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Messages - chinaski

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Equipment and Software / Re: Ranco cool and heat
« on: November 30, 2016, 04:57:53 PM »
I would figure out if your unit can also control heating- set a temp higher than ambient on the unit, switch it to what might be heating mode.  If it supplies power when it senses a temp lower than the set point, then connecting a heat source would work.  If it shuts power when it senses a temp lower than the set point, then it can only cool.

For my garage in winter, I run a reptile heat cable off of a STC-1000 inside my kegerator.  So far so good without over taxing the STC-1000 amperage limit.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: ciders
« on: November 29, 2016, 08:12:09 PM »
You could soak them in some hard liquor (vodka, rum, everclear, etc) and then strain out the tincture to separate the spices from the liquor (coffee filter works well, but slow). You could then pour yourself a small sample of your cider and add drops (medicine dropper or pipette) back to the glass until you achieve the desired effect (flavor and aroma you are looking for). Then scale up your tincture addition to your full batch size (3 gallons).

This is the best way to go.  Spices can easily get out of hand if you aren't careful.  I use this method on beer recipes and it works. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Level Up Time for Fermentation
« on: November 29, 2016, 08:07:17 PM »
If you make the move to kegging (which I heartily recommend) you can then look into using cornies as fermentors as well.  I keep thinking I might move toward fermenting in cornies but have stuck with carboys for now; just don't want to purchase more kegs at the moment.  The advantages that attract me to fermenting in kegs are durability, reasonable cost so you still can ferment more than one batch at a time, transfers via CO2 (no oxidation), and relatively easy to clean.  One downside is the lack of head space for a 5 gallon batch.

Brew on-

General Homebrew Discussion / Long Shot contest
« on: October 21, 2016, 01:22:20 PM »
Has anyone entered this year's Sam Adam's Longshot Contest and gotten any sort of confirmation that your entries were received?  I sent my entries and my tracking info showed that they arrived and were signed for, but I have not gotten any confirmation from the organizers.  I cannot find an e-mail contact for the comp, and the on-line form for questions to Boston Beer haven't yielded results.  I'm trying to figure out if I wasted my time and money or if they just don't communicate.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Astringent New England IPA
« on: October 06, 2016, 08:03:09 PM »
If the fear is the sparge, take some hydrometer readings as it runs off and stop if you reach 1.010, then adding the water straight to the kettle to get to the desired pre-boil volume.

Or as Denny says - do like him and batch sparge it (I do).

^^^.  Good advice on both counts. I used to fly sparge and got frustrated at times with astringency. Batch sparging is an easy switch and much less sensitive to pH issues.

Batch sparging also eliminated astringency in my beers.

There is an episode of Chop & Brew that is a presentation by John Kimmich about Heady Topper- in it he says that its a beer that is brewed using only the highest gravity runnings of the mash.  His wort making process alone would never be accepted by a large-scale operation because it leaves so much sugar behind in the mash; nevermind the costs of the hopping rates he employs.

I think a lot of homebrewers spend time chasing high efficiency at the costs of risk of astringency and (in some cases) very inconsistent efficiency from one batch to the next.  For me batch sparging is both efficient enough and completely consistent; which makes my brewing much more fun than it was when fly sparging.

Ingredients / Re: Using dried fruit
« on: October 04, 2016, 05:56:43 PM »
Anyone else have any experiences using dried cherries in Cider?
I have made some cyser with dried cranberries.  The difficulty I ended up having was adding the dried cranberries after fermentation had finished; they contain so much additional sugar that the cyser got too sweet.  If I were to do it again, I'd add them close to terminal gravity but while the yeast were still active enough to ferment out some of the extra sugar.  I'd have to look back in my log book to see if I recorded how much dried fruit I added- I know it was a lot!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: first time judging as an apprentice
« on: September 19, 2016, 06:24:57 PM »
I'm not sure what you tasted either & I am a certified judge who doesn't judge as often as I perhaps should.  But one thing I think is appropriate to mention is to cautiously limit your assumptions about the cause of the off-flavor as you perceive it.  You will not know if they brewer: used dry yeast, used malt extract, fermented warm, had high mash pH, etc.  Unless you can link specific off-flavors to specific processes (e.g. fusel alcohol flavors often are the result of warm fermentation temps), then just state your perceptions on the score sheet.  Doing otherwise doesn't help the brewer, which is the entire point of judging (IMHO anyway).

