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Topics - erockrph

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Commercial Beer Reviews / Hanssens Lambic Experimental Cassis
« on: December 22, 2012, 09:32:00 PM »
I've had some good luck with Hanssens before (their Oud Gueze is phenominal), so when I saw their black currant lambic I had to give it a try. I just planted currants last year and I'm looking for something to do with the black ones in particular.

I haven't met a lambic I didn't like, but this one is pretty meh for me. The carbonation just isn't there, and the aroma is like being assaulted with a horse blanket. The berry flavor is overwhelmed by funk, and the acidity could stand to be kicked up a notch.  Still, you can tell that the pieces would fit together really well if the balance was a bit different. The tannins from the currants are a good fit to a sour like this. If you roll back the funk, up the acidity and get the carb level right, this would be one hell of a brew. I'm thinking that my black currants will be getting a sour-wort Berliner weisse racked over them this fall.

Other Fermentables / Maple Wine
« on: November 27, 2012, 11:56:32 AM »
I've been starting to get an itch to brew a Maple Wine lately. Anyone here have any experience with one? I'm thinking of handling it exactly like a sack mead: Mix in enough water to target OG of 1.150; mix the hell out of it to aerate, pitch 71B rehydrated with GoFerm, staggered nutrient additions & degassing, etc. Does this sound reasonable?

I'll hit up a couple of my local sugar shacks until I find the best Grade B syrup I can get my hands on and hope I can score a bulk discount.

Yeast and Fermentation / Long-term sour starter
« on: October 30, 2012, 08:56:30 PM »
After spending the summer doing some tasty research, I've picked a few commercial sour brews that I want to use to start my "house culture". I made a couple of liters of starter wort which is now sitting in my newly-designated "dregs bucket", and pitched some Girardin dregs a little while ago. I plan on slowly adding dregs from a few different beers over the next few months and will probably brew my first sour beer using this starter in the early spring.

Does anyone have any tips on how to manage a house culture like this? I'm planning on pitching about half when I use it and topping off with fresh wort. I'm kind of wondering what to do if I get a pellicle. I'll probably be pitching new dregs every few weeks - do I not want to mess with it if I get a pellicle? Can I still pitch from it if I have an active pellicle?

All Grain Brewing / Boiling down runnings
« on: October 19, 2012, 09:19:13 PM »
I'm starting to think about brewing a spiced beer for the holidays (something similar to Harpoon Winter Warmer). I've also been wanting to try out the technique of pulling off some of the first runnings, boiling it down to a syrup, then adding it back to the boil. I figure this would be a good style of beer to try it with. I had a few questions about how I should go about this.

I found an old clone recipe from BYO with the following grain bill:

9.33 lb 2-row
2 lb C-90
0.5 lb Carapils
OG=1.056 / 5 gallon recipe

I'm thinking I would want to cut the crystal malt down by quite a bit, since I would be getting a lot of the caramel flavor from the reduced syrup. Any idea by how much? Also, how much should I pull off to boil down to a syrup?

I typically do a full-volume mash with no sparge. Am I better off doing a batch sparge instead to get more concentrated first runnings?

All Grain Brewing / How fast do enzymes denature?
« on: October 19, 2012, 08:40:15 AM »
I just mashed in on a porter and overshot my mash temp by quite a bit. I was shooting for 156 and I was at 162 after stirring in my grain. I threw in several handfuls of ice and was able to get my temps down to 156, but I'd say about 10 minutes went by before I got the temp down. Was this long enough at the higher temps to have a significant effect on enzyme activity?

Other Fermentables / Sulfur aroma in cider
« on: October 15, 2012, 08:22:55 AM »
Two weeks ago I started my first batches of hard cider. They were one gallon each of pressed cider from a local orchard, plus pectic enzyme and about 1/4 packet of T-58. I didn't add any sugar or adjuncts, OG=1.048. Fermented at 66F. They dropped clear in 14 days, gravity = 1.000. I racked them both to secondary and added 1/2 oz of Nelson Sauvin as dry hops to one of the batches.

