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Topics - 802Chris

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1
Equipment and Software / Brewers Edge Mash and Boil
« on: January 23, 2018, 04:07:48 PM »
I have been saving my "brewing allowance" since September and I am hoping to solicit some feedback. Not necessarily from this unit (Brewers Edge Mash and Boil), although I think it's what I want. I am wondering if anyone has gone from propane/cooler/kettle brewing to an electric system and had regrets? If I buy this thing I will more than likely sell my whole propane setup to help offset the cost.

I guess I am just teetering on the edge of pulling the trigger and asking if anyone would care to talk me out of it!

P.S. I am typically a no sparge/batch sparge, mash in a cooler(with brew bag). I rarely if ever brew over 7% ABV. and currently avg around 82% efficiency. I currently use an 8 gallon ported kettle on a bayou burner.

2
The Pub / Loss of a great brewery
« on: January 18, 2018, 07:06:36 PM »
Looks like after 24 years, Smuttynose is most likely closing its doors. The article states they are selling at auction, I'll be hopeful but skeptical they will survive.

Their FinestKind IPA was, is, and will continue to be my favorite IPA of all time. Luckily I based my house IPA on it so I can still try to keep the memory alive.

http://www.wcax.com/content/news/Smuttynose-Brewing-Co-to-be-sold-at-auction-469962293.html

3
Ingredients / Help me buy my hops for the year
« on: October 19, 2017, 06:38:51 PM »
So I typically buy my hops in bulk (by the pound). I am looking to place an order  for 3-5 pounds, which based on experience will  get me through most of the year assuming I jump on a pound here or there when deals come up. This year I am planning on focusing on English beers, lagers, and IPA's with the occasional stout and Belgian thrown in. If you could only buy 3-5 varieties of hops (price IS a MAJOR factor), knowing you would brew these styles, what would you buy.
Footnote - I have a pound of cascade on hand, and don't particularly care for or use it often, mostly just to compliment base hops in an IPA...

So far I am leaning towards

Golding variety
Saazer/ spicy noble
Fruity IPA hop (Simcoe and Amarillo have done me well in the past)
Bittering Hop (Nugget or Magnum)

Any thoughts?

4
Beer Recipes / Closet cleaner Lager
« on: July 05, 2017, 04:39:14 PM »
So this is what I came up with the night before last, I was looking to get rid of some grain leftover from previous bulk purchases and I did not have time to go buy anything at all from the HBS.

#3 Vienna (Briess)
#4 Briess 2 Row (1.8L)
#2 Marris Otter

1 OZ US Hallertaur 60
1 OZ US Hallertaur 5

Whirfloc etc

I hit a 1.052 OG on a 60 minute boil and lazy pitched two half full pint jars of 34/70 slurry @ 60. Will ramp to 65  tomorrow probably, maybe.

BeerSmith puts it at 4.3 SRM, which I would say is probably accurate based on what I saw in the hydrometer. We shall see how she goes... I guess I'll at least find out how shoddy I can get with lager brewing and still make a decent beer.




5
All Grain Brewing / Help with brewday nightmare
« on: April 11, 2017, 02:27:51 PM »
So, yesterday was not a fun brew day. I will spare the details, but what was supposed to be the first warm weather brew day of the year AND a rare mid-day relaxing brew day.... turned into a murphy's law type of day. I DRASTICALLY missing my target PBG (~.020 low). My mid was totally baffled, as this has never happened to me before and I thought everything was tight in my process. I had just added a 1.5 oz FWH charge of magnum when I measured my PBG. I calculated a 1.042 on an intended 1.065 for this particular DIPA. PANICKING I proceeded to boil down for and extra 45 minutes before starting my 60 minute timer. More went wrong but here is the facts.

1. My IBU's are now WAY HIGH (calc 109. 80 from FWH alone) on a 1.062 OG IPA. Other hops were a 1 oz 10 min centennial and a 5 minute 2 oz Citra followed by a 6 oz mixed bag 30 minute hop-stand at 180deg.

2. I already pitched the yeast, which was a huge decanted starter, no going back now.

3. I usually shoot for a 5.5 Gallon fermenter volume, I pitched at 5 gallons.



So I am thinking I have two options.

1. RDWHAHB

2. Take 2lbs of extra light DME, boil in 1/2 gallon of water (if this is even possible) and add it to the fermenter, thus getting much closer to my intended OG and batch size.

I'm thinking the second option could theoretically work since fermentation has only been going for about 18 hours (it was going steady when I left for work this morning)

Thoughts?


