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Messages - el_capitan

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Beer Recipes / Re: Pilsner
« on: September 16, 2016, 06:56:25 PM »
I grow Sterling and I really enjoy their clean, herbal character.  This year's crop was the best ever with lots of large, compact cones.  Usually they kind of struggle, but I think all the rain we got this year definitely helped them out, and I also added some homemade liquid fish fertilizer. 

Anyway, I've brewed couple batches of what I called "Sterling Pilsner Ale" which I know is not really a pilsner.  It's more of a hybrid ale, fermented very cool.  It uses all Sterling, and it's a really nice clean beer.  It seems that my homegrown Sterlings are more bitter than average though, so I've had to cut back the amounts a bit. 

Either way, all Sterling is not a bad way to go with that beer.  Also, if you ever tried New Belgium's 2 Below, that featured Sterling along with some other nice hops, and it was a really good clean beer. 

Ingredients / Re: Don't use Crystal 60??? Something I heard on Brew Strong?
« on: September 16, 2016, 06:44:36 PM »
I don't think my sense of humor ever progressed beyond junior high. Not that I don't love a good nerd joke too. Speaking of which -- Sixteen sodium atoms walk into a bar, followed by Batman

Hah!  That is an awesome joke.  I'd tell it to my science students, but I assure you that NONE of them would get it.  A couple of the other teachers would though. 

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottling from keg
« on: September 16, 2016, 06:01:44 PM »
I used a homemade rig like that for about a year, and it does work.  Then it started creating tons of foam and not working very well.  I was wasting a ton of beer and ending up with major carbonation loss.  I bought the bullet and bought a Beergun - and it has been awesome!  What an improvement.  Shortly after I bought my beergun, I saw that Northern Brewer came out with their own version which has the added bonus of bottling at serving pressures, so you don't have to dial back the psi on the regulator like you do with the Beergun.  I haven't used the NB version, but I do love my Beergun. 

The Pub / Re: Any Josh Ritter fans here?
« on: September 16, 2016, 03:40:16 PM »
Right on, neddles!  I'm surprised to see so many views with nobody chiming in, but like you said, he is surprisingly not very well-known.  I appreciate handmade music just as much as handmade beer.  Cheers! 

Next time you're brewing, load up some Josh Ritter on Spotify and see what you think. 

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Are hoppy beers slow to carbonate?
« on: September 16, 2016, 03:37:59 PM »
Well, this beer is very tasty, so I've been pulling a few samples even though I know it's undercarbed.  I think Pinnah said he kind of likes his IPAs undercarbed for some reason. 

Now it's starting to carb up a bit.  I did give it just a bit of rocking yesterday but nothing too hardcore.  Even with an undercarbed beer, I like to crack the tap just a tiny bit and give it a nice head of foam to top off the pint.  Mmmmmm... hops.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: fake beer help
« on: September 16, 2016, 03:23:59 PM »
Yep, I realized I left out the key missing piece of info.  I was thinking that an old keg should be cleaned out pretty well before putting in the fake beer.  Otherwise you're going to have who knows what kind of funky, skunky old crud down there. 

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? 

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Stoneware Bottles
« on: September 15, 2016, 08:43:24 PM »
Yeah, those bottles are definitely unique and worth having in the stash.  I was impressed with the smoothness of the glaze on the inside.  I might have to pick up a couple more just for the heck of it.  Plus, for those of us who keg, bail-top bottles are pretty convenient because there's one less step in sanitizing and one less piece of equipment to worry about!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: HELP...NEW HOME BREWER...SERIOUS QUESTION
« on: September 15, 2016, 08:39:42 PM »
I have both models of the glass Big Mouth fermenters.  I haven't had any issues with the seal on the old screw-top model, and I'm still using the original foam gasket.  I guess maybe I got lucky there.

The newer fermenter is a better piece of equipment IMO - The glass is much thicker and there are volume gradations.  The cap is kind of weird though.  I think the key is to line it up really straight-on to be sure the silicone ribs go in straight and evenly.  If you cram it in there off-kilter, it will want to pop back out.

If you be sure to use a fermenter with plenty of extra headspace, and try to ferment at a cooler temperature (65-70 degrees) you should have no problems in the future. 

Welcome to brewing!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: fake beer help
« on: September 15, 2016, 08:34:15 PM »
Not a bad idea, Major, except for that in the play the actors will probably have to actually drink the fake beer.  If she just pours her tea down into the keg, and then pumps it back out, chances are that the actors will have a hard time "enjoying" what comes back out...


I second Pete's idea about getting a real keg of beer, as long as you're not breaking any laws doing so.  I don't know how beverage laws mix with theatre, or the ages of the actors involved.  Good luck!

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.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Stoneware Bottles
« on: September 13, 2016, 05:45:40 PM »
I had a few of those same bottles, and like you, used them as gifts.  I always got them back though and bottled special beers in them.  The most important thing is to keep them clean - never leave them open with residue in them.  A soak in oxyclean will loosen up anything in there, and then the bottle washer does the rest.  Rinse them out really well each time and you can be fairly confident that they're clean.

Unfortunately I had some in a soft-sided cooler when the strap broke.  They didn't survive.   :(  I got mine empty from a buddy so I can't comment on the beer though.  You can buy replacement gaskets if those get stiff or cracked.

Ingredients / Re: Brewtan B
« on: September 08, 2016, 06:18:18 PM »
Well I've been away from the forums for a while, and I'll admit that I only read through page 8 before posting BUT...

I have to say that on one hand, this certainly seems intriguing.

On the other hand, is this a solution looking for a problem?  So many people are hailing this as THE solution for an oxidation problem in beer.  But on a homebrew scale, how many people really see a problem with oxidation?  I've never had too much of a problem with drinking my way through a batch before it develops aging issues. 

I appreciate that AHA members try to be on the cutting edge of brewing developments, but to me this seems kind of like a bandwagon issue.  Maybe I'm just too old-school?  What happened to pragmatism?  I shared this info with a friend who is starting a commercial brewery, so I see the value in the information.  Also, I'd be willing to give this product a try because the science seems solid.  But if I never do try Brewtan-B, I think I'll still enjoy the hell out of my homebrew at the end of a hard day's work. 


Ingredients / Re: what to make with these hops
« on: September 06, 2016, 07:31:19 PM »
Sterling makes a great pilsner.
I harvested a lot recently and have an imperial pilsner on my schedule for later in the year.
+1 on the sterling in pils.

Don't want to hijack the thread, but...I'm over in Hermiston, OR and would love to try to grow some Sterling.  It sounds like it grows well for you.  Do you think it would do well over here?

Sterling does well for me here in Minnesota.  I've used them successfully in a Pilsner, American Rye, and IPA.

Ingredients / Re: Underwhelmed by Horizon hops
« on: September 06, 2016, 05:39:34 PM »
90% of my hippy beers are bittered with Columbus.

Hippy beers, eh?  Do they come out tie-dyed?  Do they reek of patchouli?  Do you dry hop with a dreadlock?   :o

I did an all-Zeus IPA a couple years ago and definitely got the onion character that some people mention.  It was a decent beer, just a bit one-sided.  This past weekend I brewed one with all homegrown hops.  Sterling to bitter, then a hopburst of Zeus, Chinook, and Willamette.  Planning to DH with the same.  Should be a winner, although using homegrowns to bitter is kind of a gamble. 

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