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Topics - brewmonk

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Beer Recipes / Did I make a Dortmunder Export?
« on: April 23, 2011, 11:15:50 AM »
This is my second batch ever.
I have no idea what this is.  I had a Coopers "lager" kit that came with my fermenter and didn't want to waste it, so I found a recipe on the internet using this as a base and modified it (with the forums' help.  Thanks!  :) ).  The original recipe was for a "dark" bock.

Here's what I ended up doing:

50 g cracked crystal malt (steeped 30 min at about 70° C)
100 g of cracked chocolate malt (steeped 30 min at about 70° C)
1 can of coopers lager liquid malt kit (prehopped)
1.5 kg (about 3 lbs) of light dry malt extract
20 g Hallertaur Hersbrucker (added in last 10 min of boil)
yeast: Denny’s Favorite 50 (no yeast starter, sorry Denny  :-[ )
OG 1.060
FG 1.020
Fermented a bit high for first few days (about 21°C (70° F) instead of 18°C).
Let it sit in the fermenter for about 3 weeks, then bottled.  Let sit for another 3 weeks before trying.
Turned out pretty darn good.  A bit dark, good carbonation.  Has a malt backbone, but also a bitterness from the hops.  Nothing really extraordinary, but much better than anything “generic” I could buy at the store.  Seems like a great session beer.  I'm actually pretty proud of it.  And, like I said, thanks again for those who helped with suggestions (it took me long enough to get around to doing it though  ::) ).

Any ideas as to what the style is? ???
I'm guessing it's sort of a pseudo-Dortmunder Export.

General Homebrew Discussion / Dry hopping and frozen hops.
« on: April 09, 2011, 10:40:54 AM »
This seems like a silly question.  I'm doing a Dogfish Head 60 min clone and am going to be dry hopping next week.  I have my hops stored in the freezer.  Do I need to let the thaw before I dry hop them or can they just go from freezer to fermenter?  If so, how long should I let them thaw before adding them?

There is such an irony here.
I now live in Italy.  As you can imagine the homebrew scene is easily dominated by the home wine making scene.  Homebrewing and "artigianal" beers are growing in popularity though, and there are some pretty good microbreweries popping up (especially in Northern Italy).  Homebrewing here is a bit different though in terms of equipment and techniques.  You can't find racking canes (I had to import mine from the States), and most sites just recommend using potassium metabisulfate for sanitizing (no StarSan  :'(  )  
Anyway, I've been looking for glass carboys, and Italian homebrew sites just don't have them.  The typical fermenter is a plastic bucket (which always has a spigot).  The funny thing is as I'm researching carboys, I find that all the glass ones in the States come from ... Italy  ::) ... yet nobody uses them over here.  ???  In Italian beer forums they are treated like some mythical beer creature only found in a far away place called North America  :D
Does anyone know what company makes these?

Beer Recipes / Does anyone remember a blueberry beer from Bert Grant?
« on: February 28, 2011, 03:46:00 PM »
I recall back in the late 90's drinking a beer from Bert Grant that was called a blueberry beer, yet didn't actually have blueberries.  I think the FDA eventually made him stop it because they considered it false advertising.  I do remember a blueberry flavor though.  Anyone know anything about the recipe?
(Or was I drinking too many LaTrappe Quads back then?)

Yeast and Fermentation / Ideal temperatures on fermentation
« on: February 21, 2011, 08:34:07 AM »
[EDIT: I didn't read the packet close enough. WYeast is not putting out contradictory information.  I humbly apologize for the confusion  :-[ ]

I'm finally getting around to my 2nd batch, and am using Denny's Favorite 50.  The WYeast package it came in has on the package a range of 21-24 degrees C, but when I look on the WYeast website it says 15-21 degrees C.  I'm assuming if I've been fermenting at the higher temps according to the package it won't make much of a difference, but I find the conflicting information odd given they are both from WYeast
Admittedly, the package looks like a generic WYeast package with "Denny's Favorite 50" stamped on it.  I'm in Italy, so I assume there's a WYeast lab affiliate here in Europe somewhere.  Would they have less accurate packaging procedures though?
Since I'm a noobie, I don't know how big the margin of error is on certain things yet.

General Homebrew Discussion / Iodophor: BTF vs Vinoferm
« on: September 30, 2010, 03:29:23 PM »
Does anyone have any experience with or knowledge of the Vinoferm brand of Iodophor (I think it is from a French company) ... specifically concentration?
I have heard all the things about the BTF brand from national chemicals and to use only 1 TBS per 5 gallons.  But since I am in Italy, the only thing I can easily get is the Vinoferm version, which basically says to add 5 ml per 10 liters (which is about the equivalent of 2 tsp to 5 gallons).  I've tried searching the web (although I'm not sure how well) to find if Vinoferm is just more concentrated, but can't really find anything.  I'm assuming that the difference wouldn't make that much of a difference if it was more concentrated and would not affect the beer in the big picture.  However, I was just wanting to see if anyone might know the differences.

Beer Recipes / Newbie dark pseudo-bock
« on: August 18, 2010, 10:22:00 AM »
I hope I'm not going out of my league for my second brew ever, but I wanted to get a bit more complex.  This may be more a question of yeast though.  This recipe started with me looking for something with which to get rid of my "lager" extract kit that came with my fermenter kit.

