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Messages - surfin.mikeg

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Adapting Home Brew Recipes
« on: November 14, 2015, 08:57:04 AM »
It helps to use brewing software.  Brewer's Friend, Brew Pal, BeerSmith, et cetera; they offer scaling and then you can additionally adjust ratios and hop additions for what ingredients you have available.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: November 07, 2015, 03:09:03 PM »
Mikes (surfinmikeg) triple reef ale.

pour is 2 finger head that dissapates to white/tan cap after 5 minutes. hazy reddish brown color. aroma is somewhat nutty like brown ale, with little to no hop aroma. body is light to medium with good carbonation. not sure what im picking up in hop flavor here. its somewhat herbal and spicey and it lingers in the finish. not at all familiar with hallertau blanc, but its interesting and unique. the finish is dry and crisp with hints of crystal malt.
nicely done ale, that while different is actually quite pleasing and drinkable as you keep sipping it. nice beer Mike!

Hey Ken!  Thanks for this review, as well as the previous one on the chocolate raspberry porter. 

I have to say that I've gleaned quite a bit from the conversations of Swap-tobertfest, thanks again to Jim for organizing.  It's clear that I need to try a Pilsner with '830 a la the brewing notes Frank passed along, as well as trying whirlpool additions on just about everything.  I'm not there with sours yet, but see the passion with which others appear to be creating awesome brews.

The background on this one is kinda funny.  It was for a future brother-in-law where I needed to have a good brewday with him.   I made a bunch of 1 gallon test batches ahead of time (variations on a Fat Tire), then had him tastes grains to pick and choose before crushing and brewing, as well as smoking meats on BBQ all day long.

All the grain choices are on a whim (Pils, C120, Victory, Vienna), I could see where if I got the ratios right it could be super nice.  When it came to choosing hops, Hallertau Blanc was the more unknown and experimental of what I had on-hand; I'm not sure what it would be best in but people seem like it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 24, 2015, 04:53:42 PM »
Frank's 2nd beer, a Saison fermented with a blend of 3711 & 3724:

This is great, also no flaws.  I don't know these yeasts enough to discern different Saison yeasts, but yeah this was 100%.

My notes as I review them:

First impression: bold yeast notes.  Obviously, it's a Saison yeast and that initially stands out strongly.  Curious as to fermentation temps.

On the pour: I get a really nice head of foam and a lot of lacing on the glass afterwards. 

Not knowing the ingredients, I get really nice blend between the flavors of yeast, some honey, a bit lemon and then a very subtle and clean malt and hop flavor.  I get a dry finish, very clean.  It's like a bright finish with the lemon, honey and hops, and then whatever the malt is, it's very complimentary. 

Underneath it all is a earthy finish, I can only assume this is from the hops as well.

I would say as much as the honey, hop and lemon flavor stand out, the malts are light and so there's really nice balance here.  It's more of a savory beer, I definitely took my time drinking it.

Cheers Frank, again, this is 100%.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 24, 2015, 04:38:35 PM »
Thanks Mike, seems like high praise to me. I found the recipe here in the wiki. It is Ron "Bluesman" Price's "Ringler Pilsner." Very simple recipe for a newbie lager brewer like myself. 100% Avangard pilsner malt. 90 minute boil (but maybe not next time. Hallertau Mittelfrueh at 60 and I think 20 minutes. OG was 1.052, 30 IBUs mashed at 149 for 90, batch sparged, and I followed the fast lager that Marshall has recently brought back to the forefront of lager fermentations. I brewed this originally in January I think and we loved it so much I added a second batch (10 gallons this time) before we even finished the first batch
I so glad you liked it as well. Just a note my SWMBO loves this version while I love the 830 batch

Hey Frank. I'm taking notes on this one.  it's 100%, well done. Have not cracked the 830 yet. I also want 10 gallons of this!  :-)  Anything special on the water?  No flaws, awesome beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 24, 2015, 01:31:08 PM »
I tried the first of five brews by Frank Laske, aka 69Franx, a Pilsner.  This is awesome. 

