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Messages - goschman

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Scaling Down
« on: November 10, 2015, 07:46:00 AM »
I split my batches every time I brew.  I brewed 16 gallons of Saison 3 weeks ago.  I used 3 different yeasts.  I just pulled gravity samples for the first time and I have 3 amazingly different Saison beers.  What I like is the opportunity to try so many different yeasts.  I think the split batches for you is a great idea.  I've been using yeasts from other suppliers too, other than WL and WY.  If I didn't have so many people drinking my beer, I would go to smaller batches for sure.

I really want to branch out with yeast. Right now I mainly use dry yeast so the opportunity to use more liquid yeast without needing to make a starter is very appealing. I have not done any direct comparisons so it would be cool for me to do basic things like comparing a lager yeast to US05 or something. That will really help me dial in my recipes because right now I just kind of have default yeasts that I use because they are convenient. When I visited White Labs a few months ago it was pretty interesting to taste the same beer with 4 different yeasts. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Scaling Down
« on: November 10, 2015, 07:16:44 AM »
Thanks for the feedback guys. The split batch idea seems like the best option for my situation so I will probably start experimenting with after the next batches that I already have scheduled. I might up my normal batch size a bit so I could get 6 gallons of wort into the fermenters.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Scaling Down
« on: November 09, 2015, 05:30:46 PM »
Another option for variety would be to brew split batches. You could produce your usual 5-6 gallons of wort and split it between fermenters with different yeasts, fruit, dry hops, etc. You could get twice as many batches as brewdays with a little planning.

That is a fabulous suggestion! I have been wanting to branch out with more yeasts lately and that would be a great way to do it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mash Hopping
« on: November 09, 2015, 03:29:18 PM »
All I have heard is that it is a waste of hops. I have never tried it myself.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Scaling Down
« on: November 09, 2015, 02:16:55 PM »
That works. As long as you don't itch too bad to brew. I'm not a very busy person in general so going 6 weeks without brewing would drive me crazy. But for those who are just BUSY, doing who knows what, every 6 weeks could be enough.
But I've definitely felt your pain of feeling you have to drink your beer to keep it moving so you can brew the next batch or keep up your brewing schedule.

I am getting more busy with a 2 year old and the possibility of another one at some point in the near future so time is a huge factor.

I find that I don't enjoy the beer as much when I am trying to get through it because I am so excited to get to the new batch which is waiting in the fermenter. It's kind of the whole 'grass is greener' type of situation. It's like, 'this is good but the next one is going to be awesome' and that happens for every batch...haha

I am definitely going to consider smaller batches as I would prefer more variety. Bottling is a good option as well but it is hard for me to go back to that. Bottling is really the only aspect of the brewing process which I really don't care for...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Scaling Down
« on: November 09, 2015, 02:08:04 PM »
I mainly brew for myself, and I only drink 4 or 5 beers a week, but I like to brew 1-2 batches a month. Five gallons at a time was way too much, so I dropped down to half-sized batches. That lets me brew more often, keep up a variety of choices, and brew a big batch to age every few months.
I love the appeal of this but the only way I'd do that is if I got a bunch of 2.5 gallon kegs because I just can't stand having all the head space in a 5 gallon keg. I do plan to pick up a couple of them in the nearish future from Adventures in Homebrewing so I can start doing some more half batches or split batches. But a recent batch of helles that lasted about 3 weeks had me by surprise. I don't know were all that beer went, it was weird.

Goschman, I think you should seriously take a look at half batches. They don't take "just as long". They're definitely quicker to heat to a boil and chill, as well as heating the strike and sparge water and milling less grains. It's just easier and awesome. And if you enjoy the process, I don't consider that to be "just as much work for half as much beer".
And I couldn't fathom brewing only 4 times a year.

Well I am considering brewing every 6 weeks instead of 3 which would be 8-9 times a year. I may strike a compromise by brewing 2/3 batches every 4-5 weeks. It's something I am going to have to figure out as I go. I just know that 5 gallon batches every 3 weeks isn't working.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Scaling Down
« on: November 09, 2015, 12:31:53 PM »
Thanks for the feedback so far. I think I will start brewing less often for a bit then re-evaluate brewing smaller batches more frequently.

I definitely need to focus on styles that are 4-5% ABV. Mostly malt focused or balanced styles with an occasional APA. My Kolsch, Pale Lager, and American Wheat seem to fit the bill. I have a brown ale fermenting now that is a candidate and would like to try an Irish Red soon which the wife should enjoy.

