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Topics - gmac

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Beer Recipes / Adding dry hops timing advice needed
« on: July 10, 2011, 04:59:42 PM »
I've never dry hopped a beer in the primary but I don't really use secondaries any longer so I was wondering when the right time is to do that.  I have an IPA that I brewed last Monday and I thought of dry hopping it today but when I opened the bucket, I was surprised to see how much krausen was still present on the top.  Would you wait for that to fall or add dry hops now?  I don't have a gravity reading as I am loath to take them during fermentation for fear of contamination.

Equipment and Software / Freezer condensation
« on: July 10, 2011, 04:57:12 PM »
How do you control the condensation in your keg freezers?  Mine is getting a bit damp inside. 

All Things Food / Fish Taco's
« on: July 08, 2011, 05:21:01 PM »
I've got some cod filets that I don't really know what to do with (actually I do but the Mrs. and I are trying to eat healthier so battering and deep frying isn't an option this time).  I was thinking perhaps of trying to make fish tacos.  Is it as simple as it sounds?  Just fry the fish in a frying pan and then add them to the taco shells with lettuce, tomato, salsa etc?  Just figured someone one here would probably know the best way to do it.  Of course, I'll need a beer recommendation to go with that...

All Grain Brewing / Efficiency drop
« on: July 06, 2011, 02:31:51 PM »
Just wondering how much impact the malt plays in driving efficiency?  I switched 2-row malt and my effiiciency seems to have dropped dramatically.  I did not adjust my roller spacing although I'm considering tightening them until I get through this bag.  I mash at 2L/lb, same as before.

I was running 82-85% and all of the batches I've done with this grain have been in the 70-72% range.  Yesterday I used 8.5 lbs 2-row, 1 lb of corn and 0.5 lbs of C45 and got 18L of 1.052 OG.  Did I screw up the math?

Beer Recipes / Wit Recipe
« on: July 06, 2011, 12:30:27 AM »
A good friend asked me to brew him a wit similar to Blanche de Chambly, a Quebec beer that I'm sure most of you have not had before.  Since its probably not that familiar to most of you, I know it will be hard to answer some of my questions but I'd appreciate some starting comments.

I know I won't hit it 100% the first time but I have a few questions.  I'm going to use bitter orange and coriander for this and I don't want to over do it so some guidance there would be appreciated.  How much is a good starting point for each (I know I can probably find recipes with this but what does the group think)?  Further though, one of the comments that come up on-line when you see reviews of this beer is that it has a lemony character.  Not sure if this is coming from the yeast that they use or from the use of lemon.  I was thinking of using lemon grass and I asked in another post about how much but it's sort of buried in there.  So, any thoughts on a good starting point if using lemon grass and how to use it?  Lastly, I've read that chamomile flowers are also nice and I've ordered some.  How much is a good start?  I want to make a nicely layered assortment of flavours without being overly busy but am I reaching too far on this first attempt?

I also don't have any flaked wheat although I do have flaked oats and malted wheat.  Can I live without the flaked wheat?  Is there anything else that I could sub in? 

Sorry for asking so many recipe questions lately but I've got a few yeast strains headed my way so my mind is working on about 3 different recipes at once.  I'm even getting them confused in my mind (sometimes I can remember if I'm thinking about a kolsch or a saison or a stout or an APA or what?)

Ingredients / What is candi sugar?
« on: July 04, 2011, 03:33:17 PM »
I'm not sure I really know what candi sugar is.  How does that differ from plain table sugar, especially "light" candi?  Our sugar is mostly from beets so I don't know how much different it would be.  Is it worth buying for a saison or would a lb of table sugar get me close enough to where I need to be?

Zymurgy / When's the next edition?
« on: July 04, 2011, 04:23:08 AM »
Just curious.  I joined April 21, still waiting for my first edition to arrive. 

All Grain Brewing / Unbalanced pale ale
« on: July 03, 2011, 06:20:53 PM »
I made a very plain pale ale using only 1 oz of Cascade FWH.  The rest of the grain bill is 8 lbs 2-row, 1 lb vienna.  That's it.  I think the beer is a bit unbalanced.  It's OK but it has too much body and if I do it again I'll leave out the vienna and add 1 lb of corn or maybe even plain sugar to make it lighter in body.  My question is, would dry hopping this now do anything to improve it?  I know it won't add bitterness nor will it lighten the body but I was wondering if you thought it would add any complexity that would make this more drinkable.  Like I said, it's not terrible but it's not what I was shooting for.  Right now I can see myself blending this with something else in the glass until I get it used up.  I won't throw it out.

More radically, could I boil 1/2 an ounce of hops in a quart of water and add that to lighten it slightly and add more bitterness?  Probably not the best remedy.  I'd prefer to just try the dry hops if you think it's worth the effort.  Can you dry hop cold, carbonated beer?  I've never done it before.

General Homebrew Discussion / Frozen beer
« on: June 30, 2011, 08:31:10 PM »
Does freezing hurt beer?  I put a controller on my freezer and apparently it's in Farenheit, not Celsius.  Beercicle anyone?

