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Messages - skyler

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Ingredients / Re: Hop hash
« on: Today at 10:49:03 PM »
It's kegged and carbonated now, but still clearing in the keg. The dry hop quality is less intense than expected. I used 4 oz at 170F whirlpool for 30 mins and 4 oz dry in a 12 oz batch. I think it tastes like I used 6 oz of hops at flameout and maybe 2-3 oz dry (9 days). The hop quality is citrusy and a little piney - pretty much citra blended with something that can't stand up to citra (like a 50/50 citra/cascade blend).

I think this is a decent ingredient for a kettle hop and made for a nice, hoppy beer, but I don't think it's the next big thing. Personally, I got a lot more mileage from it as a kettle hop, but since the character is sorta one-note, I probably wouldn't use it solo. Anyway, it was a fun experiment and it didn't make bad beer, so go ahead and try it out if you're looking to reduce hop solids in your system.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: English yeast for beginners
« on: February 18, 2017, 11:28:16 AM »
That's interesting, I have never heard much about using S-04 that low. I have always advised using it around 64* because I have had better results at those temps than anything higher, but I have never used it near 60* I'm interested to do so, are you pitching extra yeast to use it in the mid to high 50's? What is the character at those temps?

I'll still use one pack for ~5.5 gallons under 1.060 if it's first-generation, but I do tend to pitch a lot of slurry when going 2nd or third generation. But this yeast is perfectly happy around 58F - it's neither slow to start nor finish around 58-62F.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Dark hefeweizen...Huh?
« on: February 17, 2017, 11:31:22 AM »
To begin with, 7 SRM is darker than most hefeweizens, IMO. Your recipe is probably a darker-than-average hefe. Add to that, malt extract will make beers darker than they would otherwise be and not all the calculators have extract entered correctly, for some reason. A 100% Pilsner malt Extract 1.050 OG beer will come out ~7 SRM, IME, where the same beer with 100% Pilsner malt would be ~3 SRM. I don't have much experience with wheat DME, but I would bet that it is darker than the pilsner extract. Personally, I would expect your beer to be ~8-9 SRM, which is orange to amber in color, like a good pale ale and a bit dark for a hefeweizen, but that doesn't mean it won't taste good.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: English yeast for beginners
« on: February 17, 2017, 10:00:57 AM »
One thing about English yeast - it is used in a ton of American beer, too. Firestone Walker and Deschutes are both widely-distributed American breweries that use English yeast as their primary strain. There are countless others. Still, some breweries use "American" yeasts to produce "English" styles of beers. English yeasts typically are less dry and more flocculant than American yeast strains and, when fermented at their best temperature (some like it colder than others), they tend to produce subtle yeast-driven aromas. They may also impact mouthfeel, but this could be from the unfermented sugars.

In England most of the top breweries aren't making super-yeast-driven peach-bubblegum-banana bombs. That homebrew we all made when we started that was 1.060+ OG, amber, opaque, and tasted like banana bread had about as much in common with the "ESB" style that we were shooting for as a contemporary India Pale Ale has with Kingfisher Beer.

That said, should you choose an English yeast strain, read what the yeast company says about the fermentation temperature and start at the low end of their recommendation or even a little lower, as the yeast-driven flavors can be exaggerated at the homebrew level. For S-04, Fermentis recommends 59-68F and I would strongly recommend 56-62F. Every time I taste a nasty English beer where someone blames S-04, I ask them and they indicate that they did not keep the fermentation temperature under 64F. Usually these brewers are used to fermenting US-05 or Nottingham at ~68 F and having "no problem," so they assume that S-04 has the same requirements when it doesn't. I am a major S-04 advocate as I like very much that I can ferment with it as cold as 54F and that no D-rest is needed when fermented in the high 50's to low 60's. Many yeast strains (Ringwood) need both a cool fermentation and a warm D-rest to produce great beer.

Additionally, if you are choosing a known low-attenuating strain, try using 5% simple sugar - I usually use dextrose, but plain table sugar works fine. I understand the temptation to mash super low (~148F) instead, but sugar is what the English use and it is more reliable, IME, than ultra-low-temperature mashing.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Out of my comfort zone
« on: February 13, 2017, 02:39:13 PM »
Did you adjust your bittering hops to balance it for the lower gravity? I mean, I assume dropping down to ~35 IBUs would give you a pretty nice session beer.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: "Rack on to" secondary
« on: February 13, 2017, 02:31:24 PM »
Don't rack it again - that is unlikely to be any help. Bottle it ASAP.

