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Messages - brewcrew7

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: formula for preboil wort PH lowering
« on: December 20, 2015, 05:19:12 AM »
Although a pH meter would be best to empirically determine the amount of acid to add, the size of protein break can be used to determine when your in the ballpark. Flocs will become larger when pH is optimal but may also get smaller when outside your target, high or low. CaCl2 or gypsum can be used as well as acid but keep in mind these may also change the character of your beer in other ways. You can make your additions  towards the end of the boil if you want to preserve the utilization of hop bitterness extraction.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Step Mashing & Calculating Rest Times
« on: October 08, 2015, 07:29:53 AM »
Check out this blog for some relevant information that you may find useful. Digging around for other posts may uncover more.

If you are just looking for a flavor / aroma profile, I've heard of adding pellets to bottles of Bud Light and recapping. Some breweries do this when they get experimental hops to try.

While this can be done, the time I did this with 6 different pellet varieties (from EKG to Citra) yielded a very similar, out-in-front grassy/vegetal character to the beers. Couple that with the trouble of recapping and the sludge I got from the hops, I'd recommend Eric's method hands down.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: what can i do in the meantime???
« on: September 02, 2015, 06:25:09 AM »
Join the AHA if you haven't already and read all the Zymurgy magazines available to you. Otherwise, teach a friend how to brew. No better way to spread and deepen your own knowledge at the same time!

Ingredients / Re: Cocoa powder - how much?
« on: April 17, 2015, 06:05:23 AM »
Last time I used cocoa powder it caused all sorts of issues when bottling. Too much sediment, in part, caused gushers that don't do much for presentation's sake. Although I'd lean away from powder next time as I didn't find it contributed anything positive, can this stuff be cleared by cold-crashing or gelatin fining? The sludge was perhaps 25% of my beer.

Beer Recipes / Re: Stone releases official Levitation Ale recipe
« on: April 02, 2015, 08:08:50 AM »
For whirlpool/steep/hopstand/post-flameout additions, I've been using the free BrewCipher spreadsheet for IBU estimations. Having just did a beer similar to Levitation with nothing but flameout hops and a 30 minute no cooling steep, I found the estimate IBU to be pretty close to how I perceive the actual bitterness.

Another similar exercise is to compare Mike Tonsmeire's Modern Times recipe of Fortunate Islands to that on his home system. His homebrew versions have more finishing hops than the commercial version, simply due to his lower hop utilization (bitterness, flavor and aroma).

The one thing I'm discovering about this beer (heavy on crystal malt) is that the character of the beer changes quite rapidly going back and forth between hops and malt, and not always in a good way.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Thoughts on my ESB recipe
« on: January 26, 2015, 01:56:49 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. Your posts about yeast are always appreciated. The reason I ask is that I've never quite got the english character with my yeasts and that probably has much to do with my "higher" yeast counts and "lower" temperatures. They've all seemed rather too clean for what I was hoping.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Thoughts on my ESB recipe
« on: January 26, 2015, 08:14:39 AM »
Wyeast 1968 will work, but Whitbread "B" (Wyeast 1098, WLP007, S-04) is a better strain to use with this recipe.

Why in your opinion would Whit B work better over 1968? Also, what pitch rate, oxygenation and temperatures do you prefer? I agree with your torrified wheat comments as I've always received comments from tasters regarding the smooth creamy nature of beers I've used it in at that rate. I never have picked up on nutty/toasty flavors from it though as some have reported. Thanks!

