Author Topic: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me  (Read 2041 times)

LosthismindHatch ♆ ✯ ㋡ 🖖 ⛄

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  maybe we should start a homebrewing thread?



check out homebrewtalk, a great online community for homebrewers.  best part is the forum where you'll get an answer to any question you might have.  check out the Beginners Beer Brewing Forum thread for "brewing 101" discussions.


excellent idea!
« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 05:42:58 pm by sidehatch 🛠|̲̅̅●̲̅̅|̲̅̅=̲̅̅|̲̅̅●̲̅̅|🚀 »
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LosthismindHatch ♆ ✯ ㋡ 🖖 ⛄

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2016, 04:12:39 pm »
Also name me the best one or two beginners homebrewing books.

The Complete Joy of Homebrewing: this book is the equivalent of your goofy uncle teaching you to brew.  the science/techiness is kept in check (not to say that there isn't any science, just not as much as other books).  the emphasis is on getting you brewing, vs. making you a theoretical expert.  this book is the origin of the expression "relax, don't worry, have a homebrew" - the author's advice to brewers who get hung up on small details.

How to Brew: aka "The Bible."  the tagline says it all: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time.  it starts off slow, but does eventually get into the scientific details.  the author does a great job explaining to you why you should care about those details.  current edition is the 3rd, the author has been working on the 4th for some time now but no publication date yet.  the first edition is online, but it's dated.  i would invest in the newest edition.

my suggestion: start with the joy of homebrewing.  that will keep you happy for many months, then you can get how to brew to answer the questions you will inevitably build up.  i started off with the joy, but i haven't touched that book since my 3rd or 4th months of brewing.  how to brew, however, is a reference book you go back to no matter how long you've been brewing.

and if you're more visual/less literate: consider these DVDs (or online video rentals).  get the "with extract" version first.

and looks like there are some simple videos in YT like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgPdttvbhU4.  they seem to only cover the mechanics ("add X to Y, stir, then pour") and provide little explanation as to why you're doing something. 

i'll answer pasteurization=improved? later...
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walkie,talkie

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2016, 04:16:15 pm »
Really, queen? 

Julian, Semi-Retired WUNDERKIND

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2016, 04:17:22 pm »
Really, queen? 
Don't feel bad: the thread title also led me to believe this thread was going to be latently homoerotic.
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sweetcell

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2016, 06:07:53 pm »
for the uninitiated: a hydrometer is a tool used to determine how much sugar is in a liquid solution, AKA its specific gravity (SG).
Quote
A hydrometer or areometer is an instrument that measures the specific gravity (relative density) of liquids?the ratio of the density of the liquid to the density of water. A hydrometer is usually made of glass, and consists of a cylindrical stem and a bulb weighted with mercury or lead shot to make it float upright.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrometer

wort (aka unfermented beer) contains sugar which makes it denser than water.  yeast ferment the sugar and turn it into alcohol which is less dense than the original wort, so there is a drop in the SG. 

the starting gravity is called original gravity (OG) and once fermentation is done you have reached your final gravity (FG).  there is a fairly linear relationship between the drop in gravity and the amount of alcohol created by the yeast: OG - FV = ABV.  one uses a calculator like this one to determine the ABV. 

ex: OG = 1.050, FG = 1.010, plugged into that calculator yields ABV = 5.25%.

specific gravity is measure in relative units, with 1.000 being pure water (at sea level, at a certain temperature, blah blah).  professional brewers tend to use a different scale called Brix, or Plato.  you can easily convert SG to brix/plato and vice-versa using online calculators.

some beers indicate what their starting gravities are.  if you have the OG and the ABV, you can determine the FG.  this is useful info if you're trying to clone that beer.

and that's your brewing 101 lesson for today.  have a great weekend!

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vansmack

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2016, 06:09:38 pm »
for the uninitiated: a hydrometer is a tool used to determine how much sugar is in a liquid solution, AKA its specific gravity (SG).

Nope.  I'm just happy to see you....
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LosthismindHatch ♆ ✯ ㋡ 🖖 ⛄

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2016, 12:29:36 am »
this thread is becoming the equivalent of having relaxer teaching you to brew
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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2016, 08:17:05 pm »
I knew, this thread,

LosthismindHatch ♆ ✯ ㋡ 🖖 ⛄

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2016, 10:39:34 pm »
so what's the best step in strategic purchasing on going to 5 Gal all grain brew

do I get a 8 gal pot with a spigot and a "igloo" mash tun

Or is is better to go BIAB and focus on making a temperature controlled fermentation chamber with a mini fridge


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sweetcell

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2016, 01:07:08 pm »
so what's the best step in strategic purchasing on going to 5 Gal all grain brew

do I get a 8 gal pot with a spigot and a "igloo" mash tun

Or is is better to go BIAB and focus on making a temperature controlled fermentation chamber with a mini fridge

100% option B: temp controlled fermentation.

fermentation is where beer is made.  the two main causes of bad beer are poor sanitation and uncontrolled (too warm) fermentation.  yeast pitching rate, aka making sure you pitch enough yeast, is next in line.  tackle those three before worrying too much about recipe, mashing technique, etc.

