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Messages - hubie

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The only time I've had problems with NPT fittings sealing with teflon tape was when I wasn't careful and some of the tape overlapped at the end of the fitting so that some of the tape wrapped over to the inside of the fitting.  Once I re-wrapped the threads, the leak went away.

Other Fermentables / Ginger beer and kefir
« on: July 30, 2011, 11:47:38 PM »
Is the ginger beer plant the same thing as water kefir, and just out of curiosity, is water kefir the same thing as milk kefir?  I know Raj Apte has done quite a bit of work on the ginger beer plant, but it surrounds a specific culture (DSM 2484) he obtained from a German lab.  I was very interested in the work he presented on the ginger beer plant, but I cannot seem to find someone who is selling that culture.  However, I can find a number of people selling "water kefir," which is something that I see being used (incorrectly?) interchangeably with ginger beer plant. 

I currently have an active milk kefir going, and I would love to add a ginger beer plant as well.  I was wondering if I could just order some water kefir and it would be the same.

Other Fermentables / Re: Why remove scum?
« on: July 26, 2011, 03:44:00 AM »
This goes back to traditional recipes.  If you look up some old mead making recipes from the 18th and 19th century, you'll see that they tell you to mix the water and honey, boil the snot out of it, and skim the stuff during the boil.  One of these days I want to do side-by-side one-gallon batches where I boil and skim one and no-boil the other, and see what kind of differences I get.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA Conference Talk - Power Points
« on: July 21, 2011, 07:29:15 PM »
Damn Microsoft formats always stick it to me.  Because I have issues with opening various versions of PowerPoint (for instance, other than a font size issue Drew's presentation opens fine, but Jamil's is basically unreadable for me), I will be converting the non-PDFs into PDFs once I can get the copies I downloaded over to a recent vintage Microsoft Office-enabled computer.  If anyone else has these same issues, or if anyone associated with the conference has an interest in making them available as an alternate format download, I would be glad to send them the PDF versions I make.

Equipment and Software / Re: pH meter - what else is needed?
« on: July 08, 2011, 07:47:58 PM »
What is the shelf life for the reference solutions once opened, and how often to people calibrate?  My LHBS sells the sachets as well as bottles of the solutions.  I like the idea of the sachets, and I think you can order them in bulk, but I presume they are meant for single use.  I can see the attraction in getting the bottles of the solution, but only if they don't go bad after a short amount of time.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Opinions on aeration system
« on: July 07, 2011, 05:11:22 PM »
Maybe this is a baseless fear, but I haven't made the jump to straight O2 because I don't want to buy a dissolved oxygen meter. I've heard people say they use O2 without any problems, but I've also heard people say they run O2 for anywhere from 30 seconds to 5-10min. Without some sort of measurement, you're really just taking a WAG at how much O2 you're getting into solution, when you know that by aerating you're topping out around 8ppm.

I take the consistency route.  I use the same amount of time with my O2 bottle every time.  It is down the list of my priorities, but I do want to add a flow meter so that I can ensure I'm running it at the same flow rate every time.

I'm sure it has been posted before, but Greg Doss and David Logsdon of Wyeast gave a very nice presentation on yeast, which included an aeration experiment:

If you want to put rough numbers on the O2/stone method, eyeballing the slope of the DO vs. time curve (slide 31) looks to give 1 ppm for every 8 seconds.  By the way, also from that slide package they measured that you can get 8 ppm DO just from shaking the carboy for less than a minute.  My preference is to run my O2 bottle instead of shaking a 45 lb carboy.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« on: June 27, 2011, 10:16:50 PM »
Hubie: I thought maybe you were confusing North German Alt, which is often fermented with a lager yeast (as opposed to Dussledorf alt which is not.)

No, just typing in haste as I was distracted trying to figure out (Google) what is the commercial kolsch that I get on the East coast, and I still can't remember.  I thought it might be from Southamption, but it turns out that it is their Alt that I get.

I did just pick up the new Sam Adams East/West Kolsch.  The one I had I thought it was OK, but I like mine much better.  I don't know if they sell them separately, but I had to grab their 12-pk summer selection to get it.  The plus is that it also comes with their new saison (haven't tried it yet), but you also are stuck with a couple of their Sam Adams Lites.