Beer Recipes / Re: Did I miss the style?
« on: September 18, 2016, 06:06:37 AM »
Wait until you (and maybe your friend) taste it, then talk style.  You both may decide that it doesn't matter that it isn't a Baltic porter.

Beer Recipes / Re: North East IPA recipe, input requested
« on: September 11, 2016, 01:20:39 PM »
You could also take the Columbus from 60 min to first wort.  I think this might give you the smoothness you are after.  I also like a bit of munich and/or low L crystal in all of my IPAs, especially at that gravity.
Brew on!

Beer Recipes / Re: wet hop ale - why not boil wet hops?
« on: August 25, 2016, 06:49:13 PM »
He's specifically asking about wet hops, not just homegrown. I don't have an answer, just pointing to his query.

My mistake. I guess I was assuming homegrown wet hops.

To the op, do you have alpha acid content info?
I don't have %AA directly.  But I'm lucky to have quite a bit of %AA data from university extension research programs for the varieties I grow from studies that were/are being done very near by.  On top of that, I have a very good feel for what the %AA could be through brewing with my hops (mostly after drying them) and tweaking the %AA in ways described by another poster here.

This brew I did all my wet hop additions 5 min or less and the aroma from the fermenter is very very nice.  I'm looking forward to taking the first sip of this batch!

Beer Recipes / wet hop ale - why not boil wet hops?
« on: August 21, 2016, 09:18:16 AM »
The hop picking season is happening & I'm doing my second wet hop brew.  Last time (2-3 seasons ago) all the hops went in wet from 60 min to steep.  It turned out fine.  This time I'm adding the hop wet hops (Cascade) only at the end of the boil- 5 min to steep, with FWH and 60 min. addition of dried homegrown Chinook.  I'm doing it this way mostly because my brief "research" on the web indicated that this is how the majority of brewers (home or pro) approach it.

Why is this?  Is the thinking that wet hops contribute more grassy/chlorophyll flavor if boiled or otherwise left in the wort longer?

Just curious what the rationale might be.

FWIW, my wort is:
6.25 lbs Maris Otter
2 lbs. dark munich
1 oz. chocolate malt

Cheers- brew onward!

Hop Growing / Re: Harvest in MI
« on: August 20, 2016, 06:16:51 PM »
My harvest in VT is well underway- everything seemed to be ready at the same time this summer. I've been picking like crazy to keep up & the oast is full.  Good stuff.

Ingredients / Re: Saison Kit + Homegrown Hops
« on: August 09, 2016, 01:19:44 PM »
Good call.  I've used my own cascades both wet and dry and overwhelmingly prefer them dry, and stored the way you spell out.  Easier to know how & when to use them when you have a dry weight to work with.

I am learning more and more that Brewers are Gnostics. There has to be a new hidden nugget of knowledge that no one else has yet to discover in the bazillion years of brew history. There are references to support any claim and where there isn't attack character!  LOL.

I don't know if it's the search for some special new nugget as much as it is an unnecessary tribalism where one person's opinion or experience automatically raises to the level of broadly applied truth and then the tribe must march to destroy all dissent. Then there is a foul argument between the old guard and the new in which terrible arguments and ad hominem attacks prevail.

Jamil, the host of Brew Strong, tends to speak in absolutes as if he has the final word on all things home brew.  Kudos to him for having the confidence in his opinions, but I find it off-putting.

In either case, Dr. Homebrew or competitions, the benefit to you as the brewer is feedback.  Not all feedback is accurate or useful.  You can choose to accept the comments as accurate or not, based on how they jive with your own assessment.  Everything else, including the handling of your entry, is beyond your control.

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