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Messages - karlh

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: S23 Lager Yeast from Fermentis
« on: April 16, 2010, 04:36:03 PM »
I have used this yeast twice to make a classic american pilsner.  I fermented around 60 deg. F.  Both times my beer ended up having a fruity character to it.  I did not mind it but it definitely did not have the clean lager character you would expect.  Next time I make this beer I will either ferment cooler and/or use a different yeast.

Happy Brewing,
I used this yeast once to make a CAP as well.  I ferment my lagers relatively cool (high 40s to low 50s) and then usually lager at least a month.  I thought the beer turned out fine with no fruity flavors, but received the comment from another local homebrewer that it was the first brew he had ever had, made with S-23, that didn't have a fruity character.  While it was not a bad beer, I prefer a couple other lager strains from wyeast for my lager brewing.  I keep the s-23 as backup in the case I have a starter go bad and need something to pitch on short notice. 

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Dark Malt extract
« on: April 08, 2010, 02:52:16 PM »
Back to my original post, I won the stuff in the raffle at a homebrew contest.  I was simply trying to figure out how to use this particular product in beer, rather than just as a fermentable for starters.  I have received numerous opinions over the years that Dark LME "isn't good for much besides starters", and have never bought it.  In fact I had a couple of cans (again free) that sat unused until they were thrown away a few years back.  I simply wanted some advice from someone who has used the stuff on how they used it and what they thought the flavor contribution might be like. 

I added one 3.3# package to a (12g ~1.058) batch of smoked porter to boost the gravity slightly.  I kept the percentage of LME low, so I suspect flavor contributions will be minimal.  I will likely make a similar gravity stout and again use the second package in that. 

For what its worth, it might be a worthwhile experiment for those extract brewers out there to prepare otherwise identical recipies of beer using Pale, Amber, and Dark LME from a single supplier to determine exactly how the flavors differ. 

Beer Recipes / Re: sour cherry rochefort brett in oak
« on: April 03, 2010, 05:36:57 PM »
Man you are making me drool every time I read about this project!

@ Karl.  I had not heard of mahlab before.  Though I have read somewhere IIRC that cherry pits are used to make an almond flavoring.  Is that what mahlab tastes like?

Man this sounds fantastic.

See link above for wiki discription.  I thought it added nice almondy...nuttiness, and everything I read was that the lambic makers used whole cherries with pits, and it was the easiest way for me to use the concentrated juice and still get the pits. 

Kegging and Bottling / Re: New Bottles vs Used
« on: April 03, 2010, 05:23:56 PM »
Recycling commerical bottles is the way to go.  Even the commercial brewers used to do it where I grew up in WI.  All of the local brewers/beers used to come in cases of "returnables" that would go back to the brewery get cleaned, sanitized, and refilled (Leinenkugel, Huber, Point, Potosi, Rhienlander).  Purchasing new glass bottles is much less fun than purchasing craft beer, drinking it, and then having a bottle to recycle. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What are your house styles?
« on: April 03, 2010, 05:05:02 PM »
I always have a Flanders Red on tap, and have several regulars that surface seasonally (classic american pilsner every winter, oatmeal stout every summer, usually a double IPA or two hearted ale clone late summer). 

I brewed a smoked (robust) porter.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« on: April 03, 2010, 04:44:27 PM »
I have no problems with critters in beer. I just think that random critters can have potential dangers.  My reading about lambics has more than once mentioned the so-called "enteric" phase of fermentation has potential hazards associated with it, does not produce desirable flavors or characteristics, and that the commerical producers try to avoid these forms of microbes (despite the "spontaneous" nature of lambic fermenation.  It is for this reason that the commerical yeast banks do not include the "enteric" bacteria in their blends, and authors like Sparrow advise us to avoid these.  I agree that a finished lambic will not harbor living enteric bacteria, even if they were present in early fermentation, but lacking the capability to figure out whether the beer has anything harmful in it, I choose to avoid random bugs. 

Beer Recipes / Re: Classic American Pilsner yeast check...
« on: April 02, 2010, 02:45:54 AM »
I have made several CAPs the last few years, usually with Wyeast's Bohemian Lager strain (my go-to lager strain).  I have experimented and made the same basic recipie using the Wyeast Budvar Lager and Saflager strains as well.  I have found they all turned out fine, were well within style, and bring home ribbons when entered in comps.  Of the 3 strains, I like the saflager the least, but it still produced a nice clean beer and I will probably use it again (depending on price).  I make at least one or two CAPs a year, often substituting hops and yeast with whatever is free and available at the time.  The style is pretty robust.  I have also diluted my CAP, 3 gallons of water to 12 gallons of beer to produce 3 kegs of premium american lager. 

