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Messages - gimmeales

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Refractometer
« on: September 01, 2011, 02:28:47 PM »
A handy spreadsheet that does the corrections for you is here:

After a couple of brews using both Refractometer and Hydrometer side-by-side (and spot checks here and there), I found the Refractometer to be dead-on and now hardly use my Hydrometer anymore.  Love the Refractometer!  (mine was one of the $25 jobs off eBay).

All Grain Brewing / Re: The More I Read...Confusion and Vorlauf
« on: August 31, 2011, 11:17:29 PM »
Saw this episode too and while a great, entertaining video (as usual), I too, thought the pandering these 'radical' procedures to be silly, unless it was just meant to get a rise out of people.

You can choose to rehydrate dry yeast or not and will make excellent beer either way (I have), but stating the manufacturer is wrong by suggesting hydrating as preferable seems a bit foolish coming from a (admittedly passionate) hobbyist.

HSA does happen, Charlie Bamforth says so, he also says there are so many other factors (namely packaging conditions and storage temps) that contribute to detectable oxidative effects in finished beer, that HSA should not trouble homebrewers or even probrewers that much.  If someone could show me even a semi-controlled experiment of a vorlaufed vs. non-vorlaufed batch, noting fermentation characteristics and flavor impact of finishes beers, I'd take this assertion more seriously.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Cold crashing with dry hops in secondary
« on: August 29, 2011, 06:19:38 PM »
I don't think anything beyond personal experiences\preferences indicate that dry-hopping cold vs. warm tends to more grassiness.  I've done both (though not as controlled experiments), and have never experienced 'grassiness' as I understand the descriptor.  Of course, I've not dry-hopped with 7oz. either!  Awesome.

I have noticed an improved hop aroma by clarifying my beer before adding dry hops to the keg, which is all done cold, btw.  For my current IPA in primary, I'm going to split my dry-hop charge in half, dry hop 1-week with half, then another week with the other half.  Even with the same total amount of hops, is supposed to bump the fresh hop flavors even more than a single, larger charge.  You might give that a try with the amount you're using and dry hop a bit in the keg.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Danstar dry yeast, prices are nuts!
« on: August 25, 2011, 10:17:16 PM »
My two nearest LHBS's have kept Danstar prices pretty competitive (~$2 per 11g sachet), even in the new packaging.  They are still 40% less than the Fermentis Yeasts here.  Prices online are all over the board, so I don't know what to think of what's 'fair'.   There's certainly some latitude for the retailers.

At the end of the day, they're low-hassle, high performance yeasts, that are still well below liquid culture prices, so still represent a good value for many styles of beer

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer in Europe...
« on: August 18, 2011, 06:22:01 PM »
I've also been to Klasterni while in Prague a few years ago - they weren't making anything like IPA then, but their unfiltered dark and light lagers were fantastic (with a local meat and cheese plate, mmmmm).  Great vibe in the both the pub and that part of town overlooking the city.  Can't wait to go back!

Ingredients / Re: hops for a porter
« on: August 18, 2011, 04:30:05 PM »
Totally depends on how much hop character you want in the Porter - eathier, English-type hops are traditional, but with a style who's bitterness is low and lots of roast malt character, I don't think hop choice makes a huge impact (again depending on your tastes\goals).

I've made Porters (including my currently fermenting one) with Columbus without much hop character coming through at ~25 IBUs - at least nothing that would make some one say: 'Hey, there's high alpha American hops in this!"

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Charlie P.
« on: August 18, 2011, 03:29:02 PM »
I'll also be trying some Clarity Ferm in my next beer (all barley) for some gluten-intolerant and celiac friends of mine.

From my own research, you can stamp a 'gluten-free' label in the US if the gluten content is < 20ppm - producing a beer that is even 10ppm (much less, 5ppm like Charlie did) seems that it could let all but the most sensitive enjoy a quality, all-barley beer.  Another interesting test would be to also fine the beer with gelatin post-fermentation, so getting the benefit of the CF in addition to any other clarification gelatin may provide.  One note - beers brewed with Wheat or Rye are probably still not going to get to the 'gluten free' threshold, however.

One note I found on the homebrewchatter forums, was that a guy brewed an Oatmeal Stout with Clarity-Ferm and said the body was noticeably less-full than he expected.  Seems like (and stands to reason), that CF is not discriminant in what proteins it pulls out of the beer, which would even include body-boosting malts and adjuncts.  I'm curious to hear other's experiences over time with this!

another question just popped into my head:  does CF affect yeast in anyway?  Curious if harvesting yeast for future batches after treated with CF would in anyway be negatively affected?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry yeast (Rehydrated) pitching temps
« on: August 15, 2011, 09:15:18 PM »
Thanks all.  I've not had issues with off or slow fermentations, so I'm assuming I'm fine, but seem to remember attemperating the yeast to the wort's temp (+\- 5F) as being stressed as optimal in a podcast at some point and just started thinking about it more. I'm usually within ~5F of  wort temp with my yeast cream.

I'm with you Denny on low 60's pitching - I like that too, but got me thinking that my neither my dry yeast or liquid starters are that cool at pitching, I'll have to play around with cooling them down and see what transpires..

