Author Topic: What was your last change in your procedure that you feel was beneficial?  (Read 10829 times)

Offline bluesman

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There are two changes that I've recently made.  I'm now using a 5L flask for making my starters which makes it a lot easier to produce starters.  I boil the starter wort right in the flask then chill and pitch. I've also started using pure O2 for my beer.  I need to find an easy way to measure the amount of O2 going into the wort.  The never ending process of improvement.  :)
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Offline punatic

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I went from a chiller to a condenser.

Elaborate.

Kai

One is used for cooling, the other for phase change.
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Offline Pinski

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I went from a chiller to a condenser.

Elaborate.

Kai

One is used for cooling, the other for phase change.
What, are you working on a patent professor?  ;)
Some details would be really interesting.
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Online Kaiser

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I need to find an easy way to measure the amount of O2 going into the wort.  The never ending process of improvement.  :)

That is an interesting one. Many times when using the sintered O2 stone and an O2 tank I thought I aerated enough just to find out that the O2 level in the beer was only 50% of what I wanted. I have collected some data on aeration techniques and resulting O2 levels and was hoping to find a pattern, but I haven't gone back to that data yet. As outlined above I found the shooting O2 into head space and then shaking method fairly repeatable.

I don't think its practical for brewers to invest into DO meters. They are rather expensive. The less expensive one I have has a probe that don't fit into the neck of the carboy and I have to take a sample to test it. But it's useful for figuring out what oxygenation techniques work best.

Kai

Offline weithman5

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i built my electric kettle.  working on a cross flow heat exchanger.
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Offline punatic

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I have a Hach HQ40d meter that measures DO using LDO technology. The LDO probe fits inside of a carboy mouth.  However, I do not like to contaminate the probe on a regular basis with the sticky mess that is cooled unfermented beer wort.  I too have found that filling the headspace in the carboy with oxygen and shaking vigorously provides an acceptable level of DO in the wort.  Certainly more so than using just ambient air.  I prefer this method because it is less messy and no airstone is needed.
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Online Kaiser

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I have a Hach HQ40d meter that measures DO using LDO technology.

I had to look up LDO technology and found this nice presentation on the top of the Google search: http://www.ncsafewater.org/Pics/Training/SpringFling/SC2009/SC09_Presentations/WW.M.PM.1.00.Moss.pdf

Offline mabrungard

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Its good that Carl is using a LDO unit.  I think its similar to the RDO units in that the probe does not consume oxygen to measure it.  Other oxygen meter probes do consume oxygen and you can't rely on their measurements in a closed environment since the oxygen is constantly consumed.  Any oxygen consumption in our fermentation would be due to biologic action if you are measuring with LDO.  I'd love to have one of those LDO units and experiment with it!   
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Offline gmac

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Refractometer; makes it much faster to take readings during the brew session.

+1  No more trying to chill wort to check gravity prior to ending the boil. 

Other change (but not the last) - using starters but that's old news since I'm sure everyone uses starters these days.

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Its good that Carl is using a LDO unit.  I think its similar to the RDO units in that the probe does not consume oxygen to measure it.  Other oxygen meter probes do consume oxygen and you can't rely on their measurements in a closed environment since the oxygen is constantly consumed. 

I'm using a DO meter that has a membrane and consumes DO. But that only means that your sample has to be sufficiently large such that the DO consumption doesn't impede the desired accuracy. It also means that the sample needs to be flowing around the probe until you see a stable reading. I can get stable readings with 150 ml sample size and the accuracy we brewers are looking for is +/- 0.5 ppm at the most.

The same is actually true for pH meters. They also consume acid but the amount is so small that it can be neglected. You notice this when the pH starts to creep up when sample is not being moved around the probe.

Kai

Offline punatic

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Once you've gone over to LDO you'll never look back.  My YSI DO meter has been sitting unused on the shelf for over 5 years now.  I've been thinking that it might make a good boat anchor...   ::)
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Offline dllipe

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My last change in procedure was to eliminate two pumps from my regular brewing activities. I got rid of a sub-pump used to recirc ice-water through my IC in the warm-weather months and the march pump for general recirculation and transfer of wort.

Now I just use frozen 20oz PET (soda) bottles to chill the wort down to ale or lager temps. Have found it to be more effective and just as fast if not quicker in cooling the wort down to desired pitching temps!

Through these changes I have accomplished savings in time and effort and have removed the need to make ice, and use a cooler/bucket, two pumps and corresponding hose. I no longer have to move, hook-up or clean these particular pieces of equipment. Also there has been a reduction in mess and spilled wort or water.

I've thought of using frozen soda bottles.  I live in CO and my water temp out of the hose is mid 70's right now so my IC will only cool down to about 80-85 after 20 minutes or so (5 gallon batches).  I've had to close it up and put it in one of my fridges to bring down to pitching temp but that actually takes longer than you would think.

How many bottles do you use?
I don't drink a lot but I do drink frequently.

Offline rblack90

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Definitely starters and temp control. Fermentation is key to great beer!

Offline kgs

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Built a hop spider. LHBS folks told me that this would dramatically impact hop utilization. Brewed the same hoppy beer back-to-back. Second batch is as hoppy as the first, and there was less gunk.

Upgraded to a Thermapen. Much faster readings and useful outside of brewing.

Looser mashes, less sparging. I can start to really taste the malts. Also saves time.

Added a March pump. Still incorporating it into the process, but so much less work for mother!

For my last dry-yeast beer (a stout) I rehydrated the yeast. I've been a sprinkler, but kickoff was so fast and healthy, and attenuation was so good, I'm going to keep doing this.

Goals: add fermentation control; add a refractometer.
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Offline euge

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My last change in procedure was to eliminate two pumps from my regular brewing activities. I got rid of a sub-pump used to recirc ice-water through my IC in the warm-weather months and the march pump for general recirculation and transfer of wort.

Now I just use frozen 20oz PET (soda) bottles to chill the wort down to ale or lager temps. Have found it to be more effective and just as fast if not quicker in cooling the wort down to desired pitching temps!

Through these changes I have accomplished savings in time and effort and have removed the need to make ice, and use a cooler/bucket, two pumps and corresponding hose. I no longer have to move, hook-up or clean these particular pieces of equipment. Also there has been a reduction in mess and spilled wort or water.

I've thought of using frozen soda bottles.  I live in CO and my water temp out of the hose is mid 70's right now so my IC will only cool down to about 80-85 after 20 minutes or so (5 gallon batches).  I've had to close it up and put it in one of my fridges to bring down to pitching temp but that actually takes longer than you would think.

How many bottles do you use?

Ten 20oz for 6 gallons.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman