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Topics - robertpreed

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Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast Starter Temp Question
« on: December 16, 2011, 01:53:25 PM »
Next week we will be brewing an IPA that has a pretty large OG of 1.072.  From looking at the Mr. Malty site, that means either a starter or 2.7 smack packs.   We did not use a starter on our first two much lower gravity ales and I have a question on the starter I would like to ask.

I have a 2L pyrex cone beaker that I was going to use for the starter.   I will be fermenting the wort at about 60-62 degrees and I was wondering should my starter be made at that same temp or at "room temp" (70-72 degrees)?    My guess is 60-62, but I wanted to ask the experts.

Thank you.

Equipment and Software / How Often to Replace Plastic Tubing?
« on: December 11, 2011, 11:33:03 PM »
How frequently do you all replace your plastic racking tubing?     

I clean and sanitize it after each use and my tubing always gets cloudy after even one use (must be the very hard Houston water).    I can smell the faint aroma of beer on the cleaned tubing.

Thank you.

Other Fermentables / For Meads, Pasturized or UnPasturized?
« on: November 17, 2011, 02:16:20 PM »
I plan on making 3 gallons of the "Joe's Ancient Orange Mead" and it calls for honey.

Do I want pasturized or unpasterized for mead?   The recipe does not call for adding any campden tablets, or any other type ingredients.

Thanks all.

P.S.   My guess is unpasterized (that you mix with warm water to "pasturize it" yourself) as on the Norther Brewer website, under Meads its has two unpasturized honeys listed.

Other Fermentables / Joe's Ancient Mead Recipe?
« on: November 16, 2011, 03:52:30 PM »
As my Ale is sitting in secondary waiting to be bottled after Thanksgiving, I was talked into making some cider for my non-beer drinking friends.   Taking the advise on a previous CIDER thread and what I found via google, I am going to make an apple cider, tart cherry, honey cider on Friday.

Someone else pipes up, "hey, what about making wine or mead?".   Living in Houston, we do not have cellars/basements and without getting a FOURTH fridge, making wine would be impractical.  However, looking around at mead recipes, I see that mead would be totally practical.

I've seen a lot of references to "Joe's Ancient Mead Recipe" and most of the comments in various forums seem to be, "not a bad little mead".

Has anyone tried it or are they any comments from the more experienced mead folks out there?   I was thinking this might be fun to try one gallon.


Ancient Orange Cinnamon & Clove Mead

This is one I have shared before but it may have got lost in the rebuild. It is so simple to make and you can make it without much equipment and with a multitude of variations. This could be a first Mead for the novice as it is almost fool proof. It is a bit unorthodox but it has never failed me or the friends I have shared it with. Wikdwaze, you might like this one better than your Chancers since it will be both sweet, complex and tastey.

1 gallon batch

3 1/2 lbs Clover or your choice honey or blend (will finish sweet)
1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller rind and all)
1 small handful of raisins (25 if you count but more or less ok)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole clove ( or 2 if you like - these are potent critters)
optional (a pinch of nutmeg and allspice )( very small )
1 teaspoon of Fleismanns bread yeast ( now don't get holy on me--- after all this is an ancient mead and that's all we had back then)
Balance water to one gallon

Use a clean 1 gallon carboy

Dissolve honey in some warm water and put in carboy

Wash orange well to remove any pesticides and slice in eights --add orange (you can push em through opening big boy -- rinds included -- its ok for this mead -- take my word for it -- ignore the experts)

Put in raisins, clove, cinnamon stick, any optional ingredients and fill to 3 inches from the top with cold water. ( need room for some foam -- you can top off with more water after the first few day frenzy)

Shake the heck out of the jug with top on, of course. This is your sophisticated aeration process.

When at room temperature in your kitchen. Put in 1 teaspoon of bread yeast. ( No you don't have to rehydrate it first-- the ancients didn't even have that word in their vocabulary-- just put it in and give it a gentle swirl or not)( the yeast can fight for their own territory)

Install water airlock. Put in dark place. It will start working immediately or in an hour. (Don't use grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away in the 90's)( Wait 3 hours before you panic or call me) After major foaming stops in a few days add some water and then keep your hands off of it. (Don't shake it! Don't mess with them yeastees! Let them alone except its okay to open your cabinet to smell every once in a while.

Racking --- Don't you dare
additional feeding --- NO NO
More stirring or shaking -- Your not listening, don't touch

After 2 months and maybe a few days it will slow down to a stop and clear all by itself. (How about that) (You are not so important after all) Then you can put a hose in with a small cloth filter on the end into the clear part and syphon off the golden nectar. If you wait long enough even the oranges will sink to the bottom but I never waitied that long. If it is clear it is ready. You don't need a cold basement. It does better in a kitchen in the dark. (like in a cabinet) likes a little heat (70-80). If it didn't work out... you screwed up and didn't read my instructions (or used grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away) . If it didn't work out then take up another hobby. Mead is not for you. It is too complicated.