(aside: brewers tend to over-emphasize the importance of the recipe and the brew day because they have direct control over it, they are actively involved in it, etc.  but truth is that these are secondary to the more boring aspects of sanitary equipment and correct temps - but you can't brag about how constant your fermentation is...)

i did BIAB (brew in a bag) for a good while and made good (occasionally great) beer.  don't believe the full-volume hype: you don't need to mash your bag of grains in all your water.  you'll get better efficiency if you mash in some of the water (1.5 quarts/pound) and save the rest to rinse (sparge) with.  you can pull up the bag and pour the sparge water through it, so that it drips directly down into your main pot (need someone's help, or some way of suspending the bag above the pot - a large colander could work, or tying the bag to a hook above the pot, etc.) or you can use a second pot: pull bag up from first pot, let drain, then move into second pot with pre-heated sparge water- let soak for a few mins, pull bag out and add that wort to the main pot.  if your second pot isn't big enough to contain all your sparge water, repeat the side-pot procedure until you have your desired volume in the main boil pot.

my trick with BIAB was to use a digital thermometer to monitor the temp of the mash on the stove-top/burner, and turn on the heat when you drop below your desired temps & mix.  insulating the pot (i put an old sleeping bag over it) helps keep things stable.  it's not perfect, temps will swing a bit, it won't affect your beer (proof one, proof two, proof three.  obviously a HUGE difference in mash temps will impact the beer, but oscillating 5 degrees certainly won't.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2016, 01:08:43 pm by sweetcell »
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Space Freely

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2016, 12:34:12 pm »
When we are home three days a week, we keep the temperature at 68. It's probably slightly colder (65? most likely not below 64) downstairs where the beer will be kept.


However, when we are at work/sxhool four days a week, or when we go somewhere, we turn the heat completely off. So by the time we return home, the house could anywhere down to 50 degrees, depending on how cold it is outside.


So the question is...is there a problem if the temperature dips down into the 50's like that, which is frequently does?

When in the fermenting stage (I'm talking about the ales, not lagers), do I need to keep a very consistent temperature? How low can I let the house temperature dip to? And if it goes below that point, what happens to my fermentation?

And how about the reverse? In the summer, the house is at 74-76 when we are home, but much warmer when we're gone.

Note: I haven't brewed anything yet, just planning ahead.

sweetcell

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2016, 07:23:01 pm »
When we are home three days a week, we keep the temperature at 68. It's probably slightly colder (65? most likely not below 64) downstairs where the beer will be kept.


However, when we are at work/sxhool four days a week, or when we go somewhere, we turn the heat completely off. So by the time we return home, the house could anywhere down to 50 degrees, depending on how cold it is outside.


So the question is...is there a problem if the temperature dips down into the 50's like that, which is frequently does?

When in the fermenting stage (I'm talking about the ales, not lagers), do I need to keep a very consistent temperature? How low can I let the house temperature dip to? And if it goes below that point, what happens to my fermentation?

And how about the reverse? In the summer, the house is at 74-76 when we are home, but much warmer when we're gone.

Note: I haven't brewed anything yet, just planning ahead.

consistent temperature for the beer is indeed important - see my previous post ("100% option B...")

when an actively fermenting beer is cooled, the yeast will become dormant - it's a defense, they're all like "WINTER IS COMING!!!".  they will stop fermenting, drop to the bottom ("flocculate"), and the beer will be sweet and under-attenuated with off-flavors left behind.  once beer has started fermenting and stopped, it is difficult to get it going again. 

on the flip side, yeast like warmth and they'll go bonkers in high heat.  your beer will ferment fully, unfortunately the yeast will create a lot of unpleasant off-flavors - mostly fusels, which give beers that "hot alcohol" flavor.  other possible off-flavors include bubblegum and obnoxious fruity (over-driven esters).

that being said, it's not the temp of the surrounding air that is important, it's the temp of the beer inside the fermenter that is.  so, the question is: how will the beer's temp react to the ambient changes? 

personally, i wouldn't feel comfortable with that big of a swing.  first thing i would do is increase the mass of the liquid, by putting my carboy/bucket in a big tub of water.  the extra water in the "water bath" would help stabilize the temps - it would take that much longer for ambient temps to affect the beer's temp.  target/walmart/etc sell 18 to 20 gallon tubs meant for icing kegs - they work perfectly for this.  in addition, you could get a cheap aquarium heater and stick that in the water around the carboy/bucket and use its temp controller to keep the water at a (relatively) constant temp.

you can use that same "water bath" technique for warmer temps, but instead of an aquarium heater use ice packs or bottles of frozen water to regulate the temp.  this is a manual process, but you'll quickly get the hang of how much ice to add & how often to maintain temps.  if you don't/can't use a stick-on thermometer (see below) then use a regular thermometer to take the temperature of the water bath several hours after you've added ice and assume that the bath's temp is the same as the beer's.

if you use a carboy: plan on adding a stick-on thermometer and place it below of the level of the liquid in the carboy.  then be sure that the water bath doesn't cover the thermometer, AKA keep it above the external water level.  i don't know if those things work on plastic buckets, since plastic is a pretty good thermal insulator.

merry christmas!
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sweetcell

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2017, 01:24:24 pm »
sooooo, without outing anyone, i know of a certain boardee who recently brewed... what did you make?  how's the fermentation coming along?  did you do anything to manage temp swings?
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Julian, Semi-Retired WUNDERKIND

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2017, 01:32:18 pm »
sooooo, without outing anyone, i know of a certain boardee who recently brewed... what did you make? 
Lipton Iced Tea.

how's the fermentation coming along? 
I didn't let it sit that long.

did you do anything to manage temp swings?
I added a little more ice once it started to come back up to room temperature.
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vansmack

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Re: Is that a hydrometer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2017, 02:03:42 pm »
sooooo, without outing anyone, i know of a certain boardee who recently brewed... what did you make? 

Bone Broth.

how's the fermentation coming along? 

Ah, you know, it did it's thing in about 36 hours.

did you do anything to manage temp swings?

The WeMo Crock Pot really did all the work.  I checked the app a few times, but it adjusted accordingly on it's own.
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