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Topics - erockrph

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Other Fermentables / Orange Drank
« on: April 12, 2014, 06:28:56 PM »
... aka Tangy Zizzle

The talk about Tang beers prompted me to throw this together. Technically, this is more of a "malt beverage" than a beer. I wasn't going to use Tang, but I've had this idea for a while for something along the lines of hard lemonade. The goal is to make a fermented & carbonated hard beverage, but leave behind a little sweetness so its not bone dry. I don't keg, so my way around this (hopefully) is to use DME for part of the fermentables, and use a wine yeast that doesn't attenuate malt sugar very well.

This recipe is very unscientific, but I just threw it together on a whim. If it works, then I can tweak it to taste next time around. I threw 12 ounces of Extra Light DME (what I had laying around in an open bag) into one gallon of cold water and shook the hell out of it until it was just about all dissolved. Then I added two lid-fuls of Tang powder (the proper amount for 1 gallon of Tang), and shook like mad. Then I sprinkled one packet of Lalvin 71B and put it in the basement.

I didn't take a gravity measurement, but the OG for the DME portion should be 1.032 or so. I'm going to assume that the yeast is going to eat all the sucrose and fructose from the Tang, so the FG will be whatever portion of the DME that the yeast can't eat. Once its done I'm going to bottle-prime to a fairly fizzy level and see what happens.

Ingredients / Don't try this at home
« on: April 04, 2014, 07:36:48 PM »
If you were ever wondering "how much hops is too much", I can say with certainty that 1 pound of hops in 0.8 gallons of wort is most definitely too much. Not necessarily from a flavor standpoint (time will tell), but from the simple physics of it.

Here's the wort right after the pound of hops went in at flameout. It was the consistancy of hot peanut butter:

Unfortunately, it only got thicker after chilling. This was the chilled wort in the kettle. You read that right, that chunky green stuff is wort:

Here's the squeezed-out liquid wort, right before pitching:

I'm not holding out high hopes for this one...

The Pub / False advertising at Disney World
« on: March 23, 2014, 05:33:16 PM »
I took this picture today in the Magic Kingdom. Much to my dismay, there was not a lambic to be seen anywhere.

Yeast and Fermentation / Bo Pils yeast strain recommendations?
« on: March 12, 2014, 08:11:26 AM »
I have a Bohemian Pilsner coming up soon on my brewing schedule. I've never brewed this style before and was wondering what everyone had for suggestions. It will be a bit on the hoppy side (surprise), and I'm going to be using Motueka for my hops, so I want a yeast that will let some of that lime zest/lemongrass character shine through. I've been looking at 2000, 2001 and 2278, but I'm open to any suggestions.

Also, any suggestions what to brew next after the Pils with that yeast? I already have a doppelbock going, so Baltic Porter seems like the obvious choice for a bigger lager. But I'm leaning towards thinking outside the box a bit and doing some experimenting.

General Homebrew Discussion / Highest OG for all-malt brew
« on: February 20, 2014, 01:31:24 PM »
No, this isn't a "my barleywine is bigger than yours" thread. But I was wondering how high everyone would be comfortable pushing the limits for an OG on a beer that used no simple sugars or incremental feeding or anything else of that sort. In other words, at what point would you be concerned that the OG would be so high that the beer had little chance at finishing out at a drinkable FG, and is more likely to stall out at the "alcoholic malt syrup" stage.

Here's my scenario that has me thinking about this. For my next beer I am brewing a barleywine using an iterated mash. Basically, for a 3-gallon batch, I am planning on mashing 8 lbs of grain around 160F (for a high Alpha rest), then pulling the grain bag, and replacing it with 8 more pounds of grain. I'm hoping this will get me down to Beta rest temps (148ish), where I will hold for a long mash to max out fermentability.

I'm using 60% as a ballpark effiency, which would give me something in the 1.125 range for an OG. The thing is, I've gotten as high as 86% efficiency on barleywines using 8 lbs of grain in the mash before. If that happens, then I'd be up over 1.170 for my OG. Even with a big pitch of yeast, followed by a second active starter pitched 7 days later, I have a hard time imagining that this would finish as low as I'd want.

