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Messages - hubie

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Ingredients / Re: Hops Direct pellet release Friday
« on: November 15, 2013, 06:11:13 PM »

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Looks like I won't know what the "must have" hops are this year until they're sold out!  ;)

Equipment and Software / Re: Keg and carboy washer build
« on: November 15, 2013, 05:50:41 PM »
What are you using for the end of the sprayer, i.e., what is the hole pattern?  Also, what are you using for a cleaner?  Is it wetting the entire surface on the inside including the shoulder?  If so, it might only be a case of running it longer.  The stuff that dries up near the neck eventually comes off in a PBW-like soak.  There are various garden hose sprayer ends you can use, but I don't know of any that would get you more than a upper hemispherical pattern.  If you wanted to brute-force it, you could make the wand out of 1/2" copper, put a cap on the end, and take a small drill and drill a bazillion holes at different angles along its length, sort of the Zapap approach.

You could also go with water fountain nozzles:

Whether you need a ball valve will depend upon the flow restriction coming out of the end of the sprayer and how much flow the pump provides.  You'll also want to make sure your pump would be happy if you restrict its output like you can with the magnetic drive March pumps.  I've never played with a sump pump, so I am not very familiar with how they operate.

Ingredients / Re: Hops Direct pellet release Friday
« on: November 14, 2013, 03:18:21 PM »
I wonder what the "must have" hop this year is.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: oops - dumped ice in my kettle
« on: November 13, 2013, 04:52:36 PM »
I always thought the ice was a brilliant idea.  The math is easy to calculate (assuming you know your boil volume well enough) and you can't beat how fast it gets you to pitching temperatures.  If I wasn't now doing full wort boils, I would do it that way by freezing bottled water the night before.

Brown took his lumps from some uptight homebrewers on what he did in the show, such as keeping the steeping grains in the brew pot, and he did later apologize and made process changes and posted them to his blog, but I still think that was an excellent show on homebrewing.  Like all his Good Eats shows, he explained the how and the why and showed you how easy it is.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Building Water
« on: November 01, 2013, 09:06:18 PM »
I just take some O2 molecules, mix them up good with twice as many H2 molecules, add some heat, and voilà... water. 

Easy speasy, 1,2,threesy.

Now that is an explosive idea!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Check my approach to decoction
« on: October 31, 2013, 08:29:25 PM »
I agree you might take a hit on efficiency because you're denaturing the enzymes in the small mash when you boil it, but you can probably get around that by draining the liquid in the small mash into your big mash before bringing the small mash to boil.

No matter how you end up doing it, you'll need to do a little experimenting to hit your target temperature.  If you don't drain the liquid from your small mash before boiling it, you could probably treat that as an infusion step when calculating how much you'll need in your small mash.  My guess is that your small mash will probably end up being fairly small because most of the thermal mass is in the water you're boiling in the small mash.  If you drain your small mash first before boiling, you might find that the amount of grain you need in your small mash to raise the temperature of your main mash is pretty big and your small might be about the same size as your big.  I know that when I do a decoction session, the amount of grain I end up pulling turns out to be a substantial part of the grain in the tun.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Chemistry of Beer
« on: October 31, 2013, 07:00:58 PM »
Forget college, what about high school???

(Biology would have been a lot for interesting for me if I had that class; beats the hell out of dissecting fetal pigs).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Concentrated boils and hop utilization
« on: October 25, 2013, 03:06:46 PM »
I like the idea.  Another way to get one with no break would be to use only sucrose to get the gravity up, though I suppose you'd need to make sure you match the pH with the malt batches. 

For a collaborator you might want to approach Brad Sturgeon of Monmouth College.  He is a homebrewer and professor, and he and his students do IBU measurements in the lab.  I have listened to several podcasts where he was involved in some kind of IBU experiment or another so this would probably pique his interest.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparge temp
« on: October 24, 2013, 06:17:04 PM »
Still trying to think this out, going to experiment with some wort from my next beer, Just to clarify morticaixavier how much yeast do you mean my a ton? two packets of dry yeast is what i was thinking.

probably 1 packet in a quart would be more than enough

Kai Troester has some great info on this (  He advocates using regular bread yeast if you don't want to use up any of your beer yeast (1/2 tsp to 8 oz wort).  I usually add my test wort to the dregs left in my flask after I pitch my starter, but I've also used bread yeast because I always have it around (I keep a jar of loose yeast in the fridge for baking).  If you don't have loose bread yeast, there is 2-1/4 tsp yeast in a typical bread yeast packet.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentation Temp Measurement
« on: October 24, 2013, 06:04:07 PM »
Based on what I have read, that could reach 10 degrees higher....which would put me at much higher than suggested temps.

