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Messages - kgs

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First Brew.....
« on: November 21, 2010, 07:28:27 PM »
Well, two hours later......( I know, patience Grashopper) bubbles, the little "hat" still sitting down on the tube..... so I tapped the airlock...... thought it was going to hit the ceiling..... we HAVE fermentation!!! I can see the water moving down, minutes away from the first beer fart..... this is COOL! Meanwhile the barn still smells like a brewery..... LOVE that smell.

I also love that smell. Nothing smells quite like that.

after my very first brew, the folks at the LHBS asked me what I thought of the odor. I said it was wonderful. I think I passed a test ;-) The fragrances associated with brewing--from mashing through boiling to fermenting--are luscious, like breadbaking but more complex. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Good thermometers?
« on: November 21, 2010, 09:16:16 AM »
I use a Proaccurate Digital Thermometer that is a great value. It is quick reading and reliable.

Same here. Calibrates easily, too.

Just a tiny bit of "research" (at the moment I am quaffing a Pliny the Elder bottled on 11/11/10... the only thing better would be Vinnie coming to my house with a keg), and I'm going to cross my fingers and buy the grain and yeast for an oatmeal stout to brew Thanksgiving morning, since we're going to a church member's house so I'm not cooking this year. Ye olde alewife plans to sit on the deck and read while the stout brews.

Why fingers are crossed: I want to toast some of the oatmeal and our oven has been on the fritz for weeks with KitchenAid people delivering the wrong part, blah blah blah. I could do it on the range but I doubt it would be that even. All said and done, I'm glad we had planned to go elsewhere for Turkey Day... I'd be in knots if I were waiting for a working oven!

It's not optimal but sometimes I recap the big bottles and finish next day. And some of those big brews are deceptive. Alcohol bite is so well hidden then you look at the label... :o

I also recap--part of the joy of being a homebrewer is being able to do that at a moment's notice :)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: And the "Learning" continues....
« on: November 16, 2010, 06:28:11 AM »
Technically, those aren't mistakes, they're slips and lapses. You know what to do, but you end up not doing it (like me leaving off the inner part of the airlock several batches ago). To me it's interesting how many of these stories involve leaving out the yeast--a critical component of fermentation, but one that appears several hours into a very involved task.

I too do not BUI (and I brew alone) and yet I have still caught myself about to pour hot water in a mash tun with a ball valve set to full open, etc. I wonder if it's a case of a complex task performed just frequently enough to establish a routine but not quite frequently enough to gain the muscle-memory to perform it automatically when our mind drifts elsewhere for a moment.

Anyhoo, I recommend checklists -- in your case, with pictures and equipment manifests  ;D   

I'm downloading the mp3.

I like beer that doesn't get you bombed after 2 pints. And as homebrewers we can brew as strong as we want. I'm sure everyone goes through their high alcohol brew phase. Pretty much stay below 12.5 brix now except for the rare brew like an IPA.

Session beer's where it's at IMO. +1

Just put this show into iTunes so I can listen to it on my walk tomorrow. Agree with all points made above. There's a lot to be said for quaffability.

When I do enjoy a higher-gravity brew, I appreciate when it's a smaller quantity--I have two cases of 7-ounce bottles I use for this purpose. It annoys me that some very good beers are sold in humongous bottles. 22 oz of barleywine? I don't think so.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« on: November 12, 2010, 05:33:44 PM »
Actually, I almost never drink decaf anyway -- not that I don't like it, it's just that after I have my cup of regular Peet's at home, I then have herbal tea at work, out of habit. But you got me thinking, because the purpose of using decaf in this batch is to make it possible to enjoy coffee + beer, which I would only be able to do if I make beer my breakfast beverage (which is kinda hard-core). No doctor has put me on a caffeine-limited diet, but I have found that the second cup of coffee (or its equivalent in sodas, etc.) is what keeps me up at night.

According to Wikipedia, decaf has a lot less caffeine -- it's not caffeine-free, but in most cases it's much less than half That's what I'm going for: not completely caffeine-free, but not a jolt, either.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« on: November 12, 2010, 03:55:26 PM »
I have been thinking that my next brew session would be an oatmeal stout with (decaf) coffee and vanilla. Or maybe cacao nibs and vanilla.

Don't use decaf! decaf is almost always made from inferior beans so the price can be inline with the full caf and it still has caffeine, just less, about half as much. Unless you can find a decaf that is significantly more expensive than the regular from the same roaster it's just not worth it. go ahead and use regular if your going after the pure flavor.

