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Messages - erockrph

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Equipment and Software / Re: sorry...immersion chiller recommendations
« on: March 04, 2015, 10:31:38 AM »
I chill to 80-90 degrees with an immersion chiller then put the beer in the ferm chamber and pitch in the morning.  Less hassle than trying to get to pitch temp right away.

I have considered this. The problem is I aerate using gravity into my speidel 30L. If I pitched in the morning wouldn't I need to aerate again? It's not easy for me to do it once it is in the fermenter. Baby steps until I aerate properly...

hmm good question. wonder how much you loose over that time period.
And how much less O2 goes into solution at 80-90F vs fermentation temps...

Equipment and Software / Re: sorry...immersion chiller recommendations
« on: March 04, 2015, 10:07:25 AM »
I add a chilling paddle to the equation. It can help chill pre-chill water to use less ice then put in wort right in the middle of the immersion chiller and stirred around in tandem with the coil. Its food grade plastic. The foodservice industry uses them to quickly get soups and such down to safe temps:
This would be great for me to get down to lager pitching temps. Currently, I use frozen water bottles, but there always seems to be some glue residue that doesn't come off cleanly. It would be nice to have something that was actually built for that purpose.

Other Fermentables / Re: Anybody try kombucha
« on: March 04, 2015, 09:47:15 AM »
I like it, but it sure can look a little creepy. 

erockrph, what vessel are you fermenting in?  I have been using an old big pickle jar and some big Ball jars...seems like I always spill some when transferring to bottles.  I have been trying to transfer without getting a bunch of sludge in the bottles and have yet to settle on a good system.

RE: carbonation, I have found that what you add for flavor at bottling can have an effect - last batch I tried both some with grape juice and some with elderberry concentrate.  The grape carbed fast and became quite fizzy, while the elderberry is still fairly flat.  Sugar content I suppose.

Looking forward to your thoughts, as I know you are a sucker for experimenting. :)
Right now I just have one 2-quart Ball jar for my main fermentation vessel. I have been leaving the lid loosely screwed on so that it can let out gas during fermentation. If this ends up working out for me, I'll probably add a second vessel if this SCOBY has a baby.

For bottling, I poured out most of the kombucha carefully through a fine mesh strainer (to catch any gunk or in case the SCOBY slipped out) into a sanitized pitcher, and left the mother and maybe a cup of liquid behind. I added the juice at that point, then poured into bottles through a funnel. Then I brewed more tea and topped off the SCOBY jar.

What's everyone using for tea? I'm using green tea, since I prefer the flavor. It seems like most people use black tea, though. I'm wondering if there's any differences other than just flavor.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: cleaning bottles
« on: March 04, 2015, 08:26:50 AM »
Removing labels is a PITA, but once it's done you don't have to bother with it again when you start using it for homebrew. I use an Oxiclean soak for labels, but otherwise it isn't part of my regular cleaning process.

Unlabeled bottles simply get rinsed repeatedly in hot water until no residue/foam/aroma remains. I eyeball the bottom of the bottle to ensure that there is no caked-on sediment. Usually there's not, but I hit it with a bottle brush if needed. Rinsed bottles are stored upside-down or in a covered box until bottling time.

For bottling, I use the anti-bacterial setting on my dishwasher to sanitize my bottles and a small cup of starsan to sanitize my caps.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer for Thought...
« on: March 04, 2015, 08:19:19 AM »
The potential for uncivil responses rises for users that have avatars that are not attached to their actual identity. I've suggested that users be a little more open and put "themselves" out there personally so that your fellow user gets to know you and who you are. All it takes is a little extra info on your signature line.

Take responsibility for being a civil member of this forum.
I think most avatars speak somewhat to the actual identity of the owner, whether they are personal pictures or otherwise. 

Just think of in terms of 'truth in advertising'.  I could post a picture of myself and in reality, it tells you nothing, especially as small as these pictures are.  I use an image of Joe Btfsplk for my avatar and maybe you realize that it just might be harder for me to make drinkable beer than it is for you.  Of course, I could also use Pig from Pearls Before Swine if I wanted to make a comment on my general intelligence.  To accurately show my personality, I'd have to use Rat from the same comic strip. ;D
I don't have a problem with avatars, but I do think that having your name in your signature really helps with the atmosphere here. This forum is more like a big homebrew club than anything else. At the very least, knowing everyone's name keeps it more human and helps with the camaraderie.

