Beer Brewing

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7/26/2017 5:48 AM

In an effort not to hijack the other thread I figured I'd start a new thread.

Elektro in response to your keeping it simple post, I don't dislike our current setup, but we're running into an issue with our current setup.

Problem 1 - Our manifold is currently PVC with a bunch of slits cut in it. The pieces are just pressed together and not glued. Can't glue them because we can't clean it if it's glued. The heat has distorted the PVC so it doesn't hold together the greatest. Maybe a few kettle screens would fix my problem? But that only solves part of our problem.

Problem 2 - The mash tun isn't big enough for some of the stouts we are brewing. We fill the entire mash tun with grain (30 lbs for a 5-6 gallon batch) which leaves a very small amount of head room for sparge water.

Another problem we're running against is with the fast fermenters. On Saturday, one of the bolts that hold the fermenter broke. As in, the whole insert broke which left a hole in the fermenter rendering it useless. We had to put it in a bucket to ferment this time so we'll see how we like it. The fermenters take up a lot of room in the fridge. We can only fit the two fermenters which is 14 gallons of beer at the most in there. We are debating converting to buckets so that we can stack them in the fridge and get about 20 gallons fermenting at a time. 20 gallons of beer requires more grain which requires a larger setup. So these are all of the problems with our current setup.


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7/26/2017 6:12 AM

Problems or not, you had me at brew your own beer. Kidding aside, I'm going to have to read up on this. It seems pretty interesting. Do you get your different brews from the web?

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7/26/2017 6:28 AM

Our first brew was just a one gallon brew. Turned out awful tasting and less than 3% ABV. But we kinda dove head first before the fermentation process was complete and we could taste the beer.

There is a TON of information and math you have to account for with brewing. Not complicated math, but it's more than you'd think. And you need to understand basic chemistry but it's not so important at first.

As far as recipes, I've come up with about 4 or 5 original recipes that we like. The Blonde, Amber and IPA are all better IMO than what I can find in stores. I may be biased, but it's a long way removed from the first batch. We're still looking for a stout that we are happy with.

There is a brew store within 5 minutes of my work that sells everything you need to brew from equipment to ingredients. I just order the grain, hops and yeast and go home and brew. Takes about 5 or 6 hours on brew day and beer is ready to drink in 3-4 weeks.

It's a fun/relaxing process and relatively inexpensive once you get past the equipment. And as you saw in my other thread, it's about half the price of store bought craft beer or less.

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7/26/2017 6:49 AM

This interests me. I brewed up a five gallon batch of coffee porter for my first try. While I didn't think it was all that great at first, after sampling many choices off the shelf at Spec's I came to realize mine kicked ass pretty good. Second round was a dunkelweizen. Again, pretty good stuff. Bought the kits at the local brew shop and a starter brew kit. You are taking my setup to a whole new level.

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7/26/2017 7:09 AM

We bypassed the mashing process. Partly because of the problems you are experiencing and mostly because we could buy extract that was made up of what we wanted. We just didn't see that we could create much distinction there for the extra work required. Brewing ales was quick and easy, bottling was a total PITA. The last bottling we did was a lager. We converted a refrigerator for that. It was the best beer we ever made but it was too slow. The next brewing I did was in kegs. I would never bottle again. You can still bottle from the keg if you wanted to hand out sample but we never did. As far as the cost, we never saw much in savings in a real sense. Mostly because the store bought beer we drank was Bud. I just bought some on sale a Ralphs for 9.99/18 pack. It's really hard to buy all the equipment and do all the work of home brewing just to beat that price. We did it because it was fun to experiment.

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7/26/2017 7:53 AM

borg wrote:

We bypassed the mashing process. Partly because of the problems you are experiencing and mostly because we could buy extract that was made up of what we wanted. We just didn't see that we could create much distinction there for the extra work required. Brewing ales was quick and easy, bottling was a total PITA. The last bottling we did was a lager. We converted a refrigerator for that. It was the best beer we ever made but it was too slow. The next brewing I did was in kegs. I would never bottle again. You can still bottle from the keg if you wanted to hand out sample but we never did. As far as the cost, we never saw much in savings in a real sense. Mostly because the store bought beer we drank was Bud. I just bought some on sale a Ralphs for 9.99/18 pack. It's really hard to buy all the equipment and do all the work of home brewing just to beat that price. We did it because it was fun to experiment.

