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Messages - tmaurer

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Ingredients / Re: My water report
« on: August 05, 2010, 04:15:34 AM »
But they did say, "Well sir... you CAN have it independently tested.  That will of course be at your own expense.  But we can assure you that the City of Altoona has THE best water in central PA".

Ingredients / Re: My water report
« on: August 05, 2010, 02:16:34 AM »
I figured it was useless.

Ingredients / My water report
« on: August 04, 2010, 03:51:44 PM »
When I ask my water department to give me a water report, this is what they give me:

I can't make sense of it.  It doesn't really tell me anything.  Or maybe it does, and I'm not reading it right?

Ingredients / Re: Cocoa Powder
« on: August 03, 2010, 04:53:47 PM »
IMO, the best way to get chocolate flavor in beer is with extract, like Rogue does with their excellent chocolate beers.  Starkay White is about the best brand of chocolate extract around, if you can source it.

I see they sell that in 4oz bottles around $9.  Any idea as to how much in a 5 gallon batch?  And would you add something like that at bottling?

Beer Recipes / Re: Oktoberfest!
« on: July 29, 2010, 10:13:15 PM »
Do you guys usually brew your o-fest this time of the year?  I finally got a chest freezer, and for my first lager I was thinking about doing an o-fest.

Ingredients / Re: Hemlock
« on: July 28, 2010, 03:55:15 PM »
Hemlock poison   :o

I was planning on doing a Christmas beer using spruce tips if I ever get around to it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: First time all grain - part two
« on: July 28, 2010, 02:04:35 PM »
Where in central PA are you?  I live in Altoona.  And yes brewing in the heat sucks bad especially when the humidity is high.  But when I brew on hot days, I'll get the boil going and leave it go while I sit in the AC.  I'll check on it every so often to make sure the deck isn't on fire.  But once you have the boil going, unless you have to make a hop addition or something, you really don't have to babysit the kettle.

Beer Recipes / Re: Pilsner recipie with ale yeast
« on: July 28, 2010, 12:30:07 PM »
What doesn't she like about the beers you've made so far?  What kind of beer does she normally drink?  If she is a normally BMC drinker, why not brew something even more simple like a blonde? 

The Pub / Re: If NAB buys Magic Hat...
« on: July 28, 2010, 11:47:42 AM »
I've always thought breweries like Magic Hat to be sort of campy.  Even their Odd Notion series are mostly uninspiring and dull.  I've bought many cases of Magic Hat, and I've even toured the brewery.  While there, the place was run strictly as a business.  It seemed lacking of the passion that most craft brewers have for the art.

I don't think size determines what is craft or not.  It's the passion that is put into the brew.  I don't think that Magic Hat has the passion anymore.  Just my 2 cents.

Beer Recipes / Re: IPA recipe help
« on: July 27, 2010, 06:46:37 PM »
As far as yeast goes, I'm not sure yet.  Maybe just 1056 or WLP001?  Or would this be a good time to try out Pacman for the first time?

The only thing I want to make sure of is that I get enough pine in this one.  Not too much... but enough to know it is definitely there.

Beer Recipes / IPA recipe help
« on: July 27, 2010, 02:33:51 AM »
I'm thinking about brewing this IPA recipe.  It will be a 6 gallon batch around 1.064 and 62 IBUs:

13 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt
12.0 oz Munich Malt
8.0 oz Crystal  40L
8.0 oz Victory
1.00 oz Galena (60 min)
1.00 oz Chinook (20 min)
0.50 oz Cascade (15 min)
0.50 oz Simcoe (15 min)
0.50 oz Amarillo (0 min)
0.50 oz Centennial (0 min)
1.00 oz Simcoe (Dry Hop 5 days)
2.00 oz Amarillo (Dry Hop 5 days)

Comments, questions, and concerns are greatly appreciated!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Increasing efficiency
« on: July 26, 2010, 02:37:54 AM »
Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  I also noticed with my last batch that with anything less than a 1.3 quart/pound ratio with my cooler that it is nearly impossible to get consistent temps in the grain bed.

I think I'll up my water to grist ratio a little and sparge with a little hotter water.

Another question would be batch sparging.  How fast should I be draining the mashtun?  I've heard everything from really slow to wide open.  Also, when I add sparge water, how long to I let it sit in there.  Some suggest 15 minutes, but other say simply stir... let settle for 5 minutes... and drain?

All Grain Brewing / Increasing efficiency
« on: July 25, 2010, 12:23:53 AM »
I know the subject of efficiency comes up a lot, but I have a few questions.  I enjoy 70% efficiency on most brews.  I would like to increase that some.  During the next few months, I plan on brewing 3 beers around the same gravity to work on my efficiency.

I here there are three things I can easily do to increase efficiency: crush my grains a little smaller, eliminate dead space in the mashtun, and mash out and/or sparge (I batch sparge) with hotter water.  Getting a finer crush is easy.  But what do they mean when they say eliminate dead space?  Are they referring to the space between the grain bed and the cooler lid?  Or are they talking more about reducing wort losses in your system (I loose about a quart to a quart1/2)?

Lastly, I've always been confused about sparge water temps.  Some people just say they sparge with a certain temperature of water.  So is it OK to use one single temperature sparge water for all brews?  Shouldn't I be worried about raising the grain bed to a certain temperature?  And using one standard sparge water temp may not work every time?

Beer Recipes / Re: Balancing a recipe
« on: July 20, 2010, 10:57:57 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys.  Now that you mention it, I do vaguely remember reading an article dealing with BU:GU ratio.  I had a feeling there was something to get you in the ballpark, but I couldn't remember what it was.  Thanks a bunch!

Beer Recipes / Balancing a recipe
« on: July 20, 2010, 06:31:35 PM »
I've been brewing other folks recipes up until now.  Naturally, I want to start making my own recipes.  I've been reading up on malts and hops getting a feel for what sorts of flavors/aromas I want.  My question is about balancing a recipe.  How do I formulate how much bittering hops I need to either have a bitter/balanced/sweet finish?  I know for certain that 40 IBUs in a beer made entirely of base malt would not have the same taste as 40 IBUs in a beer with added specialty grains.  So how do you know how much bitterness to add?

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