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Messages - kgs

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« on: November 06, 2010, 11:19:27 AM »
I had to "spice up" my pumpkin beers the last two years.

What I've done is soak the spices in vodka and add it a bit at a time until the flavor is where I want it.

Thanks; I will make a vodka potion. I've seen that referenced. I imagine the leftovers make a pretty interesting martini :)

General Homebrew Discussion / Perking up a pumpkin brew
« on: November 06, 2010, 10:42:43 AM »
So I made a small-batch all-grain pumpkin brew a couple of weeks ago and at this tasting it's meh. The mouthfeel is nice, the color good, and it's very clear... but very bland. I used Brewing Classic Styles' recipe and I don't fault it; I think two things may be at work here:

* Under-spicing... I tipped in just a tiny bit more spice last night and will do this successively until I get a hint of spice (better under than over). My spices are fresh enough and my cinnamon is really excellent, so this surprised me, especially since I am sensitive to over-spicy beers.

* Possibly under-hopping? This is where my question really comes in. I know this is a low-hop beer, but it just tastes really, really unhoppy. I used East Kent Goldings and went by AAUs (which are one of those things that we go on by faith anyway).  I'm wondering, would it make sense to dry-hop a little more in the beer or would that be all wrong? I have EKG as well as some other miscellaneous hops sitting in the freezer (Columbus, Chinook, etc.) though I suspect those would be misplaced in this beer... but suggestions welcome.

I guess I also expected this beer to be a little sweeter. It went from 1.070 to 1.020, btw, and everything about its fermentation looked normal. Its mash numbers were spot-on too (and I calibrated my thermometer that day as well).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing This Weekend - 10/1
« on: November 05, 2010, 03:55:20 PM »
Brewing a Christmas beer right out of Radical Brewing.
I was going to make a small batch of the Oatmeal Cookie (Brown) Ale right out of Radical Brewing for a Christmas beer.

Did you? and if so how is it turning out?

For the first time, I had brews (Estate and Tumbler) by Sierra Nevada Brewery that I really didn't care for, especially the Tumbler-zero complexity.  A dud in my book.

I tried the tumbler a few weeks ago and didn't care for it either, but I'm not a big fan of this style to begin with.

What you said. Thought it might win me over. Didn't hate it but won't go back for more.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest
« on: November 05, 2010, 03:35:11 PM »
Bought it at the grocery store a week or so ago and was very impressed. A delicious beer with loads of fresh hops flavor while remaining drinkable. Pine, citrus, malt all in balance. Headed back for more myself (though not for long-term storage).

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Anchor's 2010 Christmas beer
« on: November 05, 2010, 03:30:26 PM »
Sounds like a keeper then . . . I usually get 6, drink one, and age the rest.  I had a 2009 one earlier this week.

I'll take your advice and buy a couple to tuck in the back of the beer closet.

The Pub / Re: Babalu
« on: November 05, 2010, 03:29:19 PM »
I'm not trying to start an argument, especially in this thread.  But crediting prayer is an affront to the women and men who have worked so hard all of this time to help Jeff get better.  The credit goes to them, all of the doctors and scientists before them who figured out how to treat his condition, his wife for getting him to the hospital quickly, and perhaps most importantly, Jeff for being strong and fighting.

You are right to acknowledge the people who are helping Jeff. But we can agree to believe in what we believe in... there's enough credit to go around. If people think prayer changes things, then they are right. It changes *them* in important ways, and that's miracle enough.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Anchor's 2010 Christmas beer
« on: November 04, 2010, 09:46:46 PM »
bought my first bottle tonight... was so looking forward to it. It's so heavy with clove flavor I can't finish it. *sad*

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: 21 A's "Back in black"
« on: November 04, 2010, 09:42:21 PM »
OK, I got a case of this today.  Had to special order though the local distributors big warehouse out of town.  I'm not all that impressed.  I like my own of course, but dechuttes CDA is good, as is Iron Horses, and the Widmer w10 was tasty.

It's good and all.  But I expected more.

