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Topics - Brewtopalonian

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All Grain Brewing / LODO and Decoction Mashing
« on: July 02, 2019, 09:26:07 PM »
I am in a dilemma right now as I want to try my hand at low dissolved oxygen brewing but I also want to use a Decoction mash schedule.  My question is fairly simple, does Decoction mashing destroy the purpose of low oxygen brewing?  Secondary question; if not, is there a Best practice I should be utilizing?

Thanks for your input!

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General Homebrew Discussion / BJCP entrance exam
« on: March 18, 2019, 04:29:01 PM »
So I've recently been enticed to pursue becoming a BJCP Judge and I have been going down the reading list of suggested reading on the BJCP website.  I was wondering if anyone has any pro tips for studying for both the entrance exam and the tasting exam?  Aside from reading each style guideline, how does one commit so much to memory?

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Other Fermentables / Fermentation length?
« on: March 09, 2019, 12:16:42 AM »
Okay, so I thought I would Branch out and try to make some Mead.  I used the no heat method as I was once apiarist and understand that honey is naturally antimicrobial.  However, I pitched B71 into my first batch with 3lbs of honey for 1 gallon of water, aerated well.  3 weeks later I'm still at about 1 bubble every 7 seconds.  Should I be concerned that this is just turning into some fancy honey vinegar, or is this a longer fermentation.  It's been consistently at 68*F since pitching.  I also have another Mead started a week later that is still fermenting at about 1 bubble every 3 seconds using Wyeast 1388 Belgian strong as an experiment.

I'd love to hear from some professional and amateur Mead makers on what you have experienced in the past.  As a Beer brewer I have exactly no experience with Mead and  used to a quick primary fermentation (4-6 days).

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Ingredients / Water Profile: Stout (Steeped Roasted Malts)
« on: January 16, 2019, 03:53:13 AM »
Hello All!

I'm brewing an Irish Stout tomorrow (not dry, just a nice rounded stout).  I'm currently steeping my roasted malts in room temp RO water.  I'm using Martin's Bru'n Water and trying to come up with a good water solution for this recipe.  I would like to have some RA in the final beer in order to improve body.  If I use the mash profile's provided by Martin for either a Black Full or Dublin, my pH is rather high (5.83) after making the adjustments.  I don't want to add acid and alkalinity.  Should I not worry about the mash pH being that high because the roasted malts are going to add acid to the overall beer?

Here's the recipe:

8.75lb Golden Promise
.5lb Flaked Barley
.5lb Chocolate Malt (250SRM) <--- cold steep
.5lb Roasted Barley (695SRM) <--- cold steep
.25lb Crystal Medium (77SRM)

Thanks for the feed back, hope you all are enjoying a cold one!

Ingredients / Water Profile for Brown Ale
« on: October 07, 2018, 03:54:55 PM »
Hi everyone!

I'm working on trying to put together a water profile for my brown ale.  I'm using Bru'n Water, entered my grain bill, using RO water, and aiming for Brown Full profile.  However, I am worried about the ultra low pH I'm getting.  It's saying the predicted pH, even with 86ppm CaCO3, will be at 5.03.  As I understand it, I want a pH at around 5.4-5.6 for a brown.  Do I just keep adding more Bicarbonate or is there something else I should be doing?  Here's my grainbill and the profile I'm going after:

Maris Otter - 8lbs 4.7oz
Brown Malt 2lbs 14oz
Crystal, medium 8 oz
Honey Malt 6.4 oz
Crystal, Dark 4oz
Chocolate Malt 3.5oz
Special Roast 3.5 oz

Target Water Profile:
Brown Full

Ca - 50
Mg - 5
Na - 27
SO4 - 50
Cl - 60
CaCO3 - 85

Beer Recipes / Room for Improvement (Brown Ale Comp Results)
« on: September 26, 2018, 03:19:08 PM »
Hey you Beautiful Brilliant Brewers!

I was wondering if it would be appropriate, or even well received, if I were to post my recipe for my London Brown Ale that recently won gold at a competition in SLC, UT and some of the comments made by the Judges to see if I can improve upon it?  It scored 38/50, and to me, that's not good enough.  I want to cross into the 40's threshold and would love some advice on how to do so.  The judges didn't give me too much to work with in their comments, or if they did, I missed it completely. 

