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Messages - erockrph

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Beer Recipes / Re: AIPA, IRA and RIS
« on: December 07, 2014, 09:31:59 AM »
Have you brewed any of these before? That's a lot of crystal malt for an American IPA. I'd drop the Carapils, and cut the CaraMunich in half (or even get rid of it entirely).

Your hop schedule looks fine, but if you want to really kick up the hop flavor, I'd use all of your late hops in a hop stand instead. If it were me, I'd double the 60 minute addition to supply all my IBU's. After the boil, chill to 170F (77C), and add in all those hops that were going in between 15 and 5 minutes. Stir them in and let them steep at that temp for about 30-45 minutes.

I'll let someone with more experience with the other styles comment on those recipes.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How are you brewing?
« on: December 07, 2014, 08:55:48 AM »
I checked both, but it's primarily all-grain for me. I use extract for test batches, or if I don't have much time to brew and I'm jonesing to get a quick batch in.

Equipment and Software / Re: Bucket heater for stovetop brewing
« on: December 06, 2014, 10:12:05 PM »
Jeff, no sign of scorching at all. I pulled the stick out of the wort and put it right into a pitcher of warm water to rinse it off. There was a small bit of hop residue at the top that wiped off easily. If it got pretty gross I'd probably give it a PBW soak. Its only 1000 watts. I could see a bigger element potentially being a higher risk for scorching.

Jimmy, it goes in a normal 120V outlet. I just plug it into the GFI outlet next to my stove top. If you can manage it, you could always use a second heater to double your output. At under 40 bucks apiece it's a manageable investment.

Beer Recipes / Re: citra saison
« on: December 06, 2014, 09:47:46 PM »
OK, with the French Saison I'll stay under 75. Anything else I can do to make this beer shine?
I like to target a lower pH (mash pH 5.3) to help accentuate the acidity from the 3711. That's a matter of personal preference, though. It comes out a bit tart that way.

Equipment and Software / Bucket heater for stovetop brewing
« on: December 06, 2014, 12:56:51 PM »
I'm an indoor brewer who brews 3 gallon batches on the stovetop. One of my only frustrations with my current setup is how long it takes to get 4+ gallons to a boil on my stove, and maintain a strong enough boil at that size.

I had started to look into electric heat sticks, but most of the info out there was for DIY stuff. I know enough about electricity to know that "DIY" and electricity aren't something I want to mess with. At least nothing in the kilowatt-plus size.

So the other day I ran across one of these. I decided that the price was right, so I gave it a whirl. While it's not exactly "how did I ever live without this" good, it's certainly well worth the money.

My stove generally takes 40-50 minutes to get 4 gallons of wort from mash temps up to a boil. With the heat stick helping out, I hit a boil in 25 minutes. I was able to maintain a healthy (but not explosive) rolling boil without having to do the "lid half on" trick. This is completely subjective, but I felt like I got a better hot break using the stick as well. It could also help cut into your time to hit strike temps if you're starting from room temp water (I use hot tap water from my sink, so that's not an issue for me).

As a test, I used the stick alone to heat 3 gallons of water in my kettle. I got it from 60F to 160F in 35 minutes. So you could even potentially heat your strike water right in your mash tun with one or two of these. Overall, if you're brewing more than a gallon or two on a stovetop I'd really recommend one of these.

I'll add that to me biscuit malt is kinda like the flavor of maris otter only intensified. Kinda like melenoidin malt is to Munich.
That's exactly how I think of it:
Biscuit and Victory = amped up MO
Melanoiden and Aromatic = amped up Munich

Beer Recipes / Re: citra saison
« on: December 06, 2014, 12:07:39 PM »
Unlike DuPont, 3711 is about as robust a yeast strain as you will find. I usually just let it go at ambient in my basement, which is only about 62F (~17C) in the spring/summer when I brew my saisons. After a week, I put on my Brew belt to raise the temp. I usually allow about a week longer than a normal ale to finish up. I find that it takes its time to finish up the last point or two of fermentation. I get a bit of tartness, but not as much pepper/spice as Dupont at that fermentation temp.

The great thing about 3711 is the mouthfeel. Even though it finishes bone dry, it has a nice juicy/full mouthfeel. It makes a simple saison that really reminds me of a dry white wine. It's a fantastic lawnmower beer, and the juiciness and acidity are perfect for a hop like Citra.

Ingredients / Re: Golden shroomy
« on: December 06, 2014, 11:57:13 AM »
OK.  Then I guess we'll try them in a beef stew or such.  The beer flavor should be good in something like that.  Or a meatloaf.  hmmmmmm.
Yeah, beef stew is exactly what I was thinking, too. Or maybe a rich veggie stew.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Used kegs
« on: December 06, 2014, 08:35:45 AM »
Man, used kegs are getting pricey. At this point, I'm buying all new.

I am only purchasing new kegs as well.
If you can wait out for sales at AiH, there's really no reason at all to be messing around with used kegs. Their sale prices on new kegs are incredible. And it seems like they run their sales every few months.

