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Topics - redzim

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Equipment and Software / chilling a 30-gal batch
« on: January 24, 2013, 08:06:27 PM »
Anyone here brew 1-bbl batches?  If so, how do you chill the wort...  large immersion chiller, or some kind of plate chiller?

If IC, what length and diameter is the coil? 

If plate chiller, any info on make, model, # of plates, and what pumps (if any) you use, would be appreciated.


Ingredients / boil volume question
« on: January 13, 2013, 11:39:42 AM »
OK from this previous thread ( I am realizing that my processes are a little abnormal compared to the average homebrewer. To recap, the main issue is my large kettle which has a huge (30-40%) boil off rate, which caused me (up until my most recent brew yesterday, Maibock) to oversparge... that is, collect 16-17gals to boil down to 11gal.  This caused astringency in many beers even though I got great efficiency.  Then the astringency from oversparging got further concentrated by the boil.

So based on suggestions from this forum, I sparged only until I collected 12gal (which would put me in the ballpark of other 10gal brewers, I guess), then I added 5 gallons water to the kettle before starting the boil (for various reasons it is basically impossible to reduce my boil off rate, in case you're wondering). (I also acidified my sparge water with lactic acid for the first time, getting in from ~7.5 down to ~5.7, which will help astringency also)

Now I use Kaiser and Martin's water spreadsheets heavily. What I did yesterday was add minerals to the "dilution" water (which I added to the kettle pre-boil) in the same proportions that I did to the mash and sparge water.  Thinking about it more, I think this may be wrong?  If I enter data into those spreadsheets as if I'm collecting 12gal pre-boil, that obviously makes my mash pH and everything work out, as well as setting the flavor profile.  So if I add more minerals preboil, I am now thinking, that screws everything up and sort of "concentrates" my minerals. Perhaps what I should be doing is adding distilled water as my dilution, so the minerals don't get played with... because the only reason I'm adding water to the boil is so I have enough wort to ferment after the boil.... so it just be be distilled that evaporates off... correct assumption? Or am I off here?  (previously, I entered data in the water spreadsheets as if I was collecting 16-17gal, and they nicely gave me lots of stuff to add to my sparge water, which again got concentrated in the boil...  if Martin or Kai could clarify how their sheets work it would help here... I guess they assume most people have a "normal" boil off rate)

So that got me thinking further: I bet I'm messing with my hop utilization by having such a big preboil volume....  so maybe instead of adding 4 or 5 gallons right at the start of the boil, I should add it a half gallon at a time during the boil, so I never have more than maybe 12-13 gal in the kettle...  this would then let me mimic the average homebrewer who boils from 12 gal down to 10.5, or so... 

any thoughts?

Going Pro / vendors / manufacturers
« on: January 09, 2013, 09:23:18 AM »
Just kind of blowing smoke out my ear at this point but where would I start looking to get a quote on equipment for a 7bbl or 10bbl brew house, that would include MLT system, mill & auger, wort chilling system, and 2-5 (or more) tanks for fermenting, lagering, and serving,and anything else I have forgotten?

I am looking for both:

1) manufacturers of new equipment

2) forums where I could keep tabs on used stuff being sold


All Grain Brewing / astringency
« on: January 02, 2013, 06:25:56 AM »
I've been noticing a little astringency (dry puckery aftertaste that lasts a little too long for my liking) in only a few of my beers this past 6 months.  After looking thru my brewing notes I noticed that this flavor was pretty much confined to high-attenuating, medium-bittered amber-ish beers (ales & lagers). Here's my theory, you tell me if I'm on the right track:

I think I've been sparging with too-hot water (I batch sparge a la Denny).   Somewhere a while ago I read that one should sparge with 180F water but I'm kind of sloppy about it and often hit 185 or 190 (I log this every batch.)  I then often hit a mash-tun temp of 175+ before I start running off my second runnings (but I only leave the mash at that temp for 5 mins, max).  Now searching online for sources of astringency, I find a lot of people saying that sparge water should not be above 170F...  Which I definitely have not been heeding...  So how possible is it that this hot sparge is extracting tannins?

