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Messages - johnnyb

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Beer Recipes / Re: American Farmhouse
« on: January 16, 2012, 11:42:53 AM »
So I heard back from the Brewmaster at The Alchemist and here is what he had to say:

90% Pilsner malt
10% Caramalt
Shoot for a hardness of about 200ppm
You MUST hit the proper pH in your mash, 5.1-5.3
Mash it low around 144'F
Maybe 35-40 ibu's of mostly late addition hops.
Good luck.

Now the Farmer's Daughter is a much bigger beer than what I'm shooting for (8% alcohol vs 4.7% projected for mine) so the IBU's don't surprise me too much, but I'm definitely surprised by the 10% Caramalt in the grain bill.

I don't know anything about Caramalt but some info online seems to suggest it's similar to a crystal 20, and I don't like much more than 5% crystal in any of my beers, never mind something as dry as a saison. I wonder if the saison yeast just chews through some of the stuff that is normally unfermentable by say an American ale yeast?

I might just go ahead with what I've been planning and revisit this with a future saison. I've made a few more tweaks and will post the revised recipe soon.


Beer Recipes / Re: Cascadian Dark Ale recipe?
« on: January 12, 2012, 08:54:35 AM »
I think you could also use Sinamar for the dark color without the roast.

Beer Recipes / Re: American Farmhouse
« on: January 11, 2012, 10:31:20 AM »
I have brewed four different saisons with the WY3711 and each time i get the characteriitstic creamy mouthfeel (see the WYeast site)

Oh cool, I didn't consider the creamy mouthfeel could have come from the yeast.
Going with CaCl or CaSO4 will give you the calcium/pH adjustment you are looking for. In addition to the salts, I use about 3oz of acid to get my pH in the right range for all my pale beers.  I'm not sure If 4oz of acid malt will be noticeable for flavor, others may chime in.

Yes, normally for a beer of this color with my water I would adjust the mash pH and get my calcium from a combination of gypsum and calcium chloride. For this one I considered using acidulated malt to drive the pH down, and chalk to get the calcium and bring the pH back up a little. Br'un water has the mash pH estimated at 5.3 with my planned additions. However, if 4 ounces of acidulated malt won't be enough for a little sour twang in the taste, I will probably just use my normal methods of adjustment.


Beer Recipes / Re: American Farmhouse
« on: January 11, 2012, 10:16:57 AM »
I think the rye would conflict with the acid malt and agree with the suggestion to use flaked oats instead.

I've never used flaked oats so I did a little reading about them. It seems people report that oats leave a bit of residual sweetness, which I'm concerned might not work well with a saison.

I think I'll just drop the acidulated malt (I can easily adjust my mash pH with salts instead) and go with either rye or wheat.

First beer of choice was Budweiser...  :P

Then when I wanted something fancy it was Molsen Export Ale...  :o

First really good beers I started enjoying where hefeweizen's. My rock climbing partner started insisting we finish climbing days at the bar of a German restaurant, and they always had 5 or 6 types in the beer cooler and a couple on tap.

We still go there once or twice a year.

Beer Recipes / Re: American Farmhouse
« on: January 08, 2012, 07:58:01 PM »
I am liking your hop schedule,
but perhaps if you share here what all you have in the freezer
you may get some more opinions.

Cheers. 8)

I got a lot of advice from NB forum on the hop schedule which is why I focused more on the grainbill here, but I'm open to all suggestions. Here is what I have in the freezer currently, all 2011 except where noted. I don't want a really strong citrus profile and I would like to use hops grown in the US - just to stick with the American farmhouse theme...

Northern Brewer (American - 2010)

Perle (American)
Hallertau Select
Mount Hood


Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 08, 2012, 11:04:57 AM »
I just heard back from the local brewery and am on the list to be considered for the next unpaid part-time apprenticeship opportunity. This might well be my only realistic chance to get a crack at brewing on a 7 barrel system (short of quitting my job and putting my family on the Ramon noodle diet) and might be helpful in the future to find investors if I do end up trying to start something myself. Now I need to convince them I'm the guy for this.

I had this great all Brett beer called "Wild Child" at the Alchemist in Waterbury, VT and it was so crazy. It had no fruit in it but tasted like cherries and strawberries. It was very cloudy red and wickedly sour yet with a sweet taste in there somewhere.

I'm so bummed out The Alchemist is not going to reopen after getting destroyed in Hurricane Irene.  :'(

Beer Recipes / Re: American Farmhouse
« on: January 06, 2012, 06:15:52 PM »
Replied to your PM.

BTW I realized on the ride home tonight a better description of the Farmer's Daughter than creamy roundness is a soft roundness. Just something about the mouthfeel gave a sensation of softness, but not sure what. Some of the reviews online mention getting it served from a cask - which might be where that softness came from. If that's where the softness came from I'm not sure I can replicate it, as I want to bottle this in those cool corked bottles with the cages.

