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Messages - Andy Farke

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pics of recent brews?
« on: July 15, 2018, 03:24:08 AM »
A hibiscus witbier--it's tasting phenomenal so far! I'm brewing a second batch right now, which will be at the Lake Arrowhead Brewfest in August.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water
« on: March 20, 2018, 03:58:45 PM »
My only recommendation for a calculator is this: I had a bad experience using BeerSmith for acid additions so I do not recommend it for water calculations.

I'm curious now -- what sort of bad experience did you have? What version did you try the water calculations with? Did you add the water profile as an ingredient, or something else? Were mash and sparge water different? I use BeerSmith fairly extensively (and have explored its use for water calculations), so I'm curious on this!

The grains on this one are pretty light, so that might be one Skyler mentioned, decoction could be a factor. What is the color on the wheat malt? There are various varieties, and some are darker than others. If you're happy with the flavor and just want to adjust color, a bit of Carafa II can be used for some minor color adjustment.

Fascinating...just to confirm, you dissolved the gelatin in warm water prior to adding to the beer?

Re: the carboy cleanliness, are you using PBW or a similar cleaner? Or just scrubbing? In my experience, PBW+scrubbing seems to be the best (although I always have to pay attention to the area around the mouth of the carboy!).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: No boil kits
« on: February 07, 2018, 06:00:39 PM »
I made a few of those kits some years back, with pretty decent results. I augmented with a little extra boiled DME+water (as the kit directions usually suggest, anyhow). I wouldn't recommend going with any of the lighter colored brews--the stouts, porters, and browns will be a little more robust to off-flavors. I would also suggest picking up an extra package of yeast, as the provided mystery yeast may or may not have been stored well in the long run.

In any case, the kits are good for a quick-and-easy brew. Sure, you can get better results with more complex kits, but the no-boil packages are decent for what they are.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: New here, new to brewing
« on: February 06, 2018, 05:02:11 PM »
Welcome to homebrewing! I agree that a stout or porter is a good early's flavorful, fairly foolproof and resistant to mistakes (or at least will cover them up in a way that a blonde ale won't). A good wheat ale is also fun to try, if those are in your taste spectrum. A saison is also a winner. I generally recommend trying beers that have some character in the first few batches--they're a bit more forgiving as you work out your technique.

It's funny, but your first batches almost exactly parallel my first few batches that I brewed solo. First was an amber ale, second a pale ale. I would be curious to know how this parallels the experience of other people!

Finally, relative to your comment on dry yeast, the good news is that there are a ton of options available now! I use liquid or dry yeast about 50/50, depending on my time and what I'm brewing. Dry yeast quality and variety is far above what it was even 10 years ago.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First batch of homebrew. Is it infected?
« on: February 06, 2018, 04:56:09 PM »
Turned out pretty good. It should be much better in a week or two.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

Cool! Most of my ales (especially stouts) hit peak after a week or two in the keg (and if you keep it cold, will stay nice and fresh for the next 1-2 months). Related to your initial post, I had the same panic about the floating gunk in my first few batches...enjoy your beer, learn from any mistakes on this batch, and good luck on your future homebrew projects!

Beer Recipes / Re: Head retention issue
« on: February 06, 2018, 04:52:01 PM »
Hmm...that's a puzzler. The grist is definitely in the right zone for good head retention.

Perhaps you have checked this already (and please forgive me if I'm going too basic!), but have you checked your glassware? I always wash my glasses by hand, and give them a solid rinse--dishwashers are rough on glassware as well as foam retention. Does the foam dissipate after taking a sip? A tiny bit of oil from your face can dissipate foam quickly. If you haven't already, try pouring and letting it sit on its own for 5-10 minutes and see what happens.

For the remaining thin head, is it a complete blanket over the surface of the beer (which would strike me as probably okay), or just something around the edges of the glass?

I guess the final question (and this is more of a general one for the audience)--what is a reasonable expectation for time and nature of head retention?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: RO water good for making beer?
« on: February 01, 2018, 06:56:34 AM »
RO water is a fantastic place to start for brewing! I would recommend getting it tested, to see just how "pure" your RO is, and give a baseline for building up your profile. I've got good luck with my local RO supplier (not too far off from distilled water), but I understand that various systems may or may not provide more "pure" water depending on the equipment and your starting water.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottle Cap Ingress: Is it real?
« on: January 31, 2018, 05:58:25 PM »
I think the experiment was controlled well. Same batch, same initial packaging, same storage temperature, etc. You can't expect to agree totally with someone's subjective opinion of their own beer, but that aside, this was a solidly controlled and executed experiment.

