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Big Sarge

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Everything posted by Big Sarge

  1. I'd love to get away with brewing Friday night, but that won't happen. Looks like I'm brewing Saturday though! I saw that somewhere and need to register. Who's in?
  2. I plan on brewing this weekend. I am kicking around the idea of making a starter, my first attempt at one. I want this fermentation to be efficient and figured now was a good time to give it a whirl. I know I'm throwing this around all loosely, but I mean business. The beer I'm brewing should come in around 1.060 OG. BeerSmith yeast starter calculator quotes a 2.5L starter. I don't have the equipment for one that large. It's not a big beer by any means, so am I good making a 1L starter? I mean, 1L is better than no starter, right? Someone talk me off the ledge here. I'll be brewing with Wyeast 1272, American Ale II. I'm not interested in doing a two stage starter, just trying to keep it simple. I appreciate and advice. Thanks.
  3. We have turned this into a variety of discussions, for sure.
  4. In theory, it doesn't seem like it should make a difference. I haven't done any research on it yet, but @Bonsai & Brew said it, so it must hold some water (or wort?) lol. Going back to the exbeeriment I read yesterday, there was something different about the no sparge beer, something with body or haze or proteins. Maybe whatever that was plays a part in the hop utilization? Maybe it's just a minor difference though?
  5. Like you, I feel like there's value added in rinsing the grains somehow. I understand Creeps' point about saturation, but also worried about the effects such a thin mash. I hadn't looked into it much, put your mention about it affecting hop utilization does deserve a second look. I think my best bet is to simply add the bag to what I'm doing already. There isn't much to batch sparging. Using the bag will reduce the need to vorlauf and help me get the last bit of sugars resulting in a respectable mash efficiency. Best of all, I've really enjoyed debating all of this with you guys and sharing thoughts, ideas, and hypotheses. The only thing missing is a back yard, some decent weather, and beer.
  6. All of these analogies and philosophical golf comments are freaking great!
  7. Yeah, unless I missed additional grain additions for the no sparge in the exbeeriment? I also found John Palmer's BYO article, which said you'd need more grain for no sparge to hit your SG. I feel the main difference between my setup and using a bag is extracting the last little bit of wort from the grains (through gravity during draining or squeezing the bag). I could squeeze the grain in my cooler, not with my hands of course.
  8. Looked up a Brülosohpy article about an exbeeriment between no and batch sparge. The numbers all hit but the blind triangle test yielded notable taste differentiation (telling which one was different). My next question: is no sparge a good way to go with my cooler and bazooka screen? I feel like the efficiency will be significantly less without the bag.
  9. Nice, @Creeps McLane aka Bill Nye. I like the analogy. I guess the only thing missing in yours would be something to grab onto or absorb the food coloring in the water. I think you made a great point about saturation though.
  10. I've been tracking my gravity numbers in the brew session data to see how well I'm doing on efficiency from batch to batch. Then I can go with that number for my equipment and keep working on consistency.
  11. I wasn't sure if biab processes eliminated the need to sparge. I can see how trying the various procedures to see what works best is viable. I like the idea of going single vessel, except for having to hold a mash temp on propane with little insulating power. I could totally see myself lifting the bag out and allowing it to drain over the cooler, with the valve open for draining into the BK, then beginning to heat the wort (once enough volume is in the BK) while the bag continues to drain. I'm not looking to hasten things, but why not take advantage of the wort temperature right after the mash to start heating? I like the idea of not having to vorlauf, assuming the bag produces some pretty clear wort from the start? I've been trying to narrow down my equipment numbers and feel I'm pretty close to all of the various wort loss figures.
  12. Just so I'm clear, biab means absolutely no sparging?
  13. I was mostly speaking off your aforementioned 20 minute mash lol
  14. Yeah, I left that part out. Without getting scientific, it's your standard size rectangular picnic cooler you'd put a case of beer in. Large, well over 10 gallons. I have no problems getting 7 gallon pre boil volume with sparging, but could probably pull that with no sparge easily (depending on the heft of the grain bill). I definitely agree on the gear loss while trying to step mash, chasing temps you can't achieve. I'm not interested in step mashing, more into translating a step mash recipe to single infusion temp. Are you saying you don't try to hold a particular temp for x minutes with biab?
  15. So I'd take out the bazooka screen, just leaving the ball valve naked to drain from. I'm good with not sparging, just as long as I'm getting everything out of the grain and hitting targets efficiently and consistently. I'm not against pressing the last of it out. My initial thoughts we to treat it like a botch sparge with my usual equipment (minus the bazooka screen): mash in, drain, add sparge water, rest 10 minutes, drain to boil volume. If you say F sparging, I can go with that. As far as upgrades, if I'm not going with electric in the kettle, are you saying there are upgrades I should make to the cooler mash tun?
