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Messages - surfin.mikeg

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All Grain Brewing / Re: C40 + C80 = C60?
« on: October 02, 2015, 06:31:43 PM »

Is there a reference for these kind of questions?

I found this:

40- Sweet, caramel, toffee — Drum roasted, crystallized malt; improves foam; enhances viscosity; golden hues
60- Sweet, pronounced caramel — Drum roasted, crystallized malt; improves foam; enhances viscosity; deep golden to red hues
80- Pronounced caramel, slight burnt sugar, raisiny — Drum roasted, crystallized malt; improves foam; enhances viscosity; red to deep red hues

In short, it helps to taste each grain before composing a recipe with it.  Pop a fair amount of it your mouth and chew it up a bit.  Keep in mind that a lot of crystal adds a sweetness that is (IMO) not desirable.  It's rough to brew 5-10 gallon experimental batches in this context (because that's a lot of beer to drink or toss), so I try to brew 1-2 gallon experiments to dial it in and then ramp up.

I think that's a lot of why I prefer UK crystal malts overall. Much broader flavor.

+1 to what Sean says.  Again, taste it first.  Next step would be thinking through percentage usage and at what ABV you are shooting for.   It's easy to go over the top.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Share Your 2015 Brew Season Stock Up
« on: October 01, 2015, 09:46:30 AM »

I keep my grain at a friend's house, so I don't know for sure how much I've got.  A rough guess would be in the 700-1000 lb. range total.

Curious if you use it fast enough before it goes stale, and/or if you have storage advice to keep it fresh?  I don't find it worth the while to stock up unless I'm going out of my way to find something not normally stocked, say organic base malts.

Events / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: September 20, 2015, 08:11:08 PM »
+1 I'm in.  Looking forward to it, thanks.

Pimp My System / Re: Mash-In Grain Hopper
« on: August 27, 2015, 08:46:39 PM »
100% gadget fun.  Is great to see this.

Also:  when picking pot sizes, one gotcha with small batch brewing is to make sure your wort volume can be boiled on your stove.  I can mash in a 3 gallon stock pot, but can only get a rolling boil going with 2 gallons of wort.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lager Fermentations
« on: August 25, 2015, 06:31:37 AM »
5) I find that noble hops in the full duration of the boil add a very elegant spicy hop flavor that you just can’t get from generic boil hops.  Try it sometime and see.  I think you’ll find that it’s NOT a waste of noble hops to boil for a full 60.  Try it.

This is insightful, thanks.

+1 BIAB.

THis is a great way to experiment;  my last one was brewing the ingredients listed for NB's Fat Tire in simple combinations, blending to taste, and then scaling up.   Learned I really don't care for Munich Malt by doing it this way.

Dry yeast is a little easier to measure out in smaller quantities.

The only odd thing in my setup is a wrapping of small copper tubing for a wort cooler that is pumped with a 12v cpu cooler pump; that works well for getting things chilled quickly.

Equipment and Software / Re: Thermometer probe length
« on: August 16, 2015, 12:06:49 PM »
It also helps to warm the whole thing up by letting it sit for a bit with with the hot water as a precursor to mashing in.
I'd rather just adjust my strike temp to account for the extra few degrees needed to heat up a room temp mash tun. One less step to forget when I'm still half asleep and trying to mash-in.
My thoughts as well. Every time I have tried to preheat my tun, I have missed my mash temp. When I just tell beersmith that my tun and grain are at 72 or wherever, it calculates a strike temp that gets me where I want to be very reliably

I would do the guessing on the calculations if I could get it to work for me, but my variables include outdoor temperature and it didn't work well.  I don't care how long the overall setup, and so I do a dry run to set up dead space, drink coffee, checking fittings, more coffee, then mill and mash in.  The mash water is warming up as the tun sits.

For fun: today is a 6.5 gallon porter, 5.3% ABV.  I'm splitting the fermentation with different yeasts (005, 023), one will be chocolate raspberry and the other maybe left alone.  Have to bottle, and so wanting smaller volume of each style.

