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Messages - erockrph

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1156
Kegging and Bottling / Re: priming for bottle conditioning
« on: September 08, 2015, 08:45:13 PM »
When you've had bottle bombs, has it been the whole batch or just part of it? I find that many new brewers don't mix the priming sugar in well enough, leading to inconsistent carbonation. I always gently mix the beer in the bottling bucket with a sanitized spoon after the beer and priming sugar have been added.

1157
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Berlinner Weiss Help
« on: September 08, 2015, 02:34:22 PM »
Last year I did 3 batches of sour without adjustment to 4.5 post boil. This year I did 4 batches using adjustment to 4.5 post boil. Last year's beers were not gross. This year's aren't done yet obviously but from tasting the hydrometer samples they seem a lot cleaner. So far...

At this early stage of trial I am willing to commit to saying that adjusting to 4.5 is insurance. However, its not a substitute for ridding your process of oxygen. I still purge with CO2 every transfer and every time I open a fermentor to take a sample.

That purge is what's scaring me. If we transfer the wort after mash, short boil, pH adjustment into a carboy (with an auto siphon to avoid splashing) to pitch the lacto there will may be some O2 in the carboy. Maybe we should use a smaller (3gallon) carboy to leave little headspace? Fermenting in a corny sounds ideal but I'm not brewing at home where I'd have access to the keg & C02.
There are a lot of ways to make a sour beer. The need to pre-acidify and/or minimize oxygen depend on your specific process. Here's an overly simplified look at how oxygen affects the major players in a sour beer:

Spoilage/acetic bacteria - O2 typically increases activity
Lactobacillus - O2 does not significantly increase or decrease activity
Saccharomyces - O2 generally needed to promote yeast health
Brettanomyces - O2 increases production of acetic acid and ethyl acetate. May be desired in small amounts, but not generally in large amounts

So basically, you want to take a look at what critters are in play to determine how you want to handle oxygenation. If you're kettle souring, you definitely want to minimize O2 levels to the best extent you can to inhibit bacteria that can create off flavors. But if you're boiling before souring, that isn't necessarily a concern. Also, if you're souring post-boil, followed by (or along with) Saccharomyces only (i.e., no Brett), then oxygen isn't really an issue.

In other words, I wouldn't sweat the O2 in your case if you're boiling prior to souring and just using Sacc.

1158
The Pub / Re: Ten Drinks a Week
« on: September 07, 2015, 07:27:36 PM »
I never really set rules for myself with drinking, but I fall in the 3-5 drinks per week average pretty organically. I like to relax with a beer or drink at the end of the night when everything's done and it's time to relax. But there always seems to be a couple of days a week where I either don't get enough time to bother cracking into a brew, or i'm just not feeling it.

It also helps that my wife can't drink alcohol. I had an alcoholic parent, so I'm really not into drinking alone. That hits a bit too close to home for me.

1159
Ingredients / Re: Brewer's caramel
« on: September 07, 2015, 06:02:09 PM »
Thanks for keeping us posted on your trials with brewers caramel. This is all very interesting to me since I've just started playing a little with some. I've just brewed a strong mild/ale using my homemade brewers caramel and based on your color descriptions I would say my wort probably landed in the 0.4-0.6ml color range, which extrapolated out to about 5 gallons would use about 25mL. I used about 45mL to get there so mine is not nearly as dark as commercial stuff, but it seemed to work pretty well without much (if any) noticeable flavor/aroma contribution at the amount I used. I guess the real test will be when it's done, kegged, and serving :D

Thanks again for posting your insights on using this stuff. It seems to be the best accounting for it's usage, contribution, and dosing at the homebrew scale I've been able to find.

