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Messages - el_capitan

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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?

Hop Growing / Re: Crown removal
« on: October 22, 2014, 08:32:34 PM »
el_capitan,  it's a great time to do that sort of thing.  One big benefit is that the soil is usually easier to work with at this time of the year, as many times you're dealing with a bunch of mud in the Spring.  Not only is it messy, but you can harm your soil structure when it's wet. 

The other huge benefit is that those cuttings that are moved will be able to begin developing new roots until the soil freezes.  When you do this in the spring, root growth/development is very slow until the soil warms enough to get them going.  Try one crown this fall and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Well now I'm all ambitious to go do some late fall digging!  I think I'll at least get started with 2-3 of the crowns and go from there.  I know what you mean about springtime mud.  My soil has lots of clay, so it takes quite a while to dry out enough to work.  I'm trying to get the main garden prepped for spring this fall by raking, spreading compost, and topping with straw mulch. 

Other Fermentables / Re: Fermented Salsa
« on: October 20, 2014, 07:02:28 PM »
I just refilled my serving jar from the 1-gallon jar and had some of this on a baked potato.  I swear there is a slight carbonation - it really gives the salsa an interesting zing.  Great stuff.  I would highly recommend trying this if you've got the fermentation gear.  As with other vegetable ferments, leave plenty of head space or you'll end up with blowoff. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew Videos
« on: October 20, 2014, 06:47:50 PM »
Don't forget that goofy Canadian craigtube. My favorite is the one where he rock carbed a beer while eating. Classic.

That's the one I was trying to put my finger on. Awesome stuff.

Here ya go.  8:40 for the stocking-footed keg rock with hotdish consumption. 

The Pub / Re: American Fascination with HOPS
« on: October 20, 2014, 06:15:04 PM »
I probably brew a couple IPAs most years, with the rest devoted to other styles. Life's too short to drink any one style of beer whether it's good or not.
I've brewed upwards of 40 styles and like variety above any one beer.

I'm with you all the way there.  I love an IPA as much as the next guy, but I've really been enjoying brewing standard-gravity and session beers.  It's hard to beat a dry stout, or Scottish 70/-, or an ESB, or a Munich Dunkel or or or...  There are so many wonderful beer styles in the world, and it's a shame that people tend to focus hugely on one style or characteristic.  At least the masses are overcoming the bitter barrier - now if we could get people to start embracing darker-colored beers we'd really see some growth in beer appreciation.  I know lots of people who think amber ales are super dark.  Weird. 

Personally, I tend to appreciate lower-gravity beers because for me, it's all about the flavor.  I just love the taste of a well-made brew.  Lately it seems that if I have more than 2 beers a night, I'll wake up with a headache.  What a bummer!  The other night I picked up the Sierra Nevada fall sampler and indulged in 3 beers.  Next day - BAM!  Mild hangover until mid-afternoon.  I also think strong alcohol flavors don't usually fit well with the other flavors I look for in beer.  It just leaves the beer way too unbalanced.  I don't think it works to balance one strong flavor with other strong flavors - you just end up with competing over-the-top components. 

Other Fermentables / Re: Sauerkraut
« on: October 20, 2014, 06:03:06 PM »
I would be cool with fermenting in a bucket, with a big plate as a follower to keep the cabbage under the liquid.  My wife is not down with plastic in ferments though, so we've used the 1-gallon glass jars.  I think one of the new big mouth bubblers would be perfect for a large batch, and the Ziplock bag full o' water method would work fine in that case. 

In my experience, there is a considerable volume gain when the ferment really gets going, so plan on leaving some head space in whatever container you use.  I'm thinking about fermenting a small batch in my classroom this year, up on my desk so students can watch the activity.  Then I'll gross them all out when I take a bite.    :o

The other day I told a girl that she was eating billions of living bacteria as she ate her yogurt.  She was so grossed out she threw it away!  Kids these days, sheesh...

Other Fermentables / Re: Cider Making 2014
« on: October 17, 2014, 06:22:57 PM »
Well sorry to leave you hangin' here, fellas.  I was so busy running the gear that I only had time to pose for one picture, and I'm sure I looked like a total goon.  We were really just juicing the apples my sister and her husband had gathered.  I was hoping to juice mine this weekend, but it looks like we'll be focusing on sauce and rings. 

Next weekend will be the grand ciderfest, and I'll be sure to take some shots and post them.  Cheers.

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!

The Pub / Re: Huge news from The Weaze
« on: October 10, 2014, 04:58:26 PM »
No. Sigh.... she made promise not to wear it on wedding day. I respectfully agreed.

Possible loophole - the tuxedo briefs.  I was going to post a picture, but nobody really wants to see that, do they?   :o

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Spilt Batch Pilsner Experiment
« on: October 08, 2014, 10:00:53 PM »
Did the WY2001 take longer to completely ferment? That yeast has been really slow for me in the past. But a good performer. Clean and crisp as you describe.

I didn't take gravity readings along the way, so I can't say for sure.  Both were at terminal gravity after the primary ferment, going into D-rest. 

I just pulled another sample of each, and the Munich Lager strain has a really intense bready finish.  I like it - but it's not what I'm looking for in my Bo Pils. 

I'm finally getting into lager brewing after about 10 years of homebrewing.  I've wanted to brew a pilsner for YEARS!!  I have some close relatives who brew, and they totally poo-poo lagers.  "We have no interest in brewing lagers."  Ok... that's a pretty close-minded approach.  They claim that all lagers are lacking in flavor.  There's a point where you just kind of throw up your hands and quit trying to talk reasonably to those folks.

Thanks for the recommendations on some versatile lager strains.  I may bounce back for some suggestions as I plan to brew more lagers this winter.  Cheers! 

The Pub / Re: New hobby
« on: October 06, 2014, 08:30:14 PM »
A getting stopped with a new didgerido from guitar center in the car is a sure way to get searched, I would think. Unless you are in Washington or Colorado
Yes, a didgeridoo that is in plain sight surely constitutes reasonable suspicion to conduct a vehicle search. If the search turns up Frisbee golf discs they don't even have to find the pot to get a conviction.

 ;D  Good one!

The Pub / Re: Huge news from The Weaze
« on: October 06, 2014, 08:24:22 PM »
Have you spent some time shopping around the interwebs for really special wedding kilt?   ;D

Hop Growing / Re: Crown removal
« on: October 06, 2014, 08:18:48 PM »
I was planning to dig up and spread out 10 established hop crowns this summer.  Somehow, I just couldn't muster the courage.  Next year maybe.

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 / Re: Sauerkraut
« on: September 26, 2014, 07:10:26 PM »
The true ratio of salt to cabbage is 3 Tbsp/ 5 lb of cabbage.  Make sure you use non-iodized salt, as that will inhibit the fermentation.  The optimum fermentation temp is 68-72 degrees, and it's recommended that you let it ferment for at least 10-12 weeks prior to eating.  I couldn't find the source of that info again, but here is an interesting chart that shows how the different bacterial strains operate in a kraut ferment:

Here is the source page for the above graphic. 

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