Picking up home fermentation/brewing

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
672
South-Central WI
I use Star-San. I have Iodophor but rarely use it. I'll use bleach first which works fine but you really have to work in washing it completely off of things.
I have bleach for our spa, but went with the Iodophor as apparently it is no rinse. I used it as such too...

Some people said bleach could be no-rinse too, if the concentration was appropriate. Seemed more like it's not used much because it degrades fast, so most people don't know what the concentration is, and so it's often used at much higher concentrations than is actually required. Idk though, I didn't read too much into it. Iodophor is sold as an EPA listed sanitizer for food containers, so I just followed the label directions. Figure you can't really go wrong doing that.

Does anyone also roast their own coffee? I do, of course.....
I've considered it, but the problem is I don't really like coffee, so it's hard to make the jump into home roasting. I drink a cup or two a day because easy (and cheap) caffeine. I always drank my coffee black, with sugar, up until we got an Aeropress. With the Aeropress, I "tolerated" coffee to the point I started drinking it black, no sugar. I still don't like it, but it's not bad. Also shows just how terrible the work coffee is. All these coworkers buying $10/lb beans with the coffee fund from a local shop cause it's "good coffee" and then they brew it way too strong in a commercial coffee maker and it's just terrible (and a coworker who actually enjoys the taste of coffee and typically makes it in a pour-over at home also refuses to drink the work coffee, so it's not just my coffee disliking taste buds). I much prefer $3/lb whole coffee beans from Aldi, ground at use and made in the Aeropress. I've always suspected with fresh, home roasted beans of the right sort made in an Aeropress or other non-drip maker I may actually start enjoying coffee...
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
894
Corona de Tucson, AZ
See if you can find someone who buys LIGHTLY roasted good coffee for you to use in the Aeropress. You might change your mind. I can get GOOD coffee from Burman's in Madison, WI for less than $5/lb... and that's the >$10lb stuff you see people buying from a roaster. Most people like their coffee roasted too dark (because that is a way to pass off low quality coffee... once you go too dark it all tastes the same), so even fancy roaster coffee is often too dark--- especially in the Midwest from my experience.

As for using bleach. It's probably the best disinfectant out there and if you were going to switch back and forth from sours to normal fermentation I would recommend using it between switching batches. The one time I got sloppy and got an infection (and the beer still tasted good anyway!), instead of throwing out all of the equipment I hit it hard with bleach and then used Star San to neutralize it... Never had a problem with the equipment since. Bleach on stainless is okay if you quickly rinse it out (it will corrode it if left to soak), and on glass it's fine. Plastics I would do the Start San rinse afterward and wash it out good.

"Quat" is also a good disinfectant that has to be washed out. (It kills head retention.) I also bring it out when I decide it's time for a deep clean of everything.
 

shawes

Gold Supporter
Apr 14, 2020
87
Houston, Texas
Looks nice. Maybe try your hand at Kombucha (fermented tea). The SCOBY (bacteria/yeast symbiotic colony) is pretty freaky looking and alien-like and makes a fun show & tell for friends. I like kombucha a lot and you can do all sorts of wild fruit flavors with the tea.

Now you need to get a smoker and make your own pastrami ...
I'm a beekeeper and my adult daughter makes mead with the "extra" honey. She's won several ribbons at different festivals ❤
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rattus Suffocatus

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
894
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Mead is fun. you do need time (like a year) or extra nutrients for the yeast during fermentation to really make a good mead but it's just about my favorite type of home made alcoholic anything... I still want to try making one out of one of the "different" varieties of desert flower honey since I moved here.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
672
South-Central WI






7.2% ABV. Dry (as expected). I filled the keg, filled a (sanitized) half gallon plastic juice container and stuck it in the fridge, amd had enough left over for about three glasses.

It's certainly not like commerical cider like Angry Orchard, but it's good.

Also I picked up an American Pale Wheat beer extract kit from the local brewing supply store, plus a faucet and associated stuff to allow me to put one faucet on my kreezer build.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
894
Corona de Tucson, AZ
One piece of advice for the long run. Move the tank and regulator outside of the chest freezer. Especially where you are at the condensation will get the regulator internals (and externals) otherwise. You can also fit an extra keg in that way and the high pressure gauge will somewhat work then.

I like dry ciders but one trick to sweeten them up is to add a teaspoon of sugar or honey right into it when pouring. I actually prefer Sweet N' Low but you probably won't.

