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Messages - beerrat

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Equipment and Software / Re: Keg beer
« on: March 23, 2010, 09:43:34 AM »
Hi Eric,

I think you got an ideal basement!!!!
In NE PA, I'm the temp is fine most of the year in the cellar, and I simply serve at the 50-58F range - so free cooling most of the year!  In June - September, the temperature gets above 60F, so I've used the following in the summer months, and will continue until I build out my basement or get another refrigerator for beer.

1) picnic tap with kegs in insulated garbage can of ice water
2) jockey box - loaded with ice, kegs at ambient temps.
3) Pour beer from keg into growlers (or 2 liter bottles with carbonator tops) and stick in the refrigerator.

Equipment and Software / Re: My new fermentation chamber
« on: March 23, 2010, 09:28:15 AM »
Looks great!  Thanks for sharing.  Some of the pictures a bit small, can you share some details about components/material?  Looks like an old refrigerator compressor used for cooling.
I'm planning  to finish out a basement, and weighing options for fermentation control for something about 1/2 the size of what you have.

Ingredients / Palisade hops - suggested usage?
« on: March 20, 2010, 11:24:16 AM »
Just got my second place winnings from a contest - 1 pound of palisades hop plugs 8.5% aa.  I know nothing about the hops, and not really getting a good feel from the fancy internet thingie, so thought I'd ask the experts.  Anyone use this hop before and in what styles seemed to work well in?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How to Siphon Beer
« on: March 14, 2010, 10:51:47 AM »
In the past I've used the autosiphon, star san in tubing, vodka/suck, and CO2 for racking.

I've settled on using a simple racking cane, tubing and using using the pump from my star san spray bottle to get it going:

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: From cold to warm?
« on: March 12, 2010, 07:19:23 AM »
Ugg.. experiencing same issue.   My unfinished basement is pretty good for initial fermentation with spots between 45 and 50F.  I've been using the stairs under the outside bilko doors for the lower temps. Now that we are seeing temps in the mid 50's outside, I've lost low temp lagering as I too do not have a spare frig/freezer either.  I'm considering using the "low tech" lager James Spencer talks of on BBR.  Pretty much 2 coolers, copper tubing, a temp control,pond pump, and ice jugs/water.  Not sure I want to do this for the 15 gallons I have lagering now.  This is giving me more incentive to remodel the basement with brewing/fermenting/lagering features. Trying to do all that in limited space and budget - maybe I'll post over to equipment section to solicit ideas.

Equipment and Software / Re: Utility Tub...calling all plumbers
« on: March 07, 2010, 08:56:16 AM »
I'm in the process of designing a basement remodel, which will include a brewing area.  I plan on doing the work myself, and although I spent many a weekend decades ago doing this type of work, I still need reference steps to ensure I don't miss somehting.  Here are my current reference sites - hope they help!,,1629570,00.html,,20332410,00.html

Good luck!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
« on: March 03, 2010, 01:24:59 PM »
My dilema is that I am not currently setup to keg & I don't have the spare cash for it right now (if I get kegs, then I'm gonna have to build a kegerator, draft tower, etc).  She knows this and offered to buy the kegs and sell them to me afterwards.  Am I stupid for even considering this?  It would be my first time kegging and I fear something would go wrong and I would give her an inferior product.

The only downside I see is the cost to setup/maintain kegged beer at temperature. I have not invested in a separate keggerator or refrigerate yet.  I've used a couple different setups in the 8 months I have been kegging... all work fine and contained costs until I finish my basement remodel.  First, CO2/regulator (imho) mandatory to pressurize and dispense properly.
Serving options I used:
1) picnic tap with kegs in garbage can of ice water
2) jockey box - loaded with ice, kegs at ambient temps.
3) Since October I've been getting away with picnic taps on cellar cooled kegs at 50-55Ff for 6 months now, but know that will not last past April.  

You can get away with picnic taps sitting in a refrigerator provided you have space.

Good luck - sound like a great opportunity, but your $ and space consideration should temper the excitement.

Ingredients / Re: Maple Syrup and Choke Cherries
« on: March 02, 2010, 06:00:12 PM »
For the choke cherry, how about a belgium cherry wheat - something like a New Glarus Belgian Red clone, but with the choke cherries... see last page of this pdf for recipe idea:

I'm thinking that 2-3 lbs may be just enough for getting a mild flavor.  You can scale from 5gal to  4 gal if ya want more of the tart flavor.

Other Fermentables / Re: What's that in my mead?
« on: March 02, 2010, 05:43:21 PM »
Hmm, not sure how I feel about the campden addition. Doesn't really seem necessary (of course, I'm also asthmatic so I tend to try and keep sulfites away.

Thanks for the feedback!  Gotta love this forum.

Agree, campden was not needed, and should avoid putting stuff in beverages unless they have a purpose.  I was paranoid about chlorine and infection on first mead.  Since I've switched to no heat, honey and water technique mentioned in Shramm's book. My 2 other meads look (and taste) healthy.

I'm not getting any off flavors or smells.  If acetobactor, I'm guessing vinegar taste/odor would be apparent.

Other Fermentables / What's that in my mead?
« on: March 02, 2010, 10:38:37 AM »
I've opened a bottle of a mead I made back in Dec 209, and bottled in April 2009.  It was a small test batch to lock down process, and see what mead tastes like.  A sweet still mead.

The taste was nice - sweet, honey aroma, but there was a white film on the mead at the top of the bottle.  Thoughts on what this is and if a potential issue?  I'm was thinking that it was yeast.  There was no carbonation when I opened the bottle.

This was my first mead.  I did not clarify with any finings - a real simple 4 gallons of honey added to 160F water. Here was the 1 gallon recipe:
2 Gal Apple Honey
2 Gal Raspberry Honey
3/4 gal tap water – GE filtered
Yeast – Redstar montradet

1.   Boil 3/4 gal of water, cool to 160F
2.   Add honey and mix well, Cool to 80F
3.   Remove 1 cup of must and add yeast to it
4.   Add 1/2 campden tablet to full must
5.   Wait 15 minutes, take SG
6.   Add must to 1 gallon jug
7.   Pitched yeast @78F

OG: 1.151
FG: 1.051
abv 12%

Taking a break from the brewing this weekend and enjoying the kegged stout and dark lager, and other random homebrew and craft beer in bottles for a poker night with the gang.   Someone will bring bud and miller.

Hoping the temps stay cool in the basement to finish off the 2 other lagers chugging away.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing This Weekend - 2/12
« on: February 13, 2010, 02:06:20 PM »
My 3rd attempt at all grain... bock. 
And gonna keg my stout. 

Thanks all - I'm cheap and like to use things until they have holes in.. just my nature  ;D.  

So I chose to relax, rinse and shake the dust out and realize that the minute amount of stuff that may actually cling to these suckers will boil off and not do a dang thing to a 5gal batch.  Hey, if it didn't tint nor flavor the lager I made, then not going to impact anything else I make.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: so the debate is
« on: February 08, 2010, 05:05:48 PM »
Fermentation control.  I do a mix off all grain and extract brewing and both are impacted by these key items: sanitation, fermentation temp control, and water quality (in my case, get the chlorine out). Once that process is repeatable, then all grain becomes the variable, not the fundamentals.

Good luck!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's brewing this weekend 2/5
« on: February 07, 2010, 12:02:12 PM »
Brewed an american lager; was intended to be a lite lager, but when you use the wrong type of DME and overshoot the gravity, RDWHAHB and restate what you are brewing  ;D

Racked mead to secondary.  Must resist urge to drink as the gravity sample was really nice.

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