What would you use for your upper limit for the OG on an all-malt barleywine?

Ingredients / Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« on: February 17, 2014, 09:44:37 AM »
So a while back I was given an Old Peculier clone recipe that allegedly comes from someone's "Brewlab training and analysis" prof after a trip to the Theakston brewery. It includes some brewing water parameters. I'm typically in the "keep it simple" school of thought when it comes to water adjustments and typically keep my adjustments on the low side. But this water is seriously hard, and I've never come close to putting this much mineral adjustment in my water.

So my question to those of you who have brewed with hard water is A) does this look right to you? and B) is this going to taste OK?

Pertinant details below:

Original recipe as I received it:

Pale ale malt - 71%
Crystal malt (does not specify which) - 3%
Torrified wheat - 7%
Sucrose - 18%
DD Williamson Caramel Syrup - 1%

30 IBU from magnum hops
Late hops with fuggle ( does not specify what time to add)

Sulphate - 400 mg/l
chloride - 200 mg/l
calcium - 170 mg/l
alkalinity - 25

The caramel syrup is caramel coloring (similar to what you would find in something like cola) as far as I can tell. I was going to sub with black treacle, but I couldn't get any in time so I'm using 50-50 Lyle's Golden Syrup and Molasses instead. Here's the recipe I'm going to brew:

Style Name: Old Ale
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 3.5 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.042
Efficiency: 80% (brew house)

Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: 1.017
ABV (standard): 5.12%
IBU (tinseth): 29.35
SRM (morey): 22.19

3.75 lb - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (69%)
8 oz - Lyle's Golden Syrup (9.2%)
6 oz - Torrified Wheat (6.9%)
3 oz - United Kingdom - Extra Dark Crystal 160L (3.4%)
2 oz - American - Midnight Wheat Malt - (late addition)  (2.3%) <--for color adjustment
0.5 lb - Molasses (9.2%)

0.6 oz - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.2, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 29.35
0.75 oz - Challenger, Type: Pellet, AA: 4, Use: Boil for 0 min
0.65 oz - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.2, Use: Boil for 0 min

1) Infusion, Temp: 153 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 16 qt, Sacc Rest

White Labs - Yorkshire Square Ale Yeast WLP037

Here's the adjustment I've come up with from Brunwater (note: I have pretty soft well water that I'm using for my base). I no-sparge, so this is all going into 4 gallons of mash liquor.

Gypsum - 6 grams
Epsom Salt - 4 grams
CaCl2 - 5 grams
Baking Soda - 1.6 grams

This is what Brunwater spits out as my water analysis:
Ca: 201ppm
Mg: 27 ppm
Na: 40ppm
SO4: 324ppm
Cl: 166ppm

This is way harder than any brewing water I've ever used before. Should I roll with this as-is, or should I scale it back a bit?

Ingredients / Red X malt (Best Malz)
« on: February 13, 2014, 03:01:53 PM »
Has anyone heard of/tried this one yet? It is 11-13L and says that it can be used up to 100% of the malt bill, so I'm wondering if this is some kind of reddish Munich malt.

Yeast and Fermentation / WLP037 - Yorkshire Square
« on: February 02, 2014, 09:48:16 AM »
I saw a vial of this at the LHBS, and since I still have about 30 pounds of MO in my basement, I thought I'd give it a try. I was wondering what everyone else's experiences have been with this strain. I've got some ideas of what to brew with it, but I haven't settled on anything definite yet. I'm thinking English Brown or Bitter > ESB or something similar to Old Peculiar > Barleywine.

So, some more specific questions:

Does anyone know what brewery it's from? Guessing Sam Smith's?

What fermentation temps do you recommend to get a nice fruity English ester character?

Since it's the Yorkshire Square strain, I was thinking of fermenting it "open" for the first few days (i.e., in a bucket with a mesh bag draped over the opening to keep critters out). Has anyone tried this? I've heard it increases esters - does that mean I should drop the fermentation temps a bit to compensate for this?

