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Topics - gmac

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Commercial Beer Reviews / Stone Ruination IPA
« on: June 08, 2011, 06:16:21 AM »
I'm in downtown St Louis, just beside the arch and I thought I'd give a few of the American IPAs a try. Had my first Bell's Two Hearted Ale which was good but they also had Ruination on tap so I had a couple.
7.7 ABV, 100 IBU, slight copper colour and a touch cloudy but very attractive appearance. Incredible head retention and nice lacing. Strong presence of US hops with a tonne of hop flavour and aroma. This isn't my preferred style of beer but it was pretty good and I will order it again. If you are a fan of the Two Hearted Ale I mentioned, you'll probably really enjoy this too.

Equipment and Software / Extending the life of Star-San
« on: June 03, 2011, 05:56:02 AM »
My water is fairly hard and as such, when I add Star-San to it, it clouds almost immediately.  I've read on the forum that once it goes cloudy, it loses its' effectiveness.  I've put 2.5 gal in a glass carboy and added Star-San and watched it turn milky in seconds.  I've not yet encountered any noticable contamination issues but I only use the sanitizer once.  I've gone through almost a full container in a couple months.

I don't have access to RO or distilled water that is convenient to get.  Is there anything I can do to my regular water to help extend the life of the sanitizer?  For example, would adding citric acid to lower the pH help?  I've also "double dosed" the water with more sanitizer (less than label rate) the next day if I have something to sanitize.  Not sure if this is a good idea or not but it seems to have worked.

Is there a different no-rinse sanitizer that would be better in my situation?  I've started using an acidic dairy wash to clean my carboys etc so I think that helps but I don't use it for siphons, bungs etc.  Any advice would be appreciated.

Ingredients / What hops with rye?
« on: June 02, 2011, 08:14:30 AM »
I bought some rye malt and I'm going to add it to one of my regular brews, just to see what effect it has on the character of the beer.  I've read that it adds a spicy characteristic to the beer.  So, I'm curious if this works better with a particular style of hop?  I'm not sure about spicy with citrus (been using Cascade).  I'm thinking of a noble hop or perhaps a traditional English hop. 

I'm only planning on adding 1/2 lb this first time.  The only reference I've found is Denny's recipe that is about 19% rye. This would only be about 5%.  Would 10% be better to detect the character?


All Grain Brewing / What would you call this beer?
« on: May 31, 2011, 08:26:55 AM »
I've been making a beer for a while now, slightly tweaking the recipe and I really like what I've been making but I'm not really sure what "style" it would fall into.  It was started as a clone of an amber cream ale that I really love but I think that this probably doesn't really exist as a standard style anyway.

The grain bill is very simple.
9 lbs 2-row
100 grams Chocolate malt
1 lb flaked corn - I added this because a lot of CA recipes seem to include corn but I'm considering leaving it out because I'm unsure what it is doing for the beer besides adding fermentables.
0.5 lbs Crystal 45 - I've done it with and without as well and although I like it without, my significant other likes the slight sweetness that this provides so it now goes in.
Mash at 152 degrees for 60-75 min, assume 85% efficiency.

The latest and I think best iteration of a hopping schedule is:
1 oz Cascade FWH
1/2 oz Northern Brewer at 60
1/2 oz Cascade at 15 mins
1/2 oz Cascade at flameout steeped for about 10 mins
WLP001 yeast
Fermented at about 65 degrees
Final beer is between 15 and 20 SRM, mildly hoppy with decent bitterness, very smooth and drinkable with nice colour and excellent head retention.
So, what should I be calling this?

Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast still good?
« on: May 30, 2011, 08:23:38 PM »
I racked a beer to the keg on Friday but I didn't have time to do anything about rinsing the yeast for re-use.  It's been sitting in the carboy with a little bit of beer over it since Friday.  I put the plug back in covered it with aluminum foil.  Is there any reason I can't still use it?  There's no indication of mold or anything so I'm hoping to rinse it tomorrow and split it for 2-5 gal batches.  Mr. Malty says I need about 125 ml of slurry and there should be more than enough for two carboys but I didn't get it into the fridge when I should have so I'm not sure what to do.  