Cheers!
Glad it's appreciated! I figure if I'm experimenting with something that I can't find a lot of info on myself, then I should probably share my results for others in the same boat :)

1160
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP001 Starter Lag Time
« on: September 07, 2015, 05:57:50 PM »
I routinely re-pitch my yeast.
I try to re-use it within 4 weeks of harvest, I re-pitch WLP001 10-12 times (never pushed it past that number) without any issues. However, the limit for me on WLP002 is 4-5 times before I get some kind of issue with the fermentation.
Do you top-crop the Fullers or just harvest from the trub? That stuff is so damn flocculant that you might just be getting progressively more flocculant yeast out of the cake each time and ending up with yeast that drops before it cleans up all its diacetyl or acetaldehyde.

1161
A couple of thoughts:

A) Maybe this wan't enough pressure to see a noticeable difference? I believe some commercial lager breweries go as high as 30 PSI.

B) It wouldn't surprise me at all if this was a highly strain dependant factor - I'd definitely give it a try with either A) the DuPont strain, which allegedly stalls under pressure or B) a strain that is typically open fermented like WLP037

C) To maximize the pressure differential, the non-pressurized batch could be done as an open fermentation. When using WLP037 and some other strains, I just sanitize a paint strainer bag and put it over the top of the fermenting bucket until the krausen falls. That leaves you with no back pressure at all. A typical bucket/airlock configuration is going to feel at least a little extra pressure.

Another good experiment and food for thought!

1162
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pics of recent brews?
« on: September 07, 2015, 05:40:15 PM »
That's amazingly clear for 5 weeks, Ken. Do you fine with gelatin? What yeast you using for it?

1163
Ingredients / Re: Belgian Chocolate
« on: September 06, 2015, 09:03:57 AM »
Food for thought:

1. Belgium has the best beer in the world. Fact.
2. Belgium has the best chocolate in the world. Fact.
3. Belgium produces some of the best beer with chocolate in the world. Fact? Euh no. Guess why.
4. Belgium produces the worst commercial beer I have ever tasted in my life: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/florisgaarden-chocolat-gardenbeer/6187/ Fact.

First off, this post is silly. Second off, you are missing the point on this one. I appreciate more your posts before which were helpful. this one I might as well have seen on Facebook. ;)
If I saw this on Facebook, my reply would have been "5. Belgium is full of pompous asshats. Fact." or "Why don't you post this in the Belgian Homebrewers Association forum. Oh wait...". But we're in a more civilized place, and I am taking it on good faith that this comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Yes, this was humongously tongue-in-cheek, but maybe not so obvious for people who don't know me or the Belgian situation very well. I apologize for the confusion, and I solemnly promise I will never do this again without the proper explanation and/or the proper tongue-in-cheek markers.

And yes, I'm a pompous asshat, but that's just a personal situation, please don't extrapolate to brave little Belgium.

But I don't alter my opinion that that chocolate beer is the vilest liquid I ever had in my mouth. But I doubt it had any real chocolate in it. I think it was a mixture of dredgings from the river Scheldt and artificial chocolate flavor.
A twerp from Antwerp! Who would have guessed!  ;)

1164
Ingredients / Re: Brewer's caramel
« on: September 05, 2015, 09:43:40 PM »
One more quick update for those of you following along at home. I finally rustled up a 1cc oral syringe and was able to do some measured dilutions and dosing with this. I mixed up a 20% dilution with water, which was enough to get this to disperse evenly when dropped into a beer. I poured a can of Pivo Pils and added my diluted caramel solution 0.5mL at a time, which is the equivalent of 0.1mL of undiluted caramel. Unfortunately, I couldn't take any pictures.

Here are my results, converted back to the amount of undiluted caramel to get said result:

0.0 mL - Plain old Pivo Pils, light gold in color
0.1 mL - Deeper gold, Maibock-esque
0.2 mL - light orange/amber, typical Märzen color
0.3 mL - reddish brown, could pass for a fairly light Dunkel or brown ale
0.4 mL -0.6 mL - deeper shades of brown, Dunkel range
0.8 mL - 1.2 mL - deep brown/mahogany/cola - Schwarzbier range

I stopped at 1.2 mL, which is black at a distance but still shows through brown under close inspection in the light. I honestly can't pick up any difference in flavor. And clarity doesn't seem to be affected significantly either.

