Annoying things in brewing and their solutions.

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PistolPatch
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Annoying things in brewing and their solutions.

Post by PistolPatch » 7 years ago

[I wrote a post here a few weeks back which hashie thought should have its own thread. Until now though I couldn't work out how to title and word it. I hope I have got it somewhat right hashie. Here you go :)...]

I often think there is not enough talk on the annoying, complex or time-consuming aspects of brewing. We often concentrate on unimportant things such as increasing efficiency by 1% instead of looking at the things that really cost us like poor equipment or the labour-intensive activities such as cleaning, sanitisation and liquid transfers.

BIAB is a simple solution, with no lack in quality, to all-grain brewing (it reduces the vessels from three to one.) It's "extract efficiency" is somewhere between batch and fly-sparging. In other words, it is excellent. Surely we can do the same in other areas of brewing?

So, what things in brewing cost you time or frustrate you?

To get the ball rolling, I am going to do another two posts immediately after this* that show some clever solutions I stumbled across in the last week to some common problems.

I have a heap of things I don't have an answer to (and a few others I do) but I'll post them later if the thread develops okay.

Cheers,
PP

*Excuse the consecutive posts but on this forum, you can change the subject of your post and I think this makes it easier for others to search on. To do this, once you have posted, click on edit and then change the subject title. Hope no one minds me doing this.
Last edited by PistolPatch on 30 Jul 2010, 21:15, edited 9 times in total.
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Cleaning Kegs and Carboys/Fermenters

Post by PistolPatch » 7 years ago

Cleaning Kegs and Carboys/Fermenters

Thanks to jmbingham for providing a link here recently that lead me to Doc & Tasty-Style’s Keg Cleaner.

Cleaning kegs etc is annoying but I think the above is a pretty good solution.

Thanks for the link jb
Last edited by PistolPatch on 30 Jul 2010, 21:16, edited 7 times in total.
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Lowering Evaporation Rates

Post by PistolPatch » 7 years ago

Lowering Evaporation Rates

Whilst this is not so much an annoying problem, ThirstyBoy mentioned in his post here what I think is a clever solution.

Kettles with a large surface area will often have huge evaporation rates. A lot of people try and reduce the evaporation rate through simmering their boil or partly covering their kettle with a lid. Both these methods are largely unsuccessful. A simmer will not fulfil one of the major purposes of the boil, that being to boil off certain volatiles that produce off-flavours. Partly covering the kettle with a lid does not reduce the surface area of the boiling wort so little is gained in doing this.

ThirstyBoy's solution is to float something in the kettle which needs to be food-safe at boiling temperatures. (I would suggest a stainless steel bowl.) I hadn’t heard of this before but it is a very nice solution to the common problem of high evaporation rates in pots.
Last edited by PistolPatch on 30 Jul 2010, 21:17, edited 8 times in total.
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Post by EoinMag » 7 years ago

Star san is my main "tip". I made some up a few months back with distilled water that I had to buy, but I keep it in cubes and fill it into my gorilla buckets when I am bottling, put it back in the cube when finished and then just check the pH and adjust if needed the next time. It'll last indefinitely this way theoretically, but I think I'll change it maybe in a few months.
It's made bottling so much easier than previously, out of star san, onto the bottling tree then off I go, easy as pie.
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Post by hashie » 7 years ago

Cleaning kegs is a PITA for me. I'm starting to get beer stone build up and my arm doesn't fit to reach in and clean it. I'm going to get some PBW and some Starsan and give these a go, as they say they will clean and sanitise. Building/buying a keg cleaner could be an option in the future. I'd probably build one to reduce costs, but that would depend on finding a pond pump with enough grunt at a good price. For now, I can get my skinny Teenage son to stick his arm inside my kegs to clean them.

As for boil off/evaporation, I don't see it as a problem. Once your evap. rate is known, one simply has to adjust the initial amount of water used to arrive at your desired final volume. That's assuming you have a big enough pot/kettle.
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Post by PistolPatch » 7 years ago

EoinMag: I'm with you on the Starsan Eoin. Good stuff!

hashie: I'm with you too on the evap rates hashie. Some people highly recommend a certain percentage evaporation figure but I have never seen a really good reason why. This means a lot of new brewers strive for the evaporation figure instead of striving for a rolling boil which should be the primary purpose. Just for fun though I might muck around with some evaporation experiments as you never see any good figures on this.
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Post by BobBrews » 7 years ago

Starsan and Evaporation.

I use Starsan and am very happy with it. I don't "Fear the Foam" but I do rotate it with other (One step) type sanitizers. I can see bugs growing resistant to sanitizers. I had a cube go bad on me recently and I can't say if it was my sloppy sanitizing or a weak solution. I would blame (ME) first. I am going to brew a "Black IPA" today and I don't want a repeat of a wasted brew day. I may get wasted but not my beer!

As to evaporation I maintain a very vigorous boil. As long as I do it the same each and every time I see it as a none issue. If I lived in a desert with low humidity and high water costs I may act differently. My problem in brewing is forgetting an ingredient or Irish moss. I know I should not drink while brewing but that is not going to happen. I have a check list but somehow I still manage to miss my times or temperatures anyway. Maybe on brew day I should buy a six-pack of "Dudwieser" so that I am not tempted to drink while brewing?
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Post by EoinMag » 7 years ago

BobBrews wrote:Starsan and Evaporation.

I use Starsan and am very happy with it. I don't "Fear the Foam" but I do rotate it with other (One step) type sanitizers. I can see bugs growing resistant to sanitizers. I had a cube go bad on me recently and I can't say if it was my sloppy sanitizing or a weak solution. I would blame (ME) first. I am going to brew a "Black IPA" today and I don't want a repeat of a wasted brew day. I may get wasted but not my beer!

As to evaporation I maintain a very vigorous boil. As long as I do it the same each and every time I see it as a none issue. If I lived in a desert with low humidity and high water costs I may act differently. My problem in brewing is forgetting an ingredient or Irish moss. I know I should not drink while brewing but that is not going to happen. I have a check list but somehow I still manage to miss my times or temperatures anyway. Maybe on brew day I should buy a six-pack of "Dudwieser" so that I am not tempted to drink while brewing?
I don't think it's very likely that the type of bug you're talking about here will ever get resistant to an acid at pH 3, but no harm in mixing up the sanitisers.
Last edited by EoinMag on 31 Jul 2010, 22:24, edited 6 times in total.
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