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Old 02-15-2006, 12:48 PM   #1
cweston
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Default Your best "secret" techniques?

I'm still a beginner, so I haven't amassed much first-hand experience.

Here's a great tip that was passed on to me for bottling...

Use the dishwasher as a drying rack. The little things that stick up are perfect for holding a bottle inverted. I can fit about 35-40 bottles on the bottom rack, the rest on the top (but I can't close the top rack when I do that.)

Then use the open door of the dishwasher as a platform to fill bottles: put the beer on the counter and you've got the gravity you need to siphon or run it out a spigot in your priming bucket.

The bottles are right there where you need them, and any spillage is easily contained and cleaned up.

Others?

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Old 02-15-2006, 01:09 PM   #2
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Use a wallpaper tray (see the pic below) from the hardware store to hold your racking cane, hoses, Auto-Spihon, airlocks, etc., and sanitizing solution when you are racking or bottling. Less solution to use and less waste.

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Old 02-15-2006, 01:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoobarb
Use a wallpaper tray (see the pic below) from the hardware store to hold your racking cane, hoses, Auto-Spihon, airlocks, etc., and sanitizing solution when you are racking or bottling. Less solution to use and less waste.
Brilliant! I've been using a shallow pan, but I can't get my thief submerged all the way. Plus, I have to use a lot of water/iodophor in it. I'm gonna pick one up!

In the warm weather, you can coil up a section of your garden hose in a bucket or cooler filled with ice water for a makeshift pre-chiller. Works well with either an immersion chiller or CFC.
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Old 02-15-2006, 01:38 PM   #4
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- Brew two batches at once. One mess to clean up and less than 1 1/2 the time of doing a single batch.

- Keep a 5 gallon bucket of idophor solution in the brewing area. Anything can be disinfected immediately. Stop using bleach.

- If you don't have an immersion chiller, buy one - NOW.

- Start saving for a propane cooker, you're wife will thank you.

- If you don't have an auto siphon, buy one - NOW.

- Start planning and saving for a keg system in the future, again she'll thank you - especially if she's ever helped wash bottles.

- Location, location location... Know the best, constant-temperature locations in your house for primary, secondary, and cold conditioning. I seems that most of the "My fermentation's gone awry!!!" posts are temperature related.


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Old 02-15-2006, 02:10 PM   #5
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Great thread, if I do say so myself...

About keg systems: is there an easy way to keep the tap(s) under lock and key, for households with teenagers?

I trust my kids and all, and we're pretty "European" in our attitudes about moderate alcohol consumption, but I'm not stupid: I really don't want my teenagers and their friends hanging out in close proximity to an open bar.

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Old 02-15-2006, 02:20 PM   #6
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Most brewstores that deal with kegging sell a special padlock that goes on the tap - they're not cheap ($25.00 or more).

Maybe a lock on the refrigerator and an in-line ball valve between the keg and the tap??? Just a thought....


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Old 02-15-2006, 02:34 PM   #7
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I cut down my prep time on brew day by doing all of my sanitizing while my boil is going on. No need to have that carboy, airlock, hoses, funnels, etc fully ready to go before you even have your water in the kettle!

I do my scrubbing of gear during the grain steep, rinse and sanitize with Iodophor during the boil, and let it all drip dry while I chill the wort.

I also am a huge fan of the rubber carboy caps. Much cheaper than an autosiphon, very effective, and capable of serving multiple purposes (blow-off tube holder, airlock holder, racking cane holder, and siphon starter). They are also a good way to seal off and protect a clean carboy that you won't be using for a while.

One other thing I *used* to do was chill my wort with big blocks of ice. I froze bottled water, cut off the plastic, and dropped the ice into my hot wort to chill it. Wort cooled in jus a few minutes, and faster than an immersion chiller. I stopped doing this because it actually took more gear (I had to chill the wort in my bottling bucket before going into the carboy, which meant I had more stuff to clean and sanitize on brew-day.)

Is any of this 'secrect'.... I doubt it, but these are some money and time saving things I like a lot.

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Old 02-15-2006, 02:54 PM   #8
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Remove the trub by whirpooling and sedimentation:

Once the flame is off and the steeping of hops is done, chill your wort with a wort chiller or ice. When it has cooled down give it a good spin with your spoon (whirpooling) . Then cover an let sit for 20-30 min. This is when I start sanitizing my fermentation equipment. Once the time is up, all the hot break, hops and most of the cold break has settled to the bottom and you can siphon almost clear wort into your primary. No need to use a funnel and no need to use a screen either.

This was the single most important change to my brewing to reduce the stess, since the hops and hot break always clogged up the screen in my funnel.

Kai

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Old 02-15-2006, 03:19 PM   #9
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Old 02-15-2006, 04:18 PM   #10
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A couple more I thought of:

1. When doing all-grain with a picnic cooler mash tun, 'prime' your tun with hot water. I boil about a gallon, dump it in and close the lid. Drain it after about a half hour. Really helps you hit & hold your mash temp, especially in cold weather. One time last month I forgot this step and really missed my target temp.!

2. Old nylon pantyhose work well as disposable hop bags.

3. Keep very good notes as you brew. You won't remember what you did when you brew the same thing this time next year.

4. Don't change a method just for the sake of change. If your method has been working perfectly fine for you, stick with it unless you can see a good reason for the change.

5. Use clear page protectors (see below) to hold your recipe/notes while brewing. How many times have you gotten them wet or wort splattered and then watched the printing bleed?

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