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Messages - gmac

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Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« on: December 23, 2010, 08:41:15 PM »
Sounds good.  That's what I'll do.
I'll let you know how it turns out.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« on: December 23, 2010, 06:09:58 PM »

Curious as to what style you're shooting for. What you have right now is going to be pretty bitter. I'm calculating an OG around 1.057, SRM ~15, IBU's ~72 and ABV ~6%.  

As Kai said, go to All-Grain when your process is solid & you're ready. Cheers!!!

Not really shooting for any particular style.  English IPA would be pretty close (yes, too dark and too hoppy).  I wasn't sure about the 2nd NB hops addition.  I had another post asking about 30 min vs 60 and I figured this would be an interesting compromise.  I really like bitter beer though.  My old favourite which no one on here has probably ever had was the original version of Stonehammer from F&M in Guelph ON.  Really bitter which is why I think they had to re-vamp the recipe but I loved it.  Maybe I'll just go for 2 oz at 30 mins which was suggested in the other thread.  Not sure what to do.  I really prefer to experiment but if you think this is going to be way too bitter, I'm more than open to suggestion.  That's why I put the ingredients on so please let me know what you think.  

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« on: December 23, 2010, 05:54:21 PM »
I boiled a pound of rye malt in the last two batches I brewed due to a mis-understanding regarding instructions and I can tell you my result was cloudy beer. 
I brewed an ale first that is now sitting in my cold room and the haze is very slowly settling out.  It wasn't intended to be aged but I figured what the heck.  It was really cloudy so what is there to lose by letting it sit.
The second was a Cal. Lager beer with 1 lb of rye boiled again.  It was also cloudy but I bottled it anyway and the haze has settled out as it sat to carbonate.  It's actually pretty decent.  It has a high hops level to start with so I don't notice any tannic astringency but I'm no expert.  Probably in lighter hopped and lighter flavoured beers you would be more likely to detect tannins.

Boiling grain = cloudy in my opinion.

Kegging and Bottling / Using "Twist-off" beer bottles
« on: December 23, 2010, 05:44:06 PM »
Again, I tried searching first because I am sure others have asked this but can you use twist-off bottles for bottling homebrew?  I don't care if they twist off or not but I have lots of them and very few non-twist bottles.  I'm slowly building them up but I can only drink so much beer a day although I'm giving it a hell of a good try. 
If you can do it is there a special cap? 

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« on: December 23, 2010, 05:31:15 PM »
Man, this is getting complicated.
Thanks everyone.  My water is already 7.6 pH (I keep cichlids and pH is important for these fish so I've checked it out).  We live in an area with limestone bedrock and we go through coffee makers like crazy thanks to all the calcium build up. 

Based on what's been discussed here, I am going to steep in 2L of water while the larger volume heats up outside.  I boil outside on a turkey fryer so that I don't have so much humidity indoors and it can take an hour to get 25L of water up to the boil anyway.  I'll leave out a few liters from the pot to add the steeping liquid in when it gets close to a boil. 

The rest of my recipe, if you're interested looks like this.
6 lbs golden light DME
1 oz Northern Brewer @ 60 min
1 oz Northern Brewer @ 30 min
1/2 oz Fuggles and 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings at 15 mins
1/2 oz Fuggles and 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings at 5 mins ( I have both so I figured a bit of each.  I could easily be talked into 1 oz of one and one oz of the other.  Which is better as aroma and which as flavour?
Wyeast London ESB Yeast in a starter right now.

Plan to brew tomorrow.
Should I take the plunge and start to look at going all grain?  That seems to be where most people end up.   I've always wanted to but I've been out of homebrewing for a while now and just getting back into it.  But I'm willing to take the plunge.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Do I need a starter?
« on: December 23, 2010, 12:39:50 AM »
I boiled 400 grams of light DME in 4 liters of water ... OG of the starter is 1.032.

For what it's worth, you may want to check your instruments. At least one of those numbers has to be wrong.

Which do you think is wrong?  I used a kitchen scale and took out 100 g from a 500 g bag.  The 4L was with a measuring cup.  Not exact science but I think probably close enough.  Or are you suggesting that I am reading the hygrometer wrong?
Thanks for the advice.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Steeping Crystal Malt
« on: December 22, 2010, 10:08:33 PM »
I'm going to do an extract brew and I intend to use 1 lb of 40 L crystal malt to improve mouthfeel and colour.  I will probably also add about 2 tbsp of black patent malt to darken it a bit more. 
When I steep the grain, should I do it in a grain bag in the whole 6 gallons I intend to boil or is more/less effective to do it in a smaller volume so I can control the temperature better.  I'm thinking maybe a gallon of water at 150-155 degrees F?  How long would you steep it for?  Or, just throw the grain bag in and let it sit in as it heats up and pull it out before it boils? 

Is 1 lb of crystal malt enough to really make an impression in 5 gals of beer?  If not, how much for next time?


