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Topics - narcout

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Equipment and Software / Grainfather
« on: October 22, 2015, 03:19:06 AM »
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, 10:39:40 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, 02:40:18 PM »
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, 08:38:03 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, 04:07:02 PM »
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, 04:53:50 PM »
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, 03:06:40 PM »
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, 05:51:52 PM »
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, 07:12:33 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, 05:14:33 PM »
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, 06:06:43 PM »
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, 05:28:16 PM »
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.


Yeast and Fermentation / Interesting 1056 behaviour
« on: February 23, 2015, 09:18:58 PM »
Wednesday night I made a 1.7 liter starter, hit it with some O2, pitched a smack pack of 1056 and set it on a stir plate at a low RPM.

It was at high krausen when I got up for work at 6:30 Thursday morning, and I put it in the fridge before I left the house around 8:00.  When I got home around 7:30 p.m., I checked the starter, and it was still fermenting (though slowly) after having been in the fridge for just under 12 hours.  I don't know how cold my fridge is, but I think upper 30's is a good guess.

Saturday morning when I was ready to decant and pitch, I took it out of the fridge and put it out on the kitchen counter while I was sanitizing my oxygenation gear.  Less than ten minutes later, there was a quarter inch thick ring of krausen around the inside of the flask, and it was bubbling pretty steadily.  It couldn't have warmed up much past the mid 40's at that point.

Anyway, I was just surprised that this yeast was still active at such a low temperature.  It makes me wonder if you could ferment a full batch with it at lager temps (not that there's really any reason to do so).

I feel as though the culture was in pretty good shape when I pitched, and I'm going to continue the crash at high krausen method.  I wonder if any other strains will behave similarly.

Yeast and Fermentation / Coopers Dry Yeast
« on: February 20, 2015, 05:36:28 PM »
Does anyone know if Coopers Dry Ale Yeast is the same yeast the brewery uses or if there is a Wyeast or White Labs equivalent of the yeast used by the brewery?

I'd like to brew something similar to Coopers Best Extra Sparkling Ale.

My recollection is that there is a fair amount of yeast in the bottles that could be cultured, but they aren't all that easy to find (at least not here).

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