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Messages - dcbc

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Equipment and Software / Re: Mill motor
« on: January 10, 2011, 10:53:46 PM »
I have that motor run through a 3 way switch on my barley crusher and it is top notch.  I have only had to use the reverse to clear a jam once and it worked like a charm. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Brewstand
« on: December 28, 2010, 03:32:29 PM »
Any thoughts on planning for a setup with a mash tun for single step infusion mashing (the cooler type) vs a multi step infusion mashing vessel (with a burner)? I haven't tried either and definitely appreciate the advice about getting a few all grain batches down prior to building anything.  Thought I'd take a consensus though- are there particular advantages or drawbacks to either setup?  

The cooler will hold temperatures really well and is cheap to construct.  You can do infusion step mashes or HERMs temp control using a cooler as well.  If you undershoot your dough in temp, just ad boiling water and stir.  The opening on a rectangular cooler being larger makes it a lot easier to dump in your grain as well.  

I have a lot of equipment envy, but have never had any inclination to move to a fired steel mash tun over my 70 qt cooler.  I can see the benefit of adding a little fire to maintain temps or step mash, but most of what I do is single infusion and the cooler has not let me down.

Equipment and Software / Re: Brewstand
« on: December 21, 2010, 10:48:13 PM »
I went from this

to this

While you absolutely can brew just as good of beer with precariously placed patio furniture supporting things that spew fire, for me, brewing became much easier and more fun when I took the plunge and had this thing welded up.  It folds up and fits in the corner of my garage (22"x22").  Now, I just roll it out, unfold, and go.  Setup is no longer a chore.

I'd suggest getting a few AG brews under your belt and experimenting with your setup before deciding what kind of system you want.  

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Running out of propane
« on: December 20, 2010, 08:58:03 PM »
I have 4 tanks, including the one on the grill.  I get them filled at the RV place.  Last time I got 3 filled for $33 bucks.  Much cheaper than the "exchange" type deals.

I just went natural gas, but have been there with the "running out of propane" crew.  I'll echo that if you can find a propane business, it's a lot cheaper to get your tanks filled there than doing the blue rhino swap at the 7/11.

Equipment and Software / Re: McMaster part number for keg post o-rings
« on: December 20, 2010, 04:51:09 PM »
Since someone will probably ask, those work for pin locks, too.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Micro VS Home, Lager VS Ale
« on: December 20, 2010, 04:47:21 PM »
This was starting to happen to me on my most recent batch, to the point that keeping the boil going was in doubt.  Santa brought my a natural gas line as an early Christmas present.  Fittings just arrived this morning.  My tanks will be going back by the gas grill on the porch.

Equipment and Software / Re: 8 Gallon SS Brew Kettle
« on: December 07, 2010, 08:40:13 PM »
Not to complicate this any more... (well... yes just to complicate this a little more), here's the NB 10 gallon kettle, which goes for $230 (with 1/2" ball valve and thermometer):

And here's a 15 gallon kettle from Home Brew Stuff that actually costs $10 less:

I have the 20 gallon kettle from homebrewstuff, a 15 gallon kettle from morebeer, and used to have the 10 gallon megapot from NB.  They are the same quality/build of kettle with different names.  The B3 kettle does have the welds, but weldless works just as well in my experience. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Help a veteran
« on: December 07, 2010, 04:09:38 PM »
Sounds as if you have enough equipment to make excellent beer.  A lot of improvement will come from becoming familiar enough with using this equipment to standardize your process.

You say you are a veteran brewer.  So you probably know all of this.  Nonetheless, here are a few thoughts.  

You mention two smack packs and stir plates.  Hopefully, you are making starters from those packs to pitch enough viable yeast for your beers.  

Immersion chillers are fine.  They're even better when you have a method of moving the wort around them so that they can chill it efficiently.  A sanitized spoon will do the trick.  A pump with a whirlpool attachment is easier and equally effective if not superior.

Understanding your water chemistry is a fantastic thing.  A sample to Ward Labs is a great way to go.  Mine varied greatly from my City's report.

Temp control is crucial and it sounds like you have that covered.  Make sure the probe is not hanging freely in the chamber, but rather, attached to the vessel and covered with some insulating material.  Some people use thermowells, but this isn't critical IMO.

Aerate/Oxygenate your wort well before pitching.  

Finally, I'm a big fan of brewing software over math.

Good luck.

Equipment and Software / Re: No weld fittings
« on: November 01, 2010, 04:48:29 PM »
They work fine.  I have always had mine on my kettles predrilled though.  If you have a local welder, you might want to take the kettle to him and see what he says about the cost of drilling and adding a 1/2 female NPT fitting to it.  I had that done to a kettle and it only ran me $20.

Equipment and Software / Re: Heating a Fermentation Fridge
« on: October 27, 2010, 03:35:44 PM »
I use a low watt incandescent bulb on a two stage temp controller.  I run the heat cycle about two degrees lower than the cooling cycle and have a 1 degree diff. set on top of that.  When I had a single stage controller, I went about 4 months with leaving the light on and letting the chest freezer fight it.  This was inefficient of course and let to a good deal of condensation in the freezer.  I ferment in a SS corny keg so no worries about light although I'm told that incandescent bulbs are not a worry.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: A day in the life of a nano brewer
« on: October 21, 2010, 01:58:08 AM »
I enjoyed that a lot.  I've already got ideas for my retirement years (in about 20 years).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer in the Bible
« on: October 15, 2010, 09:10:41 PM »
I want to pint out ....

Delightful slip there, Denny.  I want to pint out, too, but can't do so for another hour or so!  :D

Equipment and Software / Re: Building a Jockey Box
« on: October 11, 2010, 02:53:21 PM »
cold plates can be had pretty cheap on ebay.

I got a single channel cold plate for about $10 plus shipping on ebay.  Worked fine.  But for homebrew , if you don't mind spending the extra money, I'd recommend using the 3 gallon kegs in a 70 qt Igloo ice cube.  I did this and the setup is much easier to transport because it is entirely self contained.  Also, if you are going to dispense over a course of days, you may run into issues keeping the beer carbonated in the keg that is sitting outside the cold box versus the amount of CO2 pressure needed to push beer through long lengths of coils.  

With a pair of 3 gallon cornies in an ice cube, you can dispense for as long as you like at your normal serving pressure or lower because the beer is kept so cold in the cooler.  

I still have the first jockey box I built with the cold plate, but reserve its use for parties where I am serving from a commercial keg that we don't plan on having around for more than one evening.

Classifieds / Re: For Sale: 10 Gallon MegaPot with Valve and Thermometer
« on: October 04, 2010, 06:17:04 PM »
Kettle has sold.  Thanks for looking.

Equipment and Software / Re: Cooler Warping
« on: October 04, 2010, 04:35:41 PM »
Mine will do it in the cooler months, but not in the heat of summer.  I considered putting a gasket around the lid to seal it better, but the problem did not persist and I never followed up. 

Never too much of an issue with holding heat.

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