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Messages - dmtaylor

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Ingredients / Re: Malt Flavor: American vs. Belgian
« on: May 04, 2015, 12:33:44 PM »
If you are at the shop or if you have both on hand already, munch on a couple of grains of each, and use the one that tastes better.  If ordering online, get what's cheaper or whatever.  I don't think there's a wrong answer.  With experience you might learn which one you prefer the most.  If you have no preference, then you can't go wrong.

I'd be a little concerned about attenuation with 7+ lbs of LME.  Maybe replace a pound of that with table sugar.

You want a malty beer, but you don't want an underattenuated cloying beer.

+100 to that.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: FWH
« on: May 04, 2015, 07:12:14 AM »
Here are some tips that I learned from Jeff Renner on FWH.

1. He likes noble or noble hop derivatives for FWH.

This is something I would agree with, insomuch as it involves boiling noble hops for a full hour or more.  I find that one of the secrets to creating "that German lager flavor" involves having noble hops in the whole boil.  In my experience, noble hops do not behave the same way as other hops, where you might save most of your hopping for the very end of the boil -- no -- noble hops need a longer boil time to develop their full flavor.  So if you want to try FWH, noble hops are certainly a great option.  Will you get "a smoother bitterness"?  I don't know.  But at least you might achieve "that German lager flavor"..... which you can also get from a normal 60-90 minute boil addition with your nobles.  Don't always just use a high alpha hop for all your bittering, and don't always save all your flavor and aroma hops for the very end of the boil; it's not necessarily always the best way to go for all your beer styles.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: FWH
« on: May 03, 2015, 07:40:16 PM »
I don't do it... but I can tell you that for the purposes of IBU calculations, treat it like it's in the boil the whole time... because it is, and photospectroscopy proves that FWH gives your more IBUs than regular boil additions.  Tasting experiments have been all over the board as to how bitter it actually tastes.  Everyone refers to the old one from like 50 years ago where the FWH resulted in "smoother" bitterness.  However the experiments I've read about more recently couldn't tell much difference between FWH and a regular 60-minute addition.  Which makes perfect sense to me.  If you want to try FWH, consider doing an experiment with two batches in one day using different hopping techniques, and please report back your experience.

Melanoidin malt tastes like the black edges of darkly toasted bread crust.  Too much can take the burnt toast effect over the top.  You only need a little bit of that.  If you want your beer to taste very darkly toasted, go with the full pound.  I think a half pound will do your beer good.  But it's yours, do whatever you think you'll like.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: US-05 giving off strawberry notes?
« on: May 03, 2015, 06:22:01 AM »
I have never heard of strawberry character and have not experienced it with the US-05... but that doesn't mean you are wrong either.  Many people say the US-05 is not really as clean as everyone might be led to believe.  There could be all sorts of fruity esters coming out especially if you underpitch or ferment warm.

There could also be some contribution from the Vienna malt which to some palates tastes slightly fruity.  Some people would say plum or raisin but it is very subtle.  So that is another potential contributor.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Crabbie's
« on: May 01, 2015, 06:56:50 AM »
I should have mentioned earlier... I LOVE Crabbie's.  I have several bottles in my fridge right now, both the regular ginger kind and the orange flavor.  As a delicious beverage, there is nothing wrong with it at all.  It is very very tasty.  But it's not beer.  You're not going to be able to homebrew this like a beer.  Sorry, not possible.  But you can make a soda version as I stated previously.

Ingredients / Re: Melanoidin malt...flavors, aroma, uses?
« on: May 01, 2015, 05:02:25 AM »
Yeah, it's another German flavor malt.  If Vienna tastes like very very lightly toasted bread, and Munich tastes like fully toasted bread, melanoidin malt tastes like the burnt edges of the crust on that same well-toasted bread.  If you want a slight bit of burnt toast flavor in your final beer, use some melanoidin.  If you don't, then don't.  Totally up to the vision and creativity of the recipe designer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Crabbie's
« on: April 30, 2015, 09:03:37 AM »
Crabbie's is not really beer, it's really a soda pop with alcohol.  You would have to treat this like homemade soda pop.  You can purchase one of those home root beer kits that comes with the special CO2 relief caps to allow natural carbonation -- mix up a ginger ale soda pop recipe, add a little vodka and yeast, then refrigerate as soon as carbonated to halt fermentation.  Or you could do the same but skip the yeast and special caps, and just force carbonate in a keg.

