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Topics - el_capitan

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Kegging and Bottling / Are hoppy beers slow to carbonate?
« on: September 15, 2016, 08:55:32 PM »
I came up with a recipe as a homage to Surly's "Todd the Axeman" ale.  They use all Golden Promise and a combo of Citra and Mosaic in a 2:1 ratio.  I used all Maris Otter and flipped the hops ratio in the opposite direction, using twice as much Mosaic as Citra, since I had all of those ingredients on hand.

Preliminary results are really good, except that it's really slow to carb.  I cold-crashed for a couple days, then racked to a keg on top of 4.5 oz of pellets in a nylon stocking.  I like to keg hop at room temp for one week, and during that week I had the gas hooked up too. 

Now it's been in the kegerator and cold for a week, carbing alongside a saison and Palmer's Elevenses.  The other two beers are carbing nicely, but the IPA is still very minimally-carbed, even though it had an extra week to carb at room temps while dry hopping.

I've heard a hypothesis that IPA's are slow to carb due to hop oils floating on the surface in the keg.  What do you guys think?  Have you seen that your hoppy beers are slower to carb? 

The Pub / Any Josh Ritter fans here?
« on: September 13, 2016, 06:11:06 PM »
I've only seen Josh live once and it was an awesome show at First Ave in Minneapolis.  I've listened to most of his stuff, and I have to say that I don't think there are many other singer/songwriters out there who can match him. 

If you haven't heard any Josh Ritter, check out a few of these tunes.



The Curse

Getting Ready to Get Down


I could keep going here for a long time, but this gives you a pretty good sampling. 

As for albums, I think Hello Starling is a masterpiece, and The Beast in its Tracks is also solid.  If you ever get a chance to see him live, go for it!  Apparently, Stephen King is a big fan.  Josh also wrote a novel that I haven't read yet. Either way, if you're into handcrafted tunes, you'll like Josh.  Let me know what you think.

All Grain Brewing / Bru'nWater Pale Ale Profile?
« on: August 18, 2016, 09:43:52 AM »
I'm going to brew up an homage to Surly's "Todd the Axeman" tomorrow, and I'm doing the water calculations today.  I was thinking about using the Pale Ale profile in Bru'nWater.  Does anyone have experience using this profile?  I can get really close to the intended targets, but I've never amped up the calcium and sulfate levels that much before. 

I can't seem to upload a screenshot of my file, so I'll include the ion targets here:

Ca:  140
Mg:  18
Na:  25
SO4: 300
Cl:  55
Bicarb:  110

I purposely did not hit the intended Bicarb target because I wanted to keep my mash pH down around 5.3 for a crisp, light beer.  Other than that I'm darn close or right on to the intended targets.  I'm using RO water and adding salts.  Any input from those who have used this profile would be great.  Thanks!

All Grain Brewing / Water Profile for a Schwarzbier?
« on: August 05, 2015, 07:55:54 PM »
I'm preparing to brew the "Doing it in the Dark" Schwarzbier recipe from BCS. I'm using Bru'nWater for water adjustments and starting from RO.  I'm using the "brown malty" profile but skewing the numbers toward the "brown balanced" profile, shooting for somewhere in between.  My problem is that I'm having a hard time raising the pH to an acceptable level.  I can get the pH to 5.3 by adding plenty of chalk and baking soda, but the problem then is that my sodium level is way up at 44.4.  I do plan to dissolve the chalk under CO2 gas ahead of time.

So, first question - is that sodium level too high, or should I just go with it?

Otherwise, should I leave the dark grains out of the main mash, and just use them to cap the mash before the sparge?  I guess I'd be losing some gravity points by doing it that way. 

This recipe calls for chocolate malt, Carafa II, and roasted barley.  I'm kind of at a loss here, but thankfully the brewday is about a week out and I have a whole community of pros at my fingertips here.  Help a brother out!  Thanks.

The Pub / Brand new beer style...
« on: April 21, 2015, 04:20:55 PM »
I just poured half a slightly undercarbed IPA, so I topped it up with a nice black IPA.  I think I just invented Brown IPA. 

