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Messages - el_capitan

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Apple Juice Yeast Starter?
« on: February 25, 2017, 04:02:32 PM »
Well, I went ahead with building starters from apple juice.  First, I revived the old yeast strains with 1-L starters.  They fermented out over 3-4 days on a stirplate.  Then I pitched both starters into a gallon jug with 1/2 gal of apple juice.  The juice is pasteurized of course, so I just poured it straight into the jug.  Crazy, huh? 

These apple juice starters fermented out in about 24 hours, and then I crashed them well.  Yesterday I brewed up 3 gallons of witbier and pitched the slurry, and it was fermenting strongly about 8 hours later when I woke up.  So far, so good.  The cider tasted fine, fairly bland. 

I haven't moved forward with the O-fest yeast, and I picked up two packs of 34/70 last weekend.  I might split a 6-gal batch and ferment one batch with the liquid strain, just to see how that old strain performs.  We'll see.  I'll report back.

For now though, I got a free batch of hard cider out of the deal, which I'll jack down.  Yumm!

Beer Recipes / Re: CAP recipe
« on: February 22, 2017, 08:16:24 PM »
Sterling and Crystal are a nice combo with clean malts.  I'm drinking a BoPils right now, hopped with all homegrown Sterlings. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Finally got a brew day in
« on: February 20, 2017, 08:54:15 PM »
60 degrees out today.  Or more.

10 gallons fermenting.  Stogie. Fire pit.

Sounds like a day well-spent!

The Pub / Re: Happy Birthday!
« on: February 15, 2017, 03:11:20 PM »
I shall play a little tune on my ukelele in your honor.  Happy Birthday!

The Pub / Volcano Collapsible Stove
« on: February 13, 2017, 07:55:57 PM »
I am researching a home design and looking at building a rocket mass-heater (RMH).  Anyway, I came across some info on the Volcano Collapsible Stove.  Looks pretty sweet to me, in that I could cook, brew, or even bake virtually anywhere with any available fuel - propane, charcoal, or wood.  It would work great with a lot of the cast iron cookware we have too.  Have you guys heard about this yet?  It collapses to 5" tall and comes in a carrying case.  Could be kind of difficult to regulate, but it does have adjustable air flow.  They're $150, but man, I'm interested. 

Beer Recipes / Re: Chocolate Orange Porter
« on: February 13, 2017, 06:36:43 PM »
The cacao nibs often lend more of a full mouthfeel than a pronounced chocolate character. 

Homebrewer Bios / Re: Newbie
« on: February 13, 2017, 06:35:10 PM »
Welcome, from a fellow middle-school teacher.  I like to keep some dry yeast on hand, so when we get a snow day, it turns instantly into a brewday  8)  Cheers!

Homebrewer Bios / Re: New here!
« on: February 13, 2017, 06:33:41 PM »
Welcome!  What's next on your brew list?

Ingredients / Re: Hop aroma
« on: February 13, 2017, 06:22:04 PM »
I always use the white nylons that you can get at Walmart.  25 cents for a little egg with two in there.  Works great for pellets or whole hops, and I've packed up to about 4 oz leaf hops in a bag with no problem.  It's like a hop sausage when you pull it out later on!  No problems with any hop particulate whatsoever.

Ingredients / Re: Using Nugget hops instead of Magnum in pale ale
« on: February 13, 2017, 06:17:56 PM »
I've actually heard the opinion that homegrown hops can carry more alpha acids than commercial hops, since they're often picked with more care and therefore lose less of the lupulin glands.  Of course, it all comes down to how you cared for them during the growing season and how you dried and packaged them, etc.  I only use homegrowns for bittering in beers where I'm not super concerned about hitting the numbers dead on. 

I've been bittering with Nugget for a lot of recent batches, and I wouldn't say it's rough.  But Magnum is definitely way smoother.  Almost too smooth for my tastes.

Having witnessed commercial hop harvest, I don't think that's a valid concern.

