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Messages - erockrph

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: keys to a crisp lager
« on: June 12, 2015, 10:30:19 AM »
What acid are you using in the mash? Perhaps the effect is not from pH per se but rather from the use of lactic acid, which is not flavor neutral?
That is certainly a possibility, especially if you're shooting for a low mash pH using primarily pale malt. I've heard that the amounts of lactic acid typically used for mash pH adjustments are below the flavor threshold, but there's definitely a range of sensitivity on that.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: keys to a crisp lager
« on: June 12, 2015, 08:32:37 AM »
I'm curious about the comments regarding mash pH and crispness. What is it about the mash pH that you propose affects this? My general understanding is that mash pH is most important for enzymatic activity and tannin extraction (among many other relatively minor effects like break formation and maillard reactions).

Beyond that does a few points at mash pH really make such a significant difference as long as you are in the optimum range? Looking at some of the data in the Water book (e.g. Table 13, p. 121) it seems the yeast does a very good job of lowering pH to within a few tenths of pH despite widely disparate mash and kettle pH values. It seems there's an assumption that mash pH is determining final pH, but from what I see that's not true.

It's not mash pH that should be considered here, but rather final pH. It is not unusual for commercial brewers to adjust final pH for whatever reason.
Outside of controlling tannin extraction you are right, we're talking about final pH rather than mash pH. But many of us at the homebrew level aren't adjusting finished pH. I know many of us (myself included) just use software like Brun'water or Brewer's Friend to determine our mash pH and then letting that drive the finished beer pH. I know that if I set my mash pH to the 5.3 range for lagers I get the result I'm looking for, just like I know if I mash at 5.5-5.6 I get the results I like on a porter.

You could certainly dose the batch with lactic or phosphoric post-ferment to adjust pH as needed, but if you have your recipe dialed in the mash pH does tend to drive the finish pH.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Mixing yeast
« on: June 11, 2015, 10:13:54 AM »
Those are allegedly the same strain (as is BRY-97), so I don't see an issue using them together.

I am by no means a sour beer expert, but afaik it is not recommended to make a starter from the dregs of a mixed culture (i.e. from a beer made with sacch, brett, pedio, lacto, etc.) because the different critters do all not grow at the same rate. So the ratios in the starter will be different from the ratios in the original beer.
While the ratios may change, I don't think that makes a huge difference in the finished beer. If you don't make a starter there may not be too much simple sugar available to the lacto by the time it has grown to a healthy cell count. You certainly don't need to make a starter from dregs, but if you want to use them as your primary culture for a beer I think you're better off having them healthy.

Plus, who's to say that the ratio of viable bugs in the bottle is the same as those when the fermentation started? If you're culturing from a gueuze you have critters that are 3+ years old and probably not in their best shape, if they survived.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Using Mint
« on: June 10, 2015, 09:01:56 PM »
Im in the process of planning a steam beer and the hops should give a sorta of minty aroma off of it(this is what I've read.) I like the sound of a twist of mint, so i was wondering if putting a few mint leaves at the end of a boil will push a minty smell.

I'd advise you to find an anchor and try it first.  You might be surprised at how there's really no mint flavor.
+1 - I've gotten some of that "mint" character from certain hops, but it's not like spearmint or peppermint. It's more of an herbal thing - reminds me more of Ricola cough drops or horehound candy. And I get none of from the Anchor in my hand right now. The bittering has a nice bite to it, and there is some herbal hop character, but the flavor is primarily driven by pale malt and fermentation character.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What is applejack?? And is it good?
« on: June 10, 2015, 08:51:55 PM »
If you eisbock a 33 cl bottle of cyser the result will be maybe 10-15 cl of 20 ABV. So it's going to be more concentrated, but I don't see why it would be dangerous if you don't exaggerate with the amounts you drink.
The concern is that things like fusels and methanol are also concentrated by freeze-distillation, unlike using a still where you can dispose of the heads and the tails. This can lead to roaring hangovers, sometimes referred to as "apple palsy".

