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Messages - gmac

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Fruit Flies
« on: August 02, 2011, 04:53:01 PM »
I've seen a few fruit flies this year but our biggest problem insect is earwigs.  They are harmless but they get into everything.  One year I pulled my transfer tubing out of the storage box and there were literally hundreds of them in the tubing. 

We had never seen then in Iowa until 6 or 7 years ago.  Now they are everywhere. 

Fruit flies can be a problem but earwigs are just too creepy.   :'(


I named my last brew "Earwig APA" because there were about 20 of them in my mash tun (I think I rinsed most of them out).  I'm brewing outside so my cooler was sitting on the deck and they love that crack around the top of it.  Biggest problem here are "beer bugs" or sap beetles.  Little black guys with white dots on their back.  I pour 3 beers when my wife and I are drinking outside.  One for her, one for me, one for them.         

General Homebrew Discussion / How much beer is too much?
« on: August 02, 2011, 02:28:34 AM »
Today I made my 20th all grain batch in 20 weeks.  That means I'm going through about a keg a week.  Not all drank by me of course, and a couple batches are for a party at the end of the summer and there's still some in the fridge awaiting consumption but I just realized I've made 100 gallons of beer in the past 5 months. 

Just curious, how much does the average brewer brew?  Doesn't matter if it's all-grain or extract, just wondered if I'm keeping up with the rest of you.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Fruit Flies
« on: August 01, 2011, 11:41:45 PM »
First you've gotta get rid of anything that they can reproduce in (drip tray, spilled beer, empty bottle, fruit etc.) 

Then I use an insecticide to knock down the adults.  I use a product called Konk that contains pyrethrins which are derived from chrysanthemum flowers and are quite safe.  They are approved for use in hospitals, food handling plants etc.  If you stood in a room full of spray, you'd get a runny nose, that's about all (I used to work as an exterminator, I've done it...).  So look for pyrethrin or pyrethrum (same thing).  Avoid pyrethroid as they are synthetically derived and not as safe.  You often find pyrethrin with something call piperonyl butoxide which is a synergist and not an insecticide and nothing to worry about.

Then, be religious about keeping things clean from then on. 

Ingredients / Re: Centennial hops partner
« on: August 01, 2011, 05:53:09 PM »
I use equal parts Centennial and Willamette for the late hopping in Ambers and Browns. Great combo IMHO.

In an APA, though, I'd probably go with the Amarillo. Unless you're hoarding it. ;)

Yes, every day I go down to the freezer, gaze lovingly at my 4 ounces of Amarillo and laugh maniacly how I've got the market cornered :D

I'm leaning towards 50/50 Centennial/Amarillo as some have mentioned.  I did a brew with only Amarillo for flavour and aroma and I didn't like it as much as my APA with straight Centennial for both.  But, it was a different grain bill to so I can't say I did an apples to apples comparison. 

Ingredients / Centennial hops partner
« on: August 01, 2011, 04:08:26 PM »
I'm doing a 10 gal batch of APA and I thought I had 6 oz of Centennial on hand but I guess I mis-read some Cascade and I only have 4. 
Any suggestions to make up the missing 2 oz?  I have Cascade, Amarillo, Willamette, some British and some Noble hops. 

My recipe was 2 oz at 60, 2 at 15 and 2 at flame out.  I'm sure I could use Cascade instead but what else would partner well with the Centennial?  Or should I just use 2 oz of Northern Brewer at 60 since I doubt you can taste them at that time?

If I was to sub in Amarillo instead, would you suggest using them at 15 or at flameout?  Or combining them?

Beer Recipes / Re: Jaggery Cream Ale/Kolsch
« on: August 01, 2011, 04:01:32 PM »
I'm using the WY2565 for my normal Kolsch.  It will be 2 weeks tomorrow and is still bubbling away.  I've been keeping it in a swamp cooler but I haven't been religious about the ice since about day 5.  I'm gonna let it come up in temp and I hope it finishes out soon.
This is for a 5K run my wife is doing at the end of this month.  I'm going to keg it, cool it and fine it with gelatin and then leave it alone for 3 weeks.  The day before the run I was going to transfer it over to a new keg to take to the after party. 

Do you think this will be enough time to clear?  Any suggestions on how to handle it if not? 

I'm hoping to use the yeast for a 10 gal batch right after I keg this one so that I have some for myself too.  Next summer this will go into the brewing rotation in the spring but this is the first time I've made one (I'm assuming I'll like it since every seems to).

Ingredients / Re: Dried Apricot
« on: August 01, 2011, 12:22:36 AM »
Major, I will try it next time.
I put the 14 oz can of apricots in the sanitized food processor and into the beer. How long do you recommend leaving them to sit?  Its only 1 gal so I'm hoping a few days are enough but I don't know.

Beer Recipes / Re: Jaggery Cream Ale/Kolsch
« on: July 31, 2011, 03:07:29 PM »
I agree, I probably wasted it but it was an impulse buy when I was getting Indian coriander and it was only 2 bucks for a kg.  The beer is fermenting away, I'll let you know what it tastes like.  I have a truer kolsch ready to go into a keg today or tomorrow so I'll see what it tastes like and how it compares to this one.

