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Messages - diybrewing

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Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Is old malt extract safe?
« on: August 20, 2010, 09:22:48 PM »
You can always use old extract to make a starter. Then who cares if the beer is terrible since you will throw it away anyway.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Homebrew contest scores?
« on: August 20, 2010, 09:21:06 PM »
I have judged in a bunch of competitions and 40's are a rarity so I would start by saying getting high 30s is where you want to be.
People have gone over the good stuff like temps and starters but I will throw a couple of more in there too.

1.Get a good appreciation of how the grains taste before going into the brew. I have eaten every grain in my homebrew shop and that is a huge help when formulating beers. Go into your LHBS and ask to taste some of the grain or ask if they do any classes that involve tasting of the grains ( we do and I think other LHBS do that too)
2. Brew more often. The more you brew the better you will be. You should also try tweaking your techniques occasionally to see if they make a difference.
3. Work on one recipe until you feel it is perfect. Brewing a large range of styles is great and highly recommended but if you want to make a truly outstanding beer brewing 5 times in a row with minor tweaks is the only way to go.
4. Join a homebrew club. Homebrew clubs are the place you want to go to get better.
That is the only ones that I have noticed that I think are missing.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Cursed at 1.020
« on: August 20, 2010, 09:05:45 PM »
So one thing I am definitely noticing is that you use a large percentage of malt extract. I personally and in my shop when I am doing an extract batch of beer that has a large gravity, will depend more on grains and plain sugar then malt extract. Try adding some base malts and either do a mini mash or still steep it but go longer on the steep.  For our house IPA I will put the recipe below for you
6 lbs malt extract ( extra light)
1.5 lbs 2-row
1.5 lbs Pilsner
0.5 lbs Crystal 60
0.5 lbs Caramunich III
steep for 45 minutes in 2.5 gallons of water for a temperature of 150F.
1 oz Columbus 60 min.
1 oz Cascade 15 min
1 oz Cascade flameout
1 oz Amarillo Dry hop

This beer comes out at 1.063 and is highly fermentable we get it down in store with making the starter and aquarium pump down to 1.014 and it comes out beautiful.
You could take this recipe add a 1lb of corn sugar and it would 1.070 and you would finish at 1.015 or so with it.

Events / Re: NHC ever in New England?
« on: August 19, 2010, 06:34:45 PM »
If you need a hand in organizing let me know. I am Western Mass and can help coordinate for most of New England. I also own DIY Brewing Supply and have a ton of contacts in the New England area. I have tried to get people to submit a proposal in the past but it is definitely a huge amount of work and getting volunteers has never been easy.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Re-Milling and Efficiency
« on: April 25, 2010, 03:08:47 AM »
You can definitely re-mill but use a larger gap then the factory setting or you might find yourself with a stuck mash.
FYI Most homebrew shops that will sell you a bag of crushed grain do not grind it themselves. We can buy it that way. I don't do it in my shop just because I know I just grind it myself and don't want to buy two bags of things when I can just have one bag.

In our shop we use a 0.040 setting for our Crankandstein 3d. The Crankandsteins are the best mills in my opinion and I have used almost all of them. The BS is a fine mill but the Cranks are definitely worth the extra money and the owner is extremely good about the mills and will replace/ help you fix any problem.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brewing at Twice Strength then Dilluting
« on: April 25, 2010, 02:42:58 AM »
I have done this twice and did not like the results either time. I found the issue to be with the melanoidin formation in the pot. But I also know it was a recipe issue too. Both times I was making beers I wanted to start at around 1.070 and so my wort was really high gravity. If you used this technique for making a 1.050 beer it would probably work.
P.S. I do a fair amount of Partigyles and this does work but you are boiling two beers at different times not one pot for two beers. I love making a Berlineer Weisse and the Maltose Falcons champage beer recipe this way.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Dark Malt extract
« on: April 05, 2010, 03:43:11 AM »
I never recommend it to people in my shop. The color has too many variables as well as it is different from company to company. I would always use grains for your color and body. You will get more out of it and have greater control too.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Malt to Extract to Malt conversions
« on: April 05, 2010, 03:41:17 AM »
That site is a great link.
Just and FYI you should take a pre- boil reading to figure out your efficiency. This way if you are getting 75% efficiency you can take that into account or if you are lower then 60% you can add more malt extract.  An easy formula is
 (Starting Gravity reading x Starting boil volume)/Final Volume
make sure that you drop the beginning 1. ( i.e. gravity of 1.056 becomes 56)
That way you will get a rough estimation of your beer. This is essential for all grain or partial mash beers.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Astringency Question
« on: April 03, 2010, 02:39:58 AM »
Why are you getting such a high number of stuck mashes? 75% is really a high percentage. I have had 1 stuck mash in the past 6 years.Did you make your own false bottom? Have you ever tried rice hulls?
Your astringency could be coming from the amount of transfering you are doing, Are you checking the pH at any time during this time?

Ingredients / Re: Planting hop rhizomes
« on: March 27, 2010, 06:14:54 PM »
For planting rhizomes the best way to do it is a dig a hole about 1 foot deep. Fill with a 50/50 blend of compost and dirt. Plant the rhizomes so that they have the white vine looking parts about 1 inch under the ground and they should be pointed up. Then top with a layer of compost. Water until saturated once a week and then let dry.over the week. Do this for the first two months then start watering every other week. After about a month or when your vines are about 1 foot start training them.

You should start them in a pot if your outside temperature is still going below freezing every night. But if you are in a warmer climate then you can just start them outside.
If you want to download our growing guide just click pamphlet.doc

All Grain Brewing / Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« on: March 27, 2010, 03:54:20 AM »
I use Simpsons GP a lot and I have never had a problem with it. It is an essential for a lot of beers I think.

I would think that flaked barley is the culprit too. I would probably also guess he cracked the flaked barley making it even more of a culprit. The next time you use a lot of flaked barley, raise the temperature on the mash before you run out to help with the thickness of the mash.
I batch sparge exclusively now thanks to Denny and dont usually open it wide up just so that I don't stir the crap out of the mash.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: CT Clubs?
« on: March 27, 2010, 03:41:13 AM »
I know that KOTMF are a good club and I think they are local to you. The guys in club are really good and make some great beer.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
« on: March 27, 2010, 03:39:31 AM »
You should see if your LHBS will let you host it there? I do that for our local club and they just meet in my store.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
« on: March 26, 2010, 05:42:40 PM »
What are you sanitizing with? Sounds like you are getting infections.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew - It all tastes the same
« on: March 26, 2010, 05:41:26 PM »
It is rarely the extract most homebrew shops go through extract fast enough and the packaging is usually quite good. One of the things you are probably looking at is like denny said you are using tap water. The rule that if your tap water tastes fine is not really all that useful. Chlorine and chloramine have very mild tastes when used at home but can make horrific beer.
I am also not a fan of the brewers best kits personally. I don't carry them in my store because the grain is pre-crushed and can sit for months. Cracked grain is really only good for about 4 weeks before it goes stale.
You should try going with a homebrew shop that makes its own recipes. I do for all of my beers I sell and I have brewed every beer kit so that I know what they should taste like.  Ask your LHBS to make you up a recipe of something they have their. Or you could buy from me Sorry for the shameless plug but sometimes you have to plug yourself.

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