I like the grain brewing process. I haven't ever tried the extract brewing. Kegging is my next move. The actual bottling isn't that bad but storing and buying bottles is a bit of a hassle. I've already got a fridge that will hold about 6 five gallon kegs and a CO2 bottle and I'm probably going to buy the kit here pretty soon along with a 4 way tap.

Before this last year, I always balked at the craft brew world. Thought it was a bunch of yuppies making a lot to do about nothing, but I slowly moved away from the bud light and dos XX world and into some craft beers and just moved further and further off the deep end with the craft beers. When I try to drink a Coors light or bud light or one of the mass produced beers, it just doesn't taste good. And the ABV is too light. The older I'm getting, the more I want to have fewer drinks to do the job. So I like the 7% to 15% beers if I'm drinking with food. If I'm sitting on the lake or by a pool, I like the 5% blond we have.

Lagering is something we haven't quite tried yet. We have the capability to lager, but just haven't gotten around to doing a lager. Did you ever try to ale a beer and lager the same recipe? Did you notice any difference?

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7/26/2017 8:00 AM

newmann wrote:

This interests me. I brewed up a five gallon batch of coffee porter for my first try. While I didn't think it was all that great at first, after sampling many choices off the shelf at Spec's I came to realize mine kicked ass pretty good. Second round was a dunkelweizen. Again, pretty good stuff. Bought the kits at the local brew shop and a starter brew kit. You are taking my setup to a whole new level.

Porters and Stouts are a pretty niche area of the beer world but damn they are so freaking good. When I say the word "stout" around people, the first thing they always talk about is Guinness. Guinness is hardly a stout. It's too low ABV and just doesn't have a very good flavor. It's a terrible reference for stouts.

If you've ever had a good Bourbon barrel aged stout, you will be in heaven.

These are some of the store bought stouts that I like to drink when it isn't 100 degrees + outside.

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7/26/2017 9:25 AM

Tydog here on Vital ruined me to these.

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7/26/2017 9:59 AM

Founders Breakfast Stout is amazing
I've turned away from porters/stouts and moved on to IPA's and Sours.

Does brewing your own beer make the room smell horrible? So if you do in your basement, does your entire house smell like shit?

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7/26/2017 10:19 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/26/2017 10:20 AM

Dirty Britches wrote:

Founders Breakfast Stout is amazing
I've turned away from porters/stouts and moved on to IPA's and Sours.

Does brewing your own beer make the room smell horrible? So if you do in your basement, does your entire house smell like shit?

Love the Founders Breakfast Stout too.

I wasn't too big on IPA's until recently. Drank a few I didn't like and a guy at work is big into them so I decided to take our Amber and make a 1 gallon side batch just to try it. It turned out REALLY freaking good. So good that we did a 7 gallon batch on Saturday. Hopefully it turns out just as good. Won't know for another 2.5 weeks. The guy at work brought me in a "Dawn of the Dank" IPA and it was really good. I have also had the Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA and that was the one that made us decide it was worth trying to brew. It's an 18% ABV IPA. It's REALLY difficult to find though and about $10 for a 12 oz bottle.

We brew everything in my garage. It will make your house smell kinda like when you cook if you do the brewing in your house. But it's not a smell like beer. It smells like you cooked something sweet. The beer smell comes during the fermentation. I have the fermentation going on in the house and I noticed a beery smell in there one day but it was gone after that.

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7/26/2017 10:21 AM

Hey Newmann, where do you get the Jailhouse Brewing beers? I haven't seen those up here.

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7/26/2017 11:09 AM

I used to brew about 150 to 200 gallons a year (max is 200 gallons by law if two adults reside in the household). Like borg said, kegs are the way to go. I got rid of over 200 bottles I had at one time. Hated the mess of sterilizing.

