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Messages - ajk

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Equipment and Software / Re: Where to go for oxygen tanks?
« on: June 03, 2011, 06:32:18 AM »
The staff at the big box stores seem not to know what they are.  I've found them in two places at Lowe's: in the tools section near the welding supplies and in the plumbing section near the stuff for sweating copper pipe.

Equipment and Software / Re: Extending the life of Star-San
« on: June 03, 2011, 06:27:34 AM »
Do you or one of your neighbors have a water softener?  My hot water runs through one, and I use that water to make StarSan solution.  A water softener is technically just an ion replacement system, but it seems to effectively remove watever ions StarSan reacts with, resulting in a shelf-stable solution.  I make up 5 gallons in a Corny keg and sanitize kegs by pushing it from keg to keg with CO2.  I also dispense some to a spray bottle for ad hoc use.  It stays clear (and at a low pH) for months.

It sounds as though you've looked into it, but around here RO water is easy to get at any grocery store.  They have kiosks where you can fill and refill 5-gallon jugs of the stuff.  I use it to dilute my (very alkaline) tap water to make my brewing liquor.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Dunkelweizen and Devilled Eggs...Infection?
« on: May 19, 2011, 02:53:06 PM »
As far as banana/clove balance goes, I like the 30ºC rule (pitching temperature + fermentation temperature add up to 30ºC).  So I pitch at 12ºC and do a controlled rise to 18ºC, maybe 2ºC per day.  It's a tough one because people's sensitivity thresholds vary so much for these characteristics.  I had one beer that was awarded first prize at a competition, the judges raving about the clove/banana balance.  A separate (skilled and respected) judge tasted the beer later and didn't detect any banana.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Dunkelweizen and Devilled Eggs...Infection?
« on: May 17, 2011, 02:42:04 PM »
I've seen (smelled) 3068 throw H2S.  The beer was fine when it finished.  Sometimes it doesn't go away until carbonated.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: In Memorium, Ant Hayes, 1970-2011
« on: May 05, 2011, 04:51:53 AM »
Just saw Jeff's HBD post this morning and was completely stunned.  Ant was someone I not only greatly admired, but generally had a great time just hanging out and chatting with.  His AHA conference talks easily rank in my top 5 all-time favorites.  I remember the time he somehow managed to get several cases of Mann's Brown Ale shipped to Cincinnati for the judges' reception just so we could taste a real Southern English Brown.  At last year's conference, he said he liked my Mild Ale, which is about the best compliment I think I could have received.  Ant's work has had a large impact on my brewing of English ales and will continue to.

Equipment and Software / Re: What's the best cleaner?
« on: April 27, 2011, 12:33:49 PM »
Oxiclean will do the same level of cleaning but it lacks the "wetting agent" that PBW utilizes.

Are you talking about a surfactant?  OxiClean has surfactants, but I don't know if they're the same ones or in the same quantities as PBW.

I've more often heard it claimed that OxiClean doesn't have a chelator, leading to inorganic deposits when used with hard water.  I solve that by using it with water run through an ion replacement system ("softener").

Inversely proportional to the amount I've been brewing lately.  And I usually buy a bunch at the AHA conference.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Oxyclean...I'm doing something wrong...
« on: March 29, 2011, 10:06:08 AM »
I use Versatile as well because it's super-cheap at Costco.  The fragrance is not very strong (compared to that of other detergents), and neither I nor any judges have detected any perfumy house character to my beers.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Oxyclean...I'm doing something wrong...
« on: March 29, 2011, 06:32:03 AM »
I use OxiClean with water that has been run through an ion replacement system (water "softener").  It seems to eliminate the need for a chelator, I assume because the sodium that replaces the calcium in the softener's resin bed forms salts that don't stick the way calcium carbonate does.  I'm no chemistry expert!  But I can say that I never have a problem with inorganic buildup on my equipment, even after soaking in OxiClean solution for long periods.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew allowance?
« on: March 27, 2011, 05:02:49 PM »
I spend $125 per month.  A good chunk of it is brewery improvements and festival and competition fees.

All Grain Brewing / Re: dough-in method
« on: March 26, 2011, 06:31:55 PM »
By the way, when I use the fill-from-the-bottom method, I have to resist the urge to start stirring before all the water's in.  Tried it once and got many doughballs.  Seems better to let the water wet as much of the grain as possible on its own before stirring.

Equipment and Software / Re: What's the best thermometer?
« on: March 26, 2011, 06:27:12 PM »
I use a thermapen. It's a hundred bucks, but it is worth the expense.

Seconded.  I use mine for both homebrew and BBQ (when I'm not using a remote).  The probe has a nice thin tip, so its own thermal mass doesn't affect the temperature of the sample itself as much.  I only worry I'm going to stick myself with it.  98.6ºF!

I'm leery of infrared thermometers -- don't they only measure surface temperature?  Been meaning to get one for tasting, although I suppose the palate is also a pretty accurate (though certainly not so precise) thermometer.

All Grain Brewing / Re: dough-in method
« on: March 25, 2011, 06:55:15 AM »
I mash in a Denny-style cooler, and I've recently started pushing hot liquor in through the out hose.  So I have a cooler full of grain sitting on one stand and a hot liquor tank sitting on a higher stand with a hose running between the spigots on each.  I open the valves and the mash tun fills with hot liquor.  A friend pointed out this technique (on his very different system) results in fewer dough balls, and so far it works for me.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry Yeast Question
« on: March 24, 2011, 05:56:52 AM »
I find Safale S-04 to be more like the Whitbread strain -- more bready and attenuative than Wyeast 1968.  I haven't tried Nottingham or Windsor, though, so I can't say from personal experience if they'd get you closer.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Troulble Shoot - oxidation
« on: March 11, 2011, 06:56:17 AM »
I am getting some oxidized notes in my last brew and am trying to figure where in the process that happened.

Oxidation comes in many aromas/flavors.  What are you getting?

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