Beer Recipes / Re: American Farmhouse
« on: January 06, 2012, 02:41:12 PM »
No I haven't contacted them. They closed due to the floods from Hurricane Irene - but he runs a cannery now so I could probably still reach him via email. In the past he did tell me information about some of their other beers, so I'm sure he would be helpful if I contacted him.

Yes Valley Malt is the one in Hadley, MA. I drove down there a few weeks ago and picked up a bunch of malts from them. I've got two beers fermenting right now with that stuff but haven't had my first taste yet. If you're looking to try their stuff before deciding whether to buy sacks of it, I could send you enough 2-row pale for a 5 gallon batch, and maybe some small quantities (1 or 2 pounds) of their red wheat and rye.

Beer Recipes / American Farmhouse
« on: January 06, 2012, 12:53:07 PM »
This will be my first saison. I started working on the recipe at NB forums but figured maybe I can get some more advice here too. I'm trying to make this more in the style of the older farmhouse saison's, which is why the OG is so low compared to most modern saison's. Also want this to be an American Farmhouse hence the 2-row pale and other malts from Valley Malt.

According to Br'uin Water, the 4 ounces of acid malt along with a bit of chalk (which I need for the calcium anyway) will put my pH right around 5.3 so I think I'll be ok with it. I could get the calcium by skipping acid malt and chalk and going with gypsum and calcium chloride but I thought it might be ok to try the acid malt.

There used to be a saison brewed by The Alchemist in Waterbury, VT called Farmer's Daughter - which I'm not trying to clone but just be inspired by. It was dry but the mouthfeel was sort of creamy or rounded. I figure maybe they got that from rye or wheat but not not sure which one to try. It also had hints of "breadyness" and honey hence the small amount of Victory and the honey. Overall though it was a fairly clean light malt profile so I don't want to overdue things.

It also had hints of black pepper and citrus but I don't know if it was spiced or it just came from the yeast. It was definetely subtle and not "in your face" so I thought for the first round I would use WY3711 and skip any spice additions.

I'm a bit skeptical of my grain bill after looking at some others out there. It seems kind of busy and I definetely want a fairly clean profile to let the yeast shine. Any comments would be appreciated.

For 6.25 gallons @ 70% EE
OG: 1.041
Estimated IBU: 18 (BU:GU = 0.44)
Estimated SRM: 6
Estimated ABV: 4.7% (could go a little higher as I hear the yeast chews through everything)

Mash for 80 minutes @ 148

Grain Bill:

7 pounds Valley Malt 2-row Pale
1.5 pounds Valley Malt rye (or same amount red wheat)
8 ounces Victory Malt
4 ounces acidulated malt (trying to get a little sour twang)

1 pound local honey (added at flameout)


0.25oz Crystal @ FWH
0.25oz Mount Hood @ FWH
0.5oz Mount Hood @ 60
1oz Crystal @ 1

Looking for a bit of citrus flavor and a flowery nose.


French Saison Wyeast 3711 pitched at 62F and slowly bring up to 75F.

(Also considering splitting the batch and pitching half with WLP670 and letting it go for a while for some funk.)

Equipment and Software / Re: Rebel Brewer:Cheap Flasks
« on: January 05, 2012, 08:17:01 PM »
I know it's not protected speech but it's still pretty bad in my opinion. If they don't want to risk poor reviews, they shouldn't have built  the review feature into the software. When I see reviews on a site, I expect I am actually seeing all the reviews that where posted.

There are many web based businesses I purchase from that allow reviews, and I've seen plenty of crazy rants posted by disgruntled customers. 99% of the time it's obvious the customer is just a whacko or a jerk and no sane person holds those crazy reviews against the company. In fact, those reviews often prompt many solid reviews from satisfied customers that otherwise might not have been posted.

Equipment and Software / Re: Rebel Brewer:Cheap Flasks
« on: January 04, 2012, 08:51:37 PM »
Wow, any company that censors reviews is very sleazy imo. With the same amount of effort, if they felt a negative review was unwarranted, they could just post a constructive response to it.

Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 04, 2012, 08:16:21 PM »
You mean some of them actually do offer again? I would really like to try your beer some time - you must brew some really good stuff!  :)
Sometimes.  The key is to only serve the good stuff ;)

Well if I ever do meet you, no need to waste your good stuff on me. I don't have any money to invest in your brewery as evidenced by my involvement in this thread!  :P

Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 04, 2012, 03:00:04 PM »
You mean some of them actually do offer again? I would really like to try your beer some time - you must brew some really good stuff!  :)

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