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Messages - el_capitan

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All Grain Brewing / Water Profile for a Schwarzbier?
« on: August 05, 2015, 07:55:54 PM »
I'm preparing to brew the "Doing it in the Dark" Schwarzbier recipe from BCS. I'm using Bru'nWater for water adjustments and starting from RO.  I'm using the "brown malty" profile but skewing the numbers toward the "brown balanced" profile, shooting for somewhere in between.  My problem is that I'm having a hard time raising the pH to an acceptable level.  I can get the pH to 5.3 by adding plenty of chalk and baking soda, but the problem then is that my sodium level is way up at 44.4.  I do plan to dissolve the chalk under CO2 gas ahead of time.

So, first question - is that sodium level too high, or should I just go with it?

Otherwise, should I leave the dark grains out of the main mash, and just use them to cap the mash before the sparge?  I guess I'd be losing some gravity points by doing it that way. 

This recipe calls for chocolate malt, Carafa II, and roasted barley.  I'm kind of at a loss here, but thankfully the brewday is about a week out and I have a whole community of pros at my fingertips here.  Help a brother out!  Thanks.

The Pub / Brand new beer style...
« on: April 21, 2015, 04:20:55 PM »
I just poured half a slightly undercarbed IPA, so I topped it up with a nice black IPA.  I think I just invented Brown IPA. 

Paint the Town Brown! 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: One happy dad
« on: March 17, 2015, 07:20:41 PM »
That's so cool.  I think it's great for kids to see beer as a hobby and intellectual pursuit, rather than an avenue to drunkenness. 

Here are a couple of my proud moments:

When I used to get home from work, Noah would say, "Cheh, brr!  Cheh brrr!"  (Check the beer).  One time he even mumbled it in his sleep!  What a riot.  But it's super cool to see that your kids tune in to what's important to you and want to be a part of it. 

Now these guys are 5 and 7 years old and growing like weeds.  Time flies, man.  Treasure these days.  We have one more on the way in June, and I can't wait to meet this new little person!   8)

All Grain Brewing / Re: What was I thinking?
« on: March 13, 2015, 05:21:32 PM »
I can recommend the Gratzer/Grodziskie for sure.  I brewed one back in the fall and it was really great.  The smoke character was subtle but definitely a component.  The smoke did fade with time though, so plan to drink this one fresh.  A really nice beer with a unique character.  Go for it!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Grains Before Water (Mash question)
« on: March 13, 2015, 05:20:04 PM »
I'm with Denny and Dan here. If you use your strike to pre-heast the tun, are you temping the tun before adding grains? Assuming that it is the temp of your strike water, etc. The one time I tried to pre-heat, I way over shot my intended temp, even though I thought I had accounted for everything properly. I just know where the tun is, and temp strike water to get where I need to be

I actually plan to overshoot my mash temp.  Then I add ice cubes to drop the temp.  For me, each ice cube from the fridge dispenser drops the temp by about 0.2 degrees.  I would rather mash in high and drop the temp right to my target than try to monkey around with boiling water additions.  Works for me - give it a shot!  A jar of ice is a standard component of my brewday.  :)

The Pub / Re: New toy
« on: March 08, 2015, 06:11:25 PM »
I saw something (maybe on the old Brewhaha?) where somebody had converted their RV faucet to dispense beer. 

Check out this link - looks pretty sweet. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hulk Smash
« on: February 21, 2015, 04:39:53 PM »
I had that happen once when I was showing my mother-in-law how the smack packs work.  She ended up showered in yeast, and was not too happy with me...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Extreme Weather Brewing
« on: February 21, 2015, 04:09:19 PM »
This winter has been so much better than last!  There was one day last year when the governor cancelled school.  It was -51 degrees with the windchill (I don't remember actual air temp) but I went ahead and brewed a batch out in the garage.  I was surprised my propane tank didn't freeze up - although I brought it inside overnight in anticipation.  Brewed up a Munich Helles and called it Helles Frozen Over. 

Cheers to cold weather brewing! 

The Pub / Re: Homebrewing in 2015
« on: February 08, 2015, 09:36:30 PM »
I've been printing brewday sheets for the last 50 batches or so, along with online and hard drive storage.  A majority of these batches have been real winners to brew repeatedly, so I could easily go back through the logs and recreate something I've done before. 

