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Topics - gmac

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Equipment and Software / How long's your hose?
« on: June 17, 2011, 11:41:53 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, 03:30:45 PM »
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 14, 2011, 02:59:41 AM »
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, 04:06:39 PM »
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, 04:09:53 PM »
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). 

Commercial Beer Reviews / Stone Ruination IPA
« on: June 08, 2011, 01:16:21 PM »
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, 12:56:02 PM »
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, 03:14:30 PM »
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, 03:26:55 PM »
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 31, 2011, 03:23:38 AM »
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 30, 2011, 06:04:44 AM »
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, 05:08:20 PM »
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 25, 2011, 03:15:26 AM »
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, 01:45:50 PM »
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, 03:45:33 PM »
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".

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