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Topics - gmac

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The Pub / Happy Star Wars Day.
« on: May 04, 2014, 09:46:25 AM »
Watching Empire with the boys. Should have tried to watch all 6. Maybe next year.

Homebrew Competitions / BJCP moving up the ranks question
« on: May 01, 2014, 05:26:59 AM »
I'm a bit confused by exactly what exams are required to move up to National. I don't have enough experience points yet but I can't really figure out what exams are required.
Can someone please fill me in on what exams are necessary? 

Ingredients / Watering down beer
« on: April 24, 2014, 05:23:50 AM »
I made a German Pilsner a couple weeks ago and overshot my gravity by about 0.012. I didn't have anymore distilled water at the time and couldn't get any so I fermented as it was. It's now finished and I'd like to add 2 gals of water to it in order to bring the volume up and alcohol down. It is currently about 13.5 gals.

Should I boil, cool and carbonate the water first and then rack the beer onto the water in the keg or can I just add boiled, cooled water directly to the fermenter?  I'm not that worried about O2 because the fermenter has a lot of CO2 in it still and I'm going to be pouring in through the CO2. I am even considering just adding distilled direct from the jug because I doubt that there are many bacteria in commercially prepared distilled water either.

My target was a 5% beer and I'm at about 6.5 right now. 


Equipment and Software / Filters - Who does it and what's best
« on: April 21, 2014, 08:08:38 AM »
So first off, let me say that I know that cloudy beer is perfectly fine.  I have no issues with it.  But...

I find that when I give someone a beer that isn't used to homebrew, the fact that it is often a bit hazy, maybe not actually cloudy but certainly not brilliant can impact their perception of the beer.  I often use either gelatin or biofine but I still find that my beer isn't really as clear as I'd like it to be.  So, I'm thinking of investing into a filter system.  How many of you actually filter your beer and if so, what system do you use and like best?

Beer Recipes / Brewing a Wit today
« on: April 17, 2014, 10:38:21 AM »
About once a year I brew Mdixon's Wit or Without recipe.  Makes a great wit but I always forget just what a huge pain in the butt this is.
I batch sparge but this calls for incremental steps.  So, I put it in the boil pot and boiled the wheat for 20 mins or so.  Then I added a bunch of cold water and the barley which worked out great to bring it down to the 104F acid rest stop. 
But after that I went for 122 by heating slowly, stirring and checking and missed it by a bit.  Hit about 128-130 before I got stopped heating.  Oh well, wrapped in coats and left for 1/2 an hour.
Now I've ramped it to 153 paying more attention and wrapped it up again. 
Next step is to mash out at 170. 
Then I have to put it all into the cooler, heat up some more water for sparging, lauter etc.  Seems like I've been all morning and I'm not even to the boil stage yet.
But, it makes a great beer so it's all worth it.

The Pub / Wanna see some puppies?
« on: April 17, 2014, 08:00:31 AM »
The family is getting a dog.  We haven't had one in a few years since we had to put our Lab down.  I am going with a particular breed, Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon for a few reasons, not least of which is that they are a "hypo-allergenic" breed (I don't actually believe any breed is 100% hypo-allergenic but we need a dog that doesn't shed much due to my one son's allergies.  The Lab came before the boy but now we can choose wiser).

Here's a picture of the litter we are getting a pup from.  They are a week old now. 

Ingredients / Apricot
« on: April 17, 2014, 07:19:47 AM »
A friend is home from University in Montreal where she has fallen in love with St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat and wants to know if I can make something similar.  Since I also really like that beer, I'm gonna give it a try.  But, I'm unsure what the best strategy is to infuse the apricot into the beer.

Also, notice that this starts at 15.5 plato (1.062) but ends at 5% so it must be fairly low attenuation.  Any suggestions on a yeast that would be a good starting point for this?  I'm thinking WLP002 might be a possibility but I'm not sure where to start. 

A couple years ago, I tried something like this by putting 1 gal of wheat beer onto pureed apricots.  The taste was ok but I bottled it and because it had some apricot puree that got siphoned into the bottles during the process, the apricot provided nucleation points and each bottle gushed terribly.  It wasn't really over carbonated and it wasn't contaminated so I'm pretty sure it was the apricot like I said.

Any thoughts on a better strategy to make this work?  I'm doing all 15 gal batches now so I'd probably do a big batch of wheat and then do at least 10 gals in secondary with fruit under the assumption that if it works, I'd want a decent amount to have on hand for the whole summer.

Please let me know what you all think.

