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Messages - erockrph

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Other Fermentables / Re: Plums in a stout
« on: August 29, 2014, 06:44:27 AM »
Would I be able to get the recipe for your hoppy Belgian dark ale? It sounds delicious!
Here you go. I went through a phase a couple of years ago where I brewed a bunch of beers that were essentially crosses between an APA and some other style. Most of them were "meh" at best, but the APA-meets-dubbel was one of my biggest successes. I use the Unibroue strain whenever I can, but 1762 would be a good substitute. I ferment in the 63-64F range.

For a 3-gallon batch:

Title: Belgian Dark Ale

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Belgian Specialty Ale
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 3.5 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.041
Efficiency: 80% (brew house)

Original Gravity: 1.051
Final Gravity: 1.010
ABV (standard): 5.38%
IBU (tinseth): 36.89
SRM (morey): 16.32

4 lb - Belgian - Pale Ale (78.7%)
0.5 lb - German - Munich Light (9.8%)
0.33 lb - Belgian Candi Syrup - D2 - (late addition)  (6.5%)
0.25 lb - Belgian - Special B (4.9%)

0.4 oz - Centennial, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 10.2, Use: First Wort, IBU: 15.44
0.25 oz - Motueka, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.2, Use: Boil for 15 min, IBU: 6.14
0.25 oz - Centennial, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 10.2, Use: Boil for 10 min, IBU: 5.78
0.5 oz - Caliente, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 15.3, Use: Boil for 5 min, IBU: 9.53
0.5 oz - Caliente, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 15.3, Use: Boil for 0 min
1 oz - Caliente, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 15.3, Use: Dry Hop for 7 days
0.33 oz - Centennial, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 10.2, Use: Dry Hop for 7 days
0.33 oz - Motueka, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.4, Use: Dry Hop for 7 days

1) Infusion, Temp: 156 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 18 qt, Sacc Rest

Wyeast - WY3864 (Canadian/Belgian)

Profile Name: Hoppy Bitter Profile
Ca2: 110
Mg2: 10
Na: 20
Cl: 20
SO4: 250
HCO3: 55

Ingredients / Re: Please stop me!
« on: August 28, 2014, 08:28:52 PM »
Using tweezers for this would be rather labor intensive. With hops being a cousin of cannabis and with your desired end result being essentially hop-hashish, I would just Google how to make hashish. Good luck, mon!

Its on www.hashishrecipe.dea/gov. You enter your home address and they bring you the stuff you need.

Fixed that link for you, Jim

Ingredients / Re: Please stop me!
« on: August 28, 2014, 08:25:15 PM »
Fresh hop ales are becoming more and more common. I'd honestly try that first. If you do find too much grassiness for your liking, then by all means proceed with your diabolical plan. It should work.

The key thing here is freshness. Fresh hops are a lot like fresh peas or corn - their window for peak freshness is quite small. Ideally, you want to be picking your hops during the mash/boil and dump them all in in the last few minutes or at flameout. That may be the real challenge of your experiment - being able to collect enough lupulin in a short enough window where it is still quite fresh by the time you use it. Good luck!

Other Fermentables / Re: Plums in a stout
« on: August 28, 2014, 07:56:47 PM »
Plums contain a fair amount of sorbitol which is not fermentable but is sweet.
Hmmm... that certainly explains the whole prune thing

Other Fermentables / Re: Plums in a stout
« on: August 28, 2014, 05:17:07 PM »
+1 to just brewing a dark Belgian instead of a stout. I've never been a big fan of Belgian stouts - I've always found the flavors to clash. A Dubbel or Quad, however, is a perfect fit for plums. WY1762 in a dubbel with some D-180 and a touch of Special B would be amazing with plums.

Another option would be an English Barleywine, which you can also use WY1762 in to good effect.

As far as amounts go, I've never used them, but I'd be willing to bet you need a lot. Like 2-3 pounds per gallon.

One other thought - Caliente hops have a great Red plum aroma to them. An ounce at flameout in something like a stout may help reinforce the aromatics a bit. I brew a hoppy Belgian dark ale using them and it's a serious plum bomb.

