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Messages - erockrph

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unfortunately I don't keg, wish I could. I was going on the impression that more surface area gave better hop utilization and better results during dry hopping, of course, I may have misunderstood. LOL
It could potentially make some difference, but it's more of a function of both contact area and diffusion over time. So more surface area may lead to more contact area. But that increase is negligible compared to being able to rouse the hops and/or move the wort around. That will increase the diffusion part of the equation, which plays a much bigger effect.

If you have access to CO2, simply bubble it through the bottom of the fermenter intermittently to rouse the hops and get the wort moving a bit. That's where I think you'd see the most improvement in hop oil extraction.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« on: February 13, 2015, 06:31:37 PM »
First and foremost, since the culture is not in the greatest health and is a fairly low cell count, proper sanitation is an absolute necessity - even more so than usual.

For the initial step, I like to do it in the bottle instead of pouring the dregs off. Transfers are the times where you run the biggest risk of contamination, so I like to make sure the culture is woken up a bit before transferring out. Sanitize the bottle and bottle opener before opening. Then sanitize the neck/lip of the bottle before pouring the beer. I like to leave about 1/2 inch of beer in the bottle, plus the dregs. this way you get any yeast that is still in suspension and not just the flocced out dregs.

I then use a sanitized funnel to add about 1/2-1 inch of 1.030ish wort. Once diluted with the remaining beer, this gives you a nice low OG of about 1.020. This is less stressful to the yeast than the typical 1.040ish starter wort we typically use. Then I cover with foil (for non-sours) or add a small stopper and airlock (for sours). I usually give the first step about 7-10 days to give the yeast plenty of time to wake up and do their thing.

From there, the general rule for stepping up a starter is a tenfold increase each step. So step two is maybe 200 mL or so of 1.035 wort, and then that can go into a normal 2-liter starter. Use your nose to tell you whether there are any problems, and taste your larger starters to ensure that you didn't pick up any contamination along the way.

For sanitation, I have had good luck simply using Star-San, but if you really wanted to take stronger precautions, then using something like 151 or Everclear, then flaming it off is the way to go.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What book to read
« on: February 13, 2015, 05:25:56 PM »
If you like hoppy beers I'd go with Hops first. Otherwise, I'd pick Yeast. Water and Malt can't hurt for an extract brewer, but they have much more impact once you start brewing all-grain.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing This Weekend? 2/13/15
« on: February 13, 2015, 10:40:03 AM »
Tomorrow's my birthday and I had planned to brew like usual.  But I got asked by a local brewery to help out with their zwickelmania event (  That could lead to a consulting gig, so I'm doing that instead of brewing.
Happy birthday, Denny! Hope everything works out well with the event.

If you can purge the fermenter, then rousing by bubbling CO2 through the beer will be even better than increasing the contact area.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hop Teas and other Hoppy techniques
« on: February 12, 2015, 08:08:37 AM »
My opinions... (ask 5 others and you will get 6 more opinions)

1.) I do not like the strategy of having the wort less than boil and above 170 for an hour... that is asking for off flavors.  10 to 15 minutes would be plenty. 
I have done this many times and I haven't picked up any off flavors that I can attribute to this. My hoppiest IPA has all the hops in a 90-minute flameout/whirlpool addition.

2.) I would add charges at 10 minutes of boil, 5 minutes of boil and 0 minutes of boil, and see what that does.... the charcter of adding hops is differet depending on the time you drop them in... and I think you need a RANGE of character to get the full hop effect you are looking for. Adding a bunch at one shot, give you a limited range of hop character.
I think you can get the full range of hop character from a whirlpool addition that you can get from late boil additions, and then some. If you want a range of flavors, then use a few different hop varieties.

3.) Compare finishing gravity of your beer to your favorite beer.  You may need to get your beer dow to 1.008 or below to get the mouth feel you are looking for.  (get the body of the beer out of the way a bit so the hops shine through)
+1 on this. Also, limit crystal malt and get at least 200PPM of sulfate in the finished beer.

4.) your more hops idea is probably a good idea.  I think you get everything out of the hops in about 10 to 15 minutes...once the stuff is in the wort, the green stuff is just taking up space.  (again opinion)  The hop stand you are doing at the end between boil and 175.... is a good thing, just not for an hour.  No added benefit for going past 15 minutes, and there are some cons that make me wrinkle my nose at the idea.
While I haven't heard it straight from the source, I've heard several mentions that Ray Daniels quotes the sweet spot for hop stands at 80 minutes. I don't know the specifics of the experiments and if it's universally applicable, but I have gone up to 90 minutes before chilling with good results.

I also agree big time that more hops can't hurt. Also, keep in mind that not all hops are created equal regarding oil content. One ounce/gallon of Citra will give you a lot more hop presence than 1 oz/gal of something like Motueka or Cascade.

Ingredients / Re: Single-hopped beers - 2014 edition
« on: February 11, 2015, 10:16:08 PM »
Last, but not least, we have Kohatu. I got these pellets from Farmhouse Brewing Supply as well. These were 2014 crop and were listed at 8.1% AA. The aroma of the hop pellets really wowed me. There was some complex tropical fruit, citrus and pine resin.

The aroma of the beer had some very nice complexity. I picked up citrus (grapefruit, primarily), stone fruit, some pine in the background, and some vinous notes.

The flavor was resinous with lingering pine. I also got some lemon/grapefruit citrus notes, but the flavor didn't seem as potent as the aroma. There was also some stone fruit & tropical notes. The finish saw the pine resin character linger a bit.

Bittering was moderate-to-full and clinging.