If you do that it still won't be as sweet as commercial but that's actually probably better. I really need to make some cider. It's been a couple of years since I did it...
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,483
Damascus, MD






7.2% ABV. Dry (as expected). I filled the keg, filled a (sanitized) half gallon plastic juice container and stuck it in the fridge, amd had enough left over for about three glasses.

It's certainly not like commerical cider like Angry Orchard, but it's good.

Also I picked up an American Pale Wheat beer extract kit from the local brewing supply store, plus a faucet and associated stuff to allow me to put one faucet on my kreezer build.
How much sugar did you add to get that high an ABV?
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
672
South-Central WI
One piece of advice for the long run. Move the tank and regulator outside of the chest freezer. Especially where you are at the condensation will get the regulator internals (and externals) otherwise. You can also fit an extra keg in that way and the high pressure gauge will somewhat work then.
I need to get the collar built first, but yeah, I'll probably do that.

I also want to paint the freezer inside and out. The outside is not a good color, IMO, and the inside is a bit rusted so I'd like to try and keep that from spreading. I think I'll also get a can of reusable desiccant to try and keep the condensation away, plus a small fan for circulation for more even temps and faster cooling of new kegs.

That CO2PO regulator is Crud though. It doesn't start flowing till ~10 psi, and it sticks, such that it will flow and fill to 10 psi, but then the pressure has to drop to 5-6 psi to get it to flow again. I should not have bought the kegging kit from Northern Brewer, and done what I did for my planted aquarium a few years ago. For that, I bought a Matheson brand used regulator off eBay. It ran for years at a relatively low pressure, and never once did I see that low pressure needle budge from the setpoint, even though the flow rate was super, super low.

I like dry ciders but one trick to sweeten them up is to add a teaspoon of sugar or honey right into it when pouring. I actually prefer Sweet N' Low but you probably won't.

If you do that it still won't be as sweet as commercial but that's actually probably better. I really need to make some cider. It's been a couple of years since I did it...
After I tried some more I enjoyed it quite a bit. Slightly sweeter may be better, I'll try a teaspoon of honey or sugar, that sounds good.

I personally don't want it as sweet as commercial cider. A few years ago I enjoyed that, but now I think commercial cider is way to sweet.

... Since you are building a collar and adding taps... I am a big fan of Intertap faucets (versus Perlick)... Rite Brew is the place for them. Don't buy the cheap ones from the brew store unless you will be serving a lot of beer, they stick.
My local brew store is pretty awesome. I went and talked to the guy yesterday. They only sell Intertap forward sealing faucets. I got the flow control type. I really wish I had found this store before I ordered from Northern Brewer. Ah well, they will have my business going forward.

How much sugar did you add to get that high an ABV?
Approximately two pounds of dextrose. I made two 6 gallon batches, but since I couldn't find my kitchen scale I just estimated half of a 4 pound bag into each of the two batches. I unfortunately did not take a SG reading of the cider before adding sugar. The first batch I did not take an SG reading at all. The second batch I did. Ironically the second batch finished quicker than the first (I think the yeast started up quicker), so even though I started it a week or so after the first batch it was the second batch that I kegged and drank last night.

OG was 1.055, FG was 1.000.

Future batches I will take a SG reading before and after adding sugar. Plus I found my scale so I'll weigh out all sugar additions.
 

PoolBrews

Well-known member
Oct 16, 2019
181
The Villages, Florida
So, if you kegged and drank last night, you are drinking this uncarbonated? That would be tough for me - I like carbonation in my beer and cider, and it has to be COLD. Thinking of even converting one of my taps to a nitro setup... but that's expensive.

It takes a cider or beer 7-14 days to reach proper carbonation, depending on the psi you have your CO2 set to and whether you choose to force carbonate. I don't force carbonate - not willing to roll my kegs around while set to a high psi. With 3 taps I can wait and let it carbonate at the normal rate.

For measuring Original Gravity and Final Gravity, I now use a Tilt Hydrometer. I have found that most glass hydrometers are off to some degree (probably operator error), and after accidentally breaking my 3rd one, I found the Tilt. It's an electronic hydrometer - just drop it in your fermenter and read the changing gravity with your phone. It's awesome! You actually know when a batch is finished, and also when one has stalled.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
672
South-Central WI
So, if you kegged and drank last night, you are drinking this uncarbonated?
Actually no. It was carbonated when I pulled a sample. I actually had to raise and lower the hydrometer a few times to get rid of the bubbles that were sticking to it (which would throw off the reading). It was either still fermenting slightly or just hadn't offgassed yet from the fermentation. Before I kegged it there was still occasional bubbles floating up from the bottom and the airlock was moving ever so slighly. At 1.000 FG though, there wasn't much left to ferment if it still was fermenting. My guess is the bubbles just hadn't offgassed from the fermentation yet.