Bottom line is, you can make this at home, but it is NOT beer, it is soda with vodka.  Seriously.  I'm not kidding.  No joke.  Good luck.  I might even want to give this a try myself as I do own a root beer kit as described above (which makes AWESOME root beer, by the way, hard or soft).

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Chronically unable to acheive targeted FG
« on: April 30, 2015, 04:14:00 AM »
I agree with Jim and Keith.  Extract is not often highly fermentable, so if you want lower gravity, you need to replace some of your extract with simple sugar like cane or corn sugar.  You might appreciate this and many other hints available here (click to enlarge):

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Spring 2015 Beer Swap
« on: April 29, 2015, 08:25:07 PM »
Frank, you'll be receiving a little something that looks like this.  FedEx Tracking number 773491423973.  I'll be shipping probably Friday if that's alright with you -- the box is already packed but I don't think I can drop off with the shipper until Friday when I'm off work.

Other Fermentables / Re: freezing apple juice
« on: April 28, 2015, 02:58:46 PM »
Yes, frozen juice will still make very good cider.  Go for it.

9 lb LME seems a bit much.  Cut back to around 7-7.5 lb?

Also 1 lb melanoidin seems a bit much.  Cut back to about 0.5 lb.

With a doppelbock, you can safely add all your extract up front.  The major effect is darkening, and darkness is just fine in a doppelbock.  Hop utilization will also be reduced a bit as you mentioned, but again, in a doppelbock, which is not a heavily hopped style, this is no big deal.

For more information...

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Crazy amount of head.
« on: April 27, 2015, 02:40:53 PM »
See above, and I'll say it again -- was your priming sugar fully dissolved in the fermenter, or did some of it fall out into the bottom?  If you fully dissolve all your priming sugar in a cup or two of boiling water, and then add this fully dissolved solution to your fermenter, then you shouldn't have inconsistent carbonation.  That's still my guess.

Another possibility.... Excessive sediment in a bottle can become excessive "nucleation sites", where the CO2 bubbles can form.  It's the same kind of thing as like on Mythbusters where they drop a Mentos into Diet Coke and it becomes like a volcano because as the Mentos begins to break up in the Coke, it creates millions of microscopic points where CO2 can grab onto, all at one time, and this leads to gushing.  Another example: Have you ever seen one of those fancy Samuel Adams glasses where there is a tiny circle etched into the bottom of the glass?  A lot of bubbles will emanate from that etched ring on the bottom of the glass because of nucleation.  Same thing happens with dirty glassware.  If there's some crud in the bottom or sides of your glass and you pour a well carbonated beer into it, the foam can be excessive due to nucleation on the debris.

The same thing can happen with the sediment in your bottles.  Too much hops or whatever in the bottom of the bottle, and you might have gushers just from excessive available nucleation sites.

I would still double check that your sugar is fully dissolving before anything else.  That's the biggest problem if it's not all dissolved, you'll get crazy gushers from that.  The yeast/hop sediment thing is a relatively minor effect as compared to insufficient mixing of the priming sugar which would be a huge effect.

All Grain Brewing / Re: water to grain ratio for mashing
« on: April 24, 2015, 12:09:32 PM »
I go anywhere from 0.9 qt/lb with like a barleywine when I sparge a ton and boil longer, up to 2 qt/lb with a lighter beer.  Average is anywhere from 1.3 to 1.8 qt/lb for "normal" strength beers.  For the most part, it really just doesn't matter much.  It doesn't directly impact efficiency or attenuation or body or anything else you can think of.  At least not until the biggest beers like barleywine, where at that point you might want to sparge as much of the sugars out as possible to keep your efficiency up.  Maybe.  Up to you.

Mash ratio just really doesn't matter all that much in my experience.  Huge gravity beers might be the only real exception, IF you care about sparging and boiling longer to maximize efficiency.  Or take the hit.

I guess I'm starting to repeat myself.  I'll say it again... no, I don't need to.  Seriously though...

Mash ratio really doesn't matter.  Play with it and see for yourself.

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