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Messages - dmtaylor

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3211
A few thoughts...

Make sure you don't squeeze your grain bag too hard.  You could be getting unconverted starches as well as tannins.  Either one could screw up the taste of your beer.  Tannins obviously cause astringency.  And starches are attractive to bacteria, which could infect your brew and cause all sorts of strange flavors, likely including the sort of "huskiness" that you are detecting.

Perhaps have too rough a mesh on your grain bag??  You want a super-fine mesh on your bag to prevent grainy stuff from getting to your boil kettle.  You say you don't "filter" at all.  So, if you are getting any chunks of grain and then boiling that, this can definitely cause astringency.  I do BIAB a lot myself, and yes, I have experienced astringency before, which after much research, I was able to attribute definitively to chunky stuff in my boil kettle.  So now what I do is actually recirculate my runnings through the grain bag and a colander.  Basically, pull out the grain bag as normal, but also set it in a colander, which I set onto the boil kettle, then pour the whole mess through the bag again.  It's tedious but effective -- I haven't had any problems with astringency since.  I know another guy who just puts a fine colander into the wort and pulls out chunks that way.  I haven't tried that yet, but I really think it should help a lot.

Yeah, it could be choice of base malt, too.  What are you using?  Any 6-row malt will have a greater chance at both huskiness and astringency.

My wager is on boiling chunks of grain that didn't get strained out.  You really need to get that stuff out of the boil kettle.

3212
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Possibly botched brew/Rookie mistake
« on: February 21, 2011, 12:21:51 AM »
You could brew a small one-gallon batch of a similar recipe, but jack up the IBUs to 100 or whatever, and then blend the two batches.  I've done it before, and it works if you know what you're shooting for.

3213
Ingredients / Re: Adding mouthfeel/body to a kegged beer?
« on: February 17, 2011, 04:23:41 PM »
Yep, dissolve about a quarter to a third pound of maltodextrin or lactose (both flavorless unfermentable sugars) in a little water, and add it in.  These are not particularly sweet sugars, but should be enough to take the edge off the dryness a bit.

3214
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Another Acetaldehyde Question
« on: February 15, 2011, 01:38:36 PM »
Hey!  I was just reading that acetaldehyde has a boiling point of 70 F.  Then I went to Wikipedia which confirms that it boils at about 68 F!  In other words, if you warm up your beer to about 75 F for a few days, similar to a diacetyl rest, I would imagine that at least some of the acetaldehyde will bubble out.  So the trick here might be to WARM up the beer, NOT COLD CONDITION.  I don't see why this wouldn't work.  It might not be 100% effective, but should be at least partially helpful.  It can't hurt to try!

3215
Ingredients / Re: Green apple taste in young, big beer with turbinado
« on: February 15, 2011, 01:37:21 PM »
Hey!  I was just reading that acetaldehyde has a boiling point of 70 F.  Then I went to Wikipedia which confirms that it boils at about 68 F!  In other words, if you warm up your beer to about 75 F for a few days, similar to a diacetyl rest, I would imagine that at least some of the acetaldehyde will bubble out.  So the trick here might be to WARM up the beer, NOT COLD CONDITION.  I don't see why this wouldn't work.  It might not be 100% effective, but should be at least partially helpful.  It can't hurt to try!

3216
Other Fermentables / Fermentation Temperature for Mead
« on: February 14, 2011, 12:34:28 PM »
I've just made a simple mead with the Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead yeast.  It is currently at 70 F.  I have made good meads at 70 F in the past; however, now I'm ready to make REALLY GOOD mead that would please even the conneisseurs.  So my question is:

What is the RIGHT temperature to ferment mead using the 4184 sweet mead yeast?

Thanks,

3217
Ingredients / Re: Almond beer...
« on: February 13, 2011, 02:51:16 PM »
Ha!  I made homemade maraschino cherries last year, and the secret ingredient was none other than... almond extract!  The cherries tasted great without the extract, but with it, boy oh boy, THAT'S the secret flavor in all the commercially made maraschinos.

The fact of the matter is, both almonds and cherry pits contain cyanide compounds that provide the "cherry" flavor.  Almonds develop the flavor more as they age and turn stale.  And yes, I said cyanide.  In sufficient quantities, either old aged almonds or cherry pits can be poisonous, but only dogs and other small animals might make the mistake of eating way too many -- humans seem too large and intelligent to be affected very much.

3218
Sounds like James Spencer's results are similar to mine.  30 minutes was enough for him, but there was still some starch in there, which, after 60 minutes was gone.  I wish they would have done more experiments in between 30 and 60 as I have.

