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Messages - lazydog79

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Forced to buy beer
« on: July 08, 2010, 06:24:00 PM »
Helps when you have Gordon B and Firestone Walker brewing your house brands for you and they've gotten better about how they warehouse the beer. Sadly, they still don't have it cold at the store, but oh well.

Aha!  I've been wondering and searching who brews their beer.  I knew it was being done under contract, but I could never locate who was doing the brewing.  Thanks for the insights.  Yes, now that you mention it, none of the TJ's I've been to in the Chicago area have cold beer.  Oh well - doesn't bother me since I'm usually taking it back to Central IL with me.  I will be much happier if/when Champaign-Urbana gets a TJ's.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Forced to buy beer
« on: July 08, 2010, 01:20:12 PM »
my vienna has been reduced to cooking due to the mediciney/formaldehyde taste. so i stopped at trader joes and got a very servicable 6 pack of TJs vienna for just under 6 bucks.  that was on the 5th of july. interestingly enough it showed up as the beer of the day on the 6th of july daily beer calender i have.

I've been amazed.  The TJ's beer that I've had is danged good.  Over Thanksgiving weekend, my mother-in-law had bought some TJ's Bohemian Pilsner.  At first, I thought, "Man, this is going to be garbage."  I was pleasantly surprised to find a danged good beer!  ;D  I've had several other of there brews since and have not been dissappointed.  Plus, their brand is $2-$3 cheaper than everything else.  Just wish I had a TJ's around here...   :P

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Forced to buy beer
« on: July 07, 2010, 01:14:06 PM »
I know how you feel!  Back when I was in grad school, by brewing calendar got destroyed.  I still like to buy the occasional mix pack for variety, but I hear you on the price.  Craft used to be around $7-$9 a sixer around here.  Now, it's at least $9.  Makes me glad I brew!  Much more economical!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Lagering Times
« on: July 06, 2010, 01:48:48 AM »
Thanks for posting that, tygo.  That helps a lot.  I've been putting in the temperature the bottles will be at in my basement.  It's not a big difference, but it's enough.

With the 820 yeast, for the most part, if you keep the temps above 50F, the starter takes about 2 to 3 days to begin “roaring”.  Most of the yeast growth takes place BEFORE you see the CO2 bubbles in your starter.  So essentially, if you are seeing lots of CO2 bubbles, you yeast are ready to pitch. 

Also, in my experience, (I know there is a lot of debate on this) I tend to pitch the whole starter if it has not fermented out.  With the lager yeast, (especially the 820 and 830) I have found it hard to get the yeast to “crash” once it starts.  I have cooled it down to 38F after it has gotten rolling, and I still have seen significant activity.  Once it ferments out, however, the yeast tends to drop out nicely after a day or two at 38F.

Keep in mind that the most active yeast is not the yeast on the bottom of the starter, but the yeast floating around in the wort.  So if you do not get a good crash, and you decant off the wort, you are selecting yeast that are less likely to fully ferement your Lager to that dry finish.  If this is a fresh pitch from the tube, you will probably be fine either way.  However, after about the 3rd generation, I highly recommend pitching the whole thing if it has not fermented out!

Good luck, and enjoy my favorite style of beer!  Prost!

That was exactly what I had going on - it took a while to start so wasn't all the way done by the time I needed it and wouldn't "crash."  I must have done something, right though.  I had visible fermentation in under 24 hours.  I'm always paranoid about off flavors from the starter, but it shouldn't be a problem.  Only time will tell.  I love Oktoberfest too, so I'm probably a little extra paranoid about it!  Thanks!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Newbie fermenting question
« on: July 04, 2010, 12:57:53 PM »
I don't think it is so much that "fermentation started again" as drawing a sample moved come CO2 out of solution.  Basically, you "burped"the fermenter.  Sounds like you had a good pitch rate and fermentation.  In a few more days, you'll have a good first beer!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: New to Homebrewing
« on: July 02, 2010, 01:47:16 PM »
My kit came yesterday and I'll be out most of the weekend, but with monday off, I'm thinking it'll be the perfect time to brew the first batch of "Mad Scientist"

Edit:  My fiance has already requested her own batch of beer... Something along the lines of a blue moon.  Doesn't need to be an exact copy, but something with an orange-citrusy flavor (I guess even something along the lines of a magic hat no. 9 but with orange), so if anyone knows if this is too difficult to do yet, or has a link to some kits, let me know.  

