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Topics - yso191

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Beer Travel / Untappd
« on: June 17, 2014, 05:55:52 PM »
So who's on untappd app so I can friend you and we can see what we think of the beers we drink?

Equipment and Software / Conical Review
« on: June 13, 2014, 08:49:24 AM »
I have put half a dozen batches through my new conical now, so I thought I'd share what I have learned.
This ( is the one I bought for $374. 

First, the positives:
* As far as conicals go, a good price. 
* The welds are very smooth /sanitary.  I can't fault them on the construction.
* It is nice being able to dump yeast prior to dry-hopping & hops prior to kegging.
* Clean-up is a breeze.
* I don't have to worry about scratching plastic while cleaning
* I can re-use yeast

The Neutrals:
* My son-in-law is a pipefitter (welder) in the commercial food industry so I had him add leg extensions so that a 2 liter Erlenmeyer flask *just* fits under the bottom valve so I can harvest yeast easily.  I also had him weld a tri-clamp fitting on the lid so I can pump from the boil kettle through the plate chiller and into the conical which is sitting in the freezer/fermentation chamber.

The Negatives:
* My system losses have gone way up.  I used to brew 5.5 gallon batches to end up with a full corny keg.  Now I am at 6.5, and I'm not sure that is enough.  I have yet to get a full corny.  Dumping yeast & hops = dumping beer.
* Even with a racking arm I was plugging Quick Disconnects with hop material like crazy.  On the last brew I bypassed the QD completely and directly fed the beer into the 'Beverage In' tube with a plastic hose barb.
* There was a learning curve - which I did not expect.  I imagined easy peasy.  After 2-3 'Oh crap!' moments when beer or wort was shooting where it ought not, I think I'm done with that.
* The worst design aspect of this fermenter is the seal.  One really has to crank down on the wing nut to get it to even have enough seal to direct the CO2 to the airlock.  So when I go to keg I put a couple of pounds of CO2 into the top, it wont hold pressure at all.  So I go through a lot of CO2.
* I can't see the wort/beer level inside the fermenter.  This is the worst aspect of the conical to me.

If I had known this I may have stuck with my Speidel.  Not sure though - it is on the bubble.  At $53 each, one can buy 7 Speidels for what I paid for the conical, and they have none of the drawbacks stated above (except the scratching-while-cleaning fear).

But it looks cool. Which is something.

Ingredients / Crystal Sweetness
« on: June 04, 2014, 12:27:01 PM »
Here is something I don't understand but am confident ya'll can bring me up to speed.  How does Crystal Malt make a beer sweet to the taste?

The problem I'm having is understanding that unfermentable starches don't taste sweet, but maltose does.  However, maltose is fermentable, and therefore wouldn't be in the finished beer to make it taste sweet.

What am I missing?

Beer Travel / Phoenix / Glendale / Peoria, AZ?
« on: May 24, 2014, 04:01:55 PM »
I am headed to Glendale, AZ in late June.  Any must-visit breweries in the Phoenix area?

Ingredients / Grain tea
« on: May 18, 2014, 02:08:13 PM »
A few of us here in Yakima recently started a BJCP class which meets at my house.  I've just concluded that I want to incorporate a new element to get more familiar with the specific flavors that different malts and grains contribute to beer.  In a recent exchange with Denny, he suggested making teas out of the various malts in order to taste & evaluate them.

So here is what I'm thinking:

Logical groupings: (each grouping at a different meeting)
   *Base malt comparison
   *Crystal Malt comparison
   *Roast malt comparison
OK you get the idea...  What are some other logical groupings?

I have some questions for you all though.
   -What is the best grain to water ratio for grain tea?
   -What is the best temperature for steeping?
   -How fresh does the tea have to be?  If I did it at noon and the meeting was at 7:00 would that be a problem?

I'm also not sure how to best organize a tasting form.  It seems to me that consistently asking the same right questions on an evaluation form (kind of like the BJCP Score Sheet) would be helpful for the process and remembering afterward.

Yeast and Fermentation / Am I being too anal?
« on: May 18, 2014, 01:52:20 PM »
In my ongoing quest to make my brewing process as perfect as possible, I've hit an impasse - I can't figure out if it even is a problem.  And then, I don't know how to fix it anyway.  Here's the essence of it:

Cold crashing wort after fermentation causes the beer to condense; the consequence of which is the intake of air (or starsan).

Obviously installing a filter will prevent any spoilers from getting in, but I also think about staling brought on by post-fermentation exposure to oxygen.

So is the amount of oxygen so small as to be insignificant?  If true then yes indeed, I am being too anal.

Do pro-breweries address this?  If so, what do they do?

No, I have not experienced any of the negative effects this post is concerned with, I'm just trying to fine-tune my process.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Central Washington Brewfest
« on: May 16, 2014, 10:01:42 PM »
My wife and I just got back from this event, held in Ellensburg at the Iron Horse pub on Main Street.  There were (I think) 8 or 9 breweries represented, each pouring at least two beers.  Our favorites were from breweries that we had not tried before: Orlison, from Airway Heights Spokane, who had a couple of very interesting lagers, and Wild Earth, from Roslyn that had 3 Belgians to try. 

I'm going to have to check these out further.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Blue cheese beer
« on: April 29, 2014, 05:58:23 PM »
I'm in the Everett, WA area for a couple of days. I visited 3 breweries so far.  Scuttlebutt was quite good, and McMenamins is a 'don't bother.'   The most interesting is a little nano brewery named Justice Brewing.  It was there that I tried a sour beer fermented with blue cheese cultures. The nose was totally blue cheese, but the flavor only carried hints of it.  It was surprisingly good.  about half of his beers were sour.  All were decent.  Some quite good.  Worth a try if you have opportunity.

