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Topics - jmcamerlengo

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1
Ingredients / Whole Star Anise
« on: August 23, 2012, 06:23:08 AM »
Hey guys Im doing my Christmas Ale this weekend. The recipe is 2-row some c-40, special roast and a touch of roasted barley for color and some wheat for head retention. I usually put some cinnamon ginger and orange zest into the last 5 min of the boil. Then I make a vodka tincture out of the same spices and add at kegging to get the flavor I want.  I usually use the zest of 4 oranges(10 gallon batch) and 4 cinnamon sticks and 4 cubes of candied ginger in the boil and the same ratio in the tincture. 

This year I found some great star anise from a spice market that smelled too good to pass up. Anyone have experience with this in beer? How much do you recommend? Has anyone blended it with similar spices before, how much of each?

I have considered making a separate tincture out of the star anise and dosing it at the end appropriately, but if there's some good advice out there it'd save me the trouble of making separate tinctures and allow me to add it to the boil directly as well since I like the flavor of both the boil and the tincture with my spices. I want it to blend well with the other spices and be one of those " I taste something in there and I think its anise but I cant put my finger on it" type of things.

2
Yeast and Fermentation / Do I need a starter??
« on: July 18, 2012, 10:28:35 AM »
Made 5 gallons of a sessionable Belgian Blonde on July 8th, 1.049 OG. Initial starter of 1.25L pitched into that, oxygenated for 45 seconds with pure O2. Got the beer cold crashing now, and will pull it off the yeast cake tomorrow.

I want to use this yeast for 10 gallons of a BIG belgian quad. 1.103 est OG. Should I split the cake up and make some starters for the big beer? How much do you reckon would be adequate? Normally I would just pitch the whole cake into 5 gallons of big beer, but I only made 5 gallons of this blonde, as the other 5 gallons of blonde got 100% Brett fermentation, so ive only got 5 gallons worth of blonde fermented with WLP500. thanks!

3
Yeast and Fermentation / Is Secondary necessary with fruit?
« on: June 04, 2012, 08:59:12 AM »
So I did 10 gallons of a straight forward wheat beer this weekend.

I have the batch split between 2 carboys and planned on adding honey and centennial dry hops to one of them. The other I was going to add 3 lbs of oregon peach puree.

I know I can add the honey after 3 days or so and the bulk of fermentation has completed. Then after another 4 days I was going to add the centennial hops and let it sit for another week in primary with those. 

Is there any reason not to just dump the peach puree into the primary after the bulk of fermentation has completed rather than going to a secondary other than yeast harvesting? I know its been said that secondary is not necessary unless your introducing another fermentation, which fruit would, but why is that necessary?

4
Going Pro / Some figures for opening a pub.
« on: May 30, 2012, 12:01:45 PM »
So I am getting my business plan put together for the brewpub and wanted to run some numbers by you experienced folks to see if this sounds feasible.

The city I am planning on opening in has a population of about 16,000 people. The greater area(about 20 mile radius) has over a half million population.  There is a successful brewpub about 40 miles east of me that brews on a 10 bbl system and runs 11 taps year round. There is also a successful packaging brewery about 20 miles west from me. 

In my direct location(within 5 miles) there are 2 Italian resturaunts an AppleBees, an upscale place, a Japanese place, and all of your fast food joints. The area is growing with new business exponentially. I will be within 3 miles of 2 major interstates. There is also a shale boom by me that is expected to last for quite some time. It just started and businesses are just starting to move in. So i think now is the time.

My plan: A variety of burgers and sandwiches basically, healthy options such as wraps. Keeping the kitchen equipment minimal. If you're from the cleveland/pittsburgh area, think The Melt, Panini's, Primanti brothers type of menu.

For the brewery, I am thinking 7 bbl system. 2 week ale fermentations, 4 week lager fermentations. 75% ales, 25% lagers. 3-4 (7) bbl fermenters, and 2 (15) bbl fermenters.  I plan on having 8 beers on tap. 4 house beers, all of which are ales. 4 seasonal beers, 1 of which will always be a lager, and 1 of which will  be a high gravity or specialty beer, and the other 2 will be different ales.

Does this seem like a feasible startup plan? Should I start with less and expand? Cut the number of taps and fermenters down? Do I not have enough? Thanks!