I was planning to use Peet's:

Their decaf coffees are quite tasty. Due to what my doctor calls the "a-word" (aging) I cannot have more than one cup of the real thing, and Peet's decaf actually makes me think I'm drinking real coffee.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« on: November 12, 2010, 02:07:28 PM »
Sounds great.  So you're happy with how it's been tweaked?  No need to revisit hopping?

Just for fun, try a drop of vanilla extract in a pint and see if you like it.  Penzey's or some other good extract, not artificial stuff.

Yep, no need to revisit hopping! This advice thread has been great.

I actually tried a drop of vanilla in a sample last week... not bad. (Using a high-quality vanilla paste.)  Divided on whether I want it in this beer.  However, I have been thinking that my next brew session would be an oatmeal stout with (decaf) coffee and vanilla. Or maybe cacao nibs and vanilla.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« on: November 11, 2010, 09:04:48 PM »
Update: the spicing is almost there, and the beer tastes sweeter, which is interesting. I am guessing the spices bring out any sweetness. It also has that really nice mouthfeel (slick? full?) I really like in pumpkin ales. I also tipped in a tiny bit of fresh(er) nutmeg I purchased yesterday that was very fragrant.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Adding Hops Before Boil Start/Hot Break
« on: November 11, 2010, 08:56:54 PM »
Other than FWH, I always start my hop additions after the hot break.  The idea is that the break will coat the hops and reduce utilization.  I don't know if there's scientific basis in that, but it makes sense and isn't hard to do.

I do it because it makes timing the brewing workflow easier--hot break, start timer, add hops. Anything else would be higher math, and I was an English major :-)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« on: November 10, 2010, 05:26:35 PM »
In addition to what everybody else has already suggested, I've found that Vietnamese ground cinnamon and some freshly ground nutmeg will go a long long ways in tweeking that flavor you might be looking for.  I suggest staying away from any ground cinnamon found in your common grocery a few extra cents per bottle and get the highly aromatic and powerful stuff found at a specialty store. 

Out of curiosity, did you use can or whole pumpkin?  I've found that only a rare few (and congrats to those of you who are those rare few) can get a strong pumpkin taste from whole pumpkin. 

It's Vietnamese cinnamon--a recent gift from a friend--really nice. I was thinking about grating some fresh nutmeg since what I used was probably a year old. My allspice is very fresh.

I used organic pie pumpkins bought that morning at the farmers' market. I quartered them, microwaved them, scooped out the flesh, then put the flesh in the kettle, not the mash, and I also simmered the skins to make a gallon or so of "pumpkin tea" to add to the sparge water. The pumpkin flavor is elusive but there, but the ale definitely has that nice mouthfeel I associate with pumpkin beer. (I may be the only one who detects this, but I pick it up in every pumpkin ale I've tried.) I'm assuming my SG was a little higher than expected because of the natural sugar and carbs in the pumpkin.

I agree that canned pumpkin can taste more pumpkin-y...some people take mashed pumpkin and cook it down again to get a more condensed flavor. If I were to do that, I'd put it in a baking pan and bake it at 250 degrees for a while, stirring now and then (sorta like making baked apple-butter, for anyone who's done that--my grandmother made apple butter that way). I cooked and froze more pumpkin this past weekend, so who knows, I might do that... perhaps a Thanksgiving morning brew, since I'm not cooking this year. Or I could use canned pumpkin... only my brew friends would know. :-p

The Pub / Re: Wife and Homebrew?
« on: November 08, 2010, 09:40:34 PM »
My wife also asks where al lthe femal homebrewers are.

there is this

In the 18th century, nearly 80% of all licensed brewers were women. Ask your wife to come on board!

I had wanted to enter a brew in Queen of Beer, but the beer timed for that session had a lot of challenges (it was the first brew in my new kettle and outdoors).

All Grain Brewing / Re: Your FIRST all grain?
« on: November 08, 2010, 09:33:31 PM »
I think it was a dry stout. I did a series of partial-mash small batches where I bumped up the grain ratio batch to batch to rely more heavily on the conversion. I think more than anything all that math finally got to me!

The Pub / Re: Wife and Homebrew?
« on: November 08, 2010, 02:07:47 PM »

Reading through the thread makes me wonder... where are the female brewers?

I was actually thinking about doing a post to ask that question... I am sure there are a few others on the Forum. I know several women homebrewers, and see even more on Twitter, but I don't think they belong to the AHA.

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