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Messages - erockrph

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The Pub / Re: Chocolate stash
« on: January 22, 2016, 06:04:27 PM »
I am chocolate ignorant. But, I would like to impress my wife. What do you recommend?
There's a pretty broad range out there. I pretty much stick to plain dark chocolate bars, so I don't have a lot of recommendations for milk chocolate, or bars that have fillings or additives. To me, those are more of a snack rather than something to savor.

Most of the bars in that picture are favorites of mine. The Amedei Chuao is by far the best chocolate I've ever had. It has a great acidity that brings out all sorts of fruit notes, with earthy, nutty and coffee notes to back it up. It's about $15 a bar, but worth every penny if you're a connoisseur. If you're into bitter and you want to get adventurous, Domori's "Il 100%" is my favorite 100% cacao bar. It is amazing the complexity you can get off of pure cacao.

Waialua Estate is another one of my favorites. It is 100% American from bean-to-bar: the cacao is grown on Dole's plantation in Hawaii and the bar is made by Guittard. The volcanic soil terroir makes for a distinct flavor profile. The Pralus Cuba may not be the most complex dark chocolate, but it is addictively snackable. It is made from Trinitario beans rather than Criollo. There are three types of cacao beans - Criollo is the top quality, akin to Arabica coffee beans, Forastero is for mass-production and equivalent to Robusto coffee, and Trinitario is a hybrid between the two both literally and in quality of flavor. Pralus tends to go heavier on the roast than other chocolate makers, and that brings out nice peanut butter and espresso flavors in the Trinitario beans, and that makes for a poundable dark chocolate. It also, quite fittingly, makes an excellent pairing with Cuban-style coffee.

If you're not sure how dark you like it, Lindt does a series of chocolate bars starting at 50% and going all the way up to 99%. It makes for a nice flight, especially if you're just starting to get into chocolate. Once you get into it, several manufacturers have single-origin bars so you can get a feel for what chocolate from different countries and regions taste like. I believe Pralus sells some as a sampler of tasting squares so you could do a bunch side-by-side without breaking the bank. The best cacao primarily comes from Venezuela, and the region of Chuao produces the best-of-the-best. I'm also partial to Madagascan chocolate - it has a bright acidity that often comes off as lemonade and/or fresh red raspberries.

You may have to order online to find most of these, but you'll rarely go wrong with these brands:
Michel Cluizel

Scharffen Berger, Lake Champlain and Lindt may be easier to find and aren't half bad for starters. The Scharffen Berger 70% and the Lake Champlain Sao Thome are excellent starters.

Ingredients / Re: Cacao Nibs - taking suggestions
« on: January 22, 2016, 04:23:32 PM »
Malty English brown could be a nice vehicle for it.
I like that idea. I've got a brown ale planned. Another thought is that I was planning to use the cake from the brown ale to grow up a couple of generations then finish with an English Barleywine. A nice rich barleywine might be pretty nice aged over some nibs.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: ultrafast forced carbonation
« on: January 22, 2016, 04:11:56 PM »
Do you have access to a paint shaker? If the beer is ice-cold and you have the keg upside down (or hook up the gas to the out post so it bubbles up through the beer), then you might be able to do it at safe PSI's (or kPa if that's your thing over there) under constant agitation. But that's just a guess. No clue what pressure you would need to be on target at half an hour.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Spring brews
« on: January 22, 2016, 04:06:40 PM »
I usually map out my brew days once I get my work schedule (I typically get it in 3-month blocks). Right now it's hard to tell because I still don't have the rest of my winter schedule. I have such a backlog right now that I'm not sure how much is going to overflow into my spring brewing:

Winter brews still on the docket:
Spring Swap Challenge beer (extract Helles w/S-189)
Small batches of single base malt pale ales using MO, GP, Pearl, Optic and Halcyon
Series of brews using WY1768 (Brown Ale > ESB > English BW)

Once those are done my next ones will depend on how late into spring I am when I'm ready to start:
WLP570 - Hoppy pale ale > Duvel clone
WY3711 Table saison - possibly fruited or with hibiscus

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Buying brews at chain restaurants?
« on: January 22, 2016, 03:45:34 PM »
For me, it depends on the situation and my mood. If I feel like a beer, then I'll have one. If I'm out at a chain restaurant, I'm not generally thinking about the cost. More often than not, if I'm just out with my family I'm ordering a diet soda or lemonade. It's rare that a chain restaurant would have a beer that I'm interested in, but if I have a craving for something on the menu I wouldn't think twice about ordering one.

