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Topics - jivetyrant

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Beer Recipes / Classic Irish Red advice needed!
« on: May 11, 2013, 11:59:38 AM »
Hey folks!

I'm going to be brewing an Irish red soon (my first time brewing this style) and would like some recipe input. I was planning on using Jamil's recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. Here it is.

11 gallon batch

60 minute boil
OG .1.053
FG 1.014
22.3 IBU's
13.5 SRM
5.1% ABV

19.5lbs English Pale Ale (90.7%)
8 oz Carared (not in the original recipe, I added this) (2.3%)
8 oz Crystal 120 (2.3%)
8 oz Crystal 40 (2.3%)
8 oz Roasted Barley (2.3%)

2.75 oz East Kent Goldings 5% AA (Bumped up from 2.5oz to keep IBU's on target)

2 tsp Irish Moss
1tsp Nutrient

Nottingham yeast

Mash @ 153 for 60 minutes, batch sparge

Ferment @ 66

I added 8oz of Carared to the recipe and adjusted the other crystal malts down to accomodate for it.  It seems like a clear match for the style.

I've been using a lot of Maris Otter recently and would like to try out something new as a base malt. Does anyone have any recommendations for another interesting tasting British style base malt that would work well for this style? I was hunting around for interesting base malt options and found a few that look promising. If I stick with an English base malt I have several options; standard Pale Ale malt, Maris Otter, Halcyon, Golden Promise, Pearl and Optic. I've also stumbled across something that looks very interesting; Malting Company of Ireland Ale Malt! I only have experience with Maris Otter, the others are all totally new to me. I'm leaning heavily towards trying the Malting Company of Ireland Ale Malt.

Would Nottingham be an appropriate choice for this style? I prefer to use dry yeast when making double batches as it's easier to dose both carboys equally.  I suppose I could just make a large starter of Irish Ale and make sure it's very well suspended before splitting it, I'm probably just worrying too much.

Any other advice would also be greatly appreciated!

Kegging and Bottling / Keg line balancing issue
« on: January 26, 2013, 06:19:41 PM »
So I kegged my Gratzer earlier this week and carbed to the recommended 3.6 volumes, which gives me a head pressure of about 24psi.  I ordered a 3/16 polyethylene draft line that is 11' long, the manufacturer lists line resistance as 2.2psi/ft.  I'm dispensing with a cobra tap that stays in the fridge.  The equation I am using for calculating draft line length is as follows:

Length = keg pressure (24) -1 (apparently cobra taps create about 1psi of resistance) / line resistance (2.2 psi/ft).  There is no elevation to take into account.  So, the equation should be

Length = (24 - 1)/2.2 = 10.45.

I cut my line to 10.5', I am using a ball lock, 1/4" flared fitting and just crammed the line over it.  The line is coiled up into a roughly 1' circle, and is sitting more of less on top of the keg.

All seems well on paper, but the beer shoots out of the draft line like a fire hydrant!  Did I miss something?  This will be the first time I've tried kegging a highly carbonated beer so I'm a bit lost. Does anyone else have experience with this?

Ingredients / Blueberries en masse
« on: June 27, 2012, 12:04:01 PM »
I have a beautiful tasting wheat that's just finished primary.  I plan to add 11lbs (eleven) of blueberries and am devising a plan to do so.  I see a few options, but am a little lost as I've never added this quantity of fruit to any previous batches!

I could cook it down, as you would when making a proper blueberry pie.  This would pasteurize it, but would probably necessitate adding some pectic enzyme to stave off excessive cloudiness.  (I already have some on-hand)

I could mash and chemically pasteurize it with sulfite or sorbate.  I've never done this before, my only experience with this was adding some campden tablets to a carboy before I dropped it off at a cider mill in town.  I have heard that the amount needed varies significantly with the pH of the fruit you are using.  I do not have a method to accurately determine pH.

I have heard that a hard freeze can take care of most of the offending little critters, but I don't know if that's true, or how long to freeze them for.  I have a chest freezer that sits at a comfortable -10F.

Or I could RDWHAHB and simply mash them up and rack on top. 

Thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

General Homebrew Discussion / What is your perfect spring beer?
« on: March 12, 2012, 12:55:50 PM »
I'm prepping for my first AG brew day sometime in the next few weeks and I'm having a heck of a time deciding on what to brew!  So, I'm turn to the community for inspiration.  What type of beer really screams "spring" to you? 

To give you a picture of my current cellar, I have a holiday spiced ale, ESB, Irish red and pumpkin porter on draft (yes, I really need to get through that holiday themed beer faster!)  In (recent) bottles I have a milk stout which came out superbly and a hoppy brown gone wrong.  I don't really know how to describe it, it's not really a brown ale and it's not particularly hoppy...  but it's good!  On deck I have an applewine that's currently cold crashing and a pre-anchor steam beer that should be ready to bottle later this week, plus a cranberry braggot that probably has another month to go before I do much else with it.

I'm looking for something medium bodied that will be ready soon, and I'm perfectly happy to use a kit.  So, what do you think, world?  What's your perfect spring beer?

Yeast and Fermentation / To Bret or not to Bret, that is the question...
« on: January 07, 2012, 01:37:54 PM »
So I've got a troublesome hoppy American brown ale that I've been fiddling with for a while now.  It's beautifully clear (finally) but is somewhat under-attenuated.  It's only about 4 points high, I was hoping for 1.012, but I'm still getting enough residual sweetness while it is cold and un-carbonated that I couldn't drink a lot of it at a time.  The Chinook I used for dry hopping seem to have been over-dried as they imparted a somewhat cooked vegetal character that was not present before, so I'm trying to find a way to drown that flavor out.  I have been toying with the idea of getting a Bret culture and pitching it just to see what happens.  It would be my first brewing experience with the little buggers so I really don't have a clue what the result would be!  Does anyone have input on the subject?

Beer Recipes / Sweet stout recipe recommendations
« on: January 07, 2012, 01:30:20 PM »
So my wife bought me an array of misc brewing ingredients for Christmas this year.  She got a variety of hops, yeasts and grains, several of which I've never used.  Included were 2 smack packs of Wyeast 1945 NeoBritainnia and a 1lb bag of lactose.  I decided that a sweet stout would be a nice usage of the two, but I've never tried making one before!  I've been hunting around for solid recipes to use as a base, but one thing I've seen is a wild variation in the amount of lactose used.  Many recipes use the full 1lb, some use only a few oz's.  It seems to me that a large amount (ie, a lb) would be needed to impart all the richness normally present in a milk stout, but I've only ever had 1 commercial example. (Left Hand Milk Stout)  I'm also wondering if I'd be better off simply using some S-04 or US-05 or Nottingham and saving the Neobrit for something different.

If anyone has experience with this style I'd love some input.  I checked the recipe wiki but there are none posted.  Does anyone have a winning recipe they'd like to share, or simply some information about brewing the style?


Yeast and Fermentation / Braggot pitching rate?
« on: November 18, 2011, 01:37:13 PM »
I'm going to take a shot at a braggot today, something I've never tried before.  It's not my own recipe, it's from Extreme Brewing by Sam Calagione.  Cranberry harvesting season recently finished here in southcoast MA so I really wanted to try and incorporate them into *something* but the idea of a cranberry beer sounded hideous.  A braggot, though....  now that's an idea!  The question I have regards pitching rates, as the recipe calls for champagne yeast.  I intend to use Pasteur Champagne from Red Star, I bought 4, 5g packets just in case.  Here is the recipe;

Cranberry Braggot

3 gallon boil (odd) for 1 hour
OG 1.082
FG target 1.010
ABV target 8.5%
IBU 6.8 (accordning to beersmith, does not take into account contribution from cranberries)

6.6lbs light LME
1oz Hallertau 3%AA (60 mins)
2 lbs dried, boiled, pureed cranberries (10 mins)
1 tsp irish moss (10 mins)
5 tsp yeast nutrient (10 mins) -This seems like a lot, especially since I'm using the wyeast brand which has a lower dosage than standard yeast nutrient at 1/2 tsp for 5 gallons of beer.
6lbs local wildflower honey (flameout)
1tsp pectic enzyme (at pitch)
? packets Red Star Pasteur Champagne

So, how many packets to pitch?  How much yeast nutrient to use?  Are there any other recomendations or comments about the recipe?  Thanks!