He brews in the garage behind his house and was very welcoming.  A nice guy with a very interesting take on beer.

Ingredients / HBC 291 Pale Ale notes
« on: April 21, 2014, 09:30:37 PM »
As I mentioned in another thread, Hop Union gave the local Homebrew Club some experimental hops back in January. I came away with 6 oz. of HBC 291 (total oil 2.3, AA 11.7).  Aromas are supposed to be majoring on floral, spicy, citrus.

So I brewed a Pale Ale using .45 oz. CTZ at 60 minutes for bittering for 22 IBUs.
Then 3 oz. of 291 at 2 minutes for 9.7 IBUs.
And dry hopped the remaining 3 oz. for 5 days

The aroma was very floral - I thought honeysuckle, and had a notable grassy aspect.  Additionally there was a tropical fruit hovering beneath those, I thought guava.

The flavor majored on Salmonberry and lemongrass.

Overall a very interesting hop.  I will guess it will be a success but not a major player.  It could be stunning in just the right recipe.

Ingredients / Azacca Single hop IPA tasting notes
« on: April 21, 2014, 09:05:13 PM »
I tried a new hop a couple of weeks ago, and just gave it a serious tasting.  BTW total oils for Azacca is 1.8.
The aroma is quite enjoyable: Tropical fruits & Citrus mainly
The flavor majors on Mango, and ripe pineapple and generic citrus (maybe bending toward tangerine), Juicy fruit gum.
The only disappointment was the character of the bitterness.  First, it is so reserved that I would characterize it more of a Pale Ale than an IPA, but I like substantial bitterness in my IPA's so that may be all there is to that.  My wife thinks it is bitter enough to be an IPA.  But there is something about the flavor or character of the bitterness that I don't like. 

So if I do one again, I'll use a different bittering hop and add a bit more flavor/late additions.  Overall I'd give it a solid B.

Here's the recipe so you can see what I did:

Azacca IPA
Type: All Grain, 5.5 gallon, Boil Time: 60 min


10 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row)   78.4 %
2 lbs Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)  15.7 %
12.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L  5.9 %
1.00 oz Azacca [14.86 %] - Boil 60.0 min  44.0 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) 
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) 
1.00 oz Azacca [14.86 %] - Boil 10.0 min  16.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Azacca [14.86 %] - Boil 5.0 min  8.8 IBUs
2.00 oz Azacca [14.86 %] - Boil 1.0 min  3.8 IBUs
4.00 oz Azacca [14.86 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 5.0 min  17.5 IBUs
Re-Pitch  London ESB Ale (Wyeast Labs #1968) Fermented at 68*
4.00 oz Azacca [14.86 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days   0.0 IBUs

Original Gravity: 1.060 SG
Final Gravity: 1.009 SG
Alcohol by Vol: 6.7 %
Bitterness: 90.1 IBUs
Color: 7.7 SRM

I also brew with RO Water, and according to Brun' Water here is my finished water profile:
Calcium 110.6
Magnesium 15.6
Sodium 8
Sulfate 291.4
Chloride 29.5

Equipment and Software / Recommend a Grain Mill
« on: April 08, 2014, 12:52:51 PM »
On my last brew day my grain mill still acted up.  It would crush for a while, then just sit there and spin for a while.  It didn't do that when new.  I don't know what else to do.  I have adjusted the gap, and cleaned the rollers well.  It is a Cereal Killer mill if that matters.

So now I am thinking new grain mill.  What do you recommend?

General Homebrew Discussion / Two great links
« on: April 03, 2014, 02:21:16 PM »
The first one is just plain ol' entertaining "Washington State Beer Scene in 1984":

The other is educational.  Some really good/interesting brewing science resources:

Equipment and Software / Conical lessons
« on: April 03, 2014, 10:09:35 AM »
I just finished my 2nd brew on my new conical.  The big surprise is how often I have to dump yeast and hops to get any beer out.  I don't know if this is typical for a small conical like mine, but I expected the yeast and hops to sit in the cone below the two upper outlets.  Here is a picture (a Stout Tanks 7.3 gallon):

In the first brew (a RIS), I went to check the gravity via a sampler valve in the top-most T-C fitting you see there.  I got nothing but yeast, and had to open the top and draw it out using a pipette.  Not the most sanitary, and moreover, what is the %#*! point of having a sampler valve to check gravity if one has to dump the yeast first?  I would think that if the beer is not done, I want it to stay on the yeast.  I know, there is still a lot of yeast in there, but as I said this is in the category of what I expected and lessons learned.

Anyway, on the 2nd brew (an APA), I dumped the yeast prior to dry-hopping (I like the ability to do that!), and then after the allotted time for dry hopping, cold crashed the beer for 2 days assuming the hops and remaining yeast would precipitate down into the cone so I could keg using a hose connected to a valve on the middle T-C port.  Now hops were plugging that valve! And I only used 3 ounces of hop pellets.  I like to put 4-5 in my IPAs.

So apparently I am going to have to dump the yeast prior to dry-hopping, and dump the hops prior to kegging.  Is this typical?  Am I going to end up with 4 gallons from a 5.5 gallon batch because of all this dumping?  Or am I missing something - is there a better way?

Ingredients / Favorite Flavor/Aroma Hops for AIPAs
« on: April 01, 2014, 10:17:35 AM »
This list Could be very large.  Please vote for your favorite Flavor/Aroma hop for American IPAs.  Usually this is done using more than one hop so on this poll vote for 2.

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