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Messages - alestateyall

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1
Equipment and Software / Rethinking my brewery
« on: August 28, 2015, 06:04:05 PM »
I just switched to 3G batches. One benefit I didn't think too much about is I heat my batch with electric heat stick and propane burner. Then one I get to boil I turn off the propane burner and main to boil with just the heat stick. My propane usage is way down.

I also heat my mash and sparge water with the heat stick.

2
Yeast and Fermentation / Lager Fermentations
« on: August 28, 2015, 12:31:21 PM »
The Mr Malty calculator can tell you approximately how much to pitch in milliliters.

Then just guess what percent of the jar to pitch. I think the whole jar too. It won't hurt anything to pitch all of it and you're gonna toss whatever your don't pitch anyway.

3
All Grain Brewing / Re: Momentary Lapse of Reason...
« on: August 27, 2015, 08:36:47 PM »

You can certainly squirt it with star san if it makes you feel better but it  it pointless. It's sanitary. So are plastic zip lock style bags. Really, beer infection can happen from wild organisms in the air, but mostly it will come from grain dust or a spot you miss cleaning over and over again that allows actual beer spoiling microorganisms a chance to set in and grow. And beer spoiling microorganisms are not on foil., or in bottled water.

It's like, years ago, I remember someone worried about their beer getting infected because they had a cold. I try to explain to them that beer can't catch a cold. But not sure if that really sunk in or not. ;)
I serve all my beer cold. :)

4
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lager Fermentations
« on: August 25, 2015, 10:12:55 AM »
One way to step up your yeast counts is to brew a small beer (lower gravity and or smaller batch size) then use the slurry from that beer for the beer that needs a big starter.

5
I just moved down to 3G batches. My equipment for 6G batches felt too large also. I bought a 5G water cooler for mashing and moved down to a 30 qt. kettle I already owned. I like the smaller mash tun a lot better just because it is easier to deal with (the bigger one would have worked). The smaller kettle makes the liquid level deeper which helps cover my heat stick and my immersion chiller.

6
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: hot, young beer
« on: August 20, 2015, 12:37:19 PM »

I brewed what can basically be called a baltic porter for simplicity's sake. It had an OG of 1.078 and has appeared to finish at 1.010 which is definitely points below where I expected. This puts the beers right at 9% ABV and a sample after 3 weeks in the fermenter is hot, boozy, and reminds me of whiskey.

I realize that only time can mellow it out and I also realize this is a super young beer considering. Any idea how much time would be appropriate to make a decent judgement? The issue is this is a test batch for an xmas beer that I will be giving away. It will be hard to make judgments if it isn't ready by the time I am ready to brew the final version. I know the answer is, it will be ready when it's ready...haha. Also, if others will be drinking it around xmas, I need to make sure that it ages long enough before I give it out.

Any tips on smoothing it out? I am worried that with such a low FG that it will come across harsh even for a higher ABV beer. I will be bottling this batch. Should I consider a lower carbonation to help smooth it?

Next batch I will definitely adjust my mashing process in attempt to decrease attenuation so that if finishes higher...
It seems like I often get hot alcohol tastes when trying an early sample from the fermenter. These usually go away by the time the beer has carbonated. I have assumed this was either related to fusel alcohols from fermentation collecting over the beer in the fermenter or that the fusel alcohols just age out quickly.

PS I mostly brew medium and small beers.

7
General Homebrew Discussion / Where is a Homebrew Supply Store Needed?
« on: August 19, 2015, 08:48:35 AM »
Huntsville AL has a backroom in a bottle shop in Madison with a small but comprehensive selection and a hippie chick running a health food joint with a cpl tables of dusty ingredients serving a metro population of 441,086. I understand the bottle shop with be opening a bigger store near the new brewery amphitheater location.
I agree Huntsville would be a great market, but, with the new LHBS coming to Campus No. 805,  I would hesitate to encourage anyone coming from out of town to open a LHBS.

http://www.campus805.com/

Do they not take kindly to them down there?  ;)
We have a very friendly beer culture with what seems like lots of home brewers. Our LHBS options are limited right now. The current LHBS is the back of a bottle shop now. The owner is planning a new location for a much larger dedicated LHBS. I am just not sure there is room for two when any LHBS already competes with the Internet. Plus several of the pro brewers sell bulk grains.

8
General Homebrew Discussion / Where is a Homebrew Supply Store Needed?
« on: August 18, 2015, 06:33:52 PM »
Huntsville AL has a backroom in a bottle shop in Madison with a small but comprehensive selection and a hippie chick running a health food joint with a cpl tables of dusty ingredients serving a metro population of 441,086. I understand the bottle shop with be opening a bigger store near the new brewery amphitheater location.
I agree Huntsville would be a great market, but, with the new LHBS coming to Campus No. 805,  I would hesitate to encourage anyone coming from out of town to open a LHBS.

http://www.campus805.com/

9
General Homebrew Discussion / Beer Writer Needs Your Opinion
« on: August 18, 2015, 04:10:50 PM »
These "automated" brew systems are only partially automated. They don't treat the water for PH and style. They don't pitch the yeast. They don't ensure yeast health and proper pitch rate. They don't ferment the beer at proper temperatures. They don't perform diacetyl rests. They don't sanitize kegs and bottles.

