Homebrewing, anyone?

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GA Russell
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Post by GA Russell »

dosco wrote:
GA Russell wrote:Another mistake I made was regarding the liquid yeast and the liquid malt extract. I left them both in the refrigerator until it was time to use them.
As long as the fermentation starts within a day or so, you should be fine.
dosco, it's been 72 hours, and there's no fermentation in sight! Papazian says to relax when fermentation seems delayed; but when nothing is happening, it's easy to worry!

Regarding today's package, the carboy parka is a lightweight terrycloth towel sewn to fit over a carboy. The one in the website's photo was black, but the two I received today are white. The purpose according to the website is to block light. The material seems too thin, and combined with the white color, I'm somewhat skeptical.

I will ask them if the parka will keep the wort cooler in summer months if it is wet.

This will be the first time I have used a PET carboy. Twenty years ago they were all made of glass. The carboy is very lightweight, perhaps weighing less than a pound. Its rubber stopper seems to weigh more!

The 28" handle of the paddle is far longer than what I need. I imagine they made it with all-grainers who brew ten-gallon batches in mind.
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Post by dosco »

GA Russell wrote:dosco, it's been 72 hours, and there's no fermentation in sight!
Hrm. That could be bad. Keeping my fingers crossed for you, hope it starts bubbling soon.

This will be the first time I have used a PET carboy. Twenty years ago they were all made of glass.
Don't scratch the plastic!!
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Post by GA Russell »

I went to the Midwest Supplies website and "chatted" with someone there. She said that I should take a couple of hydrometer readings a few days apart to see any movement.

The funny thing is that on Monday I faintly smelled the sweet wort and the snake/bubble airlock was somewhat depressed. But no aroma and no airlock depression since then.

dosco, it's my understanding that you don't use a brush with the plastic carboys. They just come clean by rinsing with the jet bottle washer. Correct?

The woman also was surprised when I told her that my carboy parkas are white. I told her that I am somewhat skeptical that they will block the light. She will check into that.

By the way, both Palmer and Papazian mention that fluorescent light is particularly harmful to the brew in the carboy. That's a new development in the past twenty years, because nobody had fluorescent lights in their homes then!
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GA Russell wrote:My latest Midwest Supplies order arrived today. More about that later.

I ordered another instructional video to PIF. So the same deal as last time.

First one to PM me his address gets it.

CONUS is on me. Canada and UK, I'll be happy to send it to you if you will paypal me the shipping cost.
I've not heard from anyone. Is anyone interested?
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Post by dosco »

GA Russell wrote:dosco, it's my understanding that you don't use a brush with the plastic carboys. They just come clean by rinsing with the jet bottle washer. Correct?
Dunno, I don't have plastic carboys. An I gave up plastic waaaaay back when I learned how to brew ... I made 5 bad batches in a row before I figured it out.

By the way, both Palmer and Papazian mention that fluorescent light is particularly harmful to the brew in the carboy. That's a new development in the past twenty years, because nobody had fluorescent lights in their homes then!
Disagree, my home was built in '64 and the original lights in the master bath were fluorescent. I'm fairly certain the original lights in the kitchen were fluorescent (based on the paint marks/buildup) but I am not totally sure of that.

Some folks may have had fluorescent in the garage (I have in several of my homes) ... which is probably a more likely location to have a carboy of fermenting stuff.

Perhaps you are thinking of CFLs (new) and not the long skinny tubes (old).
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Post by GA Russell »

dosco wrote:Perhaps you are thinking of CFLs (new) and not the long skinny tubes (old).
True, that's what I was thinking about. Now that you mention it, I guess all of my kitchens have had fluorescents over the sink.
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I started Brewed in Canada by Allen Winn Sneath on Thursday, and 76 pages in, he's still giving an overview of the many breweries which were started and failed within a few years in the 19th century.

On Friday I went to the brew shop and made another purchase...

6.5 gal. brewing bucket.....$12.99
lid for bucket.....$1.75
3-piece airlock.....$1.25
rubber stopper.....$0.60
8 oz. Star-San.....$$7.95
bottle caps.....$2.70
Wyeast Irish Ale liquid yeast.....$6.50
1 lb. Briess Gold Light (4 Lovibond) dry malt extract.....$4.50
1 lb. Biscuit Malt grain crushed.....$2.10
muslin grain bag.....$0.50

In regard to my Holy Saturday batch of Irish Stout, there was no fermentation for a week. I used White Labs Irish Ale yeast. The shop doesn't carry White Labs, but has a large selection of Wyeast. The sales clerk assured me that the Irish Ale liquid yeasts of White Labs and Wyeast are the same thing. So I bought a pack of the Wyeast.

The next day I remembered to take it out of the fridge in plenty of time. Five and a half hours later I pitched it into the wort. Upon opening the bucket for the first time since brewing day, I could see that there was some (I think) kraeusen floating on top, and there was an inch of something (I don't know what) which formed a ring around the entire side of the bucket. Maybe there was a little more fermentation than I had realized. I don't know. Still that was 36 hours ago, and there has been no fermentation again. I'm going to give it another week and then bottle it. Without alcohol and carbonation, if it still tastes good, I'll drink it like it was iced coffee.

This evening I made my second batch, a light ale. Twenty years ago all of my batches were grain + extract kits. Tonight's was my first batch trying my own concocted recipe.

