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Topics - erockrph

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I'm not generally a fan of herb/spice beers. Even the ones I think are good I can generally only enjoy in small quantities. This beer is kind of a cross between a wit and saison with white sage and dry hopped with Sterling and Citra. The hop character isn't what I'd expect, and it definitely takes a back seat to the sage. But that's actually OK. The sage works really well here. The nose hints at some savoriness, but the flavor reminds me more of a smudge stick/incense than a savory herb.

There is some subtle hop fruitiness, a firm bitterness, and just enough yeast spiciness. Everything is perfectly balanced. There is just enough acidity and fizzy carbonation to balance the thin mouthfeel and make this beer really drinkable. It's not typically my style, but I'm really impressed by this brew.

Kegging and Bottling / Fixing underprimed/undercarbed bottles
« on: April 05, 2013, 09:16:08 PM »
So I just had a rather messy time in my kitchen and I thought I'd share so that others may learn from my experience. I recently bottled a batch of porter that came out uniformly undercarbonated. I wasn't surprised, as I underestimated (by quite a bit) how much beer would make it from primary to my bottling bucket (this was the first batch in a while that I hadn't dry-hopped). I also failed to ensure all my priming sugar had completely dissolved in the bowl I heated it in before I added it to the bottling bucket and some still stuck to the bowl after adding it to the bucket..

I expected carbonation to be on the low side, but I thought I'd let it ride, since it's a porter and they're generally OK at the low side of the carbonation range. Unfortunately it was just a bit too flat for my tastes. My guesstimate places it around 1.5 volumes. Then I got the brilliant idea that I could simply add more sugar to the bottles to get them to carbonate the rest of the way. After playing with some online calculators I determined that 1.0 grams of corn sugar should add 0.7 volumes of CO2 to a 12 ounce bottle.

So I'm all set up. I weigh out my gram for the first bottle, pop the cap and dump it in. I reach over to grab a bottle cap and OH CRAP MY KITCHEN ISLAND IS SWIMMING IN A FOUNTAIN OF BEER! Pop quiz - what happens to a carbonated beverage when you pour in a gram of fine powder? If you answered *FWOOSH* you win the grand prize of a roll of Mentos and a Diet Coke.

Thankfully, the story has a happy ending (for now, we'll see how the beer turns out in a week or two). Since the carbonation level was low enough, it took a second or so for the foam to start spilling out of the bottle. If I had the cap already stuck to the magnet in my wing capper, I had just enough time to add the sugar, grab the capper and put the cap on before the beer started to overflow. I only lost one more bottle out of the case.

The moral of the story is that you can save an underprimed batch, but you need to be prepared and have some quick reflexes.

Commercial Beer Reviews / La Folie
« on: April 04, 2013, 09:08:52 PM »
I just cracked into my first bottle of La Folie. Damn this is a good beer! It's a really clean, really sour Flanders. There is loads of cherry flavor and aroma, with just a touch of funk, There's not a lot of oak flavor, but there is enough tannin to balance out the relatively thin mouthfeel and make this incredibly drinkable, despite being a very sour brew. Just as good as Rodenbach to my tastes and almost gives Red Poppy a run for the money as my favorite sour.

Ingredients / Quality Vanilla
« on: April 04, 2013, 08:58:12 PM »
I just cracked into some unbelievable vanilla beans I ordered recently and thought I'd share. These are by far the freshest, richest vanilla beans I've ever used. Normal beans generally smell pretty monotone vanilla, but these have an incredibly complex aroma. I pick up some great tobacco and leather notes from these beans.

The best part is the price. Even for small quantities it's about 50 cents a bean. They come vacuum sealed in a Food Saver type bag. If you're in the market for Vanilla I'd highly recommend you try these:

The Pub / Let's Pour online craft brew shop
« on: April 04, 2013, 08:48:18 PM »
I just got my first order in from Let's Pour today. Although it's pretty pricey, I was glad to see that the packaging is quite solid. I don't know if any of the beers I got would show any real signs of poor handling, but everything seemed to be in good shape.

In order to qualify for free shipping I had to order 6 beers, and the total came out to about $90. Steep, but not outlandish compared to what I pay for beers like these at my local liquor stores. Since there are several beers they sell that I have no access to up my way, I think it's worth it. I'm pretty sure I'd buy from them again if they got something in that I just have to have and can't get in my area.

Here's what I got:
2 x La Folie (the reason I placed the order in the first place)
Stillwater Artisinal Cellar Door American Farmhouse
Boulevard Tank 7
Logsdon Farmhouse Seizoen Bretta
Bruery Saison de Lente

Beer Recipes / Low gravity saison
« on: March 05, 2013, 08:43:34 AM »
I'm planning on brewing a low-gravity saison to prop up a pitch of 3711 for a Biere de Mars. Any tips? In particular, I'm wondering what mash temp I'd want to use. My gut tells me to mash low, but if I'm only starting out at 1.040ish for my OG is there a risk that I may end up with a brew that ends up too thin-bodied?

