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Messages - alcaponejunior

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The Pub / Re: Lone Star Bock
« on: January 31, 2013, 03:53:14 PM »
Some of the HEB's have a single selection in or near the beer aisle.

Certain HEB's actually have a pretty good beer selection.  Saves me trips to Gabriel's (don't get me wrong tho, I still hit up Gabriel's whenever I can, especially for the Schmaltz brewery stuff).  The one on huebner and babcock ain't bad, and the one on bandera/1604 is actually sometimes pretty good.  A lot of the craft beers are even kept cold, especially at the bandera store.

The Pub / Re: Lone Star Bock
« on: January 31, 2013, 03:50:33 PM »
Alaskan amber isn't that great either.  Some of their beers are good but I'm not fond of that one. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash/Sparge H2O Amounts
« on: January 31, 2013, 03:42:16 PM »
I have the screen tube which I got from the LHBS.  This effectively makes the deadspace in my mash tun less than two cups of coffee.  Virtually everything drains.  No issues with clogging either. 

What advantage does the false bottom offer that I'm missing?

False bottom can be an advantage if you fly sparge.  The false bottom having holes across the entire surface is thought to lessen channeling.  For batch spargers, there's no real advantage.

Good answer.  I will keep that in mind when I eventually switch to fly sparging.  I'd need a different setup than I have now tho. 

OP: Couldn't you devise something with less dead space? 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash/Sparge H2O Amounts
« on: January 31, 2013, 01:52:23 PM »
I have the screen tube which I got from the LHBS.  This effectively makes the deadspace in my mash tun less than two cups of coffee.  Virtually everything drains.  No issues with clogging either. 

What advantage does the false bottom offer that I'm missing?

I usually pop one a bit early, "just to test it."  It's usually ready enough to enjoy but you can tell it's green and needs to condition longer.  I still drink it tho. :D

I prescribe a couple of beers for anxiety relief and patience enhancement. :D

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: DME vs LME
« on: January 30, 2013, 06:16:28 PM »
LME can be gotten in precise amounts from certain vendors or homebrew stores. 

LME can scorch if you don't immediately mix well.  In practice, as long as you mix well, this probably won't happen.

Taste wise I haven't personally noticed any difference.  Both work well.

DME is easier to store and weigh, and may have a longer shelf life.

When I was doing extract, i used both, sometimes in combination.  Seems like six of one, half dozen of the other.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Cigar City Jai Alai IPA
« on: January 29, 2013, 12:07:26 AM »
I've tried it several times, in bottles, and it's friggin' awesome. 

I wish I could get cigar city here.  I've only ever gotten it in trades.  Always impressed tho.

Ingredients / Re: El Dorado Hops
« on: January 29, 2013, 12:01:01 AM »
is it paypal only?  I placed an order today only to discover they didn't take credit cards or debit cards, paypal only.  Most annoying.  I can deposit into paypal but it's a nuisance and I haven't used it in a couple years.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hop Pellets
« on: January 28, 2013, 11:53:31 PM »
For hop pellets there is no reason not to put the directly in the kettle. No bag or gadgets needed!!!

The issue some of us have experienced with pellets is that when enough of them are used they will clog up just about any filter used in the kettle, including a false bottom. If you are using a filter device in your kettle the paint strainer bags are the way to go for larger quantities, and every system is different. For my false bottom setup I can just throw smaller pellet loads in, but for larger quantities I need to mix in some whole hops so a filter bed is set up. My new kettle will have a side pickup and I'll be whirlpooling to settle the debris in the center before draining rather than using a filter or false bottom. That said I'll continue to use the debris filter outside of the kettle so the gunk into the pump and chillers is reduced.

I have found that whole hops are easier to filter out at the end.  I use a big double strainer setup I got from a LHBS.  Works great with either, but pellets might fill it up once, thus you have to dump, re-sanitize, then finish the pour.  I've gone with and without hop bags.  Honestly, pellets or whole hops, it's easier to just dump 'em in the boil.  Even unfiltered, the hops debris settles with the trub.  If you rack carefully, you can still get pretty clear beer.  Maybe not perfect, but who brews homebrew to be perfect anyway?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: APA...Great Flavor...Poor Aroma
« on: January 28, 2013, 11:47:50 PM »
The majority of aroma is going to come in additions after the boil: Whirlpool and dry hop additions.

Everyone has their opinions on late/dry hop additions (times, temps, procedures), but however you do it - it needs to be done for hop aroma of any significance.