Here is the Recipe:

"The Dark Side of Brown Ale"

10.90 gal Distilled Water Water
8 lbs 4.7 oz Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 2 62.9 % 0.65 gal
2 lbs 14.0 oz Brown Malt (65.0 SRM) Grain 3 21.8 % 0.22 gal
1 lbs 7.0 oz Honey Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 4 10.9 % 0.11 gal
4.6 oz Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.2 % 0.02 gal
4.6 oz Special Roast (50.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.2 % 0.02 gal
0.94 oz Chinook [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 23.1 IBUs
0.32 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 8
0.78 oz Fuggle [4.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 9 2.1 IBUs
1.2 pkg British Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1098) [124.21 ml] Yeast 10

Water Profile:
Brown Balanced (as per Bru'n Water)
Started with RO Water

Single infusion mash 4.4gal 150*F 60 mins
Fly Sparge 6 gal @ 168*F

Keg Carbonation to 2.4vols.

Judges Notes:


Sweet dark fruit aroma.  sugary dates or prune.  hints of dark wine, pino noir. 9/12.

Toffee, caramel, sweet typical fruity esters common with british yeast.  9/12

Nice malt forward aroma.  roasty notes, mild fruit esthers.  10/12


Dark brown.  Solid head retains throughout. 3/3

Very dark brown, poured with a thick head with fine carbonation little high for style. 2/3

Very dark brown, nice color, nice carbonation, good head retention, maybe too dark. 2/3


Hints of sweet caramel fruit.  Flavor stays thru entire tasting lingering sweetness on the after taste. Plums. 14/20

Very similar to aroma, toffee caramel & subtle roast.  Flavor fades quickly & doesnt lingure.  15/20

Nice mild flavor, lots of biscuit up front.  Lots of lingering flavor, a bit of a bitter finish, not sure if its.... 15/20


Medium body.  Bright creamy mouthfeel.  Sweet but in a good way. 4/5

High carbonation & dry for style. 3/5

Nice carbonation, nothing off in the mouthfeel really clean.

Overall Impression:

This is a very enjoyable beer.  Reminds me of a visit to Sherlock Holmes Pub in London. 7/10

Good beer with no off flavors.  I feel the carbonation is a little high for style and it could be a little sweeter, more linguring on the palate 7/10

Very clean drinkable beer. nice carbonation, very clean flavor with just a bit of bitterness on the finish.  8/10

I really want to take this to the next level.  It's my best beer by far, but I want to learn how to push beyond good, into EXCELLENT or even PERFECT.  I know that perfect is a crazy thing to search for, but I always strive to make the best I possibly can.  Thanks for all your brilliant knowledge, I look forward to hearing what you have to say!


General Homebrew Discussion / Live Stream Brewing? - Yes
« on: July 23, 2018, 08:46:51 PM »
Hi All!

I have recently been invited to do a show on my sister and brother-in-laws twitch channel.  For those of you that don't know, Twitch is a website used for streaming live video games for the most part, but they do have a creativity section as well.  I will be brewing on Saturdays from 2pm est until completion ~5hours.  I don't claim to know everything, I certainly don't at that!  I'm just trying to bring attention to homebrewing and get people excited about it and into it and answer any questions beginners might have.  I am looking at this as a learning opportunity, not only for my viewers, but also (and especially) myself.  I hope to be challenged by questions that will force me to look things up. 

If this sounds like something you might enjoy, I invite you to follow me at on Saturday's beginning at 2pm EST.  I'm also on Twitter @hoptopicsbrew and Instagram @hoptopics.  I hope to see you there, I think this will be a lot of fun!


Equipment and Software / HERMS Upgrade
« on: June 22, 2018, 01:54:33 AM »
Hi all,

I am wanting to upgrade to a HERMS in the near future.  I've done some research but I want to hear what you guys have to say.  Where would you start with your purchases?  What would you do differently if you did it over again?  Should I just go for the 10 gallon system right off the bat? What controller should I get?  I have some experience with Arduino coding and I own an Arduino Romeo board... Can I use that somehow?

Just putting my feelers out there to get an idea of how I should go.  For reference I currently have a 5 gallon system of SS Brewtech MT and BK.  I have a chugger pump and a diedra plate chiller.

