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Topics - yso191

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Ingredients / HSI
« on: December 14, 2015, 09:43:48 PM »
I've posted elsewhere that I'm working for a while in the lab at BSG (Brewers Supply Group) testing hops for alpha & beta acids, as well as HSI: the Hop Storage Index.

I am frankly surprised at the degradation of alpha acids in hops.  In the 3 months since harvest, the hops I am testing have dropped 1-2 % points in alpha from the harvest alpha.  I'm not experienced enough to know if that will continue at a steady decline or not.  I do know that the variety also influences the rate of decline.

What I am wondering is if we homebrewers are not taking this into account as much as we should - if at all.  All the hops in my freezer are 2014 hops.  They have an alpha acid % listed on the package but I'm not sure how to account for the decline, and they never list the HSI.  It seems to me this would be an important thing to factor in.  Any thoughts?  Do any of you factor in the age of the hops for calculating IBUs?

Yeast and Fermentation / New Yeast starter procedure
« on: November 29, 2015, 09:02:38 AM »
I just yesterday tried the new starter procedure that Mark introduced us all to.  I should have started with a strain I was more familiar with.  Now I'm not sure if something is wrong or not.

Yesterday I started the brew day by making 1 liter of 1.040 wort from DME.  When it was cool, I shook the bejesus out of it, and pitched one smack pack of Wyeast  1728, Scottish Ale into it, shaking it again just to mix it.  That was 20 hours ago.  Still nothing that could be described as 'high krausen.'  So now I'm wondering if 1728 just doesn't do much that way.  The date on the yeast was 9/10/15, but was not swollen.  What do you think?

General Homebrew Discussion / Scottish ale question
« on: November 28, 2015, 04:15:02 PM »
This is my second attempt at brewing a Scottish ale.  I am currently boiling a gallon of first runnings, intending to reduce it to a pint or so, so that I can get some actual carmelization. 

My question is, is there an issue with adding back the amount that is boiled off to the main boil kettle so that my volumes would be equal to what I would have if I didn't reduce the gallon of first runnings?  I would be adding RO water.

All Grain Brewing / High gravity brewing manipulations
« on: November 24, 2015, 12:48:10 PM »
I am playing around with my Stout recipe.  I have mentioned in other posts that I seldom hit my OG target when brewing a beer in the neighborhood of 1.100.  I have learned that some of that is due to lower efficiency in the mash, so I have adjusted the recipe to account for a ~64% efficiency. 

I'm also thinking I need a thinner mash to help the conversion.  But the sparge volumes get so small that I think the conclusion is to do a 'no sparge' mash.  If I do that will I encounter any unforeseen issues or is it as simple as just not sparging, and putting all your water in for the mash.

And then I start thinking of a Parti-gyle mash, and using the second runnings for canning starter wort.  So then I wonder how to estimate the OG of the second runnings so I can hit the target of 1.040.

And finally, given my mash tun size of 15 gallons, and the above factors, I still am limited to an OG of about 1.095.  So then I start thinking about adding DME/LME to bump the gravity.  Unfortunately I have only ever done whole-grain brewing.  What color of malt extract would be best for a stout?  Is LME superior to DME?  At this point since DME is more available I'd go with that, but I don't like how it clumps when I have done starters with it. 

That is a lot, but what do you think?  Am I on the right track?

General Homebrew Discussion / Passed the BJCP Written exam
« on: November 22, 2015, 08:19:47 AM »
I finally took the test.  I've been studying for it for a while, supposedly leading up to a July tasting exam.  The organizer of that exam had to change the day to a Sunday and *poof*, I was out.  Discouraged, I just dropped the whole thing from my mind.

Yesterday, on kind of a spur of the moment decision, I bought 3 tests (how's that for confidence), but passed it on the first try.  It feels really good to be back at it.  Now for the tasting exam!  And now that I am free on the weekends it should be much easier to connect with one.

Beer Recipes / Brun' Watrer profile for Scottish?
« on: November 19, 2015, 07:25:26 AM »
I'm going to brew a Scottish 80/ over the Thanksgiving weekend.  What Brun' Water profile would be best?

Equipment and Software / pH meters
« on: November 15, 2015, 02:28:08 PM »
I am being bombarded by family members for Christmas gift ideas.  One of the things I have been interested in is a good pH meter.  But every time I get close to getting one I am stopped by one thing: What difference will it make?

As I understand it, it takes about 30 minutes for the mash pH to stabilize.  If an adjustment is made at that point (particularly given the sample cool-down requirement)  it will just swing into the correct pH about the time to lauter.  So I think, 'What's the point?'