I made it for a friend who likes light beer. I had already purchased a 4 lb. can of Alexander's liquid malt extract from Midwest Supplies, and I added the 1 lb. bag of Briess Golden Light dry extract. For the grain, I kept it simple and used a pound of Biscuit Malt which smelled delicious in the bin. For the hops I just used one oz. of US. Saaz (8.1%). The sales clerk said that for such a light beer that would be all that I would need.

Palmer had recommended using three old copper pennies in the wort to prevent boilovers. I found among my pennies five from 1969-1974, so I used them. Palmer recommended soaking the pennies in a white vinegar and salt solution to clean them. I couldn't find where he said that in the book, so I soaked them for 24 hours in a quarter-cup of vinegar with two tablespoons of salt. That did the trick. The pennies were bright but with a dull rather than shiny finish. I put them in the wort, and didn't have a single boilover!!! Of course, I'm still learning my stove, so I kept the heat a little lower than last week. Actually, it took 25 minutes for the wort to reach rolling boil temperature, so although I cooked the extract for 60 minutes, it boiled for only 35. I don't know if that will make a difference.

I mentioned that the LD Carlson sanitizer that came with the OP order was only enough for brewing day, so I decided to try some Star-San because it is no-rinse and because it was recommended by both Palmer and Papazian. Twenty years ago I only used iodophor.

For today's yeast, I used the tube of White Labs liquid Cream Ale yeast, again remembering to take it out of the fridge in plenty of time. I don't remember whether it was Palmer or Papazian who said that liquid yeast should be shaken, and carbonation should be noticed. You may recall that I didn't take the Irish Ale yeast out of the fridge until it was time to pitch it. I shook the Irish Ale yeast thoroughly, and it seemed to show some carbonation. Now I wonder if most of the yeast stayed in the tube because it was cold. Today's yeast looked the same when I shook it, but when I opened the tube (fortunately over the bucket) the yeast shot out like I had shaken a can of beer! There's your carbonation for you!

I decided to go with the three-piece airlock this time because they are much easier to clean than the snake-bubbler should the need ever arise.

A week ago I bought a carboy for the Irish Ale; but if nothing happens, I'll use it instead for today's batch.
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Post by GA Russell »

Gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that my light ale is now rapidly fermenting!
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In regard to the Irish Stout, you may recall that I knocked the hydrometer over and spilled the wort before I took the original gravity reading. The instructions estimated the OG to be 1.042-46.

I bottled the Irish Stout this evening. I took a final gravity reading which was 1.010. That converts to 4.5% alcohol by volume. So it must have fermented while I was sleeping, I guess.

That's great news!
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Post by GA Russell »

I racked the light ale to the carboy this evening.

Both yesterday's and today's primary fermenters had a pretty fair amount of hop "silt" at the bottom. But the auto-siphon was able to collect almost all of the brew without sucking up the silt.

I'm not completely satisfied with the carboy parka. It doesn't quite reach down to the floor, so if its intended purpose is to block the light, I think that's a fail.
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Post by GA Russell »

As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted...

My monitor stopped working on the 19th, and it's taken me this long to save up my pennies and get a new one.

Both batches turned out fine.

The Irish Stout was just a little too bitter for me, but no complaints.

The light ale I am now referring to as Sweet Ale. It tasted very much like Miller High Life.

So the first was a little too bitter, and the second was not hoppy enough! They are both all gone now, and it is time for me to brew another batch. This time I think I will go for a brown ale.

I picked up a book by Dan Woodske called Hop Variety Handbook which I can recommend. It lists 99 hop varieties. I think it is for the homebrewer who wants to play with his own recipes.

Last night I reviewed the book on Amazon, and as you can see, for the first time ever my review is quoted next to the stars graph!

http://www.amazon.com/Hop-Variety-Handb ... roduct_top
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Post by brothers »

Russ, where do you buy hops?
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Post by GA Russell »

Gary, I have always had success dealing with The Home Brewery and Midwest Supplies, whose links are in my Feb. 9 post.

This also looks interesting:

http://www.homebrewit.com/beer-brewing-hops.php
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Post by brothers »

I didn't have any idea it would be so sophisticated. I think I got a completely false impression of how it worked from seeing beer commercials where they take a big scoop and fill it with freshly picked hops from a big bin and then dump them into a tank full of liquid.
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Re: Homebrewing, anyone?

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The Home Brewery is having a sale this week.

$10 off purchase $50 or more.

(June 16 - 23)

Use Code: FATHERSDAYPROMO

http://www.homebrewery.com/
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Re: Homebrewing, anyone?

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Over the weekend, an Amazon Marketplace seller offered Brew North for $3.23, so I placed my order.

I may wait till December, and put it under the tree!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/155365 ... UTF8&psc=1
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Re: Homebrewing, anyone?

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I keep scratching my head...why is this in the vendor section? Just wondering.
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Re: Homebrewing, anyone?

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Started here, may as well leave it here.
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Re: Homebrewing, anyone?

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Squire wrote:Started here, may as well leave it here.
I would agree if it was shaving or grooming related. :?:
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Re: Homebrewing, anyone?

Post by GA Russell »

Phil, I put it in the Shopping forum because the first post was about a LivingSocial deal.
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