Extract brewing and using grain in a boil bag makes some very good beer without the hassle of a mash tun and sparging. Quicker too.

Quality yeast is the key to quality beer. Top fermenting yeast for ales, bottom fermenting yeast for cold fermenting (lagering) and if you are brewing often, you can keep a good strain of yeast going for a long time.

I bought all my supplies through mail order because the nearest supply store was too far away. This is where most of my product was purchased : https://www.williamsbrewing.com/

I am planning to start up again this winter. Still have all my recipes stashed away somewhere. Love the science and chemistry of brewing but the best part is drinking fresh, quality beer.

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7/26/2017 11:24 AM

AHRMA361 wrote:

I used to brew about 150 to 200 gallons a year (max is 200 gallons by law if two adults reside in the household). Like borg said, kegs are the way to go. I got rid of over 200 bottles I had at one time. Hated the mess of sterilizing.

Extract brewing and using grain in a boil bag makes some very good beer without the hassle of a mash tun and sparging. Quicker too.

Quality yeast is the key to quality beer. Top fermenting yeast for ales, bottom fermenting yeast for cold fermenting (lagering) and if you are brewing often, you can keep a good strain of yeast going for a long time.

I bought all my supplies through mail order because the nearest supply store was too far away. This is where most of my product was purchased : https://www.williamsbrewing.com/

I am planning to start up again this winter. Still have all my recipes stashed away somewhere. Love the science and chemistry of brewing but the best part is drinking fresh, quality beer.

I did the Brew in a Bag method and we had a really good batch come out of it and then had a problem with the bag settling on the bottom of the kettle and melting the next time. We also had a problem extracting all of the sugar out of the grain. I think we were less than 50% efficient with the BIAB and we are now around 75-80% efficient with our current setup.

As for our yeast, we've only used the US-05 Ale yeast and we used a higher alcohol yeast in one of the stouts.

I'll be kegging for sure within 2 weeks.

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7/26/2017 1:05 PM

I suspend the bag from the top of the kettle so it doesn't touch the bottom. I only use it in conjunction with extract so not totally hung up on yield.

Check into some other yeasts based on the style you are brewing. Cheers!

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7/26/2017 1:14 PM

Dirty Britches wrote:

Founders Breakfast Stout is amazing
I've turned away from porters/stouts and moved on to IPA's and Sours.

Does brewing your own beer make the room smell horrible? So if you do in your basement, does your entire house smell like shit?

IWreckALot wrote:

Love the Founders Breakfast Stout too.

I wasn't too big on IPA's until recently. Drank a few I didn't like and a guy at work is big into them so I decided to take our Amber and make a 1 gallon side batch just to try it. It turned out REALLY freaking good. So good that we did a 7 gallon batch on Saturday. Hopefully it turns out just as good. Won't know for another 2.5 weeks. The guy at work brought me in a "Dawn of the Dank" IPA and it was really good. I have also had the Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA and that was the one that made us decide it was worth trying to brew. It's an 18% ABV IPA. It's REALLY difficult to find though and about $10 for a 12 oz bottle.

We brew everything in my garage. It will make your house smell kinda like when you cook if you do the brewing in your house. But it's not a smell like beer. It smells like you cooked something sweet. The beer smell comes during the fermentation. I have the fermentation going on in the house and I noticed a beery smell in there one day but it was gone after that.

Dogfish 120 is good stuff. I'm also interested in the Jailhouse brew. Never heard of them

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7/26/2017 1:58 PM

IWreckALot wrote:

In an effort not to hijack the other thread I figured I'd start a new thread.

Elektro in response to your keeping it simple post, I don't dislike our current setup, but we're running into an issue with our current setup.

Problem 1 - Our manifold is currently PVC with a bunch of slits cut in it. The pieces are just pressed together and not glued. Can't glue them because we can't clean it if it's glued. The heat has distorted the PVC so it doesn't hold together the greatest. Maybe a few kettle screens would fix my problem? But that only solves part of our problem.

Problem 2 - The mash tun isn't big enough for some of the stouts we are brewing. We fill the entire mash tun with grain (30 lbs for a 5-6 gallon batch) which leaves a very small amount of head room for sparge water.

