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Messages - Joe Sr.

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg Sediment
« on: July 10, 2015, 07:31:05 AM »
Honestly, it takes so little time and effort to clean a keg.

Good rinse, star san, refill.

Maybe you should do a keg-to-keg transfer to a clean keg.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brew day visitor
« on: July 10, 2015, 07:28:50 AM »
Brew day visitors in Chicago are squirrels.  And if you're unlucky, rats.

assuming your brewery can handle whatever method you use to lift and drain the bag (I brew in my kitchen, could be problematic for me).

I brew in my kitchen a lot, and do BIAB partial mashes with 6 - 8 lbs of grain.   I pull the bag and set it on a colander on top of the pot and let it drain in while the pot comes to a boil.  I can heat sparge water in the microwave at the same time, too.

But, frankly, I found brewing in the yard with batch sparging to actually be less work.  Maybe I'm goofy.  My last brew was a really simple recipe, though, so maybe that's what accounts for the perceived less work.

Equipment and Software / Re: New Mash Tun
« on: July 09, 2015, 11:37:04 AM »
BTW, I've tried the bullkhead and fittings and went back to the tubing.  I get better performance that way.

I screwed around for ages putting together a ball valve fitting and it was a major PITA.  I finally slobbed it up with silicone and it doesn't leak.

For my second tun, I just stuffed the hose in through a mini-keg bung and it sealed and worked with minimum effort.

I'm sure the bag works well.  It's the whole process that I personally find unwieldy.

In this usage, though, it's not a true BIAB setup where you need to hoist the bag out of the kettle and let it drain.

It seems like the bag is essentially replacing a false bottom or braid and acting as the filter on your mash.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Another efficiency thread
« on: July 07, 2015, 11:26:54 AM »
How do you vorlauf?

Since it seems like viscosity is at least part of the issue, you could try holding back some liquor for a mash out.

I've been running the mash into a pitcher and pouring it back in on top.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Another efficiency thread
« on: July 07, 2015, 10:14:05 AM »
you could switch to a lauter setup that's less prone to sticking.
Elaborate, please.

A false bottom is the most efficient design for a gravity lauter, as it drains the entire tun evenly (in principle, anyway). That also makes it the design that's most prone to sticking, because it's compacting the entire grain bed evenly.

Since in batch sparging, lauter design doesn't matter, you could switch to a manifold or toilet-braid setup and would probably have fewer issues with sticking the mash.

Thanks.  Now I see what you were saying.  I'm using braided lines already.

For me, simply slowing the lauter down helped tremendously. And sometimes raking the top of the bed if it has a layer of flour compacted on it.


I'll give this a try, too.  I went right to WOT to drain.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Fermentation Check.
« on: July 06, 2015, 01:42:19 PM »
Spigots skeeve me out just a little bit.  But I'm sure they can be cleaned or replaced.

I use my thief or a turkey baster.  Clean it and sanitize it after each use.  Doesn't require a whole lot of cleaning, unless you let it sit around and get crusty.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Another efficiency thread
« on: July 06, 2015, 11:19:09 AM »
you could switch to a lauter setup that's less prone to sticking.

Elaborate, please.

Thinking about it, though, it may be the wheat.  This is the second time I've mashed in these coolers and the last time one (the orange one) drained well and the blue one did not.  My recollection is that one of the beers was a Bavarian wheat and the other was a tripel.  My guess would be that the wheat beer was mashed in the blue cooler.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Another efficiency thread
« on: July 06, 2015, 11:08:15 AM »
Crush til you're scared.

If every mash drains as miserably as these ones, I'm scared.

The sparge ran much easier and it looked like all the flour rose to the top and settled on the grain.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Another efficiency thread
« on: July 06, 2015, 10:48:30 AM »
Thanks for all the responses.  I'm batch sparging, not fly sparging.  I thought I had the crush set pretty fine, but I did not adjust it for the torrified wheat.

I'll have to give it another go and see if I can improve.  So far, draining the mash has been the biggest issue I've encountered.  The sparge water drains a LOT better than the original mash.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Saison attempt
« on: July 06, 2015, 07:24:28 AM »
Nice.  This thread has inpsired me to try 3724 again.

It's chugging away right now in a side-by-side with 3711.

Hopefully, no stall.  But if so, I can be patient.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Another efficiency thread
« on: July 03, 2015, 03:43:26 PM »
Thanks, Euge.  It was a beautiful day so it was nice to sit outside and get it done.

It seemed like the screen on the drain (I'm using a stainless mesh deal, like a sure screen) was floating up in the mash.  Not sure if that caused an issue or not.  It seemed to.

Do I need to weight that down somehow?

All Grain Brewing / Another efficiency thread
« on: July 03, 2015, 03:22:16 PM »
Finished my first out door all-grain batch today.  I did one all-grain on the stove top, years ago, so this maybe counts as my first.

Anyway, on to the questions.

My efficiency is maybe around 65%, which seems low.  I milled my own grain, and I've got it set pretty tight.

Strike water was 160 and dropped to 140 in the tun.  I add boiling water to bring it back up to 150.

I mashed for 90 minutes.  Recipe is Saison d'ete from NB.  Pils, Vienna, torrified wheat.  Expected OG = 1.041.

Mash was three gallons (I mashed in two round coolers, so 3 gallons each).  Sparge was 4 gallons.

My boil was pretty hard (Dark Star burner,  LOTS of soot but NB is sending a new one with a redesign to control the soot).  I wound up with 8 gallons at 1.048.

Curious as to thoughts on how to increase efficiency.  Was my mash and sparge water not enough?  I think pH was fine but didn't check.  Crush, as I said, was pretty fine.  The mash had trouble draining. Sparge drained pretty much OK.

I've been doing partial mash batches on the stove-top, BIAB.  That efficiency has been crappy, too.  But there wasn't much sparge with that process and I never worried about it because I adjusted with DME.

Here's Himself (Jr.) stirring the mash.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast shipped warm.
« on: July 02, 2015, 09:02:37 AM »
with dry I wouldn't stress unless you are noticing issues related to poor yeast health. With liquid making an appropriate sized starter with some nutrient included is your best bet for revitalizing the yeast.

I think this is your answer here.  You're making a starter anyway, I assume, so give it a little extra love, start it small and step it up.

As with many things, I think there's a greater margin of error than you might expect.  Making a robust starter should be enough to account for any handling/shipping issues with the yeast on its way to you.

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