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Messages - dmtaylor

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Ingredients / Re: malt substitute for molasses?
« on: May 24, 2016, 10:15:08 AM »
Special B malt will get you into the right neighborhood.  Also any deep crystal malt like Crystal 120, 140, or higher if you can find it.

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Other Fermentables / Re: First Hard Apple Cider - Any Tips?
« on: May 21, 2016, 08:07:31 PM »
Looks like all the advice so far has been really good.

Welcome to the easiest alcoholic beverage to make on the planet.  It’s so easy that cavemen almost certainly did it.  Get some apple juice and just let it sit for a month, and the result is delicious.

It’s easy to make very good cider on your very first try.  However, there are some things you can try to give you truly excellent cider, if you don’t mind just a little extra effort.  So for that, here’s my 3 cents (some of this might overlap what others have already mentioned).

First of all, you don’t necessarily need or want to add any sugar at all.  Why?  Cider is naturally about 6-7% ABV on average without any extra sugar added.  If you try my method below you can get closer to 5%, which in my book is still plenty.  If you want a more wine-like cider, then go ahead and add sugar, but be aware that all it really does is add a bunch more alcohol where you’re getting into the 7-12% range closer and closer to a wine rather than an easy drinking common cider.  If you do add any sugar, you should heat or boil it ahead to kill any wild critters.  A half pound in 2 gallons will raise the ABV by approximately 1.1% over the ~6% you probably would have gotten, so it’s closer to 7%.  It’s a personal decision, but personally I never add sugar and I really love the results.

Champagne yeast will make the cider very dry, bone dry, like no more sweetness left at the end at all dry.  Final gravity might be close to 0.992 unless you intervene.  Fortunately, you can stop the yeast early to prevent dryness, and here’s how:  When specific gravity hits the range of 1.010 to 1.015, add gelatin to knock out most of the yeast, then the next day add sorbate and sulfite to kill what’s left.  When the time comes, dissolve a half teaspoon of unflavored gelatin (I use Knox brand) in a half cup of hot boiled water, then pour that into your beer.  The next day, about 90% of the yeast will be on the bottom of the fermenter.  Then add sorbate in the recommended dose and 2 Campden tablets crushed (this is sulfite).  These don’t kill yeast but hurt them real bad so they can’t ferment too far out after this.  Then chill and wait another couple weeks to make sure things don’t take off again, then you should be able to bottle.  That’s how I’d do it with the champagne yeast.  Some English ale yeasts like S-04 have the advantage of not fermenting quite so dry so you can skip most or all of these steps.  Or, just let it ferment to dryness and sweeten at the end, that’s what most people do, however I find I get superior flavor from leaving the natural sugars in the cider this way.

I do love what US-05 yeast does with cider.  Very good stuff.  However, don’t be surprised when it too wants to finish close to 1.000, still a bit dry in my opinion.

You are correct.  Half a pack of yeast will work for this.

I like to ferment cool, about 55-60 F if possible.  This preserves more of the apple character.  You can make good cider fermenting at 70-80 F, and it will ferment faster, but just not as elegant and awesome as when you ferment cool.  But you’re right.  Temperature control is not very strict with cider.  People do all sorts of temperature regimens and it really all turns out pretty good no matter what.

Finally, and most important, patience is a requirement with cider.  It ferments a lot more slowly than beer does.  No matter what yeast you choose, it will take it’s sweet time and fizz slowly for about a month, plus or minus.  Carbonation in bottles may take at least another month, sometimes longer.  I have a batch fermenting at 40 F that’s been fizzing away for 7 months now.  Colder temperatures take longer, while in warm temperatures it can be done in as little as ~3 weeks.  Also be aware that carbonation can be a bit of a crapshoot.  Sometimes you’ll get lucky and it will carbonate perfectly in your bottles within a month.  Other times it will turn out flat, sometimes gushers..... it all depends on how patient you are, how much yeast is still alive, how many sugars are in there.  If you have the ability to keg, that’s probably the easiest and most consistent way to guarantee the right level of carbonation in cider.  Otherwise, you’re kind of at the mercy of a dozen different variables.  Personally I enjoy my cider flat most of the time, which is actually most traditional.  Carbonated cider is a 20th century thing.  So take that for whatever it’s worth (not much).

By the way.... sucralose makes a chemical tasting cider.  Try xylitol instead if you’re going with artificial sweetener.

Good luck and don’t forget the patience.  :cheers:

3
All Grain Brewing / Re: Adjusting IBU's
« on: May 20, 2016, 09:23:39 AM »

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Adjusting IBU's
« on: May 19, 2016, 09:43:45 AM »
for what it's worth, it wouldn't have actually been 49.9 even if you have hit your numbers exactly. There are too many system assumptions for even complex calculations to be really accurate.
True, but having a calculated IBU reference point to go with your perception of the beers you make is really helpful when making adjustments to recipes or formulating them.