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Yeast and Fermentation / Solvent Odor in Fermentation
« on: June 13, 2018, 04:02:12 PM »
Hi all,

I recently brewed a batch of Hefewezien to which I added 5 lbs of apricots during secondary.  I made a "must" as you would in wine making by mashing my apricots and adding a little (ro) water and then crushing a couple campden tablets up and mixing those in.  I was very careful about sanitation but from what I can find, it seems as though this odor is caused by a bacterial infection (?).  If this is the case, how do you guys make your fruit beers safely?

edit:  It should also be noted that I did open fermentation, so perhaps that is my problem.

General Homebrew Discussion / BJCP Judges?
« on: June 13, 2018, 04:41:44 AM »
I'm trying to figure our if there are any actual BJCP Judges near me.  I understand that they probably don't post contact info or anything like that on such a public forum, but if anyone knows of someone near me (Salt Lake City, UT) that wouldn't mind getting in touch with me, I'd greatly appreciate it. 

Beer Recipes / Rye IPA help?
« on: April 04, 2018, 03:49:30 PM »
Hi everyone,

I've worked up a recipe for a Rye IPA that I'd like to try.  I am posting for some constructive criticism to make some final adjustments before brewday (Saturday).  Also, I just purchased a RO unit and will be using RO water and building water profiles from here on out.  I was wondering what water profile would work best with this recipe?  I'm using Bru'n Water. 

OG: 1.058
IBU's: 68.5
Color: 15 SRM
ABV: 5.8%
Batch Size: 5.5gal

10 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain  78.1 %
2 lbs Rye Malt (4.7 SRM) Grain  15.6 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain  3.9 %
4.8 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain  2.3 %

1.25 oz Bravo [15.50 %] - First Wort 60.0 min Hop  68.5 IBUs

1.00 oz Chinook [13.00 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 min Hop  0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Amarillo [9.20 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 min Hop  0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 min Hop  0.0 IBUs

1.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop  0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Chinook [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop  0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Amarillo [9.20 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop  0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop  0.0 IBUs

1.0 pkg California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35.49 ml] Yeast

Mash In at 154*F for 60 mins - 4gal
Mash Out at 162*F for 10 mins - 1.6gal
Sparge 168*F - 3.44gal

Boil 60 mins
Whirlpool 20 mins @ 180*F

Chill to 67*F with plate chiller and pitch starter.
Ferment @67*F for 2 weeks, then 65* for 2 weeks.

Force Carb to 2.8vols.

Thanks for your thoughtful input and help!  I look forward to brewing this one.  I am hoping to have some reddish color to it. 

Ingredients / Wild hops
« on: April 01, 2018, 04:01:54 PM »
Hey all!

I just bought some hops rhyzomes from a local farmer (Salt Lake Valley, UT).  I bought a couple of Cascade and a wild hop he found and has been reproducing.  He's named it Harvard, after the street he found it on.  He says he thinks is Centennial, but doesn't know for sure, is there a good way to find out more about it?  Should I just experiment with it or is there a lab I can send it to?  I'm excited to brew with it this fall.  He said it grows REALLY good here under natural conditions (no watering or soil treatment), which seems so odd to me considering I live in a desert.  Anyway, thanks for your input as always.

Beer Recipes / Quest for the Ultimate Traditional Weizen Recipe
« on: February 08, 2018, 02:12:59 AM »
Alright guys, it is my great pleasure to finally be able to contribute positively to this forum.  I'm going to share with you the best Weizen I've ever had / created.  This is NOT an American Hefeweizen, rather a TRADITIONAL Weizen.  I've found that the most important parts of this recipe are not necessarily the ingredients, but more so the process by which you brew it.  My take:

Ultimate Traditional Weizen:
OG: 1.048
FG: 1.010
Batch Size: 5.75 Gal
ABV: 5%
Carb: 2.9 vols
Color: 3.2 SRM
IBU: 12.6

Water profile:
pH: 8
Calcium: 250ppm
Magnesium: 25ppm
Sodium: 70ppm
Sulfate: 100ppm
Chloride: 280ppm
Bicarbonate: 550pp

Water profile from Bru'n Water (Martin Brungard):

Vienna (boiled)

