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Messages - revolutionisbrewing

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Ingredients / Re: Hibiscus beer
« on: November 11, 2010, 06:01:33 PM »
Does Jamaica = hibiscus flowers in that recipe?

I wound up going with the whole ounce in the last 5 minutes of the boil, because the initial half ounce didn't look like much next to my other spices (5g coriander, 1.5g chamomile, 2 tbsp blood orange spread).  I still think it's going to take more, as it's not very pink yet.  Smells delicious but the chamomile seems to dominate.  If I can find some I'll add more at bottling.

Ingredients / Re: Hibiscus beer
« on: November 06, 2010, 02:55:12 AM »
Thanks, that sounds like great advice.

For a 5.5 gallon batch, I'm going with

5lb pilsener malt
4lb wheat malt
1lb flaked oats
.5lb flaked wheat

mash at 156 for 60 min

1oz argentine cascade @ 60 min
1oz argentine cascade @ 1 min

WLP 400 Belgian Wit yeast

.5oz hibiscus @ 5 min
and an as yet to be determined amount of coriander and orange peel at 5 min also.  Will steep the remaining .5 oz of hibiscus in vodka and add back in to taste at bottling.  FYI, this is my Learn to Homebrew Day demonstration beer.  Or as we like to call it in southwest VA - "Learn a Friend to Homebrew Day." :)

Ingredients / Re: Post your water report
« on: November 05, 2010, 04:09:03 AM »
My water is from Carvin's Cove Reservoir in Roanoke, VA...

Sulfate  12.3 mg/L
Calcium hardness as CaCO3   37.2 mg/L
Calcium 14.9 mg/L (estimated)
Total Alkalinity  41.8 mg/L
Chloride  4.39 mg/L
Total Hardness  54.1 mg/L
Magnesium Hardness  16.9 mg/L (estimated)
Magnesium 4.06 mg/L (estimated)

For those that care, this is the note I received explaining the drop in sulfates and calcium by about half since last year:

These parameters are checked annually.  The Cove has changed it's treatment
process which may be the reason for the Sulfate fluctuation.    We will be
sampling again this month (June) to compare last year's results and this will give
me a better indication.  The previous drought may affect the water

Ingredients / Hibiscus beer
« on: November 04, 2010, 10:07:50 PM »
I'm trying to work up a Hibiscus Wit recipe for my fiancee, inspired by the Rosee d'hibiscus ale by Dieu du Ciel.  I purchased an ounce of dried hibiscus flowers from a spice shop recently, but I wasn't sure how much to use.  Does anyone have any experience with a beer like this?

My thinking so far is to do a relatively low gravity beer, maybe 5% ABV, mash a little high to leave some residual sugar, maybe 45% wheat malt, 45% pilsner, 10% oats.  Ferment with WLP 400 Belgian Wit.

Any suggestions on how much hibiscus to add, whether to use coriander and/or orange peel in addition, any other spices, any other tips?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lagering issues
« on: February 05, 2010, 10:52:46 PM »
The 2-1 Liter starters got me to the cell count recommended on, about 225 mL of slurry I believe.  I'd have thought that would have been enough to get down to at least 50% attenuation after 2.5 weeks.  I would have left the yeast in there and just warmed it up but I was worried about autolysis after 6+ weeks on the same cake.

Which leads me to some other questions:  Does any autolysis take place when the yeast is so close to freezing temps (31 deg F)?  If I'm repitching slurry from a beer that has been sitting on a cake for 4 weeks or more with no activity, should I still make a starter out of it?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lagering issues
« on: February 05, 2010, 10:01:11 PM »
Yeah I went ahead and racked off the old yeast, and saved most of it.  The gravity had actually gone down a couple points since earlier this week when I last checked, and some of the yeast seemed pretty lively once it warmed it up, so I think it's headed in the right direction, but I still wanted to get it off as much dead yeast as possible.  No signs of mold or sourness that I can see.  Thanks for giving me some hope!

Yeast and Fermentation / Lagering issues
« on: February 05, 2010, 07:01:49 PM »
Hey all-

After brewing ales for 3 years, 1+ all grain, I got decked out with a fridge and some temp control, and tackled my first lager on New Year's Eve.  In order to support my LHBS, I bought a vial of WLP830 that was about 8 months out of date.  To compensate, I tried making two one liter starters with a stir plate to get to my target pitch rate.  After 2.5 weeks, bubbling slowed way down and krausen was mostly subsided, so I began to cold condition without taking the gravity.  Extremely dumb mistake.  After 2 weeks cold lagering at 31F, I finally checked the gravity.  In that 2.5 weeks of fermentation, the beer only dropped from 1.053 to 1.046.  Woops.

So I got a fresh vial of 830 and made a starter.  I plan on raising the temp of the beer to 50-52 or so, pitching the yeast starter at high krausen, and seeing what happens.

Questions:  Is there any risk of nasty stuff like botulism from letting the wort sit so long with only minimal alcohol?
Should I keep the existing yeast cake in play?  Make a starter from it and pitch that later?  Toss it?
Should I reoxygenate the beer before pitching the new yeast?

Any ideas or stories of similar experiences are much appreciated.

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