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Messages - kgs

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676
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: When you brew a beer
« on: December 06, 2010, 09:42:41 PM »
I like to brew a beer that teaches me something. Maybe a little lesson about fermentation, or temperature, or mashing. Or maybe about the difference a hop can make. Brewing something not easily available is a plus, too. I look for a beer I'm going to enjoy drinking, and also, one I'll enjoy sharing. My take on Denny's Rye IPA, shared at a summer block party, got me invited back to a neighbor's house for a holiday beer-tasting where people stood around saying "mmmm" as they sipped it. I'm not a competition-caliber brewer, but it's nice to brew something interesting and do it well enough that I feel proud sharing with the people I see every day in the 'hood.

677
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: 1.022 versus on 1.016 on an oatmeal stout
« on: December 04, 2010, 05:26:30 PM »
gisbrewmaster, interesting indeed. What yeast did you use?

My grain bill for a 3-gallon all-grain batch:

UK Pale Ale Malt    5.00 lb    70.9 %    5.0    In Mash/Steeped
US Flaked Oats    0.75 lb    10.6 %    0.8    In Mash/Steeped [1/4 lb. was first lightly toasted]
US Chocolate Malt    0.40 lb    5.7 %    46.7    In Mash/Steeped
US Victory Malt    0.40 lb    5.7 %    3.7    In Mash/Steeped
US Caramel 80L Malt    0.25 lb    3.5 %    6.7    In Mash/Steeped
US Black Barley    0.25 lb    3.5 %    41.7    In Mash/Steeped

On brew day I hit all numbers right on target and had no hiccups/abnormalities. Certainly didn't underpitch with one sachet of yeast in 3 gal. BeerAlchemy predicts 1.015 SG, which I strongly suspect ain't gonna happen.

It's a bit sweet, but on the positive side, would lend itself to doctoring with coffee and/or vanilla at bottling time. I'm pondering making a different recipe next weekend and pitching on that yeast cake, but fermenting in a slightly warmer room.

678
Yeast and Fermentation / 1.022 versus on 1.016 on an oatmeal stout
« on: December 04, 2010, 05:19:11 AM »
Brewed McQuakers Oatmeal Stout from Brewing Classic Styles on Thanksgiving Day. Sampled it last night and it tastes delish but at 1.022 (from 1.060) I'm wondering if it's done. I used Safale 4 and fermentation seemed good if not spectacular (versus the way it is with my ales when I use Safale 5 or make a starter with liquid yeast). It was initially in a closet at 60f but I moved it to a closet at 62.

I mashed at 154, per the recipe, and assume the intent of that is a creamy mouthfeel (check!) but wonder if 152 or lower would dry it out a little. I really like this style, so tips on optimum fermentations would be most welcome.

679
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Best Brew Software??
« on: December 02, 2010, 10:49:12 AM »
I like Beersmith ok, but since migrating over to Apple products over the past year (work-related migration) I recently tried BeerAlchemy, and like it a lot. I know Beersmith is going to have a Mac version Real Soon Now, but I need software that can support my brewing needs today, not RSN.

680
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: OK, the noob did a stupid.....
« on: November 29, 2010, 09:42:10 AM »
I never use a bag for pellets, but I'm also one of those weirdos who usually does a secondary. I get pretty much no gunk at the end.

For brews with a lot of "stuff" in them, I rubber-band a (clean, unused, sanitized) ChoreBoy on the end of my autosiphon.

681
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: New Yeast Book
« on: November 28, 2010, 11:26:01 AM »
Interesting response, because structure and index are the two areas where I feel "How to Brew" falls down.

Yes, "How to Brew" is the best book available on homebrewing, and yes, I have read it end-to-end, several times in fact, and recommend it to others. But after reading it for the first time I remarked to my LHBS that I thought the structure was all wrong, and they agreed, and when I recommend it I do so with that caveat. (It does start with a "crash course," but it's so abbreviated that those two-page sheets most LHBS throw into basic brewing kits will have more information.) The book wanders into thickets of detail at the wrong points, and it would benefit from a reordering of chapters. The index is weak; If the next edition is available as an eBook, it will at least be searchable.

I like the "textbook" comparison because these are books targeting people who are teaching themselves to brew. If this were a class taught week by week, would brewing lager beer really come before priming and bottling? "Joy of Homebrewing" is very dated, but its order makes more sense: tackling a basic extract brew from boiling to bottling, moving up to steeping grains, getting into all-grain.

But I still make sure "How to Brew" is where it needs to be on my bookshelf before I start a brew session!

682
Just now realizing my last post should have gone here, but whatev. One more thing: if there's any ability to tweak search on this BB, adding some weight to the titles might help bump the headlines posts lower so that they don't overwhelm searching across all boards (which is what most people will do before they refine a search... IF they ever refine a search). If you can adjust the weight of entire topics, which would be very cool, lowering the weight of the section with the headline posts would be great.

683
While I'm thinking of these...

1. Would others appreciate a link to the Brewopedia on Forum menu bar? Right now, if someone mentions a recipe, it's about 8 clicks to determine that it's not on the wiki (which is usually the case). I would wager that people would contribute recipes more frequently if the recipe collection were a click or two away.

2. I know this has been mentioned before, but it seems to be a rite of passage to advise new Forum members that the Location field doesn't actually display their location, and that this information needs to be added in a free-text field in their profile. Fixable?