General Homebrew Discussion / Scaling Down
« on: November 09, 2015, 11:57:26 AM »
I currently keep 4 five gallon kegs on tap at a time. I brew every 3 weeks which seems to keep me fully stocked. I am seriously considering starting to brew less and keep 2 beers on tap. I have come to this conclusion after realizing the amount of beer that I have basically puts pressure on me to drink at a certain rate to stay on schedule. This is proving not to be a good thing. The primary consumers of my beer are myself and my wife (depending on what's on tap) with occasional guests. If guests/friends were drinking my beer then I could justify it more.

I have considered brewing smaller batches but I find it hard to spend the same amount of time for a smaller amount especially as family time is getting more and more valuable. It's basically choosing volume over variety I suppose.

Now that I feel the need to make this transition, I am conflicted on what beers to brew moving forward. I think I should focus on solid, drinkable styles that are time tested. I experiment a lot by brewing hybrid type beers but that is hit and miss proposition at about 1:1. I guess I need to see what styles my wife and I both enjoy and go in that direction. I am thinking about focusing on 4 solid beers and brewing each about 2 times a year.

I am just curious how others have transitioned to brewing less and if anyone has been in a similar situation. I love pretty much everything about brewing and would brew 4 days a week if I had the time and people to consume and enjoy my product.

Ingredients / Re: Carafa Dehusked/Special and Bru'n Water
« on: November 09, 2015, 11:28:47 AM »
That is a good question. I have been using it in Bru'n Water as a regular roasted malt without a second thought.

All Grain Brewing / Re: toasted oatmeal stout
« on: November 09, 2015, 10:27:37 AM »
Thanks for all the advice. The toasted oatmeal stout turned out to be probably one of the best beers I've brewed which is funny because I'm really not much of a stout lover - I just like to have a little around when the weather starts to cool and my general recipe is tried and true. Unfortunately it was a small batch (2 gallons) and is not going to last long with my wife and I putting it down at the current rate. I'll be making a 5 gallon batch next weekend. A few notes:

(1) I cannot discern the influence of toasting the oats. As others have said, this technique might work better in a less roasty beer.

(2) I cannot state enough how much getting the pH into the higher range (5.6-5.7) makes a stout like this go from good to great in a damn hurry. Really complements the roast well and rounds the whole beer out.

I just brewed a brown ale and added toasted flaked oats for the first time. I am hoping to be able to notice the flavor but I have never brewed the recipe before so I don't have anything to compare it to.

I agree 100% on higher mash pH for darker beers. It has really helped to smooth mine out.

Beer Recipes / Re: brown ale recipe
« on: November 06, 2015, 09:29:22 AM »
Finally getting around to this one today. One of the few times that I haven't tweaked a recipe to death. I don't do darker beers that often and never a brown (if that's what it is) so I am excited. Expecting malty goodness with a smooth mouthfeel and low-medium roast.

86% Schill Light Munich
9.5% flaked oats (toasted in the oven at 350F for about 15 min)
4.5% carafa I special (my LHBS only caries 'special' - I actually would have preferred a husk here)

Mash pH 5.5 - brown balanced water profile

Magnum FWH
Willamette 20 min

repitching portion of a harvested slurry of K97

~23 IBUs
~20 SRM

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Stone Ruination 2.0
« on: November 06, 2015, 09:09:07 AM »
I need to give this a try again. I had it at Liberty Station when I was in San Diego and was not too impressed with it or the Pale Ale 2.0 but they had a black wit on tap that I kept going back to. Stone is a very hit and miss kind of brewery for me but I guess a lot of them are.

Ingredients / Re: Mango Coconut Hefeweizen
« on: November 05, 2015, 01:32:59 PM »
I have never brewed with coconut water but drink it now and then so I know it has some coconut flavor but is, well, watery. Because the taste isn't very strong my instinct is to add it post primary so not too much flavor and aroma is lost. The problem with that is that it is high in water and low in sugar so it will water down the beer so you'll need to keep that in mind. So now I wonder if you want to add it to the boil. I just have no idea how volatile the flavor and aroma compounds in coconut water are. Sorry that's not very helpful, I'm just thinking out loud because its an interesting ingredient.

I was thinking the same thing. Have you considered using flaked coconut added to the fermenter with the mango? I think that coconut water might end up all but undetectable.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sierra Nevada Celebration
« on: November 05, 2015, 11:40:41 AM »
Good to know that it does not change.

One that does change that I really enjoy is Anchor's Christmas Ale

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sierra Nevada Celebration
« on: November 05, 2015, 11:24:17 AM »
I went out of my way to purchase this beer last year and was kind of disappointed after all of the hype I had heard/read. I am a bit confused by the seemingly controversy surround whether the recipe does or does not change.

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