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Messages - dmtaylor

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Alright guys need help
« on: August 01, 2015, 03:16:22 AM »
Smaller batches.  You have to brew more often, and you probably want to bottle although you can find smaller kegging systems... all at the "expense" of way more variety in your beer fridge.

I've been saying for years, with ciders anyway, "low and slow is the way to go".  Set the controls for temperature and patience as cool as you can possibly withstand, and you'll be rewarded.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: No head retention in lagers
« on: July 31, 2015, 11:52:34 AM »
The OP,didn't say how the mash was conducted, time and temp are important.

A protein rest is not good for head retention with modern malts.

Bingo!  Give this man a prize.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Wheat malt and lower efficiency
« on: July 31, 2015, 11:50:49 AM »

Decoction certainly can help.  I still do it once in a while, just for fun.  As long as you avoid the protein rest area around 122 F, you're fine.  Today's malts get damaged by ye olde protein rest, not good for head retention or body.  I often dough in around 100 F, then boost 'er up to 140s or even straight to 150s.  Mashout is optional.  Also I usually only boil for 10-15 minutes.  You'll get a sizable efficiency boost even from a short boil... so why boil longer.  In fact I should probably crush less to avoid efficiency from getting too high into the mid-90s, where I continue to theorize that excessively high efficiency has an adverse effect on malt flavor.  More experiments are needed.  But anyway, I digress a little bit.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Wheat malt and lower efficiency
« on: July 30, 2015, 06:12:46 PM »
That kinda makes sense. I still say grinding finer works though.

I feel we're being ignored.  Here, let me be more clear:

There's no need to dick around with mill gap settings.  If you don't crush the wheat properly, your efficiency will suffer.  If you don't crush the wheat properly, you aren't crushing anything hard enough.  Set the mill gap tighter, and crush everything tighter.  That includes barley malt, wheat malt, rye malt, oat malt, corn malt (where can I buy some of that!?), you name it.  Set the gap tighter, crush everything harder, and be done with it.

</obnoxiously ranty-sounding but helpful communication>

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: No head retention in lagers
« on: July 30, 2015, 08:57:39 AM »
I can't say for sure what it is.  Did you ferment too warm?  Fusels will kill head.  Probably not though.

I'll give you an easy fix for the future, though --- add 5-10% rye malt next time.  You'll get head with rye like you've never had before, I can virtually guarantee it.  They used to say this always about wheat, but now I'm telling you, it's rye.

All Grain Brewing / Re: water profile for special bitter?
« on: July 29, 2015, 01:25:45 PM »
Amber bitter.  You need a lot of sulfate in there.... IF you care about being traditional to style.  If you don't care about how English your English style ale is, then do whatever you like.  Might even taste better with the "amber balanced" setting.  It's your decision.

Beer Recipes / Re: Suggestion and Critique Robust Porter recipe
« on: July 29, 2015, 01:20:40 PM »
Don't want to go over 8% right, using crystal and or with carapils?

That's the first time I ever heard that.  There should be no such rule.  Or if anything, don't go more than like 20%, and 15% is kind of the high end.  But I've also tasted good beers before that used even more than those figures.  Depends on the yeast strain, mash temperature, beer style, and other factors.  Use what you think you'll like.  That's the rule to follow.

I read somewhere that Carapils is like an insurance policy for Head Retention with out the flavoring that crystal malts give you.

I don't doubt that every homebrewer has read that someplace.  Unfortunately, it's not true.  Carapils has it's own flavor, and might contribute body and some sweetness to the beer, but to use it for head retention is not really a good reason to use it.  If you don't want to increase body and sweetness with low impact to flavor, then don't use it.  Or just change your mash temperature.  But if you chewed on some and you really like the flavor, then go ahead and use it.

Beer Recipes / Re: Suggestion and Critique Robust Porter recipe
« on: July 29, 2015, 10:10:47 AM »
Looks good.  One question: What's the Carapils in there for?  It's not doing much for you.  If you don't have good reason for it, toss it out.  Consider challenging the other crystal malts in the same manner.  Simplify where possible.  Nothing wrong with your recipe at all, but it could be simplified and get the same results.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Wheat malt and lower efficiency
« on: July 29, 2015, 10:04:16 AM »
I agree with Keith (major) that it's a size thing.  Crush harder and you'll have no problem at all with efficiency.  Might become a stuck sparge thing after a certain point.  So finding the right crush for your system can be a bit of a balancing act.  Get your own mill (don't trust the LHBS!), play with mill settings, and you'll get there eventually.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lager Starters
« on: July 28, 2015, 08:06:07 AM »
2.5 to 3 quarts or liters is enough for 5 gallons of the average lager at 1.050.  I don't use Mr. Malty.  Get great results and save time and effort and money.  And while we're on that topic...... try the dry W-34/70, and you'll really save big time and effort... but maybe not so much money anymore since they raised prices (gouging).

Unfortunately I'd probably have to taste it myself to help you out.

Ah, but is Biofine as cheap as me, I mean, as cheap as gelatin?   ;)

I love the factoid about cost.  That's the last nail in the coffin right there.  Unless you're a vegan.

Beer Recipes / Re: All Grain Brooklyn Brown Ale Clone?
« on: July 26, 2015, 05:20:14 AM »
I've got a clone recipe right here.  The ingredients are all correct; the only question is the exact amount of each one.  But this recipe should get you really, really close.  Tweak it a little from there if you need to on successive batches.

Hope you enjoy.

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