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Messages - The Professor

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Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: 2010 SNCA
« on: November 16, 2010, 05:01:52 AM »
SNCA is still my favorite of all the commercial IPAs currently out there in an increasingly crowded field.  From year to year, I've always looked forward to it and it has never been a disappointment.
Great stuff...nice to see its early arrival in NJ this year!

Other Fermentables / Re: More Cider Questions?
« on: November 13, 2010, 04:17:50 PM »
I'm not a cider expert but I make one every couple of years.  My advice is to just keep an eye on it while it's in primary, but leave it alone.  When the krausen drops and the cider starts to clarify a little I move mine to secondary.  Then I put it somewhere that I won't see it or be tempted to mess with it for at least 6 months. 
I keg my ciders, force carbonate and bottle from the keg.

That's pretty much my procedure as well.  Depending on the yeast I've selected the primary stage can be as little as 2 weeks or up to 4 weeks, but I always base the transfer time on what the yeast seems to be doing and go from there.

Lately I've been splitting my cider batches; after 6 months in the secondary, half will go into a corny for force carbonation, and the other half will go into bottles as a 'still', dry,  apple wine.     I  like to start my cider in the late summer and early fall when the juice is pressed from early maturing apple varieties  which, from the orchard I deal with, results in a more tart juice (which I think makes better cider).  If time allows, I may do a second batch with a large proportion of the juice coming from the later maturing Stayman or Turley Winesap varieties.  By Spring, both are ready and most of the time I will  blend them.

Sam is obnoxious. Not planning on watching this which is disappointing because it could be a good show, but I know it will just be the one-note tooting-my-own-horn festival that everything Sam C gets involved in is.

Even if I'm not the most rabid  DFH fan  (though there are definitely a few I've certainly enjoyed),  I sure won't fault Sam for his "rah-rah" or his desire to do something different.  Certain things in the new world of beer do make me cringe  such as the "I Am A Craft Brewer" video (no corn in my beer, only in my video. LOL),  and the cult status some brewers have achieved basically through subtle and not so subtle marketing (I's beer...which doesn't take a genius to make).   
Snarkiness aside (and I willingly  fess up to my share of that tendency)  in the end  I will say that while they can be mildly irksome, even the ego driven aspects of the industry aren't necessarily bad things since they do serve to create interest and a higher profile for beers that aren't run-of-the-mill.  They generate curiosity.  And every time it results in a BMC drinker testing the next level of beer flavor, it's a win for that segment of the industry.

Sam has his supporters and detractors, but from what I've seen (and based on my own involvement in broadcasting for the last 35 years),  I'd say he's a very good...even ideal... choice to be front and center for a show like this.
Whatever one might think of his products, it's his passion about brewing and not being 'run of the mill'  that is the key to his success.   A success he is obviously enjoying (I mean, who here wouldn't like to be in his position?)

I'm rather interested in finding out a bit more regarding the genesis of this project...I wonder who  approached  who to get the ball rolling.  The promos I've seen do tend to make the show look like a commercial for DFH, but I think that his being at the helm of an undeniably successful entrepreneurial brewing operation does lend  some real credibility to this show, and hopefully the producers will have the good sense to avoid making it look like a weekly infomercial. 
Actually, even then, it would be an example of pretty savvy marketing!

Other Fermentables / Re: Pectic enzyme - too late
« on: November 10, 2010, 04:46:54 PM »
As long as you haven't 'set' the pectin in the juice by boillng it, you shouldn't need to add pectic enzyme at WILL clear on  its own, as Denny points out.
The juice from which you're making the cider should never be boiled.  I've never used pectic enzyme, but  I believe that it is generally added at the beginning of fermentation...bujt again, never having used it myself, I can't be sure about that.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Root BEER
« on: November 05, 2010, 11:26:37 PM »
I've done rootbeer flavored beer using several different brands of extract.   

The first time I tried it there wasn't enough sweetness left after the ferment, so in order to salvage the project I made a brown sugar syrup and dosed the finished brew with that along with some potassium sorbate to arrest further fermentation.

Second time around, in order to avoid the additive, I backed off on the hops somewhat (but not too much) and used a lot more crystal malt to ensure that there would be enough sweetness.   Came out really nice, sweet but not cloyingly so, and an interesting intermingling of the hop flavors with the flavors that came from the rootbeer extract.   I haven't made the stuff since I've added Honey Malt to the cupboard, but it seems to me that it would be a very good addition to this concoction.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Anchor's 2010 Christmas beer
« on: November 05, 2010, 11:06:33 PM »
I was a big fan of the Anchor's Xmas ales until they started adding spices to it.  It's still a well made beer (as are all of the Anchor products), but I guess I'm just in that minority that just doesn't particularly like spices in my beer.   

