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Messages - garc_mall

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I'm waiting to get paid to buy a kettle bigger than the 8 qt stock pot I have on hand, and I'm reading up.  I have a few questions.

My recommendation is to get a turkey fryer, which should come with a 30QT pot, thats what I use, and now I am looking to upgrade to a 40 or 60 QT pot.

1. I've been reading through "How to Brew" and it's definitely more enlightening than other references, but I got to section 5.4, hops measurement, and it says:
The gravity of the boil is significant because the higher the malt sugar content of a wort, the less room there is for isomerized alpha acids.

So why don't we boil the water and add hops while gravity is low, boil X amount of time before adding extract?  If the hops would make everything way too bitter, couldn't you just use less hops?  I'm assuming there's a good reason why everyone doesn't do this.

There has been some evidence that adding hops to boiling water extracts a vegetal(sp?) flavor which is noticeable. I have not tried this on my own though.

Next, I've read all about how secondary fermentation is not usually necessary, but I also have the 5 gallon glass carboy (feels like I ought to shove a u into that word) with my Christmas kit.  I like to experiment with variables, so what I'd *like* to do with my first batch is this: ferment 5 gallons in primary until the airlock slows down.  Then bottle a few, rack 1/2 of the remainder in a secondary fermentor, and leave the rest to sit in primary.  I also read though that lots of headspace in secondary may be a problem, and I suppose the same may be true of primary?  My intent would be to bottle from both primary and secondary the same day a week or so later.

Biggest problem with alot of headspace is that you will introduce oxygen and that can cause staling of the beer. If you do this as you are planning, you will probably not notice the difference. This is the reason that secondary is usually recommended against. It doesn't really offer any benefit, and the possibility of introducing oxygen or wild yeast/bacteria is an issue.

2. is this just asking for trouble, and assuming it is, how much trouble?

3. My basement is around 60 F - is that too cold to condition beer after bottling?  Everything says 65-75, preferably the low end, but what happens when it's too low?  Takes longer to finish?

If the beer gets too cold, the yeast will fall out of solution without fermenting the priming sugar. I doubt 60 F would be low enough for that, but it would take a bit longer to carbonate properly.

Last but certainly not least, welcome to the obsession.

The Pub / Re: Why hide behind a Alias?
« on: January 09, 2012, 06:42:37 PM »
I figured since I saw this show up, I would throw in my 2 cents. I use an "alias" on this forum (I put alias in quotes because I would guess most people can figure out my real name) and other forums because of my job (I work in US Army Intelligence). I don't really want everyone on the internet to figure out who I am, because some of them may be interested in finding me for reasons I am not interested. I guard this identity as much as I do my real identity, so I don't feel that I am hiding behind my alias.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« on: January 09, 2012, 05:56:56 PM »
one fermentation bucket, a plastic carboy, and a bottling bucket (with a spigot).

sounds to me like you can start at least two beers 8)


and I would recommend it as well, homebrew goes fast!

I would recommend starting the next batch sooner. It is amazing how fast good Homebrew goes.

Beer Recipes / Re: Sweet stout recipe recommendations
« on: January 08, 2012, 10:26:44 AM »
I do not have a whole lot of experience with milk stouts, I have had a few more commercial examples, but I thought I would point out that in last year's Jan/Feb issue, there is a chai-spiced milk stout recipe from Yak and Yeti in Arvada, CO. That will be my next beer, because the wife has demanded it. It calls for 1lb of Lactose and WY1728 Scottish Ale.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: A few newbie questions
« on: January 06, 2012, 11:47:59 AM »
In that case, some rehydration instructions suggest giving the yeast a bit of a sugar solution after they've rehydrated for a few minutes, others just say to use boiled/cooled water.  I'm not quite clear on what the circumstances are surrounding this -- are the instructions to give the yeast some food just there for when it's taking the wort forever to cool?

I have never had an issue just rehydrating, and adding to the wort. I usually wait until the wort is cool and in the fermenter before rehydrating though.

Yet another question (I told you, I'm full of them!)
Do I need gloves for handling the diluted Star-San?


By day I'm a microbiology grad student, so I'm probably used to handling more caustic stuff and needing a higher level of sanitation that is required here.  I'm obsessing about whether I need to disinfect the floor of the bathroom where I'm doing the fermentations...

