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Messages - santoch

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Making a honey wheat beer
« on: April 19, 2015, 01:04:44 PM »
I prefer to add it at flameout or just prior (last 2 minutes) to prevent loss of the volatile aroma.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: distilled water question
« on: April 18, 2015, 10:11:50 PM »
I know that you were saying you were considering using distilled, but for others who might be thinking about it, topping up with unboiled tap water is a prime cause of chlorophenolic off flavors. 

Make sure you remove the chlorine by boiling, using metabisulfates (powdered or campden tablets), or charcoal filtering (very slowly - too fast and the chlorine makes it through).
Chloramine is even harder to remove - boiling doesn't volatize it out.  filtering must really be slow but metabisulfates work better.  1 half of an aspirin sized tablet will treat about 10 gallons of water.


Yes, you should contact your admin.  He'll contact the exam directors on your behalf.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First try at Extract brewing
« on: April 12, 2015, 07:59:09 AM »

Nice pics-

At this point, the biggest pieces of advice I can give you are:

1) Keep the fermenter temperature under control. The cooler your fermentation, the cleaner it will be.
As a general rule, mid to high 60s farenheit is the optimal temp for fermenting an ale like what you made.
The steadier you can keep it, the better.  Remember that during active fermentation, the beer temp will rise above ambient temperature by 5 to 10 degrees, so keeping it cool is key. One way to help is to drape a t-shirt over the top and keep it wet.  Put it in a low bucket so the water wicks up into the t-shirt.  The evaporation will help cool the fermenter underneath.

2) Remember that the yeast will work on THEIR timeline, NOT YOURS.  If you are patient, and give them the time they need to ferment the wort and fully clean up after themselves, you will be rewarded with a tasty brew.

If you think that somehow your yeast magically know that they are fermenting YOUR beer, so they'll work faster because they are working for YOU, then you will not give them the time they need, and you will end up with a much less than optimal unfinished product.

Keep the fermenter cool, also, for a less estery end product.

The best way to combat the urge to rush the batch through is to start another one.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!


One other thing for your next batch-

Don't cover the pot during your boil.  There is a chemical called SMM (S-methyl-methionine) that is a precursor to DMS (dimethyl-sulfide).  SMM is produced whenever the wort is above about 140F. 
DMS is a very well known off flavor found in beer that has the flavor and aroma of cooked corn (think of Green Giant corn from a can).  SMM is driven out in the vapors during your boil, but if you cover it, then it condenses and falls back in with the condensing steam.

There is less SMM in liquid extract (it has already gone through a boil step) but dry malt extract has not been subjected to enough boil time to volatize the SMM out. 
Your beer will likely be fine, but for future batches, leave the pot uncovered.  The heat will kill anything that might fall in (though of course if you see anything go in, take it out).


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: boiling before additions
« on: April 01, 2015, 05:28:12 PM »
I have been doing it that way for a long time.  I like to bring my beer all the way up to hot break before starting my hop clock.  For light colored beers with more pilsner malt, I let it go even longer.  Then I add my bittering addition and start the clock.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer in a Minute
« on: April 01, 2015, 05:24:52 PM »
In the southern hemisphere, you have to use a blender that swirls in the opposite direction due to the coriolis effect.  Otherwise, your bubbles won't dissolve into the beer.

Ingredients / Re: Hop Bitterness
« on: March 29, 2015, 09:59:43 PM »
I tend to think of 20 min and later additions in terms of weight as opposed to %alpha. IMO, all other things being equal, the freshness of the hops tends to drive flavor and aroma levels more than alpha, IMO.  In other words, an oz at 15 of one alpha tends to smell and taste pretty close to the same as an oz of the same varietal at 15 of a different alpha, provided they are about the same freshness (and the same form - pellets vs whole), with pellets yielding the most consistent flavor/aroma. If the recipe calls for an oz at 15, that's what I add.  I won't adjust it for alpha.  I make the adjustment by varying the amount of bittering hops to achieve the overall target IBU levels.