If you are looking for a Wit kit (hehe, that rhymes!), I would suggest Northern Brewer's.  I'm not a big kit buyer, but when I do, I buy NB - usually very good kits.  I bought and brewed their all-grain wit last year to thank some buddies for a roofing job.  It was danged good, and I'm not usually a wit fan.  Here's a link to the extract kit:

The Pub / Re: What does “craft beer” mean to you?
« on: July 01, 2010, 07:11:04 PM »
I voted "Any special beer with real and elevated flavor profiles more distinct than typical light American or International lagers made by ANY BREWERY large or small".  IMO the beer determines whether it's a craft beer or not, not the brewery.


Side note/Question - How much starter is too much to pitch?  For my ales, I try to decant off almost all the liquid, leaving just enough to swirl the yeast.  For the Oktoberfest, in trying to get a little more yeast and worried I was pouring too much out, I pitched about a quart of starter beer and yeast cake.  Too much?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing This Weekend - 6/25
« on: July 01, 2010, 03:40:06 AM »
After scheduling and yeast issues, I finally got my Oktoberfest brewed today.  It was sunny and 78 this afternoon in Central IL.  I spent the afternoon brewing - had as close to a flawless brew session as I ever get - drank a couple of last month's Blonde Ale's, and tested out the hammock during the boil.  MAN I LOVE BREWING!!!   ;D

All Grain Brewing / Re: First decoctition match
« on: June 30, 2010, 09:50:11 PM »
Thanks, guys.  Glad I didn't screw this one up too bad!  I was looking to get a little more malty goodiness in my Oktoberfest.  If this one works out, maybe I'll try a double next time.  My biggest problem is the time.  The single probably added about an hour to my brew session.  I'm lucky to steal the 4-5 for a normal session!  Cheers!

All Grain Brewing / First decoctition match
« on: June 30, 2010, 08:16:25 PM »
For my Oktoberfest I'm brewing, I decided to try my hand at a decoctition mash.  I decided to go with a single decoctition as described in "How to Brew:" Infuse to 151 for 35 min., pull the decoctition, hold at 160 for 20 min, then boil for 45, and back into the main mash for mash-out.  However, I goofed.  This was my first shot at trying to hold a temp with my burner.  I managed to spike it to 170 for a few minutes before I got it cooled it back down to 160.  I guess I need a little more patience!  What kind of damage did I do?

My 3 qt. starter of White Labs 820 Oktoberfest Lager is chugging away.  I pitched the yeast Sunday, but it didn't really get going good until last night.  It's currently at 60 degrees.  My question is this - I'm going to go ahead with the brew tomorrow.  It's a little early for the starter, but I'm a little schedule pinched.  Normally, I would let it ferment out longer.  Plus, I'm this is my first full lager and I'm not real sure how lager yeast behave.  I was thinking of cold crashing it in the morning to get the yeast to settle out, then warming it back up to fermentation temp for pitching sometime around early evening tomorrow.  Good plan or good way to wreck good yeast?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Windsor yeast
« on: June 30, 2010, 03:02:00 AM »
FWIW, I've found that Windsor gives a fruitier finish - more like S-04.  Nottingham is more like S-05.  They aren't the same strain, but the finish product is close.  I'm not a big Danstar user, but I've used 'em in a pinch.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brew house temps
« on: June 28, 2010, 02:32:02 AM »
I don't mind the heat so much as long as I am out of the sun. That said, I prefer brewing in cooler weather by far.

Mid to upper 80s here in central, IL, but I agree - I don't mind being outside.  I teach, so summer is usually my brew time.  That being said, I try to avoid late July and August - that is officially too damned hot.  This year I actually pulled it off - got my summer brewing done in April and May, hitting my Oktoberfest this week, and then I'm shut down until September.  Need to do this from now on, schedule permitting!   8)

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