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Ingredients / Re: Home-Smoked Malt
« on: October 25, 2014, 02:25:37 PM »
Nah, I only use sauce if the meat isn't that good by itself.

Copper has a greater efficiency in heat transfer than stainless, but in a typical small-scale home brewing set up I'm not sure if that really matters.

I haven't checked prices in quite awhile but you can probably make your own chiller cheaper than buying a commercially made one. I made my own copper chiller back in college. I went to Lowe's and bought 50' of 3/8" copper tubing, formed it around one of my corny kegs to get the uniform round shape (I only used 30' of the copper, the other 20' I used to make a chiller coil that fits in an ice chest fitted with a tap to dispense kegged beer without a big trash can full of ice to chill the keg), and put a female garden hose compression fitting on one end (I lived in an old farmhouse and I ran the garden hose in the window of the bathroom, which was over the tub, and let the chiller drain into the bath tub). Later, I got a hand-held shower head and bought an adapter to hook the shower hose to the chiller. Seventeen years later and I'm still using it.

One thing: Lowe's had two different brands of 50' long 3/8" dia. copper tubing and there was a $20.00 difference in the price. Both are basically identical: same length, diameter, and gauge; so I don't know why the price was that different. I spent $32.00 on the tubing in 1998, probably a lot more now.

Ingredients / Re: Prickly Pear Saison?
« on: October 12, 2014, 06:38:18 PM »
This sounds interesting. How is the taste when used in a beer? The one time I tried prickly pear fruits (tuna) I thought it tasted like cotton candy/bubble gum. Plus, it had a lot of gelatin consistency. I would like to attempt a mead with them.

Ingredients / Re: Home-Smoked Malt
« on: October 12, 2014, 06:34:53 PM »
Intriguing. I think I'll try my hand at smoked malt myself. Another idea: I'm a mead maker who likes metheglins, I might try an oak-smoked peppercorn mead to honor the Central Texas style of BBQ which uses only salt, pepper and oak smoke on the meat.

Other Fermentables / Re: My First Judged Mead - A Berry Melomel
« on: October 11, 2014, 11:32:34 PM »
I like it....

well then, it's a success...

Agreed. That is the most important thing. and I bet it gets better with age.

Other Fermentables / Re: Maple Wine
« on: October 05, 2014, 09:51:54 PM »
I made a maple wine in 2013 that turned out great. It was a 4 1/2 gallon batch with a total of 1 1/2 gallons of grade B maple syrup. I started with 1 gallon maple syrup for a 4 gallon batch and this gave me a starting gravity of 1.086. After 10 days it had dropped to 1.040 and I decided the staring gravity was too low for a true wine so I added another 1/2 gallon of maple syrup which brought the gravity up to 1.066 (If I had added all of the maple syrup at first starting gravity would have been about 1.112). I also added more yeast nutrient and some energizer. Final gravity at the two month mark was 0.988. WOW! This fermented to 16.5%! I decided to treat this like a port and I aged it with some pecan rum-soaked oak cubes from Texas Star Distillery. I then back-sweetened it with 4 cups of maple sugar (gravity went up to 1.012) that I rendered from the remaining maple syrup and fortified with 2% brandy like a Port. It is amazing. I made another batch this year but added 1 cup less of the maple sugar.

Here is my recipe:

1 gallon maple syrup
add water to 4 gallons
4 tsp yeast nutrient
2 cups raisins
6 yeast energizer tablets (these were 15 year old tablets i got back in college - brand unknown)

When the gravity dropped to 1.040 I added:
1/2 gallon maple syrup
1 tsp. yeast nutrient
4 yeast energizer tablets.

When fermentation finished (Gravity-0.988) I added 4 ounces of the rum-soaked oak cubes and let them sit for a month. Then I racked, added the maple sugar (4 cups) and 12 ounces of good quality brandy.

Other Fermentables / Re: Fast mead fermentation
« on: October 05, 2014, 09:20:07 PM »
I've had some of my meads ferment this fast and others take months. I assume it is the nutrient profile and acidity of the individual mead (honey type, other ingredients) that dictates this. I don't measure acidity in my meads so I'm not 100% sure of this.