The "sour" note could be a few things. (1) it could be an infection, which would mean the beer has caught a microbe like lactobacillus and that it will keep getting more and more sour, so you should drink it ASAP (assuming it tastes okay). (2) it could be that you used old extract - old extract has a distinct sour taste that I notice in a lot of novice homebrew - this can usually be avoided by sticking to just dry malt extract and grain, or by switching to a better homebrew supply store. (3) dark malts are acidic and you probably didn'y do anything to combat that acidity with your water - it could be that the pH is low because of your water chemistry and grist - next time try using reverse osmosis water from the grocery store and reading up on water chemistry in brewing. (4) some yeast strains naturally produce more acidic-tasting beer. Did you use Nottingham? That makes every beer a little tart, IME.

If I were you, I would just bottle now and check on it in 2 weeks. If it tastes okay/is carbonated, chill almost all of the bottles (your potential souring microbe will be slowed down by the fridge). Leave at least 1-2 bottles at room temperature for 3 months or so to see how they develop. You will know it if they are infected because they will get super carbonated and very very sour. If it's an infection, throw away all the plastic that touched the beer.

In the future, I recommend against doing too much with a recipe. Cocoa, raisins, bourbon, vanilla, and cinnamon are a lot to add to a beer as a novice. You will get better at brewing quicker if your beer isn't "hiding" behind all those competing flavors. If you want a stout, try a plain stout recipe. You can always add vanilla-infused bourbon to half of it when you're bottling. But it's your beer. I know I sure tried to make every beer over 7% ABV and I put fruit and spices and chocolate in about half of my first 10-20 batches, so I get the appeal. My beer got better when I started doing less. Now, if I want to brew a complex flavored stout, I know what (almost) every ingredient does and what each different technique will give me, so my beers are a lot more consistent.

Yeast and Fermentation / Dry Yeast for Bohemian Dark Lager
« on: February 13, 2017, 01:54:27 PM »
Hey guys, which dry yeast would you recommend for a Bohemian Dark Lager? My instinct is to just go with W-34/70, as it is reliable and pretty good with malt-forward lagers, but I have read positive remarks about about S-189 and I know Mangrove Jack's Bohemian Lager purports to be an authentic Bohemian Lager strain (and it is available at my LHBS).

MY favorite beer in Prague last summer (by far) was Kozel Cerny. And, pretty consistently, I found the fresh dark lagers of Prague (especially the unpasteurized "tank beer") to be superior to both the other Czech beer offerings (pale lagers of varying strengths and amateurish American-style IPA offshoots, with few exceptions) and to other regional dark lagers I have had.

Having done some research, I am determined to brew something similar, though I rarely brew lagers. I know I can get liquid forms of some of the legitimate Czech yeast strains, but I would prefer to use a dry yeast, as I find building a giant starter annoying.

Ingredients / Re: Your favorite malt and hop of the year.
« on: January 30, 2017, 02:08:11 PM »
CaraHell and Mosaic

In 2016, I really became enamored with CaraHell. I use it alone, with CaraFoam/carapils, and/or with wheat malt to make pale ales and IPAs. I really like it in a hop-forward beer. I find it subtler than other light crystals.

Mosaic has recently overtaken Simcoe as my favorite hop that I can readily get. I still think I prefer Nelson Sauvin, but I haven't been able to buy a fresh pound of Nelson Sauvin in a long time, so I just enjoy it in beers that I drink. I really like that, unlike Simcoe, Mosaic works equally as well on its own as it does in a blend.

Ingredients / Re: Using Nugget hops instead of Magnum in pale ale
« on: January 30, 2017, 08:09:18 AM »
I have some homegrown Nugget and Cascade hops. I'm thinking of making a Sierra Nevada like pale ale with them. How do you think subbing the Nugget in for Magnum bittering hops would affect the beer? I don't have enough hops to make an IPA. Just trying to come up with a way to use my own hops together. 

It's tough to use homegrown hops for bittering without knowing their alpha acid %. Most brewers use their homegrown hops for late boil and whirlpool additions.

+1, that said, Nugget itself is a fine bittering hop and would work fine to bitter a pale ale, assuming you could accurately get the appropriate bitterness from your brew.

Ingredients / Re: Hop hash
« on: January 30, 2017, 08:07:38 AM »
Sorry for bumping an old thread thread - but has anyone brewed exlusively/almost exclusively with the hop hash?

Yesterday, I just brewed a 12 gallon test batch with my hop hash. It's a 1.055 pale ale composed of 94% Golden Promise, 4% Carahell, and 2% Acidulated Malt; bittered to ~40 IBU's with YVH HopShot (10mL @ 60 mins). I dropped 4 oz of Hop Hash for a 30 mins whirlpool at 170F (only aroma hops). I will dry hop with another 4 oz. I mashed at 151 for 60 mins to get it pretty dry, as I'm using BRY-97 on half.

