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Messages - zorch

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31
Equipment and Software / Re: All electric brewing system
« on: May 03, 2011, 11:02:00 AM »
If you are looking to buy bits, High Gravity sells heating elements, controllers, electric kettles, etc.   I've never used any of their stuff, but it's probably worth a look.

http://www.highgravitybrew.com/ProductCart/pc/Burners-Electric-Pot-Heaters-c306.htm

32
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP029 at 58F?
« on: April 30, 2011, 01:26:54 PM »
I think you'll be just fine.   I routinely pitch WLP029 into my kolsh at 55, let it run at 58 for 3-4 days, then warm it to 62 to finish.

For what it's worth, my last Kolsh I fermented this way took 1st prize in the NHC first round this year.

33
Equipment and Software / Re: Aeration equipment
« on: April 20, 2011, 03:50:56 PM »
Just curious, what's the mechanism that causes aeration with the mix-stir?  I assume you're putting the mix-stir at the bottom of the vessel and it gets everything moving, maybe forming a vortex? 

When I aerate with my mix-stir I will run the blades near the surface for a bit first, which creates a lot of froth.  Then I'll drop them lower and create a strong vortex for a bit to 'mix in' the froth.   I'll go back and forth between 'frothing' and 'mixing' for a couple of minutes, or until I've got foamy wort right up to the neck of my carboy.

I don't know if that procedure is necessary, but it's worked well for me.

As an aside, I would highly recommend the stainless steel version over the cheaper plastic model.   The blades on the plastic version are attached to the shaft with a plastic peg -  Perhaps my drill is extra-powerful, but the third time I used my original plastic version that peg snapped.     I replaced that with the steel model, and it's still going strong after 40+ brews.

34
Equipment and Software / Re: Erlenmeyer flask alternatives
« on: March 30, 2011, 01:05:48 PM »
  I put some water in it last night and it works but the stir bar looses it place at higher speeds.  I'm just gonna order a flask. 

I have a 2L and a 5L flask, and both of these will throw the stir bar if I get the speed up high enough.    It's important to remember that a high spin rate is totally unnecessary.   Barely turning around is actually fine.  All you are trying to do is keep the liquid circulating.


35
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Kegging-wicked aftertaste
« on: March 28, 2011, 04:19:55 PM »
I know it can be hard to describe a bad flavor, but can you try and give us a bit more to go on?   

Do any of these descriptions come close?
http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html

36
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Questions About Keggle Construction
« on: March 28, 2011, 03:34:35 PM »
I didn't bother with a sight glass on my boil kettle - One less thing to get dirty.   I have my long handled plastic spoon marked in one gallon increments which I use a dip stick.

Like you, I went ahead and put a sight glass on my HLT.  I find this very convenient.

37
Ingredients / Re: New bulk grain supplier
« on: March 23, 2011, 05:05:50 PM »
I sent them an email expressing my displeasure, and received a prompt response.  Which I appreciate. 
Unfortunately, the gist of the reply was "Don't worry, your data is safe, we don't save your credit card info, etc etc".
Which really misses the point, which is from this point on that particular password is _burned_.

This illustrates an important point, which is that it is a very Bad Idea to re-use passwords from site-to-site.   But even so, I feel that it's reasonable to expect a web site to treat my passwords as privileged information, and not to share it with essentially the entire world for the rest of time by emailing it around.   Common sense, really.

So, bottom line - Check out as 'guest'.  It's not like you're really going to want to be on their spam list.


I hope you passed this along to them. As you mentioned, this is horrible practice and could easily be compromised.

Glad to hear you had a good experience though, i've been going back and forth on placing an order with them.

I just ordered a few sacks of base malt from this site.   Overall an excellent experience.

Beware, though - If you register an account with them, they will send you a 'Thanks for Registering' email that contains YOUR PASSWORD IN THE CLEAR.    In this day and age, I frankly find it mind-boggling that an e-commerce site would do that.


38
Ingredients / Re: New bulk grain supplier
« on: March 23, 2011, 01:53:13 PM »
I just ordered a few sacks of base malt from this site.   Overall an excellent experience.

Beware, though - If you register an account with them, they will send you a 'Thanks for Registering' email that contains YOUR PASSWORD IN THE CLEAR.    In this day and age, I frankly find it mind-boggling that an e-commerce site would do that.

39
All Grain Brewing / Re: How long does a batch take/Grinding grain.
« on: March 17, 2011, 05:00:32 PM »
It always amazes me how these threads can meander across so many topics.   :D

For what it's worth, I'll run my chiller "wide open" as you all suggest next time.  Hoping to do a batch tomorrow so I'll see what time it takes.  Our tap water is 45 degrees F.

One word of caution - With my old (since replaced) chiller, if I ran it with my tap wide-open, the increased pressure would cause water to leak out where the tubing was clamped to the copper... right into the cooling wort.

Just something to keep in mind.

40
Other Fermentables / Re: Making first Mead Batch in 15 years
« on: February 10, 2011, 01:06:12 PM »
1) Some sources recommend adding the acids & tannin in the secondary or later. Good advice?