Yeast and Fermentation / Harvesting yeast from a can
« on: May 29, 2011, 11:04:44 PM »
One of my favourite breweries is selling, for a limited time, a kellerbiere and I'm thinking of trying to harvest yeast.  Supposedly, the beer is unpasteurized and unfiltered so there should be some yeast in it right?  I will say, I haven't noticed much in the way of yeast sediment in the cans although there could be a little bit.  It could be dry beer too though. 

I'm making a few assumptions here such as, the yeast is the same yeast they'd use in the primary.  It's the same yeast they use for their regular lager that I love and want to duplicate. 

Any thoughts?  I was thinking of flaming the tops and just pouring off a couple beer that I've let sit for a few days in the fridge into glasses (and drinking the beer...).  Then, cutting the cans in half, swirling a bit of boiled and chilled water in the cans and pitching that into a small jar of wort and seeing what happens.  But, I am sure that there is a better way.  Please bear in mind I have absolutely no special equipment.  This will be mason jars with tin foil on them, not Erlenmeyer flasks and stir plates.

All Grain Brewing / Going from 5 to 10 gal batches
« on: May 29, 2011, 10:08:20 AM »
I'm running through my good brews a bit too quickly and I'm going to go to 10 gals for the ones I drink most so that I can brew a bit less frequently or catch up quicker if I fall behind.  Just wondering, is it as simple as just doubling everything?  Are there any changes in mashing schedule or anything or is it just doubling the grist and water and doubling the hops and yeast? 
Please let me know if there are any watchouts that I should be aware of.

Beer Recipes / American IPA Recipe - Help
« on: May 24, 2011, 08:15:26 PM »
I'm thinking of trying an American style IPA (my target is about 60 IBU and to try dry hopping for the first time) and I've looked at a lot of recipes but I'm really not sure what to do because most of the ones I've looked at have ingredients that I don't have on hand and it's a pain to order them.  Based on the following grain's available, can I do something good?  I was planning to do Denny's Rye PA recipe but I don't have any dextrine malt or the Mt Hood and Columbus hops.

I've got 2-row, C 45, C120, wheat malt, pilsner malt, vienna malt and rye malt.  Also have a bit of chocolate malt, roasted barley and a bit of carafa II that I thought was de-hulled but it does not say "Special" on it so I am thinking maybe it isn't (any advice on how to tell?)  I also have a bit of Maris Otter that I'm not happy with because all the beer I make are very cloudy so I'm saving it until fall to use in some stouts.

Does it matter what the grain bill is within reason since the hops are the star of the show?

Also, would you mix Cascade and Amarillo?  Which would you choose for flavour and which for aroma/dry hop?  I see Simcoe and Amarillo together a lot but as you know, Simcoe is hard to find.  What else would you use with Amarillo?  I only have a couple ounces so I can't do it all or I'd try Fred's Amarillo recipe.


Ingredients / First Wort Hopping
« on: May 17, 2011, 06:45:50 AM »
I've been reading Gordon's book as well as other items and I want to be 100% sure I understand this concept.

As I read it, you add hops to the wort as it is coming to a boil (right after collecting) and then leave them in during the boil.  This is supposed to give an enhanced hop flavour.  Is this right?

What I can't follow is why hop flavour would still be present in the wort.  If I add hops at full boil for 60 mins, I get bitter but not flavour.  How come adding them earlier doesn't drive off the flavour compounds from the hops?  I'm gonna give it a try but I wanted to be sure I was thinking of the right procedure and that I am thinking of the right outcome.  I assume you want to add the same hops (or similar type) than I would add at 15 mins?  Not adding additional bittering hops unless you wanted that flavour (add Amarillo as FWH instead of Magnum or Northern Brewer for example).  Then add your standard bittering hop at 60 min as usual.

