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Topics - erockrph

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The Pub / Sake anyone?
« on: May 26, 2014, 04:28:26 AM »
Does anyone here enjoy sake beyond the casual "going out for sushi, it's either sake or Kirin Ichiban"? I've had a few sakes that I really enjoyed in the past, but not enough to really make me want to seek it out on a regular basis. Then I discovered Nigori (unfiltered) sake a few years back, and I was hooked.

A lot of sake is hot and harsh to my palate, but Nigori sake tends to have just enough sweetness to balance out that hotness. Right now I'm drinking Snow Beauty, which is a really nice one. It has some floral and muskmelon notes, and a flavor reminiscent of mochi/daifuku rice candy, with some melon and plum wine highlights.

My biggest issue with sake is that it's not particularly easy to find a store with a decent selection of different higher-end sakes to try, especially nigori sake - which is still very much a niche product.

Anyone have any suggestions or favorites?

Beer Recipes / Weizenporter?
« on: May 24, 2014, 01:24:27 PM »
I was listening to a podcast on Dunkelweizen recently and got to thinking (which is always a dangerous thing). How would a hefeweizen yeast work in something like a porter or stout? Nothing beats a slice of chocolate-chip banana bread with a hot coffee for breakfast, and this seems like it would hit that ballpark. I haven't been a big fan of the Belgian stouts I've tried, but I was thinking a hefe strain would be more straight-up banana/clove than a Belgian strain.

I was thinking something like this:

25ish IBU's of Magnum @ 60 minutes

40% Wheat malt
30% Light Munich
10% Dark Munich
10% English Dark Crystal
5% Chocolate Wheat
5% Black Malt

WY3638 @ 62F


Commercial Beer Reviews / Uerige Doppelsticke
« on: May 24, 2014, 04:21:53 AM »
I try to hunt this down at least once a year, as it is one of my favorite brews. It's like an Altbier crossed with an English Barleywine. There's a nice snap to the bitterness, which is enhanced by a fair bit of minerals. It's rich and Munich-y, with caramel and dark fruit. It is rich a just a bit sweet, but the bitterness balances it out perfectly. Great stuff - well worth hunting down if you can find it.

Yeast and Fermentation / Bootleg Biology Yeast Wrangler kit
« on: May 15, 2014, 04:27:26 AM »
I just saw this recently on Rebel Brewer's site. Seems like a cool setup to get started on ranching your own yeast, in particular from wild harvesting. This seems pretty much right up my alley - I was planning on culturing up samples from each of my fruit/berry plants this year, but I'm not necessarily looking to bank anything for long-term storage yet.

My only question for those who are a bit more in the know is whether this is a decent deal for the price? I'm mainly interested in the sample tubes, as well as the agar, parafilm, and plates. Sixty bucks seems a bit steep, but if it's in the ballpark of what everything would cost by tracking them down separately (plus shipping), then I'd send them my business. I think it's kind of cool that they're trying to build a bank of wild yeast and don't mind paying a (small) premium to support their efforts.

General Homebrew Discussion / Brewday bummer
« on: May 14, 2014, 04:36:45 AM »
Just had some crap luck on my brewday. I brewed a doppelbock today. Everything was going great - hit all my temps and gravity readings within a point. I was planning on pitching on the yeast cake from a Dunkel I brewed recently. I was looking forward to getting the Dunkel kegged as well, since the pre-lagering sample I took tasted fantastic.

Unfortunately, when I cracked the lid on the Dunkel I got hit with a pretty strong sour aroma. The beer has a thin, shiny skin on top. It is undoubtedly contaminated :( It's been a hectic winter/spring, and I've definitely taken my chances and rushed through some cleaning/sanitization. Of course it has to catch up to me at the most inopportune time - with a big lager ready to pitch on the yeast.

Thankfully, I had a pack of 34/70 in the fridge. It's a bit less than I'd like to pitch in this beer, but not such a drastic underpitch that I'm worried about it.

On the bright side, I have an extra keg open now. The best plan of action is to get back on the horse and brew something easy. Looks like I'll be brewing some IPA soon...

The Pub / Beer Parody Site
« on: May 11, 2014, 06:54:04 PM »
I just came across this site recently and thought a lot of the posts were pretty funny. It's sort of like craft beer news meets The Onion. This was especially good:

All Things Food / Where to buy spices online
« on: May 10, 2014, 12:29:16 PM »
To the cooks in the audience - where do you shop online for quality spices and spice blends? In particular, I'm looking for good quality regional spice blends like Ras el Hanout, Garam Masala, Curry Powder, etc.

Kegging and Bottling / Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
« on: April 27, 2014, 07:30:28 PM »
I have my kegging setup coming in this week, and I was wondering what gadgets/accessories/etc are "must-have's" for a kegging newbie. All I have coming in are four new 2.5-gallon kegs, one kegging kit (regulator, 5# CO2 tank and one set of lines, disconnects, picnic tap), and one mini CO2-charger (the kind that runs off small CO2 cartridges for dispensing). Even though the kegs are new, I also got a spare set of O-rings just in case.

I have some rewards points saved up from this purchase, and was wondering what are my must-haves for relatively inexpensive supplies. I'm thinking at least 1-2 more picnic tap setups, but after that I'm not sure.

I'm finally getting fed up enough with bottling that I'm planning on biting the bullet and getting started with kegging. My issue is that there is no way I'm going to convince the wife to let me get another chest freezer. Right now I have a small (5 cu ft) chest freezer that I'm using as a fermentation chamber (mainly for lagers).

I know it's not ideal, but is it even feasible to be using one chest freezer for both a fermentation chamber and for kegs? It only fits 2 fermenters, and I'm thinking I might be able to fit three 2.5-gallon kegs on there. So when I have lagers in primary I generally won't have any room for kegs in the cooler. I'm thinking that when I'm planning on pulling the kegs out of the fridge I can just bottle a few beers off the kegs first, and otherwise start drinking down my commercial stockpile during that time.

One other question I had - is it possible to force-carbonate at room temp? Is there some sort of PSI/temperature/volumes of CO2 chart? This way I can free up fridge space for brews I'm actually drinking, or use it as a ferm chamber while a brew is carbing up.

Other Fermentables / Orange Drank
« on: April 13, 2014, 01:28:56 AM »
... 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 05, 2014, 02:36:48 AM »
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 24, 2014, 12:33:16 AM »
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, 03:11:26 PM »
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, 08:31:24 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, 04:44:37 PM »
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?

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