3. On the iPad, the space between the page numbers for forum posts is so narrow that it's hard to select another page. Not a deal the way I usually read the Forum (start from the most recent post and move backwards... I don't know why, I just do), but a bit of a UX error for people who don't read backwards or want to jump around within a set of posts. [Edit: after seeing discussion of mobile view, if that's in the works I assume this issue will be taken care of.]

Thanks for considering these ideas.

684
Beer Recipes / Re: Rye Pale Ale
« on: November 27, 2010, 09:07:14 AM »
Supposedly Denny has the "end all" Rye Pale Ale. Do a search for the recipe. I've never tasted it but my opinion is rye really complements a beer. Belongs there.

You may be thinking of the Rye IPA, but I do have a really good rye APA recipe, too.  It's about 40% rye.

Any chance you could add a link to the latter the AHA recipe wiki? I've brewed the RIPA three times this year and love it (though the last batch came out too bitter and not hoppy enough due to new-equipment blues), but an RAPA sounds really approachable. A gateway beer ;-)

685
All Grain Brewing / Re: 1st AG Effieency
« on: November 27, 2010, 09:00:16 AM »
Fair enough euge, I mash my Irish stout at 150F.

McQuaker's Oatmeal Stout in Brewing Classic Styles lists 154 as the mash temp... I just made this beer and wondered if that was too high, but it's a tested recipe so I stayed with it. 158 does sound awfully high for the OP's brew.

686
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: ibrewmaster iPad app
« on: November 25, 2010, 08:30:03 AM »
Just installed BeerAlchemy and really like what I see so far... thanks. The profiling is excellent, particularly for us small-batch folks. I have a couple of quibbles but nothing huge.

687
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: ibrewmaster iPad app
« on: November 24, 2010, 11:14:11 AM »
I use Beersmith to formulate my recipes and schedules, then good old pen and paper in a brew log during the brewing process.  I find it faster than trying to type on a virtual keyboard, and I don't have to worry about anything happening to electronics while brewing.  When I have downtime I type all my notes and stuff into Beersmith for historic purposes.

Yes, that's my workflow too... don't want sticky fingers on the iPad, anyway. :-) But I have used the iPad as a cookbook during cooking and find I really like that (e.g. if I'm using an Epicurious recipe--then I don't have to print it out), and during brewing I'm not recording anything that can't go on a post-it.

My bigger issue is that I almost always have my iPad with me when I'm out and about, and leisure/waiting time is a great time for tinkering with recipes. I have brewpal but find it limited.

688
Zymurgy / English Barleywine (Dark) recipe in Nov/Dec 2010 issue
« on: November 23, 2010, 02:22:29 PM »
This recipe calls for 1.5 pounds of "Wheat." I am sorry to be such a n00b, but is that wheat malt, or flaked wheat? If I see "wheat" listed, can I usually assume one or the other?

689
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Small batches.....
« on: November 23, 2010, 09:16:18 AM »
Got the digital scale..... but why use all the yeast? The pack I used for my first batch was for 5 gallons.... or do they come in different sizes?

For dry yeast, I've been going by the assumption that a little extra dry yeast can't hurt, and once a packet is opened it will degrade fast. I did ask my LHBS once about over-pitching and was told it's impossible to over-pitch. Not sure about that but feel that pitching twice as much isn't harmful, and it's easier/more sanitary to pitch a whole packet than to dry to split it up.

690
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Small batches.....
« on: November 23, 2010, 08:46:51 AM »
For now I'm working off kits/recipes from allegedly reliable sources. BUT I have some ideas I want to try out. Now, trying something and finding it doesn't work and chucking it is one thing. Finding out it doesn't work and chucking FIVE GALLONS of it is another thing.

How do people do small batches? Does one simply divide the recipe by five and then ferment in a growler? What do you do with the rest of the yeast, hops that comes in quantities made for 5 gallon batches.....?

"Think small" defines my homebrewing operation. Most of my 20-odd brews have been small batches (2 - 4 gallons) both to make it easier on me physically and to experiment/learn. I use a digital scale to measure out hops, which I would do anyway--I store the rest sealed tight and frozen (thinking of getting one of those sealers), though I'm considering upgrading to a more precise scale ( possibly http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Signature-AWS-100-Digital/dp/B0012LOQUQ/ ). I use the full amount of yeast, and I  make a starter if I'm using liquid yeast. BrewSmith software is helpful for scaling, though a spreadsheet works well too. Depending on the size of the batch, I ferment in either a 3- or 5-gallon Better Bottle carboy. I mash in a 5-gallon mash-tun, and boil in an 8-gallon kettle. I even bottle about half of each batch in 7-ounce splits. If the batch is small enough, I can even boil it on the kitchen stove.

Depending on what you're after, you can still brew a full batch and then split it into carboys which get different flavors/dry-hops/yeast/etc (wish I had done this before I used fenugreek in an entire 5-gallon batch... glad I did this in my gingered-ale experiment).  But brewing small has its advocates. I figure if I can spend all day on a meal that will be devoured in less than an hour I can spend an afternoon making 3 or 4 sixpacks of beer.

If you go to an LHBS, if they do a double-take at your recipe (which they will if they're paying attention), just explain it's for a small batch.

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