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Messages - redzim

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Equipment and Software / Re: very frustrated with my Barley Crusher
« on: March 17, 2014, 05:55:31 PM »
So I'm now taking recommendations for a better mill. I have heard good things about Monsters.  Anyone tried the new Captain Crush from Northern Brewer yet?

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?


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

All Grain Brewing / Re: lactic acid to acidify sparge water
« on: March 12, 2014, 10:56:47 AM »
As mentioned, adding minerals to the mash and hoping that you are mixing them in AND dissolving AND distributing those ions throughout the mash is a tall order. I'd say its very unlikely unless you are running a RIMS or HERMS and the flow will distribute the ions effectively.

Brewers are FAR better off adding minerals to the water and letting them dissolve BEFORE mixing that water with the grist. 

In the case of using water that has very low distilled water, the need for acidification is reduced. pH is not really a problem. But alkalinity is. Water with a pH of 9 and alkalinity of nearly zero is much better to brew with than a water with pH of 5.5 and alkalinity of 200 ppm.

For my dough-in, I am dissolving all minerals in the strike water before adding grains. It's at sparge time where I am currently dissolving them in only a cup or so of water, and mixing that into the mash tun at the same time that I add strike water.

You're saying if I mix & dissolve the sparge minerals into the full volume of sparge water, and with whatever lactic acid I may need, that is better... and that if I check the pH of that liquid, it should match up to what Brun Water predicts.... right?

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)


All Grain Brewing / Re: Late Water Adjustment
« on: March 06, 2014, 02:08:36 PM »
I use a small syringe and pull ~0.2 mL. By the time I walk across the room it's cooled, and there's no concern over evaporation.

is this for mash pH or refractometer readings? I thought for a mash pH you would need to pull out an actual "mash sample" including grains, not just liquid... at least that is what I do... or is the pH of just liquid pulled from the tun good enough?

Ingredients / Re: Pellet Hops - Vacuum Sealed bag or jar?
« on: March 03, 2014, 06:55:05 AM »
My avocado tree is in full bloom right now.  It looks like a bumper crop this year.

#^#@!% Floridians  ;)....  the taps have been in our sugar maple trees for 3 weeks already but nothing's dripping as the temperature steadfastly refuses to rise above freezing for more than about 30 minutes a day... but there's still 2 feet of snow on the ground so when the thaw finally comes that should help with a good run...

(sorry... off topic but I'm particularly cold this morning!)

Ingredients / Re: Chit malt?
« on: February 24, 2014, 11:13:31 AM »
I add 5-10% in every beer I make(especially German).

Where do you buy it from, and what brand? I've not seen it anywhere, but can vouch for Hopfenundmalz's trick of using some flaked barley to get close, at least on dry German pilsners....

Ingredients / Re: Using Biofine Clear
« on: February 06, 2014, 07:49:18 AM »
You mean direct from these guys  doesn't look like they'll sell to "the little guy" i.e. me.... or???

Ingredients / Re: Using Biofine Clear
« on: February 06, 2014, 06:01:04 AM »
then I assume the first pint is a sludgy yeasty mess that you discard, just like with gelatin? and clear after that?

Not even a pint. I've crashed the beer already, so there's very little yeast. I'm just going after haze. I end up pouring off ~4 fl oz, sometimes twice.

Sound great except for the pricing. 50mL/bbl is about 8ml/5gal, right? so the little 1oz bottle is going to only do 4 kegs... or have you found a source for a larger bottle? (or is my math wrong?)

Ingredients / Re: Using Biofine Clear
« on: February 05, 2014, 07:41:07 PM »
Can Biofine be added at the point in my process?

I add it to the keg before purging, then rack the beer in on top of it. I figure a little turbulence will help to get it evenly distributed.

then I assume the first pint is a sludgy yeasty mess that you discard, just like with gelatin? and clear after that?

Ingredients / Re: Using Biofine Clear
« on: February 05, 2014, 09:29:34 AM »
Trying to see if I can use Biofine instead of gelatin.  Seems odd to need to add a whole cup of water with dissolved gelatin to a 5 gal keg.  I usually crash-cool for 48 hours, then keg with the gelatin solution. Can Biofine be added at the point in my process?

Beer Recipes / Re: Munich Dunkel Recipe?
« on: February 05, 2014, 06:32:18 AM »
I love Kai's recipe which is 99% Dark Munich (I like Best Malz) and 1% Carafa II.

Beer Recipes / Re: German Pils - hop and malt questions
« on: February 01, 2014, 08:48:57 AM »
That looks good Red. What hop schedule have you settled on?

Using 4.0% Hallertauer Mittelfruh and aiming for an OG of 1.050 after a 90min boil, I plan to do 3 IBU (or 0.75 oz) at FWH, 40 IBU (6.5 oz) at 60 min, 2 IBU (about half an oz) at 15 min for flavor, and about a half an ounce at 1min or flameout, for a hint in the aroma. So about 45 IBU altogether.  (I've done this schedule with all Tettnang, all Hallertauer, and a 50/50 mix, depending on what I have in hand. I didn't like the all-Tett so much, but the 50/50 and all Hallertau are great.)

Beer Recipes / Re: German Pils - hop and malt questions
« on: February 01, 2014, 08:03:58 AM »
I want to brew a Jever style Pils next week. I plan to...

1) use 17.25 lbs Pilsner and 2.00 lbs Flaked Barley
2) start with 100% distilled water and adjust minerals (gypsum, epson, NaCl, and CaCl) to get very close to the Jever profile Denny listed above (my Ca will be high 30s, not low 50s, but everything else is spot on). Of course I won't have any alkalinity in this water
3) BrunWater predicts this will give a mash pH of 5.6, so I'll add 0.6 lbs of acidulated malt (basically 3% of the grist) to drop that to 5.3

sound good? I have a hop schedule I like (all Mittelfruh to around 45 IBU) and I like Hochkurz decoctions at 146F and 158F for my Pilsners.  (go ahead and tell me a decotion is a waste of time, but I kind of like doing them. the aromas are marvelous)


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