Paint the Town Brown! 

The Pub / FictionALE Brewing
« on: November 28, 2014, 03:51:07 PM »
Tomorrow I'm brewing two recipes inspired by fictional stories - John Palmer's "Elevenses" Oaked mild (inspired by Tolkien's tales), and a batch of "Gunslinger's Graf" (mentioned by Stephen King in his Dark Tower series.) 

Both of these recipes include a bit of the oak-smoked malt.  The graf will be interesting, since about half of the fermentables come from cider.  It's described as a dry stout with cider. I'm using the recipe from BTV, scaled down to 3 gallons.  This will be a challenge for me, since I'll need to make a batch of wort finishing at only 1.2 gallons, then topping up with 1.8 gallons of cider.  Since it's such a small batch, I'm just going to BIAB on my stovetop, which will be a first. 

I should be able to pretty much run both batches simultaneously - one outside and one inside. 

Anyway, as I was working through all of my spreadsheets, I realized that both of these batches will be fictional beverages brought to life.  Kind of a fun concept.  Both of these should be really nice session ales with plenty of character. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Breaking New Ground with WY1450
« on: October 28, 2014, 05:53:55 PM »
I pressed cider last weekend and ended up with just over 20 gallons.  I decided to freeze most of it for future enjoyment and possible fermentation.  For now, I pitched WY1450 into 5 gallons.  It took right off and I have it fermenting at 63 degrees.  Looking forward to seeing how it comes out.  I used US05 in a batch this summer and it turned out great.  I wonder if the WY1450 will enhance the body a bit? 

Has anybody tried this before?

Other Fermentables / Cider Making 2014
« on: October 12, 2014, 08:14:12 AM »
Well I'm blowing the dust off my 'apple scratter' and fruit press today and making a batch of cider with my sister and her husband.  They brought a bunch of apples with them so they'll take all the juice with them.  I have a ton of apples just waiting to be processed - I'll end up doing mine on Thursday of this week. 

The last time I made cider (2008), I fermented 30 gallons with 6 different yeasts, and I'm just now drinking the last of it.  It has held up really well over 6 years in the bottle!  I'll post some pics of our setup later on.  Fall weather, full colors, and fresh cider.  Perfect!

Yeast and Fermentation / Spilt Batch Pilsner Experiment
« on: October 06, 2014, 08:15:01 PM »
Hey guys - I recently brewed a batch of pilsner lager and split it to compare yeast strains.

I keep WY2308 Munich Lager in my yeast bank as a versatile German lager strain.  I've used it for Vienna lager, Munich Helles, and Munich Dunkel.  I'm also planning to pitch it into a Schwarzbier this winter.  So far, I've enjoyed all of these batches immensely.

So I wanted to see how it performed in a Bo Pils.  I pitched WY2001 Urquell Lager into the other fermenter.  Identical fermentation conditions and timetables were maintained - 3 weeks in primary @ 50 degrees, 1 week D-rest, then 2 weeks lagering in the keg fridge so far.

I sampled the two this weekend, and I have to say I'm really surprised at how different they are.  I know they will benefit from more conditioning time, but both beers are very good already.  However, the WY2308 Munich Lager has a much more malty, rounded character.  The WY2001 Urquell Lager has a slight sulfur note up front, but overall is much cleaner and crisper, accenting the hop character.  The hops got lost in the Munich Lager beer. 

I'll reflect on this more as the beer ages, but I wanted to share my impressions.  I was hoping that the 2308 would be just as good or better, so I could maintain just one lager yeast.  But it appears that in this case, the yeast strain really makes a difference.   One thing that comes to mind is that although I built both starters up in identical steps, I can't be sure how many cells I had in each culture at the start.  I factored this in and erred on the side of overpitching, but that's the one variable I can think of that could have had an effect. 

Other Fermentables / Fermented Salsa
« on: September 12, 2014, 06:33:18 PM »
We lucked out with an extended growing season in MN last year, but this year it looks like we're getting an early first frost tonight.  So I did a quick pick and now I'm going to make some fermented salsa. 

