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Messages - beerrat

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Glad it's working out.  Let's make a point to update this thread for long term results.  I'm not actively fermenting now, but expect to do a wheat beer in a few weeks.  It will be in mid 80's here and I like to ferment at around 62, so I'll see how it handles.  I'm expecting good results as I have so far.

Beerrat: Thanks for the tip on the Vassani.  On-line reviews on the Home Depot Website were mostly positive, considering the price.  You said you have had it for 6 months; are you pleased?  I'm curious what the INTERIOR dimensions are.  I gather it has a compressor.  Is there room (sufficient height) on top of the compressor for a carboy, or is the unit deep enough for the carboy to sit on the bottom/floor next to the compressor?  You mentioned a 6-gallon carboy.  Do you know if a 6.5 gallon carboy with a rubber stopper and airlock or blow-off tube will fit?  I'm not looking for anything too fancy -- just something that will hold my carboy and keep the fermenting temperatures in the low to mid-60s.  Thanks again. 
I realized I replied privately and want to share it for others on the board.....

Yeah, I'm happy with the purchase for what I wanted.  Something small and able to hold a single carboy or bucket at a controlled temp.  It fits nicely in my dining room.. Temp spot until I ever finish the basement.  I do use a ronco temp controller so cannot speak to how well the unit would maintain temp on it's own.  I'm assuming ok.
Dimensions.. Compressor is on bottom back, and unit's temp control at top center so these are the minimum inside dimensions.  17.5"w x 12" deep x 26.5 h.  Plenty of room for carboy or bucket with air lock.  I actually think my carboy is 6.5 gal.

Ingredients / Re: Show us your Hops 2011!
« on: June 04, 2011, 03:52:22 PM »
Here's how mine hops looked about a week ago in NE PA.
2nd year Hallertau:
4th year Brewers Gold:

I finally broke down and bought a similar wine chiller.. Vissani 52-Bottle Wine Cooler at HomeDepot.  It was one of the few small refrigerators/chillers that would fit a 6 gal carboy or a 5 gallon bucket.  It was $200,  I use a Ranco temp controller, so not sure how well the built in thermostat works at holding consistent temps.  I've had it for about 6 months now.

Classifieds / Wanter: Cluster hop rhizomes
« on: May 25, 2011, 01:21:36 AM »
Probably a little late in the season, but I'm looking for 1-2 Cluster hop rhizomes.  Get in this year and harvest next.  Hav not been able to source these elsewhere. 

I can trade for a some 4 year old brewers gold partitions, or name a price.

Events / Re: Saratoga region scoresheets?
« on: May 22, 2011, 12:54:38 PM »
I got my score sheets on 5/21 from Saratoga.

Bison Brewery and 7 Bridges pro am entries are due this weekend.  Anyone east of the Mississippi have issues shipping to the NC drop off location?  Seem the drop off moved from address listed on web site and UPS holding packages to that "old" address...  Or at least mine.
I've been in contact with contest sponsors to resolve.  Just want others to be aware and see if experiencing same issue.


  Does anyone know of any "must have" resources for mead brewing?

Ken Schramm's book the Compleat Mead Maker is a must, plus the info he presented on Jamil Show podcast.  See bjcp mead page.

Ingredients / Re: Acceptable substitutes
« on: January 28, 2011, 11:11:26 PM »
Outstanding! Are there any arguments for one being better than the other? LME vs. DME

I prefer DME if I suspect that LME is not fresh.  So depends upon turnover in your LHBS.  I mostly use DME as is easier to portion out, reseal and store; and less worried about how long it sat on shelf. 

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Waxing caps
« on: January 24, 2011, 09:20:50 PM »
I have 144 bottles of Mead that I made for the Princess Kathryn's wedding to give as favors.  How does everyone who waxes the tops do it.?  I have the wax beads from Austin HB.  How to heat them?  In what type of vessel?

