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Messages - ukolowiczd

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Cranberry brew?
« on: November 18, 2011, 02:22:12 PM »
I agree about adding them to secondary - if you heat them you really have to use Pectin enzyme and it takes a while for clarity. I've had success with both methods but the secondary is just way, way easier. As far as cracking goes, with all my fruit I always freeze them and thaw. The ice crystals pierce the cell walls and mush it up nice for you without messing around with them too much (i.e. sanitation and messy crushing techniques). Cranberries are a harder fruit but I bet freezing will mush them up just as much. Finally a good 4-6 weeks in the bottle before drinking I find really mellows out fruit beers. They can be so ridiculously acidic, tart and bitter after 1-3 weeks. Longer in the bottle the better. Adding them to a Cal. Common sounds fantastic. Post the recipe if you get a chance.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Recommended Reading for Intermediates?
« on: November 01, 2011, 02:22:12 PM »
A subscription to "Brew Your Own" magazine is great too. You get 8 a year and it is full of great ideas, recipes, equipment, etc.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Recommended Reading for Intermediates?
« on: November 01, 2011, 02:19:58 PM »
My top general picks are:
New Brewing Lager Beer by Greg Noonan
Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels

If you want some more specialized topics:
Brew Like a Monk: Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How to Brew Them by Stan Hieronymous
Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow

yes, yes, yes and yes. These 4 books have changed the way I brew. Only one I'd add is "Farmhouse Ales" by Phil Markowski - if you want to make Saison, Grissette or Bier de Guarde - this book tells it all.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Efficiency for no-sparge?
« on: October 24, 2011, 03:28:41 PM »
I read that same article in the BYO b/c I couldn't understand why you'd want to not take just one hour to fly sparge and get 75, 80, 85% efficiency out of your grain. What got me was his point about low alcohol or session beers. He claims that the batch sparge gives you a lott of the malt flavor while leaving a lot of tannins and some protein/lipid compounds that can cause off flavors thus you can make a big tasting beer with low alcohol. I also felt, heck if I'm going to make a 3.8%  beer, in this case, why spend that extra hour fly sparging!? So I tried it. In fact I added ALL of my water about 8 gallons to my mash (about 3.5 qt/lb.!), mashed for an hour, let it drain as quickly as possible, boiled for 90 minutes and got 70% efficiency. The best bitter is fermenting away in my "fermentation room" (small guest bedroom with a plug in heater). I plan to sample this "big" beer tomorrow. I guess the point of my rambling is that I did manage to get 70% efficiency and I took an hour off my brew time for a 3.8% beer. We'll see how it tastes...

My experience with that yeast is that it loves 60F. If it gets above 63F it can add a lot of undesirable sulfuring/acidic tastes - although drinkable and delicious, not the super clean taste I was looking for. On my 3rd try for a Kolsch I kept it at 60F using a freezer and temp controller then lagered it at 34F for 4 weeks; it was unbelievable and it was all about the perfect, crisp taste of 1007. So if you can try to control the temp.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew Book Topics
« on: October 17, 2011, 01:46:16 PM »
I have read recommendations on about the yeast book and that's what I thought - a basic intro book which is not what I want. Thanks for the link to the yeast page. I haven't read it yet but I'm not really looking into improving my yeast culturing. I want to know how microbreweries keep "house strains". They must put them under a microscope and culture them from there, but how can they differentiate b/w the yeast they want and other yeasts/bacteria and isolate them. I just don't really get that. I mean does anyone not buy yeast from wyeast/white labs b/c they maintain a steady house strain?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew Book Topics
« on: October 16, 2011, 05:54:02 PM »

Have you seen Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation by Jamil Zainasheff and Chris White? It covers yeast culturing and a whole lot more on yeast.

Has anyone read this book? I've been wanting to buy it but worried about how much "intro to brewing" stuff would be in it.

The Pub / Re: Beer Brawl
« on: October 15, 2011, 05:30:10 AM »
I guess I question the definition of "micro-brewery" these days and if breweries like Sam Adams and Anchor don't fit this definition anymore. I think the number is less than 30,000 barrels per year? Not sure where these companies fit in even if they fall under this number. Sam Adams beers all taste the same to me. Most craft/micro breweries here in VT usually get along and like you said help each other out, plus they keep making interesting and unique beers. Again I'm rather biased too b/c I don't really like Sam Adams or Anchor beer.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stalled Fermentation - Belgian Strong
« on: October 14, 2011, 02:15:14 PM »
How does one do that - count yeast under the microscope - I'd love to try it?

Thanks, what a great resource. What kind of dye do you use? Methylene blue? Is it necessary? I'll look up those Hemo-whatever slides on line.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stalled Fermentation - Belgian Strong
« on: October 13, 2011, 03:57:40 PM »
I brew almost exclusively Belgian Style beer including Golden Strong.
I am meticulous in all details, yeast counts under the microscope,

How does one do that - count yeast under the microscope - I'd love to try it?

Also I agree with pretty much everything here. Temperature is king with Belgian beers. I always keep my primary in a heated 75F room for at least 2 weeks with big Belgian beers. Although like someone else said, 1.025 is a pretty good FG for starting in the 90's. Like the many Belgians that I make, 2-6 months in a bottle/keg mellows them out beautifully. Perhaps the sweetness will decrease.

General Homebrew Discussion / Friends and kegs of beer
« on: September 18, 2011, 06:45:08 AM »
I'm sure many of you have experienced this; it is a great feeling to supply kegs for a friend's party and finish them all. It's a new feeling for me yet tears of pride and happiness swell in my eyes every time this happens (it's either that or I'm just sad there's only a 30 pack of PBR left to drink...)

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Adding Brett 4 weeks later?
« on: September 17, 2011, 11:18:06 AM »
I wouldn't worry about the reproduction characteristics - just add say a quart worth of fresh wort (I use my pre-canned starter wort usually) and let that provide the bump. Others I know use fruit or sugar.

Do I need to oxygenate the wort or sugar solution? I would think that'd be a bad idea, but just wondering.

Kegging and Bottling / Adding Brett 4 weeks later?
« on: September 17, 2011, 11:00:24 AM »
So we made this Dark Winter Saison from the summer's BYO mag withOUT the Brett c. that it called for and now I'm feeling like I want to add it.

Plan: bottle half the saison, put other half in 2.5gal oak barrel and add Brett c. (which is a less aggressive flavored Brett).

Questions: will the Brett have anything to eat? Will it not multiply thus work b/c of no oxygen? How long should I leave it in the barrel (it's a 7% beer)? Or any other thoughts...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing This Weekend - 9/16 Edition
« on: September 17, 2011, 10:54:21 AM »
Today drinking, countdown one hour and 6 minutes, a sour elderflower saison and an all Citra IPA that we made for a friend's house warming party.

Tomorrow, since it's getting cooler here in VT, Oatmeal Stout that I may split when bottling and add coffee the way that Mikkeller does for their beer geek breakfast in last month's BYO.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Mixing Yeast?
« on: September 13, 2011, 07:19:15 PM »
Alright sounds like an experiment then. Maybe I'll try to get yeast dates that are close to each other.

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