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Messages - tomsawyer

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: My first major screwup.......
« on: December 21, 2010, 11:07:33 PM »
Ale yeast grow fastest at 90F.  They produce lots of nasty esters and higher alcohols at that temp though, hence the advice to cool the wort ASAP.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« on: December 21, 2010, 10:31:45 PM »
I got a pound of Palisades cheap a couple of years ago and used that in a lot of British bitters, it was actually pretty good stuff.

One thing Gordon mentioned that I hadn't thought of, was the oils content of the varieties.  I didn't consider that stuff with higher AA might also have overall more flavor/aroma as well.  is this the case?  If so I guess I should balance my additions by AA to prevent the high AA stuff like Summit from overpowering the rest?

I chickened out and ordered Amarillo, Columbus, Simcoe and Cascade.  I still have the ones I mentioned above and I'll play with combos, keeping in mind to include some of the piney stuff with the citrus and to balance my overall oil levels.  I'll certainly try the Centennial/Cascade combo, the Amarillo/Simcoe.

Keep throwing out suggestions, hops are cheap these days.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Christmas presents to myself
« on: December 21, 2010, 07:13:34 PM »
I figure the Corona mill would be fun to tinker with until I save up for a the real deal. Just another home brewer trying to save a buck.

I used one for a few years.  I typcially do half batches and even then it was a chore to crank through 5-6lb of malt, but I generally got a good looking crush.  conditioning the malt prior to crushing helped keep the husks intact.

It also works well for unmalted grains (like wheat) that are pretty hard on a roller mill.

And back to the topic, I got a small freezer for a fermentation chamber a few days ago.  My first fermentation is going now, an alt at 56F.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Christmas presents to myself
« on: December 21, 2010, 04:58:23 PM »
How do you keep the "gap" just right on a Corona mill? I've used my Corona for a long time with good results, but every crush there are adjustment to make.  phillamb168, how did you get the plates to stay in the same position?

You can put some washers in as spacers on the bolts with wing nuts, that hold the plates apart uniformly versus just setting a gap and having the grain puch them apart.  I never got around to doing thismyself, I always just tweaked things each time I used mine.  I recently got a Monster Mill and drive it with a drill, its really nice and super fast and easy, but not a huge difference in my finished product.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« on: December 21, 2010, 03:00:27 PM »
I knew that Chinook was going to have more bite, and I don't think this at the root of the problem.  In fact I still wasn't happy with the flavor when I was using Magnum earlier this summer.  I do like Magnum, and haven't yet decided about Chinook.

Sounds like I accidentally had a really nice combo in '09.  It gave me the false impression that you could just mix and match all these high alpha citrusy hops and get excellent results.  Lesson learned, and theres nothing like finding out by doing.

I typically do small batches (3gal) so splitting really isn't an option.

General Homebrew Discussion / Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« on: December 21, 2010, 01:12:16 AM »
Last year ('09) for late additions I used a blend of Sorachi Ace, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Columbus.  I mostly bittered with Magnum, and those were some some tasty APAs.

This year I used Summit, Centennial and Citra for my late additions, and switched to Chinook for bittering late in the summer.  I don't think I've made an APA that I really liked as well as last year's blend.  Its more harsh yet lacks depth of flavor, I think it is maybe a lack of piney flavor that I'm missing.  I'll be ordering up a new batch of hops for the coming year and I'll probably go back to some of the varieties I enjoyed in 09, possibly keeping Chinook as my bittering hop since my last purchase is still fairly fresh.

What are some of your favorite blends for APA's?  I'm considering my options for the new year.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
« on: December 21, 2010, 12:16:45 AM »
I checked pH tonight.  My hefe measured 4.25, and the Ayinger Ur-Weise measured 4.30.  Interestingly, the Ur-Weisse (which she likes) had a bit of tartness and my brew was quite similar, maybe a hair less malty.