I suspect that this neutral of a malt profile and an otherwise naked hop bill will help showcase the hash - which was surprisingly moist and resinous and smelled fruitier than I expected. But while the aroma of the has was great, my wort didn't smell nearly as aromatic as when I brew a pale ale with more traditional ingredients. That could be a good thing if it means more of those aromatic compounds are staying in my beer, but I  suspect this hash is not the aroma bomb product I had hoped it would be. I'll report in ~3 weeks when I have it on tap.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: State of the Forum
« on: January 27, 2017, 03:32:03 PM »
I agree with most of what OP is saying here, but I don't think the issue is the "tangents," I think it is the lack of decorum, which may or may not be intentional. Perhaps the cause is an increased number of arrogant, thin-skinned millennials (no offense to my fellow 90's kids).

This used to be a friendly and helpful forum for moderately skilled to advanced-level brewers back when I was a more regular contributor (2010-2013). This was where you "graduated" to after you outgrew BN and NB (which is where you went after you outgrew HBT and a few more ancient forums). Now you can either get horrible advice from unemployed neckbeards on Reddit or deal with a lot of snooty unpleasantness on this forum.

This is how I see 9 out of 10 conversations go on homebrew forums these days (not just here):

OP: I'm looking into upgrading from my Mr. Beer kit that I have used for two years (it cracked!) and have about $1000 to spend, what should I do?

A1: Buy an aluminum kettle and lots of liquid malt extract. Use lots of specialty malts. Don't follow recipes. You don't want to make BMC crap!

B1: I would get a 10 gallon steel kettle if you're looking to brew 5 gal batches. Then get some bucket fermenters (2 should be enough) or carboys. If you have been brewing for a while, you may want to look into getting a kegging kit, but you will need a decent bottling bucket if you aren't kegging. You may save $$$ by buying a kit. Pay attention to fermentation management - temperature control and yeast starters will make a major improvement! After brewing a few extract batches that you are reasonably happy with, look into building a mash tun - there are lots of different styles, but I like style A (

C1: The only way to brew is to custom-build this system that will take seventeen engineers and $400,000. B's beer tastes like cat puke because he doesn't have use a tachyon emitter to ionize the atmosphere to hide his IBUs from the Romulan probe. Don't fall into that trap. Here's 4,000 pages of science, most of it is in German, but if you can't figure out what they mean with Google translate, then you shouldn't be brewing, anyway.

D1: Buy a kit!

B2: @C, OP can't read German and he didn't say anything about owning a starship, give it a rest.

C2: Science science science. B can't handle the science of his awful beer.  8)

E: I agree with A - go aluminum. Excellent strength to weight ratio!

C3: Aluminum will work acceptably if you oxidize it properly. Theorhetically, boiling dihydrogen monoxide can make this happen for you. Make sure you manage this well with chemicals because of science.

F: I agree with what B is saying, except I have had no need for yeast starters because I use dry yeast. And don't go with aluminum, it's a lot more hassle for a little less money. I got a bad metallic flavor from my old aluminum kettle and now it just takes up space in the garage. Here's the kit I would recommend: ( C's adherence to the brewing doctrine of the DS9-era Tal Shiar is unproven sci fi and most people want more lens flair.

OP2: Ok, I bought this kit ( I can't wait to brew this pliny kit. It cost me $300 for the ingredients, so if it doesn't come out perfect, I am quitting the hobby. Thanks for the help, A and E!

In this instance, C isn't being helpful because they are offering advanced Roddenberrian brewing advice to a relative newb. B is trying to be helpful, but OP is getting directed to doing "what sounds the easiest" rather than "the best they can manage" because of the needless nagging and bragging by C. I, for one, am fascinated by what the LODO community has to say, and I would like to learn more about it and try some experiments to see if the extra effort is worth it. But instead of simply putting together a digestible website to showcase their approach, we get a lot of highly technical arguments that are unnecessary in posts from newbs and moderate-level brewers. This leads to an argument from someone who takes a less technical approach and it has lead to a generally less friendly and easy-going forum.

Other Fermentables / Re: Bottle conditioning cider
« on: January 24, 2017, 02:40:45 PM »
Since bottling is a process that risks exploding glass in your face, I think you need to be a little more scientific about how much priming sugar to add and not make bottle priming recommendations to strangers based on things you've heard.


Other Fermentables / Re: Molasses as a Fermentable
« on: January 24, 2017, 02:08:17 PM »
Personally, I think you would do better to brew 5 gallons of a simple Irish Stout (maybe underhop it slightly), add 8 oz (no more than 1 lb) molasses and 1 can of baking cocoa (and the cinnamon stick if you need it) at flameout, then add half a liter of concentrated cold brew coffee (made from boiled, but chilled water) at bottling/kegging. I think you will get all the rich chocolatey molasses you want from that. I think distilling a cocoa molasses sugar mix will end up thin and horrible-tasting.

Other Fermentables / Re: Bottle conditioning cider
« on: January 24, 2017, 02:00:49 PM »
FWIW, I used 2 cans of frozen apple juice concentrate (no additives) to prime my 5 gal ciders and the carbonation was pretty good. I've heard of adding as many as 3 cans to get even more carbonation, but I haven't tried it.

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