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Messages - erockrph

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Ingredients / Re: Water for Märzen
« on: August 06, 2014, 03:52:22 PM »
What if you do a bit of gypsum and a bit of CaCl2?
If I add both but keep Sulfate and Cl in line with profile, that leaves me with 10.3ppm Ca which fits the profile (12) but is nowhere near 20-40 ppm. It's where I started until I re-read Martin's suggestion and I'm paraphrasing here, of 20 minimum for fine tasting lagers and 40 to ensure oxalate precipitation
This kind of takes me (newbie lager brewer) back to the question of which aspect is more important: Ca, sulfate, Cl, Lactic, Bicarb, etc? Like I said, I know I'm likely over thinking and should just follow "Amber Malty" which is easy to hit with my RO water, I just don't know if I will get everything I can from A Märzen with this profile.
Any thoughts to help me clear my head? To paraphrase another member here and the instructor at my LHBS "Making beer is not rocket science, its much more important!"

What is most important is mash pH, by far. Keep your other additions on the low side and ride it out. Odds are you'll be fine regardless.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast starter question
« on: August 06, 2014, 03:49:41 PM »
At that point you're better off brewing a small beer to pitch on top of. Even a half batch (2-3 gallons) would be fine. Since I brew 3 gallon batches I don't often need starters. When I do I usually just brew a batch of something low gravity and pitch the fresh slurry into my barleywine/doppelbock/etc.

All Things Food / Re: Tri-Tip Tacos
« on: August 06, 2014, 08:39:40 AM »

How do you know about tri-tip in Alabama? I have to go to a proper butcher to buy it in Dallas.

I grew up in Dallas and I've been all over the world and never heard of it either. Costco has introduced me! LOL
Yeah, it's a California thing. I have no idea what the grocery stores do with it.
Pretty sure it just ends up as ground sirloin most places. I don't think I've ever seen tri tip up here in New England, whether its in a market or even a steakhouse.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Bruery Hottenroth
« on: August 05, 2014, 09:43:43 PM »
This is my first time trying a commercial straight-up Berliner Weisse and man, am I impressed. Hottenroth is certainly tart, but it is not in the realm of gueuze or La Folie. For such a small beer, it is remarkably complex. There is a big, bready graininess to it, and a nice lactic twang to balance it out. The Bruery always impresses me with their sours, and this is no exception.

Ingredients / Re: Water for Märzen
« on: August 05, 2014, 09:35:38 PM »
Personally, I like pretty soft water for my Märzen. I add gypsum to get to 20ppm of sulfate, then table salt to get me 20ppm of sodium, then CaCl2 to get up to 40ppm of chloride. With my starting well water that nets me about 36ppm of calcium, which is on the low side but works just fine for me. After that it only takes a small lactic acid addition to get me to a mash pH of 5.4

Beer Recipes / Re: English Summer Ale
« on: August 05, 2014, 10:35:57 AM »
That's pretty low attenuation even for that yeast. I wouldn't count on it stopping at 1.016. Not sure if you even pay attention to fg numbers from brewing programs but I thought I would throw that out there.
I don't pay much attention to that. I'm thinking it will end up more in the 1.012-1.014 range in my experience.

I love EKG blended with more aggressive hops.
Yeah, it works surprisingly well. Centennial + EKGs make a killer ESB

Beer Recipes / Re: English Summer Ale
« on: August 05, 2014, 08:16:45 AM »
I think I've sold myself on giving this a try. Here's what I was thinking:

Title: English Blond

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Special/Best/Premium Bitter
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 4 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.035
Efficiency: 80% (brew house)

Original Gravity: 1.047
Final Gravity: 1.016
ABV (standard): 4.1%
IBU (tinseth): 28.93
SRM (morey): 7.35

2 lb - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (44.4%)
1.5 lb - German - Pilsner (33.3%)
6 oz - Torrified Wheat (8.3%)
6 oz - Cane Sugar (8.3%)
4 oz - United Kingdom - Dark Crystal 80L (5.6%)

1 oz - Challenger, Type: Pellet, AA: 4, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 28.93
0.25 oz - Challenger, Type: Pellet, AA: 4, Use: Boil for 0 min
0.5 oz - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 5, Use: Boil for 0 min
0.5 oz - Galaxy, Type: Pellet, AA: 15, Use: Boil for 0 min
0.5 oz - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 5, Use: Dry Hop for 0 days
0.5 oz - Galaxy, Type: Pellet, AA: 15, Use: Dry Hop for 0 days

1) Infusion, Temp: 153 F, Time: 75 min, Amount: 17 qt, Sacc Rest

White Labs - English Ale Yeast WLP002

30 minute hopstand at 185F

Ideally, I'd use a lighter color English Crystal malt (and if I can track down some English C-30 I will). I'd still rather use an English crystal malt that is too dark rather than a lighter US malt.


Kegging and Bottling / Re: polyclar and carbonated beer
« on: August 05, 2014, 07:36:27 AM »
I'd be afraid that you get a lot of foaming/gushing when adding it to a fully carbed beer. Otherwise, I don't see why it should be an issue in a closed/pressurized keg. When the CO2 is in solution it's no different than any other solute dissolved in the liquid (sugars/salts/etc).