Beer Recipes / Looking for a holiday spiced ale recipe!
« on: November 14, 2011, 01:48:45 PM »
I've been hunting for a solid looking holiday spiced ale recipe for a bit now and I haven't found one that really strikes my fancy yet.  My wife wants to make one for her first solo brew (!) so it's my job to find a reliable, easy extract/partial mash recipe for her to follow.  There's only 1 recipe on the recipe wiki and it looks a bit out of date, so here I am!

Thanks in advance! :)

Beer Recipes / My first irish red, proofread please!
« on: November 14, 2011, 01:45:10 PM »
I'm taking a stab at my wife's favorite style, irish red, but I've heard of extract/partial mash brewers having bad luck with them in the past.  While browsing Northern Brewer I happened upon a new product, rye LME!  It promises to allow true irish reds to be brewed with extract so I decided to go for it!  Here's the recipe I'll be following, I will also include the information for the rye LME as it is a blend of malted grains.  Apparently I also have the tendency to overdo it on the crystal grains, I'm only just now catching on to that!

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 6.95 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.24 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.048 SG
Estimated Color: 14.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 23.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 0.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     
1 lbs                  Rye, Flaked (2.0 SRM)                   
8.0 oz                Crystal Rye Malt (Thomas Fawcett) (80.0SRM)
8.0 oz                Crystal, Medium (Simpsons) (55.0 SRM)   
3.0 oz                Special Roast (Briess) (50.0 SRM)       
2.0 oz                Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)               
6 lbs                  Rye malt syrup (6.0 SRM)                 
1 lbs                  Dememera Sugar (2.0 SRM)                 
1.00 oz               Liberty [3.40 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           8        11.6 IBUs     
1.00 oz               Sterling [7.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min        Hop           9        11.8 IBUs     
0.50 tsp              Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)              Fining        10       -             
0.50 tsp              Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins)          Other         11       -             
2L starter               Irish Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP004)     Yeast         12       -             

The info for the rye LME is as follows, pulled straight from NB:

"This proprietary blend of 70% 2-row, 20% malted rye, and 10% caramel 40 malt allows you to formulate your own one-of-a-kind rye beer! Our Rye Malt Syrup provides 1.035 ppg and is approximately 6 L"

Thanks for any input you may have!

Yeast and Fermentation / Pitching rate for a California Common
« on: October 26, 2011, 01:32:23 PM »
The subject says it all.  Should I pitch at ale or lager rates?  I'm using Wyeast California Lager, OG is 1.049.  The beersmith pitching rate calculator is calling for 380 billion cells, recommending a 4L starter with 2 slap packs of yeast at 82% viability.  MrMalty is estimating a lower viability of 76%, calling for a 4.7L starter.  That seems like overkill to me, but I've never tried this style before.  When using MrMalty, should I be using the ale, lager or hybrid fermentation type?  I know that you need much higher pitching rates for lagers, but does this count as one since it'll be fermented ~60F?

Yeast and Fermentation / Restarting a stuck fermentation, methods?
« on: October 21, 2011, 01:41:46 PM »
Hi all, it's been far too long since I've posted!

I have a problem brown ale that's stuck at 1.020, I'm shooting for 1.014.  It's not cloyingly sweet, but the sweetness that's present is masking the malty, hoppy flavor I was going for.  The recipe is as follows;

OG 1.072
FG (current) 1.019

12 oz               Caraamber
12 oz               Caramel Malt - 60L
8 oz                 Light Chocolate
2 oz                 Roasted Barley
8 lbs                Light Dry Extract
8 oz                 Brown Sugar, Dark
1.00 oz               Warrior [15.00 %] - Boil 90.0 min       
1.00 oz               Vanguard [5.50 %] - Aroma Steep 20.0 min
1.0 pkg               Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) (no starter, I realize this is probably the problem)
0.50 tsp              Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins)
0.50 tsp              Irish Moss (10 mins)