Another problem we're running against is with the fast fermenters. On Saturday, one of the bolts that hold the fermenter broke. As in, the whole insert broke which left a hole in the fermenter rendering it useless. We had to put it in a bucket to ferment this time so we'll see how we like it. The fermenters take up a lot of room in the fridge. We can only fit the two fermenters which is 14 gallons of beer at the most in there. We are debating converting to buckets so that we can stack them in the fridge and get about 20 gallons fermenting at a time. 20 gallons of beer requires more grain which requires a larger setup. So these are all of the problems with our current setup.


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Problem one. Get rid of the manifold altogether. Either use the screen you pictured or buy a 12" piece of 1/2" braided stainless supply line
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Cut off both fittings, remove the inner hose, crimp one side then hose clamp the proper fitting in the other.

Problem 2. Get a bigger mash tun tongue

BTW, are you fly or batch sparging ?

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7/26/2017 4:00 PM

We are fly sparging. We have a piece of PVC that we try to match the inflow with the outflow while sparging. It's pretty effective really. Once we set it, we don't really have to jack with it too much. We keep a good 3 or 4" of water on top of the grain bed.

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7/26/2017 5:08 PM

I'm not sure you guys are still speaking English at this point. I've made a few batches using the Mr. Beer kit and they turned out decent but it was far more trouble than it's worth with all of the sterilizing. I fear that I lack the chemistry and mathematical skill to venture much further than that little brown keg.

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7/26/2017 5:54 PM

reded wrote:

I'm not sure you guys are still speaking English at this point. I've made a few batches using the Mr. Beer kit and they turned out decent but it was far more trouble than it's worth with all of the sterilizing. I fear that I lack the chemistry and mathematical skill to venture much further than that little brown keg.

Those Mr. Beer kits will turn more people away from brewing than it will convince people to brew. But if you aren't interested in the math and chemistry of it all, you may not like it anyway. I'm not usually interested in math and chemistry mostly because it usually applies to things I'm not interested in. I made the exception for beer. Lol

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7/26/2017 6:27 PM

IWreckALot wrote:

We are fly sparging. We have a piece of PVC that we try to match the inflow with the outflow while sparging. It's pretty effective really. Once we set it, we don't really have to jack with it too much. We keep a good 3 or 4" of water on top of the grain bed.

Sounds like you have a good system going. Try the braided stainless line. I think you'll like it.
Recirculating should be much faster and easier than the manifold

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7/26/2017 6:31 PM

reded wrote:

I'm not sure you guys are still speaking English at this point. I've made a few batches using the Mr. Beer kit and they turned out decent but it was far more trouble than it's worth with all of the sterilizing. I fear that I lack the chemistry and mathematical skill to venture much further than that little brown keg.

IWreckALot wrote:

Those Mr. Beer kits will turn more people away from brewing than it will convince people to brew. But if you aren't interested in the math and chemistry of it all, you may not like it anyway. I'm not usually interested in math and chemistry mostly because it usually applies to things I'm not interested in. I made the exception for beer. Lol

For the most part i agree with you, I know a few guys that caught the bug with the Mr. beer kits and moved on to bigger and better things.

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7/26/2017 6:39 PM

reded wrote:

I'm not sure you guys are still speaking English at this point. I've made a few batches using the Mr. Beer kit and they turned out decent but it was far more trouble than it's worth with all of the sterilizing. I fear that I lack the chemistry and mathematical skill to venture much further than that little brown keg.

IWreckALot wrote:

Those Mr. Beer kits will turn more people away from brewing than it will convince people to brew. But if you aren't interested in the math and chemistry of it all, you may not like it anyway. I'm not usually interested in math and chemistry mostly because it usually applies to things I'm not interested in. I made the exception for beer. Lol

Jeff K wrote:

For the most part i agree with you, I know a few guys that caught the bug with the Mr. beer kits and moved on to bigger and better things.

Baby steps. It's all good.

