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Topics - redzim

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
1
Kegging and Bottling / shelf life
« on: August 19, 2014, 02:19:39 PM »
What is the shelf life, at room temp, of bottles filled from carbed kegs...  I am wondering, because I have some leftover bottles I filled for comps, and would like to keep them a while to compare to future batches of the same recipe... do I need to keep them refrigerated, or is 60F or so fine for them?  My beers are pretty fully attenuated and force carbed as well as fined in the keg with Biofine so I am pretty sure there is no viable yeast in there. 

I imagine that careful filling with a counterpressure filler and CO2 purging would extend the shelf life and prevent oxidation, but these bottles are just filled from a keg with a piece of hose stuck over a pony tap.

2
All Grain Brewing / RO system design
« on: July 14, 2014, 10:19:50 AM »
Thinking about getting an RO system for my brewing needs as I blow through a lot of distilled water at $1 a gallon....  I have a very mechanically minded friend helping out, he works with a lot of contractors and knows some companies that install RO systems.   I know next to nothing about RO systems and he knows nothing about brewing. He told me to price out a system they need to know what end result of water I want coming out of the system.  I said, as close to distilled as possible, but apparently that is not the answer they are looking for. What water specs should I be telling them I need? Ideally I'd like very close to distilled, and then add gypsum and CaCl and epsom, etc, back in to brew pale beers...  any suggestions from folks who have RO systems?

tx red

3
Thinking about doing some 20 or 30 gal batches instead of 10gal. I have an immersion chiller than handles 10 gal fine but thinking about trying a plate chiller for larger batches. I have 45F water in the winter but 65F in the summer. What is the best practice if I'm trying to make a lager in this weather? Obviously a plate chiller can't get colder than the feed water, so could I chill as much as I can, then let the wort sit in the fermenter under temp control for 24 hours or whatever it takes until I can get it down to 48-50F, then pitch yeast? Or am I asking for infection trouble?

A second question would be how I might need to adjust my hopping schedule... I am getting 10 gal below 100F in the first 4 minutes of chill time, usually... but with a larger boil and with a plate chiller, I will have much of the wort at a much higher temp for longer. What will that do to my various hop additions?

thanks
red

4
I'm thinking about upgrading from doing 10-gal Denny-style batch-sparge brews in a big cooler chest, to doing 30-gal batches in a big 40+ gal stainless mash tun (maybe from Stout Tanks, or Psychobrew, or a Blichmann Boilermaker setup, etc). 

Most of these seem to come with fancy things like "rotating sparge arms", etc, which I don't really even understand. So I'm wondering if I need to ditch my years of experience and comfort level with batch sparging and learn about fly sparging, which I've never done or even really thought about?

Or do you think with a system like that, you could still just drain off the first runnings, then add some sparge water, and drain again, just I've been doing. In other words, what does the increased mash volume and changed geometry (from a rectangular, relatively shallow grain bed to a more cylindrical and deeper bed)  do? Will efficiency be effected?  Any advice accepted.

-red

5
After brewing exclusively with dry yeast for the last 4-5 years (10 gals every 2 weeks) and feeling pretty comfortable with my process and results, I'm think about trying some liquid yeasts from Wyeast or White Labs for some styles like Alts and Bohemian Pils that might benefit from a more specialized yeast than just US-05 or W-34/70. 

But having not thought at all about liquid yeast for these last years I need to get a couple simple questions answered. I hope to NOT start a huge discussion about the pros and cons of starters etc, I just want practical advice from anyone who has done a lot with liquid yeasts.

#1) Have either White Labs or Wyeast made a product that is truly pitchable into 5 gallons of wort? I know their websites say their products are, but I seem to remember a lot of guys saying that that is marketing BS and a starter is highly recommended. But that was a while ago and maybe things have changed, so I need to know: in real life scenarios, are they telling the truth or not?  If not, I can't see myself getting into making starters as my brewing schedule has to remain flexible.

#2) If answer to #1 is yes, which producer is better? Or are certain strains from each company better? It looks like pricing from NB is identical ($6.29 per pack/vial)...

I'll post again if/when I need specific recommendations for specific styles.

thanks
red

6
Beer Recipes / Cent / Amarillo IPA
« on: May 13, 2014, 12:59:54 PM »
I have a basic IPA recipe that I throw different hops into. 24# Pale Malt, 2# C-40 for a 10 gallon batch. I've had good luck hitting it with all-Centennial at 60, 40, 20, 5 and dry hopping (Tinseth of around 50IBUs altogether). Also I've done Magnum at 60min (to about 30IBUs) and then Amarillo at 40, 20, 5, and dry. 

