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Messages - beersk

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction Tips?
« on: September 26, 2013, 10:45:56 AM »
Just hate standing over a hot, boiling kettle having to constantly stir for 10+ minutes. It's brutal.

Yeah, especially when there's no benefit to it!   ;)
Ha! Was waiting for you to come in and say that! As Michael Dawson says on the "Decoction Day" episode of Brewing TV, "it's just another layer of involvement you can have with your beer". Whether you feel it adds anything or not, it's fun to do on occasion, I think.
Do you feel the same way about step mashes? Feel they add nothing?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction Tips?
« on: September 26, 2013, 07:11:50 AM »
One kettle I have is an old 5 gallon SS copper clad Revere Ware that I picked up for fairly cheap. That is my decoction kettle. No scorching problems to date, and I stir at a moderate to slowish pace.
Ah, well maybe I'm over doing it when I stir. I have a very thick bottomed 3 gallon kettle that I use for my decoctions. I want to say it's a sandwich of stainless and aluminum. Next decoction I do I'll back it off. Just hate standing over a hot, boiling kettle having to constantly stir for 10+ minutes. It's brutal.

Going Pro / Re: Growler exchange
« on: September 26, 2013, 06:54:23 AM »
I don't have anything fancy. But I'm in.
Producing Tangerine Dream, yet?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction Tips?
« on: September 26, 2013, 06:46:15 AM »
Randy Mosher is probably recommending a triple decoction if he says to mash in at 95. I'd personally mash at 145 for 20-30 minutes, decoct, bring up to 158-162, let rest for 45, then pull thin mash of maybe 4 quarts or so, boil, and bring up to 168 for 10 minutes. Boil the decoctions as long as you can manage and stir like mad, constantly (for the thick decoction). If you can get it, use dehusked Carafa III instead of chocolate malt. But, I suppose chocolate malt would work fine in that small quantity as well.

Equipment and Software / Re: The Right Stuff
« on: September 25, 2013, 12:44:51 PM »
I don't know what kind of braid I have, but I bought it at Ace Hardware. Probably not Lasco. But seems to be working out just fine for me.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction Tips?
« on: September 25, 2013, 05:50:22 AM »
Oh and I' suggest wrapping the mashtun in blankets for more insulation. I always have the problem of losing too much heat in the main mash while the decoction in boiling, then not having enough decoction to bring it up to my next rest temp. It's kind of hard to do when my grist is 7 pounds for a 4 gallon batch. I think it's just not big enough a batch to work, as it hasn't yet, even though I seem to pull nearly all the thick mash out...
Oh well, I'm cool with step infusions as I've read that many German breweries mostly perform step infusions these days. Who knows though...

All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction Tips?
« on: September 24, 2013, 09:13:52 AM »
I'd suggest a Hochkurz double decoction, starting with a rest between 140-146 for 20 minutes, then decoct, boil for 10 minutes or however long you can manage, add back till you get to 158-162, hold that for 45 minutes, decoct liquid portion of mash, boil for a bit, then add back to get to 168.
I think some refer to this as a single decoction, but to me, it's a double, since you're removing a thin mash as well as a thick mash.
Either way, I don't do them anymore as I always miss my next rest temps due to loss of heat during the decoction boil and perhaps not taking enough decoction out in the first place (even though I take almost all of the thick mash out I can). I do step mashes these days, typically of that same Hochkurz procedure using infusions.

You can have boiling water handy in case you miss your temps, but I always seem to miss them anyway, ugh. With fully modified malt, it's debatable whether decoction adds anything to the finished product other than YOU know that it was decocted and it's another layer of involvement you can have with your beer. It's fun to do once in a while, but I don't think it's worth it to do for most beers. A step mash or single infusion gets you there.
Decoction improves your efficiency a little, so plan for that. You might also lose a little volume depending on how long you boil your decoctions. Just have boiling water ready. Michael Dawson did a decoction episode on Brewing TV a while back where he said to pull 1 quart per pound of grist for each decoction. So that's a starting point. Good luck.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pics of recent brews?
« on: September 18, 2013, 05:50:03 AM »
J's Ale (Cream Ale)

This is my standard cream ale (originally made it for my brother). Took a ribbon at the World Cup of Beer a few years ago. 80% German Pils, 20% Home-Grown Corn. Bottled right after this picture, I love the yeast-scape...

