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Messages - seajellie

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lagers stress me out!
« on: October 26, 2011, 07:33:20 PM »
To ease the stress, my lager "starter" is typically a two or three gallon starter batch of a light gravity style. If I'm really concerned about the yeast (as with WLP820, always) I'll lighten the gravity even a bit more, and allow it to start fermentation a few degrees warmer. The result may not win any competitions, but I get a couple gallons of great thirst-quenching beer, it's hardly more work than making a real starter, and I get a very healthy cake out of it.

Edit: oh right, I'm working from home too.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: finally brewing with gas
« on: October 25, 2011, 01:05:20 AM »
Your climate is conducive to outdoors brewing... here in Michigan, downsizing to 3 -4 gallons and doing it on the kitchen stove in winter just seems..... cozy.....

I don't know what they mean by "bright" either, but I did use German Saphir hops this past weekend for the first time. Big fruity and flower aroma; much more than I've ever experienced from German hops for sure, and probably more so than any Euro hops I've ever used. These hops did not make me think of citrus fruit, more like peach or apricot or melon combined with flowers. The smell from the fermenter was intoxicating. I hope the flavor comes out as well.

Beer Recipes / Re: Dampfbier
« on: September 21, 2011, 08:28:36 PM »
I've only seen a few recipes on this style, but they've all been similar to the above: predominantly pils and munich malt, perhaps with some color adjustment. Has anyone out there experimented with this style and some caramunich or other malts?

At some point you'll get out of style and create something new  - could be good though. I'd like to see some other recipes in this vein if you have them.

I'll have a healthy slurry of Bav IV hefeweizen yeast next week. I usually get a big dose of citrus (orange) with this yeast... could be interesting with some cara-type malts....

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Question on racking technique
« on: September 16, 2011, 01:49:55 PM »
I've had mixed results with that, the few times I tried it. The higher alcohol beers turned out rather funky... drinkable, but not as good as they could've been. Visually, it was obvious that the fermentation was not as healthy as the original fermentation. I presume the alcohol got in the way of love.

When I tried it with a lower alcohol brew and there was less "lag" time after the first fermentation finished the results were better. I think there's probably a line in there somewhere that's best not to cross...  but interested in what others have experienced.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« on: July 04, 2011, 03:25:11 PM »
Tom, that's an interesting technique and not one I have tried before. Sounds like a possibly great combination of simplicity and effectiveness. Please keep us posted how it turns out! If it's a lager, your results should be final just in time for my own personal brewing "season".. thanks!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Where's the Flavor?
« on: June 19, 2011, 01:56:40 PM »
Your beer may have more of the flavor you are looking for once it is carbed. It can be surprising what flavors get enhanced once carbonation is there.

I like to think of the yeast as creating a flavor profile. That is, regardless of what beer you make with a particular strain of yeast, certain factors will remain similar. Perhaps malt is emphasized, or hops, or perhaps you detect various amounts of "pear" or "apple" in all of them. A good way to train your palate about yeast is to go to a brewpub near you and order a sampler or several of their beers. Chances are, they use only one yeast for many of them (ask to make sure). Sample each, and look for characteristics that are similar between all of them, regardless of whether they are pale or dark. They may also be using similar hops across the color spectrum, so look for similarities across hop levels too.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
« on: June 16, 2011, 12:46:15 AM »
Glad to hear that things are progressing well. FWIW I used a modified drauflassen technique for a couple years without ever realizing it was an official technique by German pros, and those beers turned out great. Yours probably would've been fine without the extra yeast, but heh, nothing wrong with insurance.

The drauflassen technique works well in certain conditions and for certain mind sets. I used to hate to make yeast starters,  routinely made 3 gallon batches, and was paranoid about letting any break material or trub get into the primary. Those last two factors in particular led me to filter up to half my batch at times, or else face the prospect of tossing a high percent of wort down the drain.

The filtered wort would usually not be ready until the day after brewing and the initial yeast pitch, so I would pasteurize this second addition and add it to the primary. voila, drauflassen!

If you reuse yeast and start the series with a low volume and low gravity beer, it still makes sense. In fact, after a few years of spending time making yeast starters.... I'm started to reflect on the goodness of the old simpler days and planning to resurrect this technique at least one more time.

The great thing about home brewing is you do something that you've never heard of before and think you've invented the wheel, only to find out that it's not only been done before but that pros somewhere do it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Absent Minded Brewer
« on: May 03, 2011, 01:35:25 AM »
Two weeks ago I was racking my bohem dunkel out of primary into a keg through the beer out post... only problem was, it wasn't connected to the out post, but to the gas in post!

I was doing some cleanup also, and went over to check how the racking was going. Well, there was a huge amount of foam on account of dropping 2 or 3 gallons of beer a few feet to the bottom of the keg. man.... what a goof. These things always seem to happen to the beers that you expect the most from too!