Beer Recipes / Re: sour cherry rochefort brett in oak
« on: April 02, 2010, 02:36:13 AM »
It sounds great, although it will probably take one hell of a lot of cherries, and you have to push them all through that little tiny bunghole with a stick or something.  Hopefully you have one or two trees and can dedicate the entire crop for a year or two, or you can order 30-40lbs from hops/cherries direct.  I might age the beer in oak with the brett and then rack 5 gallons onto cherries in a year or three.  I have found organic tart cherry extract/syrup (from Michigan I think) that came in quart bottles and claimed to be the equivalent of "3 gallons of cherry juice"... I think they cost around $15 or more a bottle.  I added one of these to a 5 gallon batch of lambic a few years back, along with a spice called mahlab, which is dried sour cherry pits (available from penzies spices and in ethnic markets with a middle eastern bent.... Turkish, Iraqi, Iranian, Pakistani, maybe Greek but they probably call it something else).  The overall effect was good (I would recommend the mahlab... it really adds a nutty thing that reminds me of good belgian cherry beers), but I felt like I would want to double the cherry in the next batch... for your 15 gallon barrel, that would be a $90 investment.  I'm not sure how many cherries you can fit in a 15 gallon barrel, but I would try to fill it for the maximum effect and then put a finished beer on top of it for an extended ferment (near a floor drain).

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: What's your favorite funky beer?
« on: April 01, 2010, 06:50:15 PM »
I'm a big fan of Cantillon (Gueze and Organic Gueze) and Boon Gueze, and regularly buy cuvee renee... all while listening to Parliment Funkadelic

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
« on: April 01, 2010, 06:45:01 PM »
I like the beer, but not the price.  I have tried it at a couple of beer events and found it nice with a good bourbon character... but there's something about $22 a six pack. 

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Dark Malt extract
« on: April 01, 2010, 06:31:28 PM »
OK... I'm an all grain brewer, and when I did do extract, I always bought pale or wheat extracts and used crystal and other darker malts for color and flavor contributions.  I always went with the greater amount of control on my part.  Now I won 6.6 lbs of Northwestern/Breiss dark liquid malt extract and I would like to try using it for something besides making starters.  The Breiss web page tells me they use Pale Malt, Munich, and Black malt in the product, but emails to Briess failed to get anything beyond a spec sheet as far as relative proportions or flavor expectations. 

Does anyone out there use Dark Malt extract?  My LHBS tells me some people buy it, but he has no clue what their using it for.  I'm thinking of using it to just boost the gravity a bit in a Baltic Porter, but would love to hear from someone familiar with the product. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« on: April 01, 2010, 06:23:36 PM »
Gross. Still, I have a hard time believing that anything harmful could live in beer. If this were the case people would be getting sick all the time and beer would not be a stable product. Not saying your wrong, just saying it goes against the evidence.
Keep in mind that theres a difference between wort and beer.  If you culture something from your backyard and put it in 5 gallons of wort, it may or may not become beer.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: 2010 National Homebrew Competition
« on: April 01, 2010, 04:46:09 AM »
Hi everyone,

Two regions have hit the maximum number of entries (750) as of Monday afternoon.  Those regions (Midwest and Northeast) are now restricted from taking any further entries. The entry limit rule was decided upon by the AHA Governing Committee's Competition Sub-committee as the best way to ensure the judging integrity for the competition.

Each year I examine the entries on a state-by-state basis with some additional criteria, to adjust the regions based on a prediction of the entries they are likely to receive.  Unfortunately this year, the adjustments for the Midwest region (location of the Conference in June) were not enough to prevent the entry limit from kicking in.  The entry totals from this year will be taken into account for next year’s competition, and the regions will be realigned as needed to prevent the limit from being reached again, if possible.

I'm sorry if you were caught by the entry limit this year, and I wish you better luck next year.


Janis Gross
NHC Director
AHA Project Coordinator

OK,  How do I know if my entry shipped last week will be part of the NHC?  I am hopefull that if the web site accepted it, and it arrives on time that all will be well, but I cannot say for sure that I am sure at this point.  If the web site accepted the entry before you closed the midwest competition, will it be judged?


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« on: March 31, 2010, 05:53:43 PM »
...  I asked a friend who is a professor of microbiology about this type of experiment and she advised that there are a number of pathogenic organisms that can ferment a sugary liquid besides yeast.  Her basic advice was that it might simply be yeast, but it also could be something that could make you very sick or even kill you...

What happened to 'No known human pathogens can survive in beer'?

I googled 'pathogens in beer' and get a dozen articles that say the same thing.
In my old club, we had a barrel experiment that soured unexpectedly.  Since I had access to the micro lab at the time, we plated the beer, cultured what came out of it, and found a strep bacteria as well as another spore forming bacteria.  Ultimately we came to the conclusion that one of the bacteria probably came as a result from an individual mouth siphoning.  According to the same micro professor, they were both known human pathogens, and though they were not especially harmful to a healthy individual they could potentially be harmful to someone with a distressed immune system. 

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