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Messages - el_capitan

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Homebrewer Bios / Re: New here!
« on: February 13, 2017, 06:33:41 PM »
Welcome!  What's next on your brew list?

Ingredients / Re: Hop aroma
« on: February 13, 2017, 06:22:04 PM »
I always use the white nylons that you can get at Walmart.  25 cents for a little egg with two in there.  Works great for pellets or whole hops, and I've packed up to about 4 oz leaf hops in a bag with no problem.  It's like a hop sausage when you pull it out later on!  No problems with any hop particulate whatsoever.

Ingredients / Re: Using Nugget hops instead of Magnum in pale ale
« on: February 13, 2017, 06:17:56 PM »
I've actually heard the opinion that homegrown hops can carry more alpha acids than commercial hops, since they're often picked with more care and therefore lose less of the lupulin glands.  Of course, it all comes down to how you cared for them during the growing season and how you dried and packaged them, etc.  I only use homegrowns for bittering in beers where I'm not super concerned about hitting the numbers dead on. 

I've been bittering with Nugget for a lot of recent batches, and I wouldn't say it's rough.  But Magnum is definitely way smoother.  Almost too smooth for my tastes.

Having witnessed commercial hop harvest, I don't think that's a valid concern.

I agree - the big hop growers have it down pat, and most homegrowers are kind of limited in terms of equipment.  I think my homegrown hops tend to get too dry before packaging, and the cones sometimes shatter and leave lots of sticky lupulin behind. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: OMG....I just made good beer!!!
« on: February 13, 2017, 06:08:04 PM »
FWIW what I do is to use a temp/pressure chart to find the volumes of CO2 I want in my beer at the temp I like.  12 psi-ish @ 40F gives me around 2.5 volumes of CO2 which is good for most styles. So what I do is to take 10 or 12 feet of beer line and cut it down in increments of 6 " until I get the pour I want at the 12 psi. It's an easy way to get the right pour at your proper carbing pressure.

Thank you.  The place I got the keg and faucet from gave me a length of tubing with non-removable clamps.  I'l have to cut those off and experiment I guess.  I imagine screw on clamps are more practical.

I also carb at 12 psi and about 40 degrees.  My serving lines are only about 6' long, but I use the flow restrictors in my dip tubes.  You take the internal piece out of epoxy mixing nozzles, and they're a perfect fit into the dip tube.  I put two in each keg, and it really helps to slow down the flow without having a ton of line in your fridge. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« on: February 12, 2017, 08:40:36 AM »
Back to the OP and original topic...

I myself have puristic tendencies.  I believe many homebrewers, myself included, have had a tendency to meddle too much, without very well determining whether our additional efforts are really adding anything positive to the bottom line, which, of course, is beer flavor and quality.

Also take into consideration that many brewers make fantastic beer the easy way and don't fart around.  They just come up with a reasonable recipe, brew it, and enjoy it.

So I am with you.  I'm interested in getting back to basics, and not sweating details too much.  Crush well, mash well, mash in the right pH range, clean fermenters well, ferment well with healthy yeast.  That....... that is about it.

Cheers all.

I am starting to wonder if I am the only homebrewer left who brews this way.
Just filter my tap water for chlorine and brew.
I don't know if my beer is considered "fantastic" but they mostly turn out well.
I occasionly consider getting my water tested but never have.
Mash pH is something I do think about but without spending money on meter I can't really do anything about it.
The brewer at a local brewery is adament that "if your water tastes good to drink don't mess with it"

I appreciate simplicity, but I have to say that harnessing water chemistry through the Bru'nWater Spreadsheet has made a huge improvement in my beers.  I encourage you to give it a shot. 

The Pub / Re: Me this morning!
« on: February 09, 2017, 07:39:37 PM »
Meanwhile, here in MN, we're going to be in the mid-40's and even in the 50's in some areas tomorrow.  Awesome!  Everybody is scrambling to pull the ice houses off the lakes.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Disasters
« on: February 09, 2017, 07:26:52 PM »
No replies?  Jeez, you guys must be careful yeast-ranchers.

A couple years ago, I was showing my mother-in-law how to activate the smack pack.  I was holding it in front of her and smacked it, and the upper corner of the pack burst open, showering her with yeast.  It was a total, "What the heck just happened?" moment - priceless.

This made me laugh out loud.  Absolutely hilarious. Would've loved to see the look on both your faces after that!
Thanks for cracking me up!