I was a bit worried how it would turn out as the unfermented cider tasted super sweet and (seemingly) without much acidity to balance it out. The gravity sample tastes fantastic, however. It is pretty tart and has a nice apple flavor to it. I'd carb and bottle it right now, except for one small issue. There is still quite a powerful sulfur aroma. Will this age out? Would I have been better off leaving this in primary on the yeast? Should I raise/lower the temp to clear this out? Thanks for any help.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Bacchus
« on: October 12, 2012, 08:47:18 PM »
I'm drinking this beer now and I'm pretty underwhelmed. I've had some great beers from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck (Kasteel Rouge is excellent, and Gueuze Fond Tradition is right up there with Girardin IMO), but this one falls a bit flat for me. It is way undercarbonated for a sour, and I don't really pick up a lot of complexity from either Brett or malt. I generally prefer lambics and Flanders reds, but I've still had some good Oud Bruins that have some nice somplexity to fill in what they're lacking in tartness (Petrus Oud Bruin, for example).

Beer Recipes / Hoppy Belgian Ale
« on: October 10, 2012, 08:01:47 AM »
Wyeast has released the Unibroue strain (3864), so it's time to start planning some Belgian brews. I'm planning on doing a moderate gravity beer to propagate for an eventual BDS down the line. I figured this would be a good chance to try out the combo of Caliente hops with Special B & Dark Candi Syrup, so I'm shooting for sort of a hoppy Belgian Amber.

Does anyone have any tips for brewing hoppy Belgian ales (like a Belgian IPA, for example)? I'm thinking I should shoot for the low 60's for a fermentation temp to keep the yeast character subdued. I'm also planning on keeping most of the IBU's as FWH and late additions to keep the bitterness under control. The Unibroue yeast has such a dry finish that I don't think a really sharp bitterness would work too well.

Here's my first pass at a recipe. Comments/suggestions are always appreciated.

Title: Belgian Hoppy Amber

Brew Method: BIAB
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons
Boil Size: 3.5 gallons
Efficiency: 80%

Original Gravity: 1.051
IBU (tinseth): 43.37
SRM (morey): 16.55

4 lb - Pale Ale (78.7%)
0.5 lb - Dark Munich (9.8%)
0.33 lb - Belgian Candi Syrup D-180 (late addition)  (6.5%)
0.25 lb - Special B (4.9%)

0.5 oz - Motueka (AA 7.4), Type: Pellet, Use: First Wort
0.35 oz - Motueka (AA 7.4) for 60 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
0.25 oz - Motueka (AA 7.4) for 15 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
0.2 oz - Caliente (AA 15.3) for 5 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil
0.5 oz - Caliente (AA 15.3) for 0 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil
1 oz - Caliente (AA 15.3) for 7 days, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Dry Hop
0.5 oz - Motueka (AA 7.4) for 7 days, Type: Pellet, Use: Dry Hop

1) Infusion, Temp: 160 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 18 qt, Sacc Rest

Wyeast - Canadian/Belgian Ale 3864

Rack to fermenter through Caliente hopback.

Ferment low 60's. Rack to secondary for dry-hopping.

Ingredients / Single Hopped beer tasting notes
« on: September 26, 2012, 04:56:20 PM »
I recently did a bunch of single-hopped Pale Ales to test out some hop varieties that I've been sitting on for a while. I thought I'd share my tasting notes, since a lot of these hops are either fairly new, or at least relatively uncommon in my travels. If anyone else has tasting notes from single-hopped beers of their own that may be useful, feel free to add them as well.

Here's my base recipe that I used for all of these batches. It's just a fairly basic extract low-gravity APA. The goal was to maximize hop flavor and aroma. Refer to the notes at bottom for details on how I handled the hop additions.

Tasting notes will be posted separately as replies when I taste each batch.

Title: Extract Pale Ale (Base Recipe)

Brew Method: Extract
Style Name: American Pale Ale
Boil Time: 15 min
Batch Size: 0.8 gallons
Boil Size: 1 gallons
Efficiency: 70%

Original Gravity: 1.046
Final Gravity: 1.014
ABV (standard): 4.17%
IBU (tinseth): 41.46
SRM (morey): 4.97

0.5 lb - Dry Malt Extract - Extra Light (53.3%)
0.375 lb - Liquid Malt Extract - Munich (40%)
0.0625 lb - Maltodextrin (6.7%)

0.2 oz - Hop Shot (AA 12.8), Type: Pellet, Use: First Wort
0.25 oz - Hop Shot (AA 12.8) for 0 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
0.5 oz - Hop Shot (AA 12.8) for 7 days, Type: Pellet, Use: Dry Hop

0.5 each - Whirlfloc, Time: 15 min, Type: Fining, Use: Boil
0.5 g - Gypsum, Time: 15 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash
2 drops - FermCap-S, Time: 15 min, Type: Other, Use: Boil

Wyeast - London ESB Ale 1968

Make starter & pitch measured amount of slurry. (15mL)

Begin bringing water to boil. Add extract, Fermcap and gypsum. Add "FWH" as temp hits 120-140F. At boil, add whirlfloc.

