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Messages - erockrph

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Commercial Beer Reviews / Paulaner Original Munich (Helles)
« on: August 13, 2015, 09:23:26 PM »
There is a fairly new liquor store in my area that I recently discovered. They have a very solid craft beer selection, but it's not huge. There's no mix-a-six section collecting dust, everything is in the fridge. There may not be the hugest selection, but what they have is cold and fresh. I mention this because Paulaner Helles is a beer I'd never touch at the other bottle shops in my area, as it is typically stored warm and not likely to be turned over very quickly. So when I saw it in the fridge at Big Gary's, I snapped it right up.

This beer just hits all the marks for me. It has a wonderful rich, bready malt character to it. It is well attenuated, but not as bone dry as a pils. The carbonation level is also backed off a bit compared to other lagers. It isn't crisp and bone-dry, but that plays to the maltiness well, and it is still dangerously easy to put down in quantity.

What I really enjoy about it is the malt character. With most pilsners I get a malt character that reminds me of uncooked pasta. The Paulaner is different. It reminds me more of a french baguette. I would love to brew a beer with this same malt flavor, but I can't quite think of a grain that would get me there. If I had to guess, I'd wager that Paulaner has this malt made to spec and it's probably in between Pils and Vienna malt somewhere. I also wonder if yeast strain comes into play here. I can't think of a Paulaner beer that I haven't loved when I've had a good/fresh bottle of it.

1262
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Viable yeast in Vegemite?
« on: August 13, 2015, 08:59:05 AM »
I wonder if it's possible to distill out the nastiness. Vegemite is the most vile stuff I've ever tried (although I have yet to try durian or lutefisk, so there is room for it to be knocked from it's perch).

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The Pub / Re: Retirement
« on: August 13, 2015, 08:49:06 AM »
Its hard to imagine for me moving away from all my friends and family when I'm in my sixties. I guess if you were extremely extroverted and are just friends with whoever you meet or so introverted that you don't want to be with other people it would make sense. Also New England is kind of in my bones. The other thing for me is I kind of look forward to enjoying all the hard work I put into my home and land when I retire. I can't wait to have all that time to garden and homebrew.
My girlfriend on the other hand is sick of the winters. I think if we moved someplace warm, since we would be massively uprooting anyway, I would move to Italy or Spain so it would be an adventure then move back home when we start not being able to fully take care of ourselves.
I'm in the same boat as you, Pete. I may consider snowbirding in the Florida Keys for a month or so out of the year, but my roots are in New England and I also enjoy having all 4 seasons. I'm planning to be in good enough shape when I retire to be able to travel extensively, so that should address the wanderlust I hope.

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Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Wheats fall from grace
« on: August 13, 2015, 08:09:24 AM »
I will only drink it if they put Caitlyn Jenner on the can.
I really wouldn't want Caitlyn Jenner on the can, but if that's your thing no judgement here  ;)

1265
Beer Recipes / Re: barleywine >20% ABV
« on: August 11, 2015, 08:21:35 AM »
I brewed a huge all-malt barleywine a couple of years ago that is really starting to age well. It started at 1.142 and finished at 1.024 with no additional sugar needed. That calculates to anywhere from 15.5 to 18.3% abv, depending on which calculator you end up using (I may end up sending it out for analysis just for fun). Based on my experience, here's some things to keep in mind:

-You need a highly fermentable wort to make sure it attenuates well. I did an iterated mash for this. I mashed half the grain at 162F for 15 minutes, then pulled the spent grain and added the other half into the liquor and finished at 145F for 90 minutes. If you don't have a way to do this, then I'd mash long and low at 145F or lower.

-Pitch a big, healthy amount of yeast that has been acclimated to higher ABV. Either step up a starter using higher gravities, or just pitch from the cake of a bigger beer (1.070 range). I ended up racking right on the full cake of a 1.068 beer, that had been pitched from some of the cake of a mid 1.040's beer in the previous batch.

-Plan on low efficiency on your system. I usually hit about 82%, but my big boy was in the mid-60's efficiency.

-Oxygenate well, then oxygenate a second time about 12-18 hours later.

-Control your temps well. Keep it low early on, then ramp and rouse at the tail end to squeeze every drop of attenuation out of it.

You seem to be targeting something bigger than what I brewed, so I think the late additions of sugar are a good call. I'd do it in small doses (maybe split up every 12-24 hours over 4-5 doses). I don't know if a second yeast like WLP099 is necessarily required if you take caution, but if you use it, I'd pitch it a small starter at high krausen. I'd also pitch it before you start adding the extra sugar to let the yeast acclimate at a lower ABV and gravity before you start to push it up.