Here's what I was thinking of:

Title: Table Saison

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Saison
Boil Time: 90 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 3.5 gallons
Efficiency: 85% (brew house)

Original Gravity: 1.039
Final Gravity: 1.008
ABV (standard): 4.08%
IBU (tinseth): 27.36
SRM (morey): 5.86

3 lb - German - Bohemian Pilsner (82.8%)
4 oz - American - Wheat (6.9%)
4 oz - German - Munich Light (6.9%)
2 oz - Belgian - Special B (3.4%)

0.75 oz - Ultra, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: First Wort (AA 9, IBU: 27.36)
1 oz - Ultra for 0 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil (AA 9)

1) Infusion, Temp: 149 F, Time: 90 min, Amount: 16 qt, Sacc rest

Wyeast - French Saison 3711

Pitch at 66F, hold for a day, then let free rise.

Beer Recipes / Flying Dog Raging b****
« on: March 01, 2013, 06:52:02 PM »
Looks like Flying Dog is getting into the homebrew kit business. You have to purchase the kit in person, but the included instructions look like they'll get you close if you want to try to clone this yourself. Just not sure what the quantities are for the 15min and whirlpool hop additions, and what yeast strain they use.****stovetoppers/

General Homebrew Discussion / Austin Homebrew Gift Certificate Sale
« on: February 25, 2013, 07:26:13 AM »
I just saw that Austin Homebrew Supply has a sale on gift certificates (10% off GC's of $100 or more). If you do a lot of business with them, then this is a no-brainer to save some money. FYI - the fine print says it expires after a year, so don't buy more than you're sure you'd spend in a year.

Ingredients / Subbing chocolate wheat for chocolate malt
« on: February 02, 2013, 06:12:40 PM »
I'm brewing a porter in a couple of days that calls for 4oz each of chocolate malt and roast barley (3 gallon batch). My LHBS was out of chocolate malt, and the closest thing they had was chocolate wheat. I've never brewed with chocolate wheat before, but I've read some mixed reports on how it compares to chocolate barley. Some say that it's harsher, closer to black patent than chocolate. Others say it's milder, closer to Carafa.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to sub in the chocolate wheat in the recipe? Should I be ok using an equal amount of the wheat as I would the chocolate, or should I use more (or less)? This is a rebrew of a porter that didn't quite hit the level of roastiness I was shooting for, so I would like to end up with a fairly roasty end result (without hitting the point of being harsh/acrid).

Beer Recipes / Hop Liquor
« on: January 29, 2013, 08:54:19 AM »
Armed with the experience from my last insanely-hopped IIPA, and under command to reduce my hops inventory in the freezer per my lovely wife, I thought I'd take another stab at the ridiculous. My ingenious idea: malt liquor meets IIPA.

I basically took Charlie P's O/E 800 recipe and bumped up the gravity with some extra 2-row and a pound of sugar. Then I figured, if malt liquor comes in 40oz bottles, then it would only be fitting to use 40 oz of hops in a 5-gallon batch.

Someone please convince me that this is a horrible idea, otherwise I just may end up brewing this abomination.

Title: 40 oz (Hop Liquor)

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Classic American Pilsner
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 3.5 gallons
Efficiency: 80% (brew house)
No Chill: 5 minute extended hop boil time

Original Gravity: 1.072
Final Gravity: 1.011
ABV (standard): 8.01%
IBU (rager): 296.98
SRM (morey): 3.27

5 lb - American - Pale 2-Row (39.2%)
3.75 lb - American - Pale 6-Row (29.4%)
3 lb - Flaked Corn (23.5%)
1 lb - Cane Sugar - (late addition)  (7.8%)