Rocky Mountain American Dark
This is a Bock-Like lager made with added chocolate malt.
The American Mount Hood hops add fine flavour and aroma.

1 can Coopers Lager extract kit

50g Cracked Crystal Malt

100g Cracked Chocolate Malt

500g Light Dry Malt Extract

20g Mount Hood Hop Pellets (Hallertaur Hersbruker as substitute, since I can't get Mt. Hood here in Italy)

(Possible yeast substitute: White labs American ale yeast blend)

I plan to just steep the grains according to John J. Palmer's "How to Brew", then do the usual extract kit thing, and add the hops with about 10 minutes left.  Since I don't have the ability to lager, I was going to try to use a substitute ale yeast (not the dry yeast that comes with the kit) of the White labs American ale yeast blend.

Does anything seem glaringly wrong in this recipe?  I'm not really sure what to expect, but it sounds interesting.

Equipment and Software / How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« on: August 10, 2010, 02:29:54 PM »
I'm getting ready to do my second homebrew batch and wanted to do something more than a simple extract kit by adding some specialty grains and some finishing hops.  I plan on using hop pellets, which I hear dissolve pretty thoroughly.  I bought a strainer, but I wonder if it is fine enough.  Just how fine should a simple strainer to pour a few gallons of wort through do I need?  I assume if it's too fine that it would just take forever to strain without having to dump the hops out all the time.

(I'd really prefer not to use hop bags.)

Kegging and Bottling / Missing bottle sediment?
« on: August 10, 2010, 05:21:11 AM »
I made my first batch a couple of months ago.  It was a stout from an extract kit.  I followed the directions and ended up with an OG of 1040 and a FG of 1008.  The fermentation was pretty strong for about three days.  After a week and a half I bottled it with brewers sugar (3/4 cup for a little over 5.5 gallons of beer).  I used iodophor to sterilize everything, using a 1 tbsp iodophor/5 gallons of water solution.  I just dunked the clean bottles in making sure the inside was coated with solution, and then let them drain upside-down for at least 10 minutes if not more.  I stored the bottles in an area that was about 70 F.

Two weeks after bottling, I popped some open to try it.  It was pretty good, although still had a bit of a "young" taste to it.  It had decent carbonation.  But I was rather surprised that there was absolutely no sediment at the bottom of any of the bottles I finished.  Recently, after another two weeks, I have opened a few more, and although it seemed a bit drier to me, I still had no sediment.

I know there was yeast in the beer before I bottled since I had a good fermentation, and a nice layer of trub, but I was wondering if I killed my yeast while bottling, and the carbonation is just what is left from the initial fermentation.  Or is it that there sometimes just isn't sediment with bottle conditioning (which I would find that rather unusual)?

Beer Recipes / °designing° a recipe using an extract kit
« on: July 16, 2010, 10:34:36 AM »
I'm new to the homebrew scene and have only one batch under my belt.  It was a basic stout kit.  But for my second batch, I'd like to something a bit better than a standard kit.  However, when I ordered my homebrew kit, I got a can of Cooper's Lager extract kit that I don't want to waste, but I don't really want to just do a "lager" (even though it uses ale yeast).

My basic question is: can I just substitute the Cooper's extract as I would a light extract?  I'm assuming this wouldn't be wise, but was wondering how could I use the lager kit as a basis for something.  I'm really not familiar with recipe design as to what would work and what wouldn't.  I'm not even sure what styles I should consider, if it is possible.

Yeast and Fermentation / Newbie fermenting question
« on: July 04, 2010, 07:05:23 AM »
Well, this is my first batch ever, so this is a learning process for me.  And I also admit I am still learning the virtue of patience in waiting for the beer to be finished.  I'm pretty sure the fermenting is not done yet, but I was surprised by something that happened:

By the evening of the day I brewed, the fermenter started bubbling.  Over the next three days it seemed happily vigorous.  It appeared that the fermentation had slowed down on the fourth day as there was no activity in the bubbler.  So I took a sample (by pouring some beer from the spigot of my plastic bucket fermenter, but not actually moving the fermenter).  The beer had gone from 1040 to 1014.  The taste was decent, nothing really funky in the flavors, so that's probably a good sign.  But while I was taking the hydrometer readings, it seemed like the fermentation started up again, and the bubbler started bubbling about every 45 to 60 seconds, while before, it hadn't been bubbling at all (at least for 10 minutes when I was down there near the fermenter).  I assume the fermentation is still going on and I probably need to get down to around 1010 on the hydrometer, but of course I'll really wait until I get two days of the same hydrometer reading.  Anyway, any explanation on why the fermenter started bubbling again?  I didn't think I really disturbed the beer enough just by taking a small sample of less than a measuring cup through the spigot.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / 5 gallons vs. 23 liters
« on: June 30, 2010, 12:26:13 PM »
I'm new to the homebrew scene and have just brewed my first batch using a Coopers Irish Stout extract kit.  The OG ended up being about 1040 which I though seemed a bit low (I expected 1050), and was wondering if it had to do with the fact that I made the batch 23 liters (as the instructions indicated) even though I've seen other people use Coopers extracts in recipes and they only made 5 gallon batches in their recipe.  I know the difference is around a gallon, so I would assume that it could make much of a difference in the OG, but would it mess up the recipe?  Since it's my first batch ever, I figured I'd better just stay simple and follow the instructions on the can (which included using 1 kg of white sugar).
Any thoughts?

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