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Messages - blair.streit

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Resume boil a week later
« on: August 18, 2016, 06:47:14 AM »
I've had both lacto and mold in iced tea and lemonade before. They usually don't become pronounced for 2-3 weeks, but you can start to taste a twang from the lacto (more in the aftertaste at first).

Before anyone asks, I grew up on a farm where people took water jugs filled with various beverages out on tractors every day (and sometimes forgot them).

Let's just say that whether left refrigerated or not, time is not kind to these things.

Equipment and Software / Re: pH meter ?
« on: August 17, 2016, 06:37:37 PM »
Thermoworks has 15% off site wide right now. I just bought a 8689 meter and solutions.
How do you like your meter?

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I like it. It seems to work fine. I bought it because others on the board have spoken positively of it and I wanted an inexpensive pen type meter with replaceable probe.

Pluses: I like that it has a little screw on cap to hold the storage solution.

Minuses: the buttons on the faceplate are a bit awkward to press especially when the probe is in the liquid.
Cool, curious if you use any water software to calculate your PH? And if so how accurate is it when compared to your readings?

I use brunwater but do not have a meter, still deciding if it's necessary and worth the cost and maintenance

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I can't answer that yet. I have used for 2 batches with my house tap water but I don't know the exact makeup of that water. I plan to go back to RO water for my next batch. Then I will have some insight.

My first batch with the meter was with RO water but the RO water had TDS of 70ppm and I think I messed up the calibration. That result was off from Brunwater but I have no idea what made up the 70 ppm of TDS.

PS. without a meter I did think just using Brunwater with RO water was helping my beer. But, I could never measure my pH. I wanted to know exactly where I was so I can try to correlate to what I am tasting with my lagers.
I have now down two batches with Brunwater, a Ward labs water report, and the 8689 meter. Brunwater seems to do quite well predicting the Ph.

Batch 1. Brunwater: 5.18 Ph, 8689 measured 5.19 Ph. 
Batch 2. Brunwater: 5.27 Ph, 8689 measured 5.33 Ph.

I guessing any error has as much to do with my ability to calibrate and use the meter correctly as any other factor.
That's been my experience too. In fact, the biggest variation I've found has come when my LHBS changes malt suppliers. I saw a surprising change in actual pH (lower than Brunwater predicted) when they switched from Best Munich (which yielded a mash pH in-line with Brunwater) to Avanguard Munich (which for a few batches came in lower than Brunwater predicted).

Lately they've stuck with the Avanguard but the pH has come back closer to the Brunwater prediction. I know there have been other discussions indicating that some maltsters' products were sometimes tainted with acidulated or somehow otherwise overly acidic.

I guess my take-away from all that is while I feel pretty confident in the predictions, I still like to test mash pH once per batch even with tried and true recipes. Usually I just test the same sample I'm using for my pre-boil gravity and record it. At that point it's too late to adjust anything, but at least if any changed I'll understand how that might relate to any sensory differences I'm experiencing when tasting the beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Question on storing beer
« on: August 17, 2016, 06:18:19 PM »
I agree with dmtaylor's comments that it's probably not a huge deal.

That said, if I were worried about anything beyond contamination it would probably be oxygen ingress. Crown caps don't form a perfect seal, so minute amounts of oxygen are leaking into bottles all the time anyway.

I don't have any proof of this, but I would worry that 30F temperature fluctuations would create changes in pressure that would accelerate this process. Whether that acceleration would be enough of an issue to be concerned about I can't say, but since you mentioned storing the bottles for longer than 6 months in these conditions it's definitely something I would watch out for.

Equipment and Software / Re: Need a Cheap DIY Fermentation Chamber
« on: August 17, 2016, 03:49:22 PM »
I've seen some people tape the probe to the fermenter.
This works great and doesn't require any additional sanitizing since it's not in the beer. People have done experiments and measured the difference between the center of the wort and the outside of a glass or stainless fermentor at less than 0.5F.

I use painters tape to secure it and an old sponge tied on top with a string (to insulate the probe from the ambient temp swings in the fridge).

Some will dip the 2" probe into a cup of liquid near the fermenter.
This doesn't really tell you anything useful. It does buffer the ambient temp swings inside the fridge, but you care about the beer temp (which would be significantly warmer than the cup of liquid when the yeast are at peak activity).

Then others get the 12" so that they can hang that directly into the fermenter.
Works great, but in my experience it's just an extra hassle to deal with sanitizing a thermowell and making sure all your stoppers and/or fermentors have an extra opening for it.

I've never done it, but in my experience GoDaddy's GUI interfaces are pretty limiting so I'm not surprised. Maybe I'm old school but if I can't ssh into the server then it's useless to me. I also find that their curated versions of Apache and PHP have odd access restrictions that make using prepackaged software more difficult out of the box.

