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Messages - enso

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Smoked beer help please?
« on: November 17, 2010, 01:16:54 PM »
Thanks for the tips folks.

Curious, does the age of the malt have an effect on the phenols?  The Briess I used may have been old.  Could that bring out the band aid phenols?  Not sure how fresh the Rauch malt I have is either.  Not sure how high a turn over rate my LHBS would have on this particular malt.  I think I will certainly consider smoking my own in the future.  Sounds fun.

I guess I will give it a shot with this as it is already paid for, and then I will hope for the best.

Also curious why WLP 810 would not be recommended at 58F?  It is really the only lager yeast I use and keep in my ranch.  I am not really a lager brewer.  The closest I get is fermenting in the mid to high fifties with WLP810 and Wyeast 1728.

Thanks again.  The Smoked beers book is on my wishlist btw...

All Grain Brewing / Smoked beer help please?
« on: November 16, 2010, 06:39:04 PM »
I love Schlenkerla Marzen and Urbock!  I have brewed one succesful smoked beer but nothing like those.  My first attempt was based on an amber ale and was flavored with maple and fenugreek (to boost the maple flavor) it was called smoke in the sugar house.  It turned out quite nicely.  Slightly smoky and certainly maple flavored.  Was not something I would love to drink many pints of at once like I could with the Schlenkerla.  I used Weyerman's rauch malt for that one.

Recently I decided to do a more straight up smoke beer.  It sucks.  It has that wicked band aid phenol and I do not think it is going away.  I also did an ale with this one.  Fermented cool with Scottish ale yeast.  I used the Briess cherry smoked malt i had leftover from a (also sucky) smoked barleywine.  At least it was pretty bad last I tasted it a year ago.  I am still letting it sit to see if it improves.

I know the Briess malt is much more intense so I only used about 2.5 lbs. which was about 21% of the grist.  I beleive that is in line with there recommendations and not over.  Well, I am going to dump it ad try again.

This time I am using the Weyerman Rauch again.  I want to use at least 50% Rauch, however I am nervous that I will get the same result.  I would LOVE to use 100% as Schlenkerla allegedly does but I don't want another dumper.  However, I do want a really smoky brew.

Here is what I plan.  I will use 6 lbs. Rauch(53.3%), 3 lbs. Vienna(26.7), 1 lb. caraamber (8.9%) 1 lb. Melanodin (8.9%), and 4 oz. Carafa special dehusked (2.2%)

I am using Hallertuar hops and shooting for 19 IBU's

I will ferment with WLP 810 (cal common) at about 58F.  Leave it for my usual 3 weeks.  Then, perhaps lager it a bit...  or not.

I am not attempting to clone Schlenkerla.  I just mention it as the best example I have had of what I would like to brew.  Any advice or encouragement that I will not be making another band aid brew?

Oh, and I am not using chlorinated water.  It is spring water direct from the source.  About medium hardness.  I guess that is another difference between my first succesful brew and this last one.  The water came from a different spring.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dear yeast...
« on: September 29, 2010, 04:03:51 PM »
I never have blowouts. Probably because I'm too damn lazy to make a starter.

Somebody is due for a blow off...


You said it, now it will happen!

Some yeast just can't help but blow-off, no matter what you do or don't do for them.

Ah, I recall cleaning the ceiling in the living room of our last house so we could sell it...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Glassware
« on: September 28, 2010, 12:18:50 AM »
I would recommend checking out discount type stores from time to time.  I have gotten nonic glasses at TJ Maxx. before.  Of course they also usually have weizen vases (labeled as pilsner) and other more common glass types fairly cheap.

Other Fermentables / Re: Pressing apples and yeast selection
« on: September 27, 2010, 11:53:31 PM »
I definitely concur with the blend suggestion.  There are not many apples that have the right balance of sugar, acidity, tannins, and aromatics to make an enjoyable single varietal cider.  They do exist, they just are not your typically available varieties.

The crabs will be a good idea, but go easy on them.  You will wind up with a cider that is not just tart but suck your head in on itself acidic if you add too much.  Dependent on the crabapple variety...

My advice if you can manage it would be to press different apples separately in the amounts you believe would make a good blend.  Guesstimate.  Then, do some blends with small measured amounts of each juice until you find the blend you like.  Then scale it up to your full batch.

Use a rather "bland" apple to make up the bulk of juice.  Something sweet with not much for acidity or tannins (bitterness) and not overly aromatic.  Then use some medium aromatic and tart (acidic) apples plus to add character.  The crabapple juice will add more tartness (acidity) and tannins.  Only a small percentage should be needed.

When you are tasting your preferment blend keep in mind that much of the sweetness (if not all depending on how you ferment) will be gone in the end.  So, if it starts fairly acidic and tannic (sharp and bitter) it will be much more so after it is done.

It is helpful to get one of the inexpensive winewaker's acid test kits.  With that you can test you juice for acidity.  Aim for a titratable acid level in the range of 5-7 g/liter of acid.  Higher than that and pucker up!

I would suggest asking the folks at this festival for some guidance.  Even if the majority are only pressing sweet cider they can help you pick out some apple varities.

As for yeast any of the yeasts will do fine.  You will end up with a dry cider unless you do something to inhibit the yeast.  I have always used the wine yeasts myself as I enjoy dry ciders.  I have used them to make some semi sweet cider as well.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Convert / Reuse MIller Home Draft System?
« on: September 25, 2010, 05:04:05 PM »
I just found one of these at the recycling center.  Seems like it will work to reuse.  Just has a standard co2 cartridge like you use for those keg chargers.  Was a plastic tab that was supposed to prevent unscrewing the co2 chamber but with a little encouragement it cam right off.  Seems to thread back on just fine.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Glassware
« on: September 24, 2010, 01:05:52 PM »
I too have most of a kitchen cabinet filled with beer glasses of which my wife is imminently thrilled about  ::)

Put a shelf up next to your kegerator (if ya got one  ;D)

Then the problem is remembering to bring them back there once they are washed!  


