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Messages - erockrph

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What styles of beer age best?
« on: March 12, 2016, 04:58:25 PM »
My Old Ale ages very well.  It is also quite drinkable at 5 mos too. Strong lagers age nicely as well.
Yeah, doppelbock doesn't even to start to hit its prime until about 6 months at cellar temp after the initial lagering, IMO. And it keeps improving well after that.

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I hate to give you a non-answer, but it's really all up to personal preference. I have yet to run across a "bad" hop combo. I typically get an idea of what I'm looking for in a beer and string together the pieces that I think will work well. I mix noble hops with American hops, American hops with English hops, and tropical hops with American hops quite often.

I'd start with 2-3 varieties that seem to get you in the ballpark of what you want, base your quantities on the relative potency of each (preferably based on personal experience, but total oil content can be a guide if it is something unfamiliar to you), and just go for it.

Your 2:2:1 ratio seems like a good starting point for what you're looking for, but smell your Apollo first. Sometimes it's just dank and resinous, other times it can get a lot of citrus. Neither type is bad, but adjust your recipe based on what you're shooting for. Or don't adjust and make a note so you know for next time.

Bottling from 1 gallon jugs sucks. I used to do it all the time, but I came up with a much easier way.

When I did bottle from a keg, I used one of the mini-Autosiphons with a bottling wand on the other end. I used a carboy clip (or whatever it's called) that clips to the Autosiphon to set it right above the trub. The biggest PITA was getting the siphon started while pressing the bottling wand down. I'd end up in all sorts of contortions trying to get both started at the same time. Once the beer started flowing you could bottle one-after-another rather easily. I primed each bottle individually, since I never really knew what my yield would be. I mainly use the Coopers carb drops, but I have measured individual doses of sugar if I was out. The carb drops have always worked for me, but do leave you with a higher carbonation (maybe between 2.5-2.7 volumes).

Now I simply rack into a keg and use that as my bottling bucket. I push the beer out using a low pressure of CO2, and still prime the bottles individually. It is so much easier. If I didn't have access to a keg, I think I'd rig up a small bottling bucket out of a 2 gallon bucket. Bottling straight from the jugs is more hassle than it is worth.

Other Fermentables / Re: First Mead
« on: March 11, 2016, 09:40:43 PM »
I usually taste before racking to tertiary and make my adjustments (backsweetening and/or acid) there based on flavor. If the mead is big enough (and most of mine tend to be), then there is no real need to sulfite when backsweetening since the yeast is pretty much maxed out at that point.

I've never made a traditional mead (only melomels), so I don't have a sweet mead around for backsweetening, but I like that idea a lot. I have used honey to backsweeten and you do pick up some "raw honey" character that takes a while to marry with the finished mead. I may have to make one just for that purpose.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Murkiest beer ever
« on: March 10, 2016, 09:12:11 PM »
I guess I'll be brewing an oatmeal IPA soon just to see what the big deal is. I think the "juiciness" is probably just a mouthfeel thing.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2016 Spring Swap - Official Thread
« on: March 09, 2016, 06:13:59 PM »
I also just realized I had an English PA/ESB in keg since sep 15 (had only consumed about 1/3 of it). it was OG 1.055 FG 1.008, 6.2%abv . 95% MO, 3.1% crystal 80, 1.9% extra dark crystal. 40IBU of challenger. WLP002.

Just poured a pint and man has this matured nicely. Might have to think about throwing this one in the swap also.

edit: think I will I hit it with 3oz of challenger week before we ship to give it back that fresh hop aroma to compliment the taste.
Just starting to keg and can't wait until I have so many I can lose one for several months.
For me it becomes a beast of burden after a while because I end up needing to dump or bottle batches to free up keg space. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to let old kegs sit around after you get 5 or 6 of them.

Ingredients / Re: ammonia caramel
« on: March 09, 2016, 12:05:22 PM »
If you could reliably make a Candi Syrup at home that is better than the commercial stuff, then we'd all be doing it IMO. I've never seen any recipes that even claim to be as good as the real thing on a repeatable basis, so it doesn't really seem worth my time. If someone stumbles on a formula that makes a beer as good as I can make with the CSI stuff, then I'll be buying a candy thermometer the next day.

