Author Topic: Finding what works for you (me)  (Read 1866 times)

Offline enso

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Finding what works for you (me)
« on: January 05, 2010, 03:19:15 PM »
As we know there are hundreds of ways of doing all parts of the brewing process and everyone needs to find the methods/techniques that work best for them.  I have my brewing process fairly well set.  Except one step that alludes me yet...

Getting the beer from the boil kettle to the fermenter!  I believe in doing things the simplest most economical (okay cheapest) and effective that I can.  I have tried a few ways.  Pouring through a funnel with a screen and mesh bag (PITA!  :o), straight up regular racking/siphoning (tricky to get started and maintain),  autosiphon (easy to start and restart), autosiphon after whirlpooling and settling the trub "cone" (never quite works as advertised) all of which end inevitably with emergency sanitizing of the funnel/mesh bag and scooping and scraping the funnel screen to free the flow...

I have thought about adding a spigot to the kettle but it does not seem that it will solve the trub/hop sludge issues and only add cost.

What part of the brewing process has alluded you in terms of what works for you?  Did you finally find the solution?  Do you just grumble and bear it?

« Last Edit: January 05, 2010, 03:20:52 PM by enso »
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Offline beersk

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2010, 04:14:49 PM »
What I do is sanitize a pitcher (ones that you make frozen juice or whatever in) and scoop out the wort and dump into fermenter through funnel until I can lift the boil kettle and pour the rest in.  Works well for me.  I have a StarSan solution in a spray bottle so I just spray down the inside and outside of the pitcher and wait a minute then go at it.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2010, 05:30:33 PM »
I have thought about adding a spigot to the kettle but it does not seem that it will solve the trub/hop sludge issues and only add cost.
Spigot is MUST have on brew kettle.
I have 10 gal kettle for 5 gal batches.
My kettle has about a gallon of dead space.

I start boiling with 8 gal and when I am done I have a little more then 6.5 gal.
Then chilling and whirlpooling.
After that let it sit in covered kettle for 30 min.
This is the time that all the hot break, hop matter and cold break settle to the bottom.

Then I drain kettle thru the spigot leaving all the trub in dead space ending up with 5.5 gal in fermenter.
Sorry for the lengthy answer.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2010, 06:15:40 PM »
Transferring to the fermenter was a pain during my first few batches. Like you I tried to use the funnel and screen approach to leave behind the trub and it just kept clogging.

Then I tried the wirlpooling thing and let the trub settle. And that's what I stuck with since.  Key here is not so much a good trub cone. They rarely form for me and these days I don't even whilpool anymore. No, key is brewing more than you need, letting the trub and some cold break settle. Than you can rack clear wort from the top.

The remaining 2-4 qt of wort and trub are filtered through a paper towel set in aforementioned funnel with screen. The wort is then frozen and used for starters or priming. No waste here.

These days I improved on that technique. After I chilled to about 60-70f I set the pot in a party tub with ice water that has been elevated. There it will continue to cool and settle at the same time. An hour later I come back to rack the clear 44 f wort into a carboy.

I don't like auto siphons. Too many parts. I use a racking cane and hose. The siphon gets started with a turkey baster. Squeeze the bulb, put the tip into the hose and release the bulb. The wort is now sucked into the hose and the siphon starts.

I hope that helps. It certainly made my brewing more enjoyable and I didn't buy any new gear even though I was close to buying a large strainer from a restaurant supply shop.

Kai 

Offline bluesman

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2010, 07:15:21 PM »
I have a spigot on my 15 gallon keggle that works really well. I use muslin bags with whole hops. After the boil I will let gravity pull the chilled wort through the spigot and into a strainer that has the filled hop bags placed into it. I will drain as much wort as I can over the filled muslin bags and through the strainer until I get to the trub at the bottom of the kettle (usually about a quart of trub) and stop.

I am currently in the process of building a Brutus 10 system which will change my process, but the current process works fine.
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Offline blatz

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2010, 08:15:38 AM »
converted keg + spigot + bazooka T + whole hops = crystal clear wort into the fermenter.

I've never had an issue, unless I use >~50% of the hop bill as pellets
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Offline ndcube

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2010, 09:08:28 AM »
I chill to 80F and rack everything into a carboy.  A course screen on my cane keeps out the whole hops which I squeeze the wort out of.

