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Messages - gmac

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Ingredients / Bittering Hop Rates
« on: December 19, 2010, 08:30:16 PM »
I normally use 1 oz of Northen Brewer boiled for an hour in a 6 gallon boil.  Just wondering what would happen if I used 2 ounces of Northern Brewer and only boiled for 30 minutes.  Would I get similar results? 

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Thin head
« on: December 19, 2010, 08:26:25 PM »
Wow.  Thanks again.  I didn't expect this to be such an interesting topic.  But then again, most everything about brewing is interesting just by its very nature.

I think I'll get some special T-shirts made with catchy little slogans to put over my carboys.  I figure if I set them in a tub of water and put the shirt right over the top with the airlock sticking out the neck hole, it will wick up water well enough to keep it cool just as suggested above.  The real challenge will be coming up with saying for the shirts.  I'm thinking something like  "Caution: Yeast at work" or "74 billion babies onboard". 

Thanks again.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Thin head
« on: December 18, 2010, 01:30:22 AM »
Oh, and I never addressed the temperature question.  The temperature is unknown.  It's in my basement and I'm sure it is <70 but I don't know the actual temp.  Clearly I have to get a thermometer so that I can get a better handle on the parameters.  It's in a fairly cool area of the basement but I will check to be sure. 

This leads me to another question.  Assuming I need to drop the temp a couple degrees, any easy suggestions?  I'm not afraid to invest in the process but I want to be sure it's the only option before buying anything.  My cold room is too cold, maybe 2 degrees C right now.  Good spot to lager but not to brew ales. 
Thanks again.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Thin head
« on: December 18, 2010, 01:24:30 AM »
+1 to all of the above.  One thing I did not see mentioned:  What was your fermentation temperature?  Anything greater than about 68 F can cause fusels that have a tendency to kill head.  So keep fermentation temperatures down to improve head as well.

Good point.  Since he's just getting back in, that might kinda sorta qualify him as a "beginner" and it seems the biggest thing beginners miss  on is fermentation temperature control.

Thanks for the thoughts and advice everyone.  I particularly liked the "might kinda sorta" phrase.  Very polite.  I'll come right out and say I am an absolute beginner, no doubt about it.  Last time I brewed beer was 20 years ago when I was in college and then, quantity and strength were far more important than quality.  I'd have chugged this stuff and never thought twice about head retention. 
I know glassware can be a factor, I don't think that is all of it here although it may be part.  I'll try the next batch with crystal malt and see if that helps.
Thanks again.l

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Thin head
« on: December 17, 2010, 07:01:09 PM »
I've started to get back into homebrewing and I've done two batches so far, one cream ale that is still aging in the cold room and a steam beer that is ok.  But, one thing I've noticed with the steam beer, and remember from homebrewing  before was that the head of the beer was unusually thin and disappeared very quickly.  Any tips on getting a more rich and foamy head on the beer?  The ingredients were: 6 lbs of Golden DME, 1 lb of malted rye, 1 oz of Northern Brewer, 1 oz of Saaz hops with 1/2 added at 15 min from the end of the boil and the other half 5 mins from the end.  Yeast was Wyeast California Lager.  I'm embarassed to say I broke my hygrometer so I have no idea what the OG/FG were.  Priming was done with 2/3 cup of regular sugar dissolved and boiled in water and the beer was bottled in used 2L pop bottles because I am lazy and hate cleaning small bottles but am too cheap to buy a keg system yet (it may come soon though).
Is it just because of the fact that it is extract? 

I'm about to do another batch with another 6 lbs of Golden DME, 1 lb of Caramel malt (40), 2 oz of Northern Brewer (I like bitter beer) and either Fuggles or Goldings aroma hops (I've got both) and Wyeast London ESB liquid yeast.  I wanted to ask before I start to make sure that there  wasn't something obvious that I'm overlooking.


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