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Topics - erockrph

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76
Other Fermentables / Ginger Ale Mead?
« on: August 04, 2013, 06:48:53 PM »
I've had an idea that keeps popping up in my head, so I'm thinking of giving it a go. I was thinking of brewing a relatively low gravity (1.050-1.060ish) mead that would be a bit more refreshing than my typical 15%+ "dessert-wine" style melomels. I want to shoot for something like a fruited ginger beer (thinking raspberry, lime, or both).

Anyone have any experience with a recipe in this style? Would I use as much fruit as I would for a bigger melomel, or cut it back? Also, any recommendations on how much ginger root to use? Lastly, I'd want to bottle carbonate, but I've never done this with a mead. I'd assume the preferred priming sugar would be the honey I used for the mead, correct? I'm thinking of priming to 3 volumes in normal beer bottles.

77
Due to a serious lack of time I want to combine two similar brews into one brewday, then split them off partway into primary. I thought I'd bounce my basic plan off of the forum in case I'm overlooking something or if someone has a better idea.

I want to end up with 3 gallons of 1.040/28 IBU saison and 3 gallons of 1.048/8 IBU lambic. I can produce 4 gallons of wort max in a batch. So here's what I was thinking:

Main batch - 4 gallons of 1.040/12 IBU wort. Pitch 3711 and ferment in the mid 60's for 3 days.

After 3 days i will rack 2 gallons into a separate fermenter and add 1 gallon of unhopped wort to bring the 3 gallons up to 1.048 (and thus dilute the IBU's from 12 to 8]. By my calculation this is equal to about 1.5 lbs of light DME. At this point I pitch my bugs and strap on my Brew Belt to kick the lacto into gear. This way I also get some flavor and mouthfeel contributions from the 3711, but add some food back for the lacto.

The remaining 2 gallons get a gallon of 1.040 wort with enough IBU's to bring the 3 gallons up to 28 IBU's (60 IBU's by my calculation), plus my flameout hops. Once it's finished I will process as usual (one gallon will be going on some red and pink currants, and some on hibiscus as well).

So, does this sound reasonable? Am I missing anything obvious?

78
The Pub / Question for the microbiologists out there
« on: July 25, 2013, 10:05:09 AM »
Over the past couple of weeks I've noticed a familiar smell that I couldn't quite place whenever the air conditioning turns on in one of our pharmacies. Today I got a good whiff of it and I finally figured it out - it was the distinct cherry pie/funk aroma of Brett. Once I picked it out, it's unmistakeable and nothing like the usual vinegar/feet smell you can get when a humid HVAC system first kicks in. I am now sitting here craving Orval while I'm at work.

So here's my question to the professionals out there - are there any species of mold that can produce the same compounds that Brett does to give these aromas? We've had a positive test for airborne mold in the general area under this HVAC outlet not too long ago.

I've always suspected the HVAC system since my allergies go berserk once it turns on, but we were told it was most likely from the sink. Whenever anyone mentions the HVAC as the culprit they get shot down, even though we've had issues with poorly designed HVAC systems in several other locations. It's much easier to say "just pour some bleach down the sink once a month" than to start ripping through an HVAC system.

79
All Things Food / Lambic for pickle making?
« on: July 23, 2013, 04:52:49 AM »
So, here's my dilemma. I already have more cucumbers than I can eat coming out of my garden, and I only have 1 out of my 6 plants setting fruit right now. The obvious solution to this problem is to make pickles. Here's the thing - I hate vinegar and I've never really liked pickles. So, my thought was to use another type of acid to brine my cukes.

The first thought that jumped to mind was to use lambic instead of vinegar. Obviously this would be ridiculously expensive for now since I don't have any sour beers online in the home brewery as of yet. But I'd be willing to shell out 8-10 bucks or so for a test batch. Any experienced pickle makers care to weigh in on this idea? I'm planning on doing this as a fridge pickle, so long-term storage isn't as much of a concern. I was thinking a combo of sweet/spicy/funky - something like ginger, brown sugar and chile peppers plus a less-expensive gueuze (Girardin, Oud Beersel, Boon, etc.).

Does this sound doable? Would it be even remotely palatable? Any guesstimates on the proportion of gueuze to water?

80
Beer Recipes / English Pale Ale
« on: July 19, 2013, 08:02:01 AM »
So I'm looking for a good all-grain English Pale Ale recipe, or at least some tips to help build my own. I'm looking for something closer to Bass Ale than a Fuller's ESB. I saw an old Bass clone recipe from BYO, but when I see Flaked Maize in an English Ale recipe it makes me suspicious. Even if that is a true clone, that's not the direction I want to go with my own recipe.