I now have just 4oz of 8.8% Cents and 6oz of 6.9% Amarillo left and want to use them together. I'd like to bitter with Magnum at 60min to get a clean backbone.  I know what 100% Amarillo tastes like (I love the grapefruit thing) but will it clash with Cents? And would I be better off blending the two hops for each addition, or doing the 40 and 20 with Cent and the late with Amarillo, or perhaps alternating the two? I'm open to ideas...

red

7
All Grain Brewing / troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« on: March 27, 2014, 05:37:06 AM »
Hey Guys,

Got a weird one here: just been tasting my latest Pils (based off Hopfenundmalz's recipe). It's been lagering 5 weeks in the keg at 33F.  It has been a great recipe for me until this batch... but this batch has a really really dry bitter finish that is not pleasant at all. It's not a good hoppy bitterness like an IPA, it's bone dry, very long lasting in the mouth, and quite frankly not good. I'm trying to figure out why. The only thing I can think of is that for this batch I left the FWH hops in for a little over an hour before the wort boiled... my previous batch (which was fantastic), I only left them in for 30 minutes. Will this make a huge difference? 

Or perhaps hop freshness? For this new batch I used a brand-new vac pack of hop pellets, for the previous batch I used up a pouch that had been opened maybe 6 months earlier, BUT I vacuum seal it after every use and store it in a commercial freezer at -15F so I am not sure how much the oils are degrading...

The other difference is that in this batch I used 3% acidulated malt to try to get a little lactic tang in the flavor, the mash pH was in the 5.3 range, but on my previous batch I used no acid malt and the pH was still 5.3...

Otherwise here are all the things that were pretty much identical between batches:
(for my "bad batch" I used all 4.0% Mittelfruh; for my previous batch I blended 4.5% Mittelfruh & 6.3% Tettnang... does the fact that I used a lot more hops matter, weight-wise, have anything to do with it, even if IBUs of each addition were identical??)

2.8 IBUs @ FWH
41 IBUs @ 60min
1.7 IBUs @ 10min
0.1 IBUs @ 1min

Hochkurz Double Decoction mash, dough in at 146F, hold 30 min, raise to 158F with decoction, hold 30 min, raise to 168F with decoction, hold 20 min, sparge out.  OG 1.050, FG 1.011.  Water used was pretty close to Yellow Bitter profile in Brun Water (+/- 10ppm or so on each mineral).

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I could even mail a bottle to someone who seriously wants to critique it. Send me a PM.

-red


8
Equipment and Software / very frustrated with my Barley Crusher
« on: March 17, 2014, 01:28:37 PM »
I have a Barley Crusher Malt Mill, bought it new in 2008.  For the last 5-6 months it's been jamming or "cavitating" about 10 times during every 20+ lbs batch of grain I mill. For those who don't know the mill, only one of the two rollers is driven (in my case by a cordless drill running around 300 RPMs) and the other is supposed to spin when the grain gets between the rollers. But it keeps stopping and you have to bang or shake the mill a lot to get it going again, and usually once per batch of grain I have to dump it out and clean it out.  I have it running at the factory gap setting.

Any suggestions on how to get this fixed? I blast it out religiously with high pressure compressed air after each use so it is externally clean.  Is there oiling or something to do internally? Or a way to make it not jam up?   Or is it time for a better mill of new & improved design?

-red

9
The Pub / postcards from all 50 states
« on: March 14, 2014, 05:14:38 AM »
Good Morning All,

Need to rally the homebrewing community for something totally non-brewing related...

My daughter's 6th grade class is trying to collect as many postcards as they can from all 50 states, obviously the more my daughter gets the better... so if there is anyone out there who could send a postcard to her, send me a direct email (address below) with your mailing address. She'll hand-write you a letter, and you can mail a postcard back to her.  Or if any of you has a child in grade school, she could address the letter to your child.

Being from the Northeast, any state outside New England and the whole NY-NJ-PA-OH-WV-MD-DE area has a lot more cachet... but really, she'll accept anything.

You can send your address to redzim at mailstack dot com

thanks very much
Red

10
All Grain Brewing / lactic acid to acidify sparge water
« on: March 11, 2014, 12:04:08 PM »
This question is aimed at folks who use BrunWater, but possibly other people can chime in too...

I've been noticing that when I have a water built on partially-distilled water with a lot of additional salts/minerals in it, the suggested amount of lactic acid from BrunWater (Adjustment Summary tab, cell H25) does not seem to be enough to drop the pH of my sparge water to 5.5.  When however I used my own water with no added minerals (for other beers) the suggested amount of lactic acid drops the sparge pH as predicted by BrunWater. 