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermenter head space
« on: August 28, 2014, 10:19:12 AM »
I ferment 2-3 gallons in 6.5 gallon buckets all the time. Extra headspace isn't a problem.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Choosing a house yeast
« on: August 28, 2014, 10:13:44 AM »
I thought that Wyeast 1768 was a reserve collection strain, but it is not:

I have not tried the Roquefort strain, but could be convinced if others think highly of it! I can compare it to the new Abbaye Ale dry yeast that I have going in primary on a Belgian Golden Strong presently...
I'd stay away from the Roquefort strain, as well as the Stilton, Munster and Camembert strains.  ;)

Now Rochefort, that is second only to the Unibroue strain (WY3864 - sadly only a seasonal strain) for my favorite Belgian yeast.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Fine before or after dry hopping?
« on: August 27, 2014, 12:20:13 PM »
No, you're thinking Smell my Finger by the Sex Pistols

Bah, they sold out after "Stonehenge"  8)

How low of of pH is too low?  Is it an extremely narrow window?

Like many brewers here, I like a target of 5.5-5.6 for dark roasty porters or stouts. I would not want to fall much below 5.4 and would consider that too low. I also use RO water, and some baking soda to raise the alkalinity enough to fall close to 5.6. The little sodium that adds seems beneficial to the roast character.
I don't use RO per se, but I have a very soft well, and I do the same thing. Any base water that is low in sodium is well suited for using baking soda to raise alkalinity. I do like a small amount of sodium in my malt-forward beers.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Fine before or after dry hopping?
« on: August 27, 2014, 10:20:01 AM »
My choice would be to fine the yeast out if I thought I had to, then dry hop. Some haze is ok in an ipa as far as I'm concerned. Guidelines aside, if I handed someone an IPA and they said "wow, smells fantastic. But its a little hazy." Right, the haze is what you are smelling...
Wasn't "Smell the Haze" an old Iron Butterfly record?

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sun King Fistful of Hops
« on: August 26, 2014, 07:03:26 PM »
Is there a new one out? The last one I had, about a month ago, was a total Summit bomb.
In other words, best suited for making beer-battered onion rings?

I get a chuckle out of brewers that state that this method reduces the edge of their roast malt flavors. The real reason that the roast flavors are reduced is that the overly low pH reduces the extraction of color and flavor from those dark grains. I suggest that those of you that want to reduce the roasty flavor in your dark beers might try reducing the quantity of those roasted grains in the's cheaper that way.

In the case of an Imperial Stout, using mashing water with the proper alkalinity level is more likely to produce pleasant and full roast flavors instead of the dry and potentially acrid roast flavors that accompany overly low wort pH.
Thanks for this explanation, Martin. This is the first time I've heard someone describe this in a way that matches my experience. Bumping up my alkalinity to target a higher pH on porters & stouts has really helped me achieve the fullness of roast flavors that I was chasing.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Trying the new Wyeast seasonal sour blends?
« on: August 26, 2014, 10:48:55 AM »
I know the O.P. was specifically asking about the mixed sour blends, but I picked up the 5223 Lacto Brevis and used it exclusively on a 1.047 Berliner Weisse with about 7 IBU. It did a quick job of getting it down to 1.005. I am very pleased with the sourness and taste out of the fermenter.
Thanks for sharing. This is the one I was most interested in. How tart is the final product?

If you add your dark malts to the mash at the same time as the base malts, you will likely have to add an alkaline salt in which case you can move some of the dark malts to the end of the mash so that you don't have to make large mash adjustments.  I have not seen very conclusive information on what the desired pH of the pre-boil wort should be for a stout vs beers generally.  There tends to be less astringency from adding dark malts later in the mash or in doing cold extracts.
In my personal experience I've seen a big improvement in my dark beers when I went from mashing in the 5.3-5.4 range up to 5.6 - the roast flavor seems to pop more without being harsh.

To my palate, low pH on a stout/porter is very similar to an IPA that is too acidic. The bitterness and flavors become too muddled. In the case of the dark beers it's the bite of the roasted grains that gets washed out, as opposed to the hops. But that's my palate - I like my stouts to have a solid roasty bite.


Just doing a single infusion with the right water for the stout is probably my best bet, but I think I get better flavors with the 2 step, and that's just with my somewhat minerally town water.  I need to do the spread sheet for the stout, and I'll bet my water needs very little adjustment.  Thanks,

Denny, I started looking into Martin's method, met him at the last NHC, really nice guy, and you're among many who like his results.  Sounds like the 2 stage may not be the way to go.  Thanks,
I honestly think that if you get your water adjustments right in the first place and hit the right pH (I like the 5.5-5.6 range for stouts and porters), then adding your roasted grains late isn't going to gain you any advantage. The only exception is possibly a dry stout, since the target pH is a bit lower.

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