I use the double boil method on an electric stove.  I put the wax in a small glass mason jar, and then put that in a 2 quart pot. Fill with only enough water so jar does not float. 

Went was melts and cools a bit, I simply dip the bottles in.  I dip, let bottle wax solidify a bit, cool, and repeat on same bottle I get the seal/look I want.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« on: January 24, 2011, 09:08:28 PM »

That's gotta be one heck of an electric stove.  Do all the neighbors lights dim when you fire that thing up?

:-)  Just a standard Kenmore glass topped one.  In good weather, the gas burner is faster.  I'm only heating 7 gallons .

I have just enough clearance for the brew pot below the microwave.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« on: January 24, 2011, 04:47:18 PM »
I have brewed in the elements a lot - snow, wind, cold.  But I took the easy route yesterday when was doing an all grain black IPA.  I brewed inside and not in the 18f, albeit sunny weather.

My rationale:  besides wimping out a bit, I thought it was silly not to capture heat and humidity output inside house instead of both just going into cold air outside.  I'm running a humidifier inside along with normal house heating, why not recapure brew outputs like a brewery would do?  With wind, even with a wind screen around pot, more propane would be needed then normal.  Why battle elements when not necessary.

My 10gal brew pot fits on the electric stove and heats up fine.  I'm not convinced heating the 7 gal took any longer inside then my gas set up outside fighting wind and teen temps.  I may have lost some time chilling, but only took 25 minutes inside with IC and 48f tap water.  Bonus was easier recovery of waste hot H2O for cleanup and excess to washing machine.

Of course, this works out given I have room on my stove.

Yes, I'm a frugal bastard :-)

Ingredients / Substitute for Special "B"?
« on: January 16, 2011, 04:24:55 PM »
I'm working on a robust porter recipe that calls for special B about 3% of the grain bill.  I'm not familiar with this grain, and don't have it on hand.  Is there another grain I can substitute for this for flavor that it may add, say in the crystal family?  looks like it ads color too, which I can get from crystal 120.

I have done some google searches, and most discuss color, not flavor.



Equipment and Software / Re: Filter Advice
« on: December 28, 2010, 11:30:53 PM »
I've never filtered, nor used fining agents in beer, other the irish moss during he boil. 

I have had same issues of disturbed yeast in keg transported.  What do now is a day before the event, pour off a couple glasses to get the loose yeast out of the current keg.  Once pretty good, transferred the current keg to new one via each keg's beer-in connections, and venting off pressure on the new keg to enable transfer (old keg had about 5psi in the gas-in connection).

So now you have bright (clean) beer in the new keg with enough time to allow for replacing any carbonation lost.  Since little yeast in bottom to disturb, no worries about shake up in transport.

Equipment and Software / Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« on: December 28, 2010, 11:21:37 PM »
BTW, I am not Richard Wagner ...great guy, but I am the "other" historic brewer from PA  ;D

My bad! I figured either Rich or Bethlehem's "John Goundie Brewer".   Thanks for the wonderful information.  Love the cat in the kettle, the period costume, and contribution to Bethlehem's brewing heritage.

1. Brewing with original recipes with modern malt, hops and yeast ..most successful final product.
 2. Same modern ingredients, however a replication of old style equipment for process, second best.
 3.  Total recreations of field grown malt, hops and forensic fermentational yeast cultures on period equipment, outside of the scope and resources of most recreational brewers. 

My goal is to understand the flavor impacts of the circa 1900 techniques and capture those with modern equipment and ingredients, modified if needed to emulate the flavors.  So my question about copper is what flavors did it impart if any.  Seems like little other then debate as a yeast nutrient.  Your point about caramelization and flavor impact of copper kettle and coal/wood fired is something I need to consider.  I think given steam used, caramelization would be little, and wood nor coal would not impact wort flavor, but the kilning process for hops and malt would have flavoring from those fuels.  Thoughts?

I'm working on my period costume for the historical society ;-)

Happy New Year

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