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Topics - beersk

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The Pub / I'll be in Baltimore in late June
« on: April 07, 2016, 03:09:22 PM »
I know this is pretty early to post, but I feel like I should post it now or I'll forget to. I'll be in Baltimore from June 23-27 and have that Sunday, the 26th to myself and was wondering if anyone would want to meet up or have suggestions of good breweries or cool things to do. Not sure if anyone here is from there, but thought I'd check.
I don't think I'll have a car, but not sure. And I'm also not sure of where I'm staying. Just trying to get a feel for who is there and what's cool to do.


Kegging and Bottling / Brown inside shank
« on: January 19, 2016, 02:14:54 PM »
Does anyone notice this in their shanks? Took my setup apart for cleaning the other day and noticed this. Seems kinda sketchy... or am I just being paranoid? I tried soaking it in BLC and scrubbing with a brush and that didn't do a damn thing for it. These are supposedly stainless steel, so it can't be any of the finish wearing off, like if it were chrome. Is it beerstone? And if so, does that affect flavor?


Yeast and Fermentation / Thin and bland - culprits?
« on: January 06, 2016, 04:11:02 PM »
Howdy y'all. I don't post many topics, but lately I'm having an issue that's bugging me. I posted this in the yeast section because I feel it may be a yeast issue. But it could be something else...

Several of my last beers have come out thin and bland. I'm using RO water build up with Bru'n water and targeting mash pH of 5.4. Most beers are lagers with Best Malz. I typically mash around 150F for 75 minutes, but have done some Hochkurz step infusion mashes as well with the same results.

Typically I pitch a pretty huge amount of harvested slurry that is usually 1-2 weeks old, sometimes fresher. I'm wondering if I'm over pitching.

What are some likely culprits to my issue here? The beers are usually finishing around 1.010-1.012, plus or minus 1 or 2 points, which is good, I think.

Another thought is I wonder if over pitching batch after batch for several generations would lead to this issue.


All Grain Brewing / Wheat malt and lower efficiency
« on: July 29, 2015, 01:32:12 PM »
How do you compensate for lowered efficiency using wheat malt? Or is it even a problem for you? When I brew hefeweizens, I always see about a 5% drop in efficiency. It's annoying. My mill gap is set at .035" and I double crush. This last batch it was a dunkelweizen with 52% wheat. I did a single infusion at 153 for 60 minutes and batch sparged. Preboil was 1.044 instead of 1.049. Argh. Ended up with 1.051 instead of 1.056, which is fine, but it's still annoying.

Is there an actual reason why wheat malt is this way? Or is it because wheat  is smaller and needs to be crushed finer?

Thanks in advance.

All Grain Brewing / Lacking malt character
« on: December 10, 2014, 04:08:58 PM »
Hey, y'alls. I'm having an issue with my beers lately. I guess the best way to describe them is "overly clean" or just plain "lacking malt character". The beers are very drinkable, but just kind of missing something.

I use my tap water through a home RO system. The water is very nice and clean. I adjust water with Bru'n water spreadsheet. I usually shoot for the 50-75ppm range for calcium, chloride, and sulfate, adjusting, usually, with equal amounts of gypsum and calcium chloride in the mash and sparge.

Two things I can think of that would cause this: Too low of a mash temperature. I've been missing low lately, usually in the 148-150 range. So I've been mashing for 90 minutes because of it, instead of adding boiling water to raise or anything. I'm on a bigger system, so I'm getting used to higher water volumes.

Or, I'm not using enough calcium chloride in my water. It's usually around 2g for 5 gallons of mash/sparge water for 7 gallon batches.

I should also mention that these beers were Brewing Classic Styles bitter, Northern English brown, and a couple others that I can't think of right now. So they should have plenty of malt character, I'd think. Also the yeast was Wyeast 1335, which does indeed seem very dry and crisp, but it doesn't seem like the beers should be lacking that much malt character.

Any thoughts as to causes for a thin, kinda watery, lacking malt character, beer? My pH in Bru'n water is usually figured for the 5.3 range, and shoot for 5.4-5.5 for darker beers.

Thanks in advance.

General Homebrew Discussion / Lack of hot break at beginning of boil
« on: December 01, 2014, 04:57:14 PM »
What would be some causes for the lack of foam at the beginning of the boil? Since switching to my outside system with a 16 gallon kettle for 6-7 gallon batches, I don't get much hot break foam when it's coming to a boil. I theorize that this is from a wider kettle with lower liquid volume in it. I wonder how this, if it does, translates to the finished beer. I've brewed some pretty fantastic beers when this has happened, so that leads me to think it doesn't matter, but still, it begs the question.
Part of the reason I'm questioning this also has to do with the fact that I'm bottling some of the left over beer after the keg is full. Since I ferment in 2 - 5 gallon kegs, I can bottle right out of the fermenter with a few grams of honey in each bottle. The bottles seem carbonated but they don't form much head when pouring and don't retain head throughout the glass either. I wonder if this has anything to do with the lack of a big hot break? The kegged beer seems to have plenty of head retention, so it leads me to think that maybe I'm not using enough honey to prime the bottles, who knows...