I had to use the jaggery because if I didn't it would be gone soon.  I kept walking by it and picking off little pieces to eat.  It certainly has a unique, buttery characteristics unlike anything I've ever tasted before.  My friend who is from England loved it and says that it reminds him of a candy that he grew up with and it must have been made with jaggery instead of regular sugar.

Beer Recipes / Re: Smoking malt
« on: July 29, 2011, 10:40:40 PM »
Smoking your own malts gives you another knob to turn on the process side.

Jeff has experience and a system that one can only envy for smoking grains.  The wood that I can add to his list is pear, that has some nice soft smoke flavors and even goes well with some hops if you use some restraint on the smoke and hops.

I have some crabapple shavings to try out soon.


Why not pour in a 1/2 bottle of Lagavulin if that's what you're after?

Beer Recipes / Re: Jaggery Cream Ale/Kolsch
« on: July 29, 2011, 10:37:47 PM »
Ooops.  Sorry Dmtaylor, should have checked back earlier.
Ended up with 10 lbs of 2-row, 2 lbs of jaggery, 1 tbsp of black patent at sparge.
Mashed at 1.049 for 1 hour.  Added 1 oz of Centennial at 60, 1 oz of Amarillo at 10 and 1 oz at flameout.
Didn't help that my neighbour came by and we kicked my keg of Centennial APA that was awesome.  So, this will probably be a higher alcohol APA with Kolsch yeast instead of WLP001 like last time.  Not the best planning and forethought but hey, can't do everything perfect.  I am sure the jaggery will only end up as more alcohol and the flavour will be lost but hey, there's always next time.
Final result is 20 L of 1.076 OG wort.
Thanks anyway...

Ingredients / Re: Dried Apricot
« on: July 29, 2011, 10:32:47 PM »
I'm philosophically opposed to health food stores (sorry Mort, you seem like a very nice guy...) so I went with 2, 14 oz cans of apricots in syrup.  Gonna do a quick puree, add them and see what happens.  Total shot in the dark but the syrup will likely kick start a new fermentation.  May do one can and see how they turn out and then add the 2nd if needed. 
Thanks all for your thoughts.

Ingredients / Re: Dried Apricot
« on: July 29, 2011, 05:17:22 PM »
Sigh....  why is nothing simple in this hobby?

If I can find canned apricots, do you envision any problems?  I'm asking Mrs. gmac to look when she gets groceries this afternoon.  Or, do you suggest an alternative (not raspberry)?  Would peaches work?

Beer Recipes / Smoking malt
« on: July 29, 2011, 02:49:03 PM »
Dumb idea #2 - Smoked porter
In preparation for the cooler days of autumn, I'm thinking of either a coffee porter or more intriguing, a smoked porter.  But, how do I smoke the malt?  I'm assuming you need just a little bit since I want the smoke to be present but not over powering.  Probably just use green maple twigs for the smoking but I can get other woods if needed.   I am sure that I want to use hardwood and not softwood (pine, spruce etc). 

How do I smoke a bit of malt and how much do you suggest for a 5 gal batch so that it is present and supporting but not overpowering?  Doesn't have to be perfect but I need a starting point to fine-tune from later.


Beer Recipes / Jaggery Cream Ale/Kolsch
« on: July 29, 2011, 02:43:07 PM »
You can always tell the day after I've been driving for hours because I have all these dumb brewing ideas.  Yesterday I drove from Montreal to my side of Toronto (8 hours) so I had lots of windshield time.  Here is what I was thinking.

I have a batch of kolsch yeast (Wyeast) ready to go in a 3L starter.  I made a kolsch last week so I've been slowly building it back up from the residue left in the starter jug and now it's probably enough to do another batch.  But, I don't have pilsner malt or wheat malt and I'd read about using kolsch yeast in a cream ale somewhere.

Here's what I'm considering and I know it doesn't fit into anything approaching a recognized style.  Just thinking simple and summery for the end of August vacation.

8 lbs - Pale Malt (my supplier was out of 2-row so dug a bit deeper and bought 55 lbs of Weyerman Pale Malt)
2 lbs - Jaggery (instead of mashing corn or rice)
1 oz Northern Brewer @ 60
1/2 oz Cascade @ 30
1/2 oz Cascade @ 10
Kolsch yeast. 

Ingredients / Dried Apricot
« on: July 29, 2011, 01:59:36 PM »
I have a wheat beer just finishing up fermentation and a friend's wife asked if I could make her some apricot wheat.  She's not a beer drinker (wine snob) and she doesn't drink much beer but she heard wanted to try something in a gateway beer so 1 gal will be enough and coincidentally, I just picked up a couple 1 gal jugs.

But, apricot puree and fresh apricots are both hard to find but I can get dried apricots easily.  I was wondering about adding dried apricots to a cup of water and bringing it all to a boil to sterilize and then letting them soak a bit to take in some water.  Then, I was thinking into the food processor and make a puree to add.  What do you think?  Would this work?  How much?  I read 3 lbs for 5 gallons so I'm thinking that a 1/2 lb would probably do it assuming that it's more concentrated being dried.

Please give me your thoughts.

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