I'm looking for a dry pale ale recipe to showcase some UK hops. I know Bass isn't super hoppy, but I think that is a good ballpark to get started with. Some specific questions I had:

Base malt - Some sort of English Pale Ale malt - Anyone have any preferences between MO, Optic or any other pale ale malt?

Crystal - I want a little bit of English crystal character, but not as much as a Fullers-style ESB. I'm thinking about 5% of an 80L English Dark Crystal.

Victory/Biscuit - This says "English ale" to my palate. I'm thinking 6oz for a 3 gallon batch.

Roast Barley - one thing I do agree with the BYO clone recipe on is a touch of roastiness. I'm thinking of 1-2 oz of 300L Roast Barley added late in the mash.

Yeast - Any strong preferences to a particular strain? Leaning towards WLP007, but S-04, WLP002 and WLP023 come to mind also. Any other options I should consider?

Hops - Whatever UK hop styles I have on hand, mainly late additions. First up will be Challenger + Phoenix. I may pick up a third variety to add along, but I want to stay away from the typical EKG and/or Fuggles for the first round.

As always, thanks in advance. I'm looking forward to everyone's ideas and experiences with this style.


81
Ingredients / Hops Direct Summer Sale
« on: July 03, 2013, 12:59:42 PM »
Just started. They have a pretty good selection, including 2013 Galaxy leaf and pellets as well as some organic imports if that's your style.. Just picked up some Galaxy, plus some Challenger and Phoenix.

http://www.hopsdirect.com/hop-summer-sale/

82
Ingredients / Light vs Black Roasted Barley
« on: June 28, 2013, 11:00:55 AM »
So I was just placing an order online with Midwest and saw that they carry Briess Light (300L) Roasted Barley. It sounded interesting, so I ordered a pound. Is anyone familiar with this product? How does it compare with a more traditional (500+ L) Roasted Barley? What type of recipes would you use it in?

83
Ingredients / Single hopped beers - taking requests
« on: June 21, 2013, 09:30:51 AM »
I'm getting ready to brew another round of small-batch, single-hopped brews. (See this post for the results of my first round last year: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=13485.0 ) I have a bunch of hops in the freezer that I want to trial, but I won't have time to get to them all in this run. The varieties listed below are definitely in. I'm thinking I should be able to get at least 7 or 8 batches in, so I thought I'd let everyone here vote on what varieties you'd like to see some tasting notes on.

After I finish the definites below I'll start brewing using whatever gets the most votes here. I'll post my detailed tasting notes once the beers are ready.

Definitely in:
Mosaic
Meridian
El Dorado
Belma
Legacy
Summer

84
Yeast and Fermentation / First sour - planning stage
« on: June 17, 2013, 08:18:05 AM »
With my recent acquisition of several bottles of Red Poppy, I'm finally ready to make the jump into brewing sour beer. I've decided to start planning for gueuze-blending right off the bat. I'm hoping some of the more experienced sour brewers can weigh in on what I'm planning and let me know if anything sounds like it won't work.

I've already chosen the dregs I want to build my house blend from (Gueuze Girardin, Gueuze Fond Tradition and Red Poppy). My plan is to brew 4 gallons of 1.045ish wort using 60% Pils and 40% torrified wheat, mashed really high (162-164 range). I'm thinking of using US-05 for my primary yeast unless someone has a convincing reason otherwise. Then, starting on brew night I'll be drinking the bottles I want the dregs from and pitching the dregs. I'm planning on using two bottles from each, so by the 6th night all the dregs will be in primary.

I was thinking of leaving it in primary for a few weeks to a month to give the dregs time to grow and start doing their thing, then racking to 4 separate 1-gallon jugs for long-term aging. The first year I plan on bottling 2 gallons, brewing 3 more gallons and pitching the dregs into that. Year 2 I'll bottle a blend of year 1 and year 2's brew's and for Year 3 I'll be able to get my gueuze on.

So, does this sound like it should work out OK? And how vital is oak in this process? I'm on the fence about whether I want to add some oak chips that have been boiled in a couple changes of water to mellow them out a bit. Any other insight is always appreciated. Thanks!