Other Fermentables / Re: Sauerkraut
« on: October 05, 2014, 09:17:27 PM »
I don't see why a fermenting bucket with airlock wouldn't work. I've made sauerkraut several times. I'm fortunate that a college friend from Switzerland gave me a 20 liter crock to make it in. I use 20lbs cabbage blended with 2 1/2 ounces salt, 2 tsp caraway seed, and 2 tsp crushed juniper berries. When packed in the crock, it makes enough juice to cover the cabbage by 1 1/2 inches or so. Add 8 oz. cultured buttermilk on the top then cover with a large cabbage leaf or two. My crock has two half circle weight stones to hold everything down (I do heat these in the oven to sanitize before use). The lid sits in a groove that is filled with water, thereby forming the airlock. 

Other Fermentables / Re: My First Judged Mead - A Berry Melomel
« on: October 05, 2014, 08:50:00 PM »
Did you leave the skins and seeds from the berries in the fermenter for awhile, or did you just use juice? Both skins and seeds can contribute to an astringent bite, the seeds much more so than the skins. I entered a young berry melomel ( Started in February and bottled in August) in the Meadfest and it did quite well. I left the crushed berries, seeds and all, in the fermenter for four days then strained them out. I was told by a couple of the judges that straining the seeds sooner would have reduced the astringency in mine. I backsweetened with both honey and berry juice and the result was a sweet melomel.

Keep in mind that judging is subjective, everyone's tastes are different. For example: Me and my brother in law both entered a similar berry melomel in the Texas Meadfest. I used Tupelo honey, he used wildflower honey. His was drier than mine. We both used the same yeast and techniques (I know - I taught him how to make mead and helped him with his melomel.). His outscored mine in the first round of judging but mine outscored his in the second round.

As for the "...berry notes overwhelmed the honey" comment, many commercial meads I've tried could be described this way. Several of my entries have taken the "no honey character" hit - strong spice or fruit is going to cover subtle honey notes, period. I don't know how to counter this than other than reducing the spice or fruit which, to me, is not always acceptable. Winning a contest is nice, but make meads that YOU like.

Other Fermentables / Re: Heat or no heat
« on: October 05, 2014, 08:25:58 PM »
I see this is an old thread but I'll post my $0.02: I originally boiled the honey back in the 1990s but I do not boil or heat the honey anymore (exception: cotton or mesquite honey, both are solid at room temperature. I heat just enough to get them to flow but not enough to affect the floral character very much if at all.). This preserves the floral essences that would otherwise be lost. I just mix everything together and pitch a robust yeast culture. This has served me well, I have won awards at the Texas Meadfest for the past two years.

P.S. - Why is the poll locked?

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Why do YOU keg?
« on: July 07, 2013, 05:22:36 PM »
  While we can be bombarded with information on what is the "best" way to brew--a decent amount of it conflicting--we demonstrate by our actions what we believe.  Brewing and debating brewing is sometimes governed more by emotion than logic or science.

I cannot agree more. Ask any brewer and they will probably have their own unique process, but they all (or most) work just fine. For instance: I was once chided at a meeting for using bleach to sanitize my equipment, I was told it was evil and would ruin my beers. Well, guess what: I've brewed 130+ beers now sanitizing with bleach with no problems. I rinse thoroughly. That person's sanitizing method works for him, mine works for me. He spends more money on sanitizer than I do.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: i'm brewing a beer for a movie
« on: July 04, 2013, 07:38:06 PM »
This is very cool! Congratulations. Are they going to mention you in the credits? " Gaffer - Some Guy, Key Grip - Joe Blow, Brewmaster - Deepsouth"

