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Messages - brewmonk

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106
I hate to disagree but a regular mesh kitchen strainer works fine to filter out pellet hops. I don't like using this type of strainer because I've ended up dumping all the hops into the fermenter when it slipped. >:(



I happen to use a medium holed china-cap because it holds more and is more sturdy and stable suspended over the fermenter and won't fall in.



I have a slightly finer strainer than a regular strainer, so that puts me more a peace of mind.  I guess too when I rack into either 2nd fermenter or bottling bucket, I will also be able to keep out any hops that might have escaped.  I'll give what I have a go and see what happens.

Thanks for the replies, they help a lot.   :)

107
Equipment and Software / How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« on: August 10, 2010, 07:29:54 AM »
I'm getting ready to do my second homebrew batch and wanted to do something more than a simple extract kit by adding some specialty grains and some finishing hops.  I plan on using hop pellets, which I hear dissolve pretty thoroughly.  I bought a strainer, but I wonder if it is fine enough.  Just how fine should a simple strainer to pour a few gallons of wort through do I need?  I assume if it's too fine that it would just take forever to strain without having to dump the hops out all the time.

(I'd really prefer not to use hop bags.)

108
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Missing bottle sediment?
« on: August 10, 2010, 06:51:49 AM »
Celebrate! Sounds great!

Was it the same yeast as before? I was thinking low flocculation being the prime culprit.

Same yeast, no new yeast added at bottling.  It was a standard Coopers Irish stout beer kit with a little package of dried yeast.  I did re-activate it before I pitched it on brew day, but I would assume that that yeast wouldn't be that fancy.  The flocculation argument makes sense.

You can end up with no obvious sediment in a bottle conditioned bottle.  It doesn't really take that much yeast to carbonate a bottle, so it's possible it wouldn't be easy to see.  It's also possible that the yeast is not that flocculent, so there wouldn't be a sediment - the yeast in solution at the end of fermentation is naturally the least flocculent cells.

If you want to test it, open two bottles and add a tsp of sugar to one of them.  Then rather than cap them, put a balloon over the neck of each bottle.  The inflation of the balloon on the bottle with no sugar added will be caused by CO2 coming out of solution.  The difference between that balloon and the balloon on the bottle with sugar added is the CO2 formed from renewed fermentation.

It's not a perfect test since the sugar will make some CO2 break out right away, but it will give you some idea.

Don't know if I could open two bottles and then leave them without drinking them immediately.  ;)

I guess expecting a hearty sediment like a Belgian Trappist bottle conditioned beer from a little extract kit might have been a bit ambitious.  ;D

109
Kegging and Bottling / Missing bottle sediment?
« on: August 09, 2010, 10:21:11 PM »
I made my first batch a couple of months ago.  It was a stout from an extract kit.  I followed the directions and ended up with an OG of 1040 and a FG of 1008.  The fermentation was pretty strong for about three days.  After a week and a half I bottled it with brewers sugar (3/4 cup for a little over 5.5 gallons of beer).  I used iodophor to sterilize everything, using a 1 tbsp iodophor/5 gallons of water solution.  I just dunked the clean bottles in making sure the inside was coated with solution, and then let them drain upside-down for at least 10 minutes if not more.  I stored the bottles in an area that was about 70 F.

Two weeks after bottling, I popped some open to try it.  It was pretty good, although still had a bit of a "young" taste to it.  It had decent carbonation.  But I was rather surprised that there was absolutely no sediment at the bottom of any of the bottles I finished.  Recently, after another two weeks, I have opened a few more, and although it seemed a bit drier to me, I still had no sediment.

I know there was yeast in the beer before I bottled since I had a good fermentation, and a nice layer of trub, but I was wondering if I killed my yeast while bottling, and the carbonation is just what is left from the initial fermentation.  Or is it that there sometimes just isn't sediment with bottle conditioning (which I would find that rather unusual)?

110
Beer Recipes / Re: °designing° a recipe using an extract kit
« on: July 29, 2010, 07:27:48 AM »
Thanks everyone, those do help.  I'm thinking of doing a dark bock type thing with a recipe I found specifically for this can of hopped malt extract, which uses some chocolate malt grain and some finishing hops.