85
Ingredients / Juniper Berries
« on: June 11, 2013, 09:03:07 AM »
Anyone here have experience brewing with juniper berries? Some of my juniper bushes are covered with light blue berries right now. I crushed one open and got an instant craving for a Bombay Sapphire Martini. I'm not generally a fan exotic flavorings or spices in my beer, but I do like cooking and brewing with ingredients I've grown myself.

Any tips on how to use the berries, and when to harvest them? Right now the berries are pretty small and green, and they're covered with a waxy coating the consistency of cake frosting or a honey-glazed donut. As the season goes on the berries get darker and drier and the coating gets stickier (more the consistancy of pine resin). What I want is that fresh gin aroma, and I'm getting a lot of it right now, so I;m thinking of harvesting now before the berries start to dry out.

I probably won't be able to brew for another month or two, so I'm thinking of vacuum packing them and storing in the freezer until I'm ready to use them. Drying is the other option I was thinking of, but then I might as well just leave them on the bush for a while longer, right?

For the beer, I'm thinking a Saison with lemon zest and Centennial to go for that juniper-lemon-floral thing that I get from Bombay Sapphire.

So, enough rambling for now. If anyone's got any input I'd love to hear it.

86
Commercial Beer Reviews / Foolproof Brewery La Ferme Urbaine
« on: May 30, 2013, 09:03:27 PM »
We have a new brewery that just started up in my area, and I'm just getting my hands on some of their brew right now. I'm really impressed by their Saison, and thought I'd spread the love here.

It is a brilliantly clear, deep gold. There's a hint of orange in the color that has me wondering if there's some CaraMunich or something similar in here as well. The ester profile really reminds me of 3711 - some banana on the nose, but the palate is mostly spice with that banana ester way in the background. Once the spice fades, there is a nice malt complexity behind it. There is a nice noble hop presence as well, but the spiciness and malt complexity are what steal the show for me. Mouthfeel is dry and drinkable without being thin.

This brew has everything that I like about Saisons working for it. If you're in the Mass/RI area show Foolproof Brewing some love. If the rest of their beers are anything like this I want them to stick around.

87
Equipment and Software / Troubleshooting my ColorpHast technique
« on: May 25, 2013, 05:19:03 AM »
Ever since I started brewing All-Grain I was only using calculators (either BrunWater and/or Kai's calculator on Brewer's Friend) to determine my water adjustments and never measured pH. The only beer that has had a water issue was my first porter, which was too acidic. I used a higher mash pH for a rebrew (again - based solely on what the calculators were telling me), and nailed it. Every other beer seems to be doing exactly what I want it to do from a pH standpoint.

I recently picked up some colorpHast strips and started using them a few batches ago to check my mash pH. I'm not trying to diagnose any problems (I don't feel like I have any right now), but I just want a quality control check. I shoot for pH in the 5.3-5.4 range for most of my brews, but I have been getting readings between 4.8-5.1. I know the colorpHast strips read a bit low, but when I'm reading 4.8 on a beer that I'm targeting 5.4 something seems off. All the beers have tasted fine, so I think the issue is in my use of the strips rather than in my actual pH.

I have been waiting until about 20-30 minutes into the mash, then drain about 1/2 an ounce into a Red Solo Cup. I let it sit until it comes to room temp, then dip my strip for 10 seconds or so. My first thought is that I may be getting enough evaporation to concentrate my wort, and therefore decreasing the pH a bit. Any other thoughts or suggestions?

88
Beer Recipes / ESB suggestion - Victory or no?
« on: May 21, 2013, 01:17:40 PM »
So I'm brewing an ESB tomorrow morning. For the longest time I was planning a simple grain bill of 93% MO and 7% English Extra Dark Crystal. But I woke up this morning and the idea popped in my head that I should add some Victory. On one hand I like the idea of letting the MO stand on its own, but a little extra toastiness could be nice here. Anyone have any strong thoughts or experience either way on this?

89
All Things Food / Hop chocolate bar
« on: May 17, 2013, 07:43:54 PM »
I just ordered a couple of these bars. I'll post an update once I get to taste them. Lake Champlain Chocolates put out some top-notch chocolates, so I'm really excited to give this a try.

http://www.lakechamplainchocolates.com/bebop-hop-chocolate-bar.html

90
Yeast and Fermentation / Mangrove Jack's Dry Yeast
« on: April 29, 2013, 05:29:31 PM »
Anyone ever use any of these before? I'm all for more options in the dry yeast department, but given my poor results from Nottingham in the past, I'm hesitant to try out something that isn't well-tested.

http://www.rebelbrewer.com/shop/brand/mangrove-jacks/

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