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Messages - erockrph

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All Things Food / Re: Bramble/ribe varieties
« on: September 01, 2015, 06:24:06 PM »
We had some bizarre weather this year. Spring was cool and dry. We had rain the early part of summer, and the rest of the summer was warm (but not hot) and very dry. My blackcurrants did fantastic, and my red and pink did OK. Gooseberries were mediocre as usual.

I ended up digging out my Hinnomaki Red gooseberries and my rather bland blackberries. I planted a second blackcurrant in place of the gooseberry and a couple of lowbush blueberries and a tea plant in place of the blackberries. Of course, I've been pulling up blackberry shoots all season. They grow like mad - shoots are popping up as much as 15 feet away from there I pulled out the main crown. I think I finally have it under control now, thankfully.

Ingredients / Re: Brewer's caramel
« on: September 01, 2015, 12:14:39 PM »
I'm interested in a synopsis of the raw stuff. I followed the recipes for homemade invert #2 and brewers caramel. I believe my invert was a complete success, but the caramel has me worried. Everything I can find indicates that the raw ingredient has a "burnt sugar" smell to it and bitter/acrid flavor to it, but this isn't from a homebrewing source. I'd love to hear your thoughts when you have some in-hand.

The brewers caramel I made definitely has some of the "burnt sugar" aromas and bitter taste, BUT that's exactly what it is (the blackest you can make sugar without lighting it on fire :D). I can't imagine any way to make "black ink" sugar using heat and not end up with some highly-cooked/burnt sugar character.  Anyway, I tested some of mine in plain water and at 1/8tsp per 12oz you cannot get much (if anything from it) and I get a nice light amber color. At 1/4tsp per 12oz you get some aroma hints of toasted marshmallows, not much flavor but a hint, and the dark amber color I'm looking for. I intend on using it at the middle amount 3/16tsp per 12oz (~3 Tbsp per 5 gallons), and subbing in 1-1.5 oz of debittered black for the remaining color.
Thanks for the info. that should come in handy for a starting point for my initial experimentation.

Other Fermentables / Re: Impatient? Or reason to stress?
« on: September 01, 2015, 12:11:16 PM »
A mead this big is probably going to take longer than 2 weeks to hit FG. A mead this size brewed with 71B should finish up in the 1.020's or 1.030's if you take care of it right. Just let it hang out in primary and be patient. There's no rush to get it off the yeast cake. I usually let mine sit in primary for 6 weeks or so before my first racking.

There should be no need for sulfites or sorbate to prevent carbonation in this mead. Once the yeast finishes up, it isn't going to go any further. The main reason you'd want to sulfite a mead is if you're going to backsweeten. A mead this size probably shouldn't need backsweetening, and even if it did I doubt the yeast would restart fermentation at this high of an ABV.

Ingredients / Re: Belgian Chocolate
« on: September 01, 2015, 11:59:10 AM »
I agree that Callebaut is probably the best Belgian chocolate you can get your hands on in the US. Chocosphere is where I get most of my chocolate fix satisfied, and I do think they have some Callebaut cocoa powder:

As an aside, when I had my dark chocolate blog I would consistently get 10 times as many hits when I posted about some mediocre mass-market stuff like Godiva, compared to the really high-end single origin stuff from guys like Pralus and Amedei. You know your audience, so you should consider whether Godiva may be a better choice for name recognition's sake.

Other Fermentables / Re: priming cider
« on: August 31, 2015, 09:42:03 PM »
So if your juice has a gravity of 1.040, then you want to add 3/40 (0.075) gallons (9.6 ounces) of juice for every gallon of finished cider.

It's 1.050, so around 7.5 ounces per gallon?
Yep, that sounds right to me.

The term that I have seen used, and agree with, is "winey".  That winey character is why my preference goes to WY2565.


Yep...white wine with a bit of fruit.
Aside from Kolsch, that description really makes me want to brew a Nelson Sauvin pale ale with that yeast...