I've tried rousing the yeast and feeding it another 1/2 cup boiled brown sugar, no luck.  I've tried re-pitching a packet of US-05, no effect.  I have some spare packets of T-58 and S-33, along with some other misc dry yeasts.  I read an article a while ago about making a starter and adding some of the stuck beer every day for several days in a row to acclimate the yeast to it's environment, then adding some extra sugar and pitching during high krausen.  I've never tried this before, but it seems to make good sense.  Would pitching some re-hydrated T-58 or S-33 along with a little extra sugar be enough, or should I go the route of the acclimated starter?


Ingredients / Usage options for wet hops?
« on: August 29, 2011, 02:11:43 AM »
I'll be doing my first ever hop harvest in the next day or two, hooray!  I wasn't expected any yield at all this year, but much to my surprise one of my Chinook vines really took off.  It reached 20 feet and has plenty of hops on it, I don't know exactly how much, though.  I may have all of 10 cascade cones as well, heh.  Amazingly enough they seem to have survived hurricane Irene with little damage, I probably lost a few cones and only lost one plant, though it was a pretty pathetic looking thing.  It never even reached 5 feet tall, it simply wasn't meant to be!

At any rate, I plan to pick in the next day or two and haven't decided what to do with them.  I have a dehydrator and vacuum sealer, but I also have a batch of a serious IPA that's ready to keg.  It's a 6.5% bittered with Citra and aroma/dry hopped with Ahtanum and a bit of Amarillo.  It's pretty strongly grapefruit flavored as of a week ago when last I checked it, I don't know if it has mellowed any since then.  I've read of some people throwing green hops in a mesh bag and putting them in the keg, does anyone have experience with that?

Alternatively, has anyone every dry hopped with green cones as opposed to normal dried ones?  I could rack off of the cones floating about in it now before kegging.

Am I simply better off drying/sealing them up for later use?  The kegging idea seems bold and interesting, but I'd hate to wreck a great tasting batch of beer by doing so.  Any tips or warnings to be had?

I just racked my Smash Time IPA to secondary for dry hopping. My wife and I are brewing an Imperial Stout tomorrow and I planned to use the same yeast (US-05) but I had to fine the IPA with gelatin before racking and don't know if I can re-use the yeast cake now. This would be my first time recycling yeast. My gut tells me no, but it would be a waste to toss perfectly good, active yeast! What are your thoughts?

So my wife and I visited Dogfish Head on our honeymoon earlier this year.  When we got to the brewpub they had a really off the wall beer on draft called Black and Red, an Imperial Stout with tons of mint in it.  It clocked in at about 10.5% and was actually a very deep rep color, not black like a normal stout (hence the name).  I felt like the mint was overpowering, my wife liked it quite a bit though.

While doing an inventory I found that I had some misc ingredients that I had no use for in the near future, including 3 lbs of Dark DME, 1/2 lb of chocolate malt and 1/2 lb of debittered black malt.  I decided that instead of a full batch this week I would do a 3 gallon batch of something, using those ingredients.  Then the thought occurred to me "man, this is the heart of the growing season, I bet there's a ton of mint in the garden that I could use!"  Thus the plan was formed; I would try my hand at a mint stout in the style of Black and Red, though tweaked to my taste.  Here's what I have so far.

Mint Chocolate Stout
Target OG 1.094
Target FG 1.018
Target IBU 50-70, I've not yet decided
Target ABV 10-11%
Target SRM - none, very dark.  I'm not going to try for the deep red color

8oz Chocolate Malt, steeped
8oz Debittered Black Malt, steeped
I'm not opposed to picking up more grains if needed, i also used Dingeman's Cara 8, Dehusked Carafa III, honey malt and cara 45 in my last Imperial Stout.  I have some Munich and Special Roast on-hand, though neither of these seem appropriate.

