HOMEBREW Digest #5903 Mon 27 February 2012

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  Re: Kegging 5.5 gal in 7.25 keg (Joe Walts)
  Electric MT ("Eric \"Rick\" Theiner")
  Re: Looking for MT heating solution (Mike Schwartz)
  Joe Starzyk keg filling ("Dave Burley")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2012 23:35:49 -0600 From: Joe Walts <jwalts at gmail.com> Subject: Re: Kegging 5.5 gal in 7.25 keg Joe, You should calculate your priming sugar under the assumption that you'll have 7.25 gallons of beer. It's a valid method because CO2 in the headspace will end up in equilibrium with CO2 in the beer. In other words, you'll essentially need to carbonate both the beer and the headspace to the same level of carbonation. If you take the "initial carbonation" of the headspace into account (i.e. whether or not a keg is purged with CO2), the margin of error will be smaller than what you'll be able to address with your sugar scale. This applies to bottle conditioning as well. If you expect to need 48 bottles for a given batch, you should base your priming sugar on the total volume of 48 bottles instead of the beer volume going into those bottles. For a 5-gallon batch, a 5-gallon keg has less headspace than 53-54 bottles. Plus, kegs are often purged with CO2 and bottles usually aren't. Those two factors are probably why homebrewing literature often recommends using less priming sugar for kegging than bottling. Another Joe Madison, WI Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 07:38:59 -0500 From: "Eric \"Rick\" Theiner" <rick at ecologiccleansers.com> Subject: Electric MT Mike is looking for an electric method to heat his mash tun, but isn't too sure about using a recirculating method... That's a tough one because although I can say for certain, I think that having your grain in direct contact with the element is a bad idea. So you can either put in a high false bottom and have a lot of dead space under your mash (and much higher demand for mashing), or your can build a tube to go around the element. The latter option may be more difficult from a build perspective, but I like it from an efficiency of space point of view. Now the question is how to go about it; perhaps a copper tube (okay, that's going to be expensive) around it with very tight slits to allow liquid to flow through it, but not the mash. Another option would be to put something in the tube like glycol and then seal it, although I would be worried about pressure buildup. That second is not just a crazy idea; I can't remember where I came across it before, but it's something I've heard of before... Honestly, although I know you're thinking you don't want to take this approach, I think an electric RIMS tube might actually be the best solution. There are plans out there for DIY tubes that aren't too bad in terms of cost. And although polymers isn't my area, it seems like there should be something on the market now that can handle the high heat of the RIMS unit and maybe that would be more cost effective (something like PEX?). Anyway, my early morning thoughts. Incidentally, I'm all electric, too, and for my own system I was taking the HERMS approach for years but was finally talked into RIMS by John at Stout Tanks (not affiliated, etc.) and although I still haven't gotten my new design up and running (much to the chagrin of my brew-day buddies), it's going to be a lot easier to clean and deal with than my previous generation systems. Check out the picture and I think you'll see what I mean about that-- he built in easy disassembly. I'm just saying it might give you some ideas. http://conical-fermenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/RIMS-Module.jpg Regardless, let us know what you end up doing! Rick Theiner Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 09:23:13 -0600 From: Mike Schwartz <mjs at seadogboats.com> Subject: Re: Looking for MT heating solution Mike Eyre was looking for a mash tun heating solution: "I've pondered HERMS, but the cost of copper and the slower ramp times, and addition cleaning of said HERMS tubes is sorta putting me off. I'm also familiar with the newfangled RIMS tube ideas, but.. wow, that much SS for the tubes is darned expensive! Is there anything you all are using that I'm missing?" I started with an electric RIMS, later switching to a HERMS. With either I could get a temperature rise of 1 degree F/minute which I always thought was fine. The electric RIMS was just a water heater element in a pipe that I use a pump to recirc wort through. That was all controlled with a digital temp controller. Cost overall was very minimal except the controller but that was just taken from my fermenter. The HERMS was 20 feet of 3/8" ID copper tube in the HLT. It worked great and the only cleaning was flushing with clean water then running cleaning solution through it, all done while cleaning the pump and other equipment so no big deal. The only drawbacks are the HLT temp has to be adjusted so it can interfere with making a second batch and if you're not careful you can compact your mash bed. The alternative is to put the coil in the mash tun and pump hot water through it which eliminates the issue of stuck mash but requires stirring. The 20' of copper doesn't cost that much (less than a controller) and you don't need more because of the low flow rates. These days I mostly add 200F + water for temperature rises. Just start with a thick mash and thin it as you go. The calculations for the water additions are easy. Good luck with whatever your choice! Mike Schwartz Beer Barons of Milwaukee beerbarons.org worldofbeerfestival.com Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 22:05:58 -0500 From: "Dave Burley" <Dave Burley at charter.net> Subject: Joe Starzyk keg filling Joe, I know it is common practice to blow out a keg with a few volumes of CO2 and then fill the keg. Thinking being you'll just push out the air with the CO2 "since it is heavier than air" I've tasted those beers and they are always disappointing. Sorry but it doesn't work that way. Oxygen in air and CO2 are perfect gases at atmospheric pressures and obey those gas laws. Such as mixing instantaneously with other gases. As you blow in CO2 you have an excellent mixing chamber. So to get down to about 1% of the oxygen in air with this method, you will need 100 exchanges or about 500 galllons of CO2 gas. That's a lot of gas and possibly more than you have in a full bottle of CO2. So what to do? There is an easy way to solve this problem. Use water to flush the air out of the keg and then push the water out with CO2. This will guarantee you have an oxygen free keg to fill to whatever level you desire. 5 gallons in 7.5 gallons s no problem. Fill the keg by having a hose reach to the bottom and have the top of the keg mostly closed with the lid. I have done this at least hundreds of times and the beer maintains its clean non-oxygenated taste. If you are going to naturally condition, you will want to use non-chlorinated water for the flush. You can buy bottles of this at a supernarket or set up to remove the chlorine from your tap water. Keep on Brewin' Dave Burley Return to table of contents
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