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Old 11-23-2012, 08:37 PM   #1
MiddleEastBrewer
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Default Critique the Process Start to Finish

Hello all, I have been making my own brew for quite sometime now. I have advanced the equipment to the point of making things pretty straight forward and easy for cleaning. Although when I was using kits I tried everything from American Lights to Dubbels to Barley wines and beyond. Since most people around me cannot tell the difference (believe it or not) I am just trying to make a generic good tasting beer. My fermentation tank is about 380 litres (just shy of 400 gallons). I am interested in a critique of the process by people using similar equipment and methods.

I am am not looking to make anything particularly exotic. Just plain good tasting beer.

Ingredients:
I have access to:
Hops (Cascade, Northern, Amerilo)
Extract, generally I use light DME;
Yeast Safale 4 /5

Most fortunate, I have access to a machine shop and small fabrication facility

I had a 380 liter rectangular fermentor made to fit into a large chest freezer ( converted with a ranco controller to be a refrigerator), The bottom third on each side has a 30 degree slope to the middle. Trub usually goes to the middle. ** I do not reuse yeast as I wait months between brews. - I would like to if the process was simple. There is a 12 " protlight in the top for clean out.

My process:

Hand clean fermenter
Fill to top with iodine sanitizer for 30 minutes.
Pump out iodine with sterile CO2..iodine water comes out through dip tube
Place the fermenter into the refridgerator
Crank up the 100 liter kettle full to the brim
When almost boiling, run the hot water through the plumbing (wort pump, counter cooler and silicone line that goes to the fermenter.Dump the first 2 gallons of hot water out , so as to lower the kettle level.
Than recycle the cooling loop back into the top of the kettle (Effectively sterilizing the cooling loop and line to the fermenter.

Add 1 hour hops (between 2-4 oz per 5 gallons)
Put the lid on the kettle and turn on the mixer and start adding the DME
@40 minutes I ad whirlfloc
@50 minutes add flavor hops
@59 minutes I add aroma hops

Crash cool the kettle contents by running a contercooler and returning the line to the top of the kettle (at an angle to create a swirl)

I first use swimming pool water (at about 75 degrees) then when the wort is at about 100 degrees I use and ice bath.
I can get the temp from 212 to 70 in about 25 minutes.

Than I turn on the inline oxygen and start sending the wort to the fermentation tank (the whole tank and freezer are on wheels) There are two oxygen injectors with .5 micro stones. The wort then travels about 10 ' up the side of the freezer/fermenter into a static mixer (vertically mounted ) then down the dip tube in the bottom of the tank.

When the tank is full (about 4 boils =350 liters) I make sure the temp is around 64 degrees and I pitch the yeast (18 packs).

I have an in tank temp sensor and inevitably the freezer compressor cannot maintain temp...(if it goes over 70 its going to hit 80) so as it approaches 68 I through bags of ice on top of the stainless stank... Than keep the temp under 67.

After about 10 days, significant CO2 production has stopped, I open the hatch and introduce 12 -14 oz of hops pellets on to the surface (higher alpha acid like Amarillo). I then run co2 into the tank through the an new, clean sterile vent line with the hatch a little loose for 5 minutes to purge the O2.

I wait about 4 more days, add bentonite, then cold crash for 2 days down to 32F.

Then I take the kegs:
Rewash them
Fill them with water and Iodine
Close them and let them sit for 30 minutes then , flip them upside down for another 30 minutes.
Then connect the OUT of one tank to the OUT of a second full tank
Connect the IN of the second tank to the out of a third tank.
(Essentially running the sterilizer through the dip tubes in a daisy chain. )
What is left are sterilized kegs with CO2 in them.

Then I put a CO2 tank on the fermenter and bleed co2 at 1 psi into the fermenter and I use the dip tube and a diaphragm pump / filter set up to fill the kegs.

I charge them at 60 psi (in about 3" of headroom in the keg - basically to set the keg seals) then let the kegs sit at about 72 F for a week (to condition a little)

Then I put the kegs in the freezer (I have removed the fermenter to make space) Start carbonating at 40 psi one day, 25 psi 1 day , then store them for final carbonation when installed on the 3 head tap. After about 2-3 days I remove 1 cup from each to take the sediment out.

That is about it. The beer comes out very clean. I have experimented down to a .1 micron filter....pale as hell and gave head worse then my high school gf. So now I stick to 1 micron.

Any recommendations are appreciated.

imag0022.jpg   imag0011.jpg   imag0015.jpg   p1000334.jpg   p1000329.jpg  

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Old 11-23-2012, 08:44 PM   #2
Phunhog
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Looks great but I thought any and all alcohol was strictly illegal in Saudi?

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Old 11-25-2012, 03:45 AM   #3
MiddleEastBrewer
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I have no idea what your talking about.....however, for the sake of argument.
...IF beer in Saudi costs 250 USD a case....and only after sitting in a 145 F container for 3 months....
...and IF I enjoy my beer while watching Monday Night Football (thanks to Slingbox)
...it would stand to reason either A) Give up beer (and hitting on less than attractive but available coworkers after post game....) or B) Learn to brew and get lucky with less than attractive coworkers before, during and after post game.

I had some quick questions if you don't mind?

Is it a problem to have a square fermenter? I can achieve perfect temp control (senors is in the tank)

Is Safeale 5 at 64F going to take significantly longer than 2 weeks? (I oxygenate my wort)

Does pumping through a diaphragm pump damage the beer?

As I have to carbonate 12-16 kegs at a go, is it wrong to pressurize them at 60+ PSI...(I have it down to a schedule that I can end up with beer at 10 PSI in 2 days) but does high pressure carbonation damage beer?

After 14 days and very little off-gassing, I toss in pellets to dry hop, then I let the fermenter climb 10F from 65 to 75. After 2 days at 75F, I use the Super Kleer, shake the fermenter and crash cool to 32 F. I keg 3 days later.

Any suggestions or recommendations? Thank you

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Old 11-25-2012, 01:00 PM   #4
tagz
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Fascinating set-up. It seems like you have a good handle on the process. It seems like its just a matter of fine tuning your system based on the equipment. The fermentation temps seem a difficult issue given the volume. Where do you place your probe? You might want to look at getting a thermowell installed somewhere between the center and edge of the tank. The ice bags may work for now but long term you might want a more consistent control.

Another consideration is the pressure created from the volume of liquid might allow you to ferment a bit higher without producing off flavors. Although your tank seems wide ands allow so you might not get that benefit.

The only other thing you might want t watch is that 60 psi charge. Just make sure they are rated to that pressure. Most brewers around here force carb at 30 for 24 to 36 hours and then drop to serving for another 4-5 days. If your tanks can handle it, the only downside would be that you might experience a carbonic bite for a time. More gradual crabbing would address that.

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Old 11-25-2012, 01:04 PM   #5
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Oh and don't get your hands chopped off.

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