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Topics - enso

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General Homebrew Discussion / Too green! Dry hop question
« on: April 18, 2010, 08:27:20 PM »
So I recently (reluctantly) dry hopped a Belgian IPA with homegrown cascade hops.  I used 20 g for a five gallon keg.  I ended up pulling the hops after only about 4 days as it was tasting wicked grassy.  It got worse than that.  I friend likened it to a seafood taste which was all I could taste after he said that.

I have really never had much success using homegrown or any whole leaf hops for dry hopping.  I usually stick to pellets.  Is this something that will fade?  The grassy, seafood flavor/aroma that is?  OR do I hit it with some pellet hops?  Fining?

If it will go away, how long before I give it another try.  I have not touched it since tapping a week or so ago as it was pretty undrinkable.

Yeast and Fermentation / Gack! Fuzzy starter!
« on: April 17, 2010, 08:17:35 PM »
So I have been trying to brew some saisons for a couple of weeks (well longer actually) and made a starter a week and a half ago.  I actually ended up splitting it and making two starters.  One on a stirplate the other next to it.

I am mashing right now.  I just looked at the one on the stir plate.  I had turned the stir plate off 2 days ago.  It was getting fuzzy, maybe a pellicle? on top.

I poured off the wort on both and added some fresh starter wort.  I am still going to pitch it.  Just curious what was going on?

Yeast and Fermentation / Cali common yeast for a Scottish shilling?
« on: April 14, 2010, 03:42:06 PM »
I love Scottish shilling ales.  I have my recipe down to my idea of perfection using wyeast 1728.  Fermented nice and cool @ 55F-57F.  I am just about out of my last batch and really want to get one going.  Sadly, I have not yet added 1728 to my ranch.

I do however have some WLP 810.  Anyone ever use this for a Scottish ale?  I have only ever used it to make a Cal Common, so I don't really have a feel for how it handles a maltier brew.

I am getting some 1728, so it is not that I can't wait for that.  It just occurred to me to that it might be something to try.  However, I hate to mess with "perfection"   ::)

Anyone have any insight on WLP810 and either Scottish ales or some other malty type ale or lager?  Is it pretty clean?  I kind of suspect it has some assertive characteristics from the cal commons I brew but I can't really separate them in my mind from the hops.  I use magnum bittering and Perle for the rest of the additions in my version.

Commercial Beer Reviews / 6 Bigfoot down! tragedy in NE VT!
« on: April 07, 2010, 10:12:56 PM »

Me and my clumsy feet.  Been cleaning out my basement and most all me s***e is in the garage.  Bought a sixer of Bigfoot yesterday and meant to bring it to the brew room in the basement.  Tried to step over some piles of dreck today after a long day of work and accidentally knocked said sixer onto the floor!!! 

One lost, one foaming at the mouth.  4 badly shaken.  Had to put the foamer out of its misery.  I fear for the longevity of the four survivors.

A sad day.  Keep the beasties in you thoughts.

Ingredients / Leery of dry hopping with homegrown
« on: April 04, 2010, 07:22:39 PM »
I am racking a Belgian IPA to keg today.  I used tons of homegrown cascade hops to brew it.  I was planning on dry hopping with cascade as well, only with pellets.  Well, I forgot to get some.  I have only dry hopped with homegrown hops once.  It was a barley wine.  It tasted excellent before I dry hopped it.  It later developed some oxidation, a salty kind of character.  Now whether that was from the hops or it had been there all along and just became more noticeable later I don't know.

I had another experience using homegrown ingredients added post ferment that went awry as well.  I added some dry heather to a heather ale to "dry herb" it.  I ended up with an unitinentional sour ale.

Am I just being paranoid about adding homegrown ingredients post ferment or do others also not add anything if it won't be boiled?

Ingredients / Just can't find the best hop trellis design.
« on: March 31, 2010, 05:11:40 PM »
Not sure if this is the most appropriate section so please move as seen fit...

Ground is warming and it is time to start redesigning my hopyard!  This will be my third year growing and I have yet to be completely satisfied with my set-up.

First year I set up a 9' 4x4 post (well, 12' post with 3' in the ground) using a tent type setup with the hop mounds planted in a ring around it about 10' or so out.  It worked okay except my plants have been mostly monsters from year one.  Many of them grew up and over the top.  Three out of the four varieties I planted the first year in fact.  The only one not doing so was the Goldings.  I had bought Cascade and Centennial rhizomes and some unknown variety a friend had found at an old farmstead.  The latter being the most aggressive.  All of my hops also have always had wicked lateral growth to boot with side shoots reaching 3-5 feet, possibly more!