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A table-strength saison seems to fit what you're looking for. I brew one around 1.037 OG that ends up between 4% and 4.5%. By using Wyeast 3711 you end up with a very dry beer that has a nice mouthfeel and doesn't end up too thin. 3711 will take a beer down to Lite beer level of carbs (1.004 FG or less for a small beer like this) like clockwork. I ferment in the mid 60's and that favors a citrus character with a little pepper. You end up with a borderline-tart beer that drinks like a dry white wine.

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The Pub / Re: What's the Weather Like Where You Are?
« on: March 09, 2016, 08:07:06 AM »
I've only had two occasions where I've needed to be plowed, and they were 3 days apart. We've had about an 80 degree temperature spread between the highest and lowest temps here this winter (and that number will be close to 90 in a few hours). Crazy stuff

The only thing I'm worried about is how it will affect the plants. I know that we've had a lot less chill hours than usual this winter, but I'm not sure if it's been enough to affect fruit tree yields. I am also concerned about an early bud break followed by some hard frosts or a long cold snap. Guess we'll just have to keep our eyes on it...

The developers have been quite responsive when it comes to their web app, so I'm sure they would be for the Windows app as well. Try their forums, the devs post there regularly.

Personally, I have yet to try the Windows or Android apps because the web interface is the main selling point of their software for me.

Ingredients / Re: Blending Malts
« on: March 09, 2016, 07:41:25 AM »
I like blending Pilsner, Pale and Munich malts from Dingemans and Weyermann in Belgians styles.

I've used Crisp MO and Castle Pils as my base for quite a few Belgian beers and have been pretty happy with the results.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How Many Hops are too Many?
« on: March 08, 2016, 09:00:52 PM »
A pound per gallon is too much. I've tried it with both whole cones and pellets.

I routinely use a pound of hops in a 3 gallon batch of IPA. So the answer to your question is somewhere between 5 and 16 oz/gallon.

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I think that was the most entertaining interview to date. 

The craft brew revolution is drinking its own children.
Agreed! The interview with Lew was fantastic. I hope you guys find an excuse to bring him back every so often.

I'm just finishing the podcast now, but it was pretty timely for me. I just brewed a recipe based on a Whitbread IPA from 1957 that started at 1.037 and should end up around 3.3%. It is based on a recipe and series of articles that Ron Pattinson posted recently on his blog. Apparently Session IPA is not a recent invention. I'm looking forward to seeing how it comes out.

Like Drew, I also enjoy a table saison as one of my regular summer session beers. I really like WY3711 in this style, as it leaves a pretty full mouthfeel despite the dry finish.

All Things Food / Re: Growing food - The Garden Thread
« on: March 07, 2016, 08:53:30 PM »
Awesome looking collection of seeds, Amanda. I grow chiles too, but the Red Savina Habanero is my ceiling for heat. The Reaper is too much fun (or misery) for me. Enjoy!

Oh I'm not eating the Reapers or even going near them after they start fruiting! I have what my friends here call a "baby mouth". So the Numex Sauve Orange and Zavory Habenaro are for me, while the Reapers, Scotch Bonnets, and real Habenaros are for the husband and his hot sauces. I had to leave the house when hot sauce was being made last fall (Ghost, Habs, and Serranos I think).

The Numez and Zavory are supposedly a very mild version of Habenaros... so maybe I'll be able to eat them!  :D The hottest I can do is some Poblanos, but the Tiburons I grew last year were as hot as they were prolific so I didn't get to eat much of them. :/
I'll be interested to hear what you think of the Zavory, Amanda. I had some growing last year, but my wife was sick in the middle of the worst part of the drought last summer so my garden went unattended. I lost all my peppers except two Serranos.

I like heat, but I have outgrown my younger daredevil days of putting Dave's Insanity Sauce straight on wings, and other testosterone-driven nonsense. I generally max out at Serranos for my purposes right now. I like the flavor of Habs, but don't need all the heat. That's why the Zavory was really interesting to me.

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