At a glance on their website, it looks like this could easily be hosted on a tiny LAMP server at AWS or a similar cloud provider.

If you're hosting a beer event, I bet there's someone involved with the right skills to get this set up in an hour or two at most. Just ask around for anyone with LAMP stack experience and they should be able to follow those instructions pretty easily. You could try having them resurrect the GoDaddy attempt, but if you're not out much money a fresh crack at it via AWS or Rackspace Cloud would probably get it done faster (and cheaper in the long run).

Kegging and Bottling / Re: growler
« on: August 17, 2016, 04:12:42 AM »
Or if you can put them in a cooler, I tend to like the Gulden Draak type swing tops for this sort of thing. That way you can take several small bottles of different styles and pull a new one out as the old one kicks.

Sticking beer in the middle of a table and watching it get warm and go flat  makes me sad ;)

Also this way if someone whose opinion I really respect shows up a bit later, I can pop a fresh one for them to try instead of letting them pull the last of my warm, flat beer and tell me what they think it would have tasted like 30 minutes earlier.

Beer Recipes / Re: Would like Feedback on a Lager Recipe
« on: August 17, 2016, 04:07:11 AM »
833 is my go-to also. Definitely more malt forward in my experience, but I like brewing Marzens and Bocks so this works.

I agree on nixing the crystal. My Marzen recipe is similar to what you've done, but split between Pils, Munich and Vienna and then a pound of CaraMunich III. I feel the CaraMunich can lend a "roundness" to these malty styles that doesn't come off "caramelly sweet" like the crystal does. If you're trying to work with what you already have on hand, I think totally dropping the crystal or severely cutting it back (to give just a hint) would be OK too. Plenty of Munich there to keep it interesting.

Happy brewing!

Equipment and Software / Re: Chest freezer rust prevention
« on: August 17, 2016, 02:08:35 AM »
Damp rid or electric dehumidifiers. Damp rid works best, but it's a constant expense, the plug in crystal based dehumidifiers work ok, peltier based dehumidifiers run 110 which means another point where the lid gasket is opened
I've had decent luck with these silica dehumidifiers. You can recharge by cooking them in the oven. I tend to bake them every few months (depending on how often I'm opening the lid):

If you do this, just remember to carefully remove the lid before heating. The lid has a plastic window that will melt into the indicator beads if you don't remove it.

There's no need to remove the top insert with the indicator beads. It's a PITA to get out without spilling beads everywhere, and after a few hours in the oven they all get plenty dry anyway.

Ingredients / Re: Hop Hash for bittering?
« on: August 16, 2016, 03:06:32 PM »
Yeah sorry I knew it was trite - just had to be said.

Sorry Denny - the laws here aren't as favorable as in your neck of the woods ;)

All Things Food / Re: Sous-Vide Circulator Recommendations
« on: August 16, 2016, 12:28:59 PM »
The Anova Culinary WIFI Precision Cooker (B01761T6V4) is currently $149 at Amazon.
Thanks for the heads-up on this. I ordered when I saw your post last week and mine will be arriving tomorrow :)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pics of recent brews?
« on: August 15, 2016, 09:04:39 PM »
I love the fast lager, but I tend to think about it more wholistically.

As a homebrewer I'm less concerned about a quick turnaround. On the other hand, with lagers I am definitely concerned with complete attenuation.

So, I tend to use the temp ramp to ensure full attenuation and handle diacetyl all in one shot.

Depending on my gravity sample, I still may leave the beer for 2+ weeks, but I know I am maximizing yeast activity and my yeast is healthy enough that I'm not risking autolysis or any negative impacts.

I understand purists might disagree, but I haven't bee able to pinpoint any benefit to slowing down the cleanup stage.

Note: There's still plenty of yeast in suspension and I agree that most of my lagers are better after a month or two in the keg.

Ingredients / Hop Hash for bittering?
« on: August 15, 2016, 08:57:55 PM »
But then what if you smoked it ;)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pics of recent brews?
« on: August 15, 2016, 03:27:57 AM »
I think I may be defecting from the all Ale camp I have been in.
Welcome to the dark side ;)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Carboy overflowing with foam
« on: August 15, 2016, 03:25:41 AM »
I haven't used a blowoff in quite a while, but I have a 7G Brew Bucket and I typically only have 5.5 to 5.75G of liquid. When I was using buckets and carboys I made a few messes as well.

Through several different blowoff, fermentor and other configurations, headspace and temperature seemed to be the big deciding factors in whether or not I would need a blowoff tube.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wild Peach Yeast
« on: August 12, 2016, 10:59:19 PM »
You could even toss the peaches in some star san prior to putting them in the blender if you were really worried about after washing them first of course.
Or vodka

Save the vodka for drinking!  :D
I never said you needed to decant ;)

Hmmmm....Peach vodka. Sounds like a panty dropper to me!
Toss that into a Dortmunder and you've got a party!

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