That's the approach I've taken.   For one, it seems a good idea to not drop the pH of the must too far before your yeast have had a chance to get established.  The pH is going to drop considerably during fermentation anyway, but that's after things are chugging along.

But mostly, since these are essentially 'seasoning' ingredients, I like to wait until the last minute.   I don't add any tannin or acids until I'm getting ready to bottle the batch.  I then will draw a small sample (like 100 ml), and mix in very small amounts of acid until it seems right to me, then scale it up.   It helps to have a scale with at least a  +- 0.1g accuracy for this.   


2) I have an air wand & oxygen tank that I use in aerating beer must before pitching yeast. Is that good practice here? Some sources say to do that with every addition of nutrients. Good Advice or just shake or stir each SNA?

My last batch, I aerated with O2 after every nutrient addition, and had good results.  The bigger issue is avoiding a huge foam-out when you drop in your nutrients - All that powdery stuff creates a ton of nucleation sites for the dissolved CO2 to come out of solution.    I used my Mix-Stir at low speed to de-gas before I added the nutrients, and it seemed to work good.    I suppose you could skip the O2 step and just run the Mix-Stir for a minute or two to drive off CO2 and aerate in one step ( it only takes about 20 seconds to de-gas otherwise).  I haven't tired that... I know using pure O2 worked well the last time, so that's probably what I will do the next time.

41
Ingredients / Re: Do Pur water filters add minerals to your water?
« on: January 28, 2011, 03:44:28 PM »
If I were you, I'd skip over the opinions/guesses you might get from a forum and just get your water analyzed.  I've always been happy with the results from Ward Labs.

http://wardlab.com


Test 'W-6' should give you all the info you need for brewing.   If you are _really_ curious, you could send them two samples of pre- and post-filtered water.



42
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Two questions
« on: January 20, 2011, 12:37:13 PM »
Thanks hokerer and Tom for the responses but here's another question. I just cleaned the airlock and replaced it but the problem seems to be rapidly rebuilding. I read something about a blow-off line? Would I just use the line from my auto siphon and what do I blow it off into?

You can attach a tube directly to your airlock to create a blow-off tube.    Just take off the cap and the middle floaty bit and shove your tubing right over the stem:


Stick the other end of the tube into a container of water to form an airlock.

Even though you don't have the 'bandwidth' of a big tube, this works pretty good.   It works even better if you knock out the little bits of plastic at the bottom of the stem (the part that you shove through the stopper that forms an 'X') so that there's more room for the glop to flow through.    Basically, as long as you aren't asking the yeast goop to push through a tiny hole, or change directions suddenly, you _usually_ don't need a huge tube...




43
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Washing yeast versus sanitizing equipment
« on: November 17, 2010, 07:05:53 PM »

Other than warmer temps, how is this different from sanitizing my equipment with StarSan? 
Am I leaving viable wild yeasts behind in my fermenters and kegs if I just use StarSan?



One huge difference is perhaps obvious, but when I am sanitizing my equipment it's already _clean_ - I've rinsed out all the chunks, soaked it in PBW, scrubbed it with soap and water, etc. 

To be fair, the ultimate answer to your second question is _yes_ - There are always going to be some small number of mold spores or wild yeast cells left over even after sanitizing, no matter what you are using.    Sanitizing != sterilizing.     So, you are correct that StarSan isn't going to totally eliminate all wild yeasts (and may in fact not do that great a job on these critters), but as long as you do a thorough job in cleaning, and of course pitch enough yeast, it shouldn't be an issue...  At least up to the point where it's no longer possible to clean your gear properly (scratched buckets, funky hoses, etc).

It may explain a subtle "house flavor" in the last few batches that some identify as mildly "phenolic."
If you are trying to get at the source of these mildly phenolic flavors, I would start first by asking:
- Am I able to control my fermentation temperatures adequately?
- Is my fermentation temperature in the correct range for the strain of yeast I'm using?
- Did I pitch enough yeast?

Not to say that you don't have a colony of bad bugs in your equipment.   But I would guess that it's more likely an issue with your fermentation.

44
I've got a batch of Denny's BVIP going, and it's just about ready for the next step:  Adding vanilla beans.    Normally, and in accordance with the recipe, I'd toss them into a secondary carboy, ack the beer on top, and let it sit for a week.

I'm wondering, though, whether I really need to bother with this racking step?     It seems that if I just toss the beans into the primary, I'd save some work and more importantly decrease the oxidation.

Then again, perhaps that primary full of goop is going to somehow interfere with the extraction of the vanilla flavors?

It seems that recent consensus on secondaries is that they are an unnecessary step, at least when it comes to clearing/finishing a 'normal' ale?   But is using a secondary still the best practice when adding additional flavors, or dry hopping?


45
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: watery flavor to finished beer
« on: November 03, 2010, 02:00:18 PM »
Take a pH reading of the finished beer at room temperature.  It should be in the 4.1 to 4.5 range.  Too high and it can taste dull.  Too low and it can taste thin, and start tasting sour.

I'm curious - When taking the pH of a finished beer at room temperature, do you also wait for the beer to go flat?   Or will the dissolved CO2 not make any difference?

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