I agree - the big hop growers have it down pat, and most homegrowers are kind of limited in terms of equipment.  I think my homegrown hops tend to get too dry before packaging, and the cones sometimes shatter and leave lots of sticky lupulin behind. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: OMG....I just made good beer!!!
« on: February 13, 2017, 06:08:04 PM »
FWIW what I do is to use a temp/pressure chart to find the volumes of CO2 I want in my beer at the temp I like.  12 psi-ish @ 40F gives me around 2.5 volumes of CO2 which is good for most styles. So what I do is to take 10 or 12 feet of beer line and cut it down in increments of 6 " until I get the pour I want at the 12 psi. It's an easy way to get the right pour at your proper carbing pressure.

Thank you.  The place I got the keg and faucet from gave me a length of tubing with non-removable clamps.  I'l have to cut those off and experiment I guess.  I imagine screw on clamps are more practical.

I also carb at 12 psi and about 40 degrees.  My serving lines are only about 6' long, but I use the flow restrictors in my dip tubes.  You take the internal piece out of epoxy mixing nozzles, and they're a perfect fit into the dip tube.  I put two in each keg, and it really helps to slow down the flow without having a ton of line in your fridge. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Reinheitsgabot and 'Real Ale'
« on: February 12, 2017, 08:40:36 AM »
Back to the OP and original topic...

I myself have puristic tendencies.  I believe many homebrewers, myself included, have had a tendency to meddle too much, without very well determining whether our additional efforts are really adding anything positive to the bottom line, which, of course, is beer flavor and quality.

Also take into consideration that many brewers make fantastic beer the easy way and don't fart around.  They just come up with a reasonable recipe, brew it, and enjoy it.

So I am with you.  I'm interested in getting back to basics, and not sweating details too much.  Crush well, mash well, mash in the right pH range, clean fermenters well, ferment well with healthy yeast.  That....... that is about it.

Cheers all.

I am starting to wonder if I am the only homebrewer left who brews this way.
Just filter my tap water for chlorine and brew.
I don't know if my beer is considered "fantastic" but they mostly turn out well.
I occasionly consider getting my water tested but never have.
Mash pH is something I do think about but without spending money on meter I can't really do anything about it.
The brewer at a local brewery is adament that "if your water tastes good to drink don't mess with it"

I appreciate simplicity, but I have to say that harnessing water chemistry through the Bru'nWater Spreadsheet has made a huge improvement in my beers.  I encourage you to give it a shot. 

The Pub / Re: Me this morning!
« on: February 09, 2017, 07:39:37 PM »
Meanwhile, here in MN, we're going to be in the mid-40's and even in the 50's in some areas tomorrow.  Awesome!  Everybody is scrambling to pull the ice houses off the lakes.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Disasters
« on: February 09, 2017, 07:26:52 PM »
No replies?  Jeez, you guys must be careful yeast-ranchers.

A couple years ago, I was showing my mother-in-law how to activate the smack pack.  I was holding it in front of her and smacked it, and the upper corner of the pack burst open, showering her with yeast.  It was a total, "What the heck just happened?" moment - priceless.

This made me laugh out loud.  Absolutely hilarious. Would've loved to see the look on both your faces after that!
Thanks for cracking me up!

Yeah - I was holding back from saying this before - total yeast facial.  And she was sitting at her computer, so it went all over the keyboard too.  Smooth.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Apple Juice Yeast Starter?
« on: February 09, 2017, 07:19:03 PM »
I agree that it's basically pointless to gamble with the yeast at this point, but my yeast-handling sanitation is sound, and both starters have been fizzing for a couple days now, so it seems that a viable population is emerging.  The question remains - a viable population of what

I had already been leaning toward using a dry yeast for the witbier.  I was going to use the Octoberfest blend in a Märzen.  So perhaps a better question at this point is, what's a good dry yeast strain for an Ofest/Märzen style? 

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