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Recommendations for Oktoberfest yeast?
« on: August 31, 2015, 09:07:31 PM »
Wyeast 2633 (Oktoberfest blend) is my go-to yeast for malty lagers, especially Oktoberfests.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: lesser known hop recommendations
« on: August 31, 2015, 09:04:32 PM »
Ron Mexico.
Now those are not so well known, and hard to find!

HBC 438 if you want to research it.
Just saw this on Label Peelers website, in case anyone's interested:

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Belgium/West Coast beer swap
« on: August 31, 2015, 05:52:45 PM »
Thanks folks, I think I have more than enough suggestions.

One more question: does anyone know of any good meads to be found in Oregon? I sometimes make mead myself and would like to compare. Nothing very sweet, but melomel is ok.
Moonlight Meadery's website lists a few places in Oregon that carry their meads. Their typical meads are big melomels. Some may be a bit sweet, but they're always well-balanced and I've never had a cloying one. Desire and Kurt's Apple Pie are their flagships, and my personal favorite is Sumptuous, which is a killer mango melomel.

Ingredients / Brewer's caramel
« on: August 30, 2015, 12:00:30 PM »
I have a couple of bottles of Brewer's Caramel en route from the other side of the pond. I've been wanting to play around with it for a while. Of course, I really have no clue how to use the stuff. Outside of Ron Pattinson's vintage recipes, I can't say I've come across any recipes calling for it. I've always assumed you add it to the boil, although the site I bought it from says to add it to finished beer.

I'm thinking I'd just take a basic brown ale or ESB recipe and go from there. If I can use this post-boil, even better. That way I can split a batch 2 or 3 ways to see what happens with increasing amounts of caramel vs none.

Anyone have any insights or experience as to how I'd use it?

Other Fermentables / Re: priming cider
« on: August 30, 2015, 10:09:38 AM »
You can use juice, or juice concentrate for that matter. You can generally assume that each gravity point you add will produce 0.5 volumes of CO2, and fermentation typically leaves about 0.8-1.0 volumes of residual carbonation. So if you add enough juice to increase your gravity by 3 points, you should end up with about 2.3-2.5 volumes of CO2 in the bottle.

So if your juice has a gravity of 1.040, then you want to add 3/40 (0.075) gallons (9.6 ounces) of juice for every gallon of finished cider.

Unless I overlooked it, the priming sugar should be added to a small amount of water and boiled for a few minutes before adding to the beer. This will help ensure complete and proper distribution of the priming sugar in the beer.
You also want to be sure it is mixed in well, as it tends to stratify and you end up with uneven carbonation. I add mine during racking once there's about an inch if beer in the bottling bucket. The swirling motion of the incoming beer mixes the sugar in fairly well. I still always give a couple of gentle stirs with a sanitized spoon at the end, just to be sure.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: lesser known hop recommendations
« on: August 30, 2015, 09:19:59 AM »
Galaxy is probably my favorite of all the newer hops.
I LOVE a mix of Cascade or Centennial with Galaxy as a flavor addition, and Chinook very late.
Goes well with Citra, too.
Yeah, I dropped the ball - Galaxy is right up there for me ,too. And I like Nelson too, but not quite as well as Galaxy.
I was thinking US hops specifically, but if AU/NZ hops are fair game then Nelson is my fave. It's got big C-hop grapefruit going on, with some nice winy complexity. Motueka is a close second - noble hop notes plus lime zest and lemongrass.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Adding NaCl to beer
« on: August 29, 2015, 10:14:37 AM »
Thanks folks! Although your replies were all interesting, I was just waiting for the definitive answer from Martin.  ;)

who agreed with me....;)

Agreed, but you don't sound so authoritative. Maybe you should wear a tie?
He wears tie-dye, that's not close enough?

Beer Recipes / Re: Raise SRM
« on: August 29, 2015, 09:00:12 AM »
Frankly, I'd brew it as-is and not bother mucking around with color. If you don't like how the beer turns out, then you can always adjust in the future. I can't imagine at 10% Vienna and 10% Dark Wheat malt that it is going to turn out too light for a Saison.

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