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7/26/2017 7:54 PM

IWreckALot wrote:

Those Mr. Beer kits will turn more people away from brewing than it will convince people to brew. But if you aren't interested in the math and chemistry of it all, you may not like it anyway. I'm not usually interested in math and chemistry mostly because it usually applies to things I'm not interested in. I made the exception for beer. Lol

Jeff K wrote:

For the most part i agree with you, I know a few guys that caught the bug with the Mr. beer kits and moved on to bigger and better things.

borg wrote:

Baby steps. It's all good.

I started out with Mr. Beer, they were okay, but you couldn't get a good one following their timeline. Eventually I started adding steeping grains and different yeast to Mr. Beer recipes and actually made some good ones. Then I switched to 5 gallon all-grain batches.

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7/26/2017 8:02 PM

IWreckALot wrote:

In an effort not to hijack the other thread I figured I'd start a new thread.

Elektro in response to your keeping it simple post, I don't dislike our current setup, but we're running into an issue with our current setup.

Problem 1 - Our manifold is currently PVC with a bunch of slits cut in it. The pieces are just pressed together and not glued. Can't glue them because we can't clean it if it's glued. The heat has distorted the PVC so it doesn't hold together the greatest. Maybe a few kettle screens would fix my problem? But that only solves part of our problem.

Problem 2 - The mash tun isn't big enough for some of the stouts we are brewing. We fill the entire mash tun with grain (30 lbs for a 5-6 gallon batch) which leaves a very small amount of head room for sparge water.

Another problem we're running against is with the fast fermenters. On Saturday, one of the bolts that hold the fermenter broke. As in, the whole insert broke which left a hole in the fermenter rendering it useless. We had to put it in a bucket to ferment this time so we'll see how we like it. The fermenters take up a lot of room in the fridge. We can only fit the two fermenters which is 14 gallons of beer at the most in there. We are debating converting to buckets so that we can stack them in the fridge and get about 20 gallons fermenting at a time. 20 gallons of beer requires more grain which requires a larger setup. So these are all of the problems with our current setup.


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Gotcha. Have you thought about making a manifold out of copper? It would withstand the heat better.

I have the same problem with mashtun size. I am going to brew up an Oskar Blues Ten Fiddy clone soon that might be pushing it. Can you get a bigger cooler?

I had problems with the next of the collection ball breaking on my fast fermenters. I think they were the very first product runs.

I don't brew too many lagers and my basement is always perfect ales so I don't really have issues with temp control.

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7/26/2017 8:12 PM

Here is a pic of my setup towards the end of a brew day. I use three pumps mainly so I don't have to worry about switching hoses and stuff. A little overkill, but works for me. The kettle on the right has a stainless HERMS coil. My kettle sounds are also setup to accept a heater element, I just haven't gotten around to building a control panel yet.

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7/26/2017 8:19 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/26/2017 8:25 PM

IWreckALot wrote:

Hey Newmann, where do you get the Jailhouse Brewing beers? I haven't seen those up here.

Atlanta based. Need to find you a connection. Tydog will drive to my house to sleep next to the 78 RC500. What do you have to offer? Plus, he always leaves with a carload...or truckload of shit while I'm cleaning out the garage. laughing

He is a porter and stout aficionado and a scotch whore. He has his limits though. I dumped some of my beer of the month rejects off on him once and I think the porter brewed with tobacco may have made him rethink his choices in life. LOL.

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7/26/2017 8:21 PM

They just opened this place about an hour away from me. Went there last weekend. Only cafe of theirs in the U.S.

About an hour and half from Budds Creek.

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7/27/2017 5:48 AM

Electro21 wrote:

Gotcha. Have you thought about making a manifold out of copper? It would withstand the heat better.

I have the same problem with mashtun size. I am going to brew up an Oskar Blues Ten Fiddy clone soon that might be pushing it. Can you get a bigger cooler?

I had problems with the next of the collection ball breaking on my fast fermenters. I think they were the very first product runs.

I don't brew too many lagers and my basement is always perfect ales so I don't really have issues with temp control.

We were debating on getting a bigger cooler and a copper manifold and that would solve some of our problems for now.

