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Messages - erockrph

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« on: October 01, 2014, 07:11:40 PM »
I don't do a full-on force carb, but I do a bit of an accelerated carb schedule. I use about 30 PSI to seat my lid, then shake for maybe a minute or so. Then I back the pressure down to about 20 PSI and lit it sit at about 36-38F for 1.5 to 2 days. After that I back it off to 12 PSI and check back in a week or so. By going hard the first couple of days it does seem to shave off a few days until the keg is carbonated to my liking, but I don't push it so hard where I'd have to worry about overcarbonation if I accidentally let it go at 20PSI for a couple of extra days.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: How long does kegged beer stay fresh?
« on: October 01, 2014, 05:54:14 PM »
I don't go through my beer all that fast and definitely keep it kegged for months.  It keeps just fine, but I also brew larger beers that can stand some aging.  I have an old ale and imperial stout in the basement that are about a year old or more.

If you're worried about head space you can buy smaller kegs.  There's no savings, unless you find a really good deal, but 2 and 3 gallon kegs work great for small or split batches.
If you're serious about getting smaller kegs, AiH usually runs a good deal on new 2.5 or 3 gallon kegs every few months. But they're generally only about 10 bucks cheaper than the 5-gallon version. For purging the headspace, I just fill a keg to the top with Star San, then purge the headspace a few times. When the time comes to fill the keg I just jump the Star San to another empty keg and rack into the purged keg.

I'm in the process of rethinking my dry-hopping strategy myself. I might start by cutting it out entirely. A few years back I kept pushing my dry-hopping rates in chasing the hop level I was looking for. Once I started doing serious hop stands with massive amounts of hops I started getting all the hop character I was looking for.

Around the same time I stopped using whole cones , and started using pellet hops to minimize wort loss. Somewhere around that time I started getting a lot of beers with a harsh "raw hop" bitterness. Some of them seemed a bit murky, suggesting fine hop particles in suspension, but not all of the ones with coarse bitterness were like this.

I have some troubleshooting to do, but one thought I'm having is that I never backed down my dry-hopping rate once I started getting enough hop presence from my hop stands. I also used to use a mix of whole and pellet hops on most beers, depending on what I had available. Between the whirlpool and dry hops I'm using 4-6 oz/gallon in my IPA's. I'm thinking that there's a lot of fine hop pellet particles that just don't drop out well.

Step one will be to be careful filtering out my kettle trub, and step two will probably be to either skip dry hopping altogether, or trying whole cones instead of pellets for dry hops.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Smuttynose/Stone Cluster's Last Stand
« on: September 30, 2014, 10:02:18 PM »
This beer is a collaboration brew based on the Ballantine's IPA recipe in Mitch Steele's IPA book. This tastes nothing like the typical West Coast IPA, but it is fantastic. The nose is catty, with lots of black currant and some lavender floral notes. Flavor is resin, with some fruity currant notes and a bit of floral hops. The malt is on the light side, but some bready Munich notes provide the right balance. Bitterness is sharp and sticky, but fades nicely on the finish leaving you wanting another sip.

If this is anything like the new Ballantine IPA, I'm in. I definitely want to play with Bullion, Cluster and Brewer's Gold in the near future. This really stands out from other IPA's, but it all works really well.

If you have access to this, I highly recommend it. For my money, Smutty is possibly the best brewery in New England (now that Long Trail owns Otter Creek), and is right up there with Victory and DFH as far as top breweries in the Northeast go. All of their beers are killer.

Kegging and Bottling / Keg hopping frustration
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:49:38 PM »
I'm hopping in the keg for the first time, but I'm having some issues and I'm looking to troubleshoot.

I kegged the beer about a week ago. It's a 2.5 gallon keg, and I added 1 ounce of pellet hops in a hop bag when I kegged it. The bag was tied off well. I even added a couple of half-hitches around the neck of the bag with the drawstring before I tied it off. I then tied some 6# fluorocarbon fishing line to the drawstring and ran it through the lid as I closed it. It took some work to seat the lid properly so the gasket didn't leak around the fishing line, but eventually everything passed the star-san spray test. I then put it on gas and placed it in my keezer at 36F.