For measuring Original Gravity and Final Gravity, I now use a Tilt Hydrometer.
How long have you had that? I've bought electronic gadgets in the past with gusto, but I'm starting to learn they aren't all quite as good as they are made up to be. If properly supported, and long lasting, it does look nice...
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
894
Corona de Tucson, AZ
I drink ciders both ways. Carbonated and uncarbonated. It depends what you are after, honestly.

As far as a sticking regulator, both my cheapo Chinese one I got with the tank from the fire extinguisher place and a highly regarded Tap Rite I bought had issues right from the factory, with the Tap Rite being worse. I took both apart, cleaned the brass shavings out of the Tap Rite (great inspection job there), lubed them up, and both have been bullet proof since. Don't be shy about taking it apart, I bet you will easily figure it out and fix it.

And there is this, too... IMG_20200522_145947823.jpg

Three flow control Intertaps and one non flow control that I use for either cider or sodas. Right now only the second from the right is online. I REALLY need to start brewing again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jseyfert3

PoolBrews

Well-known member
Oct 16, 2019
181
The Villages, Florida
I've used the Tilt for about 8 batches so far and love it.!

If it was drawn from the fermenter then it was not carbonated. Carbonation takes place when fermentation is complete, and is a separate distinct process from fermenting. You either carbonate by adding priming sugar, using carbonation tablets in bottles, or through the slow process of CO2 dissolving in the beverage over a course of 7-14 days at 9-12psi in a keg.

If it was still bubbling in the fermenter, then it's not done fermenting. Instead of guessing when fermentation is done (I would wait 2-3 weeks to be sure), you can either take daily samples and when the FG doesn't change for 3 or more days you can call it done. With the Tilt, I record the reading each day from my phone. When it stops changing and stays the same for 3 or more days, it's ready to keg and carbonate. I do make an exception when I have complex beers and want to ensure that all everything gets cleaned up in the batch before bottling/kegging.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
672
South-Central WI
As far as a sticking regulator, both my cheapo Chinese one I got with the tank from the fire extinguisher place and a highly regarded Tap Rite I bought had issues right from the factory, with the Tap Rite being worse. I took both apart, cleaned the brass shavings out of the Tap Rite (great inspection job there), lubed them up, and both have been bullet proof since. Don't be shy about taking it apart, I bet you will easily figure it out and fix it.
It seems to be working okay at 11 psi right now, but any less and it gets sticky.

Good point, taking it apart is probably less hassle than trying to get a replacement that will likely have the same issue.

If it was drawn from the fermenter then it was not carbonated. Carbonation takes place when fermentation is complete, and is a separate distinct process from fermenting. You either carbonate by adding priming sugar, using carbonation tablets in bottles, or through the slow process of CO2 dissolving in the beverage over a course of 7-14 days at 9-12psi in a keg.
Well, it's not carbonated to the level normally expected, but it was not flat.

If it was still bubbling in the fermenter, then it's not done fermenting. Instead of guessing when fermentation is done (I would wait 2-3 weeks to be sure), you can either take daily samples and when the FG doesn't change for 3 or more days you can call it done.
I suppose I could have done that, but I know from reading other people who did this juice/sugar/yeast combo that it should finish a tad below 1.000, perhaps 0.999 or 0.998. So it might not have been quite done, but honestly I was kegging it anyway so a tiny bit of fermentation won't hurt anything in a keg.

My other batch is still downstairs and will be aged longer before kegging.

I really need to get more batches going. My wife liked the cider, as did other people, and we went through a bit of it!

I plan to get that kit beer going sometime in the next week along with a replacement batch of cider.

I've used the Tilt for about 8 batches so far and love it.!
Sweet. I may have to pick one up.
 

PoolBrews

Well-known member
Oct 16, 2019
181
The Villages, Florida
Just a warning... if it's not done fermenting, and you keg or bottle, you run the risk of the vessel exploding. Depends on how much fermentation is still remaining. It's never happened to me, but I have friends in our brewing club that have had bottles shatter because they bottled too soon, and had one guy that had his pressure relief valve blow on his keg - big mess.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
672
South-Central WI
That's true. I wouldn't have bottled without making sure it was done fermenting, but with the keg I'm not going to damage anything since it has a pressure relief valve.

In any case were drinking this so fast there's no danger of it overpressuring the keg.... :cheers: