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Messages - el_capitan

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I think I'd call it "Science Teacher Homebrew Blues". 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The Decline of Homebrewing
« on: September 28, 2016, 07:06:00 PM »

The learning doesn't stop.  At least it shouldn't.

I agree, Joe.  Ongoing learning is what keeps the hobby fresh and exciting, and pushes us to keep trying new things.  I've brewed for about 12 years now, and there was a period where I kind of stagnated.  But then I started digging into water chemistry, recipe formulation, brewing smaller batch sizes, trying new hop varieties, brewing different styles, etc.  I don't see myself ever getting out of the hobby, although I do know two guys who did quit brewing only 2-3 years into it. 

The Pub / Re: A lot of good guys on here.
« on: September 27, 2016, 07:01:12 PM »
I agree, Weaze.  There are a couple guys around here and on the NB forum who have really helped me out too.  A guy on the NB forum actually shipped me a two-keg setup with a regulator out of the goodness of his heart.  Amazing.  That was my push into kegging, and I still use all of that gear.  Totally unexpected. 

Another guy on this board has been great with sharing hop rhizomes back and forth, helping me to expand my hopyard to 10 varieties. 

I do my best to "pay it forward" by helping other brewers get started and acting as a brewing advisor for my community.  I've taught a bunch of classes which is really rewarding.  Recently I helped a guy set up a hopyard to support the brewpub he is opening in town this fall.  It's cool to be involved in a hobby that draws such a supportive and generous crowd of people.  Cheers to the generosity of homebrewers!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Last Year's Apple Juice
« on: September 24, 2016, 07:42:39 PM »
In the past I have frozen fresh-pressed cider, and upon thawing it started to ferment on its own.  I let the wild yeast take it, and I enjoyed that batch the most out of the five batches I did that fall.  I did yeast trials, and here were my rankings:

1) Wild yeast
2) Cote des Blancs
3) Munton's Ale
4) Montrachet
5) Pasteur Champagne

Beer Recipes / Re: Pilsner
« on: September 24, 2016, 09:56:14 AM »
I think your Sterling/Ahtuanum combo will give you a really nice herbal combo.  The Sterling all on its own can be kind of one-dimensional (speaking from using homegrowns, not commercial).  It's a really clean hop.  A buddy of mine down the road grows Saaz, so we might do two batches of pilsner - one with Sterling, one with Saaz.  If that happens, I'll report back.  It might be a while though.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Bru'nWater Pale Ale Profile?
« on: September 22, 2016, 09:41:20 PM »
Surly's, Todd the Axeman is an awesome beer. I had a friend bring me a four pack from Wisconsin down to Indiana. Definitely will be making road trips to Chicago area to pick up more.
How was the comparison from yours to the original?

Well, a while back on here, Denny mentioned the idea of brewing an "homage" to a commercial beer, rather than trying to really clone it.  I kind of liked that idea. 

So while Surly uses all Golden Promise, I went with all Maris Otter.  They use the same two hops (Citra and Mosaic) but in an opposite ratio.  I ended up using twice the Mosaic rather than twice the Citra.  I didn't go buy any of the Surly beer to make a comparison, because I'm sitting on a keg full of killer IPA already!  I will tell you this though - this beer satisfies me in the same way I would expect a commercial IPA to.  A wicked good beer. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermenter Recommendations
« on: September 20, 2016, 07:11:02 PM »
I've gone back and forth and still use both.  I bought a couple of the glass Big Mouth Bubblers, evo 1 and 2.  Both of mine seal well and are solid.  It's great being able to ferment in glass but also clean them well.  I also have four 6.5 gal plastic fermenters and I'll use those on the rare occasion when I have more than 2 batches going. 

The glass is heavier, but I sewed my own Brew-haulers with a padded foam bottom and lots of solid straps with hand-holds.  I like that they don't carry an odor from the previous batch, I get a solid window into the fermentation, and I just trust the glass more over plastic in terms of food safety/preference. 

I'm not going to get rid of my plastic anytime soon, but for now I prefer to be using glass and the Big Mouth Bubblers are working well for my needs. 

PS - That said, I think the Catalyst looks pretty sweet and I'd love to get my hands on one.  Hard to justify that expense though. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Good notes?
« on: September 20, 2016, 04:12:14 PM »
One really nice thing about my Google Docs spreadsheet is that I can access the files from my phone, from anywhere.  So although I do print a version, I really don't need to.  I can pull it up and add comments, measurements, etc. while I'm brewing.  I can also pull it up later if I'm having a beer with a buddy and they want to know details.  Or if I'm at the brewshop and decide on a whim to grab supplies for a recipe, I have access to all of that through the magical cloud.   :D

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Good notes?
« on: September 19, 2016, 08:45:02 PM »
Here's a link to the Google Docs spreadsheet I designed for my beers.  If you enter the grain bill, batch size, and boil time, much of the rest auto-fills for you.  It's formatted to print out on one page so you have a hard copy too.  Even if you don't use the spreadsheet, you'll get an idea of what sort of info I can track using this method. 

I used to log my batches using a much less-efficient format, but I have evolved to this over the years.  I use a free brewing program (BrewMate) to work up recipes, then do the water calculations using Bru'nWater. 


All Grain Brewing / Re: Bru'nWater Pale Ale Profile?
« on: September 19, 2016, 08:32:37 PM »
Well guys, I brewed this batch as planned, using the Pale Ale profile.  It's finally carbed up and I have to say that this is by far the best IPA I've brewed to date.  This was batch #159.  I think the mineral profile has finally given me the IPA I've been looking for - that sharp, resinous, bold character.

The recipe is below.  Mighty fine.

Mr. Wizard's Nippletwister IPA 

13 lb Maris Otter.  Mash @ 152.  I built my water from RO to the Pale Ale Profile on Bru'nWater.

0.8 oz Magnum, 14.7% aa, 60 min
0.5 oz Nugget, 13.5% aa, 60 min
3 oz Mosaic, 12.3% aa, (whirlpool 30 min)
1.5 oz Citra, 13.4% aa, (whirlpool 30 min)   
3 oz Mosaic (dry hop)
1.5 oz Citra (dry hop)   

Ferment @ 64 with US-05.
I cold crash for at least two days to drop the yeast.  Then I rack to a keg with the dry hops in a sanitized nylon stocking.  I keg hop for one week at cellar temps, then move the keg into the fridge to carbonate. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The unappreciated American Brown Ale
« on: September 18, 2016, 09:18:26 AM »
Well, I found the recipe:

AND it turns out that I have all of the hops on hand, since I grow all of those varieties (except Magnum).  Looks like it would be worth a shot.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The unappreciated American Brown Ale
« on: September 18, 2016, 09:13:27 AM »
I brewed Janet's Brown Ale last year and it was the bomb.  In honor of Ween, I called my version "Paint the Town Brown."

Denny, can you sell me on brewing your Noti Brown?  Also, can you point me to an official version of the recipe?

One of my favorites was James Page Brewery's Burly Brown Ale.  I don't know if they make it anymore though.

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. 

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