I've never had a beer be that clear in the carboy. Nice.

All Grain Brewing / Re: equal amounts for 1st and 2nd runnings
« on: September 10, 2013, 01:36:21 PM »
I feel that my LHBS must change the gaps on their mills constantly whether it is intentional or not. My process is consistent yet my efficiency is extremely variable from batch to batch.

This next batch will be a test of sorts with my new grain mill. It's nothing special but at least I will be able to remove it from the equation once I decide on a constant crush.

pH is defintely something I will need to address in the future...
Yeah, address pH and water chemistry when you're ready. Getting your own mill is a big and important step.

All Grain Brewing / Re: equal amounts for 1st and 2nd runnings
« on: September 10, 2013, 12:26:47 PM »
I shoot for close volumes, but I am always within a gallon.
Difficult to do with a high gravity beer, where you still want to mash at 1.25-1.5qt per gallon and still make up your planned volume with the sparge.
I brewed a weizenbock, 4 gallon batch recently, with 17qt in the mash and 10qt in the sparge, and that was still planning to boil for 90 minutes.
For the most part, I think it's been shown to help if you keep the runnings close enough. Most beers I do is usually with in a quart or two between mash and sparge.

Beer Recipes / Re: Should I just give up on lagers?
« on: September 05, 2013, 01:00:53 PM »
I certainly wouldn't give up on lagers. I'm having trouble with light lagers. My other lagers are turning out pretty well. I'm starting to get into acidifying my sparge water, hoping that makes the difference I'm looking for. That ties into kettle pH, I think, and getting a crisp beer in the end.

I'd probably keg first. If you haven't already gotten there already, bottling gets so tedious, and sometimes, kegging is the only reason you keep doing it at that point. I went all grain, first. But, if you don't mind bottling, definitely go all grain. Either way, your beer and the enjoyment of said beer, will likely increase.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Security Breach at Midwest Supplies
« on: September 03, 2013, 01:58:21 PM »
Saw that. They aren't getting very positive responses. I think I had my card number stolen a couple years ago. A charge showed up on my account from California, some flower shop. The only place I had been using it much online was Midwest.
But I'm not blaming them, really. Hopefully, they have it all resolved.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Mangrove Jack's Dry Yeast
« on: September 03, 2013, 06:18:15 AM »
I used the MJ Newcastle brown in a 1.048 northern English brown, rehydrated, oxygenated, Wyeast nutrient, mashed at 152, fermented at a constant 68f, and it quit at 1.028. Lame! Wlp007 finished the job.
A friend used it in a 1.040 extract beer, not rehydrated, aerated, no temp control, and it finished at 1.006. The beer kind of sucked but we won't blame the yeast on that one. ;)
I forgot to mention that I used Wyeast nutrient in my Oktoberfest this weekend as well. Not terribly impressed so far with this company and their yeast. But I'm giving them a chance. I have some of the Newcastle Dark Ale yeast, as well as a packet of the West Coast Ale and Hefe yeasts. So if this kind of business continues, I'll be going back to Fermentis yeasts.

You really jumped in with both feet on this mfg.  I hope most, if not all, turn out well.  I have noticed that first generation pitches of dry lager yeast have been a bit slow (even with 34/70), but on repitch they usually take right off, so you may want to see if a second gen goes quicker for the lager yeast.  Keep us posted, Beersk, and thanks for the willingness to go this route on a new company's strains.
I guess I did, didn't I? Well, I like that there's another dry yeast option. I don't like to use liquid strains much during the warmer months. But upon repitch, I'm sure they're be a lot better. I've brewed with the Bohemian lager, Newcastle Dark, and Hefe yeasts now. But, the time of liquid yeast is coming with the awesome fall weather. Can't wait...

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Don't buy that stir plate
« on: September 03, 2013, 06:14:25 AM »
Well, if you like all that, your gonna love this - I boil my finished fermenting beer. 
Trying to make a non-alcoholic beer, right?

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