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comment How can I get beer out of a keg without CO2?
Bicycle pumps are typically lubricated with oil, you definitely don't want to hook one up to your keg!
comment Confectioners sugar for priming?
Just wanted to note that some fermentables (e.g., honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses) will alter the taste of light-flavored beers like your wheat beer. They're often used for exactly this reason, but if you're not looking for a delicate honey note in the background of your beer, stick with the table sugar.
comment Cleaning stainless steel
You can get abrasive wheels and brushes for electric drills that should work well on the inside.
comment Bottling Rhythm and efficiency
My daughter helps me. She fills the bottles and I cap and store them. She also helps sanitize (I have a vinator and drying rack that I expanded so it holds a full batch worth of bottles). It goes pretty quickly. Do you have any interested friends or family members you could recruit to set up an assembly line?
comment First time without a kit
If you use a grain bag, don't do what I did and tie it off close to the grain. I had a packed mass of grain and the water didn't circulate through it well, and I missed my OG by almost ten points because of the resulting poor efficiency.
comment Too long in Primary Fermentation?
I've heard that autolysis is usually only a problem in commercial breweries, because the weight of hundreds of gallons of beer focused on a small yeast cake in a conical fermenter will actually kill the yeast.
comment Adding cherries to an imperial stout
I'd also recommend pasteurizing any fruit before you add it to your beer. Heat it to 170, cover, remove from the heat and let it sit for five minutes. The go ahead and put it in your secondary and rack on top of it.
comment What is the correct way to sanatise plastic pet bottles?
Most no-rinse sanitizers only work when they're wet, so you want to bottle before the sanitizer dries.
comment Oxidization during transfer
On my second batch I transferred to secondary and left the end of the siphon hose dangling a good 6-8" above the bottom of the carboy, and didn't realize it until I'd transferred about a gallon. I got a fair amount of bubbles, but the brew turned out just fine. So there's hope!
comment Why an erlynmeyer flask?
@DougEdey: I'll bet you have -- Pyrex measuring cups. They may not be laboratory-grade, but they're certainly thermal-shock resistant.
comment How long to dry hop, then when to bottle and taste?
You don't have to wait that long before tasting, I typically crack open one of my brews after only a week. They're carbed enough to enjoy, and it's fun to taste the way they change as they age.
comment How do you prevent boil-overs?
+1 for blowing on it. I did this in a panic once and was amazed that it worked. Don't know if it's a function of my pot shape (it's wider than it is tall) but all it takes is blowing on it for 2-3 seconds and it's under control. When I had a smaller pot I could snatch it off the heat fairly easily, but now I'm doing full-volume boils in a 10G pot so it'd be a bit more challenging.
comment What are the easiest and hardest commercial beer bottles to re-use for homebrew?
The bulk of my bottles originally came with either Steam or Porter in them, and they're the only ones I have trouble with. I usually wind up snapping the neck on one of them every batch I bottle.
comment Make a kit brew better?
If you're going to add DME, then you'll need to add hops to maintain the balance, and those hops should be added at the beginning of the boil. For a pound of DME I'd suggest half an ounce of EKG, with another ounce at five minutes. If you're doing a full-volume boil, add the DME at the beginning. If you're just doing a 2-3 gallon boil, you can add it at flameout.
comment A way get scum out when making mead without boiling?
I've used a paint strainer for BIAB brewing and they're much more porous than a dishtowel. If you use a "flour sack"-type towel, they're practically lint-free. I'm guessing a paint strainer would trap 90% of the scum, but not all.
comment Cleaning Fermenter
I find that sticking a shop rag or other smallish bit of cloth in the carboy with some PBW or OxyClean and some warm water does wonders for getting the gunk out.
comment Do I need to rack to a new vessel for a secondary (fruit) fermentation
@alsothings: Note that John Palmer has reversed his earlier view on secondaries; pick up the current (third) edition of How To Brew for his current recommendation.
comment Stuck Mash — New LHBS
I have heard that it makes conversion go faster, but I don't really know. Maybe they're catering to the BIAB crowd?
comment Is hop harvesting before first frost necessary?
Really? I thought people stored their hops in the freezer. Or is it a repeated freeze/thaw cycle that does it?
comment Small Space & Apartment Brewing: Mashing
Just be sure your oven works properly at low temps. My old oven thermostat was only really accurate between 325 and 425. I can't even set a temp below 170 on my current oven.