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Old 04-01-2011, 12:53 PM   #1
Perplexy
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Default Military Homebrewer Needing Advice

Hello homebrewers. I'm an Air Force member and have recently moved to the island of Guam. The warm climate initially turned off to the idea of brewing, but courtesy of this forum, I have found the means, which consist of a water bath, t-shirt and dedicated fan to drop the temps of the fermentation bucket/ carboy.

My limited homebrew background consists of 5 extract kits. These kits included grains, malt extract and hop pellets. I started doing 5 gallon boils on the 3rd batch and my 5th batch ended up going south with some sort of infection.

I am looking to buy some supplies to get me started again. Williams brewing was recommended and I was curious as to what kind of yeast I should purchase with having it shipped to a warmer climate. When I had access to a local store I used White Labs liquid yeast. I know this is not an option with buying a kit to ship.

My pieced together kit was last used in June 2010 and, as I said before, the last batch was infected. No sanitation was accomplished after the infected batch, just a soap/ water rinse of the fermentation bucket and secondary carboy. Afterwards, everything was put in storage for the move. Would I be better off buying new brewing equipment? Would it be possible to sanitize the bejesus out of the last used materials?

I’d greatly appreciate any input. If there are any Guam homebrewers out there, I’m looking for some friends!

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Old 04-01-2011, 01:59 PM   #2
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I just bought the aeration wand from Williams, which was reasonably priced, but seems like everything else they offer is fairly expensive when compared to Mid-West Supply, Northern Brewer or Rebel Brewer (I've bought from all).

Warm fermentation is ideal for Belgian yeast, so you might consider doing a Belgian ale if you enjoy them.

I certainly prefer liquid yeast over dry, if only because of the variety available. However dry yeast is certainly fine provided you hydrate it beforehand. If you do opt for liquid yeast be sure to request a ice pack be included in the shipment.

I've not had issues with infection, so I may not be the best person to advise on whether to replace buckets or not, however I think you will find that the generally opinion on these boards is that plastic fermentation vessels tend to get small scratches that can sometimes harbor infections and can be difficult to sanitize, thus some replace their buckets periodically. For this reason I generally prefer glass fermentation vessels, but do use both plastic and glass. I highly recommend using a combination of Five Star's PBW for cleaning gunk and then Starsan to sanitize, its not failed me yet.

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:02 PM   #3
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I'll chime in on yeast.

Any yeast will take a beating being shipped to Guam. I would recommend getting several packs of dry yeast, like US-05. I'm thinking there's a chance the yeast would be killed in transit, or damaged anyway, so you might want extra yeast to pitch.

Then I would recommend rinsing the yeast and reusing it for the next batches from there on out. There's a great sticky in the yeast section about how to do this.

Good luck!

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:11 PM   #4
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I'll second the dry yeast recommendation and yeast washing to help keep some on hand. US-05 (Chico) is good and clean if you can keep the temps lower, S-04 (Whitbread) is an English Strain that provides a bit more character but handles warmer temps a bit better in my experience.

As for your equipment, if it's plastic and it had an infection I'd toss it, not worth the time/headache. Plastic is cheap. If it's glass or stainless then you can clean/sanitize it with minimal worry.

Cheers!

P.S. Check out "The G Spot" while you're in Guam, good times!

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Old 04-01-2011, 05:15 PM   #5
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+1 on ordering dry yeast if it is being shipped to Guam. I think the chances of liquid yeast making the journey are minimal.

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Old 04-01-2011, 05:26 PM   #6
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Was the batch infected in the fermenter or the bottles (assuming you bottle)? If you had an infection I would recommend you figure out how it happened so you do not have a repeat! Oxycean free and very hot water, soak for 1 hour - overnight and then sanitize!!!!

If your buckets are not scratched then you should be able to clean with oxyclean free and then sanitize with iodophor or starsan! Bleach works but you really have to rinse well, very well!!

But of course if you can afford it, just buy new!!

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress!

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Old 04-01-2011, 05:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyzazz View Post
P.S. Check out "The G Spot" while you're in Guam, good times!
Also, club USA by the Marriott is good too

I spent quite a bit of time in Guam from 2003-2005 over 2 deployments(USN).

Back on track, dry yeast is good. I use it in most of my beers unless I am going for a very specific flavor profile, but just for good beer on hand a couple of packs of S-05 and Nottingham will keep you stocked for whatever you decide to do. I would also order a few packs of champagne yeast and Montrachet in case you feel like an apfelwein or something experimental.

Guam will also be a great place to try and harvest some wild yeast. Search the lambic part of this forum for instructions, also I would think that some of the tropical fruit out there would make some awesome ingredients to your beers.

Have fun and experiment. Build yourself a fermentation cabinet or get a large cooler from the PX and make a swamp cooler or two to ferment in. You will make a ton of friends out there quick as good beer is hard to come by from what I remember.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:34 PM   #8
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Have you cheked out More Beer? I would think shipping would be faster to Guam since they are on the West coast. It might be possible to get liquid yeast if it shipped fast enough.

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Old 04-01-2011, 05:53 PM   #9
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After an infection, I'd say make sure you soak everything in a dilute bleach solution. You will have to rinse like crazy, but make certain you get everywhere to kill off the infection. Nothing is worse, to me, than spending time and energy to make a great beer only to have a persistant infection ruin it.

After rinsing all the bleach afterwards, I'd still use a no-rinse sanitizer like Idaphor or StarSan like you normally would.

Also, you can go with the liquid route in cold packs, maybe, but have a dry backup. Also, if you do use the liquid and find that the ice packs it ships with have melted, get that starter going early to make certain the yeast is viable.
------
Cleaning Regimen after infection:
1) Replace all vinyl tubing
2) Disassemble all post boil equiptment
3) Oxyclean and scrub everything everywhere
4) 24 hour Oxy soak, and more scrubbing
5) Rinse and 24 hour Bleach soak
6) Rinse
7) Normal no-rinse sanitation

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Old 04-01-2011, 06:23 PM   #10
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How's the G Spot these days???

I'd go get friendly with the guys that fly rotators from Guam to the west coast of the states. Either fly an out and back or throw them some homebrew to run out and get you some liquid yeast (for the beers you can't do with dry yeast). I'd certainly get the supplies you need to wash/rinse yeast and get good at it.

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