The Pub / Chocolate stash
« on: January 22, 2016, 01:35:13 AM »
Not only does the cold weather mean liquid yeast is safe(r) to buy online, but so is chocolate. I'm a huge fan of dark chocolate and I got my semiannual binge order in from Chocosphere today. Great site to order high quality chocolate from in the US.

Ingredients / Cacao Nibs - taking suggestions
« on: January 22, 2016, 01:29:53 AM »
I just got my stash in from Chocosphere in the mail. I figured I'd add some nibs to my order since they had some in stock from one of my favorite chocolate makers (Domori). The thing is, for as much of a chocoholic as I am, I've never brewed with cacao nibs. I now have half a kilo of high quality stuff and I'm taking suggestions for what to do with them.

I'm looking for ideas that will really let the chocolate character show through, so I'm leaning away from the usual Porter/Stout where there are other roast malts in the mix. Some will probably end up in a small batch of mead. Any beer suggestions?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Why does my final beer taste so yeasty
« on: January 21, 2016, 11:43:41 PM »
But seriously, get the bottles cold. It could be over carbonation, but it could also be partly from the yeast in suspension creating a lot of nucleation points for CO2 bubbles to form. Chilling the beers will help the yeast settle out and will also slow the carbonation process significantly.

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Why does my final beer taste so yeasty
« on: January 21, 2016, 11:39:42 PM »
U haz yeast infection

150mg Diflucan Po x1 stat
No doubt. Might even need a round of Caspofungin IV...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Experimental Brewing podcast Episode 6
« on: January 21, 2016, 11:20:17 PM »
It's a shame Roger was so wrecked, by the time you got to some interesting brewing questions he was having a hard time stringing together coherent sentences. He sounds a lot like Sterling Archer when he's drunk. Still a great interview, despite the missed bleeps (there was a whole string of them right after the "what's your favorite cuss word" part).

On the 001 vs 1056 experiment, I'm only mildly surprised. Obviously, the experiment has to be set up simply to get more participation and to make sure that everyone was testing the same thing. Having said that, I wonder how much of the difference is due to production and packaging differences vs actual genetic drift. If you ever run a "master class" experiment, it would be interesting to see if there is still as much of a difference after 3-4 generations, or if the two strains become more similar.

Great work as always, guys!

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Racking before end of fermentation
« on: January 21, 2016, 04:43:06 AM »
Instead of "secondary fermenter", it should be called "bright tank", because that's all that it is. If you feel the need to use a bright tank (i.e., to dry hop off of the yeast cake), then have at it. But for the vast majority of brews, you can safely go right from the fermenter to packaging without the added step.

All Grain Brewing / Re: 1 gallon batches
« on: January 21, 2016, 04:16:50 AM »
I suggest you purchase a five gallon kettle. They can be had at any of the big retailers for about $39. It will allow you to do a 1.5-2 gallon mash and full boil--or, you can do a five gallon batch, partial boil. It is a great value, and you won't regret it.

Also, I think that the starting point for BIAB efficiency is more like 65%.

Common misconception, but typical is around ~72% mash efficiency.  Ranges up to 80% depending on proxess, recipe, equipment etc.
I'm at 82-84% preboil efficiency. Depends on how much bag squeezin' you're up for.

All Things Food / Re: Chili
« on: January 20, 2016, 01:24:27 AM »
My secret ingredient in chili is the meat marinade. I typically use thin sliced stir-fry sized steak. It gets an overnight soak in the juice from a jar or two of pepperoncini peppers (the peppers themselves go with some buffalo wings), along with a decent handful of cracked black peppercorns. Between the acidic marinade and the long stewing, the meat falls apart to shreds. I like that texture a lot better than ground beef for my chili.

The actual recipe changes each time, but chili powder and Serranos are always key players. Need to whip up a batch soon, myself.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: 1 gallon batches
« on: January 20, 2016, 01:13:33 AM »
I use Brewer's Friend for that all the time. The scale function works pretty well for both volumes and efficiency conversion.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What to look for in MA&NH
« on: January 20, 2016, 01:10:16 AM »
I just tried some of Baxter's beers for the first time a few weeks back, and I thought they were pretty good. Their Cali Common was my favorite. It was super crushable, should be a great summer beer.

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