Here's my guess, but tell me if it's correct: is BrunWater somehow including the minerals I'm adding to the mash & sparge in its calculation of what the pH will be, and therefore how much lactic acid to add?  I stir in minerals at dough-in, and then when sparging, I also add them to the mash at the same time as the sparge water as it seems more accurate than dissolving them in my sparge water and then adding all that to the mash tun. So my pH reading is off because the minerals BrunWater is expecting are not present in the sparge water.  Is this a correct assumption? If so, do I need to change my procedure, or can I just relax, knowing that when the acidified sparge water hits the mash together with the minerals, the pH will all work out fine? Or do I need to start dissolving the sparge minerals directly in the sparge water with the lactic acid?

(FWIW I add lactic acid when the sparge water is less than 70F, as suggested by Martin, although I can't remember exactly where I first saw that)

thanks
red

11
All Grain Brewing / SNPA grain bill
« on: January 23, 2014, 12:42:05 PM »
I'm sure this is covered in approx 1,000 other threads but I just need some quick reinforcement: my SNPA-like pale ale, which I've brewed unchanged for about 6 batches over 3 years, suddenly tastes too caramelly compared to the real thing.  I do 93% pale ale malt and 7% caramel 60.  should I drop that to caramel 40? or what do you guys do?

also for hops, I do about 25 IBUs of Magnum at 60min, 10 IBUs of Centennial at 30, 8 IBUs of Cascade at 10min, and about double that amount of Cascade at flame-out. Sound good? I know SN uses Perle instead of Centennial but I don't use Perle in any other beer I make so I've subbed Cent in. Would any hops from the following I stock be better: Tettnang, Willamette, Columbus, or Hallertau?

-red

12
General Homebrew Discussion / how long would you lager a Trad Bock?
« on: January 14, 2014, 09:42:02 AM »
It was in primary for a little over 2 weeks, then I kegged it a little over 5 weeks ago, it's been under 11PSI @ 34F since then. So it's fully carbed by now, just want to know when I should tap it.  O.G. of 1.070 and F.G. of  1.016.


13
General Homebrew Discussion / low level infection?
« on: January 03, 2014, 11:48:06 AM »
First of all, Happy New Year to my fellow brewers.

I’ve been detecting a low-level vegetal-type taste in my last 6 or so beers.  Not enough to cause me to dump them, but enough to bug me (most of my beer drinking friends haven’t noticed it).  A couple judges at comps I entered this fall noticed it too, but just made notes like “you may have a slight infection in this beer; check your sanitation procedures.”   It has gone thru a fresh start with my favorite lager yeast, so while at one point I thought it was maybe one bad batch of beer that infected my yeast and screwed up subsequent batches, now I’m not so sure.

For sanitation, I mix up Starsan with distilled water every 2-3 brews, so it is a max of about 6 weeks old, and never cloudy when I use it. I have a stainless steel boil kettle with copper IC but a plastic run-off tube (but I chill with a big IC so only chilled wort is going thru the run-off tube into fermenters.) My fermenters are 7-gal plastic tanks about 5 years old.   Is it possible they harbor something? I soak in hot PBW solution overnight after every fermentation though…  or is it time to replace them?

I don’t think this is DMS because for all my pilsner-malt based beers I boil 90 minutes, and for all of them I chill quite rapidly (I can chill 10 gal of down to 60F in 10 min, on average).  So I’m wondering if there a bugs that survive Starsan?  Is there such a thing as a low-level beer infection vs. a "really bad" infection?  Or does anyone have suggestions?

One other thing I was thinking: I buy my hops by the pound, and vacuum pack them in plastic vac seal bags when I open the pound. I keep them in an industrial walk-in freezer at work at -15F. Some varieties are 18 months old when I finally finish the pound. Any chance these old hops are possibly causing my problem?

Any help would be appreciated…
Red

14
Beer Recipes / Irish Red Ale
« on: September 30, 2013, 12:09:59 PM »
Anyone have a favorite recipe that they like better than the one from BCS?  I've never made one before but like the style, and I'll start with that recipe unless someone has a really better idea...

-red

15
General Homebrew Discussion / belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« on: September 14, 2013, 05:30:55 AM »
I brewed Jamil's Belgian Blonde. It went thru primary in about 1 week, then I kegged it and it's been carbing for 2 weeks. I tapped it yesterday and there are ferocious cider and green apple aromas, not so much in the taste, but certainly in the aroma. Some quick reading of Palmer, etc, says that the primary cause is usually too much cane/corn sugar, and too high a fermentation temp.

Well this is exactly what the recipe called for: 1.5# sugar per 5 gals (and I've found a couple sites saying the 1# is general considered the upper limit per 5 gals) and Jamil also says to start the fermentation at 64F and let it rise to 68F, which I did.  The beer went from 1.065 to 1.011,  and I used dry T-58 yeast.

This being my first non-Witbier Belgian attempt, is this normal? Is Jamil's recipe messed up? Should I just keep tasting it every week and see if it dissipates (Palmer suggests that it will...)? Is this (gasp) my first dumper in 6 years?

-red

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