All Grain Brewing / Re: Burning your bag in BIAB?
« on: August 05, 2014, 07:26:04 AM »
If you don't heat your kettle during the mash you never have to worry about scorching. Insulating your kettle during the mash should help you keep your heat loss to an acceptable level.

If you're thinking of doing step mashes with BIAB, I think you're a lot better off doing it as a separate infusion. Directly heating your kettle during the mash can create hot spots. If you're worried about scorching your bag you should have the same concerns about the enzymes in your mash as well.

Other Fermentables / Re: Session Mead
« on: August 03, 2014, 08:44:27 PM »
The sugar in honey is pretty much 100% fermentable, unlike beer. That means unless you stun, remove, or kill the yeast it will keep going until all the sugar is gone. That's why you can't bottle condition a mead or cider unless it is fully dry - the yeast won't stop as long as there's sugar to eat. Most ale yeasts will go to 12% abv or higher before they kill themselves off. And if they're dead the yeast won't be much help in bottle carbonation, anyways.

B Nektar uses hops in their Dwarven Invasion session mead. To be honest, its my least favorite of their session meads. I get a raw, herbal bitterness that I find unpleasant from dry hops in things like cider or mead, where there's dry hops without boiled hops. Sort of like sucking on a hop pellet (harsh) versus drinking an IPA (pleasant). I know others love it, so I'd say try it out in a small batch yourself and make your own decision.

This week, we made a Biere de Garde that was kind of a Biere de Meh. See the link for the full story, recipe and tasting notes below.

12 lbs. Belgian Pilsner Malt
1 lb. U.S. Vienna Malt (it’s all I had access to at the time, oh well)
1 lb. Belgian Caramunich Malt
0.75 lb. Belgian Aromatic Malt
0.5 lb. Belgian Special B
Mash @ 147° for 90 min (single infusion, 1.5 qt/lb). Sparge with 3.9 gal
Boil for 90 minutes
1 oz Crystal (6% AA) boil for 60 minutes
1 oz Crystal boil for 10 minutes
WLP515, 1200mL starter
OG: 1.070
FG: 1.013
ABV: 7.8%
IBU: 22.5
SRM: 13
Fermentation Temp: 64-70° (lagered @ 36° for 3 weeks)

The Stig's Tasting notes:
Aroma: Fairly clean malt character with notes of quince paste, toast, brown sugar, and toffee. Little to no hop aroma.
Appearance: Clear amber, about 11 degrees SRM. Off-white head with fine bead. Barely any head retention, no lacing, with only a faint, spotty film of foam persisting.
Flavor: Candied, fruity, subtly herbal with flavors of toffee, baked apple, and a hint of sage. Negligible perceived bitterness. Clean malt sweetness without being bread-like. A bit cloying.
Mouthfeel: Full and round, but lacking structure (could use more grain-like tannin, husk quality). Low carbonation and not quite as attenuated as the style should be. ABV is very well disguised with barely any warmth in the finish.
Overall: Really pleasant and technically well within style parameters. Personally I would prefer a drier, more attenuated, and rustic beer for this style. Could use more earthy hop and grain character, and more carbonation or acidity to break up malt sweetness. No overt or obvious flaws.

I think I would us a more earthy hop, mash at 145° and maybe even add a 1/2lb of simple sugar if I made this beer again.

A) Styrian Goldings would probably be a good choice of hop for this.

B) I don't know how much drier a mash at 145 vs 147 is going to be

C) If you're looking for more of a husky, grainy note try swapping your Belgian Pils for Floor-Malted Bo Pils malt. I find that I get quite a bit of that husky/grainy thing from it.

D) Try shooting for a mash pH on the low end (5.3ish) if you're not doing that already

Other Fermentables / Re: Session Mead
« on: August 03, 2014, 08:05:13 AM »
I'm definitely going to try this when meadmaking season starts up soon. I am looking into alternatives to sulfites for stabalizing and also the possibility of a yeast that will finish around 2% if I start around 9%. We make a semi dry mixed berry melomel( red raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, elderberry) that I would like to do a sparkling lower abv version of.
Repeated crashing/racking and cold storage will buy you some time. Pasteurization and sterile filtering are probably the only sure-fire options if you want to keep it natural, though.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Star San
« on: August 02, 2014, 12:01:23 PM »
Would this also mean that even if the carboy is still a little wet from the Star San, it's still ok to put my wort in?

Hard to say. You could take a gravity reading towards the end of the boil and add DME if needed at that point.

You will probably have to adjust your boiloff a bit if you're using the same size pot for both 3 and 5 gallon batches, but otherwise I see no issues.

I do 3 gallon semi-BIAB batches using a separate 5-gallon beverage cooler as a mash tun (to help hold temps during the mash), and boil in a 5-gallon kettle on my stovetop. I can get 4 gallons up to a boil, and boilovers aren't an issue with Fermcap.

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