I have got to be wrong on that though since the pros (I assume) check pH.  So:

1. Tell me how I am wrong.
2. Tell me what pH meter to buy. 

FYI, I like to buy the right thing first, rather than go cheap and then get disgusted and go out and buy the right thing later.

The Pub / Just a great brew day
« on: November 14, 2015, 08:30:34 PM »
My schedule has been crazy for a couple of months and I haven't been able to brew.  Today I brewed an IPA.  Everything went perfectly.  I thought I might be rusty, but no issues at all.  And I love my new stainless insulated mash tun!  It worked perfectly, only dropping 2 degrees over the hour.  It just felt so good I had to post about it.

All Things Food / A first: hops in a recipe
« on: October 15, 2015, 05:53:23 PM »
My wife and I have a subscription to a company called Blue Apron.  For $60 a week they send three meals for two people (for the math challenged that is $10 per meal per person).  We like it because there is no waste and the recipes are outstanding.

Why am I posting?  I just unpacked this week's meals and one of them entitled "Oktoberfest Pork Chops" has hops as an ingredient!  I have never seen that before.  There are three dishes in the meal: the pork chops, German potato salad, and hops-braised cabbage.

They do not say what hop variety.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Questions about the forum? / Message buttons in MS Edge
« on: October 09, 2015, 05:55:29 PM »
I upgraded to Windows 10, and with it as you know the new browser app "Edge" is the default browser.  I like it but the buttons above the text box when I am starting a new thread don't work (i.e. the font changing buttons, picture insertion button, etc.)  When I open the page in Explorer it works fine.

I could not find a setting in Edge to fix this.  Is there a fix?

The Pub / My new job
« on: October 09, 2015, 05:44:55 PM »
At BSG's hop processing plant in Yakima County.  I test for alpha & beta acids levels.  Just temporary right now but the job may expand to additional responsibilities and full-time.

General Homebrew Discussion / Dosing thought?
« on: October 06, 2015, 01:46:17 PM »
I'm looking for the best way to experiment with dosing a beer that will make scaling easiest.

Here is what I want to do:  I have a Bourbon Barrel RIS that has about a week left in the barrel.  I want to try dosing a small amount of it with Wild Roots Marionberry or Red Raspberry vodka to see if I like it as an addition.  If I do, I'll probably add it to 6-10 bottles.  Wild Roots, for those unfamiliar with it, is an all-natural intensely fruity vodka unlike anything you have probably tried.  They put over a pound of berries in each fifth.  I'm thinking this would be an easier way to get natural berry flavor without the danger of an infection...

So I'm imagining starting with say 100 mL of beer, to which I would add 1 mL of vodka, taste it, top off the base beer to 100 mL again, add another mL of vodka, etc., until I like it or realize it was a bad idea.  If I like it I'd just take the ratio and dose the bottles appropriately. 

Am I getting this right?

Ingredients / Hop Oils & Kilning
« on: September 18, 2015, 08:55:34 AM »
I just attended "Humulus U.", BSG's hop school.  It was very informative and surprisingly different than the Haas hop school, the only other one I have attended.

One of the most interesting points to me was in a talk about the use of a gas chromatograph to measure the effects of things like harvest timing and kilning, etcetera.  I have always assumed that kilning removed some of the more volatile oils in the hop.  Not so!  The GC graph pre & post kilning were the same.

Now I know.

Ingredients / Hop pellet density
« on: September 11, 2015, 07:57:47 PM »
I just spent a couple of hours at the BSG (Brewers Supply Group) hop processing plant here in Yakima county.  I am going to help them with their busy selection process and their hop school, Humulus U.  While there, they filmed a demonstration of the difference between pellet densities.

The picture below illustrates the difference pellet density makes.  I found it fascinating.  This is after about 10 minutes.

Equipment and Software / My latest effort to eliminate oxidation
« on: September 09, 2015, 08:49:53 PM »
This thread:

Got me to thinking about a project idea I had and spurred me on to complete it.  Specifically, I want to avoid introducing oxygen in my beer when I dry-hop.  Below is a picture of the completed project.  It is simply a stainless steel water bottle I bought from Ace.  I had my son-in-law drill a hole and weld a threaded nipple into the bottom.  I then screwed a gas post onto the nipple. 

The idea is to put my dry-hop hops into the bottle, cover the opening with a small, thin piece of sheet metal, then connect CO2 and purge the air out of the bottle.  I will then invert the bottle over the opening of my fermenter and slide the sheet metal out, allowing the pellets to drop.

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