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Messages - qm3k

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All Grain Brewing / Re: About to destroy my immersion chiller...
« on: July 31, 2014, 12:42:02 PM »
I suppose I can toss it in the fridge. Shouldn't take more than an hour to get to 68, I suppose.

All Grain Brewing / About to destroy my immersion chiller...
« on: July 31, 2014, 12:31:33 PM »
Hi all,

I am constantly in awe of those who claim that they can get 5 gallons of wort from boiling to pitch temp in 15 minutes with an immersion chiller. I am using one right now (25 ft., copper, fitted with a whirlpool arm) rigged up to two pumps (one to recirculate the wort, one pumping chill water through the coil. It started as ice water and has risen to about 65 degrees). Wort is stuck at 74 degrees. It has been nearly an hour. Not sure what I can do about this now...what's the magic trick to keep this part of the process more time-efficient?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Overtreated water?
« on: July 12, 2014, 06:31:18 PM »
Salty, astringent, harsh.

In a light über I get a chalky and muddy flavor if the bicarbonate is too high, it is the opposite of crisp. Don't use chalk with RO unless you have to.

YES! I can't describe what I'm tasting, but muddy and "opposite of crisp" hit it as well as anything I've ever been able to come up with. It tastes like beer, but...not. I did use chalk in the water treatment. I've since (in just the past few weeks) read other sources that recommend against it as well in RO water. Thanks!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3068
« on: July 12, 2014, 06:09:11 PM »

That more beer article was a really good read on that. I've never had the rotten eggs smell before or really heard of it so bad in the primary it would nearly "knock me over".

If it was in your starter and the beer is super watery, my guess is that's not a positive sign. Assuming your were sanitary in your process, then think about the yeast. If you under pitch, what is one of the by products? You get a lot more volatile sulfur compounds which come out during yeast growth.

Is there a chance there was a low viable cell count in the pack due to age or poor handling or similar? Since it was present in the starter then maybe you under pitched your starter??

I'd say it would have to be fairly heavily under pitched but just another take on it.

I made the starter based on the date on the package and calculated the volume based on the Mr. Malty yeast calculator. It has always given me solid results in the past. The one thing I am concerned about is that the yeast was delivered via FedEx and it was in transit during a few rather hot days. I did notice that the slurry in the starter seemed rather sparse compared to previous batches. The fermentation was active, but not what I've become accustomed to. Perhaps the yeast got fried in transit?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3068
« on: July 12, 2014, 06:06:05 PM »
I never got sulfur with that yeast strain until I switched from a copper to stainless immersion chiller.  Now I always do!  It will dissipate with more time, warming it up will help too.

Did you happen to replace your copper wort chiller with something else since last using that strain?  A little copper in the system is supposed to reduce sulfur.

Heh, actually, just the opposite! I'd been using a Therminator counterflow, but this year I haven't been able to get it cleaned out enough to feel comfortable with it (a discussion for another time). I moved back to a copper immersion chiller a few months ago.

All Grain Brewing / Overtreated water?
« on: July 12, 2014, 01:09:53 PM »
Hi all,

I recently brewed an amber ale that has an odd aftertaste and mouthfeel to it. It isn't bad, exactly, just odd. I have pored over lists of off-flavors and can find nothing that comes close to describing what I am tasting. I did treat RO water (my water sucks), and am wondering if I overdid it. What would a beer taste like if I over-treated the water (just general impressions are fine here...I know that without knowing all of the additions I used it would be impossible to nail down exactly what I over-used)?


Yeast and Fermentation / Wyeast 3068
« on: July 12, 2014, 01:07:02 PM »
Hi all,

Just brewed a hefeweizen and it looks like I'm going to get a disastrous result. It's a pretty standard grain bill, 50/50 wheat and pilsener malts. I used Wyeast 3068, which I have used to great success in the past on this recipe. I got a little nervous when my starter smelled like rotten eggs. I am not used to that smell from this yeast, but the manufacturer specs list it as a possible odor, so I figured that I wouldn't worry about it. I probably should have dumped it...

I fermented it at 62 degrees, and after a few days, I opened up my fermenting fridge to check on it. The smell nearly knocked me over, it was so strong. It did finally dissipate, but it is still present, and there is next to no banana/clove aroma. I pulled a taste sample, and the beer is super-watery, barely any banana or clove, and a definite sulfur note.

I have been brewing since 1998, so I am not a beginner, and have made quite a few hefeweizens with these ingredients and this yeast strain. I should stress that I am aware of the importance of sanitation practices and, as I have said, I have brewed great hefeweizens in the past. I am inclined to chalking it up to getting a bad yeast culture, but I hate to blame the ingredients if there is something in my process that may have gotten away from me. Has anyone had these issues with this yeast strain?


P.S. The culture was relatively fresh, only about 2 weeks old when I got it. I did, however, get it through the mail.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Dramatic swings in mash efficiency
« on: July 04, 2014, 11:00:23 AM »
If everything else in your process is the same but the equipment then that's where the issue lies. IMO 2 batches of 2 completely different recipes is not enough to dial something in.

I would try and brew the same recipe a few times and see what you get. If the same recipe produces the same numbers each time then use that as your efficiency calculation moving forward

Thanks. I figured I'd have to brew a lot more to get my numbers consistent...the degree of the variance this time was just a little unnerving. Cheers!