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Root beer and kegs
« on: November 05, 2010, 01:08:44 AM »
A simple soak in caustic solution (and inexpensive and simple  replacement of the rubber parts at the same time) will totally eliminate the root beer residues. 
Just be sure to follow good safety practice working with the caustic...such as gloves, and even protective eye gear in case of a splash. 

It's definitely nasty stuff, but perfectly safe with the proper precautions...and it gets the job done fast and thoroughly.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Black Ale recipe
« on: November 05, 2010, 01:02:49 AM »
..What a mess!.   I think one thing is clear: it IS a style that's here to stay. Seems its been around since the mid-eighties; the recent explosion of its popularity is no doubt tied to the very healthy craft-brewing culture we are now blessed with.

With regard to the original topic, I have no recipe to offer other than to just make a dark ale and hop it up.

I'll agree  that Black IPA, India Black Ale (or, god help us, "Cascadian Dark Ale") is here to stay, and certainly popularized by  the current culture of brewing...but all the arguing I've read around the net over who "invented" the "style" just seems quite funny to me, actually...even funnier than the claims by those who say they "invented"  something that probably actually dates back to the 1700's.

Besides, true beer "styles" aren't "invented" anyway...they evolve over time. 

All Things Food / Re: vegemite
« on: November 05, 2010, 12:17:14 AM »
Does anyone have a vegemite recipe?

Are you wanting to make vegemite, or looking for recipes in which to use it as an ingredient?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Shipping single bottles...Tricks?
« on: November 04, 2010, 02:59:37 PM »
I've had a number of single bottles shipped to me for analysis,  sealed in a FoodSaver bag (to prevent messy leakage in case of breakage) and rolled in a good amount of bubblewrap (lightweight and effective).  Every one of them arrived safe and sound.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dextrose (Corn Sugar) vs. Malt (DME) for Priming
« on: November 04, 2010, 02:39:04 AM »
But can you age a force carbonated bottle of beer just as long as a bottle conditioned beer (5 plus years or more).  I'm under the impression that the yeast from the bottle conditioned beer will scavenge all the oxygen compared to a force carbonated bottle of beer.

Yes you can age force carbonated beer...I've been doing it for many years.  Typical time in bottle for some of my beers  (after a fairly lengthy bulk aging period) is  months to a year.  I have some particularly  strong force carbonated beers that have been in bottle between 3-5 years old, and they are tasting fine.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Washing/rinsing and Re-Using Yeast
« on: November 02, 2010, 01:04:31 AM »
prof: why do you add the other 2/3 to the boiling wort?  for the yeast nutrient?

That tip came many years ago from someone at Fuller's. 
Don't know if it actually helps...but it doesn't hurt!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Washing/rinsing and Re-Using Yeast
« on: November 01, 2010, 07:46:36 PM »
I've brewed with both simply repitched yeast and with washed yeast. 
Over quite a few batches for comparison, I found no advantage to one procedure over the other so now I just continue what I have been doing for the last 20+years:  I save the cake from the ferment, reptich 1/3 to 1/2 of it into a subsequent brew, and either save the rest for another brew (if it's scheduled to happen within a few days)...or else just dump the remaining 2/3 into the boiling wort. 

That said, if I were taking my repitched yeast beyond my usual 7 or 10 generations, I would consider washing it.  As it stands, I have seen no good reason to go through the trouble or to worry about calculating exactly how much to pitch:  the quantities I've stated have never failed me,  keeping things worry free, and always producing good beer for me. 
After reaching my self imposed re-use limit, I just culture up a new crop and begin the cycle again.

After brewing for so many years and worrying about, trying, and doing  complicated procedures at times,  experimentation revealed in the end that very often the most simplified procedure produces the very same result with less work and less worry and fussing.

I suggest just experimenting to determine what works best for your situation.  And, as b-hoppy pointed out, when in doubt, make a starter.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Capping for the long haul
« on: November 01, 2010, 02:36:37 PM »
I personally am not a fan of the Oxygen barrier caps. They activate as soon as they are wet. This means that you either do not use a liquid sanitizer or you will lose most of their absorbing power.
It doesn't happen that fast, you have hours to days before the O2 absorbing capacity of the caps is gone.   ;)

Right.  I use a lot of o2 absorbing  caps and have yet to have a problem caused by getting them wet.
Since my stronger beers go into bottle after a long period of bulk aging,  I generally put some water in a small pan and when it comes to a boil, toss in the quanitity of caps I need for the session, and start bottling right away. 
But many brewers don't sanitize the caps at all before applying them, and they report no problems.

Equipment and Software / Re: 15 gal Kettle for 5-6 gallon batches
« on: October 26, 2010, 07:11:36 PM »
I do it all the time. No issues, no worries about boil overs either. homemade electric keggle is 15 gal, and the majority of my batches have been 5 gal.
No worries.

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