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What is applejack?? And is it good?
« on: June 09, 2015, 06:38:48 PM »
I haven't made it myself, but here's the basic procedure:

Beer Recipes / Re: Commission Brew Need ideas/Recipes
« on: June 09, 2015, 05:15:49 PM »
Thanks everybody for the feedback. While I am undecided on a lighter beer, I couldn't make up my mind between a Oatmeal Stout and a Nutty Brown Ale. So instead of picking one I am debating on brewing both! I would just make a 2.5 Gallon batch of each and then a 5 Gallon batch lighter beer. I figured this will provide some selection. Her family actually is very open minded about beer selection which is awesome for someone like me to test my batches of beer on! LOL But anyway I was already working on a brown ale(here is the link: so I think I will just work on dropping the ABV  to around 4.5%. Here is a first attempt at an Oatmeal stout recipe I have drawn up
Rock The Oat Stout: 5GAL
-7.5lbs Irish Pale Malt
-1lbs Flaked Oats
-1lbs Golden Naked Oats
-.5lbs Roasted Barley 300L
-.5lbs Chocolate Malt 350L
-.6oz Nugget Hops for 60min
-Debating Between Irish Ale WLP004 and English Ale WLP002

Both recipes need to be scaled down to size unless I decided to just do one
I've brewed an oatmeal brown ale a few years back and it went the quickest of all the beers I brewed for my kid's birthday party (among the adults, at least). I think you're on the right track with that one.

Frankly, I think as long as you keep the bitterness in check and APA is the way to go for your lighter beer. Keep it fruit-forward and it will be a big hit.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AU Summer hops in American Wheat?
« on: June 09, 2015, 05:09:30 PM »
Eric, was your beer dry-hopped?

I'm definitely giving this a shot.  Should be interesting.  I will definitely report back with results.
Yes, at 0.5 oz/gallon for a dry hopping rate. Also used FWH and flameout additions.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AU Summer hops in American Wheat?
« on: June 09, 2015, 04:25:39 PM »
I don't know if I got a mislabeled batch, but my experience with single-hopped Summer was nothing like any other descriptors I've heard for it. It seemed very English - leather/earth/spice. I didn't get any fruitiness from it.

That said, I've heard others say that they get a musky cantaloupe note from it. Assuming that this is a more common experience with Summer, it may be interesting in a hoppy American wheat.

With Belgian beers you have to know which beers have been pasteurized and have bottling yeast, and which ones have the original yeast. For sacch, for instance, the trappist beers have the original yeast, and beers like Duvel and Rodenbach have bottling yeast. Mike Tonsmeire's book contains a list of sour beers that one can use.
Here's the page that he keeps the updated list on:

Do you use brewing software? Use the same ratios of all the ingredients but scale them down based on your efficiency and batch size. Once you have your estimated OG on par I would adjust the hop amounts down to meet your IBUs.

Someone else here probably has a easier suggestion...

That's how I do it too. Grains can be scaled down using a spreadsheet, but hop calculation is not completely linear.

Doesn't Brewer's Friend (the site OP linked) have that feature?
Yep, just copy the recipe to your profile, then scale it to whatever batch size you'd like.

If you're trying to culture from a bottle, I'd encourage you to leave a bit of the beer behind as well. Any cells that are still in suspension are likely to be much more viable than the ones that have already dropped out.

You also want to use a lower-strength starter for your first step to put less stress on the yeast. I've strted using 2oz of normal-strength starter to 2oz of beer, which will dilute to a half-strength starter. The beer also acts as a bit of protection for the yeast, as the lower pH and alcohol content will inhibit some potential contaminants.

I pour the beer into the starter in a mason jar, then shake it until it's pretty much all foam to oxygenate it well. I usually let it go for 5-7 days before stepping it up to a normal-sized starter.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Using Percentages to create a grain bill
« on: June 09, 2015, 08:15:48 AM »
I use Brewers Friend for my software, and this is how I scale recipes from percentage:
  • I enter all the percents as pounds for each ingredient. So 90.6% of Pale Malt would get entered as 90.6 pounds (and so on).
  • Then I adjust the batch size (through trial and error) until the OG matches the listed OG for the recipe.
  • Then I use the "Scale" function to scale the recipe to my batch size.
This results in a recipe scaled to my system and batch size.

Beer Recipes / Re: session IPA tricks
« on: June 08, 2015, 07:55:05 PM »
To me, the best example of the style is Founders All-Day IPA. Most others seem too thin and watery to me. I've never cloned it, but I've heard that they have a rather complex malt bill. I'm guessing that there's a little bit of everything mentioned here - crystal, Munich, wheat, maybe some Rye.

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