.  I guess maybe I am not quite ready (economically) to get the pump yet.  I had talked myself into ~$140 (the unwired version from NB)being a doable investment.  $250 (figuring in a switch,housing and wiring) isn't really in the budget.  I guess I was not really thinking about the total picture.   :(

Bummer.  Should have worked out all the details BEFORE I thought about the possibilities.

9
So I am really ready, I think to get a march pump.  I have figured all the ways I could utilize it and it seems a good idea.  I have read as many posts around the many forums and looked at other folks set-ups for ideas.  I get the basic ideas.  All the set-ups I have seen pictures of though seem to utilize a LOT of extra hardware in the way of valves, qd's and ss fittings.  It would seem you have to spend as much in hardware as you pay for the pump itself!

Anyone have a very simple yet effective set-up?  Maybe one ball valve on the outlet and a couple of fittings with hoses?  Or do you need $50-100 of extra hardware to make the pump worthwhile in effectiveness?

10
I have tried bottle conditioning in some 1 quart growlers I have.  I had mixed results.  Some carbonated okay others not.  One recommendation is to not use the caps that have the cardboard liner.  They do not seem to seal as well.  Try and get the ones that brewpubs use for growler sales.  They have a sort of rubber(silicone?) adhesive ring inside the top of the cap.  Northern Brewer sells them.  they look like this inside:
 

The other thing you can do is wrap a length of vinyl electrical tape around the cap once it is on.  It is still possible to have it not seal well enough.  As Tygo mentioned it will take longer to carbonate.  I am not sure about this, but you may want to use less priming sugar for the 1 gallon portion than you would for the rest of the bottles.  I know you do when priming a keg.  Hopefully someone else can pick that one up...

11
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP 670 American Farmhouse blend
« on: May 11, 2011, 05:31:21 AM »
I don't think they would really be worried about that.  I know some folks out there have their own fully equipped home yeast lab but not many of us.  I "ranch" yeast but I do not have the means to create a balanced blend of yeasts designed to perform the same way each batch.

12
Equipment and Software / Re: oxidation with whirlpool chiller?
« on: May 05, 2011, 07:37:30 AM »
alrighty then.  I thought it was a legitimate concern...  guess not.   :-[

Having never seen one in action I was curious.  When I first read about them I thought the wort was being splashed back into the kettle.  I learned that was not the case later.  I guess my next suspicion was that if you had a rather vigorous whirlpool going it was going to suck air from the surface.  Personally I have never been overly concerned about HSA but I do like to learn what I can about potential risks so I can choose for myself what I will do personally.

Thanks folks.  Now back to daydreaming about my brewery...

13
Equipment and Software / oxidation with whirlpool chiller?
« on: May 04, 2011, 01:53:17 PM »
As I make a list of all the tasks a pump will make possible I am pondering this question I only vaguely considered in the past.  Do the whirlpool/immersion chiller setups cause oxidation of the wort?  Since you are pumping boiling hot wort through this system isn't there some oxygen pickup along the way?  I know the return is supposed to be below the wort surface in the kettle, but it just seems like air is going to be pulled in somewhere in the process.

14
Other Fermentables / Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« on: May 03, 2011, 11:49:43 AM »
You know what would be an interesting venture?  Setting up a company to grow exclusively the bittersharp apple varieties...foxwhelp, kingston black, and others...and then juicing them, and pasteurizing them to the point of shelf stability and bottling in plastic 1gal jugs.  Then sell through brewing supply channels.
I have no idea if they sell 'sweet' cider or apples or what but this place looks pretty cool for you new englanders

http://www.povertylaneorchards.com/

I saw an interview with the guy who started this orchard in Michael Pollen's Botany of Desire

Poverty Lane/Farnum Hill does grow and sell cider apples and other heritage varieties of apples.  They will also sell cider stock for fermenting in the fall.  Just bring your carboy(s) and they will fill it.  Last I checked it is about $8 a gallon.  Not much help to you in WI, but ask around.  You may find a source out there.  You can buy apples direct from them online I believe.  They also supply regional grocery stores with some varieties.  Less so of the cider apples at stores.  Steve Wood the owner is a pretty nice guy.  Knows his apples!

You can make decent cider with common eating apple varieties, but if you want the good stuff you need at least some bittersweet/sharp varieties in the mix.  I have made loads of cider from apples growing unnattended.  Many abandoned orchards up here in VT.  They are ususally pretty acidic though.   :P

I will bet you can find some orchards over there which grow some cider varieties.  They will likely be English/French varieties but grown there in WI.  You do not need large amounts, in fact it can become unpalatable if you put too many of certain bittersharp varieties.  There are only a few that will make good "singe varietal" ciders.  Use more familiar apples such as Liberty for the base cider and then "spice" it with some cider apples like Kingston Black, Harry Masters Jersey, or Somerset Redstreak.  If you cannot find anyone growing any cider varieties (though I bet you will if you ask around) then you can add very small amounts of crab apples to get some of the tannins and acidity.  Be careful though.  These can over power quickly!

If you do want to grow your own or just read about some cider apple varieties check these folks out.

http://www.cumminsnursery.com/cidervar.htm

Get out and start talking to the orchardists.  If you show some knowledge and interest I am sure they will be happy to talk apples with you and point you in the right direction!  Sharing some of your cider efforts can't hurt either!

15
Equipment and Software / Re: All electric brewing system
« on: May 03, 2011, 09:39:14 AM »
It seems to me there is a bunch of info out there on electric brew systems.  It is perhaps scattered around in parts though.  Check this and other forums and search for electric. 

I do not recall ever seeing a prefab electric brew setup for sale.  It seems most folks build themselves.  I think you can do it more economical that way...  If you know what you are doing when it comes to wiring.  Electricity is not something to play around with if you do not.  Especially when combined with liquids!

What size set-up do you want?  I have seen electric setups using coolers for MLT and HLT and then a kettle for the boil.  I think there was a write-up on wort-o-matic on building a cooler hlt with water heater elements. 

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