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Messages - erockrph

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Help please
« on: October 02, 2014, 08:28:15 PM »
Technique trumps gear. You can make fantastic beer on the cheap. Hang around this forum - pay attention and ask questions -  and you will see improvements in the quality of your beer far beyond what money will get you.

Ingredients / Re: English Barleywine
« on: October 02, 2014, 05:06:16 PM »
Just make sure you mash long and low. A pound or two of pale ale malt wouldn't hurt as an insurance policy for some extra enzymes.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dry-hopping sours successfully
« on: October 02, 2014, 01:53:12 PM »
I've never dry hopped a sour, but I've been having this issue a lot lately myself on many dry-hopped beers.

The Pub / Re: New hobby
« on: October 01, 2014, 08:00:25 PM »
Enjoy, Jim!  I would love a dobro, but I already have many instruments that I don't pay enough attention to.

I know that disease. For some reason, it doesn't stop me from acquiring more.
This is why I do not let myself walk into Guitar Center even slightly inebriated. That didgeridoo from last time is still collecting dust...

The Pub / Re: Tarot Deck: also borderline shameless etc.
« on: October 01, 2014, 07:54:30 PM »
Eric, did you say Magic? Been out of it for almost 10 years now but had a blast. Making beer is a much more enjoyable hobby, even with only one year to compare against almost 10!
Yeah, I mainly played online back before I was a Dad. I'd keep coming back to it every couple of years. It was sort of my bridge as I got worn out playing one MMO and before I found another. I still get the itch to log on and play a few games every once in a while.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Smuttynose/Stone Cluster's Last Stand
« on: October 01, 2014, 07:48:15 PM »
Was it brewed at Smuttynose? I would like to try that one.

Yes it was. They brewed it last summer at Portsmouth Brewing Company, and it did well enough that they brewed it again at Smutty this year.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Sampling Lagers Early for Educational Purposes
« on: October 01, 2014, 07:46:36 PM »
If you want, you can blow off quite a bit of the sulfur by shaking/venting the keg every so often.

Ingredients / Re: Medusa Hops
« on: October 01, 2014, 07:39:19 PM »
85% 2-row
10% Munich
5% C-40

1.055 OG

Bitter to 40 IBU with Magnum at 60 minutes

After boil, chill to 170F. Stir in every last cone of Medusa. Hold it at 170F for 30-60 minutes, stirring every so often.

Chill the rest of the way, then pitch a healthy pitch of the neutral yeast of your choice.

Ingredients / Re: carafa malt question
« on: October 01, 2014, 07:12:51 PM »
I'd think that Carafa Special II is precisely the grain you'd want for this beer. You should be fine.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« on: October 01, 2014, 07:11:40 PM »
I don't do a full-on force carb, but I do a bit of an accelerated carb schedule. I use about 30 PSI to seat my lid, then shake for maybe a minute or so. Then I back the pressure down to about 20 PSI and lit it sit at about 36-38F for 1.5 to 2 days. After that I back it off to 12 PSI and check back in a week or so. By going hard the first couple of days it does seem to shave off a few days until the keg is carbonated to my liking, but I don't push it so hard where I'd have to worry about overcarbonation if I accidentally let it go at 20PSI for a couple of extra days.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: How long does kegged beer stay fresh?
« on: October 01, 2014, 05:54:14 PM »
I don't go through my beer all that fast and definitely keep it kegged for months.  It keeps just fine, but I also brew larger beers that can stand some aging.  I have an old ale and imperial stout in the basement that are about a year old or more.

If you're worried about head space you can buy smaller kegs.  There's no savings, unless you find a really good deal, but 2 and 3 gallon kegs work great for small or split batches.
If you're serious about getting smaller kegs, AiH usually runs a good deal on new 2.5 or 3 gallon kegs every few months. But they're generally only about 10 bucks cheaper than the 5-gallon version. For purging the headspace, I just fill a keg to the top with Star San, then purge the headspace a few times. When the time comes to fill the keg I just jump the Star San to another empty keg and rack into the purged keg.

I'm in the process of rethinking my dry-hopping strategy myself. I might start by cutting it out entirely. A few years back I kept pushing my dry-hopping rates in chasing the hop level I was looking for. Once I started doing serious hop stands with massive amounts of hops I started getting all the hop character I was looking for.

Around the same time I stopped using whole cones , and started using pellet hops to minimize wort loss. Somewhere around that time I started getting a lot of beers with a harsh "raw hop" bitterness. Some of them seemed a bit murky, suggesting fine hop particles in suspension, but not all of the ones with coarse bitterness were like this.

I have some troubleshooting to do, but one thought I'm having is that I never backed down my dry-hopping rate once I started getting enough hop presence from my hop stands. I also used to use a mix of whole and pellet hops on most beers, depending on what I had available. Between the whirlpool and dry hops I'm using 4-6 oz/gallon in my IPA's. I'm thinking that there's a lot of fine hop pellet particles that just don't drop out well.

Step one will be to be careful filtering out my kettle trub, and step two will probably be to either skip dry hopping altogether, or trying whole cones instead of pellets for dry hops.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Smuttynose/Stone Cluster's Last Stand
« on: September 30, 2014, 10:02:18 PM »
This beer is a collaboration brew based on the Ballantine's IPA recipe in Mitch Steele's IPA book. This tastes nothing like the typical West Coast IPA, but it is fantastic. The nose is catty, with lots of black currant and some lavender floral notes. Flavor is resin, with some fruity currant notes and a bit of floral hops. The malt is on the light side, but some bready Munich notes provide the right balance. Bitterness is sharp and sticky, but fades nicely on the finish leaving you wanting another sip.

If this is anything like the new Ballantine IPA, I'm in. I definitely want to play with Bullion, Cluster and Brewer's Gold in the near future. This really stands out from other IPA's, but it all works really well.

If you have access to this, I highly recommend it. For my money, Smutty is possibly the best brewery in New England (now that Long Trail owns Otter Creek), and is right up there with Victory and DFH as far as top breweries in the Northeast go. All of their beers are killer.

Kegging and Bottling / Keg hopping frustration
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:49:38 PM »
I'm hopping in the keg for the first time, but I'm having some issues and I'm looking to troubleshoot.

I kegged the beer about a week ago. It's a 2.5 gallon keg, and I added 1 ounce of pellet hops in a hop bag when I kegged it. The bag was tied off well. I even added a couple of half-hitches around the neck of the bag with the drawstring before I tied it off. I then tied some 6# fluorocarbon fishing line to the drawstring and ran it through the lid as I closed it. It took some work to seat the lid properly so the gasket didn't leak around the fishing line, but eventually everything passed the star-san spray test. I then put it on gas and placed it in my keezer at 36F.

Five days later I wanted to start tasting to check on the dry hop character. My first pour was opaque with green murk. I figured I just drew up the gunk on the bottom, so I'd wait a day and check again. I took three 4-oz samples today, all a couple of hours apart. Each was murky green and had the taste of raw hops. It doesn't seem to be getting better.

So, what am I doing wrong? Do I need to wait longer? Should I be using whole cones? Am I using too much hops? Any suggestions?

The Pub / Re: New hobby
« on: September 30, 2014, 09:35:56 PM »
Nice! I've always wondered if lap steel players felt like they were playing backwards. The whole concept of reaching over the top of the fretboard instead of underneath always seemed so alien to me.

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