Yeast and Fermentation / Dry yeast (Rehydrated) pitching temps
« on: August 15, 2011, 05:06:58 PM »
Being one who usually hydrates his dry yeast (as it seems slightly preferred by the manufacturers) has raised a question for me when considering the temp of the re-hydrated yeast vs. that of the cooled wort.  Wouldn't pitching the yeast re-hydrated in ~80-ish degree into a wort in the mid-60's shock the yeast pretty good? 

Yeast fare better pitched into warmer wort and the above scenario is quite a difference in the other direction.  Being nervous I'll shock the yeast, I usually let the re-hydrated cream sit at room temp (maybe 30-45 mins) to better atemperate to the temp of the wort, but wondering if there's any other wisdom out there on this scenario? 


Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: August 10, 2011, 02:31:02 PM »
Some sound, (if somewhat grumpy) advice from someone in the industry here: - despite the at-times discouraging tone, makes some salient points about the amount of effort vs. payoff, both in terms of job satisfaction and cash flow.  The fun parts of brewing (brewing, recipe formulation, experimentation) will lose some of their charms when brewing on a schedule for customers and those 'fun' parts will only be a small percentage of the time you will spend cleaning and maintaining the brewery and running a business.

There is no way around the fact that brewing professionally is extremely capital intensive (and from talking with pro brewers, breweries eat money), and volume-driven, so plan for success and build-in the capacity that will keep your customers happy and keep you from burn out.  Not trying to be a downer at all - I love the passion of American entrepreneurial vision and hope many of the nano-picos do very well and increase the quantity and quality of American beer, but it's a huge challenge.

I've spent the last year or so do fairly extensive research with a partner into opening a brewpub and I can say it's been an ehem, 'sobering' experience to learn all that goes into making our romantic hobby a viable profession.  While it's still a dream of mine (a nearly complete business plan that will continue to be tweaked), it's been put off for awhile down the road when we're better equipped (read lots of $$$$), to enter into it better leveraged and with eyes wide open.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Home brewing in Canada
« on: August 09, 2011, 04:14:41 PM »
The taxes on alcohlic beverages in Canada are why they cost so much there.

Sadly the death of interesting, characterful beers throughout history.  On one hand, it's great to see how brewers are able to produce full-flavored beers with a minimum of ingredients, but it's a shame that amazing old-timey beers have died out due to taxation.  I feel very fortunate to live where I do, having access to so many great craft beers, and the ability to brew to my own tastes.

Beer Recipes / Re: Southern Tier Pumpking Imperial Pumpkin Ale
« on: August 03, 2011, 10:30:12 PM »
Love that beer and would definitely say vanilla is a big flavor component however they are doing it.  I would also guess the pumpkin in the mash adds to the luscious mouthfeel.  For spices, I've also had very good luck with adding a smaller amount to the boil and dry-spicing (with equal amounts, adjusting to you preferences) after fermentation is done.  The aroma contributes as much or more to finished perceived flavors and the nuances of the spices are better preserved post-ferment.

I know we're talking spice blends here, but what also really hits me with that beer is the distinct character of a graham cracker crust.  THAT is what I'd really like to nail down.  Someone awhile back in another forum suggested lightly toasting honey malt in the oven as a small part of the grist - I loved that suggestion, but have yet to try it.  Anyone else think the malt-bill for Pumpking is another defining factor?

Equipment and Software / Re: Best propane burner for the money?
« on: July 28, 2011, 09:48:42 PM »
I've tweaked my KAB-4 till I'm blue in the face and have to say I'm underwhelmed.  I'm lucky to get two batches out of a tank of propane.  I knew it'd eat the stuff compared to my little turkey fryer unit, but thought the speed of heating would compensate a bit, no so in my case.

I have to open the vent fully to get a decent even, blue flame, but doesn't seem to be significantly faster to boil that my little 65k btu (10psi) unit.

For safety and efficiency's sake, I will eventually go electric but would love to have the banjo burner at least meet my expectations.

All Grain Brewing / Re: ball valuve and thermometer on new kettle
« on: July 28, 2011, 06:32:04 PM »
+1 on that budyy.  I have a thermometer on my boil kettle, and for the life me, I don't know why.  I never use it. 

I wonder if this is a function of the type of chiller and\or kettle used?  With a standard kettle, your average probe-style brewing thermometer has the bracket for mounting on the lip of the kettle - this is rendered useless on a converted keg whose opening doesn't have a vertically-oriented mounting point.  Also, if you have a therminator or other chiller that shows the temperature of wort exiting the kettle, I can see not needing a kettle mounted one, but with an immersion chiller, it's sure nice to quickly glance at that big dial, without having to find your probe, sanitize, insert, and wait for a reading while running through your end-of-brew process.

Having a keggle, I personally can't wait to install a thermometer

All Grain Brewing / Re: Saving the Planet, Going Domestic
« on: July 22, 2011, 08:01:14 PM »
Can anyone verify that European malts are actually made with European barley? N. America grows more 2-row than anywhere else. I know Italian pasta is usually made from wheat from the Dakotas. I suspect the same thing happens with malts. Grown here, shipped there, malted there, shipped back here.

In which case the environmental impact of shipping would double, no?   ::)

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