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Messages - Simon

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To make matters worse, you regularly hear the bad advice to home brewers entering a competition to "make it just a bit hoppier so your beer 'stands out'..."

I love a hoppy Amber, I love a malty Amber. Agreed the BJCP should have recognised that when looking at the style guidelines but they styles are also steered by what they are judging I guess.

That's the best thing about home brewing. We make the beer we want to drink. Pitch the style guide and load up your glass with your favourite Amber.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Gelatin fining
« on: July 14, 2014, 06:20:55 AM »

I've not long been doing gelatine fining as just sort of an experiments and, when I bottle the left over from the fermenter that won't go into the keg, I find the gelatine has a real advantage in the bottles. The yeast cake in the bottles compact down really, really well and stay stuck to the bottom of the bottle better. So when you have someone do an aggressive pour, you can stop them in time so they don't get that slug of yeast in the glass.

Beer has to be cold though for it to work its magic.


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3068
« on: July 13, 2014, 04:57:26 AM »

I made the starter based on the date on the package and calculated the volume based on the Mr. Malty yeast calculator. It has always given me solid results in the past. The one thing I am concerned about is that the yeast was delivered via FedEx and it was in transit during a few rather hot days. I did notice that the slurry in the starter seemed rather sparse compared to previous batches. The fermentation was active, but not what I've become accustomed to. Perhaps the yeast got fried in transit?

I suppose that's a possibility. Like I said though, I'm making a guess from afar so I think the best thing is to not give up on your beer. Have you taken another gravity reading to see how its fermenting? You did say watery which could mean its just going slow.

Don't give up on your beer! Stick with it and see how it turns out. Probably the best advice in this case.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3068
« on: July 12, 2014, 04:14:30 PM »

That more beer article was a really good read on that. I've never had the rotten eggs smell before or really heard of it so bad in the primary it would nearly "knock me over".

If it was in your starter and the beer is super watery, my guess is that's not a positive sign. Assuming your were sanitary in your process, then think about the yeast. If you under pitch, what is one of the by products? You get a lot more volatile sulfur compounds which come out during yeast growth.

Is there a chance there was a low viable cell count in the pack due to age or poor handling or similar? Since it was present in the starter then maybe you under pitched your starter??

I'd say it would have to be fairly heavily under pitched but just another take on it.

All Things Food / Re: Beer Bread revisited
« on: July 12, 2014, 01:57:25 AM »

Ah ha! This thread just gave me an idea on what to do with those two cans of megaswill left in the fridge from a recent family visit. Beer bread it is. Just poured out enough for the first loaf and letting it warm up/degas before I make bread with it.

I'm sure it will work out fine...


I've done several batches of BIAB over the past few years but none for quite a while - mostly because I was cramped for space while renovating the garage and the full system needed to be packed away.

The killer dislike for me was the lack of efficiency. At first I kept coming up way short on my pre-boil gravity despite the BIAB people saying they got better efficiency. Yes, I just upped the grain bill to hit the pre boil gravity but why spend the extra money when you don't need to? The difference in the grain bill price would have been about $5 or so and, after a while, that would pay for the mash tun.

So essentially I think that it's good to use this to go to all grain but it's only a baby step - you still will want to get to a mash tun in the long run to get more stable mash temps, the ability to do larger batches, maximum efficiency (I know as home brewers we shouldn't worry about efficiency but $10 is better in my wallet than anyone else's).

However if it's BIAB or extract, then go BIAB.


I'm brewing an oak ale. I've been brewing for years and never made anything oaked. Be interesting to see whether or not I like the results!


Other Fermentables / Re: Hard Lemonade
« on: July 04, 2011, 07:16:53 AM »

While there are no pentagrams or speaking in tongues in this recipe, I've made variations of this before:

2kg (4.4lbs) dextrose (corn sugar)
up to 450 grams (1lb) lactose for sweetening (if you want a sweeter flavour, optional)
20-odd fresh lemons
43 grams (1oz) fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
11.5g packet of safale s-04 yeast

Slice the lemons and then chop into small cubes. Leave the peel on.

Heat 5L (1 1/14 Gal) water half way to boiling on the stove and add the dextrose, lemons, ginger, and lactose (if using). Add the yeast nutrients here too.

Simmer for 15~20 minutes while you sanitise your fermenter (you cleaned it already, right?).

At this point I add some cold, filtered tap water to the fermenter, around 10L / 2.5 gal

Through a filter/muslin cloth/cheese cloth, strain the sugar/lemon mix into the fermenter.

Top with more cold filtered tap water, adjusting temperature to hit 18~20ºC (64-68F). Pitch the yeast (rehydrated of course!).

Ferment then bottle / keg as you would a beer.

Now, just a couple of things to point out:

Adjust the lemon and ginger to taste. I have a lemon tree so I usually give it the gutso with around 25 lemons or more depending on the size.

Lactose is optional and I only add if it's really dry at bottling. John Palmer states that lactose is half as sweet as sugar so that should give you a guide. At bottling time, I taste the hydrometer sample, then add the amount of lactose to the pot with the dextrose for priming, boil, then add to the bottling bucket.

The dextrose/corn sugar can be subbed out for malt extract. I've used dried and used third or fourth runnings from the mash tun but I really think it's the wrong flavour unless you want to use a pilsner malt. That seems delicate enough but does need the 90min boil.

Now, there is this alternate recipe from the infamous,orange tie-died thong wearing vegetarian MOLLY GOAT:!)&highlight=lemonade

I've always been meaning to try this method... just for kicks you know... :)

All in all, either method will produce something way better than a super filtered/back flavoured malt beverage, and definitely better than stuffing around with vodka mixes.


Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: partial mash in oven?
« on: June 25, 2011, 01:38:31 PM »

When I did partial mashes, that's the way I did it. I found I needed to use a digital multimeter on temp setting with a K-type thermocouple to check the oven temperature because, like others have mentioned, ovens typically don't go that low. I used to turn my oven on and off during the mash to keep the temp stable based on the DMM's reading.

I'd just get my mashing grains into a grain bag, put with water into a metal stockpot on the stove. Heat everything up and just pop it into the pre-heated oven. Using a DMM you can see just how much the temperature drops when you open the oven door!

Beats all other methods for maintaining a temperature for a partial mash.


Like others here, I've long moved from plastic to stainless for my racking cane. It only took me braking one auto-siphon (on it's second use) and two plastic racking canes after roughly five or six uses.

I'm too chicken s*** to go anywhere near pumping CO2 into the fermenter so it's carboy cap/sanitary filter combo for me :)

To be perfectly honest, this setup is ideal except for the need to lift the carboy up above the target. One of these days I'll look into a pulley system!!  :-\      Either that or go CO2

Ingredients / Re: Galaxy hops
« on: June 06, 2011, 04:32:52 PM »
I agree it would be interesting to do a single hop beer with Amarillo, Galaxy, and Citra and compare/contrast the differences in flavor and aroma.

+1 for that.

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