I think the 2nd hardest thing about brewing beer (after the waiting) is trying to figure out what to brew.  So ... many ... choices!  ;)

111
Beer Recipes / Re: °designing° a recipe using an extract kit
« on: July 26, 2010, 03:12:04 AM »
I think I figured out what I am trying to ask:

With hopped malt extract, what does the hopped part replace in a typical recipe? ie can I still do some hopping or does that take care of all the hops you would want?

112
Beer Recipes / Re: °designing° a recipe using an extract kit
« on: July 19, 2010, 08:07:53 AM »
Yes, it is already hopped extract.  But I am willing to add extra grains or hops to it.  I was thinking of using a specialty grain, and if possible some other hop, maybe a finishing hop.  I should probably keep it simple though since I am still learning.

113
Beer Recipes / °designing° a recipe using an extract kit
« on: July 16, 2010, 03:34:36 AM »
I'm new to the homebrew scene and have only one batch under my belt.  It was a basic stout kit.  But for my second batch, I'd like to something a bit better than a standard kit.  However, when I ordered my homebrew kit, I got a can of Cooper's Lager extract kit that I don't want to waste, but I don't really want to just do a "lager" (even though it uses ale yeast).

My basic question is: can I just substitute the Cooper's extract as I would a light extract?  I'm assuming this wouldn't be wise, but was wondering how could I use the lager kit as a basis for something.  I'm really not familiar with recipe design as to what would work and what wouldn't.  I'm not even sure what styles I should consider, if it is possible.

114
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Newbie fermenting question
« on: July 04, 2010, 10:19:35 AM »
I don't think it is so much that "fermentation started again" as drawing a sample moved come CO2 out of solution.  Basically, you "burped"the fermenter.  Sounds like you had a good pitch rate and fermentation.  In a few more days, you'll have a good first beer!

Yeah, that must be what happened, because several hours later the bubbling had stopped again, or at least gotten very slow.  I'm pretty sure there is some activity still going on, it's just getting to the end stages.  I'll definitely go by the hydrometer readings.  The last thing I want to do is lose my first batch ever to bottle bombs.

115
Yeast and Fermentation / Newbie fermenting question
« on: July 04, 2010, 12:05:23 AM »
Well, this is my first batch ever, so this is a learning process for me.  And I also admit I am still learning the virtue of patience in waiting for the beer to be finished.  I'm pretty sure the fermenting is not done yet, but I was surprised by something that happened:

By the evening of the day I brewed, the fermenter started bubbling.  Over the next three days it seemed happily vigorous.  It appeared that the fermentation had slowed down on the fourth day as there was no activity in the bubbler.  So I took a sample (by pouring some beer from the spigot of my plastic bucket fermenter, but not actually moving the fermenter).  The beer had gone from 1040 to 1014.  The taste was decent, nothing really funky in the flavors, so that's probably a good sign.  But while I was taking the hydrometer readings, it seemed like the fermentation started up again, and the bubbler started bubbling about every 45 to 60 seconds, while before, it hadn't been bubbling at all (at least for 10 minutes when I was down there near the fermenter).  I assume the fermentation is still going on and I probably need to get down to around 1010 on the hydrometer, but of course I'll really wait until I get two days of the same hydrometer reading.  Anyway, any explanation on why the fermenter started bubbling again?  I didn't think I really disturbed the beer enough just by taking a small sample of less than a measuring cup through the spigot.

116
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: 5 gallons vs. 23 liters
« on: July 01, 2010, 10:37:29 PM »
Thanks for the info. That puts my mind at ease. Next time I'll a little less water and see how it compares.  Guess I was too worried about my first batch to think the obvious through.

117
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / 5 gallons vs. 23 liters
« on: June 30, 2010, 05:26:13 AM »
I'm new to the homebrew scene and have just brewed my first batch using a Coopers Irish Stout extract kit.  The OG ended up being about 1040 which I though seemed a bit low (I expected 1050), and was wondering if it had to do with the fact that I made the batch 23 liters (as the instructions indicated) even though I've seen other people use Coopers extracts in recipes and they only made 5 gallon batches in their recipe.  I know the difference is around a gallon, so I would assume that it could make much of a difference in the OG, but would it mess up the recipe?  Since it's my first batch ever, I figured I'd better just stay simple and follow the instructions on the can (which included using 1 kg of white sugar).
Any thoughts?

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