Beer Travel / Re: Germany spoiled me
« on: July 04, 2013, 07:17:27 PM »
Going to Germany is what got me started with homebrewing. I too was in Schweinfurt, a 20 bottle rack of beer on base was $13.50 and you got $3.50 back when you returned the empties. My favorite beer is Maisel's Weisse from Bayreuth, both Krystal and Hefe Weissen. I also like Weihenstephaner, that brewery has been in business since 1040! If I'm still around, I'm planning on flying over for their Millennium celebration.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Why do YOU keg?
« on: July 04, 2013, 06:51:41 PM »
I keg because I'm too lazy to bottle. Bottling takes way too much time and effort. I can keg a beer, including sanitizing time (walk away and let the keg soak for 10 minutes), in less than 15-20 minutes (rinsing keg - 1-2 minutes, siphoning beer into keg - a couple of minutes). Washing 50+ bottles, rinsing them, filling them, and capping them takes way more time. I don't clean the lines and taps between beers - the new beer flushes the old out, never had a problem with the old beer affecting new beer flavor (although I do change hoses and rubber when going from root beer to beer). My fridge has 5 taps so I keep a good variety on hand all the time.

Having said all of that, some of the best brewing times I've ever had was bottling with several friends helping.

Homebrewer Bios / Brewer Bio - David Webb
« on: July 04, 2013, 06:07:52 PM »
New AHA member here. I am a veterinarian in Texas (never lived anywhere else) and I've been homebrewing since 1995 with a nearly 10 year hiatus due to moving to an area without a homebrew supply. Shipping was too expensive but now several suppliers have great shipping deals and a local supply store opened here last fall. Right now I have plenty of beers on hand so I haven't brewed in about a month, but I usually brew an average of 2-4 beers per month.

I started homebrewing after going to Germany and tasting real beer for the first time. Good imports and craft brews were just too expensive back in college, so a friend showed me how to home brew and I've been hooked ever since. A basic brewing set up was cheap and the 5 gallon kits averaged $21.00 each - much less than the equivalent amount of craft beer from the store. I've brewed probably 100-125 beers, several kit wines (mostly ports), and a couple of dozen meads. I have had a serious offer from an investor to help me go commercial with my meads (guess he thinks they are good), but that will be more of a retirement project. I like my job and don't want to devote the time to starting a commercial operation at this stage in my life. I have never entered a beer contest but will be entering the 2nd annual Texas Mead Fest this September - mainly for fun but also to see how good my meads are compared to other mead makers.

I am not currently in a club but I belonged to the Texas Aggie Brew Club back in college. The name was a bit of a joke: TABC also stands for the state regulatory agency, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Hometown: Plano, Texas. I currently live in Port Arthur, Texas.

Homebrewing Disaster: Other than the occasional boil over, I have only lost one batch: a Kolsch. My A/C went out and the beer fermented at 105 degrees (danged Texas summers). It was quite nasty.

Favorite styles to brew: I am experimenting with several styles now that I have never made before, mostly Belgian styles - I really like these. In the past I mainly made stouts, German wheats, and Boston lager clones but always made a few other styles for variety. I really like porters.

I used to just follow the recipes from the local homebrew store I used back in college. I was looking for good beers that were cheaper than store bought beers. Lately, I've tried other recipes, notably some of Jamil Zainasheff's, and now I'm making great beers, not just good beers. I plan to start designing my own recipes as a next step.

Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer? Indoor. I college I brewed outside using a Cajun cooker, my stove was electric and I learned pretty quickly to brew with gas. I currently have a gas stove so I brew inside.

Do you have any pets or kids named after beer styles or ingredients? Haven't thought of doing that, maybe I should name a son "Hallertau" and a daughter "Saison"

If you could serve your homebrew to someone famous, who would it be and what would you give her/him? Wil Wheaton, he is a homebrewer too and he said he was going to try my Irish Stout recipe (haven't heard back from him on it yet). I would probably serve him a Chocolate Hazelnut Porter or the Irish Stout if i met him in the winter, a Begian Saison in the summer.

What style(s) will you never brew? American lager - Budweiser/ Miller style crap.

Due to space, time, and cost issues, I do extract brewing instead of all grain. I use plastic fermenters and aging buckets and do not own a carboy at all - buckets are so much easier to deal with. I keg my beers (gave up bottling back in college - too much work) and I have a 1982 Frigidaire with 5 taps - frosty mugs and hops kept in the freezer. I usually keep one keg of root beer on tap in the summer, then change out the hoses and rubber parts to keep the root beer taste out of my winter beers. The fridge needs to be repainted, someone suggested using chalkboard paint so that I could write the names of the current beers above the taps and draw artwork on the doors.

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