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Messages - dmtaylor

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: efficient small-scale brewing tips
« on: January 19, 2015, 11:22:14 AM »
No way, certainly not!  As long as you keep the top end of the hose submerged at all times, and the lower end of the hose connected to a racking cane (the kind with the little spring valve at the tip), you can move the racking cane from bottle to bottle 50 times to bottle all your beer without having to re-establish the siphon.

Siphoning is not difficult to do.  Maybe a little difficult to understand, but the main thing to remember is to keep the top end submerged at all times.  And it certainly helps to have a valve on the lower end, as opposed to using your thumb to stop and start flow over and over.

Perhaps I am confusing the terms "racking cane" and "bottling wand"?  Yeah, maybe that's causing the confusion.  Sorry about that.  Substitute "bottling wand" everywhere I have said "racking cane" above and things might make more sense to ya'll.

Cheers and good luck!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: efficient small-scale brewing tips
« on: January 18, 2015, 04:49:46 PM »
Uh..... not a bad idea.  Maybe I should.....

The following video comes close.  I just do not have a valve on my bottling bucket so repeat the part about filling the tubes with water and draining the water into a glass.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Is boiling necessary?
« on: January 18, 2015, 07:56:10 AM »
You're fine.  No worries.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash pH
« on: January 18, 2015, 07:25:18 AM »
I think everyone above might have missed the boat (except for Ken maybe)!!

The pH of your starting water is irrelevant.  The water out of my own tap is probably around 7.8 and so is everyone else's.  It's normal!  But this pH doesn't matter.  The malt in your mash should bring the pH of your mash down to around 5.9 to 6.1, somewhere in there.  So from there, yes, you need to add more salts or dark malts to bring your pH down to 5.5 or less.  This will be measured in grams, not ounces or pounds!  If you're not sure what to use, start with a tablespoon each of calcium chloride and gypsum per 5 gallons of final beer, and see where that gets you.

Also don't forget that if your water tastes chlorinated, you need to get that out of there before adding any grains.  The most sure-fire way to do this is to crush 1/4 Campden tablet per 5 gallons and add this to your mash and sparge water.  The chlorine is instantly eliminated and you're ready to brew.

Longer term, you will want to order a water report from Ward Labs to help you understand your water more.  But for starting out, if your water tastes good, you can use the tablespoon method above to get you into range or very very close.  You can also make acid additions if necessary.  Target is always 5.3, but anywhere from about 5.1 to 5.5 is acceptable.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water options
« on: January 18, 2015, 07:12:31 AM »
I would split the tablespoon of each salt between the two water additions, e.g. half tablespoon of each salt in strike and again in sparge.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: efficient small-scale brewing tips
« on: January 18, 2015, 07:06:54 AM »
I have never used an autosiphon.  Set your full fermenter or racking bucket on a chair.  Have your bottles and an extra dump glass on your floor next to the chair.  Fill tygon tube and racking cane with water (from your sink) and ensure no major bubbles are present.  Place a sanitized finger over an open end.  Attach the two together.  Set the racking cane gently into one of the bottles.  It helps to have your bottles well supported in a 12-pack or case so they don't fall.  Place open end of filled hose into your primed beer.  Immediately move your racking cane to the dump glass and drain the water out.  Then keep hose submerged while you fill every bottle.  After you do this process twice you will learn it by heart and probably never have any problems.  I have bottled more than 3000 bottles like this.  It just works and is not difficult.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: efficient small-scale brewing tips
« on: January 17, 2015, 05:53:55 AM »
I sanitize extra bottles of different sizes so that I am not left with an extra 10 oz unbottled beverage at the end.  There are bottles of 11, 12, 16, 22 oz.  Use them in different combinations so that nothing goes to "waste".  If only 2 oz is left after filling the last bottle I will drink it but if there is more than that then I always feel like I should have bottled it.

I loved this experiment... because it supports my own theory that there's no real actual discernible difference between FWH and conventional.

My Conclusion: You can FWH if you want, it doesn't really hurt.  On the other hand, it doesn't necessarily help, either.  Six of one, half dozen the other.

Other Fermentables / Re: less dry cider
« on: January 15, 2015, 08:13:44 PM »
Rack it right away and cool it down.  Then keep an eye on it.  If gravity continues to fall too fast in a few more days, slam it with gelatin, rack again, and put it in the fridge and leave it there for a month.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Campden Tablets
« on: January 15, 2015, 03:30:28 PM »
You are one of the lucky ones.  Chloramine is becoming more and more popular these days.  Hypochlorite is the old way... FWIW, laundry bleach is made of hypochlorite... or at least I believe so.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: tanginess from roasted malts?
« on: January 15, 2015, 02:14:32 PM »
I should also mention.... do not use more than just a touch of baking soda.  If you were to use a full teaspoon or more in 5 gallons, the beer can taste really nasty.  Baking soda does not taste very yummy.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Campden Tablets
« on: January 15, 2015, 02:12:30 PM »
You need to know the source of the chlorine.  There are two kinds.  One is hypochlorite, and this kind can be removed by boiling.  The other kind is chloramine, and this kind does NOT go away from boiling.  You can contact your municipal water provider to find out which type of chlorination they use and go from there.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: tanginess from roasted malts?
« on: January 15, 2015, 11:33:15 AM »
20% dark roasted malts and crystal malts will get your post-boil pH down pretty low.  For that reason, I add just a tiny sprinkle (like 1/2 teaspoon) baking soda to all my dark beers in the boil, and have never experienced the dark roasted tang since I started doing this.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How well do you clean your mash tun?
« on: January 15, 2015, 08:05:43 AM »
Mash, dump spent grains, rinse, repeat.  I never use soap or chemicals, ever.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Updated BJCP guidelines
« on: January 14, 2015, 07:53:40 AM »
We are all just waiting.  No official word is out yet.

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