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Topics - brewmonk

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Kegging and Bottling / Uh oh, didn't mix yeast well.
« on: July 17, 2013, 04:31:37 PM »
To make a long story short, beer was filtered (so no residual yeast and this is a high gravity beer at 10%, then in bottling, added bottling sugar first and it was mixed in well.  Later added fresh bottling yeast, but forgot to mix it up before bottling.  Now, some bottles are carbonated fine, but other bottles are flat and sweet.  The question is: is there any way to tell which bottles are carbonated and which ones are flat without opening them?  :-[

Going Pro / Pro Brewing Software
« on: February 14, 2013, 10:30:54 AM »
I'm finding that templates in MS Word and Excel are getting cumbersome.
So who uses what?  ProMash seems to be the most common one I see online, but BeerSmith claims to be good for professionals too.  Are there others that are solid, and is there anything I should "look for" in brewing software?

Going Pro / New monastic beer in Italy
« on: August 02, 2012, 02:16:58 PM »

We just received our brewery license from the Italian state!  :)

We're the 2nd monastic brewery in Italy.  Over half of our community are Americans, so we have the international spirit.  Belgian style beers, slightly modified for Italian tastes, brewed by Americans and Italians, Belgian brewing consultant, etc.
Talk about a crash course in learning about opening a brewery.  :o (the research in Belgium was fun though)

We've started with a Belgian Blond and a Brown.

Sadly, we will have an almost Westvleteren scale distribution.  Our brew system is really small (nano brewery), so our market at the moment is only our town which get's a lot of tourists, and maybe some special requests within Italy.  But the craft brewing movement is growing in Italy much like it did in the US in the 90's, so we hope we'll be able to grow too.

I've wanted to post this earlier, but wasn't able to until everything was official.

Who knew all my years of tasting beers would come in handy in a monastery!  ;D

For all you beer geek tasters out there  ;) , what's a good infrared thermometer for checking the temp of the beer for serving?

We will be using a DE filter in our brewery, and I am trying to get safety things together.  I have read that you should use a mask when working with diatomaceous earth.  Is there a certain type of mask, and do I need anything else like safety glasses or goggles?

Going Pro / Bottle cap graphics
« on: April 15, 2012, 09:21:41 AM »
What is the process for getting bottle cap graphics.  Does the bottle cap company do that or do you have to go to a graphics company?

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / That extract "twang"
« on: February 18, 2012, 11:20:43 AM »
Just curious about the extract "twang" that kit and extract beers get dissed for.

Is the flavor mainly in LME and the prehopped kits, or does DME tend to give that flavor too?

And I'm still trying to understand what that "twang" is supposed to taste like.  I've heard "umami" "savory" or "meaty" but I'm either not that trained on the taste, or I have just never had a noticeably "meaty" beer  :o.  Is there a way to doctor a beer to understand that flavor?

This has probably been discussed a million times  :-[ but ....  ;D

In looking into all grain I'm looking for a cooler to do batch sparging (a la Denny).

Right now it looks like my options would be between a Coleman Xtreme or an Igloo Marine (both rectangular) and was wondering if there are any issues with one or the other (for me the Igloo would be cheaper).

I'm also wondering about the size.  If I plan on doing 5 gallon batches, maybe even some "big beers" (high gravity) in the future, what would be good a good size to look at, so that I'm not kicking myself for either having too much head space to not be able to easily keep a steady temp, but to not worry about having too small a size to deal with bigger grain bills.

All Grain Brewing / How many people "brew in a bag" and their thoughts?
« on: October 01, 2011, 07:15:13 AM »
So I just started reading about the "Brew in a Bag" technique" which is supposed to be a great way to step into all grain and save some time.  Aside from lifting a heavy bag full of wet grains seeming to be a PITA, is this a pretty good thing to try out?
Experiences, opinions, rants, raves?

All Grain Brewing / So, how long to do a 5 gallon all-grain batch?
« on: August 20, 2011, 12:30:23 PM »
I'm one of those extract guys who looks over at the "big kids" doing all grain and want to play.  ;D

I was curious what the average brew day length is for you guys, from beginning prep to process to final cleanup.
I'm looking at doing something simple like a mash in a bag on the stove top. I've seen that some people have a fancy set up and can do it really fast, and others just take their time, but what would be an average (if there is one) length of time.  My schedule is limited but maybe not too much.