That was my thought as well.

Does anybody really know what time it is?  Does anybody really care?  ;)

5
All Grain Brewing / Re: Adjusting IBU's
« on: May 18, 2016, 10:33:30 AM »
Lower gravity will give you higher hop utilization, plus smaller volume will give you more IBUs per unit volume.  So, your IBUs will probably be more like upper 50s.  This is going to taste like a very bitter beer indeed.  But you might enjoy it that way anyway.  And if not, bottle it and let it age for 6 or 9 months.  Bitterness does drop out over time.

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: W-34/70 Equivalents?
« on: May 05, 2016, 11:08:40 AM »
I looked it up and confirmed that yes these seem to be equivalent or really close.  Wish I would have known this before impulse-purchasing a pack of WLP830 when I already have a pack of W-34/70 in the refrigerator!!  Perhaps I can run a side-by-side experiment though -- perfect chance for that I guess!

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Beer Recipes / Re: Jack fruit ale
« on: May 05, 2016, 07:05:53 AM »
The worst thing about durian is how long the smell remains on your fingers.

"It is the scent of garlic that lingers
on my chocolate fingers."

-- obscure reference from Genesis w/ Peter Gabriel on The Lamia, the year I was born, 1974

8
Beer Recipes / Re: Jack fruit ale
« on: May 04, 2016, 07:29:36 PM »
At least it's not a durian.

There's something I need to try before I die, at least once, since it's such a love/hate thing and bet I might love it.

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Beer Recipes / Re: Jack fruit ale
« on: May 04, 2016, 06:07:17 PM »
Never brewed with it, but tasted it, and was not really impressed.  And you're right, it's a bear to deal with.

Go with the light ale as you figured, but back off on the hops to let the fruit flavors come in better.  An American wheat would be the first thing to come to mind, but just about any low hopped blonde beer would work fine.

10
Ingredients / Re: Weyrman floor malted Pilsner
« on: May 04, 2016, 11:22:47 AM »
I think it's only in the last few years that it's become more modified, Dave. I remember a few year back that retailers ran the disclaimer that it needed to be step mashed. Pretty easy to use now.

I don't doubt the truth in that at all.  We've come a long way here in the 21st century.  Now for those who want to do decoctions and step mashes on purpose, it's got to be dang near impossible to find anything undermodified enough to be worth the bother and not destroy body and head retention.

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Ingredients / Re: Weyrman floor malted Pilsner
« on: May 04, 2016, 09:21:23 AM »
I've seen that doc countless times.

I'm sure many people have, but some like myself had not.  I still see people talking about how floor malted pils is supposedly undermodified, but when you look at the specs, it's clearly NOT.  I like to rely on science more than rumors and opinions, at least in some cases.  ;)

Here's an even more specific link:

http://www.weyermann.de/pdf_analyses/q019-001960-01.pdf

Based on some interwebby searches, Kolbach under 38% is about the threshold from moderate to undermodified.  So, at 41% Kolbach, this malt is actually pretty well modified.

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Ingredients / Re: Weyrman floor malted Pilsner
« on: May 04, 2016, 09:02:43 AM »
Our friend Bryan let the following link slip by accident on another forum.  You can download a lot of cool specs including Kolbach indices -- in English, no less!

http://www.weyermann.de/usa/gelbe_seiten_usa.asp?go=brewery&umenue=yes&idmenue=269&sprache=10

For whatever it's worth, the floor malted pilsner malt is still considered by anyone's standards to be "well modified", so anyone purposely looking for an undermodified malt here is unlikely to find what they want.  Just so you know.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Shipping beer WTF
« on: May 03, 2016, 03:14:21 PM »
No one from either UPS or FedEx has ever asked me what was inside, they just basically let me drop off the package and move on.  The answer I always have prepared just in case is "food samples for analysis", but on second thought that's probably still a little suspicious.  How about "non-perishable food in glass containers".  Now that's being honest without being suspicious!

I always leave out any reference to "beer" in the address.
For example, Craft Beer Cellars becomes Craft Cellars, New England Regional Homebrew Competition becomes NERHBC, etc.
The folks at the local UPS drop-off location don't ask, I don't tell.

Great points -- I began doing this as well in recent history.

14
Other Fermentables / Re: Cigary cider
« on: May 02, 2016, 06:05:48 PM »
No, I wasn't clear.  I assumed you might possibly be tasting the yeast or critters themselves, not the flavors produced by their metabolic processes -- those would not floc out with the gelatin.  However the critters could have a meaty or perhaps tobacco flavor all their own.

15


Nice job, Ray & Co.

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