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Old 10-01-2012, 10:46 PM   #781
discochris
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Thanks for the advice re: using ice.

The odd thing is that Midwest actually suggests it as a possibility in their kit recipes. And nowhere do they even mention using either filtered or boiled water for the top up, though it makes complete sense (which is why I asked).

Most everything I've made has been darker beers, with the exception of a honey ale. All brewed with tap water and mostly using ice.

There's an old brewery in St. Paul (the old Schmidt/Landmark) brewery and I think even though it closed, you can still get water there. I'm considering going over there with some jugs and attempting a brew using that water.
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:53 AM   #782
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About using ice...

I did the math, and for the price of the ice I was buying for cooling (although I never put it in the actual wort, I did a full boil and put it around the outside in a tub), building a wort chiller that attaches to the sink and running water to cool it paid for itself in about 5 batches. And it cools in about 15 minutes rather than the 45 it took before.

Was easy to build, some copper line, couple worm clamps, little clear tubing and the adapter to hook said tubing to the sink. I usually reclaim a bunch of the water (the hottest part goes straight into the dishwasher, the rest goes into my garden) and from my understanding a fast cooling is better, so net win.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:53 AM   #783
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Yep, get a bigger pot and do a full wort boil. Use an immersion chiller to get a good cold break and you'll get less trub in your fermenter.
Your beers will improve.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:45 PM   #784
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I cool my wort with an immersion chiller fed by a submersible pump.

I put the pump in my sink and fill it with ice. That way the water running through is ice cold.

Then it just drains in the other side of the sink. The set up works very well, it took a bit to get the tubing worked out so the faucet could keep up with the pump.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:48 PM   #785
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Originally Posted by Kinsman View Post
Yep, get a bigger pot and do a full wort boil. Use an immersion chiller to get a good cold break and you'll get less trub in your fermenter.
Your beers will improve.
+1. That is generally the best advice a new homebrewer needs to hear. I place the importance of a full wort boil and proper chilling the same.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:39 AM   #786
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When you go to a full wort boil remember that you will get more from your hops. Use a brewing calculator or software to determine the difference. It's kind of like making sweet tea. You have to boil it to get more sugar in it because it can't take anymore. Same thing with hops, if you add more water you'll have more room for hop bitterness and flavor in your wort. Therefore you might want to back off a little or better yet refigure what you need for the same IBU's or HBU's. Or you can just do trial and error and make more beer!
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:21 AM   #787
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and you'll need to calculate the amount of water loss you'll boil off. If you are making a 5 gallon batch, with a full boil you'll want an additional gallon or two as it will boil down to the 5 gallons you'll end up with. The amount needed depends on how long you plan on boiling. I use beersmith software for my calculations.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:28 PM   #788
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Originally Posted by Dansrc51 View Post
and you'll need to calculate the amount of water loss you'll boil off. If you are making a 5 gallon batch, with a full boil you'll want an additional gallon or two as it will boil down to the 5 gallons you'll end up with. The amount needed depends on how long you plan on boiling. I use beersmith software for my calculations.
And this is what tends to happen with me. I use a 5 gallon boiling kettle, and I usually boil about 4.5, including the extracts, or just enough to prevent boilovers. I probably lose 1/2 gallon or so in evaporation, so I'm having to top up with at least a gallon of additional water (or in my case I've been using ice as I mentioned). I've been considering getting a larger kettle.

Back to the ice question - it would seem though, that the longer you let the wort sit cooling, the more chance of contamination you'd have just due to exposure. Is this not right?
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:49 AM   #789
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Man, can't believe I haven't poked around in this thread until now, lots of good stuff. I'm coming up on 2 years of brewing, started around Christmas of 2010 with Mr. Beer kits and quickly realized upgrading to a decent setup was necessary. Started doing extract recipes with steeped specialty grains in the spring of 2011 and the rest is history. I've been upgrading one piece at a time since then and I've now got a three tier all grain system, a plate chiller, a 4 tap kegerator, a temp controlled fermentation chamber, etc. It's an addiction just like buying and farkling bikes :).

Depending on the work bonus this year, I'm planning on starting to piece together an electric setup based on 3 Penrose kettles. If you're a big enginerd like me, theelectricbrewery.com is a good way to waste a few hours (I'm sure it's already been mentioned in here somewhere). Mine won't be anywhere near as nice, but I like the idea of not needing propane anymore and HERMS systems seem like a sweet way to step mash.

I've got a pumpkin ale (got ridiculous efficiency on this one, looks like it'll finish at ~9% ABV) and a pale in the fermenters right now and only one tap pouring (Founders Breakfast Stout clone), what does everyone else have going?
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:26 PM   #790
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Originally Posted by hyperboarder View Post
I've got a pumpkin ale (got ridiculous efficiency on this one, looks like it'll finish at ~9% ABV) and a pale in the fermenters right now and only one tap pouring (Founders Breakfast Stout clone), what does everyone else have going?
We should hang out....
I have a pumpkin and an IPA in the fermenters. Kegs, taps, and lines are en route

I also would love to have an electric HERMS, but am too dumb to figure it out. :-(

Sent from my fat thumbs on a small touch screen.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:10 PM   #791
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Originally Posted by discochris View Post

Back to the ice question - it would seem though, that the longer you let the wort sit cooling, the more chance of contamination you'd have just due to exposure. Is this not right?

