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Messages - Lazy Ant Brewing

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Equipment and Software / Dip stick for measuring kettle volume
« on: September 13, 2014, 02:23:17 PM »
I'm looking for the easiest and most accurate way of gauging the amount of liquid inside my brew pot both pre-mash and post-boil.

I didn't have enough shekels to buy a pot with a sight glass.  I have a 10-gal S/S kettle and I'll be doing mostly 3-gal batches and 5-gal batches BIAB.

I'm considering two options but would welcome other ideas.

The first is buy a S/S yardstick, measure the height from the bottom for different levels (gallons) of liquid, and type up a chart e.g. 10 inches depth = X gallons.

I think it might be hard to accurately read the markings on it if the wort was boiling at the time of measurement and putting off steam.  Would there some easy way to permanently mark the pre-measured levels on a S/S ruler?  I don't know of any paint that might stick to the S/S and still resist boiling wort without flaking or dissolving.

The other idea would be to buy a wooden square dowel either 1/2 inch or 1 inch per side and about 6 inches longer than my kettle and calibrate that.  The issue then would become sanitizing the stick and would it hold up to repeated dunkings in hot wort?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How many BTUs needed for 5-gal batches
« on: September 11, 2014, 07:36:53 PM »
I've wondered about the different regulators available and how easy it is to regulate temps for all the different conditions that one might encounter.  I suppose the regulators with the higher pressure will heat the wort faster, but use more gas in the process.

Do you need different gas cylinders to work with regulators with different pressures, or will the regular propane  gas cylinders work with all of them?

I'm planning on doing mostly 3-gal batch sizes, but want the capability of doing 5-gal batches also.

If I get one of the185,000 BTU or 210,000 BTU burners that are on the market, can I control the flame well enough to add just a bit of heat to a 3-gal batch to raise my mash temp back say 3 or 4 F to get it back to "specs" if the wort is cooling down too much before enough time has elapsed for good conversion?

Will be higher rated BTU burners do the smaller batches efficiently or should I get a a burner in the 60,000 BTU range?

Thanks in advance for you advice.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cedar Wood Cubes
« on: September 10, 2014, 09:07:22 PM »
Cedrela odorata is a  tropical plant from Central and S. America also known as Spanish Cedar, or Cigar Box Cedar.  Among other things it is used to make boxes to store clothing as it contains resinous compounds that repel insects.

How it would taste in beer or how it would affect humans I have no clue.  But I would advise you to make sure you know exactly what plant material you are dealing with and how it might affect you.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How many BTUs needed for 5-gal batches
« on: September 06, 2014, 12:27:56 PM »
I planning on doing BIAB, so I'll be bringing 7 or 8 gallons of water to strike temp, draining the bag and then bringing that to a full boil.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How many BTUs needed for 5-gal batches
« on: September 05, 2014, 02:58:22 PM »
With a propane burner, I'll have to brew outside.


All Grain Brewing / How many BTUs needed for 5-gal batches
« on: September 05, 2014, 02:15:14 AM »
How much heat do you need to boil enough water for 5 -gal batches in say 20 minutes to a boil?

Thanks in advance for hour help.

Hop Growing / Re: Japanese Beetles & Hops
« on: August 24, 2014, 03:25:43 AM »
I would be leery of getting the traps.  They attract the beetles and although you'll get a lot in your traps you'll also get a lot of them munching on everything in sight before they venture into the trap.

Although I know you wish to go organic, Malathion works well, but I don't know if it's labeled for hops.  Be sure to read and follow directions on all pesticides.

All Grain Brewing / Diluting residual alkalinity with RO water question
« on: August 17, 2014, 06:01:51 PM »
Is there a linear relationship for diluting RA with RO water?

for instance if my RA was 100 and I wanted to get it to 80 could I do that by making sure 1/5 of my water was RO?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brewing calendar
« on: August 15, 2014, 06:20:51 PM »
Some breweries have a calendar of what they're brewing or planning to brew and that might also give you an idea.  Check out New Glarus Brewing in Wisconsin.

General Homebrew Discussion / Chlorinated Water
« on: August 14, 2014, 11:14:53 AM »
Some of the posts I've read in other forums state that chlorinated water added to the wort is an absolute killer for the taste.

I've done partial boils and added tapwater to the fermenter to get the required volume without noticeable problems. Other people have tasted my brews including one guy that has drank in almost every brewpub in Chicago, IL and no-one has complained.

According to my most recent annual water report, chlorine was listed at 1.47 ppm. So far I've been brewing ales in the spectrum from red ales to stouts.

I'd welcome some discussion on this.


All Grain Brewing / BIAB: What's necessary and what's not?
« on: August 11, 2014, 02:05:46 PM »
I'm getting ready to buy a brew kettle for BIAB and want to separate what's necessary from what's for show.  I'm a results-oriented guy that's willing to pay for reasonable convenience, but don't care about "one-upping" other home brewers.

I'm going to do mostly 3-gal batches with the occasional 5-gal batch.  I'm planning on getting a 10-gal pot and if the OG goes too high for the 10-gal size for some particular recipe then I'll simply scale it down to the 3-gal batch size for that brew.

My questions are:

Aluminum or stainless steel?

Spigot or not or should I just siphon the wort to the fermenter?

Kettle equipped with large thermometer or forgo that and dip a digital thermometer in occasionally?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: pairing
« on: August 08, 2014, 10:22:25 AM »
I recently brined a large chicken in a solution that included 2 quarts of red ale, then roasted it.  Fantastic!  Should work well with any game bird.

General Homebrew Discussion / Aging vs. lagering for ales
« on: August 07, 2014, 12:55:30 PM »
I only brew ales as I don't have a way of fermenting at cooler temps for lager yeasts. 

But I read about storing beer at temps in the 50 F range (don't have a way of doing that either) so after my beer is properly bottle conditioned I put in a refrigerator at about 38 F and leave there until I'm ready to drink it. 

I've noticed the darker ales get somewhat better after about two months, but I've wondered how that would compare to storing them at 50 F or a similar temp for a period of time.

Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm
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Re: Pot size needed for both 3-gal and 5-gal batches for BIAB?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2014, 12:30:00 PM »
I use different kettles for 3.5 and 5.5 gallon batches.  Kettle geometry matters when making beer, as it affects evaporation rate, hop utilization, and immersion chiller effective height.  Ideally, one wants a kettle with at least a 1:1 height-to-diameter ratio at roughly twice the end of boil volume. 

With that said, Northern Brewer is selling a fairly low-cost 10-gallon (actually 9.63-gallon) stainless steel kettle that has a 1.2:1 height-to-diameter ratio at 9.63 gallons and a 1:1 height-to-diameter ratio at 8 gallons.  This kettle is sold as their 10-gallon Tall Boy kettle.  The price point is a very good for a buy once, cry once kettle with a tri-clad bottom.

I was thinking about buyng an 80 qt. pot made of 2 mm aluminum with a vegetable strainer basket and using it for both 3-gal and 5-gal BIAB batches. If I would  just take a moderate hit to my efficiency I wouldn't really care too much.  If it would severely affect the quality of one of the batch sizes I might have to rethink it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Burning your bag in BIAB?
« on: August 04, 2014, 02:54:21 PM »
I suppose a guy could mark the length of the bag when it was positioned about 2 inches above the bottom in some fashion and then use a bungee cord or heavy duty clips to keep it at that level.

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