Thus, I want to see what youse experts have to say aboot this. Does a lack of a big hot break pose a problem? I've read some about cloudy beer, but this hasn't been as much of an issue...


General Homebrew Discussion / Foam pattern in pint
« on: April 23, 2014, 02:33:30 PM »
Anyone ever get this in their beer? What would be a cause of this? Is it excess proteins? I seem to get this a lot on my light lagers. Sorry for the gigantic size, not sure how to resize it and post it.

Yeast and Fermentation / Fermenting in kettle
« on: March 18, 2014, 03:07:01 AM »
So, I've been thinking about trying fermenting right in my brew kettle. It's a 24qt tall and narrow kettle, just about the same size as a fermenting bucket. I was thinking I could put seran wrap over the top and set the lid on top. My plan would be to boil with the hops in a bag to keep the sludge out and have a cleaner wort.
Any reason why this wouldn't work just fine for lagers and ales for a typical 10-14 day primary fermentation?

All Grain Brewing / DMS causes
« on: January 27, 2014, 03:01:21 PM »
So, I notice on all my beers (mainly lagers) brewed with pilsner malt, they take on sort of a funky flavor, I think it's DMS. I boil for 90 minutes and chill the wort down to the mid 60's in about 15-20 minutes. Then I let the fermenter sit in the fermentation fridge over night or for 6-8 hours to come down to pitching temp.
I'm kind of wondering if maybe I'm not boiling vigorous enough. I brew 4 gallon batches on an electric stove with a fairly tall and narrow 6.5 gallon kettle. So when it boils, sometimes it's really vigorous for a second, then not so much. If I have the heat on too high, it foams a bunch and won't go down. I keep it going fairly consistently, but every once in a while it chills out for a second. Anyway, I usually get about a 1.25 gallon boil off in 90 minutes.
Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts as to how to fix this. I like a nice helles or pilsner, but I don't want to keep brewing these styles if I am going to keep getting this weird flavor. And maybe that's why I hate on Rahr pils malt...not because of the malt, but because of my process. Not I think the same flavor is appearing in my beers with Best Pils.

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions.


General Homebrew Discussion / Stouts - grain to glass
« on: December 29, 2013, 06:46:33 PM »
How long do you all give your stouts before you start drinking them?

I've been having issues with dark beers lately, not really sure what it is. But there's a flavor in them I'm just not liking much and having trouble getting the flavor I want that I get from commercial stouts and porters. At first, I thought maybe it was my gas lines again...I'm so traumatized from that, I suffer serious homebrewer doubt. But, I think that issue is resolved, no matter how much I try to point my finger at that, I think that there's just no way. All my other beers are great, IPAs, light lagers, ordinary bitter, weizenbock, etc. But the dark beers are tasting kinda weird. Not necessarily bad, just not right.

I've been using RO water with gypsum and calcium chloride to get to the 50-75ppm range for calcium, sulfate, and chloride. I use a little acid malt in the mash and reserve roasted grains for the vorlauf stage.

I feel like I'm doing everything right, except I might just be drinking the beers too young. I typically ferment for 2 weeks, sometimes 3, but not too often. Then keg and start drinking the beer within a week, pretty much as soon as it starts carbonating.

So, I guess it's been pretty much 3 to 4 weeks grain to glass. This is much too quick for dark beers, right? Or I may possibly have some other issue here...

Here's the recipe for my last batch:

Morning Times Stout
Brew Type: All Grain Date: 12/2/2013
OG: 1.062
FG: 1.016 (stopped at 1.024, added amylase enzyme)

Ingredients Amount Item Type % or IBU
5.50 lb Pale Malt, Maris Otter (4.5 SRM) Grain 67.90 %
0.75 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 9.26 %
0.50 lb Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) Grain 6.17 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt 50-60L (55.0 SRM) Grain 6.17 %
0.46 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 5.68 %
0.39 lb Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 4.81 %
1.00 oz Perle [7.00 %] (60 min) Hops 34.1 IBU
0.50 oz Perle [7.00 %] (15 min) Hops 8.5 IBU
1 Pkgs Safale US-05 (Fermentis #US-56)
I thought it tasted fine before I kegged it, but once cold and carbonated it wasn't the same. But that's typical, I think. I can't tell it's an oatmeal stout. I know oats aren't suppose to really give you much flavor, but you can usually tell there's oats in a beer. The beer is really cloudy when held up to the light, you might say turbid. But I think I've had this issue with other beers when they were cleared.