Last year I lashed on an 8' 4x4 to that.  I also added 2 new varieties, Willamette and Chinook.  ALL of the plants grew up and over the 17'.  It became a HUGE tangled mass at the top.  Could not tell what was what let alone reach it all.  I estimate some of the plants may have grown to at least 30' if they were untangled and measured.

So, this year I am thinking about setting up something more like commercial growers with at least 2 poles at 18' and a wire across the top for the strings to tie to.  Then guy wires for support.  Only problem is this won't really help with harvest time.  Last year I had to hack the top down with a pole saw to reach it and even then I had a blend of unknown proportions instead of separate varieties.  Once they get a certain height it is hard to stop them from tangling around each other.

Another thought is something lower like an arbor, maybe a big beer garden patio area.  With the idea that I would train the hops laterally.  This sounds easier to harvest but it also sounds like a huge tangled mess as well!

Man, why do my hops have to be so healthy!   ;)

Guess I could starve them this year.   ::)

Equipment and Software / Broke my bottle washer :(
« on: March 26, 2010, 04:38:39 PM »
I have one of those fermtech double blaster bottle washers.  I have had it for a while.  In was in the bottom of the sink and a bunch of stuff got thrown in on top of it.  Busted of the inlet stem where the braided hose connects.  Bummer.

I was trying to think of a way to fix it.  The first thought was maybe use some water weld epoxy.  It's waterproof and food safe when cured.  Not sure if that would hold up to pressure though.  The next thought was to somehow drill it out and use a plumbing screw type or compression fitting.  Though I acn't think of a simple and effective method.

Any ideas?  Other than dropping another $20 on a new one...

Oh, and while I think of it.  I was having a problem with one of the regular bottle attachments.  It did not spray.  Did not appear to have any blockages or damage to it.  It just sprays out at the base rather than out the nozzle when pressed.  Any ideas on that one?  I just used the carboy attachment on one side and a bottle one on the other.

I guess if I cannot fix it I may play around with making it into a co2 bottle purger like I saw at this small winery I visited once.  I would like to fix it though.  Despite being a kegger I seem to be cleaning bottles all the time anyway!

So I am scrambling to get my entries out the door.  One problem I see is this.  I am shipping to Northeast regional comp. and the address is a dead give away of the contents!  I have shipped beer by UPS before but never had the address clearly state HOMEBREW on it!  I am picturing the transaction this evening...

"Contents of the package?"

"Gifts of homemade maple syrup."

"Umm, it says here on the label Home Sweet HOMEBREW, is there beer in here sir?"


Anybody have any tips?  Yes I have heard all the "yeast samples" and similar stories folks use.  I find those get you into worse trouble.  Then questions of biological "contaminants" and such come up.  Glass makes them freak out too.  Perfume and other liquids are apparently a no no as well, as I was warned when skirming with what to say the first time I shipped some beer.

Why does the address have to be so blatant?

I had much trepidation in the planning but I had to try.  Bleh.  My first total dumper in many years.  I am only posting because I read someone else post about a smoked barley wine in another thread.  Did not want to hijack, but remembered my dissapointment...

Well, I am not dumping it yet but, it does not have much promise.  Like sucking on a family sized box of adhesive bandages!   :P

Some vague particulars for your information.  Brewed it, oh, 7 months ago.  Used only 2 lb. of Briess smoked malt.  Left in the fermenter a month.  Racked to keg and purged/pressurized.  Let it sit in a cool (50-60F) room.

I have read of others brewing a similar beer so it must be possible but not the way I did it.  Nor is there even anything there to encourage further exploration.  I love smoked beers.  I love Barley wines.  Separately not together I guess.  I thought from the get go that perhaps more of a malty English barley wine would have worked better.  Ah well, on to the next brew!

Kegging and Bottling / Strange pour from keg
« on: March 21, 2010, 01:31:53 AM »
I have a Belgian pale ale on tap right now.  I am serving it through a picnic (cobra) faucet at the moment.  It is coming out strangely.  I have never witnessed this before.

As I pour it sounds different.  There is that rushing gas kind of sound you hear just as the keg kicks only this is a nearly full keg just recently tapped.  There seems to be a lot of turbulence through the line as it flows.  I notice too that once I finish the pour there is air in the line, it is not full as it would normally be.

