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Messages - guido

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Yeast and Fermentation / Progress report on the "Crab Apple Sour Blonde"
« on: December 04, 2013, 07:24:46 AM »
This fall, I made a wild culture by soaking some crab apples in starter-strength worth overnight.  I waited about a month before tasting.  It was excellent, a nice mix of apple and sour flavors.  I pitched this culture into a 5-gallon batch made with lots of unmalted wheat.  I intentionally mashed low, hoping it wouldn't convert and that I'd have some starches for the bacteria.  I tasted the "Sour Blonde" for the first time.  It's almost too good, hardly any sour/funk flavors at all.  I'm hoping the souring bacteria will catch up to the yeast.  The gravity has dropped from 1.052 to 1.020 (although it didn't taste sweet), so I'm hoping there's something for the bugs to munch on.  I was thinking about gram staining a sample to see if any bacteria is present.  There was something that looked like a pellicle, but it's fallen.  Do I just leave this go and see what happens?  It's been about two months now.

I'm very grateful to have a great wife who is supportive of all the time and $$ I spend on this obsession.  I've known guys whose significant others were not so supportive (to say the least).

Gotta second that one.  Plus, she's really starting to embrace the homebrew/craftbeer lifestyle.  She had a great time at the NHC this year.  The hobby is so much more fun when the wife says "you need to start making 10 gallon batches."

Ingredients / Re: What's up with
« on: November 28, 2013, 03:37:55 PM »
I don't know if this is related, but in the past the site has been, with one h. Right now both domains seem to be working, but the storefront at, two h's, gives me an error.

Bingo!  Thanks!

Ingredients / What's up with
« on: November 28, 2013, 08:03:07 AM »
I tried to see what was available from, but when I clicked on order, I got an error message saying that their license had expired on this server.  Anyone know what the deal is?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dealing With Non-Homebrewers
« on: November 28, 2013, 06:53:39 AM »
My in-laws mock my homebrew and make yeast infection jokes.  They'd drink cat piss if it were in a Yuengling bottle, tho.  It used to bother me, but now I realize they're not worthy.  I never bring homebrew to family events. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 200 Micron Bag too Fine for Hops?
« on: November 24, 2013, 09:23:17 AM »
I've used the paint filter bags from Lowes/Home Depot.  They've worked well.

Ingredients / Re: Using whole vanilla beans
« on: November 23, 2013, 10:06:12 AM »
Thanks for the recommendations.  One interesting thing is that several have mentioned the vanilla flavor fades.  This is exactly the opposite of what I've encountered with my pumpkin beers using vanilla extract.  The other spices mellow, but the vanilla stays the same.  That's why I was wanting to 'err on the side of caution with the whole beans.

Ingredients / Using whole vanilla beans
« on: November 23, 2013, 07:47:28 AM »
I've never used whole vanilla beans before.  I know you need the alcohol to extract the vanilla.  I want to add some to a pumpkin beer that has a ( 5 gallons) Belgian dark strong as the base.  I want only a subtle vanilla flavor.  I was thinking about taking one whole bean, slicing it down the center, and leaving it in the secondary while conditioning.  Is this the right number, or should I add more.

Events / Re: Which hotel to stay at in Grand Rapids
« on: November 18, 2013, 04:53:19 AM »
Actually, I think three hotels are connected to the convention center.  Can't wait for more info to be posted.

Do you think they'd go for a seminar on how to convince your wife/significant other that homebrewing actually saves money?

When you read this thread and you think all of the responses are really reasonable.

Well...yeah; we're reasonable people.

I'd say Pumpkin and spice beers are the most difficult to get right.  Most of the time they are awful and over spiced
+1 to spiced beers in general.  But Pumpkin is hard.
Gee...I find that most Pumpkin beers are awful because of lame-ass spicing.  Everyone's afraid to give it flavor.

I hate most of them because they're over-spiced.
Different strokes!   ;D

Different strokes indeed.  Well said.   ;D

I'd say Pumpkin and spice beers are the most difficult to get right.  Most of the time they are awful and over spiced
+1 to spiced beers in general.  But Pumpkin is hard.
Gee...I find that most Pumpkin beers are awful because of lame-ass spicing.  Everyone's afraid to give it flavor.

Ingredients / Re: Vanilla Extract
« on: October 20, 2013, 08:12:19 AM »
I add vanilla to my pumpkin beer, but I really don't want to taste vanilla--except for a subtle "I can't quite put my finger on it" flavor.  For me, the vanilla blends the spice flavors and gives the beer some creaminess.  Maybe the French "Je ne sais quoi" would be a better way of stating this.  However, the vanilla flavor doesn't mellow like the other spices.  Once it's there; it's there.  Tread carefully.  I add 3-4 teaspoons to 5 gallons of pumpkin beer, btw.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wild culture: what is it?
« on: October 03, 2013, 10:20:04 AM »
You're probably going to find a wide array of active yeast and bacteria, especially early on. Some sugar-eating yeast will form pellicles, as will most bacteria. I'd guess you have dozens of active lifeforms in there right now. Some have probably died off from lack of nutrients, ph and alcohol by this point.

+1 Does it still smell good? Pitch some into a crab apple blonde and let it go nuts!

It smells wonderful, sour--and no ass whatsoever.  Gonna make a crab apple blonde like you suggested and cross my fingers.

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