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Messages - erockrph

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+2 - do not add salts to extract recipes. You have no idea what the mineral content of the original brewer's water was. You may even be better off using RO or distilled water.

+2.5 - The only exception is if you're tweaking a known recipe and all the other factors are the same (i.e., water source and extract brand/type remain the same). In that case if you feel like the recipe needs a boost you can start adding small amounts of a mineral to adjust the recipe to taste.

I found that my extract pale ales & IPA's improved with an extra 1/2 tsp of gypsum in a 3 gallon batch. I think that's in the ballpark of an extra 100ppm or so of Sulfate. I use soft well water and Muntons Extra Light DME, so YMMV. I have heard that Briess's water has a relatively high mineral content, so you may want to think twice about adding extra minerals to it.

Ingredients / Re: Downey Mildew and Michigan Hops
« on: July 28, 2015, 11:14:27 AM »
Have you tried milky spore?

I am going to apply the beneficial nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora in my hop yard, gardens, and around the ornamental trees that Japanese beetles love in September.  Heterorhabditis bacteriophora is a hunter-killer nematode that is supposed to be effective against Japanese beetle larvae.   I used beneficial nematodes to take care of a massive flea infestation that I had in my yard at my prior residence.  The nematodes made quick work of the flea larvae in the soil, putting an end to the life cycle.   The problem never came back. 

With that said, Japanese beetles are not fleas.  The Japanese beetles in my area have been subjected to  pesticides long enough that they are difficult to kill.   PyGanic is supposed to be an effective contact killer.  However, it appears to be ineffective against the Japanese beetles in my area.  I personally witnessed Japanese beetles survive for hours after direct application.  I do not know if PyGanic eventually killed the beetles because the leaf on which they were feeding was skeletonized by the next morning.

The main problem I am up against is that I live in a semi-rural area where the farmers practice no-till farming.  No-till farming is good for the soil and Japanese beetles.
I tried Neem Oil with moderate success, but it needs frequent reapplication (especially after rain). Eventually my J-Beetle problem resolved itself after I started treating treating my lawn for grubs (non-organically).

I wonder if they didn't use WY2124, which is used by many breweries at warmer temps to create more ale like flavors.
I find that it is used by many breweries at warmer temperatures to try to pass something off as a lager even though it just tastes like poor fermentation.

Yeah, I get about a 43% evaporation on 1 gallon batches. 1.75-1 over 90 min.

Don't measure boiloff in %.  You will not get twice as much in a 10 gal. batch as you do in a 5.  Measure boiloff in gal./hr.
For most calculations that makes the most sense, but when you're talking about concentrating mineral additions percentage is a good way to look at it. If your boiloff on a small batch is 25% greater than on your usual batch size, than any preboil flavor additions (such as minerals added to the mash) will likely need to be reduced by the same factor.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentis W-34/70
« on: July 25, 2015, 09:48:39 PM »
IIRC from the Fermentis presentation at NHC, their dry yeast loses 5% viability per year in the fridge and 10% per year at room temp. They were previously using a 2 year best by date, but recently increased to 3 years based on the rather slow loss in viability over time.

Depending on how the yeast was stored, you're looking at anywhere from 70-90+%of the original viability. That should be plenty good enough for a 1.058 Märzen.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Note to self
« on: July 25, 2015, 05:57:46 AM »

I brew in the house so it's bare feet for me. Plus, how else am I supposed to know if I forgot to close the ball valve on my mash tun again?

"Braille Brewing"?

More like "Hot, Wet Feet" brewing

The Pub / Re: Are these cherries?
« on: July 24, 2015, 09:05:43 PM »
I popped one in my fingers and there was a single cherry-like pit. I'm pretty sure they are pin cherries. I ended up tasting one after taking a tiny nibble the previous day. It was tart and slightly astringent. I don't think I'll get a chance to harvest enough to do anything with them before they go overripe and shrivel/fall off the trees. I might have to try them next year in a mead.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Note to self
« on: July 24, 2015, 08:48:18 PM »
I brew in the house so it's bare feet for me. Plus, how else am I supposed to know if I forgot to close the ball valve on my mash tun again?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fullers - WLP 002
« on: July 23, 2015, 08:07:22 PM »
I brewed my first batch with this strain (an ordinary bitter - Muntons MO, Thomas Fawcett C45, Boadicea Hops) and good lord everyone wasn't kidding about how flocculant it is! I'm 10 days from brewery and just pulled a sample and it was clearer than any beer I've made even after a cold crash. 

I did detect a bit of diacytel, while it doesn't seem out of place for this strain/style I was hoping to tone it down a bit. Should I just rouse the fermentor and bump the temp to 70f or something for a few days? I fermented at 65f.

If you rouse and bump the temp I doubt it will take more than 2-3 days to clear out the diacetyl. Then taste and go by what your palate tells you.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water for an Oktoberfest?
« on: July 20, 2015, 07:12:21 PM »
I like to keep it pretty soft on this style. I like Cl around 40 and Na around 20-30. This leaves me with Ca in the 40ppm range, which is fine for a lager. I like 5.3 for my mash pH as well.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« on: July 13, 2015, 09:10:10 PM »
Yea, the vial would probably be fine with the gravity. I figured I'd error on the side of a starter since beer smith suggested more cells and I hear that a heartier pitch with 002 should reduce esters and diacytel
Esters, maybe. I'd still bump up the temps and rouse the yeast at the end to insure against diacetyl. When 002 is done it drops like a stone. If there's diacetyl left at that point it may stick around.

Beer Recipes / Re: Berliner Weisse Methods
« on: July 10, 2015, 07:16:51 PM »
I do a sour wort method. I mash, then runoff into a keg and use a few handfuls of pilsner malt to innoculate the wort. To minimize the risk of off flavors I drop the pH to the ballpark of 4.5 using lactic acid and I purge the keg with CO2 to keep the oxygen levels down. Then I stick the keg in a cooler with my Brew Belt strapped on it.

I would recommend a spunding valve of some sort if you do this in a keg, however. I learned the hard way that a lot of CO2 pressure can build up during the souring process. During my first sour wort process I hooked up a cobra tap to draw off a sample, and was met with an instant firehose/geyser scenario. What a mess that was...

Ingredients / Re: Flaked oats in IPA
« on: July 10, 2015, 07:06:37 PM »
I tried flaked barley in an APA and will never use it again in a pale beer. I get a raw, grassy flavor from it that I just didn't care for.

Are you sure that came from the flaked barley?  Ive used it on a number of accassions and never had that flavor.
I'm pretty sure. I was trying to add body to a session beer, and added about 5% flaked barley to my existing recipe. I never got that flavor in any previous versions of the beer, just the one with flaked barley.

I've just made a ballpark guess by using the water calculator in Brewer's Friend. But I did mine preboil. I'm not sure if there's any other relevant chemistry going on in the boil other than simple concentration of the wort.

And it shouldn't make much of a difference if you overshoot a bit and end up lower than 4.5 by a few decimal points. Remember, it takes 10 times as much acidity to go from 4.2 down to 3.2 than it does to go from 5.2 to 4.2.

Could it be that the chewing and saliva starts to isomerise them?
I had that thought, but the quality of the bitterness is so much different that I have a hard time buying that as the sole explanation.

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