This was impressively well controlled, up to the point of the tasting. Was the taster aware of the identity of each sample (i.e., to what extent was confirmation bias a potential factor)? Was only one tasting conducted? Etc.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pics of recent brews?
« on: January 29, 2018, 12:55:05 AM »

Here in SoCal, enjoying a tasty rye ale (clone of Shoreline Brewery's Seven Red Rye Ale based on a BYO recipe) out in the yard!

How do you all manage to put beer from a keg into a bottle for later drinking and preserve the same atmospheres in the bottle as the keg?  That tip would be really useful.  Do they make such a thing as a counter pressure filler for home beer makers that's not too expensive?

I made something similar to the BruBottler ( that works pretty well for me. If you handle everything carefully (especially watching the flow in the bottle so as to avoid excessive agitation, and capping on foam), you can minimize oxygen ingress. There are obviously other methods and equipment that are more O2-safe on the bottling end, but this is a good (and cheap) starter technique for bottling from the keg. I have had very good results (medals and scores in the 40s and stuff) by sending in stuff for competition with this technique. And bad results (rapid oxidation and flavor degradation) when I didn't bottle well. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: CO2 Purity and Why It's So Important
« on: January 25, 2018, 05:19:44 AM »
The discussion on O2 ingress via beverage/gas lines is interesting food for thought. I wonder how it actually ends up in reality. Real-world conditions always deviate from the predictions of simple equations--the question is by how much and over what timeframe.

As my professorial spouse with a Ph.D. in physics often says, "Assume a spherical cow..."

Kegging and Bottling / Re: CO2 Purity and Why It's So Important
« on: January 21, 2018, 03:28:52 PM »
Am I a total outlier here in thinking that this is a bit of a non issue because, as a homebrewer, I have the luxury of drinking my beer quite fresh (kegs are nearly always gone in 2 weeks), so I can relax about what is _primarily_ a shelf life concern (as long as I'm not doing full on LO?)

I don't think you are an outlier here--my sense based on my interpretation of these same results and the above conversation is that for brewers who handle their stuff with at least moderate care, and consume quickly, there isn't any major reason to worry. I might change my mind on that point with some rigorous tasting data (which unfortunately don't exist yet, as near as I can tell), but at least for now the issue is lower down the priority list for me.

(again, I'm not saying that it shouldn't be of concern, just that it would be really nice to see quantitative evidence for a perceptible impact for a typical beer drinker at the _homebrew_ scale under _homebrew_ consumption conditions).

Kegging and Bottling / Re: CO2 Purity and Why It's So Important
« on: January 21, 2018, 03:23:18 AM »
I want to kind of take what you’ve said and parse it so we can hit everything you asked/commented on.

<snip -- edited out text for brevity>

As far as the serving pressure add to the sum total, you are correct. It’s not all added up front, but again, we made some assumptions here:

1.) You are sufficiently purging your kegs. That means liquid purging the ENTIRE keg, including the entirely of the headspace (liquid coming out of the PRV). If you aren’t doing that, you are adding to the DO in the finished beer.

2.) We assumed 2.5 volumes of carbonation. Obviously anything higher increases the DO in the finished beer.

3.) Again, we assume a grade of CO2 that is of a much higher purity than most are probably using.

Ultimately we just wanted to bring to light something that may not have been on people’s radar.

Cool, thanks for the detailed response!

So at least on the cold side, it seems like homebrewers have (more or less) two options to minimize cold side aeration effectively:

1) Complete keg purging+careful closed transfer+spunding+food-grade CO2+cold storage -- slow, but the Cadillac option in terms of minimizing oxygen content at start

2) Complete keg purging+careful closed transfer+food-grade CO2+cold storage -- faster, some potential for near-term oxidation, but likely minimal if you follow this protocol precisely with high-quality CO2 and careful keg purging.

And adequate purging and good quality CO2 really are the key steps.

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