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Messages - garc_mall

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No brewing this weekend. 2 beers fermenting...

I am attending Washington Beer Open House today though, if the weather cooperates!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Brew day Starter?
« on: February 25, 2012, 06:30:47 AM »
I thought I would post my first impressions of the plan.

I felt like it worked really well, actually better than expected. At least for my light to middling ales, I think this is going to be my plan going forward.

I didn't take a pre-boil gravity reading on my second runnings, but based on my pre-boil reading for the total volume, I would say it was about 1.030, so pretty decent for a starter.

I was pitching the yeast into the starter with about 45-50 minutes left in the boil, because that starter wort got to a boil quick, and then cooled quickly as well.

As per usual, my wort chilling gets really sluggish around 75 degrees, so I pulled out the chiller and siphoned into the fermenter, and then put a stopper on it and set it outside to cool the rest of the way.

About 3 hours after siphoning, and 5 or so hours after pitching the starter, I started to see kraeusen building in my starter. 2 hours after that, it was pretty close to high kraeusen, and getting close to bedtime, so I pitched my whole starter into the wort, which was down to about 58 degrees. Moved the fermenter into my closet at 63, put an airlock in, and left it alone. 10 hours later, that yeast was trucking. As of today, still going strong, looks like 2-3 more days and I can add the dry hops, 1 week after that and it will be bottling time. I will report back again when I pull my final gravity sample before bottling to talk about the taste, and any off-flavors I noticed.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Just had my first kolsh...
« on: February 25, 2012, 06:20:22 AM »
I don't have any experience on kolsch, so I am not going to comment on any of the recipes. However, I did just brew a Altbier that was on the light side (more Munich next time). Its currently lagering outside on my back patio, covered in a towel, and sitting in big bucket full of water. As far as I have noticed, the beer is down around 45 degrees or so, and I don't have too many temperature swings with the large amount of liquid (close to 15 gals) creating a lot of thermal mass. YMMV, especially if you live in warm areas.

Beer Travel / Orlando, FL
« on: February 20, 2012, 03:21:39 AM »
So the Army, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that the best place for me to go for a physical is Orlando FL. Since it is a free flight and hotel, I am hoping to get some great beer while I am out there. I will be there for 2 nights and 3 days, with really nothing to do after 4:30pm. I won't have a rental car, but I am totally able to walk a mile or so, and I am willing to take any public transportation. Also, some recommendations for good beer from FL that I can't get in WA would be great too, I plan on bringing back 4-5 bottles at least.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Coffee Stout - no carbonation
« on: February 19, 2012, 01:33:23 AM »
Since you think some are fine and others don't have enough carb, it sounds like it could likely be a problem with evenly distributing the priming sugar.  Normally, one boils the priming sugar in some water, cools it, dumps it in the bottling bucket, and then racks the beer on top.  This usually mixes the sugar pretty evenly but, depending on the racking, maybe not.  Also, it's a good idea to gently (don't want to oxygenate) give things a little stir while you're bottling.  Is that your process?  or are you doing it a different way?


This sounds like a classic symptom of the priming sugar not being mixed properly. I recommend stirring a bit, for me its the only way to be sure that the sugar is evenly distributed.

Yeast and Fermentation / Brew day Starter?
« on: February 18, 2012, 08:19:52 PM »
So, I get all ready for brewing, I heat up my strike water, get out my grain, hops and start getting excited. I open my fridge, and see my lonely package of yeast with no starter... I am going to brew today, but I would rather not run down to the LHBS. Here's my plan, I would like to know your thoughts.

I am making a APA, and shooting for a 1.055 OG.

My plan is to add an extra .5 gallon of sparge water, and run that off into a pan, boil it for 5-10 minutes, cool it, and pitch my yeast. When it hits High Kraeusen, which should be sometime tonight or tomorrow morning, pitch the whole business. I figure that since it is the same grain bill as the beer, and I won't over oxygenate it, it won't affect the flavor of the beer so much. Any Ideas?

Ingredients / Re: Coffee Addition into Secondary
« on: February 18, 2012, 07:28:09 PM »
I made an espresso porter once by adding a shot (1oz) of fresh espresso at bottling to each pint of beer. It turned out really nice, with a distinct coffee flavor, but it was not overpowering and nice.

Making a APA with 35% Munich and only 5% crystal. Racking my Altbier to secondary, mostly to clear out fermenter space...

All Things Food / Re: Espresso Machines
« on: February 16, 2012, 02:50:43 PM »
for actual Brands, I own a Rancilio Silvia. I got it with the grinder and some other stuff (it was a gift set) for $1000, but the machine itself was about $600. I have had it for about 2 1/2 years, and it is still going very strong. It pulls a great standard shot or double, and I haven't had any issues with the boiler or pump malfunctioning. We did have 1 small problem with the boiler not heating up, but it was an emergency switch that occasionally flips if you leave the boiler on too long, and the fix was simply pushing a button with a screwdriver.

I bought it from, which has a lot of good information and useful reviews.

Beer Travel / Re: Things to do After the NHC.
« on: February 15, 2012, 02:39:25 AM »
I agree with all of the above comments. However, seriously look into Bellingham.

I went to college there, and thats where I learned about beer, so it will always have some sentimental bias, but it is a great town. If you only go downtown, there are 2 brewpubs, and one about a 20 minute drive outside.

Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro.
seriously, My wife and I take day trips to Bellingham for this place alone. It is in my mind exactly what a brewpub should be about. They have great beer, great local food, and they are awesome people. Their IPA is the most famous beer on their menu, and I believe it is worth it, its got a great balance. They are known for mostly American/British style ales. I also recommend the great northwest pizza, Salmon, Tomatoes and goat cheese on pesto sauce, you won't find that many places.

Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen
Will Kemper (of Thomas Kemper fame) is the head brewer/owner here, and built this to be a brewery that is the epitome of state of the art. They focus mostly on German Style lagers, but do pull an ale out here and there, and their malt profiles are some of the best I have tasted. They won Small Brewery of the Year at GABF in 2011, taking 2 golds (Kolsch and Helles) a silver and a bronze. I didn't find their food all that amazing, but it is solid fare.

The North Fork Brewery and Pizzeria, beer shrine and wedding chapel
Really, need I say more?

Also, Both downtown and Fairhaven are extremely walker friendly, and there is lots to do outside the city for outdoorsy types.

Playing Army, so no brewing, but quite a bit of drinking!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Your favorite glass
« on: February 05, 2012, 03:56:53 PM »

This is where my wife and I got our tulip glasses and we were really happy with them, and prompt delivery as well. They were the best prices on tulips we could find, but I don't know about stanges.

The Pub / Re: Mashing out a little early
« on: February 03, 2012, 08:59:18 PM »
Congrats! Get your relaxation in while you can! Your wife has like 3 days before she has to stop drinking again, right? Better get here a beer too!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brew shed advice
« on: February 01, 2012, 11:44:03 PM »
I don't have much information regarding the actual build, because I have to wait until I get a new house to build my brewery/man cave. However, regarding PBW and starsan, they are both safe to simply dump. The owner of 5-star has stated that starsan is not dangerous once the pH is raised. I use some of my remaining starsan on my indoor plants, because the phosphorus and other stuff in starsan is supposed to be beneficial to plants, the rest just gets dumped out on the lawn.

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