3lbs Dark DME
2lbs Light DME
1lb Molasses (10 mins)
1/2 tsp Irish Moss
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
O2 injection used
pitch 1(?) rehydrated satchet of US-05 (Does anyone have other suggestions?)

As far as hops go, I don't have much on hand for clean bittering hops.  The closest I have is 2oz Northern Brewer, I have some other medium to low alpha hops around as well such as Fuggles, First Gold, Bramling Cross, Cluster and some others that are not even close to correct.  I was thinking I'd use either the northern Brewer or go pick up some Chinook, Warrior, Magnum or CTZ from my LHBS.  I'm hesitant to be too heavy-handed with my hop additions for fear of overwhelming the mint and chocolate flavors I'll be using, so I'm leaning towards the low end of the style range for IBU's, right around 50-60.  Any recommendations?

For the chocolate flavor (not present in the Red and Black) I was planning to use some cocoa nibs in secondary, pretty straightforward though I've not used them before.  For the mint.... well, I'm not really sure where to go with it.  I have tons of fresh mint to use and could dehydrate it if necessary.  I've seen 2 other recipes using it.  One calls for 6oz dried peppermint in a muslin bag added to 1 gallon of boiling water and removed from the heat, covered and let stand overnight.  I assume this method is used primarily for cooling purposes, as it is from an old fashioned brewing book  (Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, Stephen Harrod Buhner) and I can't imagine there's a need to steep the mint for 8+ hours to extract it's goodness.  It then calls for the remaining water (3 gallons) to be added and brought to 150 F then to add the malt extract, cover, and let cool naturally.  This strikes me as a nightmare recipe, It requires a ton of passive prep, has no boil and no hops!  It does, however, give me some insight regarding the quantity of mint to use.

The second recipe, from the same book, calls for 1/2 oz dried peppermint and 1 gallon of water.  You split the water with the primary brewing ingredients (12 oz rye flower, 1oz wheat flower, 4 oz barley malt) in one half and the mint in the other.  The mint is boiled, the other ingredients are brought to 170 F and both are allowed to sit for 90 minutes off the heat before combining them.  The whole shebang, solids and all, are pitched into and allowed to ferment, then strained and bottled.  In short, another nightmare recipe, though this one has markedly less mint and it is handled much differently.  Perhaps boiling extracts more oils from the mint, similarly to the way hops are handled?

If anyone has experience brewing with mint I'd appreciate any advice you have, it's really the big unknown of this recipe.  I can calculate my way through everything else, but the mint is mysterious and somewhat intimidating, I've seen what it can do if overused!  I'm hoping to have this beer ready to drink my around Xmas, I think 3 months in the bottle should be long enough to be consumed.  What's everyone think? :)

General Homebrew Discussion / Massachusetts craft brew alert!!!
« on: August 04, 2011, 11:53:35 AM »
Italics are me, everything else is from the articles.

the ABCC announced this change 8/1.  It threatens to close many small craft breweries, many of them considered local staples.  I myself regularly partake in beers from no fewer than 6 of the breweries on this list!  It would also make it much more difficult and costly to open a new craft brewery in rural areas.  If you're from MA, or know someone from MA, pass the message along and write to your congressman!  Tell the state to keep it's hands off you're beer!  -  Source

The Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission issued an advisory yesterday that has some brewers scratching their heads -- and probably worrying about their futures.

The ruling apparently will make it more difficult for small beer makers to get licensed. Many of the state's breweries have what are known as farmer-brewery licenses, which are less expensive and less cumbersome to obtain than full manufacturer license. The licenses also allow breweries to distribute their own beer locally, sell beer on premises, and operate tasting rooms.

The ABCC's advisory -- which followed its decision last week to deny an application for a farmer-brewery license from a new beer maker called Idle Hands Craft Ales -- says a business can get a farmer-brewery license only if at least 50 percent of its beer-making ingredients are grown in Massachusetts. That would pretty much disqualify every brewery in the state.