I'm really surprised by this beer.  It's not a style I've had a lot of and it was complex as much as it was easy to drink.  Is a split batch, this one fermented with WLP833 German Bock Lager Yeast.


Great pour, and the first impression is the lager yeast aroma.  I took a quick trip to rural Poland a couple years ago for a sporting event and the aroma reminded me of the fresh pivo we drank outdoors when getting food in the evenings.

I liked the carbonation levels.  Seems like the 2-3 finger head dissipates into a 1 finger head that remains while drinking.  If it was dissipating at the end, a quick swish of the glass brings it right back. 

The second impression is a combination of hops and malt.  It's full-mouth flavor - subtle floral hops and a nutty malt taste.  Although the beer has a dry finish, there's a lingering of a pleasant bitterness from the hops and malt nuttiness on the back of the tongue.  As much as I tried to taste breadiness, it is nuttiness defined the malt character.  Really surprising how long the hop and malt flavor lingers.  Slightly more bitter than commercial offerings yet very subtle none-the-less, and that's appealing to me.

Very quaffable; thankfully not something that needs to be sipped.  This beer did not leave me feeling full but refreshed and ready for another sometime soon.  Kinda thinking I should pair it with a cheese plate.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 23, 2015, 07:42:21 PM »
Who is a happy swapper now? Thanks Mike G

And a home brew as well!

Scored mine also- super excited for my first Pliny ....thanks Mike!

Seeing you guys excited - that's awesome right there.    :-)
Enjoying my first ever Pliny Mike. Man this puppy is smooth, and has the longest lasting thick foamy head I've ever seen on DIPA.

I had one tonight as well, I really enjoy it.

The background on getting these is that there's a drop off around SF on Wednesdays.  I know I need to pick it up sometime in the afternoon, and that I'm limited to 2 or 4 bottles depending on the place.  Each places gets a 2-3 cases each, and it's delivered and stored cold.  As far as I know, every place that gets it also has a bar so you can enjoy it on-site.

The thing I'm wondering about is why use Carapils in an IPA?  Others are doing this as well (in particular the commercial beer that Frank sent - awesome btw, recipe here:

My SWMBO always wants an IPA, kinda thinking it's time to brew it.  But, is Carapil the secret to that foamy head?

Homebrew Weddings / Re: Wedding Brews
« on: October 23, 2015, 07:02:18 PM »
Cool story, I have a big, bold IPA that I brewed for the toast at my cousin's wedding tomorrow. They requested something inspired by Hop Valley's Alphadelic IPA.  A fun beer to make that will certainly please the hopheads and it's only intended to be small pours for the toast and whomever wants more after that. Hoping I can bottle the remnants for the new bride and groom. Made 18 gallons in two 10 gallon corny kegs. We'll do 4-6 oz. pours for the toast.  I call it Nuptial Toast IPA.

Hey Steve, how did it go over?  Congrats to your cousin.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 22, 2015, 07:19:04 PM »
Mikes  five blast smash with wlp575 Belgian blend....comments pending.

 great 2 finger head that dissipates in about 5 minutes to foam cap and nice lacing. light yellow hazy, with mostly citrus with slight floral aroma. first taste is all about the yeast....Belgian traits dominate as expected. light body,citrus up front with excellent dry crisp and appropriate bitterness in the finish.  this is a super easy drinking beer. quenches thirst and begs to be continuously sipped. great Job Mike- this is a crowd favorite beer for sure.

Ken, I really appreciate the feedback, thank you.  In terms of homebrewing, this is my most simple beer, it let's me know if I'm on target in process and recipe construction.  In particular it's the influence of this forum to get the water chemistry right (tip of the hat to Martin B.).

Frank, I sent this to you as well.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 22, 2015, 07:08:25 PM »
Who is a happy swapper now? Thanks Mike G

And a home brew as well!

Scored mine also- super excited for my first Pliny ....thanks Mike!

Seeing you guys excited - that's awesome right there.    :-)

Ingredients / Re: Medium dark crystal?
« on: October 22, 2015, 08:52:22 AM »
For my tastes, I'd say that means a 50-60L UK crystal as opposed to domestic. But that's just me.