PS, I did the math... I am 99% positive I got distracted when milling my grain Sunday night and left 3 lbs out. My hopper can only hold 3 lbs at a time.... I just made a duplicate batch in beersmith with the lower grain amount and the numbers line up almost exactly, especially if I take into account the extra 3/4 gallon of sparge water that didn't get absorbed into the 3lbs of grain that WASN'T THERE!!!!

6
Ingredients / Malt base for an orange hue
« on: April 06, 2017, 10:58:06 AM »
I am working on a grain bill for what I hope will be my house IPA. I have made a few versions now and I am really leaning towards a hop combo I have tried a few times that I can only describe as being reminiscent of a nice crisp orange soda. It is by no means a cloying sweet weird soda like IPA, and it's not even juicy per-se even though I do live in NE :) It is however very crisp and refreshing with orange zest and citrus overtones with a nice flavor and balance so far.

For my base malt I have been using a roughly 80/20 2-row and white wheat. I enjoy the lightness of the 2-row and wheat combo, as it provides a great neutral base for the hops. At an average of 6% ABV this is very drinkable.

Knowing that, and knowing I would like to keep the body similar to what I have, does anyone have any suggestions for a specialty or even fairly neutral base malt that would provide a nice orange tint to this beer. Why you say? Because I can and I know most people are visual tasters.

7
Yeast and Fermentation / Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« on: March 29, 2017, 12:13:08 PM »
Hey guys, I am wondering if anyone can help me troubleshot my process here to see where I may have slipped up. To preface, this was my first lager batch. I have been brewing for 6 years, the last two being all grain. I have what I consider to be solid brewing practices and usually produce very fine ales (assuming I make good recipes...) I have had zero off flavors in any of my last 20 or so batches (going back about 2 years.) I would like like to outline my process below and see if anyone can catch what's up with this batch. I am going to go off my brew notes, so a pre thank you to all who take the time to read this, I might ramble....

Attempt: A light continental lager, brewed with ingredients that I had stocked on hand, using 34/70 dry lager yeast. Following the "fast lager" method outlined by Marshall Schott of Brulosophy.

Result: After kegging, clarifying and carbing I am picking up distinct levels of what I believe to be diacytl. The base beer smells good. upon initial sip, the beer is grainy, slightly sweet with a nice grassy earthy hop flavor. This initial sip is what I tasted upon testing gravity, a GOOD beer. no slippery sensation or empty mouthfeel. upon swallowing and specifically exhaling, I taste what I perceive to a be buttery or butterscotch notes, a very different sweetness than what I perceive as being derived from the malt. I KNOW I am panicking here, and I KNOW this is my first lager, I guess I'm just more disappointed than anything.

Notes:

5.25 gallon
ABV 4.02% est
OG 1.045 calc 1.042 meas
FG 1.012 measured
IBU 18.9 calc

60 minute boil
5 lb 4 oz continental 2 Row 1.8 lov
1 lb 12 oz Vienna
.9 oz Halertuaer 60 minutes
whirfloc @ 15
.5 oz hallertauer flameout


Single infusion mash @ 150 for 60 minutes
*forgot to add water salts + acid. Added all at beginning of boil. PBG was low most likely due to forgetting salts and acid, boiled extra 15 minutes to compensate.

boiling happened
solid chill with great cold break, chilled to 50 deg
rehydrated yeast for 20 minutes with 60 degree water. 1 packet 34/70
Pitched @ 50, chamber set to 58
fermented for 4 days, checked SG (hoping too see 50% attn. for temp ramp) 1.012 taste no off flavor, actually delicious minus the sulfer
PANIC seeing terminal gravity, immediately set temp to 68 for (hoping to do 48 hour D rest)
check in 24 hours and see chamber WILL NOT raise past 63 grrr.
Let sit at roughly 60-64 (thanks to Vermont weather) for 48 hours hoping to stave of D monster.
crash to 34 and let sit for 10 days.
Testing SG again just to be sure, still at 1.012.
Cold transfer onto rehydrated gelatin into keg
Force carb @ 30 PSI for 24 hrs
Lower to 10 PSI wait 24 hours
taste again, and again and again.... note what tastes like diacytl/butter
Panic and write this thread
fin.












8
General Homebrew Discussion / Top 3 - Bottom 3
« on: March 05, 2017, 08:33:07 PM »
I'm interested to see everyone take on this, and hopefully some useful information can be gleaned for some newer brewers. In thinking about your ENTIRE brewing "career" what in your mind stand out as the top 3 BEST on bottom 3 WORST upgrades/equipment purchases/tips you have tried.