Had I not made the mistake of buying the Edel Weisse, I could have claimed victory!  But where's the fun in that.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Christmas presents to myself
« on: December 20, 2010, 10:39:44 PM »
I just bought an O2 injection system from Lowes, it was disguised as a small welding kit and a fish tank stone.  Used it for the first time yesterday.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
« on: December 20, 2010, 10:02:38 PM »
Kai I don't think thats what I'm getting.  I'm tasting clove alright, and I really wouldn't have noticed the tartness so much but when my beer was side by side with the Edel Weisse you could definitely taste the difference.  The tartness isn't over the top, and I don't mind it personally and could see why people might like it.  This isn't about me though.  Well, it gives me something else to think about instead of work!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
« on: December 20, 2010, 05:46:50 PM »
I'll measure the pH tonight.  I'm not sure if this last hefe was brewed after I'd started using Palmer's spreadsheet to adjust my water.  I will employ lactic acid but try to keep it under 5ml per 5gal batch.  I think my tap water is about right for the golden colored beer anyway.

Excellent suggestion on blending.  The pondered this last night.  We do like a little banana in the mix which is why I'd been using 300, so if I could brew something with pronounced banana and then blend at a reduced percentage compared to the less tart beer, I think that would get me where I want to be.  Surely the commercial brewers aren't blending though?

Wow, the wife better appreciate this beer if it ever turns out perfect!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
« on: December 20, 2010, 03:06:56 AM »
I'm looking at the WLP380 description and it sounds like it'd be more tart, what with the citrus notes.  But I guess its worth a shot.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
« on: December 20, 2010, 01:12:32 AM »
Thanks for the info.  I have 9% caramunichs in the recipe so I was hesitant to go much higher there.  I'll try a little light Munich in place of some fo the pils, reduce my IBU to 10 and get some WLP380.

Euge looks like the makings of a nice tasting!  Haven't tried the Fishers.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
« on: December 18, 2010, 09:02:56 PM »
I was thinking this might be a yeast issue.  I've been using WLP300 but was making drier hefes which I liked OK but not the wife.  I switched to 3086 just because so many people seem to favor it.  Maybe I'll try the 300 again, or one of the others.  I don't want a banana factory though, the hint in the nose is all we need.

I understand the traditional hefe isn't supposed to have crystal (I actually used some Caramunich) but the commercial beers mentioned seem like they must have some in them.  I can't imagine just mashing higher would get me there, that gets you more body but not sweetness right?  I am notorious for mashing low so I'm not speaking from experience there.  Maybe I'll try subbing some Munich for the base malt on the next batch.  I do think more hops might balance that tartness but I know she isn't going to like that and I make enough hoppy beers for myself.

This a a really good woman we're talking about, which is why I'm trying to get this beer tailored to her tastes.

General Homebrew Discussion / Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
« on: December 18, 2010, 06:18:37 PM »
I am closing in on what I want in my recipe.  I have the right sweetness and a nice balance of banana and clove.  What I am now wanting to eliminate is a bit of tartness.  It might be bitterness, I'm not sure.  I only used around 18 IBU of Tettnanger (60 and 15min additions) so I don't know if this is it.  I use Best wheat malt, not sure if this is a source of tartness.  The yeast is WY3068 starter, fermented around 64F using swamp cooler/ice bottles.  I now have a temp-controlled fermentor if that would help.  I  have upped my crystal malts to 9%, not sure if a little more sweetness would cover the tartness.

I should mention that our favorite hefes are Ayinger Ur-Weisse and Schneider Edel Weisse.

Any suggestions on what to do to remove this last little flaw in my hefeweizen?  The wife likes these so I have a real interest in getting this recipe right.  Thanks in advance for suggestions.

All Grain Brewing / Re: 109% Efficiency!
« on: December 17, 2010, 03:19:41 AM »
Doesn't hot break dropping out, change the specific gravity of the solution at all?  Not that we are counting protein in efficiency, but if you define efficiency by a specific gravity reading times volume then it would seem to have some small effect.  I know my brewhouse efficiency is typically slightly lowe than my preboil, and I pitch trub and all in the fermentor.  I figured it had to do with some protein being suspended versus dissolved.

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