I've never top-cropped before, but this sounds like a good strain to start with. Any top-cropping recommendations with this yeast?

Beer Recipes / Dopplebock feedback
« on: January 03, 2014, 01:28:34 PM »
I'm working up to a dopplebock with a string of lagers. I'm a huge Celebrator fan, and while I'm not looking to clone it, I'd certainly be happy with a brew in that ballpark. I've never brewed one, but here's what I was thinking of brewing:

Title: Goatenator

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Doppelbock
Boil Time: 90 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 4 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.056
Efficiency: 80% (brew house)

Original Gravity: 1.075
Final Gravity: 1.019
ABV (standard): 7.41%
IBU (tinseth): 21.22
SRM (morey): 15.13

3.5 lb - German - Dark Munich (45.2%)
2 lb - German - Munich Light (25.8%)
1.5 lb - German - Bohemian Pilsner (19.4%)
0.5 lb - German - CaraMunich III (6.5%)
0.25 lb - Belgian - Aromatic (3.2%)

0.5 oz - Sterling, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.1, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 21.22
0.25 oz - Sterling, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.1, Use: Boil for 0 min

1) Infusion, Temp: 153 F, Time: 75 min, Amount: 17 qt, Sacc Rest

Wyeast - Octoberfest Lager Blend 2633

Yeast and Fermentation / Favorite lager strain?
« on: December 26, 2013, 05:00:16 PM »
Santa brought me a chest freezer for Christmas, so its time to start brewing lagers in earnest. I'm going to focus on malty German styles like Märzen and Dunkel to start. Anyone have any recommendations for a lager yeast for these styles?

All Grain Brewing / Turbid mash efficiency - how to account for starch?
« on: December 19, 2013, 08:07:31 PM »
Since one of the purposes of a turbid mash is to leave a bunch of starch behind for Brett to chew on during the long lambic fermentation, I was wondering how you account for this as far as how much contributes to the ABV of the finished brew. I would expect your OG to be low since you still have a lot of unconverted starch. But if you're still expecting Brett to ferment the starch, then your final ABV would be higher than predicted by your OG, right?

The reason I'm asking is because I brewed a batch of lambic wort yesterday. I didn't do a turbid mash, but I tried to approximate it by doing a short, high-temp mash on the pilsner malt portion of the grain bill. Then I did a separate steep using torrified wheat in place of unmalted wheat. I raised the temp on the steeped wort to the mid 190's, then ran off my mashed pilsner wort into it to hit mashout temps pretty much instantly. The goal is a starchy, dextrinous lambic wort without going through the whole turbid mash process.

So the one thing I didn't consider when I formulated the recipe was that I was going to have a super low OG because none of the wheat would be converted. I ended up with an OG of 1.027, which is pretty much right on the money if I hit my expected efficiency from the mashed pilsner malt, but got no contribution from the torrified wheat.

Now I'm starting to wonder whether I should add some DME to add a few gravity points, or if I should let it ride. I was shooting for the 4.5-5.5% ABV range. If I get about 50% "efficiency" from the starch from the steeped wheat then I'd be close enough to the ballpark I'm shooting for. Any thoughts?

Yeast and Fermentation / Quick turnaround on a beer for repitch
« on: December 15, 2013, 12:06:05 AM »
I generally leave all my beers in primary for at least 2 weeks by default, but I have a 70/- that I brewed last Tuesday that I need to get off the yeast after only 8 days. I'm using it to grow up a pitch for a Wee Heavy, and Wednesday is my only possible brew day for the rest of the year, and probably well into January.

Here's some more details:

I underestimated the boiloff a bit from the side boil and 120 minute main boil and ended up with 2.5 gallons at 1.042. I pitched 1 vial of WLP028 at 58F, then moved it to the 60F ambient section of my basement. It ramped itself up to 64F and had a thick krausen in less than 24 hours. After about 2.5 days I moved it to my 66F ambient section of my basement and it's been around 68F.

So I'm trying to figure out my best option. I've never used this yeast, but given it's vigorous fermentation at such a low temp, I'm thinking there's a good chance it might be done with a 1.042 beer within 8 days. But I have no way to flush a secondary with CO2, so I hate to assume it's going to be done only to find I need to give it more time at the last minute. If I think I'm going to need a secondary I'd prefer to rack while there's still a few points left so the last bit of fermentation can help purge the carboy.

So, does anyone have any thoughts on what my best plan of action is? Does anyone with experience with WLP028 know if it's likely to be finished with a beer of this gravity in a week?

I'm thinking of taking hydro samples the next 2 days. If it's done then I'm good. If it's not, then I'll rack it Monday night and bring it upstairs to warm up so some CO2 will come out of solution and help purge the carboy. If it's close to being done, then I'll bring it upstairs in the primary to try to get it to finish out.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Mikkeller Spontangoosberry
« on: December 13, 2013, 10:34:16 PM »
I've been a little disappointed by some of Mikkeller's sours in the past (they weren't sour enough for me), but when I saw their line of fruit lambics in the New Arrivals section at the liquor store I had to stock up. I'm cracking into the gooseberry one first, since I have a few gooseberry bushes and I've never seen it used in beer before. They definitely seem like they'd be a good fit in a lambic.

The beer pours up a real hazy gold with a tint of green. I could easily mistake it's appearance for a heavily dry-hopped IPA. The nose is lactic with lambicus funk. There is a hint of berry in the nose, but none of the muskiness I get off of my gooseberries.

The flavor is very lactic-forward. I took a small sip at first, but I took a full sip the second time and got a full-on pucker. I also get some tart green gooseberry flavor. Again, it's not as musky as the gooseberries I've tried, but the only bush I got a sizeable harvest from this year was a red gooseberry. And I let them get super ripe before I picked them. Green gooseberries are mainly just a blast of tartness, and that fits this beer well. The berries also leave an impression of sweet flavor, even though the beer itself is actually bone dry.

The Brett is barely there on the palate, but it's pretty prevalent on the nose. This leads to an aroma of lambic funk as you take a sip, but then a fairly clean sour as it finishes. It works really well in this beer. There is a faint lambic funk on the finish, and it pairs really well with the faint gooseberry muskiness that lingers through the finish.

All-in-all, this is a damn good fruit lambic. I could drink a lot of this. Now I'm really looking forward to the other Mikkeller sours I bought. I'm also really looking forward to brewing with some gooseberries next year...

The Pub / Sucker for the case discount
« on: December 12, 2013, 08:20:33 PM »
So I stopped in at a liquor store that generally has a decent bottle selection. It's a little out of the way for me, and the selection can be hit or miss depending on what I'm in the mood for. Today was a hit :)

I usually just mix one sixer, but today I ended up at the register with 20 bottles. Then the clerk said that the case discount was worth it, so here's my haul. Merry Xmas to me :)

Commercial Beer Reviews / Leinenkugel Big Eddy Wee Heavy
« on: November 22, 2013, 09:55:50 PM »
Maybe it's because my expectations are relatively low for a Leinenkugel brew, but I am legit blown away by this beer. The nose is deep toast with some toffee, raisins and maybe some cherries. The flavor is pretty complex. I get more cherries and raisins, along with a nice dark, toasted whole wheat bread note.

There are some rich caramel notes that hint at sweetness, but it is not cloying in any way. There is a little bit of tartness and some smokiness in the finish that balance out the sweetness perfectly. Because there are so many layers here you get fleeting notes of things like milk chocolate and scotch. And even though it clocks in at 9.5% ABV, it isn't boozy in any way. This beer is very drinkable, bordering on poundable.

After two sips this beer had me regretting that I don't drink Scottish ales more often. Belhaven used to be a staple in my fridge years back. Looks like a 70/- into a Wee Heavy will have to be on my brew docket this spring.

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