5
The Pub / Diablo 3
« on: May 16, 2012, 08:29:43 AM »
Any players out there? Not much of a gamer these days but loved D2 so Im back for abother round at hacking up demons.  Been lots of trouble with servers and such and the few minutes I had to play were unbearably laggy. When they get this s*** right I cant wait to play this thing, anybody else out there play?

my tag is kingtheater@gmail.com

6
Yeast and Fermentation / Brett bruxellensis Trois
« on: May 14, 2012, 12:29:51 PM »
Scored a vial of this Brett strain from White Labs. Want to do an all Brett beer with it. It says mango and pineapple in the description. I cant find much in the way of experiences with it. Anyone used it before?

7
Events / International BeerFest Cleveland, Ohio
« on: May 09, 2012, 12:56:35 PM »
Anyone going to this event this weekend?

I will be at the Friday night session, always enjoy meeting fellow AHA members!

8
General Homebrew Discussion / Whirlpooling and concerns
« on: March 28, 2012, 08:14:43 AM »
I've started whirlpooling a bit more extensively on some brews(5-30 minutes depending on beer)

My question is concerning DMS and effects with whirlpooling.  In something using a considerable amount of pils malt where its crucial to chill quickly, is DMS a concern with hot whirlpooling? Is there a recommended time for these types of beers. Should the kettle be covered after the boil has completed during whirlpooling? I generally have not covered the kettle until Ive chilled down to atleast 70 or so.

I use a therminator btw to chill and recirc the last 10 minutes or so of the boil to sanitize everything. Generally I will whirlpool hot for a length of time then just kick the water on for the therminator when I'm ready to start cooling. I generally experience about a .5 degree per minute loss whirlpooling without the chiller running(so after a 30 minute whirlpool ive cooled down to 195 or so.

Thanks!

9
Equipment and Software / Pickup tube in boil kettle
« on: March 21, 2012, 10:05:56 AM »
I have a converted sankey keg as my boil kettle. I currently use a sure screen and hop spider to help keep things clean going into the chiller and carboy.

I am thinking about putting a pickup tube on the kettle so I dont find myself trying to fill the carboy with one arm and tilt the keg with the other to get that gallon plus of wort out of there.(also in the HLT but thats easy). I run kettle to chiller to pump back to kettle or into carboy.

My question is, do any of you have experience with using a pickup tube on the kettle? Can you filter it somehow before it exits the kettle. Is this even an issue with the break material at the bottom? Can you cut the pickup tube somehow to avoid the break material?
Thanks!

10
Equipment and Software / Converted Sankey Keg Volume Limits
« on: March 13, 2012, 08:51:54 AM »
So Im doing a BIG RIS this weekend with 39 lbs of grain mashing in at 1.1 qts per lb my expected mash volume is 13.98 gallons.  Has anyone tried this size grain bill in a converted sankey keg? Im using norcalbrewing false bottom. I did a BarleyWine with 35.5 pounds of grain and didnt have any issues, just wondering how much grain any of you guys have successfully stuffed into a keg.

Share your horror stories or experiences!

11
Classifieds / Single Tier Brutus 10 "frame" for sale
« on: February 29, 2012, 09:24:21 AM »
Ive got a welded single tier brew stand for sale. It is not stainless steel so it will need painted with high temp paint.  The person who made mine had the steel to make an extra so I have this thing lying around.

I am near the cleveland pittsburgh area and could drive to meet if someone is interested.

Cost for this thing for me was 170$(well 340$ got me both) so 170$ for the stand or best offer!

EDIT: I will also trade for equipment I need. Empty bottles, corny kegs, 6 gallon better bottles are some of the things I could use but offer away!

12
Yeast and Fermentation / Making a starter with Brett B
« on: February 28, 2012, 01:50:03 PM »
Hey all Im thinking about doing my own version of an Orval clone inspired by this issue of Zymurgy.

Brett B is pretty expensive stuff and I usually brew 10 gallon batches.  I know its generally not recommended to make a starter with Lambic Blend but Im assuming thats because the different bugs in there may grow at different rates and throw off the proportions intended by Wyeast.

Is it ok to make a starter with Brett B as normal to double the available cells and pitch half into each 5 gallon carboy in the secondary? If so do you do anything differently to encourage bacteria growth? Thanks!

13
Homebrewer Bios / bio-Jason Camerlengo
« on: February 20, 2012, 11:50:06 AM »


Home Town (City, State): Sharon, Pennsylvania

Homebrew Club: Thinking about starting my own. Nothing around here!

