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Messages - hubie

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1
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Chemistry of Beer
« on: January 10, 2014, 07:37:01 AM »
I've been wondering about the course as well.  Yesterday I had to go back into my old emails to make sure I wasn't forgetting to do something (I started to worry that I missed the course).  The registration email said that more info will be sent out before the course starts.  I guess the prof. will be busy this weekend. :)

2
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Rinsing
« on: January 03, 2014, 08:29:16 AM »
I was just pointing out how smart I am lol.

 :D, it really is these kinds of trials and experiments that make you a better brewer!

I really appreciate all the pictures.  It is one thing to read about what the steps are, but it really helps (me, at least) to see it as well.

3
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What can I do with a Mr Beer Kit?
« on: December 29, 2013, 09:35:33 AM »
I'm fine with beer kits, especially if given to me as a gift because to me it means the person was putting some thought into a personal gift.  I'm not sure the motivation of the person who sent me the gift; perhaps they thought it was an ingredients kit.

In any event, I think I can put the fermentor to work.  I think it will fit in my fermentation chest freezer alongside anything I'd have in there.  I think I'll use it for ciders and meads, but I like the idea of using it for a lagering vessel.  Or I just might decide to use it as intended and make 2-gallon batches.  That way I'll get to brew much more often than I do now.

Since I bottle, the PET bottles will be of immediate use.  The yeast that comes with each can of LME is unspecified.  I assume it is a Coopers ale yeast.  Anyone use hopped extract?  I'm trying to figure out how many IBUs I'll get out of these cans but there is little info on them.  The Mr. Beer website says the final value in a 2-gallon batch, so I'll work backwards from there.

4
General Homebrew Discussion / What can I do with a Mr Beer Kit?
« on: December 28, 2013, 06:42:44 PM »
My normal brewing session is 5-gallon all-grain batches.  In the past I have been given extract kits as gifts, which I am always happy to receive and use.  This Christmas I was gifted a Mr Beer Kit.  It was mailed to me from afar, so it isn't something I can easily return or take back to a store.  I could always regift it to someone, but I don't have anyone in mind who might be interested in it.  It comes with a 2-gallon PET fermentor, ten PET beer bottles, two 850 gram cans of Coopers hopped LME (the Aztec Mexican Cerveza and the Bohemian Czech Pilsner), two 5g sachets of "ale yeast" and some other misc stuff.

Anyone have any suggestions?  I might go ahead and make the two 2-gallon batches, probably with some tweaking of ingredients and yeast (850 grams into 2 gallons only comes to something like 1.035), but after that, I don't know.  I might use the fermentor for small batch brewing, mead making, cider making, etc.  Maybe it could be my dedicated souring vessel.

5
Equipment and Software / Re: Cloudy StarSan
« on: December 15, 2013, 09:41:00 AM »
I've been running into this problem lately- even though the water is RO.

But the starsan is about 6 years old and has cracked caps. Also the starsan has grown darker instead of the clear syrup it once was.

Barely any left so I'm just discarding any solution that's left after a brew session.

My experience went the other way.  I've noticed that my water gets cloudy more often now that I've used up my old bottle with the cracked cap (did you drop yours too?) and moved to a new bottle.

6
Equipment and Software / Re: oxyclean
« on: December 15, 2013, 09:38:49 AM »
IMO, the rinsing defeats the purpose.

Although I use StarSan, I don't agree about the rinsing.  I've always considered this an overblown worry unless you are using your own well water.  I like the no-rinse stuff because I don't need to do the extra step of rinsing, and that it takes more effort to use bleach effectively.  Charley Talley (Five Star Chemicals, who used to be in the bleach manufacturing business before Five Star) has some really good info on how to use bleach correctly in one of the interviews he did with Basic Brewing Radio or Brew Strong (I don't remember which).  Two of the big things I recall are that you want to acidify your water with the bleach, and that large brand bleach loses its microbe killing potency over time because they add sodium hydroxide and the cheap brands don't.  Also, if you do the acidified bleach treatment in the right amounts, you don't need to rinse it anyway.  Obviously if you want to go this route, make sure you read up on how to do it so that you don't end up mixing your acid and bleach first before adding it to the water.