When bottling, does the amount of headspace differ depending on either the bottle size or the bottle neck width?

I have bottled with 33cl and 50cl bottles and just fill it to the top and when I pull bottling cane out, the headspace goes down to about 1.5 to 2 inches which I have found to be fine.

But I have a 5 liter swingtop that I'm thinking about using which has a wider neck.  Would I still just do the 1.5 to 2 inch headspace, or do I need to adjust because the bottle is different sized (in volume and/or in neck width).


Kegging and Bottling / Weak seal on bottles
« on: June 15, 2011, 01:48:23 PM »
I usually use the grolsch style bottles with the resealable tops, but did my first bottling with crowns.  Things seem sealed, but I worry about a weak seal.  Would it be obvious if there isn't a good enough seal? And is there any good way to check?

If I made a yeast starter when I brewed, will it be enough additional alcohol to need to take that into account when calculating alcohol content?
I made a 2 liter yeast starter using 7.3 oz of DME and a smackpack of yeast and fermented it for almost 24 hours.
I did an extract batch, so I only boiled 3 gallons, then I topped off to 17 liters and then pitched my yeast to make 19 liters (5 gallons).
My OG after pitching was 1.082 and my FG was 1.020.  Do those measurements take into account the alcohol from the yeast starter?  Or do I need to add something to my ABV calculation?

Kegging and Bottling / Undercarbonated bottles
« on: May 18, 2011, 02:00:53 PM »
So I did my 3rd batch ever making a Dogfish Head 60 min IPA clone steeping grains and using DME:

US measurements (metric measurements)
8 lbs 8 oz of DME (3.85 kg of DME)
1 lb of crystal 40L (0.45 kg of crystal 40L)
1 oz Warrior hops(substituted Columbus)(28.3 g of Columbus hops)
1.75 oz Amarillo Gold (0.75 oz brewing and 1.0 oz dryhop)   (50 g of Amarillo hops (21.3 g brewing and 28.3 g dryhop))
1.25 oz Simcoe (0.75 brewing oz and 0.5 oz dryhop) (36 g of Simcoe hops (21.3 g brewing and 14.2 g dryhop))
WYeast American Ale 1056 - 125ml activator

Made a 2 liter yeast starter.

Ended up overshooting the original gravity by quite a bit: 1.082 instead of around 1.070.  (Yes, I should have diluted it for more beer  >:( )
After two weeks I dryhopped by just dumping the hops into the primary.
OG 1.082 to FG 1.020 (about 8.25% ABV I think)
A week after dryhopping I bottled.  I used 4 grams (113 oz) corn sugar, ending up with about 16 liters of beer to bottle (4.23 gallons).
I used Abbey de Leffe bottles with standard bottle caps and a typical double lever bottle capper.  They all seem properly sealed.
Stored the beer around 68 F for three weeks.  There's even some sediment in the bottles.
Just tried the beer and it is barely carbonated.  :o I tried two bottles and both had the same carbonation (or lack thereof).
The yeast should have taken the alcohol content fine.  I'm not sure what to check or what happened exactly.  The flavor is great, so I don't want to get rid of it (and I'll drink it like this if I have to), but it just needs a lot more carbonation.
I don't need to wait longer do I?
Any idea of what went wrong or what to check or is there anything I could do to get the carbonation going? ???  Help!

Beer Recipes / Making a stout kit better
« on: May 06, 2011, 01:35:36 PM »
I have a few questions since I'm still new to homebrewing.
I wanted to do something rather easy this time (so easy I have to ask questions, right?  ::) ), and was just wanting to do a stout kit, but maybe taking it up another notch ("imperialize" it maybe?).  I was thinking of steeping some black patent malt and chocolate malt, maybe crystal too, for more body and complexity, as well as a bit of extra DME to bump the body and alcohol up a bit, and maybe get a better yeast than a standard kit packet of yeast.  (edit: when I mean stout kit, I mean a simple hopped-stout-extract-in-a-can kit with a packet of yeast)
Which malt(s) and how much would be good to steep, since I hear you can easily go overboard with black patent malt?
And not wanting to waste a kit packet of yeast, could you use the kit packet of yeast AND add something like an American Ale yeast?  Or would mixing yeast do funny things?
Would I need to add extra hops if adding extra DME?

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