From the HBD Archive
From: rogerl@Think.COM
Subject: primary fermentors, first time mashing etcetera
Date: 1989-01-17 18:58:45 GMT

Andy Newman writes: Subject: Errata >1) I currently use those large
(~7 gallon) plastic lidded >buckets as primary fermenters. While they
are generally >adequate, the lids are damnably hard to remove and
install >without shaking the brew around a lot... I agree they aren't
the easiest to use. This is the same one I have. If you have ever
tried to open joint compond buckets, the techinque for opening these
primary fermentors is the same. This does not cause the bucket to
jiggle around to much. Put the bucket on the floor or other
comfortable working heigth which is solid. Place the palms of your
hands on the lid with your fingers over the edge. Keep the hands next
to each other. Hook your finger tips under the lid as best you can.
And pry a small section of the lid off by pulling up with the fingers
while pushing down with the palms. Move around the lid about 6"
repeat the pry. Repeat the pry/move until the lid peels off easily.

There are more expensive plastic fermentors with screw lids. There
are glass carboys. The carboy options seems to be the most popular
option. Blow off tubes are easy to install, they double as secondary
fermentors, etcetera etcetera etcetera. There are the old soda
fountain cans, refered to as 'cornielus' (spelling?) cans. The 1988
special edition of Zumurgy has a discussion about using these hummers.
The cornielus can looks like a real interesting option if you don't
have to pay big bucks for the cans.

>3) (Big question) I've recently become interested in trying
>my own mashing....My local brew supplies store claims that "it's not
>worth the trouble...
>From what I've experienced it is worth the trouble. That is why I
tried this for the first time myself this past weekend.

>a) What equipment should I buy?
I didn't buy a thing. Since I was using only a couple of pounds of
grain I mashed in a 2 gal. stock pot. I created a lauter-tun with a
linen towel, sterilized in bleach, and a large colander. Sparge water
was heated in a canning kettle, that we have for canning of all
things. Wort chilling was done in a sink of ice water. I know I
lacked the tincture of iodine, to test for conversion, so I didn't
worry and gave it a go anyway. The product of the mashing was sweet
and it has seemed to improve the wort (at least at this stage) nicely.
TCJOHB has a section on trying partial grain brewing. This is where I
got my guidelines from.

>b) What is the relative cost...
>From what I can determine from the catalogs I get, there is a price
advantage to all grain brewing. The delta difference varies dependent
on what you buy, how much you use and the completeness of your mashing
process. My calculations seem to say you can save from nothing to
over half by using all grain. But then when you get into it this far
you are also increasing the equipment costs, so the break even point
changes yet again. The advice I was given was to let your personal
taste and interest level determine whether or not to go to grains not
the wallet.

>4) I'm trying to track down a recipe for Oatmeal stout...
Count me in to!

Rob Gardner writes:
>The process called fining is a good one to experiment with, but I
>think you'll find that you can make very clear beers without it.
CAN'T AGREE MORE! I haven't used finings yet and even the lighter
beers are clear. Keep the siphon hose out of the sediment and try
chilling before bottling.
>You should also know that gelatin is made from ground-up dead animals, so
>your vegetarian friends might not want to drink your beer ;-) Other
>fining agents include egg white, fish bladder extract, dirt, and
>mashed up seaweed. I wonder who first got the idea that these things
>could improve their beer!....
It must have been a frustrated wizard or a drop out from the 'Merlin
School of Magic'. He probably tried eye of nuit, ear of bat and
scorpion toes with no success.(Thank goodness)

All seriousness aside.
Roger (over) Locniskar

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