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Messages - el_capitan

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All Grain Brewing / Re: To spund or not to spund...that is the question
« on: February 08, 2017, 07:39:26 PM »
This seems pretty legit.  I really can't see a downside here, other than having some sediment in the keg.  Also, this method would be sweet from a prepper standpoint, when CO2 in a tank could be hard to come by... But how long would you be able to push beer, if there was no added CO2?  At that point, is it basically a cask ale? 

Either way, I'm going to pick up a valve and give it a shot. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Disasters
« on: February 08, 2017, 07:21:04 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. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Apple Juice Yeast Starter?
« on: February 08, 2017, 07:17:16 PM »
Hey guys - I'm reviving some very old yeast strains - WY2633 Octoberfest Blend @ 17 months old, and WY3944 Belgian Wit @ 20 months old.  I know - it sounds crazy, but I pulled a Kolsch strain back from 24 months old, grew up a good culture, and had a great batch.  But I've never attempted that with a lager or Belgian strain before.

They had like a 2 day lag time, and now are fermenting pretty well in 1-L stirred starters.  Of course I'll crash them and taste the wort, but this is really a first step.  Now comes the crazy part - I am out of DME, but I do have some apple juice on hand.  I thought about using that to grow the starter further and get some cider out of the deal too.  I could just pitch these now at high krausen in the starter and treat it as a mini-batch. 

So, assuming the yeast is coming back strong and true, do you see issues with growing yeast in a starter batch of cider (with nutrients), and then going back to beer with it?  I kind of think that the yeast is going to chew through whatever sugars you throw at it, and as long as you have the proper nutrients in place, it should end up healthier for the deal.  I just don't know how quickly a yeast strain might shift toward a different input. 

Your thoughts?

Ingredients / Re: Cashmere
« on: February 05, 2017, 10:15:46 PM »
Am I the only one who now has Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" playing in their head?  Sorry. I got nothing to add.

Shortly after reading this thread, "Celebration Day" came on the TV.  Not too shabby at all. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison in a Witbier?
« on: February 05, 2017, 10:14:04 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts.  I've used Belle Saison on a couple batches.  When I fermented it around 65-70, I thought it was pretty decent - fairly clean.  I let a second batch free-rise through fermentation and it was rocking right around 75-77.  That batch had more of the phenolic character than I like.  I'm not a big clove guy.

I've used the T-58 a couple times too, and that has just a restrained touch of clove that I didn't mind.  I'd forgotten about that one, and maybe I'll give it a shot.  Either that, or I just need to brew a wit more than once per year.  Or suck it up and just buy a fresh smack pack for those few specialty batches. 

I've never heard of the Fermentis Abbaye - I'll look into that one as well.  Thanks, Dave.

Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast Disasters
« on: February 05, 2017, 10:07:50 PM »
Post your worst yeast-related disasters here!  I had one yesterday...

I boiled up some wide-mouth quart jars to save some slurry.  I had three nice quarts of slurry on my table, settling out.  I walked past and noticed a little bit of brown liquid, and thought, "Now how could that have overflowed?"  I picked up the jar, and BAM!!  The bottom of the jar fell off and the quart of slurry went everywhere.  Wasn't expecting THAT! 

Equipment and Software / Re: Using the thermostar dudal mode controller
« on: February 05, 2017, 07:33:48 AM »
I taped a small piece of pipe insulation (cut in half) to my fermenter.  I slip the probe in there and then close the gap at the top with some little wads of paper towel.  Is that the new dual-mode temp controller sold by NB?

Ingredients / Re: Using Nugget hops instead of Magnum in pale ale
« on: February 05, 2017, 07:29:46 AM »
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. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Test my harvested yeast?
« on: February 05, 2017, 07:18:07 AM »
In the future, I recommend starter harvesting for cleaner purer, healthier yeast..

I plan to start overbuilding starters and harvesting a clean culture from the starter. This calculator lets you overbuild your starters by a desired cell count. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Belle Saison in a Witbier?
« on: February 04, 2017, 08:54:35 PM »
I'm trying to streamline my yeast bank and eliminate some strains that don't get used very often.  One such strain is WY3944 Belgian Wit.  I typically only brew that recipe once per year, so it doesn't make sense to bank that yeast for a year and try to revive it.  I'm looking for dry alternatives for some of these oddball beers.  If I can use a particular strain at least once every six months, then I'll keep it around.

One option would be to brew a witbier in the spring with Belle Saison, then use that same strain later in the fall to brew up a saison.  The other option would be to just go with fresh dry packs for those two beers.  So my question is - do you guys think Danstar Belle Saison would work in a witbier?  If not, can you suggest another dry strain that might do well in that style? 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pushing all grain
« on: February 04, 2017, 08:56:04 AM »
If they've recently started carrying more grains, it could be that they're pushing AG to ensure rapid turnover and keep their ingredients fresh.  I've heard from a few posters who went straight to AG, and were glad they did.  I think Bru'nWater is easy enough to play with that even a new brewer could understand most of it with some guidance. 

One thing that might be cool is to brew two batches of the same beer - an extract w/specialty grains version and an AG version.  Then you could compare the two.  Just a thought.  Good for you, for sharing the knowledge.  Have fun!

I helped a buddy brew an Irish Red, then he gave me TCJOHB by Papazian and I read through it before choosing a recipe to try.  I went with his "Elbro Nerkte Brown Ale" (LME + specialty grains) and had a decent base of knowledge going into it.  That first batch was actually pretty awesome.  Many people remarked how smooth it was - and I saved and sampled some over the next couple years and it held up well. 

I worked through many of the common mistakes during that first year and a half of brewing, but I remember it as a time when I was just learning so much, and immediately implementing new knowledge into the process.  My poor wife had to listen to mini "brewing lectures" as I explained things to her to help internalize it.  She doesn't brew or drink, but knows a heck of a lot about brewing!  Good memories  :)

Beer Recipes / Re: Looking for a good Dry Stout recipe
« on: January 31, 2017, 10:21:41 PM »
Wow! Thanks for the compliments. While the grist that I use is pretty typical, its really the water and technique that makes the Dry Stout difference. Regular mash at about 5.4 in RO or distilled water followed with the roast barley addition at the end of the mash. That drives down the wort pH and that is the signature of the style. The flavors of Roast Barley meld with the grainy flavor of raw barley and are offset by the acidity of the low beer pH.

I haven't tried Golden Promise in this recipe, but I do like that malt.

Would you share your recipe for me?  I don't have access to back issues of Zymurgy.  No rush, but I'd like to give it a shot!

Homebrewer Bios / Re: Hi everyone. My introductory first post on AHA.
« on: January 29, 2017, 10:56:52 PM »
Welcome to the forum!  Sounds like you're in it for the right reasons.  I can relate to the desire to share the passion with other people.  You'll find a ton of good folks and good info here.  Cheers!

Beer Recipes / Re: Looking for a good Dry Stout recipe
« on: January 28, 2017, 11:16:32 AM »
Kind of late in the game here, but I really enjoyed the dry stout from Brewing Classic Styles.  I think Jamil calls it "Cerveza de Malto Seco".  The one thing that was different was that he advises nearly powdering the dark malt in a coffee grinder.  I did this, and I'm pretty sure it contributed to a stuck mash.  The beer was great though.  I might give Martin's recipe a go too.  Cheers!

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