I think I am doing this for all my beers but my theory is that I only notice it in certain beers like Alt and Oktoberfest because they finish out pretty dry (~1.010) and are not aggressively hopped.... in my recent Pilsners, Pale Ales, and IPAs I have not noticed this because they have a lot more hops in. Also in other slightly " sweeter" beers like Porters and Bocks I don't notice it because of more malty flavors, higher F.G., etc.   Is this a good guess?

Also: is it worth checking the pH of the mash at sparging time? Currently I only check the mash about 5-10 minutes into the first rest, I aim for around 5.3 to 5.6 (at room temp) and pretty much get there all the time... but I do boil in a large-diameter steam kettle and need to collect 16 gallons of liquid to boil down to 11 gal of wort; I often run-off only 6.5-7 gallons of first runnings, and then sparge with 9+ gallons more; could this by somehow messing up the pH of the sparge by diluting the buffering power of the grain and making the mash pH jump up to 5.8 or higher?

One more thing could be that I'm milling too fine... is it true that too much "flour" in the grist will extract tannins? I'm using a BarleyCrusher set on about 30-32 mil (measured with an automotive feeler gauge) but I do see a fair bit of flour.... my brewhouse efficiency usually hits around 85%; lower for 1.060+ beers, but I do hit 90% on some decocted or low-gravity brews. 


(edited to correct misspelling in post title)

All Grain Brewing / possible Hochkurz decoction screw-up
« on: November 17, 2012, 08:59:45 AM »
I did a Hochkurz decoction the other day on a German Pilsner (a recipe I got from Pawtucket Patriot) and while reviewing my notes today I noticed that I forgot to hold the first decoction at ~150F for 10 min or so before bringing it to a boil....  I had the mash at 148F, then pulled the first decoction and ramped it right up to a boil.....  is this going to make a huge deal?


Beer Recipes / covert FWH to boil hops
« on: October 15, 2012, 05:22:13 AM »
I'd like to brew Denny's Waldo Lake Amber based on the recipe of NB's Kit (I won't buy the kit, but just follow their recipe.)  It is hopped as follows:

1.00oz Cascade @ FWH
0.75 Magnum @ 60min
1.00oz Centennial @ 0min

How would I convert the Cascade amount to boil hops?  My work schedule for the next few weeks won't allow me to have 6 hour un-interrrupted for brewing, but I've had good luck chilling my wort (after mashing)  in a walk-in cooler for up to 48 hours before starting the boil. But somehow I don't think that leaving FWH hops in for 48hours is going to work... or maybe it will?

tx red

Kegging and Bottling / how long does dry hopping last?
« on: August 22, 2012, 10:33:04 AM »
I have 2 cornies of NB's Two Hearted clone (didn't but their kits but used their recipe), and I added the dry hops in a tea ball when kegging after a 2 week primary. After 2 weeks in the keg it is great, but I'm wondering how long it will taste that way? IPA is not a huge mover with my buddies and it may be mostly me drinking this, which may take a month or 6 weeks.  What, if anything, will be different in 6 weeks about the hop flavors and aromas?

tx red

General Homebrew Discussion / target an exact FG
« on: July 31, 2012, 01:26:36 PM »
OK I've been thinking about this for a couple days, while planning my next beer (a schwarzbier that I brewed this morning).

Say I'm trying to end up with 11gals of 1.048 wort in the fermenter... so I am dealing with 528 gravity points.... now 11gals of 50F wort is actually almost 11.5gals at 212F if you go with the 4% volume reduction, so at flameout, is my wort 1.046 (because 528/11.5 = 45.9) ???

And so my real question is, when designing a recipe, should I be targeting a final volume of 11.5 gal, or 11.0 gal?? because for a lowish-gravity beer, those 2 points make a difference.  But perhaps I'm over thinking this or missing something.

Obviously if I'm brewing a 1.065 IPA and it comes out at 1.062 or whatever, it's not such a big deal.


All Grain Brewing / protein rest... 122F or 133F?
« on: May 26, 2012, 03:44:09 PM »
I've had good success with my last few pilsners (German and Bohemian) by following Kai's single decoction time and temp curve as shown here: .  This calls for a protein rest at 133F. However in prepping for a first bash at a Dortmunder style, I ran across this procedure at Maltose Falcons  which calls for a rest at 122F... Googling that temp seems to show that 122F is also a protein rest...  what's up with that?   or does a protein rest have a wide range that includes 122F and 133F??? 


