Author Topic: A few ideas for better beer.  (Read 2750 times)

Offline gymrat

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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2013, 10:43:58 AM »
I pour my beer through a strainer into two buckets. This makes it easier to carry 5 gallons of beer down stairs. Then after pitching the yeast in one bucket I pour the other bucket into it. This areates like you would not believe. I don't think a pump and stone could match it.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2013, 11:34:57 AM »
+1 to everything said.  I would add that when I started my improvement list (many years ago), I saved water until last.  I had a good handle on all those other items, but wasn't consistently making the kind of beer I wanted to make.  Some were great (if it happened to be a style favorable to my water), some not so much.  It was when I finally got serious about learning enough about water that my beer made the jump to what I had in mind originally.  Whenever you get a grip on the other things and want to look at water,  get Bru'nWater. It'll get you there.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2013, 11:48:13 AM »
All said as above.  Great advice.  One more thing - if you don't mind the expense, you can get bottled spring water (ask the company for its spec sheet, because much of it is merely RO water, some add back sufficient minerals to make it perfect for brewing).  I use that and have since near the beginning of my brewing, because my tap water is hard and alkaline, so I could only make stouts and porters with it.  Add some calcium chloride if it is closer to pure RO water.  Most importantly, try to brew the same beer repeatedly to get your process and that beer style down.  Best of luck!
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2013, 12:19:49 PM »
+1 to hopfundmalz's advice to let the beer warm up towards the end of fermentation.

I bought an O2 regulator at Lowes in a little MAP gas welding kit.  Came with a bottle of O2 as well.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2013, 09:36:03 PM »
I definitely agree that temperature control during fermentation will have the biggest improvement on your beer. I tried to do the water tub/swamp cooler method but just couldn't get it to work well here (Dallas). I broke down and bought a fridge plus a temperature controller. Easily the best thing I ever did to improve beer quality. Sure, it's romantic to think about brewing with the seasons and all but there's a reason why there isn't a lot of brewing history at this latitude. It's not well done. Even in the summer in my house those beers were lucky to get into the low 70s during the day. I generally let my sours go at ambient and put my saisons out in the garage for super-hot fermentations (upper 80s) but anything else gets a cooler, controlled fermentation.

Generally though I think every part of the brewing process can benefit from some improved technique so whatever you can work to improve now will help your beers improve. If you can't buy a fermentation chamber you can work on improving your mash technique, water treatment, aeration, etc. Then come around to other parts of brewing as you can.
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Offline joe_feist

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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2013, 07:24:01 AM »
I've generally used my basement for ales. I'm in Michigan and my basement stays at a pretty consistent 65-66. I know that's ambient, so true ferm temp is probably higher, but I just don't see a glass carboy holding heat. I used a fridge for my lagers until it finally gave out. It's been two years and I really want to do another lager. SWMBO recently gave me the green light to actually buy a new fridge; hopefully more reliable than than the used ones over the years.

Next is water for me. I'm on a well and I know the water is hard. I think better understanding my water will make the next biggest difference. I think the next big step is my very recent joining a local homebrew club. I need more objective feedback than friends and family.
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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2013, 09:58:21 AM »
I just don't see a glass carboy holding heat

You might be surprised.  Put a fermometer strip on the carboy to check it and you'll know for sure.
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Offline joe_feist

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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2013, 11:39:23 AM »
You mean check my assumptions with quantifiable data? I don't know...but you may be on to something
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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2013, 11:44:18 AM »
You mean check my assumptions with quantifiable data? I don't know...but you may be on to something

Yeah, I know...it's crazy, it's radical....but it just might work!  ;)
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Offline stlaleman

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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2013, 01:39:19 PM »
I just don't see a glass carboy holding heat

You might be surprised.  Put a fermometer strip on the carboy to check it and you'll know for sure.
I fail to see how a fermometer strip on the outside will tell you an accurate temperature. Go to a single pane window in your house put one on the inside, by this logic will tell you the outside temp accurately, as would putting one outside on the window would tell you how warm it is inside. Logic fails on this totally. If I'm wrong, please explain the fault of my logic.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2013, 04:45:41 PM »
True, but not as drastically. No wind for one, and the heat source in the carboy is not much. I would guess there isn't but a couple degrees difference as long as ambient is stable

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A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2013, 05:53:59 PM »
I just don't see a glass carboy holding heat

You might be surprised.  Put a fermometer strip on the carboy to check it and you'll know for sure.
I fail to see how a fermometer strip on the outside will tell you an accurate temperature. Go to a single pane window in your house put one on the inside, by this logic will tell you the outside temp accurately, as would putting one outside on the window would tell you how warm it is inside. Logic fails on this totally. If I'm wrong, please explain the fault of my logic.

All I can tell you is that it does work.  I've put a thermometer in the fermenter and compared it to the strip.  Always within a degree or so.  The fault in your logic is reality.  :)
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Offline topher.bartos

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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2013, 07:44:11 AM »
This is my makeshift "refrigerator" the water is pretty stable at 58 degrees and it's been less than 24 hours since I pitched the yeast...

It's much better than my apartment temp which fluctuates from 65 to 75-ish... I'm looking forward to a cleaner tasting beer...

By the way, I pitched Wyeast 1098 anybody have any fermentation tips for this yeast strain?

I was trying to brew the Summer Ale (Homebrew of the Week - http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/community/news/show?title=summer-ale-what-if-version-c-1830 ) but I put in dark brown sugar and it completely changed the color of the beer... Not very summer-y

« Last Edit: April 14, 2013, 07:56:05 AM by topher.bartos »
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Offline wort-h.o.g.

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Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2013, 02:00:33 PM »
I just don't see a glass carboy holding heat

You might be surprised.  Put a fermometer strip on the carboy to check it and you'll know for sure.
I fail to see how a fermometer strip on the outside will tell you an accurate temperature. Go to a single pane window in your house put one on the inside, by this logic will tell you the outside temp accurately, as would putting one outside on the window would tell you how warm it is inside. Logic fails on this totally. If I'm wrong, please explain the fault of my logic.

All I can tell you is that it does work.  I've put a thermometer in the fermenter and compared it to the strip.  Always within a degree or so.  The fault in your logic is reality.  :)

a thermometer on a window is not a good comparison..it receives direct sunlight and we all know that inflates the actual temperature. I've found the temp strip is about 2 degrees warmer than the core, especially after active fermentation. its a good gauge, but a it depends upon when in the fermentation process your are using it...especially lagers IMO.