Sudden Onset Obsession

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
I've been thinking about brewing for about 8 years; ever since I cleaned out my grandpa's basement and scored a bunch of bottles, plastic fermenters, and instruments. A while back I bought a turkey fryer that was on sale, thinking I would just use the burner. All this stuff sat in my storage for years. Just couldn't bring myself to take the plunge. Well I guess all I need was a pandemic.

A friend on my soccer team posted his grain bill in the team chat. "$30 for 20L of beer LOL". This got me looking into brewing again. I started reading forums, blogs, and watching YouTube videos. All the sudden something clicked and I understood the general process. One thing I discovered is, there is no one right way. A lot of people claim to have great results with different methods. So I set in to designing my own method. That is when the obsession really started to set in. Brewing beer has been all I could think about since that moment. I ordered some miscellaneous things online and went for it.

Turkey fryer - BIAB - carboy - keg

First brew going into the fermenter box.
1613787940288.jpeg
 

Brooothru

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
1,359
Reaction score
930
Location
Either in the brewery or on the road
Good looking first brew recipe! Simple and straightforward, yet somewhat ambitious for a first time brewer. All grain, dry hopping. Indeed, not really advanced brewing, but a lot more involved than an extract or mini-mash for the maiden voyage. Welcome aboard, and 'Fair Winds and a Following Sea' in your journey into this hobby.
 

Kickass

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
679
Reaction score
318
Location
Tehachapi
Absolutely love the recipe! Simple, straightforward, clear direction. I went through a phase where I wanted every nuanced grain and hop flavor from 15 different ingredients all in one beer. It took me a while to realize that incredible complexity can come from the simplest of recipes. Well done on your first beer!
 
OP
BrewHack

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
Absolutely love the recipe! Simple, straightforward, clear direction. I went through a phase where I wanted every nuanced grain and hop flavor from 15 different ingredients all in one beer. It took me a while to realize that incredible complexity can come from the simplest of recipes. Well done on your first beer!
I'm hoping to tweak this recipe over time and get it as close as possible to my favorite beer, Persephone's Pale Ale.
 

Kickass

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
679
Reaction score
318
Location
Tehachapi
I'm hoping to tweak this recipe over time and get it as close as possible to my favorite beer, Persephone's Pale Ale.
Another reason I like your recipe. Simple recipes are better suited for understanding ingredients and making meaningful adjustments.
 

madscientist451

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
4,705
Reaction score
2,314
Location
Bedford
OP
BrewHack

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
OP
BrewHack

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
Care to post some more details on that fermentation chamber?
Sure, not much to it. I used old 2x4s to screw together a box big enough for my carboy. I had some casters and an unused toilet seat cover that I used to build a truck for rolling the carboy in and out. I insulated the inside with 1/2" foam board, most of which I had laying around as well.

My basement is pretty cool, so I only needed to worry about heating the box. I bought this small heading element.

I added an old computer heatsink and fan to help move the heat off the element. I wired the heater up to a baseboard thermostat which is proving to give shitty temperature control. Setpoint is 20degC, temperature fluctuates between 18 and 22. Will upgrade to an STC-1000 later.
20210210_133521.jpg
 
OP
BrewHack

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
Here is my first beer day 7.
20210221_112851.jpg


It has cleared up a little more since then. I dry hopped today, day 10. I don't know if I'm more excited to drink it or empty fermenter so I can start my next brew.
 

Tallgrass

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2017
Messages
56
Reaction score
29
Location
Bottom Right PA
Great looking first brew. Light years ahead of my 1 gallon man crate gift my wife surely regrets now.

Keep in mind active fermentation will create heat and raise the temps a little or a lot. Those stick on thermometers are accurate enough to give you an idea of the liquid temp inside.

Data from my last brew day - 2/18
Looking at the temp from a thermowell on the inkbird app:
(The wifi version has temp logging.)
Fermonster wearing a winter coat

55f ambient
66 set point

The temperature in my fermenter went from 66 to 67 in 2 hours. My system cooled it back down to 66 in 15 minutes and the process repeated for 3 days before any heat was needed. I'm not sure where that temperature goes if left unchecked.
 
OP
BrewHack

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
The temperature in my fermenter went from 66 to 67 in 2 hours. My system cooled it back down to 66 in 15 minutes and the process repeated for 3 days before any heat was needed. I'm not sure where that temperature goes if left unchecked.
Thanks for the tip. I have no idea how warm my brew got when fermentation took off. Luckily US-05 has a high temperature range, max 28C (82F), and my basement temperature was 14C (57F). So I should be ok this time. I'll have to watch for that in the future.
 
OP
BrewHack

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
So I took a gravity sample today, day 12. Gravity has gone from 1.054 to 1.008. When I drank the sample I was surprised there was almost no hop aroma. Especially 2 days after dry hopping. Does it just need more time? There are 2 oz of hops in a sock.
 
OP
BrewHack

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
I transferred my beer from the carboy to the keg last night using a CO2 transfer system I bought. It worked ok, but not worth the money I spent on it. The racking cane was too short and a couple inches of good beer was left behind.

20210226_082330.jpg


I siphoned out a couple cups and drank it. Tasted like flat beer with harsh flavours. Hops aroma was still missing. Mouth feel had improved since I last drank a sample. It might turn out ok after a week chilling in the keg under serving pressure.