Nope, the airlock will keep you safe there.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First time brewer needs help!
« on: January 05, 2012, 11:43:21 AM »
Brew your second batch before your first one is ready to drink. Trust me...   

+10 for sure

The first batch will run out sooner than you ever expect for 5 gallons. I would even recommend brewing your third batch before your first one is ready to drink...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First time brewer needs help!
« on: January 04, 2012, 02:02:29 PM »
Don't rush!  You'll be chomping at the bit to taste your first brew, but the longer you wait the better.  I usually keep my beers in the primary for at least 10 days, if not longer.  If at tasting time, you're not happy, let the beer condition in the bottle another week.  You'd be surprised how much the flavor can mature with time.


my recommendation is to buy quite a bit of craft beer (enough to last 3-4 weeks) about the time you brew. If you always have beer in the fridge, you will be able to wait as the beer matures. If you run out of beer, it will be too tempting to grab a homebrew that isn't done conditioning.

also, if your LHBS makes their own kits, you might find those to be really nice for your fist couple batches. If they are making their own kits, you won't have the issues you can get with kit beers (Old yeast, old extract, Kit and Kilo, etc)

Overall, welcome to the obsession, once you try your first homebrew, there is no going back!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Double Choc Stout help
« on: January 03, 2012, 11:06:16 AM »
If I were doing it, I'd probably have the black and roast barley add up to a half pound rather than a half pound of each.  But that's just me :)

me too, those can be quite overpowering

I agree with what everyone said so far, my 2 cents are:

 - Make sure you really get that wort moving when you are aerating. I usually plug the hole and pickup the carboy and really shake it good, foaming it up as much as I can.
 - Don't pitch the yeast until it is under 70. someone else posted this as well, but I feel like it needs to be emphasized.
 - When I topped off, I refrigerated my (boiled and cooled) water a couple hours before I started the brew, because it dropped the temperature of the wort from 90-100 down to 60-70. Those last 30 or so degrees are the hardest to get down.
 - Beating crystal malt with a rolling pin is a pain, I would recommend using the grain mill at the LHBS for the next batches. If you don't have a store that is close, you might be better off buying a grain mill for your home use.

First all grain batch today using my new converted 54Qt Coleman cooler. Its red, so I know its not quite up to par, but free is better than blue. Its a very sessionable ordinary Bitter, 1.035 Original Gravity Hopped strictly with EKG, my efficiency was only 70% but I'm not too worried given its my first all-grain batch. Looks like it should be done and ready for drinking within the month!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2011--> 2012
« on: January 01, 2012, 06:27:06 PM »
2011 - Started this year with a deployment, so spent the first 10 months reading, listening to podcasts, and planning my first batch. Successfully completed 5 extract batches (APA, N English Brown, Robust Porter, Brown Porter, IPA) all of them tasting great.
Joined the AHA
Joined the Cascade Brewers Guild

2012 - Move to All Grain (Success! Brewed a Special Bitter today)
Complete at least 30 Batches
Begin to dial in recipes of my favorite styles
Attend NHC in my Backyard
Enter at least 5 beers in competitions for the feedback
Purchase a fermentation freezer
Drink More Homebrew

The Pub / Re: woo hoo! We win!!!
« on: December 06, 2011, 12:33:05 PM »
I like that we took the top 15 slots. I think my favorite part is that they put Issaquah Plateau as their own city. Win.

Oh, and Denny, Eugene is right above Springfield on that list.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: My First Homebrew!
« on: December 05, 2011, 07:23:18 PM »
congrats, welcome to filled Saturdays and an ever growing collection of stuff...

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Help with my first homebrew frementation
« on: December 04, 2011, 09:15:09 PM »
looks like just a vigorous fermentation. I would just clean out and replace the airlock, and think about getting a blow-off tube for further batches. Its not a big deal, I have had a few batches blow through the airlock, and they all turned out fine. With that vigorous of a fermentation, everything is pushing out, so nothing should be able to get in. Also, The Kraeusen forms a barrier to nasties getting in, thats why open fermentation is still able to produce a good beer with attention paid to sanitation.

Long Story Short, RDWHAHB (Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew) or commercial beer in your case.

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