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Messages - mcdform

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Can a boil be too vigorous?
« on: February 19, 2015, 10:34:57 AM »
Thanks everyone.  I'll try to tone it down or maybe move my burner down a 1/2" at a time until the boil gets to be the right level.  I brewed a simple recipe to identify establish my system parameters and it seems to have worked in finding out that my boil was too hard.

I estimated about 1.5 gallons/hr and my preboil gravity was right on but it did totally affect the concentration of the wort and I ended up .012 gravity points higher than expected.  I diluted it down some but then that affects the IBU's so we will see what happens. 

There are several negatives to excessive boil vigor: excessive wort concentration, bittering contribution is not in proportion to the length of time you can boil, late hop additions are not as effective due to over-volatization.

A nice rolling boil, that you can clearly see is moving the wort and trub in the kettle, is all you really need.

What happens to the bittering contribution?  I figured they would be higher because of the wort concentration, anything else going on?

General Homebrew Discussion / Can a boil be too vigorous?
« on: February 18, 2015, 10:13:30 PM »
Not sure what happened but took a year of from five gallon brewing.  Made a return, cleaned my burners and found that I'm boiling off a bit over 2 gallons an hour.  The boil is very vigorous, similar to the boil when you forget that you're heating up water to cook pasta.  Lots of bubbling and splashing. 

I know a rolling boil is desirable but is a much more vigorous boil a bad thing?  Will it make my beers darker or is it just making me more inefficient time wise (heating up more water)?

My BW took 3 days of sour mashing to get very tart.  I thought it was too tart but it scored well in comp.  I tasted it once a day to check the level of sourness since it doesn't change much post sour mash.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Strange Airlock Suckback
« on: May 01, 2014, 11:48:50 PM »
Checked the airlock up, down and all around and found no signs of a crack.  I switched it out as a precaution just see what happens.  I'll update again later.

Do the S-Types really cause oxidation?  I'm brewing small batches so long term oxidation isn't really a problem since most batches are gone pretty quick.

General Homebrew Discussion / Strange Airlock Suckback
« on: May 01, 2014, 11:24:48 AM »
I understand airlock suck back when crash cooling a beer but there's something happening that is weird to me.

I have four batches fermenting in one gallon wine jugs with airlocks.  The fermentation of each is complete and the temperatures of all four are the same but one of them is sucks the sanitizer back in daily.  Are there other reasons for the suck back? 

Three of the beers are session IPAs and the 4th (with the problem) is a big Wee Heavy.  Any help is welcome as I think a similar thing ruined my small batch of Foreign Export Stout. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Second Round Recipe Entry
« on: April 29, 2014, 12:33:48 AM »
The recipe sheet was sort of working today.  It let me input my recipe but wouldn't allow me to submit it.  It kept stating that I needed to select a style from a drop down menu but the drop down menu didn't exist and the style was already listed automatically.

All the submission entry for me was for NHC 2013 (which I didn't enter) so the drop off dates and location are both wrong.  The original letter I downloaded had all of the correct info but the letter attached to the "finals" site didn't have any info.  I'm sure they will work all this out before time to ship.

And that goes double if you are brewing small batches with a BIAB mash. I usually hit 1.25 gallons at the end of the boil and leave behind about a quarter of a gallon after chilling to reduce the trub in the fermentor. Before I started doing that I was just calculating for one gallon and ending up giving up a lot of fermentor space to trub.

You are totally right about this.  My 1 gallon batch size is actually 1.25 gallons post boil and my 1.25 batch size is 1.5 gallons in the kettle.  I'm BIAB all the way for the small batches.

I'm actually stuck brewing 1 gallon batches for awhile since I'm redoing my backyard.  I've brewed about 15 this year and they have mostly been experiments.  There was some good advice above but here's some more:

1.  Get a refractometer.  Wort is precious when brewing 1 gallon batches so putting some into a hydrometer jar is like giving away gold.  Check your preboil gravity and make adjustments if needed.  I usually boil a few longer.  I've gained .005 gravity in less than 10 minutes of extra boil.

