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Topics - chumley

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General Homebrew Discussion / Recipe formulation
« on: August 29, 2016, 04:49:13 PM »
My brother is a neophyte homebrewer who brews in a bag (I am so ashamed).  :-[  I was visiting him this weekend, in a remote section of Colorado.  One of his neighbors has some hops on the vine ready for picking.

He asked for permission, and his neighbor said help yourself.  When asked about their origin, the neighbor said he dug up some bines at a Colorado ghost town.  So I suspect they are Clusters.

When my brother asked me what to brew with them, I told him "Classic American Cream Ale" (lager brewing at this stage seemed too much, and he already has a pack of US-05 yeast that I gave him with an IPA kit I put together for him when I came down).  I told him to get:

7 lbs. of 6 row
3 lbs. of flaked maize

and he was ready to brew.

I took off driving back to Montana, and got home a couple of hours ago.  Checking my messages, I discovered he forgot what I said, and had his wife (who was in Denver) pick up:

7 lbs. of 2-row
3 lbs. of light (15°) crystal

They are crushed in a bag, together.  My first thought was "uggh", but then I told him, maybe he could salvage a blonde  ale out of that mess, adding a pound of sugar to somewhat dry out the sweetness.  I also suggest splitting it in half, and replace the IPA grains I gave him pound for pound with the split grains, then adding those back into the IPA grains.  The IPA grains are

14 lbs. 2 row
1 lb. munich
0.5 lbs. C40
3 oz. acid malt

I think I would do Plan A over Plan B.  Or is there a Plan C?  So I am asking for input.  Thanks.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Old Tankard Ale
« on: June 01, 2016, 03:35:12 PM »

I saw this in the store the other day, and immediately picked it up when I saw it was brewed by Pabst.

Adios, craft ale.  This macro-brewed ale is the real deal. As the website states:  Utilizing the original Brewer’s Log recipe from 1937, this historic American Ale will be sure to satisfy today’s Craft centric millennial consumer. Brewed with 2-row, imported Cara-Munich and Cara-Aroma malts with Nugget, Liberty, Willamette and Cascade hops, this classic American Ale exhibits the fruitiness and maltiness of an extra special bitter.

Beer of the year.

Equipment and Software / Special forces 12g CO2 cartridges
« on: March 17, 2016, 02:10:09 PM »
Does anyone know if these are safe to dispense beer (e.g., does not contain oil)?

Commercial Beer Reviews / Guinness Dublin and West Indies Porter
« on: February 15, 2016, 11:28:05 AM »
I bought a 18 pack of Guinness beers from Costco this weekend.  6 each of Guinness Original, Dublin Porter, and West Indies Porter.  I was impressed with the Dublin Porter.  Very flavorful and full-bodied for a 3.8% abv beer. 

The West Indies Porter was good, too.  Nice molasses flavor.  But a little on the sweet side for my taste.

Yeast and Fermentation / Uh oh. looks like an infection
« on: November 13, 2015, 10:50:43 AM »
On November 1, I brewed 5 gallons of a 1.050 patersbier. The thought was, it would be starter wort for 10 gallons of a 1.080ish tripel.  I split the wort into two large glass carboy primary fermentors.

Due to the fact that I was watching football on a Sunday, I let the immersion chiller run for a bit too long, and the wort got chilled to 60°F.  I collected the wort anyway,2.5 gallons in each carboy, oxygenated, and pitched one yeast vial of WLP500 Monastery (aka Chimay) and WLP575 Belgian blenad (aka Westmalle + Chimay + Chouffe).

Over the next 24 hours, the wort warmed up to the basement temperature of 64°F.  No activity.  48 hours after pitching still no activity.  I then taped a fermentor heater strip to the outside of the 2 carboys. Temperature rose to 72°F.  At 72 hours, finally some life in the 575, but nothing in the 500.  Finally, after 96 hours, I saw activity in the 500.

However, the 500 has looked funky from the get go.I t held a krausen head for only a day, then it sank. It then formed a large (maybe 6 inches in diameter and 2-3 inches tall) bubble that lasted a half a day. I have never seen anything like that.

I thought they were just about Wednesday (November 11), then last night I noticed a thin white scum forming on surface.  Uh oh.  This morning it is thicker, and has a light tan color to it.

The 500 is on the left, the 575 on the right.

This is what it looks like, taking a picture through the carboy neck.

I thieved a hydrometer sample out of each, and tasted them.  The 575 gravity was 1.008, tasted excellent, spicy phenols with a little fruit.  The 500 gravity was 1.012, and tasted good.  A bit bland, earthy, a little fruit, no spicy phenols, no sourness.  However, it had a slight "sauerkraut" aroma to it, for lack of a better word.

I've decided I am not going to chance my tripel with it, and just brew a 5 gallon batch.  However, my initial intention was to blend the two starter worts back into a single keg, chill, force carb and tap it.  Looking for input on the merits of still doing this.  It seems if I keep it chilled, I could arrest any sourness from forming, and have a pretty good beer on tap.  But I am not married to the idea, and can easily just dump it.

All Things Food / Pig on a spit
« on: August 17, 2015, 02:29:59 PM »
Saturday my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary (its actually on the 18th) with a big party with 50 guests.  I ordered a pig from a local farmer (who feeds his pigs spent grains from the two local microbreweries).  Unfortunately, the local butcher is not equipped to shave them, so I was a bit annoyed when I picked it up Friday afternoon to find the head missing and the skin off.