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Do I need a starter?
« on: December 22, 2010, 09:55:12 PM »
Here's what I've done so far.
I boiled 400 grams of light DME in 4 liters of water and put most of it in a clean and bleached one gallon glass jug, cooled it down and pitched the yeast into the jug.  It is pretty much full to the top so I expect a good amount to blow out the neck of the bottle which I hope will be ok.  There is just tinfoil over the top.

OG of the starter is 1.032. 

How long do I let it sit for before I decant the liquid and pitch the sludge?  I was hoping to brew tomorrow but I can wait until Friday as I have either day available.  If I left it for 24 hours, would that be enough or should I wait until the day after?  Exactly what do they mean when they say "crash the starter"?

A bit more direction concerning how to handle the starter now would be appreciated.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Do I need a starter?
« on: December 20, 2010, 11:36:14 PM »
Well, now I know.

Looks like I'll be making a starter tonight.  I am hoping to brew later this week so I'd better get my butt in gear. 
Thanks for all the great advice.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Do I need a starter?
« on: December 20, 2010, 11:25:39 PM »
So here's a dumb question. 
Can I put 4 liters of starter in a carboy, let it ferment for a day or two, put it in the cold room (about 2 degrees C right now), dump out the liquid and put my wort directly in on top? 
Can you use anything besides DME?  I only bought enough DME for the recipe I want to make.  I can get more but if I'm just gonna chuck it, why not just sugar boiled in water?

Ingredients / Re: Bittering Hop Rates
« on: December 20, 2010, 04:23:23 AM »
I plugged the two versions into and here's what I got.
2 x 30 - 48 IBU
1 x 60 - 43 IBU
Both with East Kent Golding added for the last 10 min. 

I also put in 2 x60 - 80 IBU.  I really want to try that but I'm sure it would be all out of balance and taste terrible.  But I do like strongly bitter beers....

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Micro VS Home, Lager VS Ale
« on: December 20, 2010, 03:47:57 AM »
It's interesting to read this because my two favourite micro's here in Canada both only produce lagers. 
Creemore Springs makes a nice dark lager and occasionally seasonal bock (I believe that it was recently purchased by Molson so we will have to see if new ownership means a change in product but it was very good when it was independent).  Steam Whistle prides themselves on brewing only one lager beer which I think is quite good and is my go-to summer beer.  So, it can be done.  I know turnover equals profit but there are niche micro's here in Ontario making good lagers and they appear to be successful.  Neither of them are cheap and they won't compete against Coors Light and Bud in terms of price and I don't think that they really want to.  They're premium products at premium price for consumers who appreciate the product.  Not everyone wants to drink Bud.  I know I don't.

Ingredients / Re: Bittering Hop Rates
« on: December 20, 2010, 03:37:53 AM »
So can I assume from your reply that you'd advocate 2 oz x 30 min over 1 oz x 60 min?  I am after a good level of bitterness and flavour is certainly welcome.  I would also be adding an aroma or flavouring hop as well. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Do I need a starter?
« on: December 20, 2010, 03:35:18 AM »
+1 to Majorvices' advice.  When I make a starter I do not put an airlock on the jug.  I use plastic wrap or aluminum foil to cover the top.

You just leave it loose enough for gas to escape?  I can see how aluminum foil would work ,not sure how I'd get plastic wrap to stay on without pulling it tight enough to seal but I am sure it can be done.  Assuming foil, you just crimp it around and over the top?

. Check out the pitching calc at to get an idea how big a starter to make.

Not sure what I'm doing wrong but I couldn't get the site to work for me. 

I really like the different options available with liquids, especially lagers so I appreciate the advice on dries but I think I will keep plugging away with liquid until I get it right.  Not ignoring your advice, just too stubborn to deviate from what I want to do.  Also, my selection of dry yeasts around here is absolutely terrible.  Liquid isn't any better but I order on-line so I figure I may as well try to get what I want. 

Thanks for the advice.  Off to find a glass jug tomorrow.  Now, where the heck do I find a glass jug these days?

Yeast and Fermentation / Do I need a starter?
« on: December 19, 2010, 08:53:05 PM »
Most of the posts that I've read here recommend using a starter to increase the pitchable yeast numbers.  But Wyeast says that their Activator should be enough to ferment 5 gals of wort without a starter.  I am sure that they are correct but is there benefit from doing a starter anyway?  I'm very new to liquid yeast.  I searched for "Starter" before posting and found way too many posts to search through them all and adding "Making" to the search just made it worse. 

If you recommend a starter, can you give me a really simple beginner level recipe?  I was thinking 1/4 cup of DME boiled in 1L of water in a sterilized 2L bottle with an airlock?  I assume you don't want a lot of blow out because you are trying to capture and keep the yeast, not let it go out the top.  I am going to be using Wyeast ESB ale yeast (sorry, forget the #).  I don't have a stir plate or anything like that, just a pop bottle right now.  I am assuming if I start a starter 24 - 36 hours before I intend to brew that would be enough?


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