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  1. MagicSmoker

    The easy way to drain a BIAB bag

    I guess everyone wants to chime in with their different approaches to draining BIAB bags... Eh, why not? Had a thread like this been around a few weeks ago I might not have wasted my money buying two different size "boiling baskets", neither of which worked at all. The BBQ grill grate was the...
  2. MagicSmoker

    RO water adjustments: Just not getting it

    The $64,000 question then, is, at what point are the TDS too high? The carboy of RO water I just bought reads 8ppm, while the same water tested at 3ppm a few weeks ago. Is this a sign the membrane is wearing out, or does it seem like a reasonable amount of variation?
  3. MagicSmoker

    Water - Filtered Bottled vs. Boiled Tap

    I dunno about the advice that if your water tastes fine to drink it will make good beer. My water tastes fine to drink (perhaps because of the whole-house carbon filter), but it is fairly alkaline (8.3 pH) so it makes *terrible* beer as is. Switching over to RO water made a world of...
  4. MagicSmoker

    Avoiding bees while brewing

    What about leaves and such? That said, good point about keeping out microscropic invaders by simply putting the lid back on the pot when it is cooling down. As for the guy with too big a pot for the splatter screen, how about screen window screen (is that redundant, like hot water heater?).
  5. MagicSmoker

    Step by step of my brewday: Doing a massive hop stand

    +1 on this. Take advantage of the service now before the guy realizes $5 per IBU test just isn't worth the bother!!! :D
  6. MagicSmoker

    First time using a starter: pitch cold or warm?

    Thanks again for the help yesterday, everyone! The airlock was bubbling away when I got up at 6am, so either my starter worked or I have a helluva infection! :fro: All in all this was a fairly painless process, with the exception of the wort boiling over when I sprayed it with water to keep it...
  7. MagicSmoker

    Avoiding bees while brewing

    I cover the top of the pot with a splatter screen intended for frying pans. It lets the boil roll along while keeping out all the airborne stuff. Got mine at Target: Splatter Screen
  8. MagicSmoker

    First time using a starter: pitch cold or warm?

    I'm using WLP051 which is supposed to flocculate well (it sure did after a couple hours in the fridge) so it didn't hurt to decant off a little more than half the beer, but the next time I use WLP001 - which doesn't flocculate well - I suspect I will have to pitch everything, so this is good to...
  9. MagicSmoker

    First time using a starter: pitch cold or warm?

    Huh, that's good to know. And so I just hit the wort with 60s of pure O2. HBT to the rescue again!
  10. MagicSmoker

    First time using a starter: pitch cold or warm?

    Yep, I didn't add any hops to the starter, though I wondered if I should have after smelling it this morning! I can definitely see why you want to decant off as much of the "beer" from your starters as possible. I want as little of that flavor carrying into the final product as possible...
  11. MagicSmoker

    The easy way to drain a BIAB bag

    Huh... I saw a tamale pot at Target recently (looking for other items to (ab)use for brewing) and thought it looked interesting. I'll have to give it a second look. That said, I suspect that the wall thickness on the tamale pot I saw was about the same as my cheap turkey fryer pot... Because...
  12. MagicSmoker

    PH stabilizer 5/2

    I tried 5.2 in one batch and while it did, indeed, stabilize the mash pH at 5.2, it did not fix my astringency problem. It was only after changing to RO water and building it back up with CaCl2, CaSO4 and MgSO4 that the astringency went away. I also bought some 88% lactic acid and added it to...
  13. MagicSmoker

    The easy way to drain a BIAB bag

    As you can see off to the right in the pic there is another pot... that was from when I purchased a stock pot + strainer basket from Home Depot, thinking I could use the strainer basket as a convenient way to support the grain bag when it was dangling over the bucket. I don't use the strainer...
  14. MagicSmoker

    The easy way to drain a BIAB bag

    I'm a relatively new brewer, and an engineer by profession, so it was inevitable that I would start tinkering with the brewing process at some point. It didn't take me too many batches before I realized that BIAB was the way to go (for me, anyway), but one step I had already come to loathe was...
  15. MagicSmoker

    First time using a starter: pitch cold or warm?

    Ugh... I just decanted about half the beer off the starter and it smells - even cold from the fridge - exactly like a warm/flat BMC. I was going to taste it out of a sense of adventure, but I find I'm not quite that adventurous. :D
  16. MagicSmoker

    First time using a starter: pitch cold or warm?

    Thanks for the replies! Yep, I put the starter in the fridge to make it easier to separate the yeast from the (undoubtedly nasty tasting) beer before pitching. I note that both of you say to decant first, then let the yeast warm up. So that's what I will do. Thanks again!
  17. MagicSmoker

    First time using a starter: pitch cold or warm?

    I made a 1L starter with a fresh vial of WLP051 for the first time two days ago. Everything seemed to progress as expected so I put the flask in the fridge this morning to crash the yeast out, which they have done very nicely. I intend to use this starter today - I am mashing in my grain right...
  18. MagicSmoker

    First crush with my new mill.

    Good idea about the paint stirrer! I've already modified my Corona mill to use my cordless drill to drive it. The original crank handle is attached with an M8-1.25 bolt so I bought a longer one and cut the head off with a dremel. I don't know about your mill, but mine is pretty sloppy all...
  19. MagicSmoker

    Yeast immobilization: magic beans of fermentation

    HBT definitely elicits more "that's ingenious" comments from me than any other forum I frequent, and it's because of threads like this. Even though it is unlikely I will ever make my own yeast balls, I am definitely interested in seeing how this turns out. It just occurred to that it would be...
  20. MagicSmoker

    BIAB Basket Rack Weight

    Here's my solution to draining BIAB bags: