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Topics - gmac

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Ingredients / What is candi sugar?
« on: July 04, 2011, 08:33:17 AM »
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 03, 2011, 09:23:08 PM »
Just curious.  I joined April 21, still waiting for my first edition to arrive. 

All Grain Brewing / Unbalanced pale ale
« on: July 03, 2011, 11:20:53 AM »
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, 01:31:10 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, 06:50:58 AM »
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, 01:20:18 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, 08:05:35 AM »
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, 09:57:03 AM »
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 18, 2011, 05:28:12 PM »
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, 08:02:43 AM »
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. 

Equipment and Software / How long's your hose?
« on: June 17, 2011, 04:41:53 PM »
I have a Coleman cooler mash tun and after 15 batches the braided steel hose looks like heck. It's got kinks and dents and other damage. It is the length of the cooler and obviously I stir too hard. Does it have to be that long?  How do you keep it on the bottom and not kink it?  I'm going to replace it and just want to get it right this time.

Ingredients / Rhubarb
« on: June 14, 2011, 08:30:45 AM »
A search showed that this has been talked about before so perhaps someone can link me to the appropriate thread.

I have a surplus of this right now, just wondering about a rhubarb wheat beer for summer.  Anyone tried using it?  How much in 5 gals to give a presence?  Would a wheat be the right choice?  What yeast?  I'm going to harvest and freeze it because we are having a postal strike and I don't want to order yeast until thats over but I would think it wouldn't matter and may help release the flavour if I do this.  Add to primary or secondary?  Dumb idea - don't bother?

Thinking 45/45/10 wheat/pilsner/crystal 45 malt with a touch of cascade hops but not much.  Crystal for a bit of sweetness to balance the tartness.  Would Vienna be a better choice than Pilsner for this reason?

Please advise.

Ingredients / Dry hop in primary
« on: June 13, 2011, 07:59:41 PM »
I've got an IPA that has been on the yeast for 2 weeks tomorrow.  Can I add my dry hops now before I go to the keg?  Or would it be better to try to find a nylon bag and do it in the keg?  The plan is to add 1 oz of Cascade whole leaf hops.  Just not sure when is the best time to do it.  If I add them to the primary, how long would you leave them before racking to the keg?

Equipment and Software / Bigger fermenter
« on: June 13, 2011, 09:06:39 AM »
I need a bigger fermenter.  Right now I'm using 18 and 23L glass carboys as well as some 23L plastic pails.  The glass looks good but you all know why it can suck.  The pails are alright but I have a hell of a time getting them to seal and I like to watch the bubbles.
So, has anyone tried converting a 15 gal Sanke keg over to a fermenter?  I'm assuming you could get it pretty clean since they get re-used in the brewery.  I thought about cutting out the valve and welding in a threaded fitting so that I could close it, adding a drain fitting in the bottom, a blow-off tube fitting in the top and a valve for racking. 
I've looked at the stainless ones but they seem to be pretty pricey (more than I want to spend). 

Anyone have any better suggestions that won't break the bank?

The Pub / Extreme brewing
« on: June 12, 2011, 09:09:53 AM »
I bought Extreme Brewing (and Brewing up a Business), the other day and I have to say I was pretty disappointed by it.  Almost all the recipes are extract recipes which in itself is fine but not what I was looking for.  I guess I just expected more from DFH.  Do they make most of their beers from extract?  I know I can work the OG backwards to get close but I was hoping for more direction on malt blends.  What should I have bought instead? (I have Palmer's, Strong's and Daniel's books already). 

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