Essentially, I calculate the bittering addition amounts by working backwards in the boil.  I first calculate IBU contributions of the 20min and later additions, and then figure out the amount needed for the boil addition so the total hits the overall target IBU level.  This may even mean moving a small addition to 55 or 50 if the alpha of the bittering hops I have on hand is too high for a 60 min addition to hit the target.

Hope this makes sense.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: C15L base malt?
« on: March 29, 2015, 01:09:30 PM »
Great question, Jim.  My understanding is that it is technically another form of caramel malt and is steepable.  I've never used it, but from what I hear, a little goes a LONG way, so use it sparingly.


Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: C15L base malt?
« on: March 26, 2015, 10:02:50 PM »
(I agree with everything said above.)

Let's put some back of the envelope numbers so you can see where your recipe stands:

6x35 + 1x44 + .75x33 = ~278 gravity points
divide that by a 5.5 gal batch (to account for a bit of trub) should yield you about a 1.051 beer

They specify a single charge of Bravo in the boil (60)
For a blonde, I'd go for around 20 - 25 IBUs or a .5 BU:GU ratio.

So figuring 15%AA a half oz. at 60 in a 5.5 gal batch will give you about 27 IBUs or .4 oz will give you 22 IBUs.  Adjust up or down accordingly based on the alpha of the hops you actually get.


Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: 2 batches in 2 days.
« on: March 24, 2015, 07:16:28 PM »
what was the volume when you measured the gravity?

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: 2 batches in 2 days.
« on: March 22, 2015, 08:46:16 PM »
If this is an extract batch, then it is doubtful that you got low 'efficiency'.  You either:

1)  measured your volume wrong (it's too dilute).
2) failed to stir the batch properly before taking your FG reading.  The wort often stratifies, particularly if you top up.  Taking a  reading without ensuring proper mixing often reads low.
3) you mis-measured your extracts.  This is doubtful unless you buy all your extract in bulk.

If this was a partial mash batch, it is not uncommon for efficiency on the mini mash side to swing wildly, depending on many factors, such as inconsistent sparging, inconsistent crush, or inconsistent batch sparging techniques. (such as using 2 batches instead of 3).

When I was first brewing AG, or still doing Mini-Mash, I used to keep extra DME on hand to compensate if I missed target OG low.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Gravity/volume adjustment
« on: March 15, 2015, 11:17:08 AM »
Chlorophenolic off flavors are a very common result when folks top off with tap water, more often than infection.

I highly recommend treating all water to remove chlorine/chloramine before brewing with it.  Campden tablets are cheap and effective in this regard.  A half an aspirin-sized campden tablet is effective in removing the chlorine compounds in 10 gallons of water.  A packet is usually only a couple of dollars.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Newbie Judge Luck
« on: March 14, 2015, 03:37:25 PM »
Sounds like you had a great first experience - there are only about 25 GM2+ judges on the planet.  I'm sure you learned a lot from him.

I hope that you will consider studying for the exam and getting your certification. It really is a lot of fun and it helped me to become a better homebrewer, too. We certainly need all the qualified judges we can get. 


Homebrew Competitions / Re: How best to describe 22C?
« on: March 09, 2015, 08:58:04 PM »
Jimmy K nailed, IMO.

A Brown Porter is different from a Robust Porter is different from a Baltic Porter.  Simply saying "Porter" usually gets me a bit frustrated as its too vague. I am not sure up front where to put the beer in the flight. "Chocolate Cherry Stout" -- same thing.  RIS? Sweet? Irish Dry? American? Oatmeal? Foreign Export? Tropical Foreign Export?

Bottom line, try to be as specific as you can be, as long as that describes what you actually brewed (not what you tried to brew).

Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC first round judging?
« on: March 09, 2015, 08:45:25 PM »
We can use more judges up here in Seattle.  Only 48 have signed up so far.
Not sure where everyone is hiding.


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