All Grain Brewing / Crystal malt and corn
« on: May 16, 2011, 08:45:33 AM »
I'm working on a cream ale recipe and I'm wondering if adding both crystal malt and flaked corn makes any sense. My understanding is that flaked corn will add fermentable but will lighten the body of the beer.  Adding crystal 45 would add body and so does it make sense to do both?  I'm considering the following.

8.5 lbs 2-row
0.5 lbs C45
1 lb Flaked corn
1 oz Northern Brewer @60
1/2 oz Cascade leaf @ 15
1/2 oz Cascade leaf @ flameout
WLP001 slurry harvested last Thursday.
I made a very similar one that was very good with 100 g of Chocolate malt and I'm trying to make a similar but lighter beer.  Trying for a Sleeman Cream Ale style.  Made a darker one that is very good but want something a bit more "summery".

The Pub / Spider Video
« on: May 13, 2011, 03:27:58 PM »
I put this on another thread but I don't think anyone watched it not for long enough.  This is definitely how my government should be spending my tax dollars.

The Pub / Friday the 13th Bike Rally
« on: May 13, 2011, 08:00:03 AM »
Any of you motorcycle riders out there ever heard of this? 
Happens summer/winter/rain/shine every Friday the 13th.

Beer Recipes / SA Noble Pils
« on: May 10, 2011, 01:31:13 PM »
If soneone wanted to try to clone this, how many ounces of hops do you think in a 5 gal batch?
Just curious...not that I'm thinking of trying or anything but if you wanted to guess what hops in what order that would be a fun, academic exercise too...

Ingredients / What should I have on hand?
« on: May 04, 2011, 11:58:22 AM »
Any good cook has a pantry or larder stocked with basic essential items that they turn to when they are cooking.  I am starting to think that I need to do the same for homebrewing.  Everytime I look up a recipe that I may want to try, it has a new ingredient that I don't have.  It's a 2 hour drive just to get to the LHBS or a week wait to order on-line.  So I'm asking - What are the essential ingredients that you should have on hand at all times?  I know that there will always be things that I'll need when trying a new recipe but I'm going to make up a big on-line order and I want to stock the shelves with the basics.  For me, ales are more popular than lagers but I would imagine that Pale Malt would be the #1 item for me, Pilsner malt maybe for a lager fan.  
I know I need to get more crystal but do you have a whole bunch of types?  15L to 150L? And then there's all the "Cara" styles...  
What do you keep in stock and never get caught without?

My current inventory:
Pale malt (55 lbs)
Maris Otter (10 lbs)
Vienna malt (5 lbs)
Rye malt (5 lbs)
1 lb each of Carafa ll, chocolate malt, roast barley
Hallertau, Northern Brewer, East Kent Goldings Tettnang, Perle, Fuggle, Amarillo and Cascade hops in varying amounts from 3 to 12 oz.
WLP833 and WLP001 - One vial each plus harvested bohemian lager and London lll yeast.

Yeast and Fermentation / Rinsing Lager Yeast
« on: May 04, 2011, 08:30:46 AM »
I kegged a lager last night and I'm trying to rinse the yeast for re-use but I have a couple questions.  I've done this with ales before and there was always a distinct layering of the beer/yeast/trub in the jar.  But, in this case I've shaken it up and rinsed it 3 times already, leaving it sit for various lengths of time (from 10 min to overnight) and I don't see any "yeast" layer.  I get liquid and a very thick slurry of slightly greenish sediment.
There wasn't very much hop material added to the fermenter in the first place so it is possible that this could be mostly yeast but I'm just not sure.  There are about 2 inches of it in a 1.5 quart mason jar.  The original yeast was Wyeast Bohemian Pilsner, sorry forgot the #.

So, does lager yeast appear like ale yeast when rinsing?

Any problem with using the whole slurry (which may include trub) in another brew?  My intent was to save this to brew next week without a starter.


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