I keep hearing that 10 degrees, and sometimes it is 5 degrees, but it always anecdotal.  I suppose at some point I will set up my own experiment, but with all the agitation going on in the fermentor from thermal gradients and CO2 production, during active fermentation I can't see how there is going to be significant differences in temperatures anywhere in the beer.  The difference in temperature between a thermowell and something on the outside of the fermentor will strongly depend upon the type of device and how it is mounted.  A hard cylindrical temperature probe (like from a Ranco controller) makes horrible physical contact (almost no surface area contact) with the cylindrical wall of the fermentor, so it is important to cover them well with an insulator (bubble wrap) and lots of tape because the probe will measure the temperature of the air around it better than it will measure the temperature of the fermentor.  A stick-on thermometer makes great contact with the fermentor via its adhesive, but you're relying on something that has one side exposed to the air and the other side that has a thermal insulator (glass/plastic) between it and a large thermal mass (beer).

As Sean says, if you really want to know, you need to calibrate them, but make sure you calibrate them like you will use them because you might find the stick-on ones have one offset when on a glass carboy, and another when on a plastic carboy or bucket.  The good thing about all of this is that if you set everything up the same, you'll get consistent results.  You need to keep in mind that if someone says they get great results fermenting at 64F, not knowing how they are measuring temperature and what their offsets are, that might not be the same 64F to you. (Yeah, I know, I hate those "it is different from system to system" answers too...)

Equipment and Software / Re: Thermometer Recommendation
« on: October 23, 2013, 06:30:53 PM »
Using the Thermopen, I discovered that every thermometer I have is off by at least 5 degrees.

Are you sure your Thermopen is not the one that is off by five degrees?

Other Fermentables / Re: Juice & Strain Method
« on: October 21, 2013, 06:40:31 PM »

Theory of the DME:
The yeast will eat all the simple sugars from the fruit and hopefully "forget" how to process the maltose of the DME.  This will leave some sweetness behind, and also the dextrins in the DME will leave some body.  I just did two 1 gallon batches of cider, one with DME and one without DME, and the with DME had a better all around taste and body.  It was less tart/dry and some more subtle complexities.  So, this is my scaled up version of the DME version.

Please write back on how this turns out.  If your DME theory is good, wouldn't it work better if you added the DME after you've passed the bulk of your fermentation activity? 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Correct volume for boil
« on: October 21, 2013, 06:25:55 PM »
It isn't clear from what you said about the directions, but make sure you aren't pouring that 1.5 gallons you just boiled into the carboy first and then adding the cold water on top.  Your carboy will not be happy with that kind of thermal shock and it can crack and/or break; however, if you were using something like a plastic bucket you'd be ok.

I also would not want to boil only 1.5 gallons.  After you pull your steeping grains out, you'll be left with something closer to 1.25 gallons, and if you boil that for an hour you won't have much liquid left.

There is something magic about the 1.5 gallons you are steeping in (it keeps your water chemistry in a range where you are not likely to extract undesirable flavors from the grain).  Once you're done steeping the grains I would take duboman's suggestion for boiling, or boil as much as you can comfortably fit in whatever pot you are using.  The downside to boiling a lot of liquid at once is that if you don't have some sort of chiller, it takes a lot longer to get the liquid down to the proper pitching temperature.

I know this isn't serious brewing, making a dark flavorful lager or anything.

Serious brewing is whatever it is that makes whatever you (and/or your financee) likes to drink.  It is no different than cooking, and like cooking there are many ways to get where you want to go.  Do you want to make your pie completely from scratch and make the pie dough (all grain brewing), or save some time and effort and buy a frozen pre-made one (partial mash and/or extract brewing)?  You can end up making very tasty pie either way.

Based on what you've said, I would recommend starting with cider making, mead making, or country wines.  All of those are very easy to make in small (one gallon) batches, and the equipment requirements are very modest.  I've got various types of mead sitting in one gallon glass jugs in my basement right now.

You can get lots of good advice on mead and cider making on this forum, there is also for mead making, and for making wine out of just about anything you can think of.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Racking
« on: October 09, 2013, 06:45:12 PM »
You wouldn't want to use a copper as a racking cane.  You wouldn't see the buildup of any of the bad blue-green oxide (verdigris) on the inside of it.  Either that, or you should always assume it is there and treat it accordingly (e.g., acid clean it) before each use.

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