2.  Calculate your boil off accurately.  Boil off with 1 gallon batches makes a huge difference in your OG.  I lose about .5 gallon for 60 minutes.

3.  Calibrate your pot volume.  This is less important if you have really know your boil off rate.

4.  Brew 1.25 gallon batches if you're going to have a bunch of trub.  Lots of hops and certain grains cause create tons of trub.  I brewed two batches a couple days ago (old ale and gruit) and one had tons of trub the other barely any.  If you suck up a ton in your siphon I usually fill my gallon jug to the top and put in the fridge overnight.  The next day rack off a gallon of clean wort into a new jug.

5.  Skip the whirlfloc tablet.  I've tried these a couple times in my 1 gallon batches and it creates to much break material.  Maybe others have had bad luck.

6.  Have a scale that weigh hops by the gram since you'll be using small amounts.

7.  If you don't keg carb these (2 liter soda bottles) a good thing to use for bottling is the 1/2 tsp sugar cubes.  I bottle straight from the fermenter with a bottling cane and mini autosiphon.  I don't dissolve the sugar but I shake it up after capping.

Good luck and have fun!  I love these small batches.  I've been documenting some of my brews at

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Berline r Wiesse Beer?
« on: March 10, 2014, 07:43:02 PM »
This is how I am going to make my next berliner weiss. I might keep my smaller mash tun just for that. For anyone that has gone this route how many days would you keep the mash going? What temp range? Just add the german ale yeast, no lacto? Would adding lacto add anything else or is all the lacto you need in the wort?

I sour mashed (actually sour worted) a BW and it was delicious.  Mashed as normal then topped the mash with enough acid malt to lower the pH to around 4.3.  After that I cooled the wort to 110 and put it all in a big food safe (heat safe) zip loc bag and threw in a handful of unmilled pilsner malt.  Filled a cooler with 110 F water (I have electric hot water heater so it was easy) and put the zip loc in and pressed all the air out.  Mine was delicious with no off flavors or aromas after 2.5 days.  Very tart actually.

I also did one with a lacto starter (w/ apple juice) and it took about 4 months to sour at all.

1.  I really want to taste this
2. "Pale stout" still sounds like an oxymoron to me

1.  i'm going to brew a 5 gallon batch and bring it to the Southern California Homebrewer's Festival (you might be a little far away for that one).  Looks like the fest is cancelled this year.  I'll bring it to a meeting for our local homebrew club.

2.  How about Naked stout?

Edited since festival was cancelled.

Drew put a recipe for a white stout into the book.  After my initial heart attack, I calmed down.  ;)

Thanks Denny, Drew used cocoa nibs and coffee without dark roasted grains as well.  If this works we could try making a pale Vanilla Bourbon Porter. ;)  Hopefully your heart could handle that one.


Right, but extracting in water extracts color is well. If the ethanol extracts less color per aroma/flavor then it would better serve the goal of making a pale stout than a water extraction.

Could try extracting the grains into ethanol in the ISI Whip to see if you get more flavor from the grains and less color than the roasted color.  I just got another couple pounds of roasted barley to play around with.

The brew was a normal BIAB with a cereal mash and 60 minute rest at 150F.

Why the cereal mash?

For the flaked barley.  It wasn't for any other reason than to keep the recipe and process the same as in BCS so that I could see the difference in how it turns out based on my previous "regular" brews from the same recipe.

JP's brewing in Stevens point, WI has a blonde stout. It is rather sweet with the flavor of white chocolate. Not quite what I would think of as a stout but interesting none the less.

Thanks for the information.  I looked it up and it sounds similar to what others have tried.  I found this quote from  Nonetheless it still sounds tasty!:

"JP’s Casper White Stout is not actually white in color, but it’s not the deep brown, almost black hue characteristic of stouts either: it is an inviting amber color. “Our challenge was to make it as pale as possible,” Hopkins said. “That means we cannot use black roasted malts in the brew, so instead we age it for two weeks with coffee beans and cocoa nibs to create the classic stout roasted character.”

Thanks man.  If this is successful and I brew a bigger batch I'll send you one to try! :)

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