A bunch of questions

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A bunch of questions

Postby jcassady » Mon Feb 09, 2004 5:30 pm

Ok, so the fifth batch is in the secondary, and I'm really getting into this hobby. I've read most of the topics here that sparked my interest as I was going back through the archives and now have some questions and thoughts. A little background here, currently I have a 5 gallon SS Kettle and do all extract brewing with steeped grains.

Now, I'm looking to make some upgrades and I found the turkey fryer at Sams Club that comes with an approx. 7 gallon SS Kettle for $70, and was wondering if anyone has this fryer. Also, what exactly does doing a full wort boil do for you and are there any negative side affects i need to watch out for? Next, if I get this fryer and kettle will I be able to go to 10 gallon batches, boil 5 gallons and add 5 gallons of water? Will this work if I only have 2 6.5 gallon primaries?

Next, how exactly would I go about adding a spigot onto this kettle, I've read in many topics about weldless fittings. Where do you find these fittings and how do they work (install them). I've done a little work with plumbing and sweating copper and such, is it easy to install a weldless spigot?

Another thing, the better half wants me to make a chocolate beer for her. I've looked at a lot of the receipes here but I haven't found too much requarding when to add and what kind of chocolate to use. If anyone has a receipe for an extract w/steeped grains chocolate beer that would be great.

Thanks in advance, you guys really know your stuff, and I've read all the way back to this forums beginning! Collectively you have a lot of knowledge about this hobby!

-Jim
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You are moving fast......

Postby Brewer2001 » Tue Feb 10, 2004 5:15 am

Jim,

Are you planning to move to an all grain mash?
I would make sure that the fryer has a SS pot. Most are aluminum, which gets you a large pot for water but not the best for a kettle. The burner should work fine. I assume that you are working on a stove in the kitchen. This will get you outside..... If you want to move to a 10-gallon batches (all grain) you are going to need a 12-gallon kettle. The reason is that in a full mash regiment your wort will be closer to your target gravity. In extract brewing, as you are doing, you brew higher gravity than dilute to the desired volume. Most large breweries do this to 'stretch' production. If you do this you will have to calculate your dilution rates if you want a set specific gravity.

About the boil. Boiling your wort accomplishes three (or more) things. It chemically/physically sets the wort composition {stops all enzymatic action, continues to break down proteins, causes hop acids to be extracted and establishes a certain specific gravity} (less in your case more during all grain mashing), sterilizes and drives off volatiles (DMS). You should always add filtered if not preboiled water for dilution and top up! Your 2 6.5 gallon fermenter will work the wort contracts by 4% from its boil volume (hence the larger kettle). The down sides of a full boil using a direct flame could be darkening of the wort due to caramelization, less volume due to boiling down (minor) and boilovers (back to kettle size). You may have a problem with the wort becoming too thick if you plan to dilute to a certain SG. The thicker the wort the more it is prone to burning and your hop extraction will be poor.

I haven't used any of the weldless fittings but they should work fine. These fittings use compression type fittings and gaskets. I still do not have a drain in my homebrew kettle (10.5 gallon SS pot). I use a SS racking cane to siphon the wort out of the kettle. If you decide to weld, SS requires TIG welds.

I was just thinking of a chocolate ale yesterday. I would suggest that you add the flavoring in the secondary and would use chocolate essence or extract. McCormick or IFF may make something that would be easy to use. If you need to go to 'real' chocolate I would try dark chocolate powder 'cooked' in some water than dosed into your secondary(s). I used orange extract in Christmas ale. You may also consider making a Belgian style ale.

Good brewing,

Tom F.
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Follow up

Postby jcassady » Tue Feb 10, 2004 1:04 pm

Tom,
Thanks for the info, I checked out the fryer at Sam's Club and it says on the box that it is a SS Kettle I think it was 34 or 28 quart.

I'm not planning on going all grain just yet, I'm not ready for the added equipment or have the extra time. I currently brew with a cousin and we would not be able to get together for the time it takes to do all grain. So I plan to stick with extracts for a while.

