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Messages - sienabrewer

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Thanks for the help.  It seems grain freshness is not the issue.  I need to look at my sanitation.  Perhaps it's time to get rid of the buckets I've been using for quite some time now.  I'll try my next batch in my glass carboys and see if I can notice a difference.

I've been having issues with my beer.  They just don't taste like they use to.  I'm thinking it's the freshness of my grain.  I buy in bulk, but due to a variety of reasons don't brew nearly as frequently.  I store the grain in a plastic bin; not air tight. 

What is a realistic shelf life of grain once it is opened?  It's gotten to a point where I think I am going to stop buying in bulk and just order kits.  Time seems to be less available to me recently and I want to get back to making good beer when I have the opportunity.

Classifieds / Re: 2 Ball lock kegs $50 each/$90 for both - Burlington, VT
« on: September 06, 2012, 06:57:23 AM »
Kegs have been sold.

Classifieds / 2 Ball lock kegs $50 each/$90 for both - Burlington, VT
« on: September 03, 2012, 08:53:11 AM »
The title says it all.  Used ball lock.  Bought for a wedding and now I no longer need them.

Contact if interested.  Thanks.

A friend has asked me to make beer for her wedding.  They lived in Philly for a while and became fond of Yards Brewing Brawler.  They asked me to create and English amber and cited this beer as a guideline.  I have tried this beer before, but for the life of me cannot remember anything about it.  Now that I live in Vermont it is impossible for me get a hold of locally.

Therefore, any help with the profile, or even a clone is welcomed.  I'm an all grain brewer.  I have the base malt, but need help with the specialty malts and yeast.  My original thought is this:

85% english base
10% medium caramel
5% of either biscuit or special roast
1 oz of english bittering hop at 60
maybe a small dose of english hop at 5
wyeast ESB yeast


So I think just upping the hops a slight amount is going to do it for me.  After reading the posts I don't think I am going to experience a huge drop in flavor or freshness over a period of, at most, 4 months.  Thanks for the helpful advice

General Homebrew Discussion / Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« on: March 28, 2012, 12:11:52 PM »
So I have a question on bulk aging and it's effect on hop flavor.  Although it pains me to say it, I just don't have the time that I used to for brewing.  With new home ownership, erratic work schedule (law enforcement), and additional responsibilities it's become difficult.  I have found myself on far too many occasions with my taps empty and either nothing ready to go or waiting for a beer to finish fermenting.  As the spring kicks off I will have even less time.

To rectify my empty tap problem and hopefully not have it again this entire summer I just ordered 3 sacks of grain from Country Malt Group.  My plan is to say screw it and during my next three days off I am brewing, and brewing a lot.  I am saying forget it to the house chores and other duties and going for it.  I plan to make anywhere between 5-7 beers, which should hold me over for most of the summer (I think).

My concern is will the aging of beers in the carboy or keg decrease the hop flavor/presence as they wait to go on tap?  The styles I am making are German and American, both lagers and ales.  The lagers I'm not concerned with because they be, well lagering, in the fridge until they go on tap.  The american styles I am concerned about are my pale ales and IPAs.  I like both styles to have a nice, fresh hop flavor.  I don't go crazy on the bitterness, I emphasize hop flavor by doing large late additions.  With this flavor dissipate over time?  I'm talking about 2-4 months max on the aging time.  They will be stored in the basement where temps should not go above 65 (on the hottest summer stretches).

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Celebration is out again
« on: December 07, 2011, 10:22:02 AM »
It's exactly the same as in years past...that was verified when I was at Beer Camp.  They had just released it and I drank a lot of it on tap.  Verified with several people there that it's the same recipe.  They said that SN will give you any recipe you ask for.  Here's the Cele recipe direct from the brewmaster via a friend who works in the R&D lab....note that the hops times are backwards from what we normally think of.  I.e., "0" is the first addition and "100" means after boiling for 100 min.

Pale 2-row: 89%
Caramel (60L): 11%
Mash at 157.5 F
Original Gravity: 16.0 Plato
Ending Gravity: 4.0 Plato
ABV: 6.8%
0 min: Chinook & Centennial
90 min: Cascade
100 min: 2/3 Cascade & 1/3 Centennial

100 min: Whirlpool
IBU: 65
Dry Hopped with 2/3 Cascade & 1/3 Centennial
Yeast: SNBCo Ale

Wow 1 hour and 40 minute boil?  Is this due to the fact that they are brewing something like 100 barrels at a time?  I would think on a homebrew level we should not need to boil that long.  I'm not doubting this is the recipe by any means (especially since it's a pretty direct source), but I thought that Dressler gave the recipe out during a Brewing Network episode in which he stated Chinook in the beginning, then Cascade and Centennial at a 2:1 ration for a late edition, knockout, then dry hop.  Grain ratio was the same as posted here.  Maybe this episode was a while ago and they since changed.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Celebration is out again
« on: December 07, 2011, 04:49:56 AM »
Sierra Nevada Celebration fresh hop ale. Nice and bitter, fizzy sweet amber colored hop burst of a beer.