The beer is carbonate to about 2 volumes or a little over.  It is @ 12 psi at around 43F.  It does not taste overly carbonated or like anything is wrong.  It is really quite good actually.  Except the cloudiness.

I popped the QD off and checked the post then popped it back on.  Same deal.

Any ideas what is going on?  Why is there air in the line after a pour and why does it sound like it does?  Where is the turbulence in the line come from?

Yeast and Fermentation / Going Bananas! WLP530
« on: March 01, 2010, 08:46:54 PM »
I have read about how the Westmalle yeast can give off wicked iso-amyl acetate, or banana esters.  I had not experienced it though until now.

I brewed a tripel last November.  It tasted awesome right before bottling.  Crisp slightly fruity, no bananas though.  I bottle conditioned it adding some safale s-04 with the priming sugar to around 3 volumes.  It had been very clear after cold conditioning for several months, that is why I added back some yeast.  I was afraid I had added too much as it became wicked cloudy in the bottle.

2 weeks later sitting in a warm box @ 79F they have cleared nicely.  The yeast flocculated pretty much completely.  I opened one today.  It was a bit tough at first to remove the cork but it came out and is very well carbonated.

The problem is, it tastes like wicked ripe bananas.  Like you would make banana bread from, completely brown skin...

What happened?  The 530 is known for this but it did not taste like it pre bottling.  As far as I know s-04 is not known for extreme banana esters.  I suppose there was enough of the 530 in there to kick up some banana? 

Will it fade with some cold conditioning?

General Homebrew Discussion / Beer bartering?
« on: February 27, 2010, 06:43:02 PM »
Is it legal to barter with beer?

I realize this is very much relative to where one lives.  Where would I look to know if this is legal.

Here is why I am asking.  I am trying to become more involved in local sustainable food, a localvore if you will.  I have attended a worskshop of a local organization.  The topic of creating a network for trading foodstuff and or services, bartering etc. came up.  This was very much about trading surplus of fresh fruit/veg. crops, eggs, meat, or canned/preserved items for things that someone else has that you made need.  Got me thinking what do I have or could have a surplus of that would be a commodity to trade with.  Well, beer was certainly one foodstuff that I can offer as well as say fresh bread.

If I were to still maintain the legal 200 gallon limit so that I was not "going into production" but just bartered some "surplus" beer for some veg. or eggs say, would that be legal.  If it is not, boy that seems to me something worth pushing to make legal.

I am very captivated and inspired by the idea of reestablisghing local food community.  I already trade some things with a neighbor for surplus veg., and pay another for eggs.  I would think it would be fantastic to setup an all inclusive community where one could trade for all foodstuffs including beer, wine, mead, etc...

On that note, gotta go ask the neighbors if I can tap there maples and birch trees...  Of course there will be some syrup in it for them.   ;D

Beer Recipes / Inspired by Three philosophers
« on: February 20, 2010, 01:11:18 AM »
So, I am not into "cloning" beers outright.  However I am inspired to make a similar flavor profile to this beer.  I love this beer! It would be rather complicated to duplicate this brew entirely anyway as it contains 2% of a Kriek.

I have the homebrew recipe listed in Brew Like a Monk from Noel Blake.  However it does not really give specifics as to how the kriek component was added at Ommegang.

What I am wondering is this.  Perhaps it would be interesting to brew a Belgian dark strong in a similar vein to this recipe and then blend a bit of a melomel in at bottling time for fruity vinous complexity.  Say, a raspberry melomel, as I have one aging...  I am nowhere near brewing lambics or krieks, so I thought maybe a melomel could add some similar character.

Yeast and Fermentation / Fermenting Belgian ales with wine yeast?
« on: February 19, 2010, 06:11:18 PM »
Has anyone played around with this?  I have heard of someone mention using Lalvin yeasts to ferment belgian strong ales but no details.  I suppose it could give you excellent attenuation on a Golden strong ,for example, if it works?

From what I understand yeast such as the one Brasserie Dupont uses is very similar to a red wine yeast in its behavior.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Saison Dupont
« on: February 15, 2010, 03:34:08 PM »
I have come to really love this beer.  There is one thing that I realized though.  Every time I have had it, there is a slight skunked/lightstruck character to it.  I actually find it pleasing in a way.  Is this part of the intended character of this beer?

Is there a draft version and thus a different tasting beer?  Or is it possible to get an unskunked bottle?

I find it strange that I enjoy it.  Almost maes me want to intentionally skunk a homebrewed version.


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