Ingredients / Re: Long Cascade hops
« on: September 24, 2010, 12:43:32 PM »
I have no idea how long my cascades got this year as I had to say farewell to my hopyard when we moved at the end of July. 


However, in the past my Cascades have been fairly long as well.  I think last year my Chinooks were the longest and that was their first year.  IIRC they were similar to your photos.

I have never really delved into water chemistry.  I am still not certain I am ready too either.  Never was good at chemistry.  Anyway, out of curioustity I had my water tested by ward labs.  Last place I lived did not provide any useful info on the town water.  It was wicked chlorinated anyway (even with filtration) so I did not use it.

Now I have well water, though I do not use that either.  It is wicked sulfery even with filtration!  I use a roadside spring up the road from me for brewing and drinking water.  Here is what I got:

pH 8.2
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 157
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.26
Cations / Anions, me/L 2.5 / 2.7
Sodium, Na 1
Potassium, K 2
Calcium, Ca 45
Magnesium, Mg 2
Total Hardness, CaCO3 121
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 6
Chloride, Cl 1
Carbonate, CO3 9
Bicarbonate, HCO3 120
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 112
Fluoride, F 0.01
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit

Without blowing my head off with vast knowledge I am not quite ready for, can someone give me a rough idea how this water suites/does not suite beer styles?  I have brewed a flanders red and a brown ale so far since I have lived here (about a month) and also made a mead.  I am looking to brew up 10 gallons of my house pale ale, but started to be concerned after reading posts about water that maybe this water is not good for a hoppy pale ale since I do not really understand it all yet.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Glassware
« on: September 24, 2010, 12:30:21 PM »
Ton's of glassware.  Mostly comprised of one off's, not too many "sets" or multiples of the same type.  I scour thrift stores and yard sales for interesting glassware and that is where a lot of my collection comes from.  I have found dimple steins, tulips, snifters, goblets, thistles and some glasses I have no idea what they are called but they suite some beers perfectly.

I also have a tendency to break glassware.  Especially my favorites.   :'(

Ingredients / Re: Cacao Nibs
« on: September 23, 2010, 08:21:15 PM »
I have found if you leave them too long you can get an earthy (dirt) flavor that is somewhat drying.  Tannins I would suppose.  It is especially apparent in beers that are lighter i.e. have less roast character.  I tried some in a belgian dark strong and it was really apparent there.

Ingredients / Re: Post your water report
« on: September 23, 2010, 08:17:14 PM »
I just recieved my results from Ward labs.  First time I have ever known anything about the water I use.  Though I do not know what it means...  yet.

West Barnet, Vermont.  U.S.A. from a roadside spring off of Harvey's lake.

pH 8.2
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 157
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.26
Cations / Anions, me/L 2.5 / 2.7

Sodium, Na 1
Potassium, K 2
Calcium, Ca 45
Magnesium, Mg 2
Total Hardness, CaCO3 121
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 6  (18 ppm)
Chloride, Cl 1
Carbonate, CO3 9
Bicarbonate, HCO3 120
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 112
Fluoride, F 0.01
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
"<" - Not Detected / Below Detection Limit

I realize it will probably vary greatly throughout the year.  I already noticed one change since I have been using it just a month ago.  I mixed up some starsan with it when we moved in.  No problem.  Couple of weeks back I mixed some and it immediately clouded up!  That is generally a sign of hard water correct?  This report was from a sample I sent in last Friday.

Wood/Casks / Re: Wood aging (other than oak)
« on: September 22, 2010, 12:11:57 AM »
You could try getting some palo santo wood like Dogfish Head uses for their Palo Santo Marron.  Though to me it is fairly reminiscent of cedar in the finished beer.  I have not had any cedar infused beers t o compare it with though.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sour Raspberry Abby
« on: September 21, 2010, 08:08:44 PM »
Well, I have not voted yet because I don't know what to tell you yet.

If as you stated "it doesn't taste or smell foul" I would say hang on to it.  Either keep it in the keg or bottle it from the keg if you need the keg space.  Perhaps it is a funk you aren't used to but it may grow on you.

You say it is plenty sour but not like a gueze.  Is it a sharp acidity?  Soft?  Bitter?  Fruity?  Earthy?  Vinegary?  Burning?  Think beyond beer.  Does it remind you of any foods?

Trying to determine where it may have gone "off" might also help.  Can you think of anything that may have happnened to this beer where an infection may have come in?

I guess the most important thing to decide is if you think you will drink it someday.  If it is obnoxious and not enjoyable with each sip, dump it.  If it is somewhat enjoyable or interesting in some way hang on to it.

Equipment and Software / Re: Thermometer discrepancies
« on: September 21, 2010, 07:52:41 PM »
Frustrating ain't it?  I think we have all dealt with this at some point.  I have 2 of those certified "lab thermometers" and guess what?  They read differently!

As Hopfenundmalz states boiling point is relative.  When you are calibrating you need to find what actual boiling point for where you are is at that time.  It can change.  There are calculators you can find online.  You need to input your elevation and the current barometric pressure to identify the boiling point at the time of adjustment where you are.

Boiling point where I live is usually about 210F.

I have one of those proaccurate calibratable digital thermometers.  I have been pretty happy with it.  After about 1 year the original I had went crazy.  Huge temp fluctuations all over the place.  I contacted the company and they sent me a new one.  The first version I had, had a plastic tip and it had a chip in it.  I think it must have leaked and screwed up the thermistor.  The new one they sent me was solid stainless the for the whole probe.  Works great.

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