If you were sucessful, which I am 99% certain you will be, then enjoy your mead. When you get ready to make a different mead you will probably have to unlearn some of these practices I have taught you, but hey--- This recipe and procedure works with these ingredients so don't knock it. It was your first mead. It was my tenth. Sometimes, even the experts can forget all they know and make a good ancient mead.

Enjoy, Joe

Other Fermentables / Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
« on: November 15, 2011, 01:54:04 PM »
Surprisingly, not all my friends like beer (I know, I should reconsider my friends) and some have asked me about brewing something like hard cider in addition to beer.

The variety of recipes I see on this site (that were very carefully put together in a very useful manner) and from google have a wide range of ingredients and techniques.   Most of them call for making 5-6 gallons of the stuff which is far more than I want to make for something as a side project.

I looked at and I see that Mr. Beer makes a cider kit that makes 2 gallons at a time.  Now I imagine the Mr. Beer kit to Cider is as the Mr. Beer kit is to beer.   That is, there will be some things that you will want to adjust from their standard recipes.

Has anyone tried using their kit and does it produce a passable hard cider?


I really just want to brew 1-2 gallons at a time.

General Homebrew Discussion / Extract Kit Boil Volume Question
« on: November 14, 2011, 08:39:40 PM »
I have an Irish Blonde Ale that is in secondary fermentation and despite some misgivings on brew day, seems to be doing well.   In the kit, it has me boil 2.5 gallons of water and use cold water to fill up fermenter to 5 gallons.   I had a brain fart and only boiled with 2 gallons, so the brew is more of a red head than a blonde, but I do not think that will alter the flavor greatly in a negative way.   Hey, it is my first brew after a 10 year layoff due to moving to Houston.

Anyway, I was wondering if I boiled more volume (say 4/5 gallons) would that be a good thing, neutral thing, or bad thing for my next extract kit from Northern Brewer?


General Homebrew Discussion / Does Using a Strainer Reduce Trub in Primary?
« on: November 14, 2011, 04:25:52 PM »
In almost every book or article, they point out how important it is to not let a lot of trub into the primary fermenter and that the trub appears as "silt" in the cooled wort in the brew pot.

My question is, I NEVER see anything like silt with a flashing neon sign that reads "TRUB".   Am I overlooking the obvious?

I strain all of my beer through a funnel and strainer and remove the beer from primary to secondary after a week to get the beer away from all the junk in the bottom of the primary.

Should I just relax and not worry, or is there something else I could/should be doing?

Thank you.

Yeast and Fermentation / Pitching 2 Smack Packs vs Creating a Starter
« on: November 11, 2011, 03:16:34 PM »
Please forgive me if this is a really newbie question.......

For some higher gravity ales, it is recommended to make a yeast starter which will increase the number of yeast cells from roughly 100 billion to 200-250 billion.    Wouldn't pitching two 100 billion count smack packs do approximately the same thing?   Would that be acceptable.

Thank you.

PS.   I read in John Palmer's book about pitching two smack packs and this led me to believe this was about the same as doing a starter.

Kegging and Bottling / Bottling Carbination Methods Info Overload
« on: November 07, 2011, 06:39:10 PM »
In about three weeks I will be bottling my first batch of homebrew in about ten years, and I have been getting information overload on carbinating in the bottles.   I used to use 6 primetab pills per my 16 oz Grolsch bottles, but I see that product is no longer even made.   I see things like Cooper's Carbination drops (1 per 12 oz, can 1 be used for 16?), Conditioning tabs, Corn Sugar, etc it is starting to boggle my mind.

I am guessing if I want to use the tablets, I will need some combination of them and that seems silly.   

So, it is better to use tablets, or the 5 oz packages of corn sugar and use a bottling bucket?   I am assuming the 5 oz packages are the right size for a 5 gallon batch?

Thanks guys.

General Homebrew Discussion / Did I Just Ruin My Wort?
« on: November 07, 2011, 01:53:02 PM »
It's been ten years since homebrewing (I know!) and I brewed an Irish blonde ale on Sunday.   There are a couple of things that happened that I am worried may have a bad impact on my wort as it is fermenting.   Can you let me know what you all think.

1.   As I was taking the temp of my wort as it was cooling off to 100 degrees, I noticed that my stupid floating brew thermomether had the tip broken and some of those little lead pellets made it to the bottom of my wort.   Now, since they sank to the bottom of the brew pot, non ended up in the glass fermenter, but I am wondering if they could have contaminated the wort and give off odd flavors.

2.   This one I am worried about.   I added water to fill up to 5 gallons, however due to a math error, I ended up with wort that was about 60 degrees when I pitched the yeast in there.   So it did not start fermenting right away, it is fermenting now.   RIGHT after I pitched, I realized I had forgotten to airate the wort.   Since I knew the yeast would not have started ferementing yet, I decided to go ahead and airate for a minute.    Now, will this impart any off flavors, or since the wort was too cold for the yeast, did I luck out?

Thank you all for your thoughts and comments.

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