Beer Recipes / Pumpkin beer
« on: June 29, 2011, 01:50:58 PM »
I checked the recipe wiki first and didn't find much so I'm going to ask.  Does anyone have a pumpkin beer recipe?  I'm looking for something that I can brew soon to store for fall.  If you have a fall pumpkin recipe, can you please post it?

All Grain Brewing / Tell me about Kolsch please
« on: June 27, 2011, 08:20:18 PM »
I'm looking for something new to brew and I will be picking up a few different yeast next week when I drive close enough to my not quite local HBS.  I'm considering a saison now that it's getting warmer and I may be the Wyeast French Saison yeast but I am seeing a lot of Kolsch on here and I really don't know much about the style.  I'm gathering it is a German ale from Cologne but other than that I don't know much about it.

How is it as a summer beer?  I can look up the BJCP guidelines but is this a beer that you'd consider a session beer?  What makes it special as opposed to other styles?  Is this something you usually have on tap or something that you do once in a while? Can you give me a good, commonly found commercial example of the style?
Just looking for alternative styles to try. 

Equipment and Software / Fermenter build questions
« on: June 21, 2011, 03:05:35 PM »
I've decided to build a bigger fermenter and I have a couple questions.  In particular, does the diameter of the vessel matter?  I know if it was a pot it would impact boil-off rates but in a closed fermenter, does it matter if the fermenter is tall and skinny or narrow and wide? 

I'm looking to build something of about 15 to 20 gal capacity and we've ordered a 4X8 sheet of stainless to get started.  But, the dimension is clearly one of the key points to consider before we start cutting anything. 
I'm lucky that I have a good friend who has a machine shop and is slow right now so we are going to have the steel rolled to dimension and then a seam welded. He has a very good TIG welder on staff so I'm not that concerned about the weld as it will be done well and ground.  We're also looking at having a cone rolled for the bottom and welded. 

The other consideration was, would it make any sense to have the entire fermenter made conical?  Instead of having straight sides attached to a cone, would it make sense to have it all as a cone and weld wedges on the exterior to bolt legs to.  The lid will likely be formed with an o-ring groove and clamps to hold it in place.  Any other thoughts?  I've looked at some on-line and I don't know if I like how the lid attaches on some of them.
Thanks for the advice.

Beer Recipes / Fruit beer base
« on: June 20, 2011, 04:57:03 PM »
I think I've got some sort of Brewer's Block.  I just don't know what to brew next so I thought I'd take a stab at a fruit beer for those hot days in August.  Here's what I'm thinking.  Please tell me if this will work.
Since I don't usually drink fruit beers except for the odd Kreik lambic (when I can find it), I thought that I'd take a stab at a few different types.  I was thinking of brewing a standard base and then splitting that into two or three different carboys and adding different fruit to each.  Do you think this is a good idea or that it will work the way I think it will? 

If it seems like a reasonable approach, can you give me some advice on a base brew to start with?  I'm thinking of doing something with a decent level of sweetness and light body to show off the fruit colour and flavours.  My initial thought is:
5 lbs Pilsner malt
2 lbs Vienna malt
1 lb Crystal 45
I am expecting some additional fermentation from the sugars in the fruit so I thought I'd tone down the malt content to try to end around 1.050 - 1.055.  For hops I'm thinking of using only 1 oz of Cascade FWH with no flavour or aroma hops.  I assume that there won't be much flavour from the Cascade but what there is should be citrus and mesh with fruit.  My fruit thoughts are:
Rhubarb, Cherries and TBD (Mango?  Dried Apricot? Suggestions?)

Other Fermentables / Hard Lemonade
« on: June 19, 2011, 12:28:12 AM »
With summer here, I'd like to make a batch of hard lemonade but I'm not sure where to start.  Is this something that's fermented like adding lemons, zest, juice etc to water and sugar and then fermented which I would think would be incredibly dry or is it just something that's batched together (lemonade and grain alcohol mixed and then carbonated)? 

I'd love to find a recipe that actually brewed something but then I'd need to know how you back sweetened it so that it didn't end up as lemon wine?  Any other suggestions? I'm wondering about a hard cranberry or a blend of orange/lemon/grapefruit or something like that.
Any thoughts are welcome.

Yeast and Fermentation / Low lager ferment temps
« on: June 18, 2011, 03:02:43 PM »
I have a fridge that I'm going to use to brew lagers in as soon as my new freezer arrives for kegs.  I only have one temp controller that I plan put on the freezer to keep it at about 32 degrees or so.  But, if I use the fridge for lager fermenting, can I just set it at it's highest setting and leave it there?  I expect that it will be far below 50 degrees even at a high setting. 

Is there a downside from a flavour and quality standpoint to fermenting at lower temperatures?

I don't really want to buy another controller because I don't do many lagers and I was just going to leave the fridge unplugged and slightly open when not fermenting.  I was going to replace a small freezer and this fridge with the new, larger freezer but now I'm wondering if I should keep the fridge for this purpose.  If it's not a good choice, I will send it to the recyclers. 

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