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Topics - cheba420

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General Homebrew Discussion / Lagering Question
« on: January 06, 2013, 05:50:52 PM »
We're knocking out a Belgian Tripel today and it needs to be lagered. However, we've never lagered a beer before. The recipe, from BCS, reads that you ferment, transfer and carbonate then lager for a month. We intend to bottle this batch and naturally carbonate so heres the question: Should we bulk lager or fill the bottles, let them carbonate and then lager? Seems like if we bulk lager for a month, we may not have enough residual yeast in there to bottle condition correctly. I'd rather not hit the bottles with yeast if we dont have to. Any advice?

All Grain Brewing / Competition
« on: October 07, 2012, 03:08:35 AM »
Ive been brewing for about 6 years now. Earlier this year I entered a couple beers into a local competition for the first time. I was just looking for feedback and man, did I get it. Horrible results. I entered 1 beer in the wrong category and I entered another beer that I knew wasnt up to par. They ripped them apart. Good lesson. I learned some things and I was humbled.

My brewing buddy and I just entered two new beers into the local home brew club's Octoberfest. We entered a Saison and a Vanilla Porter. We took bronze with both entries and the Vanilla Porter pulled a 38 and the Saison pulled a 40 and moved on to the Best of Show line up, where it got knocked out.

I know that comps arent everything but it is nice to use the info to improve your process and its obviously nice to get the validation that others enjoyed your beer. I've learned a hell of a lot on this forum so I'd like to that all of you that have offered up advice and pointed me in the right direction over the last few years.  I look forward to entering more beers into more contests.

Kegging and Bottling / Canning/Bottling in mason jars??
« on: August 05, 2012, 03:29:27 AM »
Has anyone ever tried to bottle up some brew in mason jars? Do they have a pressure rating? I thought opening a jar of beer would have a good effect at a party! I keg, so I'd just be filling them like you would a growler. Thoughts??

Yeast and Fermentation / Attenuation
« on: July 21, 2012, 03:33:22 AM »
I use WLP001 for most of my beers. I like how clean it is and it typically makes for some good, tasty beverages. Recently, its been taking my beers down to 1.008. I like the extra abv but its leaving my beer really thin. I'm hitting mash temps, OG targets and fermenting in the mid 60's. Based on my recipes and fermentation parameters, I should be hitting 1.012-1.010.

Any tips? Raise mash temp? Add some less fermentable grains to increase body? Any help is appreciated.

The Pub / Breweries
« on: July 07, 2012, 04:44:47 AM »
Just got back from a short trip to Wisconsin. While there, I got to visit the infamous New Glarus! One more amazing brewery to add to my list of about 50. I travel a lot for work so anytime theres an opportunity to hit a brewery or a local brew pub I make it happen. I have some really good ones on my list including Stone, Green Flash, Russian River, New Belgium, Odell, Deschutes and Bells. Some day I hope to visit Sierra Nevada.

Anyone else out there travel a lot and do the same thing I do? What are some of your favorites and whats on your bucket list?

General Homebrew Discussion / Swift kick to the nuts!
« on: April 22, 2012, 05:49:02 PM »
I recently entered my first competition. I've been brewing for several years without objective feedback from those who arent directly connected to me in some way. I wanted to enter the competition to learn more about brewing and to get honest feedback from others. Check and double check! I certainly wasnt expecting to win but man, I got a swift kick right to the nuts. Makes me want to dump everything in the fridge and start fresh. I'm grateful for the feedback but now have some ego repair to do and some major tightening of my brewing process. Major flaws were DMS and Diacetyl. I boil hard, cool fast and I ferment in a temp controlled extra fridge. Any suggestions on how to get these two animals out of my brew?

General Homebrew Discussion / Happy St. Patrick's Day!
« on: March 17, 2012, 06:33:17 PM »
There will be no GREEN beer around these parts but I thought you good people would get a kick out of this!


Zymurgy / The Hop Squasher
« on: January 09, 2012, 03:53:16 AM »
From the Gadget Issue, The Hop Squasher is simple, inexpensive and effective. I grabbed an inexpensive French press this weekend and have already put it to use. I have an IPA that I brewed in August and just put on the gas last week. Its lost a lot of hop flavor and aroma sitting in the keg. With the hop squasher, I can add amarillo to one pint and simcoe to the next! Simple....but pretty awesome!

Its got me thinking of other additions that I can put in my beer by the glass. Peppers (jalapeno, habenaro, serano) in pale ales, ambers or ipa's. Cilantro in a wheat or a saison? OK! Coffee in a porter or stout? Yes!