Equipment and Software / Re: Thermometer probe length
« on: August 16, 2015, 08:14:46 AM »
Since I didn't get one of the super insulated coolers, I toss an old sleeping bag over it once I draw the pH sample @ 5 minutes.

What I do is place weights on the top, such that the lid is clamped down tightly.  It seem to have an effect in helping keep heat in.  For an hour long mash the temp stays even.  It also helps to warm the whole thing up by letting it sit for a bit with with the hot water as a precursor to mashing in.

Equipment and Software / Re: I finally did it
« on: August 15, 2015, 05:04:04 PM »
I'd recommend going bigger. I use 6 gallon better bottles and my initial volume is 5.5 gallons, it works but isn't ideal. I use a blow off on every batch and some batches blow a lot off. I know John (Hoosier) uses 7 or 8 gallon buckets intended for wine.

Edit - sorry to hear this and glad you made it out unscathed.

I recently switched to 6 gallon better bottles and needed a blow-off on 4 out of 5 batches so far. I wish the came in 6.5 gallon or 7 gallon.

I hear you, but I don't want to lift anything like that.  Splitting the larger batches into two buckets for now, targeting the 5 gallon keg size.  Cheers!

Equipment and Software / Re: I finally did it
« on: August 15, 2015, 05:00:05 PM »
surfin_mikeg - I feel your pain. I broke two carboys, got cut both times. Being a Dad, enough was enough. I use these big wine fermenter buckets and love 'em :

Thanks.  I'm a dad as well, and the dogs were more of a problem.  It's not so much of a loss as realizing I'm lucky to not be cut like yourself.

The beer turned out well, trying for a Session IPA style SMaSH - 5.2% ABV of floor-malted Pils, Belgian blend yeast, and Centennial hops.  Hop-forward and about 40-45 IBU, the yeast and hops blend well together, no dry-hop.   Right time of the year for it.

Equipment and Software / I finally did it
« on: August 15, 2015, 02:30:53 PM »
I dropped a 6.5 gallon glass carboy. 

It's been 10+ years of usage and taking extra steps to be cautious with them.  I usually work with them on top of wood and carry/store in a clean plastic trash can, but looked past the wood part just this one time.  My hands were soapy as I was cleaning/moving it.  I simply lost friction while holding, like only glass can do, and it shattered something fierce with the 1.5 foot drop over textured cement.  No injuries, but two extra hours to clean up with so many tiny tiny chips and shards.

Now switching over to 100% plastic, picking up 5 22L food-grade buckets. Wow, these things are much more practical.

Why post this?  I'm sure there are others like me who are aware of the dangers but use them anyway.  Simply a data-point that continued use of them was more risk than I realized.


Beer Recipes / Re: first irish red
« on: August 04, 2015, 09:17:58 PM »
With an Irish Red the BJCP guidelines mention a subtle toffee/caramel sweetness; curious if anyone knows if it is possible with the recipe as is?  Wondering if some of the wort should be pulled aside and reduced like a scotch ale to achieve this flavor.   I'm not sure how else to achieve it.


Pimp My System / Re: Poolside Brew Shed
« on: August 04, 2015, 08:58:55 PM »
I love this build, thanks for sharing.  In particular, the drawings, with color, it's a couple steps above what I do and I find it inspiring.

All Things Food / Re: Smokin time
« on: August 03, 2015, 09:47:00 AM »
For a wonderful and oriental flared poultry smoke  I was wowed with  this mix....

1/4 lb of black loose leaf tea
1/2 cup of brown sugar
the peeling of 2 oranges or tangerines

mix the above and put in an aluminum or sacrificial pan and flame under it ....
The sugar melts and the orange oils  flavor the tea smoke...highly delightful. 8)

I tried this while brewing up a SMaSH this weekend; the aroma and flavor was crazy good.  Added a lemon + some rosemary as well.

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