All Grain Brewing / canning salt or table salt?
« on: May 25, 2012, 11:11:23 AM »
Getting ready to brew my first Dortmunder, and working with Kai and Martin's water spreadsheets.  Kai's sheet says "table salt" and Martin's says "canning salt."   Which is it? I know table salt is iodized and canning salt is pure NaCl. So I assume I would probably use canning salt... is that correct?

( I have it on hand, as pickle season is not far off...)


Ingredients / difference between US and German Tettnanger?
« on: May 24, 2012, 06:27:38 AM »
Looking to order another years supply of hop pellets today, found out both North Country (at least in Champlain NY) and HopsDirect are out of German Tetts (at least in 1 pounders).  So I orders the US Tetts from HopsDirect (grown right at their farm apparently).  Will I be able to even tell the difference? I can't imagine I'll notice it, but just want to make sure.  I mostly use Tetts as a flavor or aroma hop, in Vienna lagers, Alts, a Jever-style Pils (sometimes Hallertauer Mittlefruh in that one), Bocks, etc.


All Grain Brewing / how long is too long for FWH?
« on: May 10, 2012, 06:15:10 AM »
Sometimes I need to take a break during a brew day, so I get the situation where I might have tossed the first wort hops into my kettles around 10 am, then sparged on top of that to hit my preboil volume, then I leave that sitting for maybe 2-3 hours, and only get around to firing up the boil around 12:30 or 1pm. Is that too long?  I've done it a couple times before and the beers have been fine, but just wondering what the accepted best practice is.


Ingredients / what to put in a multigrain ale
« on: April 18, 2012, 11:51:27 AM »
So for the last 3 years I make this American Wheat based on the BCS recipe, which is roughly 50% pale malt, 30% rye, and 20% wheat, lightly hopped at 60m and flameout with a combo of Willamette, Centennial, Cascade, Hallertauer, or whatever I feel like, to about 20-25 IBUs.  I aim for it to finish around 1.010-1.012, with ABV around 5.5% to 6.0%.  It's a nice spring/summer beer.  Anyways for my buddies I make a sort of novelty/jokey label touting it as healthy multigrain high-fiber beer, blah blah blah.

So I get to thinking as I brewed it a month ago, what can I add to make it really "multigrain".   Obviously I could toss some oat malt or flaked oats in there. But who's put really weird grains in their beers, and what were the results? I'm thinking maybe millet or buckwheat? Flax is a little oily, but?  I could do corn; flaked is boring so what about popcorn? Or spelt or bulgur wheat? I'm open to experimentation if it won't totally ruin a batch. 

Crazy ideas welcome!


Ingredients / does rye malt always have a gray-blueish tint to it?
« on: March 14, 2012, 06:08:47 AM »
Brewing with rye malt for only the second time, and it seems like it has a blue-ish gray-ish powdery tint to it, looks almost like a mold, but it doesn't really flake off or dust off; it seems integral to the grain. I can't remember seeing this before, but I only used rye last summer for the first time and may have missed it?

A quick Google image search shows some pictures with this stuff on the grain, and some without... the grain smells fine and tastes fine so I think it IS fine.... but any more knowledge on this situation would be appreciated.

BTW it is Canada Malting Rye Malt, from Rebel Brewer, got it shipped in about 2 weeks ago.


Ingredients / water for Dortmunder
« on: March 10, 2012, 06:49:42 AM »
I've never brewed this style before and I'm looking for suggestions on water recipe. I found Blatz's which is this: Ca 107, Mg 4, Na 21, Cl 70, SO4 115, HCO3 67, RA 3 (all in ppm).

This seems really hard to me...   I can almost get there using Kai's water calculator, starting with distilled water and adding gypsum, epsom, table salt, CaCl2, baking soda, and chalk... by playing with all of those I can get a water that is Ca 83, Mg 4, Na 19, Cl 60, SO4 116, HCO3 72, and RA of -3.....  I can't seem to get all of them to line up with Blatz's numbers....

there must be a simpler way to do this, it anyways seems counterproductive to be adding gypsum/epsom/CaCl2 to a mash at the same time as baking soda and chalk, seems kind of like they are going to be fighting each other...

so bottom line is, does anyone have a good water recipe for a Dortmunder???

tx all

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