+1, that's how I read it.  A lot of great flavor and IMO not as sweet as 60L.

Homebrew Weddings / Wedding Brews
« on: October 21, 2015, 10:07:24 PM »
Sharing what I did for a wedding:

I brewed six different beers, shooting for a minimum of a case of 22oz bombers each, targeting enough beer for 40-60 people.  My goal was to brew either 3 gallon batches, or 6 gallons and split the batch to make two different beers, or brew 8 gallons and keg whatever was not bottled.  This is what I shared via the awesome Swap'toberfest.

It worked well to bottle in this case.  I know that I needed to focus on presentation, and so I passed up labeling in favor of a ribbon glued around the bottle's body and a ribbon tied on the neck.  Using sharpies and so on just wasn't going to work, and so I iron-on'd text onto all the ribbon.

It's all color coordianted.  Everything needed to be sailing themed for the wedding, hence the anchors tied onto the ribbons and the "Shipside homebrewery" name:

This was actually for a picnic the day before the wedding, and so I was just getting set up when a literal bus-load of family showed up.  It was great to look around and see 50 or so people all having a good time with beers in hand.

Lessons learned:

- get out of the way.  Get it all set-up and let'm figure it out
- lots of great tap-houses and Belgian beer exposure in America; people love to talk beer and want something interesting
- regardless of how creative the beers are, there's always contingents that want only a light Pilsner or a strong super hoppy IPA
- in this case the wedding couple asked that no one get smashed and so most everything was around 5% ABV.  But, there's always a few who really really really want that bold IPA
- for those who can't or don't like beer, having something Gin-based was important.  If I did it again, I'd make a pitcher of Zombie and have that available
- it was a special time of seeing all the family together for a very rare event. A number of people wanted ribbons untied to take with them afterwards, and it was also fun to hand-out the remaining bottles
- last but not least, having the wedding couple participate in the making and naming of the beers was important.  Everything beer-wise was sailing themed and the wedding itself was heavily Hawaiian themed.   Aloha!

- Mike

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I'm Ba-ack!
« on: October 21, 2015, 08:30:06 PM »
You can ferment with lager yeasts at normal temps!  Welcome back.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 14, 2015, 09:55:40 PM »
For Ken and Frank - today Russian River made a delivery of fresh Pliny the Elder around town.  Going to send you one each.  Cheers.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 14, 2015, 09:50:49 PM »
Mike G, tracking says as of 8am ish, your package was out for delivery. I know it's only 4:30 pm out there but I'm hoping you get them soon

Edit to add: now says it was delivered, here's hoping you got it

Hey Frank, I'm thrilled at what I received:


Two German Pils, one fermented with WLP830 and the other with WLP833.  I'm excited to try these as I'm yet to step up and brew a Pilsner (the water, in particular), and here's a chance to taste and compare two really unique yeasts.

A Saison with a blend of 3711&3724.  Nice.

A BCS Märzen with WLP830.  I gotta ask:  what does BCS stand for?

An all Base Märzen: Pils, Munich II, and Vienna with WLP830.  I'm happy to receive these as I don't know the Märzen style.  Very different for me.

And then two local beers from Mad Tree Brewing:  PsycHopathy and the 10.2% Galaxy High.  These are going to work with me; can't wait to share.

Thank you again Frank.  I really appreciate it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 14, 2015, 09:41:55 PM »
First up is the Sausalito Sunday Sail-Mermaid Saison....

to say the head is thick would be understatement. its a meringue. 3-4 fingers that hangs around forever before settling into the expected nice white lacing.

Hey Ken, I really appreciate the feedback, thank you.  It's rare that I get that detailed feedback & am reading it out loud.  Awesome.

To be honest, it should not have such a huge head on it.  Kinda wondering if the 7 day travel via UPS had a little warmth to it and finished the conditioning?  I targeted right around 2.2 volumes of CO2 on everything.  My temps are right around 65 degrees on all fermenting.

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