I think it doesn't take long for newbies around here to learn the ropes and understand that things work differently on this forum. We typically have pay a lot more attention to the newbie asking a lot of questions that we've answered every few months, than the blowhard troublemaker looking for attention. There's nothing wrong with being opinionated as long as you keep it civil.

Other Fermentables / Re: Anybody try kombucha
« on: March 03, 2015, 07:52:56 PM »
I just bottled my first batch of kombucha. I tried kombucha for the first time recently. Honestly, I thought the ones I tried were a little bland, but I definitely saw enough potential to want to try it out myself. I grew up a SCOBY from the dregs of a few bottles of Live Kombucha Soda. I stepped it up similar to stepping up bottle dregs from a beer.

From what I understand, a lot of Kombucha makers reformulated their products a few years back when there were some concerns that the refermented Kombucha could potentially exceed 1% ABV. What I don't like about the Live Soda is that they sweeten with something like stevia or splenda, which leaves an "artificial sweetener" taste. The good thing is that this means that their culture probably isn't doctored, since they aren't back-sweetening with sugar. It took a little time, but I have a nice jellyfish going on right now.

I backsweetened this batch with Pom-blueberry juice and bottled in 12oz PET soda bottles. I'm hoping I'll get a nice fizz out of them, but they're already pretty damn tasty even if they don't sparkle up too much,

Ingredients / Re: Kefir lime leaves; hops combo
« on: March 03, 2015, 06:10:33 PM »
Thanks Eric. Yes, 1056.
Good point about hoppy beer and head retention. I think I have only used flaked barley in a stout so wasn't thinking about if it would not perform well in a paler beer. OTOH there's been a lot of pushback on the idea that wheat helps with head retention. I don't think I'm convinced to nix the flaked barley but I'll go with a light touch and hope the hops help too.
Are your hop amounts based on 2.5 gallons?
Yes, I was thinking for 2.5 gallons. One to two ounces whirlpool hops per gallon should give you good hop flavor and aroma but still leave some room for the lime leaves.

Beer Recipes / Re: Thoughts on Black IPA recipe
« on: March 03, 2015, 12:59:05 PM »
IMO, there IS no point in making it black.  If you get roastiness, it conflicts with the hops.  If you don't, what's the point of just making it black?
I'm with Denny on this one. I have had a few examples that I greatly enjoyed, but I just can't get behind this style overall. Absolutely nothing against those that are into this style.
I understand both of these reasonings. If you're not a fan of the roast and the hops combo, you choose not to make it black at all. I just don't get not liking the combo of roast and hops and just make it black to make it black.

It's one of my favorite styles and one of the best beers that I brew.
Agreed. Personally, I don't think that hops necessarily conflict with roast. It's like garnishing espresso with a strip of lemon peel. Another example - many of the best chocolates out there have fruity undertones that go great with a balanced roast character (Madagascan terroir often shows up as a bright lemonade flavor). The thing is - it's all about balance. A pound of Roast Barley and 100 IBU of Chinook sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Personally, I prefer the roastier beers in the style as long as the hop character leans towards the citrus side with moderate bittering. Heavy Seas Black Cannon and Widmer Bros Pitch Black come to mind.

Ingredients / Re: Kefir lime leaves; hops combo
« on: March 03, 2015, 12:38:22 PM »
I thought I had some munich but don't. I have Vienna but not enough to get to 20%. I'm thinking 80 % 2 row, 15% Vienna, and 5% 10L carmel. and oh yea, flaked barley. I guess I'll be giving 110% like coaches say. Maybe 1.065-70. I think that will get me malty but not sweet with a dry finish.
I absolutely will be using the lime leaves sparingly. I'm thinking bittering with a combo of centennial and galena then doing a hopstand with centennial, Amarillo and cascade. I'll chop up the lime leaves in a processor with hot wort and add to the hopstand. I'll take a gravity sample a week later and taste to see if it wants some more dry hops or lime leaves.
This could be real good or real bad. Its a 2.5 gallon batch and I'll be bottling two batches this week so its a good time to take a chance. I've been concentrating on simplicity and classic styles lately so a little playing around will be fun.
Since there isn't a lot active in this category I thought it would be OK to bump this up and say since there are quite a few people here who are really into making IPA's I would love what people think of this outline of a recipe.
I'm not a big fan of flaked barley in an IPA - it has a grassy, raw grain flavor that sticks out like a sore thumb in pale beers. At least to my palate - others may disagree. Otherwise, the grain bill looks good to me. Hops do wonders for head retention, so you might be OK. If I felt the need to add some head insurance I'd use maybe 5-10% wheat malt or flaked/torrified wheat.