So, I decided to treat it like a big boston butt.  I rubbed it down with a spice rub mixture (cumin, chili powder, onion and garlic granules, salt, black pepper, sugar) the night before and let it sit in the cooler.  The carcass weighed 48 lbs.

My buddy has a spit that he hooks up to an electric motor that spins it slowly. 

Here it is after 15 minutes.  We filled the cavity with 10 lbs. of locally made sausages - kielbasa, chorizo, andouille, linguica, and stitched it shut.

Here it is after 3 hours.  At this point, I began spritzing it frequently with 2 parts apple juice, 2 parts water, 1 part cider vinegar mop.

...and here it is shortly before carving it, 8.5 hours of spit roasting over charcoal, oak and apple.  We cut the belly open and finished grilling the sausages.

It turned out awesome.  Every raved about the skin (even though it wasn't skin, just the burnt tips.

I would have took more photos, but after the guests arrived I was too busy serving up beers - I had saison, IPA, classic American pilsner, and dunkel on tap.  There was not much left of the pig at the end of the day, and my guests polished off the 8% abv IPA keg.  ???

Beer Recipes / Avec les Bons Voeux
« on: August 03, 2015, 01:22:17 PM »
I have a yeast cake of Dupont yeast just about ready for re-use, so I am thinking of brewing a beer similar to Avec.  Not a lot of information out there.  The knowns are:

- 9.5% abv
- color a little darker than Saison Dupont, suggesting either a more complex grain bill than pilsner malt or a long boil
- dry hopped
- crisp so it must have some sugar

Presently I am thinking:

14 lbs. pilsner malt
12 oz. biscuit malt
8 oz. aromatic
1.5 lbs. sugar

Admiral and Sorachi Ace hops for bittering (just because I have them in stock)
Saaz flavor (maybe a 15 and 5 minute addition)
EKGs knockout
Styrian Goldings dry hop

WY3724 to starter, WY3711 to finish

Thoughts? Suggestions? Comments?

Beer Travel / A Tasting Tour of Yorkshire’s Beers and Ales
« on: July 30, 2015, 09:35:19 AM »
An interesting article in the travel section of last Sunday's New York Times:

The Pub / 10 Reasons Why the GABF Sucks
« on: June 30, 2015, 10:02:00 AM »

Commercial Beer Reviews / Busch Copper Lager
« on: May 18, 2015, 08:09:17 AM »
America's newest craft brewer is....BUSCH!!!

I bought a sixer of it for $4.50 at the gas station yesterday.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Nice light malty flavor with smooth graininess, none of that awful lemony taste of regular Busch/Busch Light.  Reminded me of Leinenkugel Oktoberfest.

Yeast and Fermentation / Kick starting a stuck doppelbock
« on: February 24, 2015, 03:32:56 PM »
I brewed a 1.090 doppelbock 5 weeks ago, using WLP810 San Francisco lager yeast, and after three weeks of no activity, I have concluded that it is stuck at 1.032.  I would like to get it down another 4-6 points if I could.

Nine days ago, I brewed a 1.052 pilsner, and split the batch between WLP833 German Bock and WLP940 Mexican lager yeast.  Both are in a temperature controlled freezer set at 50°F.  The 833 is still chugging away, but the 940 is done.

I also have available a half gallon (growler full) of unfermented bock wort.  I grabbed it the day after I brewed, from the bit under the false bottom.  My thought is to boil up that half gallon of wort to ensure it is sanitized, adding a pint of water to knock the gravity down from 1.090 so it wouldn't shock the yeast.  Then I would rack the pils, aerate the wort, then add it to the now empty primary with 940 yeast cake.  After a day, when it gets back to high krausen, I would add that to the stuck beer and swirl that in gently, in hopes to restart.

I am welcome to suggestions to improve my proposed plan.

The Pub / Bob's burgers
« on: January 22, 2015, 01:50:36 PM »
Anyone seen the recent episode of the cartoon "Bob's Burgers" where Bob starts selling homebrew?  It was pretty funny.

A synopsis:

Teddy, one of Bob's longtime customers, brings in a couple of homebrewing pals in for a burger while drinking Teddy's homebrew.  After tasting it, Bob agrees with Teddy that indeed, his homebrew was the perfect pairing with his burgers, and the two of them begin clandestinely selling bottles of homebrew.  Sure enough, Bob's long-time nemesis the health inspector shows up.  He can't catch them in the act, but he can smell "that yeasty aroma" and knows something is up.

Lots of silliness worthy of the Stooges homebrewing short.  My favorite is Teddy, crouched behind the counter, siphoning the beer straight out of the carboy into the bottle, slapping a cap on it, then handing it up to Bob who immediately sells it to a customer.

And the health inspector going on about bacteria-infested beer.  Priceless!

General Homebrew Discussion / 1990s beer critic
« on: October 22, 2014, 11:21:46 AM »
Anyone remember the name of the guy who wrote a book or two back in the 1990s with his reviews of various beers (craft, macro, imports, you name it)?  I am drawing a blank.  No, not Michael Jackson.

I had one of those day calendars once, with a review per day.  Some of them were quite funny.  I can't believe I can't remember his name.

Equipment and Software / Refrigerator selection help
« on: October 06, 2014, 02:47:50 PM »
I am slowly coming to grips that my old 1950s refrigerator has bitten the dust and I need to replace it.

I am hoping someone here has already done the research for me on fridges, and can point me in the right direction.  All I am looking for in a fridge is that it is big enough to hold two 6.5 gallon buckets or carboys (e.g., better bottles) primary fermentors.  I have a Ranco controller for keeping the temperature at 50°F. I don't need anything else.  Do they make such a thing?

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