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Messages - topher.bartos

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: A few ideas for better beer.
« on: March 04, 2013, 02:14:19 AM »
When I brewed my 1st batch of all-grain 100% pale malt, I got a really astringent beer. I immediately looked at my water.

I got a water report from Ward Labs and realized that my water is okay for brown, porter or stout beers. So, I know how important water is. I just need a good way of checking it based on my water report so I think Bru'n Water is definitely what I'm going to look into for next batch.

Aeration is pretty minuscule on my end. I might pour my wort into a carboy and it bubbles up, but I think I should definitely add more O2.

I've never made a yeast starter. I just throw in some yeast and let it do what it does. I just recently bought Yeast by Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff and I realize now that as a brewer I just make food for the brewer. The yeast need to be healthy.

Which brings me to temperature. If I make sure my yeast is healthy and strong with enough O2 and at a temperature that inhibits off-flavors I think my beer would be much better.

So, these things I'm going to be trying in the next couple batches to see what I can produce.

Thanks for the replies! I really appreciate it.

General Homebrew Discussion / A few ideas for better beer.
« on: March 04, 2013, 12:39:10 AM »
I have a few ideas that I personally need to do for better beer. Please send me some suggestions.

1. Aeration system (aquarium pump / stone)

2. Yeast starter (using or wyeast calculator)

3. Cooler fermentation temps (fridge / water tub / lowering my apartment temp, etc.)

4. Bru'n Water / 5.2 pH stabilizer (does this work) / John Palmers Nomograph

I think all these are very important but I haven't really worried about them because I was worrying more about mash efficiency more than anything else.

My question: Should I try these all at once or should I do each one one at a time?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I need a palate
« on: March 02, 2013, 02:54:34 AM »
I don't know if I had a question. I'm just saying I don't believe in my own taste. So, I would like to find some 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th opinions...

General Homebrew Discussion / I need a palate
« on: March 02, 2013, 02:10:50 AM »
My palate needs prepping before I can taste any subtle flavors in beer. I'm not a BJCP judge so I'm not trained in beer flavors and off-flavors, etc.

I know what good beer tastes like, but only when I prep my palate with a wide range of tastes (or beers), is when I can really taste the subtle nuances of beer.

I've been brewing since 2005 and I just started doing all-grain a few months ago and now I'm absolutely obsessed. I just submitted a beer in the NHC for the first time. This will be my very first beer competition. I think I make really good beer for a brand new all-grain brewer. I don't have a lot of control over my fermentation process. I still don't have a good aerator, I don't have a stir plate, I don't have a good way of controlling temperature (YET), but I still make pretty good beer.

Even typing that makes me think that's far-fetched. So, I need a palate. I need somebody to judge my beers and tell me what is wrong with it. I want to become a better brewer. I want to become the best brewer.

Please help a homebrewer out!

All Grain Brewing / Re: My First Batch Sparge
« on: February 26, 2013, 02:45:02 AM »
I might be wrong but just because you get a couple more points from 190F sparge water doesn't mean it's fermentable. Has anybody tried using lower sparge water temperatures and holding it longer before collecting runnings?

Kegging and Bottling / Super Hoppy Irish Red Ale.
« on: February 24, 2013, 08:08:43 PM »

This is a super hoppy Irish Red Ale that I just bottled. It's unbelievably clear. It's the clearest beer I've ever bottled.

My question is is there enough yeast in such a clear beer for carbonation? Should I have pitched more yeast prior to bottling?

My FG was right around 1010 - 1012 and fermented for about 3 weeks.

All Grain Brewing / Re: My First Batch Sparge
« on: February 18, 2013, 04:36:09 PM »
From John Palmer's How to Brew Chapter 17:

"Sparging is the rinsing of the grain bed to extract as much of the sugars from the grain as possible without extracting mouth-puckering tannins from the grain husks. Typically, 1.5 times as much water is used for sparging as for mashing (e.g., 8 lbs. malt at 2 qt./lb. = 4 gallon mash, so 6 gallons of sparge water). The temperature of the sparge water is important. The water should be no more than 170°F, as husk tannins become more soluble above this temperature, depending on wort pH. This could lead to astringency in the beer."

