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Topics - gogreen437

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All Grain Brewing / Iron in Water
« on: May 14, 2013, 05:44:46 AM »
I'm reading Dave Miller's Brew Like a Pro and one of the items he states that would make water unbrewable (basically saying if you have this go with RO water) are iron levels anywhere near the threshold level of 0.3 ppm.  He states the acceptable limit of iron (not sure if it was a typo or the figure he actually meant as opposed to the threshold level) at 0.03 ppm for brewing water.  According to my city's water report, the iron is at 0.3 ppm, well above what Miller said is the limit.   He doesn't explain why iron makes the water unbrewable, though.  Is it just that it will impart a strong iron taste?  I don't believe I have detected this in my beer, but maybe my palate just sucks.  My full water report is below if it makes a difference.

Water Report   Parts Per Million (PPM)
Calcium           48
Magnesium           38
Total Hardness   90
Carbonate           20
Bicarbonate           15
Total Alkalinity   35
Sodium           48
Iron                   0.3
Sulfate           90
Chloride           44
Silica                   11
Fluoride             1
Phosphate, Tot   0.3
Phosphate, Ortho   0.2
Chlorine           1.2
pH                   9.4

Yeast and Fermentation / British Yeast Recommendation
« on: May 08, 2013, 07:01:25 PM »
I am looking for a good British ale yeast that is fruity, is known to leave some diacetyl in the beer, but isn't over too over the top. 

All Grain Brewing / Recreating the Past
« on: May 07, 2013, 07:10:33 AM »
The first beer I ever drank that wasn't a BMC offering was Bert Grant's Hefeweizen.  In retrospect it was pretty middle of the road, and certainly more a Hefeweizen in the mold of Widmer than anything from Germany.  Still, I loved that beer.  Since it was my first and I can no longer buy it, it has achieved Holy Grail status for me in my beer world.  So why not brew it?

I did some research starting with Bert Grant's "The Ale Master" and poking around on line.  From what he wrote about the beer, they used 30% wheat malt and packaged with a Bavarian yeast strain.  I know that they used North American 2 Row as the base malt for most of their beers and I doubt as though that would have been different in the case of the Hefeweizen, so my basic starting point is 70% North American 2 Row and 30% malted wheat.  Their house yeast was an English strain, I know that.  When Grant wrote of his Scottish ale he described it as having a distinct "butterscotch flavor" in a positive manner.  The commercial description of the Hefeweizen also states that there are "hints of butter" in the flavor.  So from my understanding, diacetyl was not an automatic fault for Grant.  Another known fact is that he loved Cascade and again in the commercial description of the Hefeweizen cascade is mentioned.  Finally, according to Ratebeer, the ABV was 4.2%.  Given these items, this is my rough recipe so far with my ensuing questions below:

7.3 lb North American 2 Row
3 lb Malted Wheat

1 oz. Cascade (~6 AA) 60 mins
0.5 oz. Cascade (~6 AA) flame out

Potential Primary Yeast Candidates:
Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale
WLP 005 British Ale
WLP 004 Irish Ale

Bottling (??) Yeast:
WLP 300 Hefeweizen Yeast

For anyone who remembers this beer, has some knowledge of it, or maybe just some good insights, here are my questions:

1) Does the grain bill look about right, or do you think some Munich or light crystal or something of that nature was used?

2) I know Ringwood is known for diacetyl, but would I be getting more than I bargained for?  The Irish Ale yeast from white labs is described as creating a "hint of diacetyl" and fruitiness, but it is most often used for stouts....I'm a little lost here.

3) Is it smart to just dump a vial of the Hefeweizen yeast in my bottling bucket?  Especially with the high flocculation rate of a yeast like Ringwood and maybe some under attenuation going on?  Would it be better to pitch this 3 or so days into fermentation?  Or rack to a secondary when it is near it's final gravity and add the yeast then?

Any and all insight/comments/suggestions are appreciated.   

General Homebrew Discussion / Pouring First Runnings Back into Mash Tun
« on: February 05, 2013, 03:40:33 PM »
So I'm reading Amber, Gold & Black right now and in the barleywine section Martyn Cornell talks about an old practice where British brewers would pour the first runnings back into a mash tun to make a double beer.  Has anyone tried this before?  It seems sensible that you would extract more sugars from the same volume and create a stronger beer, I had just never read of this practice before and was intrigued. 

All Grain Brewing / Brewing with Unmalted Wheat
« on: June 13, 2012, 09:39:06 AM »
I have only ever used malted wheat to date, but would like to give unmalted wheat a spin.  I've been reading Brewing with Wheat and it seems like without fail European brewers who use unmalted wheat as a portion of their grist do at the minimum a protein rest.  But when I came to a breakdown of Allagash's White  they use a portion of unmalted wheat (unspecified amount) but do a single infusion mash around 154 F (give or take a degree, I don't exactly remember).  From listening to Jamil Show podcasts in the past with Ron Jeffries, I know that Jolly Pumpkin also uses unmalted grains with single infusion mashes, but usually in small amounts/percentages. 

So I am wondering who has tried both ways, protein rest and single infusion, with unmalted wheat and what the experiences are?  Is it ok in small amounts to not do a protein rest?  In large amounts?  No amount at all?  Any and all comments welcome. 

Other Fermentables / Mead and Medicinal Flavors
« on: May 10, 2012, 05:09:49 AM »
So I made a mead a while back (year ago) where I underpitched and probably didn't use enough yeast nutrient.  It had a really strong medicinal/cough syrup like flavor that I assumed was a result of underpitching/lack of nutrients that has taken almost a year to start to fade. 