Five days later I wanted to start tasting to check on the dry hop character. My first pour was opaque with green murk. I figured I just drew up the gunk on the bottom, so I'd wait a day and check again. I took three 4-oz samples today, all a couple of hours apart. Each was murky green and had the taste of raw hops. It doesn't seem to be getting better.

So, what am I doing wrong? Do I need to wait longer? Should I be using whole cones? Am I using too much hops? Any suggestions?

The Pub / Re: New hobby
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:35:56 PM »
Nice! I've always wondered if lap steel players felt like they were playing backwards. The whole concept of reaching over the top of the fretboard instead of underneath always seemed so alien to me.

The Pub / Re: Tarot Deck: also borderline shameless etc.
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:33:12 PM »
Her artwork is fantastic, Pete. Reminds me of when I used to play Magic. Great stuff!

Beer Recipes / Re: Spiced Ale w/ Bubblegum ingredients
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:29:53 PM »
Too late now, but if I were going for bubblegum, I'd probably use the Chimay yeast fermented on the warm side.

Beer Recipes / Re: brown ale
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:28:24 PM »
For hops, you can't go wrong with EKG. My go-to late hops for English beer have become EKG and Challenger. I get anise, marmalade and tobacco from the Goldings and a nice white chocolate note from Challenger.

Ingredients / Re: Best hops to pair with Galaxy
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:23:37 PM »
If you want to branch out, Galaxy pairs with EKG's quite well. Citra hasn't been mentioned yet, and that's what I'd reach for if I were going the tropical route. Meridian would probably be really nice, too.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Suggestions for wild yeast
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:58:38 AM »
{P}henolic {O}ff {F}lavor… very few POF+ yeasts are used in brewing but a number of wine yeasts are POF+.

Actually, quite a few brewing strains are POF+.  In fact, as I mentioned above, many British strains POF+ to some extent.  True POF- strains do not throw phenolic flavors when fermented really warm.  Lager strains are generally never POF+.  They just throw other types of trash when fermented warm.

There are a number of yeast strains, isolated from breweries, that are POF+. I stand by my original comment that in modern breweries, the vast majority of yeasts in use are, in fact, not POF+.
That's because the vast majority either use Chico or a lager strain...

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Suggestions for wild yeast
« on: September 30, 2014, 08:10:37 AM »
  Lager yeast (Saccharomyces pastorianus) is now believed to be the result of a hybridization event between S. cerevisiae and a Patagonian yeast species known as Saccharomyces ebayanus.
Got it. I like most of those strains in the right context but am all to familiar with them appearing in the wrong place in too warm fermentations. I'm sorry but not surprised that ebay now has their own yeast strain.

It's actually a typo. The species is S. eubayanus. And recent research suggests that it may be of Tibetan origin, rather than Patagonian:

Ingredients / Re: Storage of Grain
« on: September 29, 2014, 12:07:05 PM »
5 gallon food grade buckets from Lowe's with Gamma Seal lids, two can handle a 50 lb sack of base malt. Both Lowe's and Home Depot carry food grade buckets and Gamma lids cheaper than Amazon, surprisingly enough. All other malts vacuum sealed, same for my bulk hops.
That's a nice tip. Five bucks a piece for 5 gallon food-grade buckets is a nice deal. It would make a nice primary for 3-gallon batches, too. Hmm...

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Victory Dirt Wolf IIPA
« on: September 28, 2014, 09:11:31 PM »
I don't usually buy commercial IPA's, but I needed to fill out a mix-a-six and I trust everyone's opinions here...

I have to say, the hop character is fantastic in this beer. There is a nice mix of tropical, citrus and stonefruit with enough piny resin to keep it from being a fruit bomb. Bitterness is firm and snappy, but not "paint your tongue with iso-AA's". And I don't get even the slightest hotness from the alcohol.

Unfortunately, what I do get is a bunch of sweetness from the alcohol. That's not Victory's fault - this beer is impeccable. I've just come to the conclusion that I pick up alcohol above 7% or so as sweet. Add in hops like Mosaic and the sweetness becomes a big distraction for me.

Maybe they'll come out with a Session Wolf some time if I'm lucky...

Ingredients / Re: Wyeast yeast nutrient
« on: September 28, 2014, 04:29:39 PM »
Never have.

+2 - I didn't even realize that it was recommended until I read this post.

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