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Messages - brewsumore

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All Grain Brewing / Re: FG is finishing way too low, is it an infection?
« on: January 03, 2016, 10:18:41 PM »
dial in your mashing temp and technique

cleanliness and sanitation of cold side equipment

proper yeast pitching rate (I recommend Mr. Malty pitching rate calculator - and I recommend stir plate starters if using yeast starters)

aerate wort immediately prior to pitching yeast ( I definitely prefer straight o2 via aeration stone)

pitch yeast within ~10 degrees of wort temp

pitch yeast below your initial desired ferment temp.  Avoid beer temp swings during the ferment

Ferment temp control (for most beers, keep beer temp <67F the first 72 hrs)

Ensure you have de-chlorinated / de-chloramined your brewing water (1 crushed campden tablet per 20 gal water stirred in first thing before heating strike water)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« on: January 03, 2016, 09:59:45 PM »
Biggest mistake was not with my own beer, which made it worse. My good buddy who is newer to brewing, decided to cold crash for the first time. I gave him some basic instructions, but didn't think about telling him to pull his blow-off tube off. Turns out he had his blow-off tube in a 5 gallon bucket of iodophor mixture (don't ask me why). There was at least a half gallon to a gallon of sanitizer sucked into that batch. Needless to say that batch got dumped.

It was a batch that he and I brewed together for a shower being held at his house. Only reason the shower was at his house was because of the beer. So everyone was expecting homebrew. The batch was dumped 3 days before the shower.

Luckily I had enough in my own kegs to bring to his house for the shower.

That's a mistake I've made before and am very careful about personally. Although when I made it, it was only with a small amount of star-san where maybe a few ounces got sucked into the beer.

Yeah, I used to leave a vodka filled airlock when cold crashing until i realized I might as well just use a solid rubber or breathable silicone stopper (depending on hole size in my plastic bucket lid or carboy).  It's not like I'm going to collapse the bucket!

I must admit I've cold crashed with the blowoff tube in, but those times I recall I stepped down the temp in increments and never got sucked in sanitizer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« on: January 03, 2016, 12:04:47 PM »
My worst mistake was fairly early in my all-grain years - back in 2005 I was using a long-stem dial thermometer and it was shortly before I started using prescription glasses (a function of aging).  Anyway, the thermometer was hard to read and I ended up mashing way too hot and the beer of course during the ferment stuck at +1.035 or something like that.

I put in some (too much, as in 1 TBLS per bucket) amylase powder and at ~1.001 bottled the beer.  Well the amylase kept chugging and added powdered to the fermenting beer probably also contaminated it.  After 3 weeks in the bottle, when I opened any bottles it gushered out half a beer.  I carefully opened and poured out 100 bottles of beer.  At least none exploded.

That memory makes me fully appreciate my large display instant read thermocouple thermometer every time I brew! 

Also, on a regular basis I find that I walk a fine line in not over-crushing my grist, which can make sparge runoff a little difficult although I get satisfactory efficiency.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Amylase Question
« on: January 03, 2016, 11:32:23 AM »
I dealt with this and found that amylase in a small amount (1/2 tsp), first dissolved in warm water, added to the 5 gal of viscous fermenting wort is what worked like aces to get the beer to ferment to a very reasonable FG resulting in an excellent gluten free beer.

Adding at the prescribed temps prior to the boil didn't work for me.

Also, using freshly purchased amylase helps a lot methinks.

The full thread is at:

I might also try a commercial mold inhibitor for water.   8)

Yeah, I already considered trying bleach.  The problem is that it is a big non-no in a winery, especially a wine cellar or tasting room since it is a lead contributor to causing TCA - a mold that causes cork taint.

I know that Star San doesn't work since it turns my water slimy very quickly.  I'll try vinegar and see if it won't create a too vinegar-y smell in the cellar.  Thanks for the ideas guys!

General Homebrew Discussion / Means to prevent sliminess in hard water?
« on: January 03, 2016, 01:06:42 AM »
So, I keep a couple buckets full of tap water in my wine/beer cellar into which dish towels are suspended and humidify the room via the wicking action, with help from a fan blowing on the wet towels.  I just keep adding water into the buckets every day or two as it evaporates.

However, I believe due to lots of temporary hardness (bicarbonates?  Alkalinity?) in my tap water, the water gets very slimy in the bucket and I have to fairly regularly (once or twice per month) wash the dish towels (they get crusty) and dump out the water in the buckets, scrub them out, and then refill with fresh water.

I'm wondering if I can treat my water to prevent the sliminess, so I don't have to revitalize my setup as often.  I was thinking that maybe adding phosphoric acid to reduce the alkalinity might do the trick.

Martin, I hope you see this question!  Otherwise it's time to experiment.

