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Topics - erockrph

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Yeast and Fermentation / WLP037 - Yorkshire Square
« on: February 02, 2014, 04:48:16 PM »
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, 08:28:34 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 27, 2013, 12:00:16 AM »
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 20, 2013, 03:07:31 AM »
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, 07:06:05 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 14, 2013, 05:34:16 AM »
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 13, 2013, 03:20:33 AM »
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 23, 2013, 04:55:50 AM »
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.

Commercial Beer Reviews / DFH Festina Peche
« on: October 30, 2013, 03:47:51 AM »
So maybe my palate for sours is skewed, but I was really disappointed when I tried this brew. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad beer. I'd rather kick down a few of these than Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat or Shock Top, but to me this tastes much more like a slightly acidic American Wheat Beer than a Berliner.

I definitely get a nice dose of peach aroma and flavor. What I'm missing is a nice lactic tang to make the fruit pop and get your mouth watering a bit. It's nowhere near as tart as I'd like, and the acidity is super clean. Bummer - guess I had different expectations here.

Ingredients / Spices for Winter Warmer - boil or steep?
« on: October 25, 2013, 06:11:13 PM »
So I'm planning on brewing my first winter warmer is a few days. I'm looking for something in the vein of Harpoon's Winter Warmer - a moderate gravity drinker, as opposed to a high-gravity sipper. I'm going to be spicing it with cinnamon and nutmeg, and I'm considering a touch of vanilla as well.

Normally I spice my meads and beers after primary fermentation is complete, but I'm looking for more of a mulled cider character from the cinnamon and nutmeg. I was thinking of adding the cinnamon and nutmeg at about 10 minutes before flameout, then adding a vanilla bean or two in secondary and racking off when the vanilla level hits the right balance.

Anyone have any thoughts or recommendations? I have some good quality whole nutmeg and ceylon cinnamon sticks, so I'm wondering how much of each to add to the boil to get a significant spice level without overdoing it.  I was also debating whether to boil some of my runnings down to a syrup in the vein of a scotch ale to get some caramelly notes, but I'm leaning more towards an ESB-like base with English Dark Crystal instead. Here's the recipe I have planned at the moment:

Title: Winter Warmer

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Holiday/Winter Special Spiced Beer
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 3.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 4 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.054
Efficiency: 80% (brew house)

Original Gravity: 1.062
Final Gravity: 1.018
ABV (standard): 5.75%
IBU (tinseth): 25.57
SRM (morey): 18.51

6.5 lb - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (90.4%)
6 oz - United Kingdom - Dark Crystal 80L (5.2%)
3 oz - United Kingdom - Extra Dark Crystal 160L (2.6%)
2 oz - United Kingdom - Chocolate (1.7%)

0.4 oz - Magnum, Type: Pellet, AA: 12.2, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 25.57

1) Infusion, Temp: 154 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 17 qt, Sacc Rest

White Labs - London Ale Yeast WLP013

Other Fermentables / Watermelon wine?
« on: October 14, 2013, 03:52:12 AM »
So this is mainly to share a recent observation and post some food for thought.

I've had a watermelon from my garden sitting on the counter since the first week of September. I just never got around to cutting it up. A couple of hours ago I hear "boom" coming from the kitchen. I didn't taste the resulting mess, but I did smell a pretty strong butterscotch aroma. Seems pretty clear that there was some sort of fermentation going on.

So of course the brewer in me instantly gets an idea. I'm thinking you could drill a hole that would hold an airlock, then use a marinade injector to pump in a yeast slurry into a few spots in the melon. Not sure what the results would be, but it would be a cool experiment. Maybe add some sugar or honey to boost the ABV a bit. Anyone ever try something like this?

The Pub / Through the Never
« on: October 01, 2013, 12:38:44 AM »
Any other Metallica fans out there? I just saw their new movie in IMAX 3D the other night and it blew my mind. The side story was kinda mediocre, but the concert footage was incredible. The cinematics were fantastic, and the sound in the IMAX was un-freaking-real. It was better than seeing them live. If you're even remotely interested in seeing this movie, do yourself a favor and see it at IMAX.

Beer Recipes / Belgian Amber Strong Ale
« on: September 23, 2013, 01:55:30 PM »
So I've decided to give WY3864 (Canadian/Belgian - aka Unibroue) a run as my house yeast for a while. It ferments remarkably clean at lower temps with a sizeable pitch of yeast. It plays nice in both hoppy and malty styles. But it always leaves a distinct character in the finish that I can pick out as "yep, that's Unibroue". I've always enjoyed blending styles a bit, so this should be fun to adapt some of my favorite recipes to make best use of this yeast.

I have a Belgian Pale Ale going now, so this one is destined for that yeast cake. I don't have a spare fridge at the moment, so I didn't get to brew a 'fest this year. This recipe is inspired by that rich base malt complexity that I get from my fave Ofests, but amped up to strong Belgian levels.

Title: Belgian Amber Strong Ale

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Boil Time: 90 min
Batch Size: 3.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 4 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.055
Efficiency: 80% (brew house)

Original Gravity: 1.088
Final Gravity: 1.020
ABV (standard): 8.86%
IBU (tinseth): 31.4
SRM (morey): 12.34

3 lb - German - Bohemian Pilsner (31.6%)
1 lb - German - Vienna (10.5%)
2 lb - German - Munich Light (21.1%)
1 lb - German - Munich Dark (10.5%)
0.5 lb - Belgian - Aromatic (5.3%)
0.5 lb - Belgian Candi Syrup - Amber - (late addition)  (5.3%)
1.5 lb - Cane Sugar - (late addition)  (15.8%)

0.8 oz - Sterling, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.1, Use: Boil for 90 min, IBU: 31.4
0.5 oz - Sterling, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.1, Use: Boil for 0 min

1) Infusion, Temp: 153 F, Time: 75 min, Amount: 18 qt, Sacc Rest

Wyeast - Canadian/Belgian Ale 3864

Yeast and Fermentation / Trub in an all-grain starter
« on: September 13, 2013, 07:24:49 PM »
I recently grew up a pitch of Wyeast Canadian/Belgian from a bottle I brewed last year. I'm a big fan of the yeast and it's a seasonal strain that's not scheduled for release any time soon, so I decided to keep it going for a while. I decided to save the last ounce or so of yeast slurry and add some of the final "runnings" I set aside from the Belgian Pale Ale I was brewing to restart the starter.

So now I have a starter with a huge amount of trub - approximately 3 times as deep as the yeast slurry was in my last starter (and the yeast hasn't even started to floc out yet). Has anyone done an all-grain starter and run into this before? Any idea how I should handle the trub? I'm not growing a starter for a particular batch at the moment, but I just wanted to stockpile some relatively fresh slurry in the fridge for use later this fall.

I was thinking of either:

A) Wash the yeast to separate it from the trub, then store in a loosely closed mason jar in the fridge until I'm ready to use it


B) Just say "screw it" and dump the slurry and trub all together into a mason jar in hopes that the layers will separate and I can pour mostly yeast slurry off the top when I go to pitch.

Any thoughts or other suggestions?

Ingredients / Wet hop sale
« on: September 03, 2013, 02:37:08 AM »
I saw this and thought I'd share for those who'd like to brew a wet hop beer but aren't growing their own.

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