I thought it was unbalanced and won't have it again. Just not well-tuned.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« on: November 03, 2010, 05:40:26 AM »
I was cutting my brew time down to just a few hours by doing concentrated boils and chilling the kettle in the bath tub. I lost two consecutive batches when the kettles floated and capsized wasting a potential 10 gallons of beer. Expensive beer.

And I was distracted both times.

In a couple of experiments a year ago where I was trying to mash a day in advance, I was sparging into one-gallon water jugs (so I could chill them quickly in the fridge... the theory went, anyway). Yeah, you know what happened each time. Turn my head for a minute... wort all over the floor. Several times. I mean, after the first time, you'd think I would admit this was a bad idea.

I am still going to revisit the mash-ahead idea, but I'll mash into a kettle or bucket and take it from there. My thought is to mash the night before, stop the enzyme activity by cooling the wort with frozen plastic quart bottles, then get up early and brew.

Also, I have found it best to lay out my hop schedule and any other additions in Pyrex cups, labeled with each addition and time, even though I never BUI (brew under the influence). The one time I didn't do this, between one thing and the other I got my additions mixed up.

Beer Recipes / Re: Bell's Rye Stoue Clone?
« on: October 30, 2010, 08:33:44 PM »

I'm very lucky that the military provides us with an ability to receive homebrew supplies via the military postal service.  I can't imagine what it must be like for the homebrewers living on the local economy.  I have a red IPA sitting in a fermenter for the last week that has WLP-001 in it.  I guess I could pull off a quart of that for a yeast starter.

Take care and thanks again for the info.


I was stationed at Suwon and then Osan (after we left Suwon) in 1990. At the time I was (expensively) connecting with people over CompuServe (an old bulletin board). I know what it's like to be on the other side of world. You have a lot of conveniences we didn't have but you're still a long way from home. Good luck with your brewing, and for what it's worth, I have found the key to Bell's Two-Hearted is good Munich and lots of Centennial.   

All Grain Brewing / Re: How much mash water do I use???
« on: October 30, 2010, 08:11:30 PM »
If you;re batch sparging, this is the easy way to figure out water requirements...mash with whatever ratio you like.  I generally go for 1.3-1.75 qt./lb.  After you run off your mash, measure how much you have in your kettle.  Subtract that from the amount you want to boil.  The answer you get is the amount of sparge water ti use.

Being math-challenged, this is exactly what I do. Every time I am surprised that it works. But Denny does it, so...! (I also use at least 1.5/lb to make it easy to stir two or three times during the mash.)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Raindrops are falling on my wort...
« on: October 25, 2010, 03:29:36 PM »
Rain and snow are ingredients in every brew (you would think) I make but it's the wind that I hate. My solution, since I brew outside with no garage, was to make a mini shelter.  I cut two 4x8 sheets of treated ply in half (4-4x4 sheets) and used short sections of 2x to make a quick box (three sides one top).  Can be assembled in a few minutes and just as easily disassembled.  Cheers, j

This proved prophetic. :-) The rain was tolerable, but the wind kept blowing out the flame. I gave up and did this on the stove (small batch, so this actually was feasible). I'll make a mini shelter myself, possibly out of hinged auto drip pans--something cheap, lightweight, and flameproof.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 5 gallon sanitizing bucket
« on: October 24, 2010, 10:01:53 AM »
reading through the Equipment forum and the new mashtun thread someone posted a link that led me to

I love the simplicity...Next project for me that is for sure.

Same here! Thanks for posting this.

General Homebrew Discussion / Raindrops are falling on my wort...
« on: October 23, 2010, 07:09:51 AM »
Is it ok if a little rain/drizzle gets into my wort in the last few minutes of the boil? It's drizzly today, but nothing that would keep me from being on the deck (or at least right inside, with a direct view of the kettle 10 feet away). This is in a city, so it's probably not the cleanest rain possible.

Note, at 15 minutes, the boil-off should be great enough that loosely covering the pot won't risk a boil-over (3-gallon batch, 8-gallon pot). But I just wondered what other brewers do.

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