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Messages - morticaixavier

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Beer Recipes / Re: Nov/Dec 2010 Barleywine recipes
« on: October 25, 2013, 07:26:50 AM »
I've been using this igloo cooler lately, which fits a 6.5gal carboy or bucket perfectly. I place 1-2 frozen ice packs around the sides and wrap a towel around the top, replacing the ice packs every 12 hours. This summer I used more icepacks to keep 10 gallons of cider in the high 50s when my house was about 80. It's a bit labor intensive, but it works and its cheap.

you don't fill it with water right? just count on keeping the air cool? less mess potential that way.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bourbon Barrel Stout
« on: October 24, 2013, 12:25:08 PM »
My homebrew club brewed 11 batches of NB imperial stout with specialty grains.  We let ferment for 2 weeks then put into secondary.  We just racked from secondary to the bourbon barrel and we are still about 2 gallons shy of filling the barrel up.  So we tried as much to fill the barrel up with CO2, but we are still a little worried about the airspace left.

I have just made another batch as I was considering filling the barrel as full as possible.  Now I am second guessing.  I don't want to keep opening up the barrel and expose to O2.  What should I do gize?

Bourbon Barrel is from Wild Turkey.

top it up. syphon the new beer on top of the old carefully.

It's being exposed to o2 in the barrel that's a big part of the point of barrel ageing a big beer like that. A little oxidation changes, melds, and softens the flavours.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentation Temp Measurement
« on: October 24, 2013, 11:28:52 AM »
Based on what I have read, that could reach 10 degrees higher....which would put me at much higher than suggested temps.
I keep hearing that 10 degrees, and sometimes it is 5 degrees, but it always anecdotal.  I suppose at some point I will set up my own experiment, but with all the agitation going on in the fermentor from thermal gradients and CO2 production, during active fermentation I can't see how there is going to be significant differences in temperatures anywhere in the beer.  [...]

I think the 10 degree variance in questions is the one between the beer (as you say, anywhere in the beer) and the ambient temperature of the fermentation chamber.

Other than that +1 to your points.

The Pub / Re: Au pair?
« on: October 24, 2013, 08:04:54 AM »
It's interesting that Au Pair specifically relates to a person from another country (than the one they are working in). I think that part of the definition has been lost here.


Sorry I got nothing. My younger sister is the right age but she just scored a sweet scholarship and is off to college next year.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Well carbed but no head
« on: October 24, 2013, 08:01:08 AM »

How long has the beer been in the keg?  Do you carbonate at serving temp?

I've found that with higher serving pressures the beer will initially seem carbonated but has poor head forming and retention.  Given time (maybe a week or so) the head seems to stabilize.

What I think might be happening is that the higher pressure is forcing the gas into suspension, which is why the beer seems carbonated, but that it's not fully dissolved into the liquid when I initially tap the keg.  The pour is good, the carbonation seems to be there, but I get a thin fizzy head that dissipates quickly.  A week or so later, it's a different story.

So, maybe you just need to be patient?

The beer has been in the keg now about a week at 30psi at 40F.

The root beer is clear as well so there is is nothing suspended and yes, it is a full 10% ABV.

Like I mentioned, the co2 appears to be fully absorbed as there are a ton of bubbles rising from the bottom of the pour from start to finish and it tastes well carbonated.

 The tiny thin head that is forming is not dissipating quickly and there is nice lacing as you drink it.

I guess I'll see how it develops over another week or so but I'm thinking it has something to do with the root beer extract oils and ingredients that might be limiting the head production.

I've never used in but I think commercial soft root beers often use a heading powder of some sort (maltodextrin maybe?) to get that long lasting big thick foam.

I suspect, and this is totally a suspicion based in my own hippie dippy view of the world in which 'old' and 'natural' food techniques are ALWAYS better than 'new' and 'engineered' food techniques (I jest, but just a bit). that if you used the traditional herbs and spices to make your brew you would get a robust and long lasting head of foam which is what the heading powder is supposed to emulate.

You know, I just had a thought, what about a little flaked wheat? triticale, which is a hybrid between wheat and rye, is extremely neutral in beer (I found out to my sadness when I had 10 gallons of triticale saison that was just meh) and should boost your proteins some.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Storing beer in a corny
« on: October 24, 2013, 07:53:40 AM »
My first kegging (corny keg) of 5 gals of an extract kit pale ale from NB:

1.) Corny was a tertiary racking (Primary, Secondary, then kegged)
2.) Added 5 o of priming sugar
3.) Stored room tempy for 3 weeks

Then I finally got the CO2 system (5lb tank, dual regulator)
Hooked it up to the corny, added about 10lb pressure
Went to pull my first glass, immediately and KABOOOSH!

So.  What'd I miss?   Lots of beer wasted as I didn't know about the pressure releif valve (actually, my keg doesn't have one, but the pin lock I could have released it -be careful here too - I just depressed the pin with a screwdriver and again - KABOOOSH!)

did you give it time to chill?