All Grain Brewing / Re: My First Batch Sparge
« on: February 18, 2013, 04:15:56 PM »
A mashout really doesn't matter in batch sparging, and unless you hold a temp of 170 for 20 min. or more you aren't really doing one.  I usually use sparge water around 185-190F so that I can be sure I've gotten complete gelatinization and conversion, not for a mashout.

I thought you don't want your water to be higher than 170 to prevent extracting tannins...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Green Beer Question
« on: February 12, 2013, 08:58:47 PM »
Good news.

I put some bottles of my two green beers in the fridge for about 24 hrs or so... and they are definitely getting better. They are much more drinkable now! I was getting scared there for a second.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Green Beer Question
« on: February 12, 2013, 07:03:31 AM »
That's part of the "clean up" post attenuative phase. It can last longer depending on yeast health, beer strength and how cool the overall fermentation temp was. One way to combat this is to raise the temp of the beer several degrees towards the end of this stage. Another is to wait more days if you have less control over ferm temps.

To me it really doesn't taste like apple but like raw pumpkin- which I think is absolutely disgusting in beer.

I agree, but will it clear up in the bottle? Or, will it only clear up in the primary?

General Homebrew Discussion / Green Beer Question
« on: February 12, 2013, 01:52:17 AM »
I have a stupid question about green beer.

I've heard mix opinions about green beer. I know it's acetaldehyde that gives it's green apple / tart flavor. But where I have a misunderstanding is when yeast starts transforming acetaldehyde back to ethanol.

I've heard you should keep the beer in the primary for a week (or more) longer than usual to give the yeast some time to metabolize the acetaldehyde because once you take it off the trub there is nothing you can do about it. But also, I've heard that you can just condition it in the bottle for a few weeks and the same thing will occur.

So, what is the best way to go about the acetaldehyde? I brewed some extract batches that had that green apple taste but because I was young and inexperienced, I'd drink it thinking it was just how extract homebrew tastes. But, now I'm not convinced.

What do you think?

Equipment and Software / Re: Aeration Systems
« on: February 11, 2013, 06:55:05 PM »
Thanks everyone.

I'm going to find a nice something or other for aeration and pitch a starter. Let that beer sit in the fermentor longer than I usually do to promote the yeast to clean all their crap up before I bottle.

Also, I'm going to start using Bru'n Water. I started to play around with it and it seems pretty straight forward.

Hopefully, my next batch will taste more like beer and less like sour apples.

I appreciate all the help!

Equipment and Software / Re: Aeration Systems
« on: February 11, 2013, 06:26:20 PM »

As for the water, do you have an analysis of your tap water or do you plan to build it from RO?  And have you downloaded Bru'n Water? 

I recently got my water analysis back from Ward Labs. I have not yet downloaded Bru'n Water. I usually just add a Campden Tablet and a teaspoon of Gypsum simply because my Calcium is a bit low.

Where can get Bru'n Water?

Equipment and Software / Re: Aeration Systems
« on: February 11, 2013, 06:01:29 PM »

Why concerned?

I use either a mixstir attachement for a cordless drill (like a paint stirrer, in fact you can USE a paint stirrer) or lateley I have been sanitizing my balloon whisk and just going at it.

My beers are very green apple-y (acetaldehyde) and sort of puckering at the end. Generally, I make Stouts and IPAs and never really had that problem before because the flavors are usually hidden by dark malts or lots of hops. But, now I'm making session beers and it's simply frustrating. So, I have a few ideas of what it might be:

1. Young / Green beer. I'm going to age it a little bit to see what happens.
2. Unhealthy yeast. I'm going to try to create a yeast starter and increase aeration.
3. Water problems / mash pH problems. I'm going to try different brewing salt additions to my water to see if I can get the pH under control.

I'm would like to do one thing at a time so I can see what the true problem is....

If you have any ideas, let me know!

Equipment and Software / Aeration Systems
« on: February 11, 2013, 05:41:59 PM »
I've been very concerned about my level of pre-fermentation aeration. I feel it is lacking.

Does anybody know of any good / affordable aeration systems or aquarium pumps or something else.


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