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Messages - erockrph

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: British Ale Yeasts
« on: September 03, 2015, 11:52:23 AM »
My only issue with Ringwood is that most commercial breweries using it end up putting out massive butterbombs. I have no doubt that in the hands of a knowledgeable homebrewer it can produce good beer.

Ingredients / Re: Brewer's caramel
« on: September 03, 2015, 08:23:59 AM »
I'm guessing the difficulty mixing it means that adding it during the boil would work best.
It tends to drop to the bottom like honey, but it is nowhere near as viscous. It mixes in fairly easily, but it doesn't disperse into the beer without some mixing. It would certainly work in the boil if you know how much you need, but you could easily dose it in a keg or bottling bucket as well.

As far as adding in the glass goes, I think you'd want to add it to the glass first and pour over it, or mix it into a small amount of beer first then add it to your glass.

Ingredients / Re: Brewer's caramel
« on: September 02, 2015, 08:03:25 PM »
My insulin syringe plan quickly went out the door once i realized that the needle is too fine to draw this stuff up. I also learned that it just drops to the bottom of your beer, rather than dispersing when added. I still did my best to try to mix some in and ended up with a sample that is maybe 5 SRM darker than the original Bass (it went from deep golden-copper to amber/red). I just have no idea exactly how much caramel went in to make this color.

What I've learned so far is that this seems quite flavor neutral, at least at this amount. I only pick up a touch more sweetness on the finish in the doctored beer, but I'm pretty sure that's just because I ended up knocking out quite a bit of carbonation in trying to mix in the caramel. I didn't pick up any more caramel or acrid/burnt notes in the caramel beer.

Next time around I'll try to kick this up to porter-level darkness and see what happens.

Ingredients / Re: Brewer's caramel
« on: September 02, 2015, 06:41:38 PM »
Does that mean it would take ~16ml to raise 5 gallons ~27srm? Or did I screw up my math? Maybe it's double the amount: ~31ml to get ~27srm in 5gallons?

Also, where exactly did you order it from? :D
2 EBC is roughly equal to 1 SRM. It takes just over a mL of the stuff to raise 5 gallons by 1 SRM.

I got it from here:

Service was great - I got it in just over a week from the UK. But shipping was what really cost me. It was something like 18 pounds to ship two bottles, which only cost 8.50 pounds for the items themselves. It was certainly pricey to acquire. It was a totally random impulse buy, but I've been wanting to try this out for a while so I decided to just go for it.

Ingredients / Re: Brewer's caramel
« on: September 02, 2015, 06:32:56 PM »
Not that I doubt you, but I can't believe it is darker than sinamar. That stuff like ink
I thought the same thing, but when I saw the insanely high EBC rating and how little you need to color a full hectoliter, I checked the Sinamar specs to compare. The caramel is indeed 4 times darker. What is yet to be determined is the flavor contribution at that level.

Ingredients / Re: Brewer's caramel
« on: September 02, 2015, 11:09:38 AM »
FYI - I just got this in today. It is 33,000 EBC (~16,500 SRM), making it about 4 times as dark as Sinamar. The bottle states that 6mL will raise 100 liters (~26 gallons) by 2 EBC. In other words, my two 250mL bottles are approximately a lifetime supply.

I will probably be using insulin syringes to dose this stuff in bottles at first. It smells good, just like I'd picture burnt caramel would smell. The smell definitely calls to mind certain English ales (Old Peculier, for one). I might have to buy a sixer of Bass to do some initial taste-testing soon rather than waiting until I can make time to brew a full test batch.

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.

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