All Grain Brewing / Re: dead space
« on: June 27, 2011, 09:55:27 PM »
You need to add it for strike water temp calculations, but not for calculating the amount of water needed to hit a specific water/grain ratio.

If you really want to hit specific numbers, than strictly speaking I would say you do have to add the dead space to your mash thickness calculation. If you remove part of your strike water and put it down in the dead space, then you now have a thicker mash thickness up top.  It only really makes a difference with small grain amounts and large dead spaces, and for someone who (for some reason) wants to hit a very specific water/grain ratio.  If you had 10 lbs grain and 2 qts in your dead space, your mash thickness would be sitting at a water/grain ratio of 1.1 instead of 1.3.  Even with that example, though, I would be surprised if one would notice the difference in their beer.  I never worry about it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« on: June 27, 2011, 09:36:41 PM »
It is basically an ale fermented with lager yeast, or at least that is the simple explanation.  

No, that's not true at all. It needs to be fermented with a kolsch yeast. If you use a lager at ale temps you are not making a kolsch. Some brew pubs use a clean fermenting ale yeast such as the Chico strain and call it a "kolsch" but it doesn;t hit the mark. In that case it is really just a blonde or psudo lager.

In my haste I had mixed up two over-generalized explanations that get tossed around (the kolsch is the ale that tastes like a lager, and the California Common is the lager yeast fermented at ale temperatures).  Dumb gaffes aside, I agree, you really need to use a kolsch yeast, but you need to ferment it cool (or, at least I have found that I need to ferment it cool).  I see people who say they ferment them in the upper 60's and they are happy with their results, but when I have done that (trying to make one in the summer), it doesn't come out as clean tasting as I would prefer.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« on: June 27, 2011, 08:59:07 PM »
It is one of my favorite styles.  It is basically an ale fermented with lager yeast, or at least that is the simple explanation.  Think of a very clean tasting blonde ale with perhaps some slight fruitiness to it.  It is very easy to drink, which is why some people love it as a summer beer.  I brew mine all malt, but some recipes use wheat as well.  You want to ferment it cool, like around 58 to 62 F if you can, which is why I brew mine in early spring when I can still have low 60's for temps in my basement.  If I had a temperature controlled fermentation box, I would brew this year round.  It is a 4 to 5 percent beer, so it can be quaffed as a session beer.

For US commercial beers, the BJCP lists: Goose Island Summertime, Alaska Summer Ale, Harpoon Summer Beer, New Holland Lucid, Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower, Capitol City Capitol Kölsch, Shiner Kölsch

I haven't tried any of those myself.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottle Conditioning in a 1 Gallon Growler?
« on: June 27, 2011, 06:03:27 PM »
It is on my list to try for beer, but the old 2L soda bottles should work just fine.  They do for making root beer at least.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Pressure/Temp equation for kegging
« on: June 26, 2011, 03:30:34 AM »
I believe the charts are based simply on Henry's Law:

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Negra Modelo Yeast?
« on: June 26, 2011, 03:17:23 AM »
It is probably too late to get a hold of the WLP 940 (Mexican Lager) limited release strain.  I think that came out several months ago.

As for recipe formulation, you might want to check out Chris Colby's BYO article:

Other Fermentables / Re: New to Kefir
« on: June 23, 2011, 11:55:15 PM »
What I was wondering .... those of you who make kefir regularly ...... do you rinse your grains before transferring them to a new batch?  Sometimes they are completely encased in curd ........ if they separate cleanly, I just transfer them but if I can't isolate them by rolling them around in the strainer I'll rinse them with cold water.

I was just reading on this topic last night.  One view (Dom's) is here:

Other Fermentables / Re: New to Kefir
« on: June 23, 2011, 12:17:33 PM »
I sent away for, and received my grains.  Certainly not what I expected when I kept thinking about "grains."  I was expecting to see something that looked like little bits of hard white stuff.  I've done one milk change on them so far.  This will take a bit of experimentation.  I'm not sure how to measure their volume.  One of my grain masses is flat like a pancake.

In any event, this should turn out to be a fun adventure.

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