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Bribie G

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  1. Well done. As you say you can get far better control ... if you want to ... by using an external controller and if you look at my photos you'll see temperature "probes" from a couple of old FridgeMates that I happened to have. However the new bare bones fridges are great for fermenting, lagering and serving as their circuit boards have a bigger range than the earlier models.
  2. Thanks for the tip. I've actually got a spare black bronco tap thing that I don't use, so I can cannibalise that, replace the tap end with another beer-out QD and make the "jumper". One of my gas lines is really long and I use it for headspace flushing etc. - I used to have a counter pressure bottle filler as well - so that can become my gas source. Cheers. Edit: re free gas, I used to make Aldi apple juice cider and sweeten it in the keg with a 2L bottle of apple juice. Over the weeks the cider yeast was still working slowly at around 7 degrees serving temp and the cider would get dryer and dryer so I'd tip in the next bottle of apple juice. Meanwhile the fermenting gas would get distributed to the two beer kegs as well through the common gas lines. Never noticed any twang getting into the beer. I even had to vent some gas now and again and the main gas bottle lasted me twice as long!
  3. Sounds like a brilliant solution, looking forward to the post.
  4. I once kept a keg from November to April and it was fine. If you don't mind using twice as much gas another trick is to fill the keg with a weak starsan solution and "serve" it through the tap, giving you a keg full of CO2. Then fill it quickly, opening the lid just enough to let the hose in and as the beer enters, the gas - including any O2 that has snuck in, will be ejected. Seal immediately, purge a couple of times to be really certain, and store the keg. If you want to prepare a few kegs full of CO2 for future use you can just make up one kegful of starsan solution and "daisy chain" the kegs. In the photo the keg that is being filled with the Starsan then becomes the serving keg for the next one, and so on.
  5. Around 20 is good for kits such as most of the Coopers range. Going deeper into the subject, it depends on the style of beer and the yeast. For example the very popular Nottingham ale yeast is great at 19 degrees or so for ales, but can ferment right down to around 12 degrees to make a clean "fake" lager. On the other hand some ale yeasts like Ringwood produce nice esters at 22 degrees and Irish Ale Yeast is brilliant at 24 degrees making a Guinness style stout (as they do at the brewery in Dublin). Generally however I'm like Journeyman, and for the majority of my ales, 20 is the upper limit.
  6. Off topic but those paint strainer bags in the photo are the ducks nuts to use as a hopsock in an all grain boil - I bought a pack recently and they fit around the top of a brewzilla or a 40 litre urn.
  7. When doing a partial mash with an adjunct such as oats, maize or rice most Australian malts will convert up to 40% of adjuncts in the mash, so a kilo of crushed pale malt would be fine for that bag of oats you describe. Mix with hot water as a thick mash and keep it at around 66 degrees for an hour. That is if you want to extract fermentable sugars from the oats. However if you are just looking to convert the starches in the oats to dextrins and other complex sugars for mouthfeel and "character" then you don't need all that much malt. That's because the malted barley basically provides two enzymes: Alpha Amylase and Beta Amylase. The Alpha works at higher temps and cracks the starch into complex but mostly non fermentable sugars - dextrins etc. The Beta works in a lower range and goes on to crack starches and complex sugars into fermentable sugars such as Maltose. If you are looking for the mouthfeel and flavours as opposed to doing a full conversion, you could just mash with half a kilo of malted barley, run it at 72 degrees for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, raise to 78 to kill enzyme activity, then strain out and boil the wort. Alpha Amylase works dead fast if the starch is pre-gelatinised. Which it is, in supermarket porridge oats that have been steam rolled. Cracked or steel cut oats haven't been pre-gelatinised, and would need boiling first, that could get ugly! So I'd use supermarket porridge oats, better still the smaller quick cooking oats that will give better exposure to the enzyme.
  8. WRT the krausen collar, I bought my Coopers Fermenters in the "cut down bare bones" kits from Big W and they didn't come with collars - have worked out fine for about 9 months now. The stuff on the bottom is mostly yeast that's gone dormant plus other waste products like some of the proteins from the malt extract that "rain down" as the yeast does its work.
  9. As for sugar cubes, that's all I've ever used in 750ml PET bottles, I calculated that the CSR cubes in the blue box work out at around a third of the price of using the drops - one cube per bottle and fit exactly through the bottle opening.
  10. When you pitch dried yeast it takes a while for the cells to rehydrate then breed up before getting down to work with the actual fermentation. This is called the lag phase and if your fermenting temperature was low - at this time of year - the lag phase is longer. I'd say that the brew would have fired up anyway, the activity after adding the Brigalow was coincidental. Commercial dried yeasts are already primed with nutrients and lipids and stuff to get the yeast happening as quickly as possible, but it isn't immediate. The two strains of yeast shouldn't be a problem - what kit did you use initially?
  11. Just to clarify. Since the 19th Century the majority of Australian mainstream beers have contained a lot of sugar. When mid and light beers first appeared in the 1980s , to produce a lower alcohol beer many of them were simply the same recipe as their sugared brothers, but they just removed the sugar component to keep a fairly similar flavour from the malt and hops alone. Of course alcohol does provide a flavour profile itself so the "lite" beers, with their lower alcohol content, are lacking something but are fairly similar to their higher strength stable-mates. For a good insight into sugar use in Australian beers check out "Bronzed Brews" by Peter Symons. Along with a heap of old Aussie recipes. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51217878-bronzed-brews
  12. Interestingly a lot of the commercial mid and lite beers are all grain with no sugar additions (for example most mainstream Australian Lagers have up to 30% of cane sugar / brewing sugar syrups, even some of the "premiums" ) . So something like XXXX Gold or Coopers Light still taste not too bad from the malt and hops point of view.
  13. If you seriously want to avoid using refined sugars like table sugar or dex in your brews, how about a "toucan".. two cans of one of the more lightly hopped varieties. A toucan of 2 tins of original series lager works out around the same strength and bitterness as something like VB and is dead easy to drink as well as brew. Warning: just use one of the kit yeasts otherwise it can become volcanic in the FV!
  14. I've had a tin of Original Series Lager hanging around for months and will be doing what Marty suggests, also with Galaxy. Should work just as well as with the Euro Lager.
  15. Some lager yeasts will ferment quite happily at ale temperatures and give good results. Saflager s-23 or s-189. Another option is to use Nottingham ale yeast, which is famous for producing "fake" lagers and will ferment out very quickly. All available from larger home brew shops / suppliers.
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