For Munich LME - 1/2 cup = 6oz.

For Maltodextrin - 6 TBSP = 1.5 oz

(Target 40-45 IBU's from FWH addition calculated as a 20-minute add. Flameout addition = 1/4 oz. Dry Hop w/ 1/2 oz for 10 days)

Ingredients / Making a Custom Hop Blend
« on: September 15, 2012, 10:27:17 AM »
I've been wanting to make a couple of custom hop blends for a while now. Now that I've had a chance to brew with the hops in my stockpile that I wasn't really familiar with, I'm ready to throw one together. Has anyone else done this? Any pointers?

My biggest concern is that since I am working with hops that are already in pellets, I may get some inconsistency from one addition to another. I'm hoping that since I plan on using this for late additions (and therefore in larger quantities - like 1/2oz or more at a time), that should keep my additions fairly homogenous. I was also planning on going over the pellets lightly with a rolling pin. I don't want to crush it to a powder, but I'm hoping to break some of the bigger chunks into smaller pieces. I'm planning on letting it sit at room temp for a week or so to try to let the flavors meld a bit before I throw it back in the freezer.

Here's what I'm planning. Any suggestions or critiques are more than welcome.

Average AA%11.35
Total Weight in Oz27
Hop NameAA%Ounces in blendPercentage of total blend
Nelson Sauvin12.1518.52%
Sorachi Ace12.627.41%

Beer Recipes / Roast porter
« on: September 06, 2012, 11:37:34 AM »
I'm a huge fan of Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter, and I want to brew something similar for a winter session beer. The beer has a huge roasted flavor, a nice hoppiness but still goes down real easy. They have a lot of info (ingredients, IBU's & ABV) on their website, so I figured I'd take a first pass at cloning it.

This is my first time designing a recipe that uses this much roasted malt, so if anyone has feedback I'll take it.

Title: Stovepipe Porter Clone

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Robust Porter
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons
Boil Size: 3.5 gallons
Efficiency: 80%

Original Gravity: 1.045
Final Gravity: 1.013
ABV (standard): 4.29%
IBU (tinseth): 29.48
SRM (morey): 27.14

2.5 lb - Pale 2-Row (52.6%)
1 lb - Munich Light (21.1%)
0.5 lb - Caramel / Crystal 60L (10.5%)
0.3 lb - Chocolate (6.3%)
0.25 lb - Carapils (Dextrine Malt) (5.3%)
0.2 lb - Roasted Barley (4.2%)

0.15 oz - Nugget (AA 14) for 60 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
0.5 oz - Cascade (AA 6.5) for 15 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
0.5 oz - Willamette (AA 5) for 5 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil

1) Infusion, Temp: 156 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 15 qt, Sacc Rest

Fermentis / Safale - Safale - American Ale Yeast US-05

Profile Name: London (British Bitter, Porter)

Beer Recipes / Hop Bomb IIPA
« on: September 04, 2012, 08:51:23 AM »
I've got a massive hop-bomb IIPA up next on the brew docket. I'm basically putting hops everywhere I can in the brewing process, trying to maximize the amount of hop flavor and aroma I can get. I'll gladly accept any recommendations on how to stuff more hoppiness in here.

I haven't finished formulating the hop blend I'm planning on using yet, so the 10 AA% is just a placeholder. My IBU's will likely be maxed out anyways, so the actual value isn't a major concern. It should end up in the 10-12% AA range.

The batch size says 3.3 gallons, but I'm figuring I'll net about a case of bottles in the end after everything gets sucked up by hops.

Title: Gratuitous Waste of Hops IIPA

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Imperial IPA
Boil Time: 90 min
Batch Size: 3.3 gallons
Boil Size: 4 gallons
Efficiency: 80%

Original Gravity: 1.086
Final Gravity: 1.017
ABV (standard): 9.01%
IBU (tinseth): 198.38
SRM (morey): 5.65

7.5 lb - Pale 2-Row (81.5%)
0.5 lb - Flaked Barley (5.4%)
0.8 lb - Cane Sugar (8.7%)
0.2 lb - Caramel / Crystal 40L (2.2%)
0.2 lb - Wheat (2.2%)