I've been a homebrewer since: January 2009

Do you have a homebrewing disaster you'd like to share? Oh Lots! My false bottom came disconnected once right at the start of sparging so I had to put a trash bag around my arm and reach down into 154 degree mash and hook the thing back up to get things going along, that seemed to be the most comical of the bunch!

What is your favorite style(s) to brew? Hefeweizen, American IPA's and  Belgians.

What style(s) will you never brew? I've brewed around 70 of the styles! I'll probably never do the flanders styles since I dont want to buy new equipment and dedicate solely to that style since I already have dedicated lambic equipment.

What was the first beer you ever brewed?  Jamil's Black Scapular Dubbel recipe partial mashed.  Never did a kit.  It turned out pretty good, belgian yeast is forgiving in terms of temperature so I was pleased with it.

What is your favorite beer recipe? My own Hefeweizen and American IPA seem to empty out kegs the quickest.

Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that you've found to make your beer better/brewing easier, etc? Finished building my Brutus 10 a few months ago and my brew days have become much more relaxing. AS for one gadget I'd have to say my BeerGun, gotta love being able to bottle off 5 kegs in one day without much effort.

Describe your brew system. Full blown Brutus 10 with converted sankey kegs running off propane with 24v honeywell gas valves. Its a joy to brew on.

How frequently do you brew (times/month or /year)?  I do 10 gallons every weekend except for maybe 3 or 4 weekends a year. Gota give the other half some vacation weekends!

What is your favorite malt?  Why? Special B. Love the flavor it gives to a wide variety of beer styles.

What is your favorite hop? Why? Simcoe! I dont know why but as far as American varieties go, I love Simcoe. Too bad theres always a shortage on these things.

Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast? I use Wyeast London ESB the most often. It just works in so many styles. Also Wyeast HellaBock or White Labs bock lager is probably the greatest lager strain ever created.

If you could serve your homebrew to someone famous, who would it be and what would you give her/him? hmmm...does Jamil and Gordon Strong and Randy Mosher count as someone famous? Id love to serve them some of "signature" beers and get quality feedback.

What's the most unusual ingredient you've ever used in a brew? I havent anything too exotic yet.  Although Ive recently discovered powdered peanut butter thats fat free out there and am considering a peanut butter cup stout or something.

Do you have any pets or kids named after beer styles or ingredients? Nope. Had a cat but he was around before my brewing days.

How many medals have you won from homebrew competitions? Just sent away 4 entries to my first comp the other day. Waiting on the results!

Do you brew alone, with friends or with someone you live with? Always have my uncle with me. He can fix/rig anything!

Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer? Does a heated garage count as  outdoor?

List some of the names you've given your beers. Which is your favorite? Heff-hefeweizen. Artificial Intelligence-AmIPA.  Utter Stout-Milk Stout. Trouble's Brewin'-RIS. Fuggin IPA-English IPA using all fuggles(sorry Denny! I like em!)

14
Yeast and Fermentation / Wyeast 2633-Oktoberfest Blend
« on: February 15, 2012, 12:56:44 PM »
Anybody have any experience with this yeast? Worth giving a shot. If its anything like the Oktoberfest lager yeast(WLP820) I wont touch it with a 10 foot poll.  I like the Bock or Hella Bock yeast generally for my oktoberfests  but am always looking to try new things.

15
Equipment and Software / Bru'n Water
« on: February 15, 2012, 12:21:28 PM »
So I got a great deal on this RO/DI water system-6 stage supposed to distill the water to basically nothing.

I downloaded Bru'n Water(thanks Martin!) and am building my water profile for the first batch Ill brew brewing on with the new water system next weekend. A Belgian Tripel inspired by Chimay. The grain bill is nothing but Belgian Pils and a half pound of Belgian Aromatic.  I do a protein rest at 131 and then mash around 150.

So I set my water profile for Chimay(boiled) and then starting adding various salts.

I came up with:(for 7.5 gallons of mash water)

1.5g Epsom Salt
.8g Baking Soda
1.5g Calcium Chloride
1g Chalk

Leaving me with a finished profile of:

28.1 ppm Calcium
5.2ppm Mg
7.2ppm Sodium
20.6ppm Chloride
61.1 ppm BiCarbonate

Does this seem about right? Also in regards to the sparge water should I add the same salts to that except the baking soda and chalk. Or should I just add some phosphoric acid to lower the ph to 5.5 as Gordon Strong does in most of his recipes? Im a little confused.

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