2 oz - Centennial, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Mash (AA 10.2, IBU: 11.13)
4 oz - Simcoe, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Mash (AA 11.9, IBU: 25.96)
2 oz - Cascade, Type: Pellet, Use: First Wort (AA 5, IBU: 11.43)
2 oz - Motueka, Type: Pellet, Use: First Wort (AA 7.2, IBU: 16.45)
2 oz - Chinook for 60 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 14.2, IBU: 96.93)
2 oz - Cascade for 30 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 5, IBU: 22.76)
2 oz - Motueka for 15 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 7.2, IBU: 16.45)
2 oz - Simcoe for 10 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 12.2, IBU: 21.9)
2 oz - Chinook for 5 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 14.2, IBU: 20.75)
2 oz - Cascade for 0 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 5, IBU: 5.45)
2 oz - Centennial for 0 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil (AA 10.2, IBU: 11.13)
2 oz - Chinook for 0 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 14.2, IBU: 15.49)
2 oz - Motueka for 0 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 7.2, IBU: 7.85)
2 oz - Simcoe for 0 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil (AA 12.2, IBU: 13.31)
2 oz - Centennial for 5 days, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Dry Hop (AA 10.2)
2 oz - Chinook for 4 days, Type: Pellet, Use: Dry Hop (AA 14.2)
2 oz - Motueka for 3 days, Type: Pellet, Use: Dry Hop (AA 7.2)
2 oz - Simcoe for 2 days, Type: Pellet, Use: Dry Hop (AA 12.2)
2 oz - Cascade for 1 days, Type: Pellet, Use: Dry Hop (AA 5)

1) Infusion, Temp: 147 F, Time: 90 min
2) Infusion, Temp: 156 F, Time: 30 min

Wyeast - Pilsen Lager 2007
Pitch Rate: 2.0 (M cells / ml / deg P)

Centennial "mash hop" addition is runoff into kettle through leaf hops

Centennial 0 minute boil is runoff into fermenter through leaf hops

Divide flameout hops in half. 2nd half goes in after 80-minute hot hopstand.

Add topoff water 1 gallon at a time to kettle after chilling to "sparge" hop trub.

Ferment low 50's. Raise to 68F after 2 weeks and begin dry hop additions. Each addition 2 days apart, bottle 3 days after last dry hop addition.

Ingredients / El Dorado Hops
« on: January 26, 2013, 09:09:06 PM »
I just got in my El Dorado hops from Missouri Malt Supply today. ;D Grab them while you still can. They don't have an online shop, but they will do mail order and billed me through PayPal. Here's the link:

Looks like NikoBrew just got some in as well.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Sam Adams Stony Brook Red
« on: January 20, 2013, 10:08:15 PM »
I finally got around to trying the Sam Adams Stony Brook Red tonight to drown my sorrows as my beloved Patriots just plain got outplayed by a better team.

At first I was a bit disappointed. There is no where near the level of tartness that I expect from a Flanders Red. It drinks a lot more like an Oud Bruin. But the more I drank the more it grew on me (maybe the 9% ABV had something to do with that too). While the tartness isn't as in-your-face as I would have liked, the beer is very well balanced. There is a nice malt presence and a firmer bitterness than you usually find in the style. Not bad - I'd try it again for the price.

All Grain Brewing / Base malt recommendation for Belgian brews
« on: January 04, 2013, 10:15:14 AM »
So my new grain mill is en route, and now I obviously need to buy a sack of grain to go with it :)

I plan on brewing a lot of Belgian styles this year, so I was thinking of getting a sack of Castle Pils. Anyone have any differing suggestions?

Other Fermentables / Dry-hopped cider tasting notes
« on: January 02, 2013, 09:32:47 PM »
I've finally gotten around to tasting the test batches of cider that I discussed in this thread. I dry-hopped one gallon with Nelson Sauvin and left another gallon unhopped. I thought I'd share my tasting notes as there was some interest in the dry-hopped cider.

First a quick summary. Both batches were 1 gallon of local, UV-pasteurized, pressed cider with no further fermentables added. OG was 1.048. Each gallon got pectic enzyme and 1/4 packet of T-58. FG was 1.000. They were then both racked to secondary. The dry-hopped batch got 1/2 ounce of Nelson Sauvin, and was then racked off the hops after 10 days. They spent about 2 months in secondary before bottling. I added 1 Coopers carbonation drop to each bottle, and kept one bottle still from each batch.

I'll post my notes from each bottle separately so this doesn't turn into one huge post.

Beer Recipes / What to brew next
« on: December 29, 2012, 03:01:50 AM »
Now that I've completed my hops stockpile for the year I need to start using them. I've come up with a bunch of recipes that in the end will use each of the hop varieties I picked up this year. As is the usual, when I'm working on too many recipes at once I have a hard time choosing which to brew first. Here are my options:

HopfenHell - Starting with a Helles Bock as the base beer, but hopbursted & dry-hopped with Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo and Citra

Dr. Dankenpine's Rye IPA - a dank & piny Rye IPA with Mosaic, Simcoe, Chinook, Apollo, Columbus & Summit

Düsseldorf "IPA" - Basically a big Alt using the German hops I have: Polaris, Smaragd and Herkules

Black Kiwi - A black IPA using my NZ hops - Rakau, Motueka and Nelson Sauvin

I'm leaning toward either the Alt or the Helles Bock since my basement is holding a nice steady 60F right now in the coolest corner. What would you brew?

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