Also, you might want to listen to the episode of "Can You Brew It" where Sean Paxton tries to clone DFH 120-minute IPA using a similar staggered late sugar addition process. There's some good info on that one. You will also want to check gravities prior to each sugar addition to ensure the gravity is still going down. If the yeast have stopped eating, then you're just adding syrup to your beer at that point.

Good luck, and please keep us posted!

1266
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Habaneros in keg
« on: August 11, 2015, 05:57:50 AM »
How many is "some"? I have consumed dried habaneros in the past, and it was even worse than the time I ate a hot wing coated in Dave's Ultimate Insanity sauce instead of Red Hot....

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I'm doing a reddit AMA today!
« on: August 11, 2015, 05:47:19 AM »
A) Congrats!

B) I am not a redditor, but AMA - means ask me anything. While I doubt that the homebrewer crowd will try to rake you over the coals, it can't hurt to be prepared for off-topic questions.

1268
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Filtering by Gravity
« on: August 10, 2015, 07:52:40 PM »
Unless I missed it, why aren't you pushing with co2?
+1 - if you're kegging, then the typical filtration practice I've heard of is to jump the beer from one keg to another through the filter. That takes gravity out of the equation, and oxidation as well.

1269
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: What's your favorite hidden gem
« on: August 10, 2015, 09:52:45 AM »
I guess I'll buck the trend and go with a brewery that is hidden by being small as opposed to the hidden-in-plain-sight ones mentioned so far. If you ever get a chance try something by Element Brewing Co. in Miller's Falls Ma. I believe it is available throughout Mass. and parts of Vermont. My favorites that are not seasonal are Red Giant and Dark Element. Their beers tend to not fall into strict style categories and seem to me to be made with very high quality ingredients. Really interesting but balanced malt flavors.
Thanks for the tip, Pete. I've seen their beers around, but haven't tried them out yet. I'll have to check them out soon.

1270
I am glad that you were able to fix your problem.  Purchasing a used keg today can be a hit or miss proposition due to the poor overall condition of what is being offered for sale.  A lot of soda kegs that are being sold on the used market today were clearly culled from service for reasons other than being replaced by bag-in-box.
And in addition, new kegs are becoming so affordable that I can't fathom why anyone would roll the dice on a used one.

1271
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Getting Smegma out of Better Bottles
« on: August 08, 2015, 05:30:29 PM »
I often swish and swirl a washcloth inside before I soak it with a cleanser.  It seems to remove more gunk than just rinsing and sloshing.  I figure it means less gunk for the cleanser to remove.
To the same effect, I've been using these lately in my 1-gallon jugs that I use for starters and test batches. I don't know if they're too small for a full-sized better bottle, but they certainly work as advertised in smaller bottles.

http://www.containerstore.com/s/need-it/kitchen/bean-bottle-cleaning-sponges/12d?productId=10035726

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Ingredients / Re: El Dorado sweetness
« on: August 07, 2015, 07:46:48 PM »
Yeah, I did a single hop APA to taste-test El Dorado, and I share much of the same sentiment as everyone here. It's rather sweet with a candy-like character to it. It wasn't bad, but I haven't had a desire to brew with it again after that experience. It would probably be nice in something like a watermelon wheat, or even a witbier. This way you could ferment pretty dry and add back the impression of sweetness with some late El Dorado.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dumping 5gallons
« on: August 06, 2015, 12:55:23 PM »
I still do on occasion. And it's not just for bad beers. If something is "just OK" and I need the keg/bottle space, then down the drain it goes. I enjoy the brewing part as much as the drinking. That's part of the reason why I started brewing smaller batches.

I found that once you get over the guilt of dumping batches you become a better brewer.

1274
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: What's your favorite hidden gem
« on: August 06, 2015, 08:32:53 AM »
Along the same lines of being overlooked because they are made by a Macro, the beers I've tried from Leinenkugel's Big Eddy series have all been great. The Wee Heavy in particular is phenomenal.

1275
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Canned wort for the non-canner
« on: August 06, 2015, 06:55:03 AM »
In which case, you might as well just add DME straight to the water at room temp and save the time and money. That's what I typically do and it works fine for me.
Is that common?

I don't think so, but the way I look at it, my tap water is sanitary enough for consumption and DME is so hygroscopic that nothing is going to be able to grow in it. For brewing, we're just creating sanitary conditions, not sterile ones. If you are using otherwise solid sanitation practices (such as proper cleaning and sanitization of anything that touches the wort), then you aren't likely to introduce a significant amount of contamination by skipping the boil in a starter.

When I'm dealing with old, unhealthy yeast or low cell counts (such as growing up bottle dregs), then I will boil my starter wort. In those cases a small amount of contamination could quickly outcompete the culture you are trying to grow.

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