To my surprise, however, I got a commercial example from a local winery that tasted twice as medicinal/cough syrupy as mine.  Confused I tried another mead from a company that specializes in mead here in Michigan.  The medicinal notes were not nearly as pronounced as in mine, or the first commercial example, but they were still pretty evident.  I've searched the internet for explanations, but while I've come across other people who have noted the same issue, the responses were lacking.

Is all mead cursed to have these flavors to some degree? Or will proper fermentation take care of it?  Or am I just crazy?

General Homebrew Discussion / Burn(er)ing Question
« on: April 25, 2012, 06:35:55 AM »
I'm sure this topic has come up a lot, so apologies, but is there any reason not to go cheap (50 dollar range) as opposed to some of the more expensive options?  These are two I am looking at right now:

Thank you for any input.

All Grain Brewing / Question About Batch Sparging
« on: April 22, 2012, 10:18:28 AM »
So I know that if you mash too thin you lower the efficency of the enzymes (or something along those lines) and mess with the conversion of starches to fermentable sugars.  So I get why you wouldn't mash 9 pounds of grain with, say, 10 gallons of water. 

However, yesterday I was making a mild with under 9 pounds of grain and I mashed with 3.5 gallons of water.  When I went to collect my first runnings it was stuck, and I thought the small amount of water in my 70 qt cooler might have something to do with it (first time I've ever had it stuck).  So, I added the water I had intended to sparge with, stirred and waited 10 minutes and collected my 6.5 gallons to boil with no problem.  I took a ph reading at room temp from a little bit of the runnings collected at the beginning and a little collected at the end and according to my strip they both tested between 5.0 and 5.4. 

Will this cause any issues?  And if not, what is reason behind collecting your first runnings, adding the sparge water and then waiting before collecting the rest of your wort? 

All Grain Brewing / Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« on: January 10, 2012, 09:01:46 AM »
So, I recently did Jamil Zainasheff's hazelnut chocolate porter, using maris otter as the base malt.  I batch sparged in a 70 qt coleman cooler and collected 6.5 gallons and collected 5 gallons after it was all said and done for the fermenter.  The gravity reading was well above what the recipe stated.  When I calculated the efficiency after, it was almost 82%.  Is that too high?  I've heard that too high of an efficiency can be a bad thing, as you may be extracting things from your mash that are undesirable. 

All Grain Brewing / The More I Read...Confusion and Vorlauf
« on: August 23, 2011, 11:53:45 AM »
Still relatively new to all grain brewing, but I have been reading all I can about all grain long before I ever took the plunge and this one caught me off guard.  I apologize if this is a rehash of things that have come up before, but there is a post that I came across on the Northern Brewer Blog called "2 Things Literature Says You Should Do That You Shouldn't."  The second one down says that you should not do a vorlauf as this strips your wort of fatty acids needed for a healthy fermentation.  He elaborates on the point two posts under the initial entry and maintains that the benefits do not outweigh the cons. This is the first time I've read someone advocating not doing a volrauf.  Has anybody experimented with the differences between doing a vorlauf and not doing one and the results?  I'm interested to know if this has any traction, or is a bit of a fringe opinion?  Thanks for any insight.

All Grain Brewing / Stale Grain, How Do You Know?
« on: August 15, 2011, 05:52:47 AM »
I ordered a 50 pound sack of Maris Otter back in February, so about 7 months ago.  I portioned it out into 1 gallon zip lock bags after using it the first time.  I brewed a pumpkin spice ale this Saturday and used the last 8 pounds of the Maris Otter, along with 3 additional pounds I picked up from my local homebrew store to round out my base grain.  The stuff I got from the store definitely had more of a crunch to it.  The old Maris Otter still had a little crunch, but was a little mealy, though it didn't taste bad by any means.  How do you know when malt has gone bad, and how much does your beer suffer when using old grain?

General Homebrew Discussion / How many people use hop bags?
« on: July 15, 2011, 11:26:04 AM »
I've always just thrown my hops right into the boil, but I'm getting tired of cleaning my little funnel/filter out 4 or 5 times when transferring from my brew kettle to my carboy.  How many use hop bags out there and do you notice any loss in utilization? 

All Grain Brewing / Porter Question
« on: July 14, 2011, 08:32:05 AM »
I'm going to be brewing a robust porter this weekend and it will be my first all grain using darker grains.  I'm sure this question has come up a ton, but should I add the black patent malt and the chocolate malt towards the end of the mash (like in the last 20 to 10 minutes) or mash it from the being with my base malt and my crystal malt (I'll be using maris otter for the base)?  I know that adding them later will reduce the harshness of the roast character, but is this counterproductive for the style? 

Yeast and Fermentation / Basic Fermentation Temperature Question
« on: May 31, 2011, 11:24:30 AM »
I'm sure this question gets asked a lot in various ways, but I'm taking steps to improve my process and wanted some feedback.  I've been brewing ales for a number of years now and when it comes to primary fermentation I use my basement, where ambient temps are typically in the low to mid 60s.  I know that fermentation can raise the temp of the beer by 5 degrees (give or take a few degrees) but I've never seen the temp strips on my fermentors above 71 at the highest and most often it's in the 60s.  So  I'm hesitant to go looking for a spare fridge and shelling out 50 to 100 bucks for a temp regulator for my fermentations.  But, it seems like temp control is the most universally pushed "improvement" a homebrewer can add to their process.  Should I be looking at temp control, regardless of basement good fortune? 

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