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Messages - el_capitan

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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! 

The Pub / Re: FictionALE Brewing
« on: November 29, 2014, 09:51:15 AM »
Yessir, it would. Just toasting the oats! 

The Pub / FictionALE Brewing
« on: November 28, 2014, 03:51:07 PM »
Tomorrow I'm brewing two recipes inspired by fictional stories - John Palmer's "Elevenses" Oaked mild (inspired by Tolkien's tales), and a batch of "Gunslinger's Graf" (mentioned by Stephen King in his Dark Tower series.) 

Both of these recipes include a bit of the oak-smoked malt.  The graf will be interesting, since about half of the fermentables come from cider.  It's described as a dry stout with cider. I'm using the recipe from BTV, scaled down to 3 gallons.  This will be a challenge for me, since I'll need to make a batch of wort finishing at only 1.2 gallons, then topping up with 1.8 gallons of cider.  Since it's such a small batch, I'm just going to BIAB on my stovetop, which will be a first. 

I should be able to pretty much run both batches simultaneously - one outside and one inside. 

Anyway, as I was working through all of my spreadsheets, I realized that both of these batches will be fictional beverages brought to life.  Kind of a fun concept.  Both of these should be really nice session ales with plenty of character. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: ive gotta ask
« on: November 20, 2014, 06:19:12 PM »
You guys are not alone  :D  Happens to me all the time too.  I like HoosierBrew's keg classification scheme.

Other Fermentables / Re: Cider, Scotch Ale style
« on: November 11, 2014, 10:10:21 PM »
Yeast has a big effect on residual apple character and can either enhance or hide the apple.  I have experimented with a lot of different yeasts for cider and found none better than Cote des Blancs.  US-05 is pretty good too and also the 4184 sweet mead yeast if I recall correctly.  Many other yeasts hide or dull the apple character including English cider yeasts.  The one I would be interested to try and haven't yet is WLP400 witbier.  I use this in my apple ale and love it there... for some odd reason I just never remember to try it in a cider cider.  Next year.

Thanks for sharing the concentrated boil idea -- great idea.  Sounds similar to ice cider except that is concentrated by freezing on the tail end.

I've also experimented with a variety of yeast strains, over the years.  I agree that Cote des Blancs does a great job, and I've had great results with US-05 too.  However, my best cider came from a spontaneously-fermented batch.  I froze a bunch of cider, and after defrosting I was preparing to ferment it, when it began to ferment on its own.  I was surprised that some wild yeast survived the freezing process and took hold.  I let it go, and it turned out to be the best out of 6 yeast strains.  Too bad there's no way to reproduce that one!

Other Fermentables / Re: Cider original gravity
« on: November 11, 2014, 10:06:03 PM »
I pressed out 20 gallons of cider this year, from a variety of apples.  Some Fireside and Golden Delicious, but most of a couple unknown varieties.  I tend to pick what I can get for free and go from there.

My gravity came out at 1.052, which I guess is pretty high based on what the rest of you are saying.

I wonder if my higher gravity came from the fact that I let the apples "sweat" for almost a month before pressing?  If the apples are sweating out moisture, then the sugar concentration would be constantly increasing. 

I mainly let them sweat since I know they'll keep fine (assuming I've taken care in picking them and not bruised them up or mixed in apples of questionable quality), and I'm amassing a huge quantity over a couple weeks.  I've also read that sweating the apples aids in juice extraction. 

The Pub / Re: What to read
« on: November 11, 2014, 06:44:52 PM »
Im a big fan of James and the Giant Peach
And the book was way better than the movie

+1.  Roald Dahl is pretty cracked.  If you can find his collected short stories, buy it.  Definitely a twisted mind.

The Pub / Re: What to read
« on: November 10, 2014, 12:43:22 PM »
But then again I have never found a Bryson book I couldn't tear through.

I have a long commute and just suffered my way through all 10 discs of "At Home."  Sounded pretty interesting - the hidden history behind everyday stuff.  Turned out to be a lengthy stroll through British architecture for the most part.  Definitely a snoozer.  I've enjoyed a couple of his other books though.

I just got turned on to a Minnesota author named William Kent Krueger- kind of a crime/mystery author.  Not my go-to genre, but it's interesting to read a book set in our region.  His first book Iron Lake was pretty good.  Moving on to #2. 

Hop Growing / Re: 2014 Harvest
« on: November 10, 2014, 12:39:10 PM »
I now pound my dried hops into plugs before sealing and freezing. It certainly reduces the bulk and I'm guessing that the action of a 1" wood dowel driven by a 3 lb sledge probably helps rupture some lupulin glands.

I thought about doing this a year or two ago and couldn't get it to work.  I think my hops were actually too dry and wouldn't stick together.  Martin, give us some more details of your setup! 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Flashback Brewday
« on: November 10, 2014, 12:31:28 PM »
I just posted on the "origins" thread, and realized that my 10-year anniversary of brewing is coming up in February.  I'm totally going to re-brew batch #1.  Papazian's "Elbro Nerkte Brown Ale."  I might go authentic and use extract, or perhaps work up an AG batch to brew alongside the original extract version. 

I was in my first year of teaching, and I decided to make some naturally-carbonated root beer with my 7th grade science class.  After that project, it occurred to me, "Hey!  If I can make root beer, I can make real beer too."  Then I remembered that my friend's dad Curt was a brewer, so I made contact with him and we made plans to brew an extract batch together.

After that, he gave me a basic set of equipment and a copy of TCJOHB.  I devoured that book and brewed my first batch (Papazian's "Elbro Nerkte Brown Ale") on Feb 17, 2005.  It was actually really good - smooth and dark with no flaws.  I jumped right in, brewing once or twice a month for a couple years. 

So now I'm coming up on my 10-year anniversary (better take that day off work!) and still extremely passionate about the hobby.  I make sure to give Curt samples from time to time, and I also teach beginner's brewing classes at his restaurant supply shop/LHBS.  I'm really lucky to have had somebody to get me going like that, and I get a lot of satisfaction from  getting new brewers started on the right path. 


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