5 oz for 5 gallons is a lot to start with. I am guessing that you didn't hear any gas going in when you hooked up 10 psi.

on the pin lock pressure release, are you sure you depressed the gas in poppet and not the beer out? if you are sure I suspect that you had a keg full of foam from pulling that first glass (and reducing the pressure inside)

How long is your serving line? if you calculate the pressure inside that keg after 5 oz of priming sugar and at room temp I am guess it was around 20-30 psi which would want a very long serving hose indeed.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Storing an empty keg
« on: October 24, 2013, 07:21:48 AM »
I usually clean, sanitize, charge with co2 and leave them like that. although one often just stays full of sanitizer.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparge temp
« on: October 24, 2013, 07:18:10 AM »
Still trying to think this out, going to experiment with some wort from my next beer, Just to clarify morticaixavier how much yeast do you mean my a ton? two packets of dry yeast is what i was thinking.

probably 1 packet in a quart would be more than enough

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentation Temp Measurement
« on: October 23, 2013, 03:24:19 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion.  I know that wyeast suggests 68 degrees at the lowest for this strain and thought I was doing alright with keeping it at middle range (68-75), but then became concerned about the active fermentation temp inside.  Hopefully I haven't pushed this too high (80) active fermentation temp. I think i may just have to tape my probe to the side and see what it says. 


take those suggestions from the lab with a grain of salt. especially the low end. but even if you want to keep it in the suggested range, aim for the low end.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentation Temp Measurement
« on: October 23, 2013, 03:10:07 PM »
thermowells are great but I have always been happy with the stick on fermentometer. I will say that 72 ambient is a bit too high already. I like to keep my ferm chamber around 64 for the beginning of most, if not all ale ferments. Some, like kolsch I will actually go lower.

With Belgians, big beers, and saisons I will bump the temp up to 74 after the first 3-4 days and turn off the temp control (or turn on heat) at the very end aiming for 78ish. some saison strains obviously like it a lot warmer but I often get a fusel headache when I drink homebrewed saison and I suspect the 'wisdom' of the high ferment temp.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Well carbed but no head
« on: October 23, 2013, 01:55:24 PM »
If you pour straight down the middle of the glass from say 6 inches above the rim does a head form? In other words are we talking about head formation or retention.

It could well be the high ABV although that doesn't seem high enough to cause a total lack of foam. I believe pH can cause foam creation issues which is why many sour beers don't foam well.

It's certainly not too little co2.

I would say if no foam forms even from the pour described above you are going to have to look at the recipe.

I suppose it could be the flavoring you are using. Another experiment you could try to narrow it down is to carb the next batch up fully before adding the rootbeer flavouring and see if you get some foam then.

likely ingredients of a rootbeer flavouring extract would include wintergreen oil, and oil of cassia, and who knows what other oils so that could well be having an effect.

If that is the case you might have better luck adding the flavor at a different point in the process. There is a guy on here that makes a coconut milk stout that has actual coconut milk in it and he says he had no head retention problems so maybe see when in his process he adds the fatty stuff.

Beer Recipes / Re: Nov/Dec 2010 Barleywine recipes
« on: October 23, 2013, 11:18:52 AM »
...and religiously control fermentation temp. Slowly raising then holding the temp near the end of fermentation will help drive attenuation and reduce diacetyl/acetaldehyde....

Temperature control is an area that I've not done much with at all. My (unfinished part) basement holds very steady between 68 - 70°F, and that's all I do. Without getting too much off topic, what are some good ways to control fermentation temp without investing in a new refrigerator and temperature controller (or is that it)?

evaporative cooling works pretty well if it is not too humid. This is where you put you fermenter in a tub or shallow pan and cover it with a cotton shirt or towel. The cotton should hang down into a couple inches of water in the tub or pan so that it can wick this liquid up and the evaporation from the shirt will reduce the temp of the fermenter by a couple degrees from ambient. This will also help dump the heat created by the fermentation. Remember your big barley wine fermenting in 68-70 degree ambient will likely have an internal temp at the height of fermentation ~75-80 which is not great.

you can also get a bigger tub and fill it so that the water is close to the line of wort in the fermenter and use ice or frozen water bottles/ice packs to lower the temp of the water.

you can aslo create an insulated space (small box, tub, barrel etc) that you can put ice packs/frozen water bottles in to keep the air cool.

All Things Food / Re: Growing food - The Garden Thread
« on: October 23, 2013, 07:32:21 AM »
Personally I like yous.  As in... Yous a bunch a bioregionalists! :P

Coool on the barley trials.  If it does not work out, you can always turn the chickens out on it. ;)

Anyone know if you can eat those giant pumpkins?  They are cool for decor, but dumping them seems like a big waste.

you can probably chop them up and feed them to the chickens.  ;D

I had a realization the other day that most of the stuff on earth is actually made of chicken food.

Equipment and Software / Re: Cleaning a cold plate
« on: October 22, 2013, 10:28:56 AM »
to be clear, neither idophor nor star san are cleaners. the only cleaner you have listed is PBW and I think that if you mixed up some hot PBW and ran that through a couple times it would clean everything out nicely.

The Pub / Re: First Beer Sale (sorta)
« on: October 22, 2013, 10:26:18 AM »
Wow!  Excellent show. Over 100$? 

Is that legal in the USA?
I always thought Denny could auction a keg of his own famous RIPA and generate some coin!

it will be in California Jan 1 2014

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