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Messages - erockrph

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Bottling my Helles Hop Hammer and crossing my fingers as I take another gravity reading on my maple wine.

After listening to this week's episode of Basic Brewing Radio, I may also doctor up some old brews I have laying around to taste test various specialty grains I have laying around.

Rule #1: In my brewhouse its Rush. All Rush, all the time. No exceptions.


I can get behind this. I think I could spend an entire brew day with YYZ and La Villa Strangiato on endless loop.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Funky Cider Smell
« on: March 06, 2013, 10:18:19 PM »
Same here. My cider fermentations allsmell worse than the fartiest beer fermentations I've ever had.

All Grain Brewing / Re: low OG / light bodied beer and hops?
« on: March 06, 2013, 11:12:32 AM »
It's really all about your tastes. If you like a lot of late hop character, then bombs away. If you want more balance then 0.5-1 oz at both flameout and dry hopped paired with 25-35 IBU's at either FWH or 15-20 minutes is a good place to start. Columbus can give a pretty sharp bitterness when used at 60+ minutes, so you may want to steer away from that. A beer like this works pretty well without a traditional 60 minute addition.

Beer Recipes / Re: Munich Dunkel Help Needed
« on: March 05, 2013, 01:06:25 PM »
If you're not dead set on being a traditional lager, then you could make a damn good Alt with what you have on hand, methinks. Hell, if you're not tied to style, you could probably get away with using the 833 with a Düsseldorf Alt grain/hop bill and make a damn good beer.

Beer Recipes / Re: Low gravity saison
« on: March 05, 2013, 12:12:18 PM »
If you are adding the lactic for twang and not for pH adjustment why not just add it to the kettle? then you don't have to mess around with adding lime or soda and acid.

Good point. I don't know why I didn't think of that. I always pick up good ideas around here.

Beer Recipes / Re: double IPA recipe help
« on: March 05, 2013, 12:10:18 PM »
It appears that I probably don't have the right hop types and amounts to do a good IIPA unless I did a smaller batch which is another option. I will probably scale it back to an IPA and use a hop schedule like something here:

Bravo - 60 min
Columbus - 20 min
equal amts of Amarillo, Centennial, Cascade - 10, 5, 0 min
Columbus - Dry hop

Maybe simplify the malt bill
75% two row
20% munich
5% honey/crystal

Yep, that sounds like a really good IPA. You were curious about using Bravo for flavor/aroma - why not swap that for the Columbus in your hop bill? Even if it's not an incredible IPA hop, you have the Amarillo/Cent/Cascade to help carry things. But almost any hop will work in an IPA as long as you use enough of it and have the right supporting cast.

Beer Recipes / Re: Low gravity saison
« on: March 05, 2013, 12:01:12 PM »
I think you'll find that 3711 will have no trouble taking a 1.039 beer all the way down to 1.000, so I wouldn't hesitate to raise the mash temp to 154 to see if you could leave a couple points on the hydrometer.  From a recipe standpoint, I would probably throw in 4 oz of acidulated malt, because my belief is that it adds a little bit of a twang in the finish that really works well in the style.  I'm not sure whether I'd go with the Special B myself, maybe a bit of aromatic or special roast to add complexity.

Good luck with the brew!  I'm a big fan of making small saisons to build up my yeast, and I would be very interested in reading a followup posted to this thread once you know how it turns out.

Thanks for the feedback. I'll probably shoot for the mid-150's for my mash temp, then. Aromatic sounds like a good addition - I may end up adding a few ounces of that here. The Special B is partly because I want a touch of crystal malt here to keep it from drying out completely, and partly because I'm just a big fan of Special B (especially in most Belgian styles). I don't necessarily want a big crystal malt flavor, but I've had some Saisons with a considerable amount of crystal malt and they have worked surprisingly well.

I prefer lactic acid to acidulated malt for repeatability purposes, but I agree about the twang. I'm lucky to have low sodium in my brewing water, so I may even add some extra baking soda so I can get a little extra lactic acid in there and still keep my mash pH in the 5.3-5.4 range.

Beer Recipes / Low gravity saison
« on: March 05, 2013, 08:43:34 AM »
I'm planning on brewing a low-gravity saison to prop up a pitch of 3711 for a Biere de Mars. Any tips? In particular, I'm wondering what mash temp I'd want to use. My gut tells me to mash low, but if I'm only starting out at 1.040ish for my OG is there a risk that I may end up with a brew that ends up too thin-bodied?

Here's what I was thinking of:

Title: Table Saison

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Saison
Boil Time: 90 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 3.5 gallons
Efficiency: 85% (brew house)

Original Gravity: 1.039
Final Gravity: 1.008
ABV (standard): 4.08%
IBU (tinseth): 27.36
SRM (morey): 5.86

3 lb - German - Bohemian Pilsner (82.8%)
4 oz - American - Wheat (6.9%)
4 oz - German - Munich Light (6.9%)
2 oz - Belgian - Special B (3.4%)

0.75 oz - Ultra, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: First Wort (AA 9, IBU: 27.36)
1 oz - Ultra for 0 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil (AA 9)

1) Infusion, Temp: 149 F, Time: 90 min, Amount: 16 qt, Sacc rest

Wyeast - French Saison 3711

Pitch at 66F, hold for a day, then let free rise.

