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  1. shafferpilot

    Sparging times

    time is not the issue with batch sparging... though I prefer to add my sparge water, stir, and wait 5-10 minutes before vorlaufing and draining.
  2. shafferpilot

    Spoiled batch?

    learning is fun, isn't it! Check one each week by putting it in the fridge to chill for a day. If a test beer shows any signs of over-carbing, chill them all and keep them chilled to halt fermentation; and when you open one... do it over the sink ;)
  3. shafferpilot

    Spoiled batch?

    i think you just made some bombs... 1.020 is WAY too high for that beer to have been finished. put bottles in tubs for storage so if they start popping, you don't have a huge mess on your hands. And in the future, bring some patience and let the beer finish each stage before moving to the next one.
  4. shafferpilot

    Tweaking Kits

    ordering kits with the upgraded liquid yeast is a good place to switch things up. If you do this, look into yeast washing. The price of a couple jars is well worth the benefits of starting a little yeast bank. As far as water is concerned, using bottled water is an expensive proposition. I'd...
  5. shafferpilot

    Stopping Fermemtation Early

    Yeast tend to "clean up" some off flavors after they are done eating sugars, so even though the SG isn't dropping, the yeast are still active. The preferred method is to wait for the yeast to finish and start dropping, then cold crash to help it clear faster and more completely... If you want...
  6. shafferpilot

    Is tasting safe? Is it a good indicator?

    i encourage tasting so you get a baseline in your head. Just don't let it throw you off as the flavor of a beer in the middle of fermentation is NOT the flavor of the finished product. However, be SURE to keep you sanitation impeccable anytime you are touching the beer!
  7. shafferpilot

    All my beer comes out sweet!!

    Where are your hops coming from? Are they old? have they been kept frozen? Hops definitely lose their oompf after 6 months or so, but much much quicker if they get abused at any point. Solution: add more!
  8. shafferpilot

    First batch question

    too complex for your first brew.
  9. shafferpilot

    "Stuck" Fermentation?

    I think it's fine and the real problem is that you are using the airlock as a measure of yeast activity which is practically an 8th deadly sin. I think your bucket has a leaky gasket and the beer is doin just fine. Quit messin with it and take a gravity reading in a week if you insist on being a...
  10. shafferpilot

    Oh darn it

    Oh... well yes, it makes a different since you can't see what's happening... And THAT is why I hate using buckets....
  11. shafferpilot

    Oh darn it

    yep. shine a bright flashlight through it and observe from the opposite side. It should look extremely clear all the way down to a hard packed sediment layer. If you can't see the flashlight, it aint done yet. If it's hazy or cloudy all the way through, it aint done yet; if its even slightly...
  12. shafferpilot

    Oh darn it

    that should be as low as it goes. My preference is to wait for it to clear... in other words, I ignore the calendar and let the beer tell me when it's done rather than me trying to tell the beer when I expect it to be ;)
  13. shafferpilot

    Getting a gravity reading from a carboy.

    Wine thief... Sometimes i have to kinda bounce it up and down a bit to pump enough into it to get the hydro to float.
  14. shafferpilot

    First Lager tastes like dirty sock water

    leave it alone for a few more weeks and you'll be AMAZED at just how much the flavor changes!
  15. shafferpilot

    Taste question.

    being FAR too impatient. if you aren't using secondary/clearing: 4 weeks minimum primary but probably better at 6 or 8 weeks bottle condition for 2 - 3 weeks for full carbing and elimination of priming sugar sweetness age for 4 - 8 weeks for blending and settling of flavor as well as full yeast...
  16. shafferpilot

    Oh darn it

    as it warms up, it'll start bubbling again because the gas and liquid inside will start expanding as the temp climbs. Controlling fermentation temps is a good idea, but if you want to do it, you need a better plan right from the start ;) feel free to ask for help and advice.
  17. shafferpilot

    Has anybody ever used corn or corn cobs during brewing?

    BTW, they would provide "corn sugar" once the enzymes in the 2-row convert the starch but they would also provide a significant corn flavor to the beer. I like using a little corn in my lighter lagers and ales. I find the flavor quite nice, but it's easy to go overboard and end up with beer that...
  18. shafferpilot

    Oh darn it

    do NOTHING!!! when you cool a fermenter the gas and liquid inside contracts. Airlock activity is NOT an indicator for whether or not fermentation is occuring. Take a gravity reading and leave it alone. Take another reading in a couple days and see if it's dropping or if it has reached FG. Don't...
  19. shafferpilot

    Has anybody ever used corn or corn cobs during brewing?

    You need to cook the hell outta the corn first, or it won't do much. Mash temps aren't high enough to break up the kernels. Cut the corn off and boil it with plenty of water for an hour or so, then add it to the mash... you can let it cool first if you need to.
  20. shafferpilot

    First screw up... boy.. with pic

    I'm betting thermal shock. Wort was still pretty warm, right? and the water in teh cooler was already icy, right?.... yeah, don't do that ;)