Anyway, I appreciate any comments or concerns you may have. 



Equipment and Software / Haze in carboy
« on: December 11, 2013, 05:31:36 PM »
Got some haze in a couple of my carboys. When the carboys dry after soaking, I can see brush marks in the haze in spots.
Anyone think it should be of concern? My beers are turning out fine, but it's annoying knowing it's there and perhaps it is doing something to the beer that I don't know.

I'm planning to give one of my 5 gallon carboys to my dad for a secondary for bigger beers. So I'm contemplating getting another 6 gallon carboy for my 4 gallon batches or getting some kind of stainless steel vessel to ferment in, maybe another used keg (if I could find one).

General Homebrew Discussion / Palate Fatigue
« on: December 06, 2013, 04:41:33 PM »
I don't know how many of y'all get this, but I feel like I'm especially susceptible to it. It seems more prominent with IPAs. I have a nice one on tap with Nelson Sauvin, Mosaic, and Citra, it's nice and fruity. The first half of the pint smells and tastes great but after a bit, I start to not be able to taste or smell those nice hops.  Or I start second guessing whether the beer tastes how it should or not.  Does anyone else ever go through this? It's driving me mad!

I had a co2 gas line contamination issue a while back where I found mold in one of my disconnects and white flecks of stuff in my gas lines. This was causing hoppy beers to turn to Werther's Ale. I disassembled everything, cleaned and hung dried, and haven't had issues since. But I'm traumatized from 2 years of ruined IPAs.  There's no reason the beer should be going south.  The system should be clean.

So, having said that, I think I have palate fatigue. Sometimes all I taste is the bitterness of the hops and can't really smell or taste them. It happens and probably means I should just not drink IPA everyday.  Your palate is really affected by the setting you're in, your expectations of the beer, the mood you're in, etc.  I feel like I'm crazy for thinking all this.  Does anyone else experience this?

General Homebrew Discussion / So I have a bland lager on tap...
« on: August 13, 2013, 05:19:29 PM »
I was contemplating dumping it because it's just blah. It's a 4 gallon batch, mostly Rahr pils, and a little munich, and I think a little acid malt to bring down the pH (used RO water with enough calcium chloride to get to 50ppm and pH to 5.4 as per Bru'n water). Mittelfruh to about 18 IBUs, and fermented with 34/70, 5.3%. It's just blah. I'm finding I don't like Rahr pils, just don't care for the malt character. I'm thinking it has to be the malt I don't like about this beer. I've brewed essentially the same recipe with my tap water, RO water, US-05 fermented at 58F, and 34/70 at 48F. Has the same flavor I just don't like.

So, last night I was lying sleepless in bed, and the thought popped in my head that maybe I could keg hop it with something. Maybe that'll turn it around, I don't know.

What do y'all think? Aside from the malt flavor I don't care for, the beer tastes pretty clean.
Or is there anything else I could do to make it so I don't want to dump this beer? I have several others waiting to be drank. Sucks because it's not bad enough to dump, but it's not really that good.
Thoughts? Concerns?

Cheersk und beersk!


Kegging and Bottling / Why do YOU keg?
« on: April 04, 2013, 01:32:20 PM »
What are the reasons you keg? Personally, I've found that kegging doesn't save much time over bottling. Kegging involves a lot of cleaning: cleaning lines, kegs, dip tubes, posts/poppets, faucets, and more.  It takes me an hour and a half, roughly, to bottle a batch. It might take me half an hour to keg the same batch. BUT, that doesn't include all the cleaning and sanitizing after the keg kicks.  With bottling, I just have to triple rinse the bottle after I pour it and that's that. There's also more moving parts for contamination to hide with kegging.
I know and understand the benefits of kegging, as I've been kegging since the beginning of 2010.  I just want to know why you guys do it.

I like having the variety of bottles. I can have 5 or 6 kinds of beer in my beer fridge to choose from and I don't feel bad if I don't drink on a particular beer for a week. But with my kegerator, which is 2 taps, I feel like I have to drink those more regularly and I'm not always in the mood for the same beer night after night.

Anyway, I want to know what you guys think.

Cheers & beers.

Yeast and Fermentation / An alternative to starters
« on: December 19, 2012, 04:11:05 PM »
Saw this over on Homebrew Talk:

Seems like a pretty good idea to me. Could put half of the wort into a sanitzed keg and seal it with CO2 for a day, then dump it into the fermenter.

Thoughts? Concerns?

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