+1 to following Brunwater or Kai's new calculator on Brewer's Friend.

Personally, I shoot for about 150ppm Sulfate and about 75ppm Chloride in my IPA's. The caveat here is that I'm not a big fan of crystal malt in my IPA, and I generally stick to some combo of 2-row, Munich and Victory for my grain bill. I think if I was inclined to use more Crystal malt, I would be tempted to shoot for a higher Sulfate level and lower Chloride to help dry things out a bit.

I tend to shoot for the higher range of mash pH for IPA's (5.4-5.5). I don't know if that's enough to make a difference in the finished beer, but lower pH's can supposedly diminish hop presence so that's just a bit of insurance for me.

Beer Recipes / Re: double IPA recipe help
« on: March 04, 2013, 08:53:10 PM »
I'd probably try to simplify the grain bill a bit. I normally love a bit of Munich in an IPA, but for an IIPA I think you really want the malt bill to get out of the way of the hops. I'd swap out the Munich for 2-row. The honey malt may be OK, but I'd be more inclined to replace it with a light Crystal (20-40ish) or even Carapils.

I'd add about 4-6 oz of hops at flameout and a minimum of 6 ounces as dry hops.

Ingredients / Re: dry hopping
« on: March 04, 2013, 03:35:07 PM »
Instead of worrying whether the yeast will strip some of the dry hop character, just use more dry hops! In For the Love of Hops, it is mentioned that yeast actually produce some of the desirable compounds we want from dry hopping. I just add my dry hops right into the primary at about day 7 (for a typical ale fermentation) and bottle at day 14. I try to shoot for 68F for my dry-hopping temp.

Other Fermentables / Re: Maple Wine
« on: March 04, 2013, 02:59:35 PM »
I remember Ken Schramm giving a mead presentation saying that you usually get 100 points of attenuation out of yeast (max).  If that's true, yours might be finished at 93 points fermented.  You could maybe get it further with distillers yeast?  Blending might help. Age may help it dry out too.

I generally get 120-130 points out of 71B in meads using staggered nutrient additions when fermented in the mid-60's. The only significant change to my process (aside from using maple syrup instead of honey) was the significantly cooler temps. But yes, I have strongly considered that it could just be finished at this point.

Since my calculations put it at about 12% right now, I'm concerned whether that's too high to pitch more yeast into. I'm also not sure whether I should add any more nutrient additions if I do go that route.

Other Fermentables / Re: Maple Wine
« on: March 03, 2013, 08:11:32 PM »
That's funny, I was just coming here to post a bit of a followup. I racked to secondary and took a sample today. 3 months in and it went from 1.151 to 1.058. My basement has been a lot colder than usual this winter (last year it barely dipped below 62F, this year it's been mid-to-low-50's since January). I'm hoping that things are still going slowly, because it is still way too sweet if it finished up here. The gravity sample was still a lot like sipping maple syrup. At this point it calculates to be about 12%, but the sweetness completely masks the alcohol. There is a nice warming in the belly at the end though. It's still pretty hazy at this point.

At this point my gameplan is to recheck the gravity in another week or so. If its still stalled out then I will bring it up to room temp and see if it goes any further. At that point I'm not sure if I should pitch another packet of yeast, or if I should brew another batch at a lower gravity (thinking 1.080-1.100 range) that should ferment down to around 1.000 and use that to blend back.

The lees at the bottom of the fermenter were quite interesting. There was a fine layer of pitch black sediment on top of the yeast layer. I wish I had taken a picture.

Thanks for the interest. I'll keep you updated on how things are going.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry
« on: March 03, 2013, 07:53:16 PM »
When the pH will be depressed farther than desired, then adding a bit of alkalinity could be the best way.  In that case, use baking soda or lime.  Lime is the preferred option since no sodium is added.  However, last week during our discussion for the upcoming Water book, we came to the conclusion that using baking soda MIGHT be OK as long as the Na concentration is kept below 50 ppm.  If you had no sodium in your starting water, 0.5 gram of baking soda per gallon raises the sodium to 36 ppm and the alkalinity rises to 80 ppm.  That might be enough for many brewing situations.  If your water already has a lot of sodium, then this option is probably out.

I have used baking soda for my dark beers since I have low sodium in my well water and have yet to come across pickling lime in my travels. I also have some potassium bicarbonate laying around, but I haven't used it because none of the water calculators I've seen really address K+. I know potassium can give some saltiness similar to sodium, but I have no idea what the flavor threshold would be, or if there are any other adverse consequences to using it in the mash. Any thoughts?

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