Calcium: 27ppm
Magnesium: 15ppm
Sodium: 10ppm
Sulfate: 60ppm
Chloride: 15ppm
Bicarbonate: 80ppm

Recipe: 5.25gal, 76% BHEfficiancy


4.75lbs Wheat Malt (German) (2.0 SRM)
2.75lbs Pilsner (2 Row, German, 2.0 SRM)
1lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)
1lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM)

1oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [3.8%AA] - 90 60 min


WLP300 (1L starter at 1.035sg for 24 hours)

- Utilize a step mash with an acid rest at 109-113*F for 15 minutes (do NOT add acid prior to this step, optimal pH should be 5.8-6.0 for this step!) to promote clove like flavors and then add your phosphoric Lactic acid if necessary (typically not necessary if you match the water profile) to achieve 5.2-5.6pH prior to the normal protein rest at 122*F for 20 mins, this step gives your Weizen great head retention (especially with unrefined grains found in Germany/Belgium), then raise temp for Sacchrification Rest at 149*F, then finally Mash out at 168*F for 10 mins
- Boil heavily for 90 mionutes to combat DMS.
   - Boil 60 minutes
- Hefe should be hazy, no need for finnings.
- No late addition hops. Maintain bitterness around 10 IBU's to balance bitter with fruit/clove esters and bread malty flavors.
- Ferment between 62-65*F to promote proper yeast attenuation and correct clove/banana flavors.

Fermentation Notes:

Hefe Yeast (WLP 300) is VERY sensitive to temperature change.  Recommend pitching and fermenting at 62*F +/- 1*, then allowing the temp to rise to 64*F over the course of 3 days and hold for two weeks.  This prevents a banana bomb that characterizes American Hefe's.  This being a traditional German Weizen, you want a balance between clove and banana flavor which is achieved primarily through fermentation temperature.

Hope you all enjoy!  Let me know if you make this one with similar results!

Notes about the Edits:

This post was originally titled "Ultimate Traditional Weizen Recipe - I finally figured it out", though after some reflection, I believe I still have much to learn and, as such, have changed the title to "Quest for the Ultimate Traditional Weizen Recipe" to better capture what has truly occurred here.  I originally had a ridiculous water profile that was harder than granite - something that I really have no idea why it was so.  I have since purchased an RO unit and have building water profiles from scratch using Bru'n Water.  I acted childishly and foolishly and have since apologized to those I may have upset or offended.  I'm not deleting those comments, because I believe that in keeping with ethos, it is important to point out my shortcomings and not disrupt the great advice given by others.  I hope this thread continues on for eternity as we all grow and learn more and more about this particular style (it's a tricky one to be sure!).  Happy Brewing, I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Yeast and Fermentation / Reaching Final Gravity
« on: December 03, 2017, 05:02:14 PM »
Hey all!

I'm having a hard time reaching final gravity on my brews.  I just got a new setup and haven't been able to fully ferment to 1.010.  I've been shaking the crap out of my fermenters and still not quite getting there.  I've tried making starters, still nothing.  This last brew, I added yeast nutrient hoping it will correct the problem.  Anyone else have this issue?  What did you do to correct it?

Kegging and Bottling / Belgian Strong Ale Bottles
« on: November 26, 2017, 07:49:09 PM »
Hi All!

I'm a keg brewer for the most part.  I haven't bottled since I got my kegerator and switched to all grain batches.  However, I am going to be making a Duvel Clone next week (I know, bottling is a ways off).  From everything I've read, it seems as though bottling is really the only way to go for a Belgian Golden Strong Ale as the carbonation is different (I'm not here to debate this, it's simply the overwhelming majority of brewers believe this makes a difference in this ale).  I was wondering if you had any suggestions for the type of bottles to use for this?  I will be carbonating to 3-4 vols, which is a lot more than most beers I've brewed.  I'm guessing this is what gives Duvel its champagne like mouth feel.  Will standard beer bottles and caps be able to withstand this pressure?  My LHBS has "Belgian Beer Bottles w/corks", is this a gimmick or is it designed for exactly this purpose?  Is the glass stronger than typical beer bottles?  If I go this route, should I get champagne wire caps for the corks? 

Thanks for any suggestions!  I'm really excited to brew this beer!

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