Yeah - I was holding back from saying this before - total yeast facial.  And she was sitting at her computer, so it went all over the keyboard too.  Smooth.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Apple Juice Yeast Starter?
« on: February 09, 2017, 07:19:03 PM »
I agree that it's basically pointless to gamble with the yeast at this point, but my yeast-handling sanitation is sound, and both starters have been fizzing for a couple days now, so it seems that a viable population is emerging.  The question remains - a viable population of what

I had already been leaning toward using a dry yeast for the witbier.  I was going to use the Octoberfest blend in a Märzen.  So perhaps a better question at this point is, what's a good dry yeast strain for an Ofest/Märzen style? 

All Grain Brewing / Re: To spund or not to spund...that is the question
« on: February 08, 2017, 07:39:26 PM »
This seems pretty legit.  I really can't see a downside here, other than having some sediment in the keg.  Also, this method would be sweet from a prepper standpoint, when CO2 in a tank could be hard to come by... But how long would you be able to push beer, if there was no added CO2?  At that point, is it basically a cask ale? 

Either way, I'm going to pick up a valve and give it a shot. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Disasters
« on: February 08, 2017, 07:21:04 PM »
No replies?  Jeez, you guys must be careful yeast-ranchers.

A couple years ago, I was showing my mother-in-law how to activate the smack pack.  I was holding it in front of her and smacked it, and the upper corner of the pack burst open, showering her with yeast.  It was a total, "What the heck just happened?" moment - priceless. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Apple Juice Yeast Starter?
« on: February 08, 2017, 07:17:16 PM »
Hey guys - I'm reviving some very old yeast strains - WY2633 Octoberfest Blend @ 17 months old, and WY3944 Belgian Wit @ 20 months old.  I know - it sounds crazy, but I pulled a Kolsch strain back from 24 months old, grew up a good culture, and had a great batch.  But I've never attempted that with a lager or Belgian strain before.

They had like a 2 day lag time, and now are fermenting pretty well in 1-L stirred starters.  Of course I'll crash them and taste the wort, but this is really a first step.  Now comes the crazy part - I am out of DME, but I do have some apple juice on hand.  I thought about using that to grow the starter further and get some cider out of the deal too.  I could just pitch these now at high krausen in the starter and treat it as a mini-batch. 

So, assuming the yeast is coming back strong and true, do you see issues with growing yeast in a starter batch of cider (with nutrients), and then going back to beer with it?  I kind of think that the yeast is going to chew through whatever sugars you throw at it, and as long as you have the proper nutrients in place, it should end up healthier for the deal.  I just don't know how quickly a yeast strain might shift toward a different input. 

Your thoughts?

Ingredients / Re: Cashmere
« on: February 05, 2017, 10:15:46 PM »
Am I the only one who now has Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" playing in their head?  Sorry. I got nothing to add.

Shortly after reading this thread, "Celebration Day" came on the TV.  Not too shabby at all. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison in a Witbier?
« on: February 05, 2017, 10:14:04 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts.  I've used Belle Saison on a couple batches.  When I fermented it around 65-70, I thought it was pretty decent - fairly clean.  I let a second batch free-rise through fermentation and it was rocking right around 75-77.  That batch had more of the phenolic character than I like.  I'm not a big clove guy.

I've used the T-58 a couple times too, and that has just a restrained touch of clove that I didn't mind.  I'd forgotten about that one, and maybe I'll give it a shot.  Either that, or I just need to brew a wit more than once per year.  Or suck it up and just buy a fresh smack pack for those few specialty batches. 

I've never heard of the Fermentis Abbaye - I'll look into that one as well.  Thanks, Dave.

Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast Disasters
« on: February 05, 2017, 10:07:50 PM »
Post your worst yeast-related disasters here!  I had one yesterday...

I boiled up some wide-mouth quart jars to save some slurry.  I had three nice quarts of slurry on my table, settling out.  I walked past and noticed a little bit of brown liquid, and thought, "Now how could that have overflowed?"  I picked up the jar, and BAM!!  The bottom of the jar fell off and the quart of slurry went everywhere.  Wasn't expecting THAT! 

Equipment and Software / Re: Using the thermostar dudal mode controller
« on: February 05, 2017, 07:33:48 AM »
I taped a small piece of pipe insulation (cut in half) to my fermenter.  I slip the probe in there and then close the gap at the top with some little wads of paper towel.  Is that the new dual-mode temp controller sold by NB?

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