Verdict - a nice substitute for Sinamar or Midnight Wheat as a color adjustment. I haven't priced it out, but I can't imagine that this is worth paying to ship it in from the UK. I think it is quite flavor neutral, so those that pick up some flavor that they don't want from dark grains or Sinamar may consider this as an option. I certainly wouldn't complain if this started to be made available in the US for homebrewers.

In the meantime, I am rather enjoying my Pivo Schwarzbier...

1165
Ingredients / Re: Belgian Chocolate
« on: September 05, 2015, 06:49:14 PM »
Food for thought:

1. Belgium has the best beer in the world. Fact.
2. Belgium has the best chocolate in the world. Fact.
3. Belgium produces some of the best beer with chocolate in the world. Fact? Euh no. Guess why.
4. Belgium produces the worst commercial beer I have ever tasted in my life: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/florisgaarden-chocolat-gardenbeer/6187/ Fact.

First off, this post is silly. Second off, you are missing the point on this one. I appreciate more your posts before which were helpful. this one I might as well have seen on Facebook. ;)
If I saw this on Facebook, my reply would have been "5. Belgium is full of pompous asshats. Fact." or "Why don't you post this in the Belgian Homebrewers Association forum. Oh wait...". But we're in a more civilized place, and I am taking it on good faith that this comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

1166
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Favorite Bo Pils Yeast
« on: September 05, 2015, 06:43:21 PM »
I like 2000. It's very soft and malty but you can work the water and hops to impart crispness.
+1 - just make sure to check the diacetyl level prior to cold-crashing.

1167
Beer Recipes / Re: help me classify this - baltic porter?
« on: September 04, 2015, 05:41:40 PM »
That works! Yes it looks like I am 6 points below the low end of the style guidelines.

Anyone got any recommendations for widely available commercial examples of Baltic Porters? I think I have maybe seen Zywiec and maybe Baltika #6 around...
You might be able to find Sinebrychoff at a good bottle shop. And it is well worth the search, I might add.

1168
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend? 01/18/2014
« on: September 04, 2015, 05:33:36 PM »
Just threw together a freezer-cleaner, but for once it wan't hops that I needed to clear out. I had some blueberries and peaches in the freezer that need to go, along with a small amount of raspberries. I just threw together a small melomel with them (1.045ish) that I will backsweeten, keg, and carbonate when it's done. Depending on what it tastes like when it's done, I'll backsweeten with either honey, peach nectar, or blueberry juice. I've been wanting to make this style of mead ever since I got hooked on B. Nektar's line of carbonated hydromels.

1169
Equipment and Software / Re: corny keg noob question
« on: September 04, 2015, 10:18:09 AM »
I have a chest freezer + temp controller that serves double-duty as both my kegerator and fermentation chamber. It is far from ideal, since I can't practically use it for both functions at the same time. At some time in the future I plan on acquiring a real kegerator, but I will make do with what I have for the time being.

If you want to serve your kegs at cellar temperature, then there's no reason why you can't. Just keep in mind that carbonation is a function of temperature, and you may see variable carbonation if you have big swings in temperature. That may also affect line balancing if you need to pressurize to different PSI values (or whatever your metric equivalent is) in different seasons.

1170
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: stupid carbonation question
« on: September 04, 2015, 10:08:04 AM »
See, that's what I don't understand. Say that there's 200 units of CO2 produced during fermentation. At the end of the fermentation at 20C, the beer looses 100 units. Now I cold-crash to 0C. Surely the beer is not going to take up again a considerable amount of C02,  say 50 units?

And the cold crashing is already finished.  :'(
You understand correctly. Most of that CO2 has offgassed through the airlock, and isn't going to go back into the beer. The best bet is to enter the highest temperature your beer was at after active fermentation has been completed into your priming sugar calculator.

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