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Messages - redzim

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All Grain Brewing / Re: figuring out grain bill %'s
« on: March 09, 2010, 03:05:45 PM »
Why don’t you just figure out how much grain you need by assuming a standard 36 ppg for example? For this you need to know the efficiency, target volume and target gravity. If you want to be really precise with the extract potential of the grist you can calculate the weighted average by considering the extract potential of each malt and its grain bill portion.

Once you have the total grist weight the individual grain weights are easy to calculate from their percentages.

That’s how I do it.


Do you always go with the 36ppg when computing what efficiency you are hitting? Or do you try to use the extract potential of each individual malt? I've been trying to use exact numbers in my calculations but I am slowly learning that everyone's numbers fluctuate by a few points for just about every malt!  So if I would just use 36ppg, maybe that would simplify things.... but I don't want to lose too much accuracy.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The BEST thermometer in the World
« on: February 12, 2010, 04:11:50 PM »
I definitely recommend stuff from   

I haven't used their Thermapen but I have this mini unit that uses K-type probes ( and I got a couple different probes to handle all my brewing, smoking, and meat needs.

Kegging and Bottling / set-and-forget carb problems
« on: January 09, 2010, 05:42:30 PM »

I have been having problems with the set-it-and-forget-it method of force carbing my corny kegs.  I used to brew 5 gal batches, and had 2 cornys. I have a double manifold on my single-regulator CO2 tank, and would drink from one keg, while the other carbed. Left it at 12 PSI @ 34F all the time, no problems, and it seemed like my kegs would always be carbed and ready to drink in 5 to 7 days.

Well about 4 months ago I moved to 10 gal batches and bought another corny. I also bought a T and another gas fitting for the corny, and plumbed that off one side of my manifold, so I can have 3 kegs attached to the tank now. I schedule my brews so when 5 gals of one brew is gone (drunk or bottled), I can fill up 2 kegs with a new 10 gal batch and let it carb.  However I am now finding that it is taking about 14 days to properly carb the new kegs, still at 12 PSI and  34F. Is this because I now have three kegs on the gas? Or because of my T splitter feeding the two uncarbed kegs? Or does carbing take longer as the gas cylinder gets empty - I think mine is getting empty because it's been going forever, but the gauge still shows the same tank pressure as when it was new.

In a related question, I now have 10 gals of a Brown Ale that is 11 days old in the primary... I was hoping to be able to rack it into the kegs this weekend, but my current beer is not carbed yet, so I can't bottle it as I planned to.... so how long can this ale sit on the yeast in the primary... it was down to final gravity at 8 days, so it is ready to keg.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Two Day Brew Day
« on: December 09, 2009, 08:05:20 PM »
I've done the following about 6 times in the last 6 months with no noticeable problems: Mash/run-off late afternoon or evening, put the wort (~15 gals) into a brute barrel in a walk-in cooler at around 8 or 9 pm, then start the boil the next morning at 8 or 9am. Never heated to 180F as majorvices suggests, and never had any souring or weirdness.  Wort temp in the morning usually high 30s. 

But you want to do a longer pause in the action, and it might still work, if you can get the wort temp down below 40F where bacterial growth is greatly inhibited (although not completely stopped). I certainly wouldn't leave the wort at 65F or 85F.

OK, what I learned is that RDWHAHB is good advice. I took gravity readings yesterday (at 14 days) and the "good" fermenter was down to 1.011, and the "stuck" fermenter was down to 1.015.  All airlock activity had ceased on both fermenters at 12 days. So after a 24hr diacetyl rest at 60F, today I blended them 50/50 and transferred to carboys to lager. Should get a beer around 1.013, or lower.

Another question: I got 6 cups of nice yeast slurry off this, this is S-189. I want to do a Negra Modelo clone soon - would this yeast be in style for that, or not?

Thanks for the advice and tips, esp Denny and Fred. I usually have well over a quart, closer to half a gallon, of slurry in the bottom of my fermenters. So I will check my gravities at 14 days, and if everything works out as I suspect it will, I'll rack my "good beer" to a carboy for lagering, swirl up the yeast in it, and dump it into my stuck fermenter, and hope it kicks off again. Sound reasonable?

Is there the possibility of maybe mixing the batch now? Transfer the good one to two fermenters, then top them off with the slow batch...

This way the yeast would not be dormant in the good batch you have now such as it will if you were to let it completely ferment out... You will want good healthy active yeast.

I could mix them now.... but why would the yeast in the good batch be dormant when it's done fermenting?  People often repitch just a cup or so of slurry from a completed fermentation into a new beer.....  why is this case any different?

[crossposted from another forum where it did not get any response...]


Got a question that I hope I will not need an answer to, but figured I'd ask it, get some responses, and be ready to act if I need to:

I made a 10 gal batch of 1.054 Budvar clone (Czech Pils) and as usual with my 10 gal batches, split it into two fermenters to fit in my fridge. I pitched two 11g packs of S-189 dry Swiss lager yeast into each fermenter (I did not rehydrate it, but I've been using US-05 in this way for a while and never had problems.) I pitched at 52F, and aerated with a mixstir after pitching. I usually go for 4 minutes in each fermenter, with my cordless drill on HI to get a good vortex going. Here is where the problem came in. While aerating the 2nd fermenter, the battery started dying and I just kind of let it run out, therefore aerating the 2nd fermenter only about 90 seconds, maybe 2 minutes max. I figured it would be OK.

Anyways, after 8 days of fermentation at 52F, the second fermenter has clearly been lagging, at least judging by airlock activity. I checked the gravity and the 1st fermenter was down to 1.032 but the second is only 1.042. Today, after 10 days fermenting, the 1st ferm is still bubbling away and the 2nd one is just dead.

So here is the question: assuming, after I let them both ferment another week or so in primary, and assuming that the one fermenter is down to where I want my FG (maybe 1.012-1.014) and the bad batch is stuck around 1.020 or 1.025 or even higher, can I do the following: rack the good beer into a secondary for lagering, and rack the stuck beer onto the good yeast cake left from the first?

I don't want to get into adding Beano, or making a big starter (I don't have any liquid yeast on hand). But I thought this might be a good way of firing up the second batch again: I know there will be fermentables in there, because the wort was the same in both fermenters, in fact everything is identical except the "bad" fermenter was not aerated nearly as much as the "good" one.

The other thing I thought of was just blending the two batches at kegging time. Of course I'll wait a week and see what develops, but I thought I'd toss the question out and solicit some answers.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

All Grain Brewing / Re: spent grains
« on: November 17, 2009, 02:56:48 PM »
Bread - our church kitchen took an oatmeal bread recipe and subbed in my spent grains instead of the rolled oats. The folks love it and they keep telling me to brew more!  When you toast it, the spent grains get all crunchy and it really adds some mouthfeel to the bread....

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