1 oz - Amarillo (AA 10.6), Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Mash
1 oz - Amarillo (AA 10.6), Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Mash (Sparge)
1 oz - Citra (AA 12.2), Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Mash
1 oz - Citra (AA 12.2), Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Mash (Sparge)
1 oz - Fruit Bomb Hop Blend (AA 10), Type: Pellet, Use: First Wort
1 oz - Hop Shot (AA 11.74) for 90 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
1 oz - Fruit Hop Bomb Blend (AA 10) for 30 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
1 oz - Fruit Hop Bomb Blend (AA 10) for 15 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
1 oz - Fruit Hop Bomb Blend (AA 10) for 5 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
1 oz - Fruit Hop Bomb Blend (AA 10) for 0 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
1 oz - Fruit Hop Bomb Blend (AA 10) for -30 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
1 oz - Fruit Hop Bomb Blend (AA 10) for -60 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
1 oz - Fruit Hop Bomb Blend (AA 10) for -90 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil
1 oz - Amarillo (AA 10.6) for 0 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Aroma
1 oz - Amarillo (AA 10.6) for -1 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Aroma
1 oz - Fruit Hop Bomb Blend (AA 10) for 12 days, Type: Pellet, Use: Dry Hop
1 oz - Fruit Hop Bomb Blend (AA 10) for 9 days, Type: Pellet, Use: Dry Hop
1 oz - Fruit Hop Bomb Blend (AA 10) for 6 days, Type: Pellet, Use: Dry Hop
1 oz - Fruit Hop Bomb Blend (AA 10) for 3 days, Type: Pellet, Use: Dry Hop

1) Infusion, Temp: 153 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 12.5 qt, Sacc Rest
2) Sparge, Temp: 170 F, Time: 10 min, Amount: 5.5 qt, Batch Sparge

1 each - Whirlfloc, Time: 15 min, Type: Fining, Use: Boil
3 each - Fermcap-S, Time: 90 min, Type: Other, Use: Boil

Fermentis / Safale - Safale - American Ale Yeast US-05

Chillburst -  add first flameout hops and steep 30 min, chill to 170 then add hops and steep 30 min, chill to 110, then add hops and steep/monitor temp. When temp hits 103, add last addition and steep additional 30+ min.

1 oz each of Citra and Amarillo in mash, and 1 oz each in sparge water

"Aroma" addition of Amarillo is a "Hopback" during runoff using a nylon stocking zip-tied to the end of the runoff tube. Second "Aroma" addition is hopback into fermenter.

90 minute addition is 60 IBU from Hop Shot

Beer Recipes / Recipe suggestions for wet-hop Cascades
« on: August 23, 2012, 09:03:58 PM »
I know there's another post similar to this right now, but I didn't want to thread hijack so I'm starting this separately.

My buddy just texted me that he just picked his Cascades today. We're planning an impromptu brewday tomorrow and I was wondering if anyone had any recipe suggestions. I'd like to use some of the grains I have on hand if possible, but I will fill out the grain bill with either DME or hit the LHBS for more ingredients on the way home.

Here's what I have on hand:
1/2 lb Munich
1/2 lb Vienna
3/4 lb Caramunich
6 oz Victory
1 lb Carafa III


I will probably use either Columbus or Nugget for bittering and keep the Cascade for late adds. The easy option is to brew an IPA, but I would like to branch out a little bit from my usual. In particular, I was thinking of using the CaraMunich and brewing an American Amber or an American Brown Ale. The other option is to just do my typical IPA, but use the T-58 and "Belgianize" it.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? Or does anyone have a good hoppy Amber or Brown recipe that uses CaraMunich?

One other question - has anyone used wet hops for FWH? I'd like to try it out, but I'm afraid it would end up too grassy.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Lost Abbey Red Poppy
« on: August 22, 2012, 08:19:28 PM »
Lost Abbey is rather hard to find in my area, but I've been on a big sour beer kick lately and finally managed to track down one of their sour beers - Red Poppy. Man, this was totally worth the hunt. The combo of cherries and Brett work very well together. Not a lot of funk from the Brett, but just enough for a Flanders. There's a nice lactic bite with just a touch of vinegar. There's maybe a hair too much oak for me, but not by a lot.

This is probably my favorite Flanders I've tried to date.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Sinebrychoff Porter
« on: August 18, 2012, 08:45:01 PM »
It's been years since I've had one of these, but I saw one at the store down the street from me and had to pick it up. Every bit as good as I remember. Full and rich without being heavy. Big rich flavor with a faint acidity (not sure if this is soured at all, but I definitely get a touch of lactic that really smooths this out). It's amazing how balanced this can be while being so rich and roasty at the same time.

Damn close to perfection as far as Baltic Porters go. I'll even take this over just about any RIS out there.

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