Here are several attributes of my water that might show what causes the sliminess:

Total Hardness, CaCO3      138
Bicarbonate, HCO3            151
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3      124
Total Dissolved Solids Est  183

I realize it's kind of an oddball question.  I know a lot of us deal with the similar problem of Star San solution turning slimy quickly when diluted with hard water.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Ah yes, winter brewing
« on: December 27, 2015, 05:21:40 PM »
I guess we all get used to working within the annual range of temps and other seasonal factors that impact our brew sessions.  I've always loved winter brewing.  Brewing in winter in Spokane, WA outside, in my situation I keep an eye on weather reports and brew on days above freezing so no frozen hoses or creating a skating rink. 

Luckily I have a very good LHBS so no worries about frozen yeast in the mail, etc. and an advance call to him ensures he will add any liquid yeast order needed if he doesn't have it in inventory.

The best part here is very little in the way of airborne particulate and no bugs, and the very cold ground water temp that makes chilling 11 gallons a breeze with my immersion chiller.  Also it's a source of activity and getting out of the house.  I don't mind dressing more warmly to adapt to a little chilly weather.  Still, I must admit that the couple winters I lived and brewed outside in more temperate Maryland made winter brewing a milder, more relaxed, obstacle-free and sometimes spontaneous experience in comparison.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend? 01/18/2014
« on: December 02, 2015, 08:03:25 PM »
Saturday is a re-work of my Oatmeal Robust Porter (~1.062, 33 IBUs, US-05).  For one thing, this go-round I'm subbing 525L roasted barley in place of black patent malt.  10-gal batch as usual, but half will go on top of 3 lbs raspberry puree in secondary.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Question about evaporation
« on: December 02, 2015, 07:32:01 PM »
Also, I find that a breeze, by driving off steam contributes to a slightly higher evaporation rate than during no breeze.  So there's the potential for a changing rate mid-boil depending on if a breeze develops.  I'm not saying that happened to you.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pics of recent brews?
« on: December 02, 2015, 07:26:35 PM »
Frank, Paul, and Amanda,

Yummy!  I think my eyes must have taste buds, because I can almost taste those beers.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: purging with CO2 bottle
« on: November 16, 2015, 09:12:33 PM »
I purge kegs occasionally such as for a beer I want to preserve the super hoppy character, but I don't bother most of the time.  I do purge the headspace immediately after filling and putting the lid on the keg, after racking the beer from the fermenter to the keg.

I just remove the QD, run a paper towel dipped in Star San up and down the gas hose and fitting, and put it down into the keg.

I've never purged beer bottles, but I do use o2 scouring bottle caps.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Carbing up a 9.5% IBA
« on: November 16, 2015, 09:00:36 PM »
Yeast population and health poops out after eating all the sugars in a big beer, and so oftentimes doesn't have enough of what it needs left over to bottle condition the beer.  Ever since ending up with a flat 10% barleywine I bottled, ever since I always add bottling yeast for beers above about 7.5% ABV.

It's basically the same tired yeast syndrome that also is the reason you shouldn't pitch onto the yeast slurry/cake left over from a big beer.

edit:  If it doesn't carb, you can open the bottles and use an eyedropper to add a couple few drops of rehydrated dry yeast slurry to each bottle and re-cap.

All Grain Brewing / Re: toasted oatmeal stout
« on: November 16, 2015, 08:42:21 PM »
I have toasted oats and malts for various beers and I perceive a silkiness in the mouthfeel as well as a nuttiness that is enhanced, more so than directly translating to oatmeal cookie flavor, but I may be finicky on my oatmeal cookies!

+1. I toast oats for every batch of oatmeal stout, and as a matter of coincidence have been strongly thinking of making my next batch an oatmeal stout (or foreign extra stout).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend? 01/18/2014
« on: November 14, 2015, 10:39:02 PM »
The hefe brewday went pretty darn well.  I heavy handed the strikewater ml measurement just a tad using some newly purchased 85% phosphoric acid, so after checking mash pH 10 minutes into the mash, I had to add a "smidge" of pickling lime to bring the pH back up above 5.2.  That worked and I ended up with a kettle pH of ~5.2 and got lots of break material during the boil.

I estimated brewhouse efficiency at 68% based on Jamil's BYO recipe and per past experience and it was still about right even though I jacked up the % of wheat malt compared to last time I brewed this.  I hit 1.052 when the target was 1.051.  Normally for a 1.051 beer my efficiency is closer to 78%.

And I had a quart extra sparge runoff (which I tossed) - which I attributed to less absorption by wheat in comparison to a similar weight of 100% barley (hulled) malt grist.

Straight o2 for 1:10 min and two packets of WY 3068 per 5.5 gal of wort, pitched at 61F and holding at 62F.

So I'm happy.

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