I know for myself anyway, I spend WAY too much time "brewing" only in my head, drooling over every new piece of equipment, reading countless blog articles and the like. I will spend hours daydreaming and "brewing" in my head, going over every detail, only to totally BLOW IT on brew day or have my shiny new equipment that should have taken me to the next level, sit idly on a shelf. Or worse yet, try something that makes my beer worse.

I'll start with the bottom, since they were hard learned lessons, but lessons I needed to learn none the less.

WORST / BOTTOM 3

1. Starting out extract brewing. While this got me into brewing, I spent YEARS making sub par beer simply out of fear of "going all grain". The amount of money I spent on extract kits and equipment that would prove to not be big enough when I made the jump would have EASILY been enough to purchase a simple batch sparge all grain setup.

2. TAP-a-Draft mini keg kit. This one is tough since it more than likely saved my brewing career and kept me brewing when I really didn't want to bottle more beer. Unfortunately it was just as expensive as a simple kegging setup when all was said and done with modifications etc, and now I barely use it.

3. One-Step cleaner/sanitizer. Not bashing the brand,  but I lost a few batches before I realized I needed to totally revamp how I clean and sanitize. Faster is NOT better, and no time saved is worth losing a batch of beer.


BEST / TOP 3

1. A $20 Coleman 48QT RED square cooler. Thank you denny from the bottom of my heart. You made the transition to all grain easy and cheap, just the way you wanted. I would not be brewing today had I not gone all grain, its the best $20 I ever spent (my wife would argue that..)

2. Bayou Classic SQ14 propane burner. Only $48 on amazon. This got me out of the house and most importantly has grown with me. This is a solid burner that would easily boil a 10 gallon batch and it is rugged as all get out.

3. My "Corona" mill. Don't let anyone ever tell you this mill cannot produce a great crush and provide excellent efficiency. For $20 you can introduce an element into your brewing that no online kit seller or LHBS can, CONSISTANCY, by milling your own grain at home.


Thank guys, hope to hear from everyone on their top and bottom 3!

9
Ingredients / Bulk Hops, now that NikoBrew is closed
« on: March 05, 2017, 05:35:06 PM »
So as many of you know, NikoBrew was recently forced to close up shop after some unfortunate financial issues. This is really sad since they were an AWESOME company to work with and had great prices on top of flat rate $5 shipping.

The shipping thing is what is killing me as I am looking for a replacement hop source. I am finding some ok deals on sites such as Hopsdierct and Farmhouse Brewing, with Hops direct having some solid sales. Sights like Morebeer and NB, have cheap shipping, but the hop prices are ridiculously high IMO.

 But both these and seemingly every other site I find has very high costs for shipping. It's just hard for me to get over paying almost $20 in shipping for a relatively small hop order, especially after paying $5 flat for the last few years.

Does anyone have any sources with good prices AND good shipping?

10
Homebrewer Bios / Finally decided to post
« on: November 11, 2016, 12:52:43 PM »
Well, I'm finally saying hi after years of trolling this site. I would like to thank all of you who regularly contribute here, as you have helped me grow in my brewing and my passion for brewing exponentially over the last few years.

A little about me. I'm a 29 year old dad from Vermont and a proud member of the 158th Fighter Wing, Vermonts own "Green Mountain Boys". A network administrator by trade, i brew solely to feed my inner geek (well i also get great beer out of it...) I started brewing about 7 years ago now, i started with extract batches and actually stuck with them for longer than many. I lived in a small apartment and was always afraid of the amount of space and time all grain brewing would take up.
Fast forward to now... thanks to DENNY and the many  many other helpful folks on this forum that I have stalked through countless threads, I have adopted the batch sparge lifestyle! I also dabble in cider every fall with great results so far.
Oh and one more thing, as youll see below, I am cheap as hell. Skinflint is my middle name, and I am proud of it! I have haggled, cobbled and found just about everything in my brewery for free or rock bottom pricing. What can I say, I'm an enlisted guy with mouths to feed and hey, who doesn't like saving money!
My setup: 
8.5 gallon morebeer dual port kettle w/ball valve and thermometer. By far my most expensive item, but I love it!
Bayue classic banjo burner
Homemade fermentation chamber w/$6 home hacked temp controller and lightbulb heater(my proudest achievement...tear)
12 cu ft kenmore fridge i use to hold 1 of 3 ball lock kegs... and you KNOW I'm rockig cobra taps!
My most recent and newest addition... a $17 voctoria style grain mill!

I just started buying in bulk, to save money obviously! I am currently boiling my first home ground batch of best bitter, so we will see if my cheapness paid off...
Now to calculate some recipes using only the $5/lb hop varieties i just bought from hops direct...hmmm.
Thanks guys, I'm looking forward to finally contributing what I can after all these years!
-Chris

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