Ingredients / Re: Single-hopped beers - 2014 edition
« on: January 08, 2015, 06:37:41 AM »
Eric, do you have any plans on keeping up to date with your blog? Always love your take on hops, but I'll have to scour the forum for all your nuggets. Besides just tasting notes, which you do wonderfully, you also add suggestions on how to bring out their best qualities - that's invaluable experience. For example, a recent comment of yours about El Dorado and making sure to ferment beers dry is insightful.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bock attenuation problem
« on: January 06, 2015, 01:56:20 PM »
While I agree it might be a fermentability issue, what was your main fermentation temp? I recently read about and experienced myself a "stall" short of FG with a dopplebock using similar grains and W34/70 yeast and perhaps a low temperature was to blame, even with an adequate pitching rate. I've heard some strain(s) could just quit after a certain point at low temps and not revive later no matter what you try. Unfortunately for me at the time, I thought the beer was done despite warming and rousing for a few weeks (70% attenuated) and now I've got bottle gushers.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Parti-Gyle Brew - RIS & Oatmeal Stout
« on: November 14, 2014, 03:19:57 PM »
The last Zymurgy has an appropriate partigyle article by Ron Pattinson.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: probably been covered, but…..
« on: November 11, 2014, 07:41:13 AM »
To follow up on klickitat jim and majorvices, I would add some caution and clarify that a "stable" gravity reading means the yeast in its current state, regarding time, temperature, nutrients remaining, etc, is "done" fermenting but it does not mean that all the fermentable sugars are gone. It is important that if you are bottling that the yeast reaches terminal gravity. The kit instructions state that expected final gravity is somewhere between 1.016 and 1.020. If your beer never gets to that point and still reads a stable but slightly higher than recommended gravity, then you'll need to consider a few options:

1) rack to secondary - this helps rouse the yeast back into suspension, can add a bit of oxygen, and awaken the yeast to finish fermenting. However, you are reducing the amount of yeast and asking it to continue to ferment sugars when its already "tired or done". This may take some extended time to finish if you do nothing else. I'm not sure why most kit instructions recommend this step because I think for some beers this can be a crucial mistake. Residual sugars either make sweet beer or can cause much higher carbonation levels than expected or even create bottle bombs/gushers.

2) move your fermenter to a warmer place and/or rouse your fermenter. Rousing is simply stirring up the yeast sediment. For some english yeasts, this can be helpful to ensure they ferment out those last remaining sugars. An increase in temperature can also increase yeast activity. A ramp up in temperature at this stage is okay but a ramp down in temperature may stop fermentation. Some yeasts can be sensitive to even a couple degrees change and drop out of solution. Again, for me, this is most common with english strains.

3) use more "advanced" methods to help a stuck fermentation such as adding actively fermenting yeast to help ferment out those remaining sugars your first yeast could not finish

For your next batch consider reading up on rehydrating dry yeast, aeration, and temperature control.

Best of luck and no question asked is a stupid one!

Ingredients / Re: Water for Märzen
« on: August 06, 2014, 07:10:56 AM »
I'll agree with Hoosier, all the lagers I've brewed this year (Czech dark, light, dopplebock, oktoberfest, helles and okay, kolsch-style) were all sub 50 ppm Ca as part of a change in approach. In fact I cut Lake Michigan tap water with RO and was using ~16 ppm. Still used some lactic acid in the mash but all converted well, dropped clear and are tasty. However, to say they are different from those with more calcium is tough to say without a side-by-side. Best of luck!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Efficiency Confusion
« on: July 23, 2014, 06:55:37 AM »
You could look up "acid etching kettle" to find a way to make permanent markings on your kettle. Be sure to do the research before considering this (health caution, etc). I've done it on one pot of mine and like it so far.

About efficiency, I would agree with the others about volume/gravity measurements. You can be off by 1 qt anywhere in the process and be off your efficiency by 5% or so. That can also translate to 0.5lb base malt in a 5 gallon batch. Remember hot wort/water expands in volume 3-4%. Is that worth concern? You can weigh the practicality of seeking those lost or gained volumes against your sanity and the quality of your beer, it's up to you!

All Grain Brewing / Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« on: July 23, 2014, 06:43:56 AM »
redzim, I think it's your hops. Given your 5 year experience with the beer the hops appear to be the variable here. It could be a combo of both the lot and the amount you are using, not necessarily one or the other by itself. That's unfortunate, it sounds like a tasty beer and it's perhaps one reason why I've been hesitant in ordering hops by the pound the last few years. I think using gelatin in this batch can't hurt and is a good idea.

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