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Messages - ffdfireman

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Wood/Casks / Re: First attempt at Barrel Aging
« on: March 28, 2019, 01:01:05 PM »
Several months is what we intend.  We're thinking late fall for kegging/carbonating.  So it's ready for tapping by Christmas.

Wood/Casks / Re: First attempt at Barrel Aging
« on: March 27, 2019, 10:38:26 PM »
Thanks for the info guys.  Much appreciated.  There will be three of us brewing for the barrel.  We're planning to have enough to fill the barrel with some extra to top up as the angels take their share.

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Wood/Casks / First attempt at Barrel Aging
« on: March 27, 2019, 02:56:37 PM »
Hi Everyone.  This is an attempt at a barrel aged beer.  My brother, his brother-in-law, and I are collaborating on our first ever beer aged in a real barrel.

The Story:  I came in to possession of a 15 gallon barrel that started out housing bourbon, and then was used to age maple syrup.  We thought that it would be a great vessel to age a big beer.  Each of us is brewing 5 gallons of an imperial stout to be blended together in the barrel after secondary fermentation has completed.  I received the barrel 3 days after the syrup was drained from it.  The temperatures have been cold enough that I'm not overly concerned with "moldy residual syrup" still in the barrel, but to be safe I immediately dumped in a bottle of whiskey and rolled it around to sort of 'sanitize' the inside of the barrel.  I assume the residual maple syrup will reactivate the yeast so we intend to seal the barrel with an airlock to avoid carbonation in the barrel.  At the end of aging we will each fill a five gallon corny keg and force carbonate at our homes.

The purpose of this post is to seek out any input (or experiences) any of you have had in attempting this through your local clubs, etc.  Is there anything we should be aware of?  Or watch out for?  For instance how much can we expect to lose to the "Angels' Share?"  We are over brewing (volume) in order to have a supply to make up any amounts lost from the barrel and keep it as full as possible for as long as possible.

Thank you in advance for your input.

Equipment and Software / Re: The Grainfather
« on: November 12, 2015, 05:00:42 PM »
I saw that Northern Brewer sells it with 2000w element.  Actually it's a dual element that you can switch off half of it once you've reached mash temp.  Sounded kind of cool.

Equipment and Software / The Grainfather
« on: November 12, 2015, 04:45:22 PM »
Just looking for opinions on The Grainfather brewing system.   It seems like a great system, but also a big investment for the average homebrewer.  It is a hobby we all love, so I guess it's like a golfer who buys a new set of clubs.  I haven't seen a whole lot of reviews so your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: New brewer
« on: May 08, 2015, 03:16:26 PM »
Welcome to the hobby

Once you have wort, there's really no difference between AG and Extract.

There are many guys who started out All Grain from the start, though the vast majority do start with extract.
The thought process is that for a newbie, it's much more important to get the processes like sanitation, boiling, racking, bottling, etc down pat first before throwing on the added complexity of all mashing.
That said, Brew-in-a-bag (BIAB) and batch sparging are relatively easy to learn and perform as long as you can keep the temp and pH of your mash in line.

I've been brewing for about 13 yrs, and I still will make an extract batch every now and then simply to save time.  I'd say most of us who've been around homebrew for a while don't consider it backtracking.  You can make great beers using extract if you know what you are doing.


Welcome to the hobby.  I agree with the post above.  You will see plenty of posts disagreeing with me, and the always persistent AG vs. Extract debate.  I have been brewing for around 10 years and still prefer to to brew with extracts/partial mash.  So I, also, do not consider it a step backward.  The great thing about this hobby is that, outside of sanitation, there isn't much you can do wrong.  Some mistakes turn out great, and others.....Well almost everyone here has had to dump a batch at some point.  The fun comes from constantly learning from each other, and trying to fix/or improve all the time.  You'll find yourself addicted to this.  I'm still trying to come up with a recipe that my wife will love so she quits buying that damn Summer Shandy.  lol
Again welcome and Cheers!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Carbonation for beginners
« on: May 08, 2015, 03:01:06 PM »
This may be over simplifying things a bit, but I have had great results by letting my BeerSmith software calculate the carbonating pressure for me.  You enter the the desired carbonation level and temperature of the beer/keg.  The software tells you where to set your regulator.  This won't be maintenance free, I found that giving a shake pretty often the first few hours gets it started, then I check it once a day.  Sometimes I find that the pressure has diminished a little, but I believe that's due to a very inexpensive regulator (there is no leak).  I adjust the pressure up to where it should be, and give it a shake at least once a day.  As long as the pressure has stayed consistent for at least 24 hours and I can't hear the "bubbling" when I shake the Keg I know it's done.  I purge the excess pressure in the keg before tapping it to serve, and let it sit for a few hours to settle down after shaking.  No one wants a glass full of foam.  Hope this helps a little.