My impression of Kohatu is somewhere along the lines of Nelson-meets-Mosaic. The only thing is that the hop character didn't seem as potent in this beer as I would expect from Nelson or Mosaic. I did change my recipe a bit, and that may be contributing to the somewhat muted hop character here. I do think that Kohatu has a lot of potential. I think this one is perfectly suited to IPA's. I would probably use it similar to Columbus or Chinook, but expect a bit more fruit and some of that NZ-terroir wininess.

Ingredients / Re: Single-hopped beers - 2014 edition
« on: February 11, 2015, 10:02:53 PM »
Next up is Wai-iti. This NZ hop has been on my wishlist for a while, and I was finally able to find some through Farmhouse Brewing Supply. The hops I used were pellets from the 2014 crop, and were listed at only 4.1% AA. The pellets had a potent, oily aroma that seemed to be typical NZ-style tropical fruit.

The aroma of the beer had a massive blackcurrant note, paired up with passionfruit in a supporting role.

The flavor was very blackcurrant-forward as well. I did get some lime/lemongrass and passion fruit. There was also a bit of a resinous quality, but it made me think of concentrated currant/ribes more than the typical dank/pine resin character you find in hops like Columbus or Simcoe. As the currant fades out there are floral notes, passion fruit and some fleeting sweet cinnamon notes as well.

Bittering was mild-to-moderate and fairly clean.

I have a feeling that Wai-iti is going to be quite a polarizing hop. To me, I perceive "catty" as blackcurrant, and it is a flavor and aroma that I enjoy. To those who perceive "catty" as tomcat spray, I'd be willing to bet that this hop will not go over well. I see this being a hop that is best in a blend. While it does have some fruit undertones, the currant note is the predominant character by far. I think it would be nice in an IPA to balance some fruitier hops. It might also be nice as a dry hop in a sour, and maybe as a flavor addition in a beer that has some dark fruit character.

Ingredients / Re: Single-hopped beers - 2014 edition
« on: February 11, 2015, 09:43:48 PM »
I'll lead off with the Experimental J-Lime batch. These were whole cone hops I got from Yakima Valley Hops, weighing in at 6.9% AA.

The aroma of the beer didn't have a lot of hop punch. I picked up some citrus and berry notes, along with some stonefruit (which really reminded me more of a yeast ester than hop oil). I also noted faint vanilla and earth. I really had to fight to pick out a lot of these aromas and outside of the citrus and berry, I'm not 100% sold that these are coming from the hops rather than yeast or malt.

On the palate I got a mild, herbal hop note with a bit of tangy citrus. The finish has some lingering bitterness along with some earth/dirt/mushroom notes. Bittering seemed moderate and did linger faintly on the finish.

As I mentioned in my lead-in, I fermented this one in a HDPE water jug and I fear that may have stripped a lot of the hop character. My initial impressions really made me think of some UK hops like Fuggle and Challenger. If my flavor assessment is accurate, then this may be interesting in UK-style pale ales. I do have this hop earmarked for a rebrew some time.

Ingredients / Re: Single-hopped beers - 2014 edition
« on: February 11, 2015, 09:31:15 PM »
So the results are in. Before I get into the specific tasting notes, I wanted to make a couple of disclaimers on this round of tastings.

The hop character definitely seemed a bit lower on this batch of beers than previous trials, but I'm inclined to believe it wasn't due to the hops themselves. Usually my fermentables are simply extra light DME with a small amount of Munich LME to add a little bit more malt character. For this go-around I decided to steep some CaraHell instead. The malt character of these beers ended up a bit richer than usual, and I think that robbed from the hop presence a bit.

I also skipped the gypsum addition that I usually add (primarily out of laziness). I think that would have helped make the hops pop a bit more.

Finally, I had an "oh crap" moment when I noticed at the last minute that I only had 2 glass jugs available for 3 batches. I improvised using a HDPE milk jug, but I wouldn't be surprised if the plastic adsorbed its fair share of hop oils. I used it for the J-Lime batch, which ended up with a very mild hop character. I'll post my tasting notes anyways, but I want to retest that hop.

Other Fermentables / Re: less dry cider
« on: February 11, 2015, 07:27:13 PM »
It really carbed up nicely in the keg. Just took quite a bit more time than beer and now it's just like champagne .

Looks fantastic! Does it reallly have a pinkish hue, or is that just the lighting?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Souring post-fermentation
« on: February 11, 2015, 07:15:46 PM »
What about racking to a secondary and using dregs from a commercial sour?
You need to be sure the dregs have Brett and Pedio. Lacto won't have any food if the beer is already finished. Pedio can break down dextrins, so that's why it is able to work even once the primary is finished.

You also might want to wake up the dregs by stepping them up once or twice before pitching.

Equipment and Software / Re: Beer Saver on kickstarter
« on: February 11, 2015, 12:06:06 PM »
The Bruery also sells a bottle stopper for the 750ml champagne bottles. They use them in their taproom  and seem to work well.
That seems pretty nice. I wonder if it's specific to that bottle size, or if it can fit a normal 27mm crown cap longneck and smaller 375mL champagne bottles.

Ingredients / Re: Hop Retailers
« on: February 11, 2015, 11:34:06 AM »
Farmhouse Brewing has great quality and fair prices.
They also sell in 4oz packs, which I find to be quite convenient.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Souring post-fermentation
« on: February 11, 2015, 11:00:04 AM »
Once fermentation is complete the only bug that would really add significant sourness is Pediococcus. It will take some time to work. You always want to pair it with Brettanomyces, since Pedio produces diacetyl and Brett will break that down.

Another option is a sour fruit like tart cherries. It might not take it all the way down to "sour", but you should get noticeable tartness.

You can also blend in a sour beer as well.

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