  16. Makes sense. What do your mash efficiency numbers look like? I'm still working on improving mine, so my practice has been to add a half pound of base malt to make up for it. I don't like doing that. I was just wondering if you gain anything by sparging. Are the numbers just as good for no sparge vs batch sparging? My brain says no. There still has to be some sugary goodness in those grains. I am by no means trying to nickel and dime cutting costs, just trying to get the most out of the raw product. That and consistency. Thanks much!
  17. Sorry for the hiatus. I've been busy with doing a whole bunch of nothing this pst weekend and work thereafter. This is pretty much a layout of my thoughts: To hell with step mashing, at least at this point. With an electric system, why not? Given that I'm sticking with propane for the foreseeable future and not trying to chase a steady mash temp in the kettle, maybe I just outfit my cooler with one of the brew bags? I've thought of this previously, but didn't want the added expense right away. It should improve my efficiency to something more consistent. I know BeerSmith does a pretty awesome job calculating water additions to raise step mash temperatures, but I still feel like I'd be chasing them. I like the set it and forget it technique. I'll just figure out the optimum mash temp for the style and rock with that. I still think there's value added to the ratcheting pulley for the cooler brew bag, allowing to drain. In anyone's experience, is it better to go full blown no sparge, or drain, sparge, then raise the bag before draining the remainder?
  18. As I ponder the idea of biab, it brings up some new concerns. How trying is maintaining a single infusion mash temperature for the full term (60 or so minutes) with gas on a kettle? It would likely be a little easier maintaining step temps for a shorter period, or is it? Then comes grain absorption. I feel like I struggle to get that right when using the calculators, albeit I haven't figured out my mash tun (cooler) wort loss factor yet. Is there more accuracy in the calculators when your simply removing the grain? I obviously have too much time to think...
  19. I've seen the brew in a bag, but never got as far we the ratcheting pulley. It looks minimally invasive for the wandering vagabond I've become lol. Thanks!
  20. Thanks @Creeps McLane. I like the idea of going biab but might have to wait while to truly set up my garage for such fun. I'm slated to go to El Paso this summer, only for 10 months but then who knows where after that. For now, I'd need an inexpensive hoist contraption to help out.
  21. I'm going to attempt brevity, but I have a lot on my mind. First off, as you read, gather your thoughts on the topic. I've come across recipes that call for the step mash technique, but I'm trying for simplicity if the the juice isn't worth the squeeze. Given (my gear): Picnic Cooler mash tun with bazooka screen. 10 gal BK w/ball valve (nothing additional) 5 gal HLT (old BK) Propane Burner I know how to step mash. It would be easier with electric or if I mashed in a kettle. I'd like to translate the step mash instructions/temps into a single infusion temp. I'd rather do that than mess around with boiling water additions. Yes, BeerSmith has calculators to help. I worry about missing targets. I worry about making the mash too thin with extra water. Do I start at a lower liquor to grist ratio? Is this even a valid concern overall? My best guess is to pick a single infusion temp consummate to the style of beer I'm making, unless there's a magic number that can be derived from the step mash temps? Thanks for your time. Work can get a little slow and I wanted to solicit your thoughts. Stay safe everyone.
  22. I've been studying water and messing with all of the calculators out there over the past few days. I realize that I only have a few options moving forward: 1. Go with what I've been doing for the past 5 years or so. I make good beer, right? 2. Trust the highly generalized aquifer water profile data that I found on the Internet and attempt to make adjustments from there. I don't think I'm going to do this. I wish I could get an accurate test from my Podunk water department, but my inquiries have been fruitless. Additionally, the mineral content and hardness are so high, and adjustment with salts has a second order effect on one of the other elements to undesirable levels. I've pondered buying on of the Brew Lab kits to test my own water, but I'm still left with the liquid rock that comes out of my faucet. 3. Build my water profile with distilled water and salts. Seems like the easiest and least expensive (short term) option. I'll obvious use my local hard water to brew those styles commensurate with it, as all the other historical brewers have done throughout time around the globe. 4. Buy an RO machine. Daddy ain't that rich. The great thing about being in the army is that I will move again, probably soon. I hope to at least go somewhere that I can get a water report when I ask for it. In the end, I just want to learn more. I'd also like to apply it through practical application as well. My biggest push for trying to figure things out is my plan to brew a kolsch this weekend. Not really a beer that benefits from additional bitterness. I'm cutting my water with distilled water, which should help. I'd build a desired water profile if I could get ahold of the salts from the LHBS, but a round trip up there takes a whole day. My beer is good. I look forward to making a beer that will jut knock my socks off one day. I guess I better get back to work...
  23. I've left mine on up to 20 psi, so you should be good @Bonsai & Brew
  24. Nice! It definitely beats purging gas to drop the pressure before serving, especially if you want to push it back up after drinking.
  25. Yeah, I've been toying with that calculator. I've been trying to make adjustments to my current water, to defray the cost (a whopping 69 cents per gallon lol) and the headache SWMBO gives me in grief for loading up the shopping cart with distilled water lol.
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