Yeast and Fermentation / Time before pitching.
« on: April 15, 2014, 07:51:51 PM »
I brew in the cold garage and often leave my beers overnight in the cold before pitching the yeast. I like how the hops and trub settle out before I put it in the fermenter. Now I'm using a conical and I'm letting things settle and dumping trub before pitching. I'm curious if others do this and if its a good idea at all. I used to pitch immediately after chilling under the assumption that having the yeast in the fermenter would out compete any bad bugs. Am I making a mistake letting it sit? 

Beer Recipes / Thoughts on an IPA
« on: April 12, 2014, 08:58:38 AM »
I don't make many IPAs, more of an APA guy but I'm thinking of trying a bigger, hoppier brew.

For a 10 gal batch at 80% efficiency I'm thinking of starting very simple with:

20 lbs 2 row
5 lbs Munich
1 lb C40
3 oz CTZ 14%aa @60
2 oz Centennial @ 10
2 oz Cascade @ 10
2 oz Centennial @ 0 stand 20 mins
2 oz Cascade @ 0 stand 20 mins
2 oz each Cascade and Centennial dry hop for 7 days.

I have most other common hops so if I should change them up, let me know.
Let me know if I'm on the right track.

Yeast and Fermentation / When to pull yeast out of a conical
« on: April 07, 2014, 12:29:11 PM »
I'm excited to try pulling yeast out of my conical for the next batch.  I only pitched it yesterday so I know I'm ahead of myself but do you all let the beer finish entirely before pulling yeast or do you pull some while it's still fermenting?
This is a lager that I'm doing with the intent of pulling a good pitch for a marzen but I don't want to sacrifice the quality of this beer by pulling yeast too early.  But, how important to this brew is the yeast that has settled into the cone already anyway?
When would you pull yeast for a subsequent batch?

Beer Recipes / Bluesman German Pils recipe need clarification
« on: April 05, 2014, 08:22:47 AM »
On the wiki you posted a German Pils recipe that I'm going to try to brew tomorrow. But I'm confused by the hop schedule.
You have an addition at 1 min and then another at 0 mins. Is that right?  If so, how would 1 min make much difference?

Yeast and Fermentation / Lager starter and krausen.
« on: April 03, 2014, 07:43:00 PM »
I had two vials of WLP833, one that was past the due date and one that was getting close. I pitched them both into a 1.5L starter of 1.035 OG wort. They took a while to show any evidence of fermentation on the stir plate but I crashed it yesterday, decanted after a few hours and then added a second dose of wort at the same concentration. I was thinking of doing this 3 times to get it built up to a reasonable amount.

But this second one is showing no sign of activity. Could it be possible that when I decanted I dumped the good yeast and the dead yeast from the vials was what dropped out first?  Or, do lagers normally show very little activity. I know they start slower but I expected this to take off faster since it was already active? 

I will check the wort tomorrow to see if it tastes sweet still and maybe check it with a refractometer to see if it had dropped much. I know it's not exact once it's fermented but it should give me a feeling of progress.

Beer Recipes / What did I brew?
« on: March 30, 2014, 08:53:10 PM »
I started out to make 10 gals of mild essentially as large starters for some upcoming 20 gal batches.
But, my efficiency was higher than I had expected. OG was about 1.045, was aiming for 1.038 or so.
My recipe was:
13 lbs Maris Otter
1 lb C45
1 lb C120
4 oz pale chocolate.
2 oz EKG@60
1 oz EKG at flameout with a 15 min stand

Split into two 5 gal batches. One with a very fresh Wyeast West Yorkshire, no starter. The other with two older but not expired vials of WLP Irish Ale.
I wasn't anticipating the gravity so I didn't use a starter, these were supposed to be a starter.

My question, if I had to categorize the beer, without tasting it I know it's tough but would this be more similar to a Northern English Brown or a Best Bitter? 

Beer Recipes / How low can you mash?
« on: March 24, 2014, 11:56:21 AM »
On a recent Brewing Network show, Annie Johnson was profiled and she made a comment about making good light lagers and commented about mashing at lower temps for longer times, I think her comment was something about 138 for 2 hours.  Is this real?  Not sure how low you can go for fermentability. 
Has anyone down to these low temperatures for longer mash times in order to get better light lagers?

Yeast and Fermentation / The Yeast Bay
« on: March 24, 2014, 11:44:40 AM »
Has anyone used this company?  I just saw it on my on-line suppliers site.  They seem to specialize in Brett blends and "rare" yeasts. 
I ordered a tube of their Wallonia Farmhouse to compare with WY3711.  They look very similar from what I'm reading on their website and maybe they are the same thing, can't really say.

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