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  1. 5 likes
    For brewers interested in understanding their brewing water, my recommendation would be for them to download ezBrewingWater-RO© when starting out. ezBrewingWater-RO© uses reverse osmosis, or distilled water, as the source water making it extremely easy to understand. While other water property calculators are complicated to setup and difficult to use, ezBrewingWater-RO© allows you to focus on the most important aspects of your brewing water. https://sites.google.com/site/screwybrewer/ezbrewingwater/ezBrewingWater-RO.xlsx ezBrewingWater-RO© works on any computer that has MS Excel installed on it.
  2. 5 likes
    i do both extract (all sizes) and all grain (smallish batches). all grain: more work. more chemistry to potentially worry about ie balancing ph and mineral content. you can do it in a bag tucked into a 5 gallon igloo bev cooler. you then would 'sparge' by simply draining the cooler into a vessel and adding your sparge water to the cooler..stir.. put lid back on.. let sit.. drain etc. it's a cheap way to go. if you do it this way while mashing I open it up about every 20 mins to stir around the grain just a little to increase efficiency. you can make a mash tun out of a square cooler with a copper manifold or even a pvc manifold.. lots of designs online... for relatively cheap. so the biggest drawback is the extra effort required. the nice thing is you have more control over the outcome re flavor. you can experiment with different grains.. different mash temps/times, with chemicals.. without.. and as mentioned you will likely make even better beer. I like the ease of extract combined with a partial mash. when making a big beer for example, all grain tends to get crappy efficiency in my case. I split the grain bill and do about half extract and half grain.. do a small mash volume and it works well enough for me. if you want to try all grain for cheap.. and you have a 5 or 10 gallon bev cooler, just get a large biab bag and go that route. that way you can experiment and if it isn't for you, you still have a cooler you can use. I just use the spigot that is attached. with the bag no need for a manifold. for the chemistry, look up EZ water calculator spread sheet. you'll need to know your water chemistry. if you buy mineral water write the spring source and ask for their most recent lab report. or use reverse osmosis water and 'build' your desired water profile. the chemicals are cheapish. any lhbs should carry them. you need to be careful that your chemical levels stay in safe levels. the spreadsheet will alert you to potential problems. when I do the all grain I usually end up with more trub. you can compensate by increasing water volume. or let the wort sit for some time before transferring it to the fermenter.
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  4. 5 likes
    So Michigan has so much smarter students that they don't have an athletic program? Did Chris Webber know about this smartness requirement when he tried to call timeout when the team didn't have any?
  5. 4 likes
    the important thing to remember when pursuing a hobby... make it only as complicated as you can stand. when it becomes a chore, a bother.. 'too much work' you are more likely to quit. me? I love tedium. I love chemistry. I love endlessly crunching numbers and weighing things. I like the 'what happens if I dump 12 pounds of crystal 80l into this' kind of experimentation. if you are like this too all grain can be fun. if youre only slightly like this brew in the bag would work. if you read that and the other post above and went 'omg what a pain in the butt! this guy is nuts! ' then stick to extracts. extract brewing with steeping grains or not, still makes good beer. hell, mr beer kits just as they are make good beer and are super duper easy. less clean up too! good thing I married someone who doesn't mind washing bottles and fermenters , equipment etc.
  6. 4 likes
    My boss and the Manager who preceded me were the same way(use to give me a hard time). As a matter of fact my boss won't allow me to carry any MrB products, says he's been making fun of them too long to change now. Damn silly if you ask me, if I can get them coming in for the HMEs, I'll make other sales. This place is a toy store for adults, it sells it's self, all I do is answer questions.
  7. 3 likes
    It's been a long time since I have posted around here... as I just started reading again recently after a several year hiatus (#BackToMyRoots). This topic caught my eye and I have to say while there has been a lot of great comments, the one above is the one that I agree with the most. #Awesome! As for the OP... keep in mind what was said above here. If you are wanting to jump up because you feel you have to as your brewing knowledge expands, then your "quick & easy" brew days could become a hassle (chore) and you will probably end up brewing less because you might start dreading the process. So as was said above here, "make it only as complicated as you can stand". Others have also said that the bigger your brews, the more bottles you will need and that all amounts to more time... or it could amount to more $$ as you would then want to start kegging. Trust me when I say that I am proof that this "hobby" isn't a cheap one. 7 years ago on December 20th I brewed my first Mr. Beer batch. I moved rather quickly from the LBK to AG 5 gallon batches, to 11 gallon batches and then I stepped back to doing 5 gallon BIAB after 3/4 year off from brewing and then just this past May, I jumped up to a 1.33BBL system. I have seen many of the stops along the road of brewing. I have seen my brew days go from less than an hour, to 4 hours, to 2.5 hours and now a typical brew days is 7-8 hours from flame on to cleaned up. The ins and the outs and the bottom line is that even if you enjoy the final product, if you do something along the way where you stop enjoying the process, none of it will really matter because when it stops being fun, you will probably stop all together (trust me on that). So again, take your time, make the moves when you feel you are ready and most certainly, "make it only as complicated as you can stand." #BrewOn!
  8. 3 likes
    It may be because you are taking the step from Mr. Beer to AG. Some LHBS owners/managers have a very unfounded and negative opinion of Mr. Beer brewers. I think most of them are upset with the fact that they can't make any money off of you as long as you are using Mr. Beer products, so they treat you like crap and usually tell you to quit brewing that way and come over to their side. What they should do (and the good ones do) is treat you as a brewer and be generous with answering any questions you may have and be willing to help. A very large percentage of their clients got their start with Mr. Beer (even though most won't admit it) and so they should be thankful. Rant done
  9. 2 likes
    I pick between 60 and 66, wherever it ends up. If you start with refrigerated water instead of cold tap water, you will end up with a lower pitching temp. Shame on you for getting the basics down. What kinds of commie thinking is that? #WishEveryoneDidThat #YouMayLastInThisHobby
  10. 2 likes
    Rick, Thanks a bunch, very helpful. I recognize that most folks use a fermentation chamber for lowering the temp, and that's my plan come summertime. As it stands, the only option I currently had to maintain a decent and constant fermentation temp was to bring the temp UP to a constant 68 from an ambient 55 or so, so I went that route. I think the biggest issue I had was that I followed the Mr. Beer extract directions and chilled the water overnight that went into the wort and cooled it too far down below my target pitch temp, and then it took the air temps a long time to bring the keg back up to it, to the point that part of the wort overheated in the process. Live and learn That's why I'm trying to get all these basic issues worked out before I move up the food chain to bigger and better brewing methods. Again, thanks for you time.
  11. 2 likes
    Belgian Witbier is an all time favorite of mine and I have been brewing/tweaking my recipe for the past 5 years. What I have found over time is that using some freshly made zest of Valencia Oranges, at a rate of about 2 ounces per 5 gallons of beer, gives a Witbier a really smooth citrus flavor. Coriander, to me anyway, should be kept to no more than 1/4 teaspoon per 5 gallons too, especially when using freshly ground coriander. Of course using a good Belgian Witbier strain of yeast like WLP-400 will make this beer taste truly authentic too. In order to brew the best tasting version of any beer style it is necessary to match your brewing water as closely as possible to the style of beer being brewed. When asked what had made Hoegaarden the perfect location for brewing the Witbier style of beer? Pierre Celis replied “Hard water (calcium-rich water) is good for brewing a wheat beer. Also, there were abundant supplies of water in the area. I have a well at my home”.
  12. 2 likes
    That is exactly what I did before my first AG SMASH IPA. Three partial mash kits and I hit all my estimated mash values. Once you dial in your process brew day will be less stressful. Right now I can do a 4.75 gallon AG batch on my stove top and bottle 3.5 to 3.75 gallons. My next upgrades are a propane burner, which my uncle is giving me, and kegging system. Glad to hear he's now willing to teach. I missed the AG brew days at a small brewery near me so I spent a lot of time on YouTube.
  13. 2 likes
    Bit the bullet and went to ask the lhbs guy when the next all grain class was. He was actually pretty cool (maybe b/c of Christmas?) and said that once in awhile he brews on a Sunday when he's closed, and that he'll let me know ahead of time so that I can come down and watch. Maybe he was being nice or maybe he sees a potentially significant sale. Either way I thought it was generous of him offer. ☺
  14. 2 likes
    I would honestly suggest you try doing a couple partial mashes to "get your feet wet" so to speak. That way at least your whole brew ain't depending on how efficiently you can convert starch to sugar.(promise you it ain't going to be very efficient to start with)
  15. 1 like
    OMG ! ALIENS!!! lol most likely nothing more than yeast colonies. explanation that I got when I asked this years ago: glass has an electrical charge. so does plastic. so do yeast. normally the yeast's charge is such that they sink merrily to the bottom of the bottle. when they get stressed out they can change their polarity. they clump together and adhere to the walls of the bottle. when you pour a glass, do the usual slow steady pour, leaving behind the trub and look at the beer in the glass. most likely you wont see anything floating around in the beer. why? because the yeast all stuck to the bottle. soak your empties in oxiclean and it should take care of the dots. by any chance was the yeast US04? I get those dots floating on the surface of my beer... clumps of yeast rafts. doesn't hurt a thing.
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    here ya go 6G-BrewingInstructions-2015[2].pdf