Cleaning the carboy wasn't too bad, but getting the hop sock out was tricky. I had to fish the knot out of the opening so I could untie it. Then I painstakingly scooped the hops out with a finger until the bulb of hop was small enough to fit through the opening. I'll have to think of a better way to dry hop.
 

Kickass

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
679
Reaction score
318
Location
Tehachapi
The sock likely stifled some of the dry hop potential and illustrated how much of a pain it is to “hop sock” in a carboy. I stoped doing that for reasons you described. Now I just toss my hops in loose.

As far as no hop aroma: I think the massive amounts of dry hops in commercial beers have desensitized many of us. If it’s not where you want it you can always dry hop in the keg or simply adjust your recipe for next time. I bet if you told someone they were about to try a pale lager and handed them your beer, they remark about how highly hopped it is. All things are relative and that goes for current hoppy beer trends.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,061
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
using a CO2 transfer system I bought. It worked ok, but not worth the money I spent on it.
I see a racking cane with a quick-disconnect on it. What else came with it?
The $3 orange carboy cap is essential as is the racking cane. Anything else can be cobbled together from vinyl tubing, no?

The racking cane was too short and a couple inches of good beer was left behind.
You'd need a longer one for that size carboy, you can buy those for $12 or so. Stick with stainless, it will last a lifetime when treated well.
You can lengthen the cane by sticking a piece of vinyl tubing on the bottom end. But the inverter tippy (that redirects the flow to come from above to prevent sucking up trub) won't fit on the vinyl tubing, you'd need another piece of stainless tubing for that.

In a pinch you could saw off 1-2 inches or so and put a splice of vinyl tubing in between. ;)
 
OP
BrewHack

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
Great looking beer. Are you happy with the taste?
Thanks!

The taste for me was good, not great. Just not the style I'm into right now. Light tasting, small-medium body. As far as defects I could taste none. This would be a perfect summer time beer.
 
OP
BrewHack

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
I see a racking cane with a quick-disconnect on it. What else came with it?
The $3 orange carboy cap is essential as is the racking cane. Anything else can be cobbled together from vinyl tubing, no?
What you see is what I got, plus the airline hose and gas ball lock connector. I'm embarrassed to say what I paid for it.

In a pinch you could saw off 1-2 inches or so and put a splice of vinyl tubing in between. ;)
Not a bad idea 🤔
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,061
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
What you see is what I got, plus the airline hose and gas ball lock connector. I'm embarrassed to say what I paid for it.
I can only imagine... <ugh>

RiteBrew has been my go to place for most of my kegging stuff and such. AIH has also been a good supplier for sundries, as are my 2 quite well-stocked LHBS'.
To save on shipping, I never buy one thing either, always have shopping lists going.
Don't be surprised to hear, there are usually as many or even more scratch-outs than new additions. ;)
 
OP
BrewHack

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
Now time for trouble shooting fun. I've realized, after having my keg at serving pressure for 6 days, I've lost 200 lbs of CO2 tank pressure. :confused:
I had bubble tested all the fitting when I put the regulator, tank and connector/hose together. The keg is brand new and shipped pressurized. I suspect the ball lock connector. They seem very cheap.

So I disconnected the CO2 line from the keg and closed the tank valve.
20210302_220024.jpg


The next morning I checked the gages.
20210303_071906.jpg


You can see the needle on the high side pressure dropped over night.

Now I have closed the valve on the regulator. If the pressure stops dropping I will know the leak is after the regulator.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,061
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
The taste for me was good, not great.
Temp control during active fermentation is paramount. Don't forget, fermentation is exothermic, it generates heat!

So in the early fermenting days, you want to keep that beer temp steady and on the lower side. You may want to keep an eye on that. Once it slows down drastically time to ramp the temps up slowly to make sure it finishes out, and

For many ale yeasts 64-68F is the sweet range. For others it may be a little higher, and for a few much higher, high 70s, 80s, or up (Saison yeasts, Kveiks, etc.).
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,061
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
after having my keg at serving pressure for 6 days, I've lost 200 lbs of CO2 tank pressure. :confused:
That sounds like a lot! 5# tank?
There's probably a leak...

Now the high pressure gauge means very little. Green and below is normal. Once it drops into the red zone you're literally running on fumes, there's not much or no liquid left, only gas.

The only way to tell how full/empty it is, is by weighing the tank. The tare weight is pressed into the neck (marked T or TW).

Make sure to operate the tank with the valve all the way open. So either open or closed, never left in between.
 
OP
BrewHack

BrewHack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
50
Reaction score
58
Location
Vancouver
For many ale yeasts 64-68F is the sweet range. For others it may be a little higher, and for a few much higher, high 70s, 80s, or up (Saison yeasts, Kveiks, etc.).
Could have been an issue. I have upgraded the temperature controller on my fermentation box now. I can monitor wort temp a lot better next round.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,061
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
I suspect the ball lock connector. They seem very cheap.
Those QDs are all pretty much all the same and should last many, many years.
The ones with CMB (CM Becker) embossed along the top flange are known to be among the best.

The top cap (there's a screwdriver slit in it) comes out for cleaning and servicing (the small) parts inside. Make sure it's screwed down tight.

You got to find that leak. It's a matter of systematic search and elimination.
If your disconnected keg loses all its pressure over time it has a leak.

There are many threads and posts on finding (hunting down) CO2 leaks.
 
Top