So the claims of consistency are only valid if you are manually taking care of these other variables.

My fear is a lot of new brewers will spend a lot of money buying these systems expecting a short cut to quality homebrew but end up with estery phenolic beer their friends and family don't want to drink.

10
Beer Recipes / Re: Blond Ale Recipe Critique and Suggestions
« on: August 17, 2015, 07:49:43 PM »


If you care about style, don't go with too much hop flavor. If you do, your essentially making a very light colored apa. I don't care about style, so I would give it a whirl without thinking twice.
I make hoppy blondes a lot. They are delicious.  I have tried entering them in BJCP contests. No luck. Entered as a blonde they have too much hop flavor and aroma. Entered as APA they are too small, not bitter enough, and not enough hop flavor and aroma. Conundrum. But, they sure do taste good.

Sorry to hear that you didnt win!  But at least from your description i bet your recipe is kickazz! Bet its goooood!
Gonna have to share some time

I think this tim,  I'm gonna do as most have suggested, brew it as I have it scheduled for hops#3 revised and see how it comes out. Then next batch I will go by the style "rules" and see how that compares :)

Tomorrow gonna run over to my brew shop here in Sacramento, CA. And get my Blondie so I can brew this Saturday maybe :)

Thanks again :)
My recipe is similar to your grain bill minus the carapils. Sometimes minus the Vienna.

For hops I do all late hops about 20 IBU (your 25 is probably fine). I usually stick with 1 hop variety.

11
Beer Recipes / Re: Blond Ale Recipe Critique and Suggestions
« on: August 17, 2015, 06:56:11 PM »

If you care about style, don't go with too much hop flavor. If you do, your essentially making a very light colored apa. I don't care about style, so I would give it a whirl without thinking twice.
I make hoppy blondes a lot. They are delicious.  I have tried entering them in BJCP contests. No luck. Entered as a blonde they have too much hop flavor and aroma. Entered as APA they are too small, not bitter enough, and not enough hop flavor and aroma. Conundrum. But, they sure do taste good.

12
General Homebrew Discussion / All Grain Brewing Instruction
« on: August 16, 2015, 05:28:14 PM »
I continue to read and re-read instruction on homebrewing to hone my skill.  I am at about 30 all grain batches to date and I simply want to ensure I improve as I go.  Tonight I read this from a very popular homebrew publication:

"Recirculation

The aim of recirculation is to draw some wort off from the bottom of the grain bed and return it to the top. Once enough wort has been recirculated in this way, the wort clears up substantially. To recirculate manually, open the spigot to the mash/lauter tun slightly and slowly collect wort in a beer pitcher or similar vessel. Keep a timer running and collect wort at a rate that would fill the pitcher in about 5 minutes. Once full, gently pour the pitcher back on top of the grain bed. Repeat this until the wort looks clearer or 20 minutes have passed. Some homebrew rigs allow you to recirculate using a pump.

Wort Collection

Once recirculation is finished, it's time to start collecting wort. To do this, slowly open the valve on your mash/lauter tun and let the wort start trickling in to the kettle. If your lauter tun is not positioned above the kettle, you can let the wort flow into a pitcher and then pour wort into the kettle. Collect the wort at a rate such that takes about 60–90 minutes to collect the entire volume. To do this, keep the dip stick in the kettle and check on it every few minutes. Write down the time you start collecting wort and the time you cross the 1-gallon mark, 2-gallon mark, 3-gallon mark, etc."

I definitely do not run off that slow to recirculate or collect wort.  Should I?  Will it improve the quality of my brew? Does this apply to fly sparge, batch sparge, and no sparge equally?  What say you?
Those sounds like fly sparge times. Batch sparge goes as fast as your equipment and grain bill will allow with out a stuck sparge.

13
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Things you wish breweries would figure out
« on: August 16, 2015, 05:24:22 PM »

Also, try to accurately hit some styles well before going crazy and breaking all the rules. I try to tell new home brewers this even though they usually don't listen. Even a great jazz musician had to have a solid background in music with theory, scales and such before innovating the big next thing.
+1

14
General Homebrew Discussion / Phenolic Feedback
« on: August 16, 2015, 06:51:39 AM »
Maybe you should send the same beer to a second contest. See if different judges detect the same taste issue before you fix a phantom that you can't taste.

Also, could you have a packaging problem? Beer can change between bottling day and contest day.

Perhaps...I packaged the same as the other beer. It was a mess though, I was jury rigging some silicone tubing onto my Perlick taps and it kept shooting the tubing off. I need a better system at some point!
I have bottled beer and kept it in my fridge for weeks and months with no problems. Then on a few occasions I have shipped beer to contests and had reports of geysers, gray beer, and other likely packaging issues.

I think when the bottles warm up in shipping and or storage at the contest site the bugs in the bottle wake up.

15
General Homebrew Discussion / Phenolic Feedback
« on: August 16, 2015, 06:27:12 AM »
Maybe you should send the same beer to a second contest. See if different judges detect the same taste issue before you fix a phantom that you can't taste.

Also, could you have a packaging problem? Beer can change between bottling day and contest day.

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