Yes, this is true. Which is why a lot of guys usually build a wort chiller. The quicker you can get your wort down to proper temps, the faster you can pitch the yeast. Additionally, you can get the cold break protiens to end up in the boil pot and if you whirlpool or have a false bottom, it'll be that much more trub you can leave behind and not have in your beer. Active yeast will protect your beer better against infection rather then a slow cooling process. You can probably find a used wort chiller on Craigslist for cheap.

Dansrc51 screwed with this post 10-05-2012 at 08:05 AM Reason: more thoughts
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:30 AM   #792
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We should hang out....
I have a pumpkin and an IPA in the fermenters. Kegs, taps, and lines are en route

I also would love to have an electric HERMS, but am too dumb to figure it out. :-(

Sent from my fat thumbs on a small touch screen.
HERMS and RIMS are confusing as acronyms (I can't even remember what they stand for), but not bad as concepts. HERMS uses the same concept as an immersion chiller, but the goal is to circulate the wort through heated water (in the hot liquor tank) as it's mashing to hold a constant temperature. RIMS is similar, but uses direct heat on the wort as it circulates to heat it. I personally like HERMS because it's essentially impossible to scorch the grain/wort since you're not applying direct heat.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:23 AM   #793
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HERMS ( Heat Exchanged Recirculating Infusion Mash System )
RIMS (Recirculating Infusion Mash System )

A HERMS system is a little harder to deal with than a RIMS. Getting the water the right temp and then keeping it there to hold mash temperature can be a little tricky.
A RIMS will allow you to set a temperature and it will maintain it perfectly. Since you have a constant flow you don't have to worry about any scorching. You use a 220 heating element but only run 110 to it so it doesn't get too hot. It will carmalize a little of the sugar but it also gives you some melanoidens like when you do a decoction mash.
I've been using a RIMS for quite a while and made some very light beers with it and never had any off flavors from too much heat. I've heard the scorching argument before but I have never experienced any of it.

What both systems offer though, is RECIRCULATION! This is the awesome part. Once you mix your malts you don't stir anymore. This helps keep the tannins from the hulls from leaching. It gives you crystal clear wort going into your kettle. The whole grain bed acts like a filter, it's a wonderful thing and no matter which you prefer, they will both make great beer!
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:34 PM   #794
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Originally Posted by tootal View Post
HERMS ( Heat Exchanged Recirculating Infusion Mash System )
RIMS (Recirculating Infusion Mash System )

A HERMS system is a little harder to deal with than a RIMS. Getting the water the right temp and then keeping it there to hold mash temperature can be a little tricky.
A RIMS will allow you to set a temperature and it will maintain it perfectly. Since you have a constant flow you don't have to worry about any scorching. You use a 220 heating element but only run 110 to it so it doesn't get too hot. It will carmalize a little of the sugar but it also gives you some melanoidens like when you do a decoction mash.
I've been using a RIMS for quite a while and made some very light beers with it and never had any off flavors from too much heat. I've heard the scorching argument before but I have never experienced any of it.

What both systems offer though, is RECIRCULATION! This is the awesome part. Once you mix your malts you don't stir anymore. This helps keep the tannins from the hulls from leaching. It gives you crystal clear wort going into your kettle. The whole grain bed acts like a filter, it's a wonderful thing and no matter which you prefer, they will both make great beer!
So do you run the wort directly over the heating element? I'll admit, I wouldn't mind avoiding the 50lb stainless coil, pricey and looks to be cumbersome.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:25 AM   #795
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Yes, it runs right across the element. You basically have a pipe with a plug in one end and the element in the other. Then there are two holes drilled in the side of the pipe for your input and discharge. A pump draws from under a false bottom in the mash tun, through the heat exchanger into the pump and then back into the top of the mash. You still have a flame under the mash tun to ramp temps for step mashes but once you get to your desired temp you can back off the flame until the electronics can maintain the temp. You set the temp on the micro processor and it will turn the heating element on and off to maintain temp. The temperature probe goes at the discharge of the mash tun. This sounds really complicated but I helped a friend build one and it works really well. Not having to constantly stir when ramping temps and trying to keep an even heat thoughout the mash makes it all worth while. We actually have time to "relax, have a home brew!"

Here's a link to the Sabco "Brew-Magic" system that might explain some of the RIMS theory and hardware. My partner and I have a generation 2 Sabco, the new one actually has a computer on it!! I don't think the computer is worth the extra bucks since we use a lap top for our records and recipe development. It's pricey and we split the cost since we were building a race car at the time and didn't have enough extra time to build a brewing system too! Worked out well, the car is fast and the beer is good!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRyd...feature=relmfu
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