Here's a link to the recipe (scroll down on the page past the annoying pickl-it propaganda).  My wife and I made some of our own pickl-it style jars last year by buying 1 gallon bail-top jars with gaskets, then having the lids drilled to accept a rubber stopper and airlock.  Truly excluding oxygen with a tightly-sealed jar majorly improved our results.  Now I'm thinking about using a big-mouth bubbler as a fermenter for sauerkraut and other large-batch veggie ferments.

The veggie ferments last year turned out great.  This will be our first time doing fermented salsa.  Hope it's good! 

The Pub / Suggest a Port?
« on: May 09, 2014, 06:26:10 PM »
My buddy Steve is finally graduating med school after many years of hard work.  I'd like to get him a decent bottle of port - my budget is right around $40.  I am far from an expert.  Any ideas of a commonly-available port that'll fit the bill?

Equipment and Software / Extendo-mometer?
« on: February 10, 2014, 07:02:30 PM »
I've really been enjoying brewing smaller batches, now that I've stepped down to 3-gallons.  One thing that's not so smooth though is that I'm using my 10-gallon Polarware. 

The Brewmometer placement is such that I have to have about 3 gallons in the kettle in order for the probe to hit the liquid.  Most of my batches are calling for just shy of 3 gallons strike water.  I was trying to think of some ways to extend the probe without making any modifications to the kettle.

The only thing I could think of was wrapping some thick copper wire (maybe 12 gauge) around the probe, and then extending that down into the kettle.  Do you think that would work?  I guess I could give it a shot on my next brewday and report back. 

Any other ideas?

The Pub / Made by Dad
« on: January 22, 2014, 07:29:59 PM »
My wife checked out a book at our public library called Made By Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff.

There are some really cool projects in here!  I spent the last three nights making the Slingshot Car Launcher.  It's a pretty cool toy that we worked on together.  I just had such a good time building and working with my boys (ages 4 and 6). 

Anyway, I thought I'd post it up here for those of you who are into the DIY mindset, like little projects, and have kids or grandkids around.  Fun stuff. 

There's even a site for downloading templates for a lot of the projects.  Totally worth checking out!

Yeast and Fermentation / Stop That Lager!
« on: January 20, 2014, 07:40:38 PM »
I'm fairly new to lager brewing - currently fermenting my 3rd lager, a Munich Helles.  It's been at 50 degrees for 14 days now.  I took a gravity reading just now, and found that it was somewhat lower than expected. 

The recipe is from BCS, and I did a 3-gallon batch.  I made a 2-step stirred starter (1 Liter for each step) of WY2308 Munich Lager.  OG was 1.051, and the gravity right now is 1.006.  I was expecting it to finish out around 1.011

So I have a couple questions:

1) With lager brewing, am I supposed to halt fermentation by chilling the beer when it reaches the desired level of attenuation?

2) If so, should I have been taking more frequent gravity readings and stopped it sooner? 

3) Will a 3-gallon batch typically ferment faster than a 5-gallon batch?  In the past I've brewed 2 lagers with this strain and I've given them 3-week primaries. 

4) Is two weeks in primary enough?  Am I ready for the next step?

5)The beer tastes pretty clean, with a slight sulfur aroma which I'm sure will diminish with lagering.  I detected no diacetyl whatsoever - do I need to bother with a D-rest? 

Man, I feel like a noob all over again   ;D

Yeast and Fermentation / 2 year old yeast?
« on: January 16, 2014, 09:35:07 PM »
I've been planning a kolsch for my next brewday, so today I pulled out my jar of slurry.  I thought I had harvested it in March of 2013, and I've revived yeast that old before. 

Well, just after I pitched the slurry into my new starter, I looked again and it was harvested in March 2012. 

So what are my chances of reviving anything viable?  On one hand, I feel like I might as well just dump it right now.  On the other hand, it's already pitched and on the stirplate. 

I guess the worst case scenario would be to buy a fresh smack pack, which isn't a big deal at all.  Hmmm... what would you do?  Give it a few days and watch for some activity?  Even if something does start up, I don't know how much I'd trust it. 

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