What I was wondering was if I boil say 5-6 gallons with the extracts for a 10 gallon batch, then mix the wort with water to make 10 gallons, in some larger yet un-obtained container. Can I then rack 5 gallons into each 6.5 gallon fermenter, or would this process be unwise. The reason I want to go 10 gallons is 5 gallons between 2 people only get you a case a piece, so we would have to brew every 3 weeks to keep up with consumption...

Anyway, one reason I was wanting to add the fitting to the kettle was to run though my counterflow chiller. I find it a pain to get the siphon started out of the kettle and though the chiller. I figure it would be much easier to connect the hose and open the valve.

Again thanks for the info, does this make sense ( what I described about 5 gallon boil => 10 gallon batch), thanks

Jim
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Some Info.

Postby fitz » Tue Feb 10, 2004 1:29 pm

Jim

There are weldless fittings that you can purchase "bulkhead" that are supposed to be great. I know Williams brewing has one, with other fittings that can be attached with if you desire. I would get the fryer if it is a SS. You could easily pay that amount for each component. I would get with your cousin and see if you both may be able to spend at least enough time to do two full boil batches there are many advantages to this(proper hop utilization, two different style batches, complete sanitation of the wort, etc. You could split it off into two fermentors, but whose to say both beers will be equal, and it isn't the optimal situation. Why not get the fryer, try a full boil, and a partial boil with your previous equipment, and see if you can see a big difference in the beers. If there isn't a percievable difference to you, you would probably be happy with the partial boil, but don't rule out the full boil. It is a wonderful improvement especially with hop utilization and steeping grains.
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Website and other info

Postby jcassady » Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:32 pm

Fitz,
I will look into trying both methods, if/when we get the fryer, we will brew a batch we have already done and compare the differences. Moving to a fryer should shave a little time off the brewing process, so we might be able to complete two batches of the same beer. A question posed earlier, yes we currently boil about 3 gallons in the 5 gallon kettle on the stove in the house, which takes about an hour+ to get to a boil.

Would doing a full boil also lighten the color of the beer. I've noticed that as an extract brewer, the color is usually darker than what would be expected. I usually only use DME with grains, but occasionaly use liquid extract. I've read that extracts will always be darker, but would full boil lighten it up a bit?

Lastly, would you happen to have the website for Williams brewing so I can check out what they have? Thanks

Jim
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Jim

Postby fitz » Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:50 am

The Williams site is www.williamsbrewing.com
I have bought many different things from them, and all have been good. Their malt extract is very good, and they have many of the types in extract that you couldn't get unless going all grain. I have been doing a lot of extract brewing lately because of time constraints, and I like Williams extracts better than any I have tried so far. If anyone else has found better, please let me know. I am always ready to try something different. No this isn't a paid advertisement, and I am not connected with Williams in any way. I'm just a satisfied customer. A full boil will lighten your beer slightly too.
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You are on the right track.

Postby Brewer2001 » Wed Feb 11, 2004 1:56 pm

Jim,

The main thing in brewing is to make a good product. If your methods are sound and repeatable all is good. If things happen as you intend or the results are 'better' than expected all is better!

I agree with Fitz, each fermentation (from the same batch) may be a little different. But think of the possabilities. If you ferment both in the same location you can blend (like Belgian Faro) before bottling. If they are fermented in two different places and they are easy to transport that blend may yield greater variations. You are the artist......work your craft.

I own a 3 barrel brewhouse (that is in storage...BOO) and 7 barrel fermentation tanks. I will be brewing two 3+ barrel batches per brew day and mixing them in one tank, just the reverse of what you are doing. As long as you understand the fundimentals and have a sound method it all works out.

About the dark wort. That is the problem with extract, the wort is usually darker than you want it to be. If you thin it down you get "thin" (lower gravity) dark wort. Boiling darkens wort even more, fermentation lightens beer a little bit. So boil (full rolling boil, don't count ramp up time) for 90 minutes adding water as required and keep the wort viscosity as low as possible (stir if required).

Good brewing,

Tom F.
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