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Messages - ajk

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General Homebrew Discussion / How to become a better recognizer of flaws
« on: January 05, 2013, 03:49:33 AM »
It helps to know the limitations of your own palate and how to work around them.  I used to be unable to smell or taste diacetyl, so I had to get it from the slick mouthfeel. Through practice, I eventually learned to perceive both the aroma and flavor of diacetyl.

Oxidation is another one.  I never get papery/cardboardy.  What I get is a honey-like or overly caramely character.  Either that or a sensation I think of as (but would never write on a scoresheet as) "tin can".  Don't let other people's descriptors limit your observations.

Learn how you perceive by correlating those perceptions with what you already know about the beer.  To paraphrase Gordon Strong, your palate is the best instrument you have, so trust it.

This thread has a quote from a StarSan employee stating the solution must have a pH below 3.5 AND be clear.  Cloudiness indicates the surfactant has reacted with minerals in the water and become ineffective.  The surfactant renders more permeable the cell walls of the unwanted flora, and the low pH then kills them.

Equipment and Software / Blichmann beer gun stopper issue
« on: January 02, 2013, 12:29:32 AM »
Inspect the stopper closely.  Is it torn?

All Grain Brewing / 5-gallon vs. 10-gallon cooler?
« on: December 23, 2012, 05:53:38 AM »
My only concern with using the 10 gallon cooler for partial mash small beers is that you may end up with the grain bed too shallow to reasonably act as a filter.

I haven't seen anyone mention the coffee lid trick in response to this concern.  Just throw a coffee can lid on top of the grain bed and pour any liquid you want to add to the mash on top of the lid.  The lid will disperse the impact of the liquid.

If you batch sparge then bed depth won't matter and a 10-gallon cooler will work fine for smaller batches.

True, but you may still need to reintroduce liquid into the mash during vorlauf.  I batch sparge, but I use the coffee lid for this vorlauf step.

As for tun size, considering my 48-quart cooler can be a bottleneck for really big beers, I recommend the 10-gallon at least.


All Grain Brewing / dark malts on sparging
« on: December 23, 2012, 05:39:37 AM »
What kind of flavor difference do you get here? Significantly less acrid/roasty character?

I've been thinking about trying this with an existing recipe, but I want to make sure I account for it in my recipe.

Kyle, I suspect you and I have similar, highly alkaline water profiles.  I too have considered the cold-steeping method, but I think I'd then have to adjust my water to lower the mash pH—I feel like we get that adjustment for free with dark malts.

Still, I'd like to triangle-test two beers made both ways (one pH-adjusted by dark grains in the mash, the other with dark grains cold-steeped or added during the sparge and pH-adjusted by RO dilution or acid additions).


Ingredients / Storing HOP Pellets
« on: December 11, 2012, 02:21:48 AM »
So, how does the oxygen that is in there get purged?

like any standard pin lock - depressing the poppit in the middle.
He said "oxygen."  When you have liquid in the PET bottle you can squeeze all the air out before capping it with the carbonator, then add CO2, but with hops, I don't think you can do that, so there will be some O2 in there, but very little.

I have always assumed that the idea is to fill the container with co2, wait a bit for things to settle down in there and then purge through a top opening which should get most of the o2 out as it will have migrated to the top portion of the container. still some o2 but a lot less

That's not how gases work.  Otherwise, basements would be deadly. :-)

General Homebrew Discussion / Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« on: December 10, 2012, 01:55:36 AM »
The siphon house was exposed to brett awhile ago, however, I've made beers and haven't noticed it.

I agree with others—replace all your tubing.  It's cheap.  Boil things that are small enough and have nooks and crannies (ball valves).  Also, consider switching sanitizers for one batch in case bacteria have become resistant to what you're currently using.

What does everyone do that may have mold spores floating around??

I try to keep the brewery below 55% relative humidity.  I use a fume hood to pump out water vapor while brewing and a dehumidifier to keep the moisture low at all other times.

General Homebrew Discussion / How Long is Too Long?
« on: November 11, 2012, 11:49:11 AM »
It depends how clean your wort is.  I once had to leave some wort sitting at room temperature for days while I replaced a chest freezer (it was a lager and I didn't want to pitch too warm).  No infection.  Some bacteria can be slow to take hold, though, so if it seems okay after fermentation, keep it cold and drink it fast. :-)

General Homebrew Discussion / What's Brewing This Weekend - 11/2 Edition
« on: November 11, 2012, 11:40:42 AM »
Special Bitter.  Considering adding tart cherries to half the batch because it seems like an unusual thing to do.

General Homebrew Discussion / Homebrewing Hobby Survey
« on: November 04, 2012, 04:47:53 PM »
call me paranoid but this survey is funded by the National Science Foundation, A fed govt agency. Sorry but I don't trust the govt enough to give out this kind of information... I don't see the need to go blindly into any survey that pops up asking about homebrewing...

They're not collecting any personally identifiable information (other than your email address, and only then if you want to a shot at the gift card) or really anything else they couldn't get from posts to this forum if they tried hard enough.  So I think you're safe.

A Fellow Paranoid

Pimp My System / suggestions for vent hood install in basement
« on: October 05, 2012, 05:44:04 AM »
I got this extra-wide (42") range hood from a Sears store that sells refurbished appliances.  It's dented right in front, but it was cheap, and it has twice the flow rate of a standard unit.  There were knock-outs for a standard-sized (10"x3.25") rectangular vent in the top and back.  I opted for the top and adapted it to 6" round pipe.

In the next photo, you can see the round pipe running from the hood through the joist bay to the rim joist.  I really ought to insulate that pipe.

Here's the vent assembly on the outside of the the house.

To put that in, I had to cut a hole in the side of the house.  A friend with a hammer drill came over to help me (thanks, Tom).

Keeping the fan on full blast during the boil keeps condensation and humidity in check.  It doesn't completely eliminate the smell of boiling wort in the house, but it's a considerable improvement.  I keep the fan on low when working with cooled wort or yeast, thinking the resulting updraft will prevent bacteria-laden dust from landing.

All Grain Brewing / Last three batches terrible
« on: October 01, 2012, 04:48:31 PM »
How does the wort taste post-boil but pre-fermentation?  Next time, try saving some of the wort, and let it sit, without yeast, in the same chamber as the fermenting beer.  Then taste it at the same time you taste the beer.  Do you get a similar off-flavor?

Are you pitching fresh yeast every time, or are these repitches?

I recently had issues with wild yeast infections.  Getting aggressive on sanitation of post-boil and repitch components (boiling ball valves and tubing, flaming the lip of the repitch vessel, etc.) seems to have helped.

Ingredients / Maple Syrup-When Add To Get Maple Taste
« on: September 24, 2012, 03:14:17 AM »
I just used hickory syrup in a beer, and I added it just as fermentation was beginning to slow.  Fermentation took off again, of course, but plenty of hickory flavor remained when activity subsided.  I'm very pleased with the outcome.  I used 16 fl. oz. of syrup in 5 gallons of session-strength beer.

Events / NHC Location Application
« on: September 06, 2012, 02:35:50 AM »
Hi, Kyle.  There are at least three people who agree with you and are working on a bid.  They are Anita Johnson, Agatha Feltus, and Sandy Cockerham.  You should contact them; I'm sure they'd appreciate your help!

Kegging and Bottling / aluminum "bottle cans"
« on: August 09, 2012, 05:00:27 PM »
Heineken comes in aluminum bottles now. Goes down easier than Bud, especially since it's not skunked.

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