All Grain Brewing / Dramatic swings in mash efficiency
« on: July 04, 2014, 10:36:48 AM »
Hi all,

I recently made a few equipment changes to my system and am having trouble with my mash efficiency.  I know that there will be a period of instability until I brew more with the new equipment. I have brewed 2 batches so far and have had a very large variance in my mash efficiency...72% for the first, 66% for the second. I expected my numbers to be a little wonky for a while, but that's a pretty big spread.

I switched my MLT from a 10 gallon Polarware and false bottom to a Blichmann 10 gallon Boilermaker with AutoSparge and false bottom. I used to get 75% consistently with my old system. Has anyone had similar drops/variances with that equipment?

The beers I brewed were an amber (72%) and a hefeweizen (66%).

If it isn't the equipment change, where should I be looking in my process to get things more consistent?


Ingredients / Re: Massively high AA German Hallertau?
« on: June 27, 2014, 01:32:27 PM »
Okay, issue resolved!

I contacted Northern Brewer and they confirmed that their bulk supply of German Hallertau are listed at 4.7%. The number on the package is indeed a data-entry error.


Ingredients / Massively high AA German Hallertau?
« on: June 27, 2014, 12:45:16 PM »
Hi all,

Just got a shipment of ingredients for my Hefeweizen this week. I have brewed this recipe many times and have always had great success. I also always got an ounce of German Hallertau hops coming in at between 3.5-5% AA. This time, imagine my surprise when I opened up the box and pulled out a package of German Hallertau with a whopping 14.1% AA. Anyone else run into this? I can get the correct IBU in the beer by using a scant .22 oz, but this seems way out of profile for this hop type.


Beer Recipes / Bourbon stout without a barrel
« on: June 26, 2014, 01:32:54 PM »
Hi all,

I posted in this area last year as I was concocting my double IPA recipe and got some great feedback...turned out a killer beer!

This summer's project is to construct a bourbon stout recipe along the line of Bourbon County Stout. I do not have, nor would it be practical for me to obtain, a bourbon barrel. So, I am looking for ways to impart the bourbon flavor into the beer. I have seen recommendations to simply dose the beer with straight bourbon, and I have also seen a recommendation to soak oak chips/cubes in bourbon for a month and use them in a secondary. Any thoughts on these methods, or any other suggestions?

Also, and this may seem like a remedial question, what type of stout would you recommend as the base beer (dry, sweet, etc.)? I'm thinking dry, but feedback would be helpful.

I will post the recipe for feedback as I construct it.


Beer Recipes / Re: The Great Double IPA Project
« on: September 08, 2013, 07:49:59 AM »
I have tweaked my grain bill and am now in the process of setting up the hop schedule. This is giving me a bit of trouble, so I'd love feedback on my preliminary outline.

1 oz. Centennial -- FWH
1 oz. Simcoe -- FWH
1 oz. Centennial -- 60 min.
1 oz. Simcoe -- 60 min
1 oz. Centennial -- 30 min
1 oz. Amarillo -- 30 min
1 oz. Citra -- 15 min
1 oz. Amarillo -- 10 min
1 oz. Citra -- 0 min
1 oz Amarillo -- 0 min

I haven't come up with dry hops yet, although I will probably hit it with a few additions if Amarillo and Ctra again. As you can see, I'm not being very adventurous with ratios of each hop...each addition is simply 1 oz. I am also calculating for 7 gallons post boil so my finished beer after massive hop loss will be in the neighborhood of 5 gallons (I have done this with past brews of this style and have been pretty successful). BeerSmith puts me at about 220 IBU...over the top enough?

So, are there any alterations that anyone would suggest, or am I on the right track? This is the first time I've ever constructed a hop schedule...


Beer Recipes / Re: The Great Double IPA Project
« on: September 07, 2013, 11:11:41 AM »
Thanks, Denny. Great article.

I've never actually had any real trouble with foam, even in beers that I felt were drain-worthy. It may have tasted like crap, but it was foamy...

Anyway, I'll rework the grain bill without the CaraPils. Thanks!

Beer Recipes / Re: The Great Double IPA Project
« on: September 06, 2013, 06:52:22 PM »
Wow, thanks for all the great input everyone! I have definitely decided to scrap mash hopping (I am flushing hops down the toilet as I type ;)) and give FWH a whirl.

I have started the basic construction of the beer and would love feedback on the grain bill (I'll go into hops later...). This is just a rough outline and I'll give quantities in percentages rather than poundage of grain (in case anyone wonders, I started out by constructing the bill on paper, then moved to BeerSmith, which is why all of the percentages are in I tweaked the gravity, etc., that's just how the program spit out the results).

Maris Otter Malt -- 81%
Munich Malt -- 5.7%
CaraPils -- 4.8%
Crystal 40 -- 3.6%
Dextrose -- 4.8%

This brings me to an estimated O.G. of 1.080 and a color of 8.9 (I am not wedded to those values, but as a rough draft, that's what I set out to get)

I am using the dextrose to of course boost the gravity while increasing fermentability -- I am going for a pretty dry beer to allow the hops to blast through. I know that I can accomplish this with mash temperature, but the recipes that I have brewed have all used dextrose as well, so I figured I'd stick with it (incidentally, I plan to mash at 150F or even a bit lower).

My biggest concerns are the CaraPils and the proportion of crystal. I am keeping the crystal pretty low, gaining color from the Munich malt (as recommended in the Steele article). The CaraPils is for head retention, and I have seen it in other recipes. However, I think I may be able to accomplish the same thing with a portion of wheat malt, although I don't recall seeing that in other examples.

Feedback is welcome and appreciated! This is fun...I should build more of my own recipes (unless, of course, this grain bill is a recipe for sewage...)


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