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Topics - narcout

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Commercial Beer Reviews / Sour Beer Tastings
« on: October 26, 2015, 02:52:41 PM »
I'm reading American Sour Beers (excellent book so far) and following the author's recommendation to keep a tasting log of commercial sours.

Fortunately, my local liquor store has a wide selection of at least 40 different sours.  Unfortunately, they are all pretty expensive.

Yesterday, I picked up these:

Below are my tasting notes on the Citra Sour.  The second beer is a sour ale aged in Bourbon barrels with cherries.  I'll try that one later this week.

Disclaimer:  I'm pretty sure my palette kind of sucks.

Almanac Brewing – Citra Sour (10.25.15)

Description: American blonde ale fermented with house sour culture, racked into used oak wine barrels for several months and then dry hopped with Citra; abv 7%

Appearance: Hazy, dark straw/golden color, effervescent, minimal head

Aroma: Slightly sour, light malt, and citrus (lemon and grapefruit)

Taste: moderate sourness with no funk; fizzy grapefruit, lemony (slight mouth puckering); perhaps light vinegar; light malt; light hop bitterness (not really noticeable); hint of light berries?; dry finish

Impression: Enjoyable, would buy again, definitely sour but not overpoweringly so

Beer Recipes / 100% Golden Promise
« on: October 24, 2015, 10:54:25 AM »
MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. in Van Nuys brews a beer they call a Yorkshire Pale Ale that is 100% Golden Promise with 3 hop varieties and clocks in at 4.2% ABV.  They told me what the hops were, but it was a few months ago and I can't remember exactly.

For a 6 gallon batch, I was thinking:

8.5 lbs. Golden Promise
2 oz. EGK - 60 minutes
.5 oz. Fuggles - 10 minutes
.5 oz. S. Goldings - 10 minutes
.5 oz. Fuggles - 2 minutes
.5 oz. S. Goldings - 2 minutes

That should put the calculated IBUs around 30.

I'm thinking the water should be low in minerals and balanced between sulfate and chloride.  I'll probably target a mash pH of 5.4 and employ some 10% phosphoric acid if necessary (haven't run this through Bru'n Water yet).

For yeast, I was considering 1275, 1318 or 1469.  Any thoughts?

Equipment and Software / Grainfather
« on: October 21, 2015, 08:19:06 PM »
Is anyone here brewing with one of those Grainfather systems?  If so, what do you think of it?

When all those automated systems first came on the scene a few years ago, I had absolutely no interest in them, but I'm starting to change my mind.

Maybe it's because I can only brew at night now due to the baby (that means I'm up until 1:30, which is tough because I get up at 6:30 every day), but lately brew days have started to seem like more of a chore than something to look forward to. 

I never had any desire to set up a recirculating system or an electric one (after 10 years of brewing, I don't even own a pump), but the Grainfather has definitely caught my eye.

Other Fermentables / First Cider
« on: October 15, 2015, 03:39:40 PM »
About a month ago, I decided to try making a cider. 

I used fairly cheap, store bought, pasteurized apple juice from concentrate with no additional fruit, sugar, etc. because I wanted to see what the baseline would be.  All I added was yeast nutrient and some S-04 slurry.

Anyway, I kegged it last night, and the hydrometer sample tasted surprisingly good.  There was more apple flavor than I was expecting, and it had a nice tartness.

I'm going to carb it up and then evaluate the desirability of back sweetening.  The FG was 1.004. 

All Things Food / Steamed Clams
« on: October 11, 2015, 07:40:18 AM »
We love clams.  Personally, I prefer them raw on the half shell, but steamed is also pretty nice.

I saute onions and garlic, then add water, white wine, parsley and the clams - bring that to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer covered.  I believe the secret to success is to monitor the pot closely, and remove each clam with a pair of tongs as soon as it opens (transferring them to a bowl that is covered with tin foil).  That way you don't overcook the early openers.

I can get about 30 good sized littlenecks in my old 5 gallon extract kettle (which I also use to make a mean vegetarian matzo ball soup for Passover).