After about 15 minutes of pulling, cursing, and prying, I finally got the dang QD off the post and back onto the correct post. Keg is now sitting at 35 degrees; so far, no off flavors but I'm drinking it fast just in case. Fortunately I had purged the keg with CO2 so that will help delay problems.

This is why I don't drink when I brew; the distractions of wife and kids can scramble my brain without help.

I've had kegs sit out for six months at cellar temps (55 to 62) and they only got better.

This hobby is a compulsion. I have six full kegs in the beer fridge, one outside, two cases bottled, and I'm trying not to brew again....

All Grain Brewing / Re: When is your beer ready? Poll
« on: April 14, 2011, 09:26:49 PM »
+1 to Skyler. I drink 'em fresh but usually bottle some to set aside, and I am truly astonished how incredible many of the homebrews taste after sitting in a dark cellar corner at 55 - 60 degrees for a year.

So my suggestion to the OP is as everyone has said; it's done when it's done. But if you can, set some aside of every batch for comparison's sake.

Some friends of mine found an amber ale (OG about 55) that I made over four years ago, sitting in their cellar. This beer traveled across the country in my trunk back then, in summer no less. They loved it so much that they decided that they had to take up homebrewing. Considering that they've been drinking beer for 30 years, I find that notable.

The aging of IPAs in particular interest me. It seems most homebrewers love them fresh; probably for the aroma. But if you consider the original of this style, they were anything BUT fresh. I like mine aged too, although yes, the aroma drops off.

Beer Recipes / Re: Schwarzbier recipe check
« on: March 27, 2011, 12:41:02 AM »
Thanks for the update Matt, I'll have to put this recipe or a facsimile thereof on the rotation next winter.

FWIW, the recipe I alluded to above is in the keg now and it turned out to be one of those "in between" beers, I think. Too heavy for a schwarzbier, but too clean to be a good stout or a porter. Very drinkable but not satisfying to me. It was roughly 2.1% choc, 5.4% carafa (III mostly, some II), 12% caramber or caramunich, 4.5% melanoidin, and the rest base. The roast covered up all underlying malt complexity and it ended up a bit one dimensional.

What's interesting though is I drained off the first five gallons to make the "unsatisfying" schwarzbier already mentioned. I left the other five gallons to boil down to an OG of 62 (vs. 51), and pitched it with the WL Zurich (Samiclaus) yeast. That ended up excellent! Perhaps a bit "light" on the Baltic Porter scale, but a wonderful version for my taste (that likes to have two of everything). I'm very happy with that experiment.

As the last dark lager of the season I made a version of a Bohem Dunkel based on Horst Dornbusch's U Fleku clone; I just backed off the caramunich to 11% and upped the munich and carafa. It is in primary and tastes promising.... his recipe is here:

Interesting that most of you are finding such large temp diffs between ambient and internal fermentation. On ales, I agree, I find such differences of four degrees or more. But on the two lagers I monitored this winter, the difference was only two or three degrees, max. This was with two digital thermometers that were calibrated to a standard at the fermentation temp, of 48 - 52 depending.

This was using a plastic six gallon bucket in a fridge, controlled by a JC A419.

Edit: Looked back through my notes, and it was not ambient air temperature that I was measuring. Rather, the temp probe was taped to the bucket exterior and covered with a double layer of bubble wrap. So that probe measured only 2 or 3 degrees difference from the exterior ferment temperature. I generally do not measure the ambient air temp inside the fridge as it fluctuates so much. I keep the JC probe taped to the side and under bubble wrap now.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: What the...! Exploding keg!
« on: March 06, 2011, 06:23:46 PM »
enso, you folks up in Vermont must be a polite crew. Maybe it's a Canadian influence. In any case I'm envious of such manners. Cuz if you'd grown up in corn country, you would've learned that trick of making your buddy's beer foam all over the place shortly after you had learned to walk.

but then, considering what we drank back then, letting your beer spill out onto the floor wasn't such a bad use of it!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Perlicks
« on: March 03, 2011, 06:26:59 PM »
For now I'm using a couple Perlicks directly off the keg, using the quick disconnect adapter here:

I do notice extra foam with these, but I would suppose that's to be expected because there's no hose to drop the pressure. By dropping the keg pressure way down, the foaming decreases to a tolerable level, but it still takes two draws to get one beer. All that creamy foam actually helps mellow out a dark beer I made that ended up a bit too strong. Perhaps with more user training it will get better, until I get a propa system built. Maybe dial the pressure down to a slow crawl will help.

Don't disconnect the "joy" factor either, that one gets merely by looking at them..... certainly not something I ever experienced looking at a picnic tap.

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