I also think it will inspire new hop combinations in my brewing. I can test them out in the hop squasher to see what I like and then start putting them in my beers when I brew or dry hop.

Yeast and Fermentation / Ambient vs. Fermentation Temps
« on: January 08, 2012, 06:30:12 PM »
I ferment in a refrigerator with a johnson control. I've read several times that fermentation increases the temperature in the carboy by as much as 5-10*. But that temperature decreases as fermentation goes on to completion. So, I know the answer to my question is to have a thermowell so I can measure the temperature of the fermenting beer. But lets say thats not an option at the moment. what should I be doing? It occurs to me that if I want to be fermenting at 68* and I set my controller to that point, I may actually be fermenting at 73-78*. Should I be adjusting the controller down to 60 or so to compensate for the fermentation temps?

Now, as the fermentation winds down, the temp of the beer will also cool down...correct? How does one measure this? Is there a rule of thumb? Should I be adjusting my temp in the refrigerator back up by the day or by gravity readings? 1 degree at a time? I make good beer but this question has always been on my mind and thought I'd throw it out here for you guys to comment on.

Equipment and Software / Hop Spider
« on: January 08, 2012, 04:23:17 AM »
Has anyone made and used the hop spider yet? Seems like an awesome way to control hops in the boil and after. I'm gonna make one tomorrow for my brew next weekend.

General Homebrew Discussion / 1st Saison
« on: January 06, 2012, 06:25:18 AM »
Hey everyone! I'm getting ready to brew my first saison. Anyone have any recommendations on how long it needs to age? Is it better fresh and green like an IPA or should I go a week for every 10 points of gravity? Thoughts?

General Homebrew Discussion / 2011--> 2012
« on: December 29, 2011, 02:31:29 PM »
We're at the end of another year and its time to size it up.
In 2011 I brewed more beer than I ever have before. With this coming saturday's brew session, I'll have 20 batches for the year. I set a goal at the end of last year to brew every 3 weeks so I'm happy with my results. All of the additional brewing has really helped to improve my process and I'm making better beer as a result. A few firsts this year:

Made the jump to 10 G batches.
Took an all grain class at the LHBS
I got to use my homegrown hops in a recipe. (ok, so there was only .25 ounces, but I grew 'em dammit!)
Brewed my first session beer.
Began using gelatin to clear certain beers.
Formulated my first recipe. Vanilla Porter. (its awesome, by the way)
Began using starters religiously.
Began harvesting yeast, rinsing it and reusing it.
Had a Mic Ultra drinker fall in love with my Amber Ale!  Poor bastard didnt see it coming! :)

For 2012 I plan to keep my same pace at 20 batches per year but will increase volume as more and more of those brews will be 10G batches. I also want to join my local home brew club and enter a beer or two into a competition for objective feedback. Ultimately, I just want to keep improving my craft. I'm going to branch out a little this coming year and brew some new styles like Saisons, Double IPA's, Kolsh and Cream ale.

So, What did you do this year? Whats the plan for next year?


Yeast and Fermentation / Flat Bottles
« on: December 04, 2011, 10:11:52 PM »
I've been kegging for about 5 years now and for the most part, if I need bottles, I just fill a couple from my already carbonated keg. However, a month ago, we brewed up a batch of IPA and we had just under 6 gallons at packaging time. I decided that we'd put the remaining 1 gallon into bottles and carbonate with the Coopers sugar tabs. The beer has been in bottles for a month at room temp and there is zero carbonation. It occurred to me that I fined the beer with gelatin before kegging. Did the gelatin remove ALL the yeast and thus, no carbonation? If so, what is the best method for adding a little yeast to the bottles? How much per bottle? They are 22 oz bottles.

Equipment and Software / Keg Conversion
« on: September 04, 2011, 06:13:55 PM »
I've been looking at these for a while. Apparently, my wife noticed because this morning she gave me one for my birthday! Really looking forward to fermenting all 10 gallons in the same vessel!

Anyone out there have any experience with this kit?

I woke up yesterday morning to my wife telling me that I had some beer to clean up in the garage. Kinda shot me out of bed like a cannon. I run out to the garage and there's beer all over the floor and dripping out of my fridge. The damn cobra tap didnt seal after I pulled a pint the night before!!! I lost about 3.5 - 4 gallons of beer overnight to the floor and eventually, a mop. It turned out to be a really good beer. Glad I still have a gallon or so to drink!  I'm making the jump to faucets mounted in the door and getting rid of the cobra taps this weekend! What a way to learn!

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