All Things Food / Chipotle Salsa
« on: September 20, 2015, 01:38:03 PM »
This recipe came from a cookbook my wife got at some wine tasting event we went to earlier in the summer.  It makes for a pretty spicy salsa; I might back off on the chipotles a bit next time.

2 small cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (with adobo sauce washed off)
4 roma tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 quart water
salt and black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes, blend in a food processor

It was delicious both for dipping and as a garnish on the main dish of the evening (squid sauteed with tomatoes and garlic over rice and beans).  I whipped up a few margaritas as well.

Equipment and Software / Mini Fridge
« on: September 14, 2015, 09:07:02 AM »
I would like to get a second fermentation chamber so I can try my hand at mead.

Is there a mini fridge available that can hold a 5 gallon corny keg right out of the box, without my having to modify the door or mess around with the freezer coils?

If not, I'll just buy the smallest chest freezer available.

Beer Recipes / Waimea APA
« on: September 07, 2015, 09:53:50 AM »
I finally got around to brewing this one on Friday night.

6 gallon batch:

11 lbs. 2-row
8 oz. Caramunich II

1 oz. Waimea (17.4% AA) - 60 min.
.5 oz Waimea and .5 oz. Columbus - 10 min.
.5 oz Waimea and .3 oz (all I had left) Columbus - 5 min.
1 oz. Waimea - 0 min.

One packet S-04 (rehydrated), currently fermenting at 67 degrees

OG: 1.055
IBU as projected by Beersmith: 52

Mashed at 152 for one hour; mash pH between 5.3 and 5.4 (I didn't feel like breaking out the meter); all distilled water with minerals to 150 ppm sulfate and 30 ppm chloride

Yeast and Fermentation / New Yeast Company
« on: June 20, 2015, 08:06:40 AM »
Did anyone catch the name of that new yeast company?  The one that will be selling 200 billion cells per pitch in little metal canisters.

Equipment and Software / SSBT Insulated Stainless Mash Tun
« on: June 19, 2015, 10:51:52 AM »
This caught my eye at the NHC expo.  It's expensive, I don't need it, it won't improve my beer or make my brewday easier or faster, but I want it all the same.

Events / 2015 NHC Impressions
« on: June 14, 2015, 12:12:33 PM »
I just want to say what an awesome time I had at the NHC.  I can’t believe I was thinking about not going.

A lot of people must have worked very hard to make it happen, and they did a fantastic job. 

It was inspiring to try so many great homebrews, and it was a sincere pleasure to meet all of you (especially, but in no way limited to, the crew I was out with Friday afternoon).

To me, this weekend reinforced everything that is positive about homebrewing.  I hope everyone else had as much fun as I did and that I’ll see you all next year and beyond.

Beer Recipes / Australian Sparkling Ale
« on: May 02, 2015, 10:14:33 AM »
After an insanely stressful work week, I've got some time to brew tonight.  This will be my second stab at the style.

6 gallon batch

10.75 lbs. Pilsner malt (I can't remember at the moment if I bought Castle or Best)
.5 lbs. Carahell

1.5 oz. Pride of Ringwood - 60 min
.5 oz. Pride of Ringwood - 10 min
.5 oz. Pride of Ringwood - 5 min

Wyeast 1275 - Thames Valley Ale (appropriately sized starter)

OG. 1.054

I'm hoping it will finish on the dry side.  I'll probably mash at 148 and ferment around 70.

Equipment and Software / Scotch Fasteners
« on: April 12, 2015, 11:06:43 AM »
In case anyone is looking for an easy way to mount a temperature controller to the front of a chest freezer, this stuff is awesome.

Equipment and Software / Crud in stainless fermentor
« on: March 11, 2015, 10:28:16 AM »
Does anyone know if this is beerstone or just stubborn crud?  Neither oxyclean nor PBW will remove it, though I can scratch it off with my fingernail.

Secondary question, is it ok to use a blue, non-scratch scrubby on the inside of a stainless fermentor?  I use them all the time on my brewpots without issue, so it seems like it should be ok.  A good scrub with one of those would definitely take this stuff off.  Otherwise, I guess I'll try some sort of acidic cleaner.


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