Man I like this beer anyone got a recipe? Is it a piney citrus hop combination?

Google search "Dean Larson christmas tree ale".  Damn near close to the real thing.

So, after taking a long hiatus from brewing for a variety of reasons I'm getting back into it. Just bought a house, which finally means I get one of the things my brewing setup has sorely And now that my time is more limited and after a year of saving I am finally going to buy a nice kegging set up. What I have is a spare fridge that I will use to serve the beers from (cobra taps to start), and now that I have an old kegarator (not to be used for serving for a variety of reasons) I will be able to start making lagers by using it as my fermentation chamber.

My questions are around what kind of setup to get. I don't want to break the bank (trying to stay under $400), but also want to get what will work best for me. At all times I want to have two kegs tapped and/or carbonating. I've been doing some research and to start will be doing the set and forget method of carbonating. Because I want to use just one CO2 tank to serve and carb I think I will be getting a dual regulator because I'll need to carb one at some point while serving the other. Here is what I plan on getting, feel free to critique:

3 used kegs to start
1 dual regulator (this way I can carb and serve from same tank at different pressures)
1 10lb CO2 tank
All necessary parts

1) How long should I expect a 10 lb tank to last?
2) With set and forget what is approximate carb time?
3) Best place to buy equipment? I was looking at because they seem to have the cheapest kits
4) I was thinking of buying a separate 5 lb tank and regulator just for carbing kegs that way I always have two on tap to serve because I was not sure how fast the set and forget takes. Will this be overkill and/or pointless?
5) Finally, can I carb a keg at serving temps, then take it out of the fridge and store (unchilled area) for use later? Basically I want to have kegs ready to go with carbonation once one kicks, but don't have the refrigeration space. Will taking it out of the chilled environment affect the carbonation at all?

The Pub / Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« on: January 10, 2011, 09:07:50 AM »
I think it's really a bit hard to compare making the two.  In terms or being right out of the box process, wine is definitely easier to make.  Add juice, add water, some other stuff and let it sit.  Beer is kind of the same; add water, boil, cool, aerate, pitch yeast.  Both processes in my opinion make an "ok" product assuming they are both given an equal amount of respective attention during the fermenting process.  Malt extract beer is better than $75 box wine kit.  The real question is when you take it to the advanced level i.e. AG brewing v. crushing/pressing your own wine.  I'll leave out growing the grapes because in my opinion that's equivalent to growing and malting your own barely. 

That being said, as someone who has done both wine and beer, I believe it is far easier to make a quality beer along the commercial lines than it is wine.  The reason being, in my opinion, is that we as brewers pretty much have the same access to raw materials as the pros do.  After visiting several wineries in Sonoma and listening to them talk about the attention to detail payed to picking and crushing the grapes on a certain day, I cannot say that home wine makers have that same access.  Therefore, it really is difficult to make the same caliber of wine as comparable to beer.  And since grapes cannot be grown everywhere in the US how can one make a comparable wine.  In addition, as a wine maker you need a ton of space and need to pay very specific attention to the chemistry of your grapes and understand how to make the proper adjustment if something is wrong.  Or else you've spent all that time and effort crushing and pressing hundreds of dollars of grapes to make a year's worth of so-so wine.  As brewers, most of the time we had no idea our water chemistry was wrong until someone brought it to our attention.  All the while we were still making commercial quality beer. 

The Pub / Re: It appears I'm not brewing for a while.
« on: September 01, 2010, 08:05:01 AM »
Damn.  Sue them and do it soon.  Also, get a notarized affidavit from your buddy who saw them throw things in the dumpster.  The sooner the better as it is still fresh in his mind.  Personally, that is too much money invested in expensive things and I'd have been in contact with an attorney already.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Milling Rye Malt
« on: August 26, 2010, 10:20:40 AM »
Yeah tighten the gap.  I always mill rye first, by itself, then add it back to my barely when it goes through the crusher.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: A 30 Year Beer
« on: August 10, 2010, 12:48:44 PM »
I'll add that, regardless of what you decide to brew, you might want to think about using a wax seal in addition to crown caps.  Unless of course you're going with the cork.

All Grain Brewing / Does more Ca in the mash = better conversion?
« on: August 03, 2010, 01:39:35 PM »
In reading Palmer he recommends that calcium levels in beer should be 50-150 ppm.  What he does not expand upon is what the ideal range of calcium needs to be for optimal mash conversion.  By optimal I mean, all others being considered (pH, temp, crush, etc.), the ability to get the best conversion possible.  I have read in some places that the Ca needs to be at or above 100ppm to get a more efficient conversion.  I.e. Ca around 60 ppm will not stand a chance of converting the mash nearly as good as a mash that has over 100 ppm (again, assuming all other variables are the same). 

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