But, if it was a new batch (and it often is) then I'd want all my tools to calculate water, etc.  Gotta keep on brewing my way through BCS, but Northern Brewer is rolling out some new kits that sound intriguing too. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: CO2 tank for Tasting Event
« on: January 11, 2015, 05:26:18 PM »
One option would be to charge up an empty keg with CO2, and then use that to push the beer.  The problem I foresee with this method though is that you'd be starting off with a fairly high serving pressure and then slowly decreasing as the night goes on.  Maybe you'd get by with only 20 lb of pressure in the CO2 keg, but I really don't know how far the gas would go.  Might be a good time to pick up a keg charger after all. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: first homebrew with 5 gallon mash tun
« on: December 27, 2014, 10:26:14 AM »
I started out with a 10-gal mash tun, and that works great for almost any 5-gallon batch.  You're pushing it on big beers though.

When I scaled back to 3-gal batches, I built a 5-gal mash tun.  The 5-gal tun has worked great for 3-gal batches, even an Imperial Stout (although again, it was pushing it). 

If I were you, I'd consider doing 3-gal batches and fermenting in a 5-gal carboy.  Incidentally, all of the recipes in Brewing Classic Styles are actually formulated for 6 gallons, so it's pretty easy to cut one of those in half. 

The Pub / Re: Evil Dead TV Show
« on: December 22, 2014, 06:18:49 PM »
Whoa - I forgot all about Evil Dead.  Total flashback to high school... thanks.   8)  Now I'm wishing my boys were a lot older. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Measuring a Gallon
« on: December 15, 2014, 07:48:43 PM »
So how hard would it be for big kettle manufacturers to publish a volume/depth chart with purchase of their kettles?  I have a nice Polarware 10-gal pot, and I bet it would have been pretty easy for them to provide that info with purchase.  Just sayin'.

Which 10-gallon Polar Ware stockpot do you own?  Polar Ware offers one made in the U.S.A. 10-gallon stockpot (model 360) and a factory converted version of this stockpot called the Brew Pot (models 361BP and 362BP), one made in the China 10-gallon stockpot called the BrewRite Brew Kettle (model T5140), and one made in China 10-gallon Economy Brew Pot (model T422BPTT). I own the made in U.S.A. 10-gallon Brew Pot (model 360BP).  The 361BP is easy to pick out of the line-up because it has factory welded fittings.

The internal dimensions of the 361BP are roughly 14" wide by 16" tall (the Polar Ware specified width of 15" includes the rolled lip at the top of the kettle).  The BP361 holds approximately (~) 10.5 gallons when filled to the top.

Here are measurements for the 361BP:

height_of_one_US_gallon = 231 / (3.14 x 72) = ~1.5"

0.375" = ~1/4 gallon
0.75" = ~1/2 gallon
1.5" = ~ 1 gallon

As mentioned above, the volume of a liquid expands by roughly 5% at 100C (212F); hence, one's end of boil measurement should be approximately 1.05 times the volume one wants to achieve after chilling.  While not perfectly accurate, multiplying the volume at 100C by 0.95 will give one the approximate volume at room temperature (i.e., the multiplicative inverse of 1.05 = 1 / 1.05 = 0.95238)

I did some careful measurements a few years ago and determined that my kettle is 1.5" height per gallon.  And I had read that wort increases in volume by 4% at boiling, so I typically measure preboil wort right after the hot break happens and the foam settles down.  I multiply by 0.96 to get my volumes.

The point is - maybe that info was readily accessible to me a few years ago, but it sure didn't come with the kettle. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Measuring a Gallon
« on: December 13, 2014, 10:47:45 PM »
So how hard would it be for big kettle manufacturers to publish a volume/depth chart with purchase of their kettles?  I have a nice Polarware 10-gal pot, and I bet it would have been pretty easy for them to provide that info with purchase.  Just sayin'.

The Pub / Re: FictionALE Brewing
« on: December 04, 2014, 10:31:43 PM »
I used WY1469 West Yorkshire ale for the Elevenses oaked mild.  For the graf, I went with some WY1450 slurry from a batch of hard cider. 

Looking forward to sampling these! 

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