Your hop schedule looks pretty good to me. I'd shoot for 60-70 IBU from your bittering addition. I have no idea how the hop/lime leaf balance is going to fall, but I'd go with maybe 1 or 1.5 ounces of each hop variety in the whirlpool.

What yeast are you planning on using? Are you sticking with the typical 001/1056/US-05, or something else?

I'm very curious to hear how this turns out. Keep us posted.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Starter for 1 Gallon Batch?
« on: March 03, 2015, 12:20:38 PM »

At 1 gallon it IS a starter. Well almost.
Can I jump in? What about sub 5 gallon batches? Using WLP001 on a 3 gallon pale ale. Starter?
For that beer/yeast you'll be fine unless the yeast is very old.

Personally, my batches are targeting a final volume of 2.5 gallons (3 gallons or so into the fermenter). I don't make a starter for ales unless the yeast is pretty old or I'm brewing a high gravity beer. Since liquid yeast is a bit of a treat for me (I don't have a LHBS that is convenient to me, and I try to order in bulk online instead of batch-by-batch), I do try to stretch it out by brewing a few batches in succession. I will typically do 2 successive batches in the 1.040-1.060 range, then brew a big beer (1.090+) - all using some (or all) of the yeast from the prior beer.

For lagers, I typically make starters in the 2-3 quart range.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: When is a lager an ale
« on: March 03, 2015, 12:06:49 PM »
What I've found is that a lot of people have OCD about their recipes falling within the style parameters given in their software. So if the "American Amber Ale" category doesn't give any warnings about SRM/IBU/gravity in their software, then that's where it goes. It's all pretty arbitrary and can simply be ignored.

Beer Recipes / Re: Thoughts on Black IPA recipe
« on: March 02, 2015, 08:40:48 PM »
One thing that I've never understood about brewers wanting to avoid roastedness in a black IPA. Isn't that most of the point in making it black? If you're not wanting any roasted flavor in your black IPA, why not just make an IPA. Somebody please set me straight if I'm missing something lol.
My point is by adding the dark candisyrup you not only get a dark color, but also nice flavor. A flavor that I prefer over roast with American citrusy hops. I don't have a problem with roast flavor or even some in a black IPA, but like it better in a stout. Most IPA recipes don't have dark candisyrup, so it is different than making just an IPA.
I agree that this is a great flavor combo. I'm a big fan of it myself. But the end result, while similar in color, is a different animal than what is typically referred to as a Black IPA. It's more like a Dubbel IPA (not to be confused with a Double IPA)

While we're on the subject - try your Candi Syrup IPA with a yeast like 1762 or 3864 and a dash of Special B some time. The flavors meld together surprisingly well.

Beer Recipes / Re: Thoughts on Black IPA recipe
« on: March 02, 2015, 06:21:21 PM »
One thing that I've never understood about brewers wanting to avoid roastedness in a black IPA. Isn't that most of the point in making it black? If you're not wanting any roasted flavor in your black IPA, why not just make an IPA. Somebody please set me straight if I'm missing something lol.
I agree. It's no different than adding green food coloring to your beer on St Patty's Day.

Semantics of hoppy porter vs Black IPA aside, I think you need at least a little bit of roast otherwise I don't see the point. Personally, I like the combo of citrus and roasted coffee/chocolate quite a bit. It can be overdone, but I like a good amount of roast in my Black IPA's.

Beer Recipes / Re: Thoughts on Black IPA recipe
« on: March 01, 2015, 09:21:38 PM »
My secret weapon in my Black IPA is Candisyrup D-180 and some Carafa III. I don't like a lot of roast, but rather a hoppy, dark fruit flavor.
My Belgian Dark Ale is based on a similar idea. Dubbel malt bill and yeast, APA gravity and hops (mainly Caliente for that big red plum aroma). It works really well.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« on: March 01, 2015, 09:01:05 PM »
I gotta admit, I expected this thread to eventually fall off the rails when I first saw the title. But not like this.

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