Even better (for me at least) is that they carry the smaller 2.5 gallon kegs and have great sales on that size as well.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Help with English yeasts not fully attenuating
« on: December 05, 2014, 12:37:58 PM »
I'd suggest the OP mash a full 90 minutes and definitely recalibrate the thermometer. I've had attenuation issues with English yeasts as well. But I think that was mainly because the fermentation temperature wasn't as warm as it needed to be for long enough. It would reach 68 during peak of fermentation, but drop down as fermentation was winding down. I think this hurts attenuation. I try not to brew with English yeasts during the colder months when I don't have a way to keep the beer warm.
Maybe I'm the English yeast whisperer or something, but I've never had a problem with flocculant English yeasts at low temps. I tried to cold crash a starter of 1968 after about 20 hours a few months ago and I couldn't get it to drop even at 45F in the fridge. Last winter I had the Yorkshire Square strain (which is so flocculant it makes 1968 look like a weizen yeast) take an all-malt barleywine from 1.142 down to 1.024. It was fermented at 58F for the first week before bringing it to the mid-60's to clean itself up.

Other thoughts (although just grasping at straws, mainly)
Try bigger starters to see if that helps.
Try pitching your starter at high krausen (or shortly thereafter).
Repitch and see if things improve on a further generation.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Greetings from Uganda, and question
« on: December 05, 2014, 12:17:04 PM »
Awesome guys, thanks so much for your suggestions.  Will bump up the c60 and swap the aromatic for biscuit.  I can't wait to try this one!

Any idea for the yeast regarding whether Nottingham or Mangrove jacks?

Wort-h.o.g. What is this "hop stand" you speak of?

hop stand is when you add hops after the boil but while the wort is still hot. if you add them right after the flame is turned off you get some bitterness and tons of flavor and aroma. if you chill to < 170*f you can minimize additional bitterness while adding lots of flavor and aroma.

However for a traditional ESB I'm not sure a hop stand is right. still be tasty beer just not totally stylistically correct. The style is still supposed to be about hop bitterness and malt flavor with a nice dry hop character.
Agreed, but with only an ounce of EKG's to work with a hop stand may help get some of that hop character you'd miss out on by not dry hopping. I fully admit my palate is skewed, but only an ounce/5 gallons in a hop stand shouldn't be enough to move you into English IPA range.

Another option is to skip the late hopping with the EKG's altogether and save them for dry hops.

Other Fermentables / Re: less dry cider
« on: December 05, 2014, 11:48:43 AM »
There was some great info in one of the cider talks at this year's NHC ("Navigating the Complexities of Making Great Hard Cider at Home" I think?), that goes into detail about how to make a fortified cider that you backsweeten with juice. I'd certainly check that out.

Personally, I'm just shooting for a ballpark with my initial fermentation, then adjusting the cider to taste. I shoot for 1.070-1.075 for my initial OG to get in the 9-10% range, then figure on using about 1/2-1/3 of the original volume in juice to backsweeten the stabilized cider. You can use sugar, honey or apple concentrate to fortify your initial ferment. I used apple syrup that I made from boiling down fresh-pressed cider for the batch I have in the fermenter right now. Molasses, Candi Syrup and Maple Syrup all have potential as well.

Wood/Casks / Re: age of Oak
« on: December 05, 2014, 11:16:01 AM »
Why go through the trouble of doing this yourself when the homebrew shop has oak cubes that work perfect for a couple dollars?

Your thoughts?

sometimes it's about the process more than the price. I malt my own grain on occasion not because it's cheaper (although it is) or easier (it isn't), or even better (maybe maybe not), but because to have that kind of involvement in the process is fun.
+1 - Sometimes the point of going through all the trouble yourself is just to go through all the trouble yourself. I often enjoy brewing beer even more than I enjoy drinking it, that's why it's such a great hobby for me.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Greetings from Uganda, and question
« on: December 05, 2014, 11:10:49 AM »
Looks pretty good to me, but I'd be tempted to use the Biscuit instead of the Aromatic if you want something more ESB-like. Aromatic is like a deeper Munich-like flavor, while Biscuit is closer to a richer/toastier Maris Otter-like flavor.

Also, If it were my beer, I'd move the EKG's to a hop stand, but that's just my tastes. The hop bill still looks pretty good as-is.

Other Fermentables / Re: less dry cider
« on: December 05, 2014, 09:18:09 AM »
I don't doubt that Dave's technique makes some fantastic ciders. For me, I prefer my cider a little bit sweeter (1.012-1.015). I force carbonate mine, so I think the extra bit of sweetness balances the carbonic bite. I prefer to add sugar to the initial ferment to raise the gravity and let it dry out. Then I sweeten with enough fresh juice to get in the 6% ABV range (give or take) and to get the sweetness level I like. But I grew up on Woodchuck, so that's the type of cider I prefer to drink.

As far as yeast nutrient is concerned, I find that you get a faster ferment with less sulfur if you use it. I also add pectic enzyme prior to pitching my yeast, which gets you clear cider pretty quickly. I've had cider go from orchard to keg in under 3 weeks. After about a week in the keg the cider is usually brilliantly clear as the last of the haze drops out.

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