Part of our interest in the HERMS system is to control the temperatures throughout the brew. Not sure if you've looked into the alpha and beta amylase protein extraction. But you extract the beta amylase first at a temp of 145ish and then the alpha is extracted at around 158. To be honest, I have no clue what the end result on flavor is, if any. But my buddy is a pharmacist and he's interested in this down to the molecular level. And it's got my curiosity peaked to see how good we can make our beer. This is all one big science experiment in our minds so we're just having fun with it.

Here is the section of the how to brew book that talks about converting alpha and beta amylase.

http://howtobrew.com/book/section-3/how-the-mash-works/the-starch-conversion-saccharification-rest

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7/27/2017 5:51 AM

newmann wrote:

Atlanta based. Need to find you a connection. Tydog will drive to my house to sleep next to the 78 RC500. What do you have to offer? Plus, he always leaves with a carload...or truckload of shit while I'm cleaning out the garage. laughing

He is a porter and stout aficionado and a scotch whore. He has his limits though. I dumped some of my beer of the month rejects off on him once and I think the porter brewed with tobacco may have made him rethink his choices in life. LOL.

Well I don't have a vintage bike collection so I guess I have nothing to offer. Maybe he can bring you a couple extra next time he comes and I can swap a couple of Uncle Jacob's stout in exchange for a couple of the Jailhouse stouts.

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7/27/2017 11:54 AM

IWreckALot wrote:

In an effort not to hijack the other thread I figured I'd start a new thread.

Elektro in response to your keeping it simple post, I don't dislike our current setup, but we're running into an issue with our current setup.

Problem 1 - Our manifold is currently PVC with a bunch of slits cut in it. The pieces are just pressed together and not glued. Can't glue them because we can't clean it if it's glued. The heat has distorted the PVC so it doesn't hold together the greatest. Maybe a few kettle screens would fix my problem? But that only solves part of our problem.

Problem 2 - The mash tun isn't big enough for some of the stouts we are brewing. We fill the entire mash tun with grain (30 lbs for a 5-6 gallon batch) which leaves a very small amount of head room for sparge water.

Another problem we're running against is with the fast fermenters. On Saturday, one of the bolts that hold the fermenter broke. As in, the whole insert broke which left a hole in the fermenter rendering it useless. We had to put it in a bucket to ferment this time so we'll see how we like it. The fermenters take up a lot of room in the fridge. We can only fit the two fermenters which is 14 gallons of beer at the most in there. We are debating converting to buckets so that we can stack them in the fridge and get about 20 gallons fermenting at a time. 20 gallons of beer requires more grain which requires a larger setup. So these are all of the problems with our current setup.


Photo

[LINK TO IMAGE]

Electro21 wrote:

Gotcha. Have you thought about making a manifold out of copper? It would withstand the heat better.

I have the same problem with mashtun size. I am going to brew up an Oskar Blues Ten Fiddy clone soon that might be pushing it. Can you get a bigger cooler?

I had problems with the next of the collection ball breaking on my fast fermenters. I think they were the very first product runs.

I don't brew too many lagers and my basement is always perfect ales so I don't really have issues with temp control.

IWreckALot wrote:

We were debating on getting a bigger cooler and a copper manifold and that would solve some of our problems for now.

Part of our interest in the HERMS system is to control the temperatures throughout the brew. Not sure if you've looked into the alpha and beta amylase protein extraction. But you extract the beta amylase first at a temp of 145ish and then the alpha is extracted at around 158. To be honest, I have no clue what the end result on flavor is, if any. But my buddy is a pharmacist and he's interested in this down to the molecular level. And it's got my curiosity peaked to see how good we can make our beer. This is all one big science experiment in our minds so we're just having fun with it.

Here is the section of the how to brew book that talks about converting alpha and beta amylase.

http://howtobrew.com/book/section-3/how-the-mash-works/the-starch-conversion-saccharification-rest

Yeah, I use a HERMS setup as well and step mash. I honestly can't ever tell a difference though. Have tried entering competitions? Its fun and nice to get actual feedback. Friends never give good feedback you can use.

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