IF ya'll are interested:

1) I am a batch sparger.  I also BIAB (more often these days).
2) I always mash at 148 to 152 F.
3) I always mash at a water to grain ratio of 1.25 to 1.45 qts/lb.
4) I always stir my mash every 10 to 15 minutes to assure even temperature distribution.
5) I always mashout but never hit 170 F.  The highest I ever get is about 165 F, and that is rare -- usually it's about 155 to 160 F.

Take it for whatever it's worth (perhaps less than 2 cents).

3219
I'll be sure to give it a listen.

My own answer, based on my own experiments, is 40 minutes.  Why?  A 30-minute mash is long enough sometimes, but not always, and 90 minutes (or even 60!) is rarely necessary.  But 40 minutes seems to be the sweet spot for my system for most styles.

It will be interesting to hear what other experiments have come up with.  I hope the answer isn't too wishy-washy.

EDIT: Just wanted to add that my limitation is based on ATTENUATION, NOT CONVERSION.  You can mash for as little as 15 to 20 minutes and get decent conversion, but your attenuation is going to suck and you'll end up with a thick syrupy beer post-fermentation.

3220
Ingredients / Re: Almond beer...
« on: February 11, 2011, 03:06:16 PM »
I would try almond extract -- and go super easy on it.  An eighth of a teaspoon might be all you need for 5 whole gallons.  Maybe 1/4 teaspoon.  Add a little at a time on bottling/kegging day until it tastes subtle and not IN-YOUR-FACE -- it could be very very overpowering to the point of disgust if you are not careful.

I've tasted a certain almondy nuttiness in German lagers such as Oktoberfest, so personally I think that would be an even better matchup for style than a hefeweizen that already has a lot going on with the clove and banana flavors.  But it might be worth a shot, who knows.

3221
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Another Acetaldehyde Question
« on: February 10, 2011, 03:13:21 PM »
One thing I can tell you is that I seriously, seriously doubt it could be due to air intake or oxidation.

Acetaldehyde happens to me when the yeast isn't fat and happy.  On a couple of occasions, I either severely underpitched which stressed them out, or the other time I pitched yeast that wasn't 100% healthy (kind of old yeast), so that's what I pegged the causes on.

So that's what I would consider first and foremost -- Did you do absolutely everything humanly possible to pitch a sufficient quantity of very happy yeast??  If the answer is yes, then... I'm not sure I can help.  Might be contamination!?  But definitely look at your yeast health very closely.  Could possibly also be your choice of yeast strain -- Did you use a different strain from normal?

Regarding your questions on cold crashing -- I can't say I've ever heard of that being a cause, but I suppose if the yeast wasn't happy about it..... you catch my drift.

3222
Other Fermentables / Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« on: February 08, 2011, 10:03:21 PM »
imagine buying bittersharp juice for 10 bucks a gallon, blending with 4 gallons of sweet juice, for cider making?  I would totally do it. 

Initially this sounds like a fantastic idea.  But then I'm thinking... you'd need to be able to sell it, and I'm not certain of how huge the market would be.  Though I guess nowadays, with dirt cheap internet advertising, it might be doable.  But for small local markets... I guess I don't know.  But I'm totally with you.  If I could buy a couple gallons of bittersharp cider every year to blend with my own, I'd be all set.  For $10 to $15 per gallon, yeah, I wouldn't even think twice -- just do it.  Every year.  Could be an interesting venture.

3223
Other Fermentables / Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« on: February 08, 2011, 03:04:44 AM »
I'm planting my own friggin orchard.  Already got the Cortland, Honeycrisp, and Sweet 16 out back for the past year, and this year I'm thinking of planting either a Foxwhelp or Kingston Black to provide not just flavor but also astringency and acid -- these are the most popular of the so-called "bittersharp" varieties.

3224
All Grain Brewing / Re: "Lactic" Flavor
« on: February 04, 2011, 06:02:27 AM »
Lactic acid doesn't really have much flavor; hence its widespread use in Belgian styles, and by most tasters' interpretation, has the "cleanest" tartness of just about any acid.  Same stuff found in sour cream and yogurt.

3225
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Looking for priming sugar
« on: February 04, 2011, 02:59:34 AM »
Plain table sugar works great.  Either cane or beet sugar, doesn't matter.  I've used it on like the past 40 batches with no problems.  Only thing to keep in mind is that you need a little less of it than you would for corn sugar.  For example, if you are used to using 3/4 cup corn sugar for 5 gallons, you only need about 80% as much table sugar, which works out to roughly 5/8 cup table sugar.  Not sure about weight as I've always measured by volume, with no problems whatsoever.

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