7
Is there a decent way to calculate the anticipated fermentability?  If I understand what is typically done with calculators is that they calculate the OG then just multiply by some attenuation factor for that yeast strain and don't take into account how fermentable each component is.  Is my understanding correct?

8
Other Fermentables / Re: Kambucha anyone?
« on: December 09, 2013, 11:06:39 AM »
We had the lids drilled to fit a #9 stopper and airlock.  We've tried a lot of other things in the past (drilling canning jar lids, etc.) but nothing has been truly airtight yet until we went with these bail-top Fido jars. 

The ferments have been excellent, now that oxygen is excluded.

I assume you still weigh down the cabbage so that it is below the liquid line?  I've never thought about it in terms of using a container with an airlock.  The kraut crocs look very nice, but are pretty expensive.  I suppose I could also use one of the 2-gallon food-grade buckets I have with lid and airlock (assuming I don't want to use it for wine/mead anymore).

9
Other Fermentables / Re: Kambucha anyone?
« on: December 07, 2013, 11:23:21 AM »
We bought some 5L Fido Jars and had the lids drilled at a glass shop.  They're excellent.  We've made kraut for a few years, and it's been good but not great.  Now it's perfect- no oxidation at all.  Nice and crisp, sour, and still bright green (not brown and funky like it can get when it's oxidized). 

What is the purpose of drilling a hole in the lid?

10
Ingredients / Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
« on: December 03, 2013, 09:46:51 AM »
I may never use up three pounds of Strisselspalt but I will try.

It has been many years since I've read Papazian's books, but I recall he really liked Strisselspalt so you might be able to find some recipes in his book(s).  Or maybe I'm just remembering one specific recipe of his...

11
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dishwashing detergent
« on: December 03, 2013, 09:38:42 AM »
I use those Cascade ones as well and I don't seem to have head retention issues.  I do recall the last time I purchased them that there were several variants on them: regular ones, "Complete", "Platinum", whatever.  I go with whatever the cheapest ones are because I'm worried the other ones have more stuff in them that might kill head retention (and the ones I'm using do a sufficient job of cleaning the dishes).

12
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dealing With Non-Homebrewers
« on: December 03, 2013, 09:32:05 AM »
If you are expected to be the "beer guy", that could also just be a reflection of the fact that they recognize your love and passion for beer and gladly defer the beer choice to your expertise, much the same way that one would let their wine snob friend or relative choose the wine at a restaurant.  However, if it is purely a one-sided affair in that they don't bring anything (food, wine, flowers, etc.) when they visit, but expect it of you, then that is an issue of manners, not homebrew.

I love to share my beer with those who really seem to enjoy it, but I never push it on anyone.  I secretly fear being the person who always gifts you with the unwanted fruitcake that you end up throwing out.  However, at my old job the company would have a summer picnic and I was volunteered to handle the beer.  I brought two cases, one commercial and one of mine.  In the commercial case I mixed it up with the usual crowd pleasers: Corona, etc.  Mine was 12 Irish reds and 12 blondes.  At the end of the picnic there were only two of my beers left and only two commercial beers consumed, so that made me feel pretty good.  Since my Dad passed, I'm about the only person who drinks my beer so it is rare that I get any feedback on it.

13
Ingredients / Re: IPA Experiment - Sulfate/Chloride
« on: November 27, 2013, 07:09:07 AM »
I only skimmed the experimental description yesterday, and I have yet to listen to the podcast, but I did note that to make the experiment easier, they dosed glasses of beer rather than brew multiple batches with different sulfate ratios.  I have a rather large blind spot for biochemistry; is this a fair way to do the experiment?  Is the perceived "hoppiness" only dependent upon the sulfate/chloride ratio after the fact, like adding salt to a cooked meal, or does the ratio come into play during chemical reactions going on in the kettle or fermentor?

14
Equipment and Software / Re: Keg and carboy washer build
« on: November 18, 2013, 12:32:40 PM »
How do you connect that spray ball to the PVC pipe?  I see from the catalog that the sprayer uses BSPP threads.  Is that a 1-1/4" PVC pipe?

15
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Flat rate shipping
« on: November 15, 2013, 11:12:49 AM »
I thought that they always had flat-rate shipping.

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