After the carboy settles its off to the fermentor to chill and pitch.

Offline ndcube

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2010, 09:11:23 AM »
I wish I had a better method of rousing yeast other than gently stirring.  I don't mind having the bucket open during the beginning of fermentation but towards the end it kind of bugs me.

Offline denny

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2010, 09:24:59 AM »
I wish I had a better method of rousing yeast other than gently stirring.  I don't mind having the bucket open during the beginning of fermentation but towards the end it kind of bugs me.

Actually, towards the end might be better, if infection is your worry.  By the end of fermentation, the low pH and alcohol content of the beer help make it more resistant to infection.
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Offline ndcube

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2010, 09:34:33 AM »
I wish I had a better method of rousing yeast other than gently stirring.  I don't mind having the bucket open during the beginning of fermentation but towards the end it kind of bugs me.

Actually, towards the end might be better, if infection is your worry.  By the end of fermentation, the low pH and alcohol content of the beer help make it more resistant to infection.

I'm well past the fear of infection (until I get my first infected batch, I guess).  I'm still afraid of oxidation even though my batches don't come out oxidized.  I always wonder, how much rousing is too much?

Offline enso

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2010, 10:31:48 AM »
Transferring to the fermenter was a pain during my first few batches. Like you I tried to use the funnel and screen approach to leave behind the trub and it just kept clogging.

Then I tried the wirlpooling thing and let the trub settle. And that's what I stuck with since.  Key here is not so much a good trub cone. They rarely form for me and these days I don't even whilpool anymore. No, key is brewing more than you need, letting the trub and some cold break settle. Than you can rack clear wort from the top.

The remaining 2-4 qt of wort and trub are filtered through a paper towel set in aforementioned funnel with screen. The wort is then frozen and used for starters or priming. No waste here.

These days I improved on that technique. After I chilled to about 60-70f I set the pot in a party tub with ice water that has been elevated. There it will continue to cool and settle at the same time. An hour later I come back to rack the clear 44 f wort into a carboy.

I don't like auto siphons. Too many parts. I use a racking cane and hose. The siphon gets started with a turkey baster. Squeeze the bulb, put the tip into the hose and release the bulb. The wort is now sucked into the hose and the siphon starts.

I hope that helps. It certainly made my brewing more enjoyable and I didn't buy any new gear even though I was close to buying a large strainer from a restaurant supply shop.

Kai 

Hey Kai,

I actually learned of the whirlpooling technique from your write up.  Thought I was just not doing it right...  Thanks that does help.

Yes, I have considered bumping up the volume brewed and have to a degree.  I just need to push it a touch higher.  Right now I shoot for 7.25 gallons preboil and generally end up with 5.5-5.75 gallons.  I know that is a pretty high evaporation rate but it works for me I guess.  Guess I will shoot for 8 gallons as Thirsty monk suggests.  I do like the idea of having the extra wort for starters too.
Dave Brush

Offline enso

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2010, 10:32:51 AM »
Anybody else have any parts of your brewing that just aren't as smooth as you want?
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2010, 11:17:27 AM »
Right now I shoot for 7.25 gallons preboil and generally end up with 5.5-5.75 gallons.  I know that is a pretty high evaporation rate but it works for me I guess.

Just turn down the heat. You want to shoot for 10-15% boil-off/hr

[/quote]
Anybody else have any parts of your brewing that just aren't as smooth as you want?
[/quote]

I hate wort chilling. I’d like to set up a wort circulation system but for that I need to by a pump and possibly a kettle with spigot.

Kai

Offline denny

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2010, 11:35:51 AM »

I hate wort chilling. I’d like to set up a wort circulation system but for that I need to by a pump and possibly a kettle with spigot.

Kai


I spurned my cheap'n'easy tendencies a few months back and got a pump mainly for the purpose of recirculating chilling.  I'm beyond happy with that decision.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2010, 11:51:53 AM »

I hate wort chilling. I’d like to set up a wort circulation system but for that I need to by a pump and possibly a kettle with spigot.

Kai


I spurned my cheap'n'easy tendencies a few months back and got a pump mainly for the purpose of recirculating chilling.  I'm beyond happy with that decision.
  Man I gota do that.  Stirring the wort is my biggest PITA right now.  It would free up 20 minutes to get some other stuff done too!
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