None of the roughly two dozen breweries that currently have farmer-brewery licenses will be grandfathered, either. "The Commission put the industry on notice that it will apply this ruling prospectively and, specifically, during the next annual renewal cycle to ensure that every applicant for a Farmer-Brewer license meets the state law definition of farmer-brewer," the advisory says. "Moreover, applicants that do not meet the criteria for a Farmer-Brewer license are welcome to apply for a manufacturer’s license." (Some breweries hold both licenses.)

The law creating the farmer-brewery license was written "for the purpose of encouraging the development of domestic farms."

Representatives of Sam Adams and Harpoon declined to tell us whether they think the advisory would affect their popular tasting rooms.

More to come on this developing story. The full text of the ABCC's advisory is below.



The Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission ("the Commission") endeavors to support and enhance the agricultural community, ensure the long-term viability of agriculture, and support farms that protect the common good in many ways including maintaining open spaces in communities. Through the issuance of Farmer-Brewery licenses, the Commission proudly encourages the development of domestic farming and the people who help it thrive.

Each Farmer-Brewer license exists for the specific public purpose of "encouraging the development of domestic farms." To advance this public purpose, the law requires that a Farmer-Brewer grow cereal grains or hops for the purpose of producing malt beverages. While a licensed Farmer Brewer may import malt, cereal grains fermentable, sugars and hops, this does not eliminate the basic growing requirement. The Commission recently issued a decision relative to Farmer-Brewery licenses. A Farmer-Brewer is any person who grows cereal grains or hops for the purpose of producing malt beverages and who is licensed to operate a Farmer-Brewery.

In its decision, the Commission held that each applicant for a Farmer-Brewery license must document that it grows cereal grains or hops of at least 50%, in the aggregate, of the quantity of cereal grains and hops needed to produce the gallonage of malt beverages estimated to be produced by the applicant during the license term. The Commission also held that when that applicant contracts exclusively for the rights to the yield of cereal grains or hops produced from acreage of domestic farmland that applicant will also be considered to grow "cereal grains or hops for the purpose of producing malt beverages" as required by this law.

For example, if an applicant estimates it will produce "X" barrels of malt beverages in calendar year 2012, and that to produce this volume of malt beverages it will require 200 bushels of cereal grains and 4 bushels of hops, the applicant is required to produce evidence that it grows at least 102 bushels of cereal grains and/or hops used to produce the malt beverages, or that the applicant has exclusive contracts rights to the yield of cereal grains or hops produced from acreage of domestic farmland, or some combination thereof that reaches the "at least 50%" required amount.

The decision dictates compliance with the letter as well as the spirit of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 138, §19C. The Commission put the industry on notice that it will apply this ruling prospectively and, specifically, during the next annual renewal cycle to ensure that every applicant for a Farmer-Brewer license meets the state law definition of farmer-brewer. Moreover, applicants that do not meet the criteria for a Farmer-Brewer license are welcome to apply for a manufacturer’s license. If you have questions concerning this Advisory or would like more information, please call Executive Director Ralph Sacramone at 617-727-3040.

(Issued: Monday, August 1, 2011)



Here's a list of the 21 breweries that had farmer-brewery licenses as of 2010. More have been added since, so this is not a complete, up-to-date list:

Amherst Brewing Co. (Amherst)

Berkshire Mountain Brewers (Great Barrington)

Lefty's Brewing Co. (Bernardston)

Boston Beer Co. (Boston)

Buzzards Bay Brewing (Westport)

BYOB Brewery (Amesbury)

Cape Ann Brewing Co. (Gloucester)

Cape Cod Beer (Hyannis)

Cisco Brewers (Nantucket)

Element Brewing Co. (Millers Falls)

Franklin County Brewing Co. (Greenfield)

Mass Bay Brewing Company (otherwise known as Harpoon) (Boston)

Mayflower Brewing Co. (Plymouth)

Mercury Brewing and Distribution Co. (Ipswich)

Nashoba Valley Spirits (Bolton)

Paper City Brewing Co. (Holyoke)

Sherwood Forest Brewers (Marlborough)

South Shore Brewing Co. (Canton)

Vineyard Brewing Co. (Oak Bluffs)

Watch City Brewing Co. (Waltham)

Wormtown Brewery (Worcester)

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