Pretty much this.  On batches that I haven't dry hopped or had significant late additions, low aroma.  On those that I have dry hopped and/or added lots of late / flameout additions... lots of aroma.

All Grain Brewing / Re: First all-grain, help me make a SMaSH APA recipe?
« on: January 28, 2013, 04:15:23 PM »
Well, I did it. Not exactly a SMaSH -- decided to throw some crystal in there for color/flavor/acid. I'll probably start monkeying with water chemistry in a few brews.

What have I learned?
(1) Hitting temperatures when it's 33F where you're working is kinda tricky. (Glad I didn't do it last weekend when it was more like 12F.  But chilling worked great!)
(2) I used too much water. My efficiency might actually have been OK if I measured it, but everything came out a bit dilute.
(3) My cooler keeps grains untouchably hot after the sparge is drained for several hours. But it takes a LOT to get it warmed up.

Can anyone link me to a quick tutorial on how to tune the temperatures needed to heat a mash tun? Even with preheating, my strike water temp wasn't even close at first. The thing weighs about 17lbs, for what it's worth.

Hitting strike temperatures is a toughie.  I'm on batch 8 of all grain and I still haven't pegged it.  I haven't had to deal with very cold or very hot weather yet either, mostly it's been between 55-65 degrees.  Beersmith II would be helpful, but you still have to dial things in.  I am getting closer tho, I'm usually within 2-3 degrees.

Water usage is another issue that you can't necessarily solve on your first or second batch.  Again, beersmith II has helped me, but in the end I've basically decided on using eight gallons per batch for reasonable OG batches.  Obviously if I make something high gravity, it may require more water.  For now, eight gallons has mostly been close to the right amount, with enough left over for starters, priming sugar etc.  Even then, on my last batch I had nearly a gallon left over. 

Using too much sparge water will leave you a little thin on your OG.  I've moved from using the precise amounts shown on beersmith to using "close" to the first amount, and adjusting the second sparge amount according to how much wort I have.  I have also been trying to almost completely drain before sparging.  The one time I followed the beersmith amounts directly, I came out seven points low, and when I had reached boil volume, there was still sparge water flowing.  Because of this, I assume that I wasn't draining completely enough before the next sparge step, and was using too much water.

My cooler keeps the grains quite hot too.  I only lose perhaps two degrees over 75 minutes of mashing, even with several stirs.  The spent grains remain very hot for a long time too.

Pre-heating your mash tun might be a good idea if you're dealing with greatly varying temperatures.  Near-freezing temps will obviously suck some energy out of your strike water, and you'll probably dial in your system easier if you don't have to deal with such big temperature fluctuations.  I have not been pre-heating, but I live in TX where it's pretty much always warm, if not damn hot, so this isn't as much of an issue for me. 

You CAN do a smash beer, but you don't have to, and honestly I'd probably have preferred the recipe you chose over a pure smash.  As I said earlier, my first beer was a smash and didn't come out like I expected.  It had plenty of head and body though, I used maris otter. ::D  It was good, just not what I expected!  Way maltier and not very hoppy (bitterness was fine, but lacked hop flavor).  FWIW it was a willamette/MO smash.

You're on the right path man, keep it up!

I also recommend some brewing software.  I use beersmith II and I think it was worth the money.  If anything, it's over-complicated, but it will certainly cover the issues and parameters you need, and then some.

I have yet to get the "cat pee" from any beer, homebrew or commercial, including hopslam.  Maybe I'm not that sensitive to that particular odor.

Ingredients / Re: Amounts
« on: January 21, 2013, 04:02:24 PM »
That's a pretty heavy dose of hops for a Saison. I haven't tried Belma hops yet, so it's hard for me to say what I think is the right level. Maybe someone else who has tried them could comment further.

If you're trying to stay true to style, you might want to consider dropping the crystal/caramel malts. You want this beer to have a bone-dry impression.

on belma hops, tasting notes from my belma IPA

I have drank four of them so far, and these comments are accurate from my perspective on the beer that I made.  I do think they'd go well in a saison, but I am basing this purely on speculation, not experience. 

These comments are part of the blog post with the full recipe I used.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale
« on: January 21, 2013, 03:55:26 PM »
It's not bad, although not outstanding either.  I am rather fond of Shiner bock, even tho it's not really an outstanding beer either.  So I was happy to see shiner moving in a new and interesting direction.  The pale ale is certainly quite drinkable, and pretty tasty.  I was happy to see shiner moving to hoppier, bolder beers, as most of their beers are quite mild.

I would certainly drink the wild hare again. 

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