Ingredients / Re: Coffee, how much and what kind
« on: May 06, 2015, 04:25:35 PM »
What are your thoughts on bourbon soaked beans?

Ingredients / Re: Coffee, how much and what kind
« on: May 06, 2015, 03:47:10 PM »
Just seeing this with the new responses.  I have brewed a coffee stout once or twice a year for almost 20 years now.  My personal favorite method at this point is adding the grounds at flameout (basically like a whirlpool addition) using a fine mesh nylon hop bag.  I find it gives the best balance of coffee flavor and flavor stability and longevity.  I really like the granularity of using a cold-brewed concentrate (with my Toddy setup), but I've found that the coffee character fades a lot faster using this method.  If I were brewing a batch for a festival where it was going to be consumed quickly, I'd probably go with that, but for around the house, flameout is the way to go for me.

As far as what type of coffee, you need to ask yourself that.  What type of coffee do you like to drink?


I will have to try it at flame out to make sure the flavor stays for longer aging.  (Thinking of making a bourbon coffee stout)  My problem is, that even though I'm only brewing it for at home, it goes so fast I haven't noticed the flavor dissipation.  :-\

Ingredients / Re: Coffee, how much and what kind
« on: May 06, 2015, 02:46:04 AM »
I started with a coffee stout kit, then did some reading and experimenting.  I found that the best way (for me) to get good coffee flavor without the added "coffee bitterness" is to cold brew coarsely ground beans, filter the grounds and put in secondary fermenter.

Equipment and Software / Re: Ventilation for Indoor Brewing
« on: January 09, 2015, 10:04:56 PM »
Hi guys.  Thanks for the responses.  I'm only looking to brew partial mash / extract in the basement right now.  I really enjoy brewing outside when the weather allows.  This would be to satisfy the "brew itch" when I can't be outside.  So a single pot electric setup is the goal for now.  I'm planning to set up ventilation to handle bigger systems in the future.  Or at least be easily expanded/upgraded.

Equipment and Software / Ventilation for Indoor Brewing
« on: January 09, 2015, 02:11:12 PM »
Hi Everyone!  I'm looking to convert to electric so I can brew in my basement during the cold winter months in Wisconsin.  The concern is how to properly vent the steam/moisture.  I'm thinking a vent hood of some kind that I can connect to an old dryer vent that's no longer in use.  Any Tips or suggestions would be great.  Thanks in advance.

Ingredients / Re: Ever used a base malt like a specialty grain?
« on: October 07, 2011, 02:47:51 PM »
Thanks everyone.  I think I'll be performing a mini-mash with the Munich.  Thanks again.

Ingredients / Ever used a base malt like a specialty grain?
« on: September 30, 2011, 03:11:34 PM »
Hi everyone.  I'm an extract brewer looking to make an IPA.  I tend to (try to) formulate my own recipes versus using a kit.  I'm wondering if anyone has ever steeped a base malt as a specialty grain.  I want to incorporate some Munich 10 in to this IPA, but I'm finding mixed thoughts on procedure.  Some say it can be steeped and some say I should perform a mini-mash with the Munich then proceed with steeping the rest of the grains after the mash.  Please let me know your opinions.  I know some base malts can be steeped while others require a mash to get the sugars out.  The concensus of this forum will dictate how I proceed.  Thanks for your help.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing This Weekend - 7/2
« on: July 05, 2010, 02:17:14 PM »
I have committed a sin.......all kegs are empty!!  I have a cream ale in primary that will switch to secondary today, then I will start brewing a clone of Oscar's Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (Sand Creek Brerwing Co.) this afternoon.  Gotta get these kegs filled up.

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