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Messages - dmtaylor

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Acetaldehyde strikes again
« on: June 15, 2010, 03:06:49 PM »
One other possibility that no one else has mentioned -- there is a slight possibility that you have a contamination issue.  Do you use any plastic fermentation vessels?  Also any hoses, rubber gaskets, etc.?  Might be time to change those out, as wild critters have been known to hide out in soft things such as those.  If you've used the same such equipment for, let's say, more than 20 batches, then there is a growing risk of contamination.  I am not saying this is definitely the cause of your issue, but I think it is a slight possibility.  If you get all new plastic and rubber and the problem goes away, or does not, then you'll know for sure.  And plastic and rubber pieces are not too expensive, so it might be worth the expense.  Maybe.

Otherwise, my advice would be to leave the beer sit on the yeast for a longer time, and at warmer temperatures, as others have suggested.  Both these things can be really helpful for getting rid of all sorts of off-flavors.

You can rouse the yeast as well, maybe about 3/4 of the way through fermentation or just after it settles out, in the primary.  If it is flocculating out too quickly, it might not be spending enough time entrained in the beer to do its job of cleaning up things such as acetaldehyde.  Swirling up the yeast a bit might keep them eating long enough to eat your off-flavors.

Other Fermentables / Re: Thinking of making a cider
« on: June 14, 2010, 02:34:25 PM »
What do you all think of Magner's?  It's got that certain lambic-like barnyardy funk that I love.  I'm no cider expert, but to me at least, THAT is what a decent English (or Irish?) cider should taste like.  I mean, it's not so dang ordinary.  It has that little something extra that makes it better than anything else you can find in the States.

After the recent Milwaukee World of Beer Festival, which included a wide selection of local ciders, I'm also loving the Crispin line of ciders and pear-cider (no, it's not pure perry).  I don't know if they could be considered world-class but certainly worth a few tastes.

Beer Recipes / Re: not sure what this is...thoughts?
« on: June 12, 2010, 02:55:59 AM »
Wow...... This recipe is INSANE.  It doesn't even remotely fit into ANY style guidelines.  The closest way to describe this might be to call it an IMPERIAL Belgian Dark Strong Ale, or a QUINTUPEL!

I do like the name.  It sounds like something I would say after drinking one.

Does it cost like $70 to make a batch of this stuff??

But it doesn't fit into a barleywine sort of style.  This looks to me more like a huge malt bomb, with just a tiny hint of hop bitterness to play a background supporting role.  Right??

This stuff is going to age really well.  Let a few bottles sit for 10, even 20+ years.  Dang, this is some interesting stuff.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Another sour question
« on: June 07, 2010, 07:30:27 PM »
I don't use glass, so I can't really speak for that.  But... you do need to worry about the plastic and rubber.  After my first sour batch, I had several non-intentional contaminated batches when I reused the same old plastic bucket fermenters.  I tried very hard to kill the bugs, to no avail.  In the end I had to completely replace all plastic and rubber equipment.  Haven't had any issues since.

I couldn't believe it either.  But after about the fourth unintentional sour batch, I got fed up with it and replaced all my soft equipment, and haven't had any problems since.  Those buggers hide out in there, I swear.  I tried Starsan, chlorine, soaked for a week -- nothing worked.  And it was relatively new equipment too.

and not so much a decoction show about why not to do a decoction

Well said, my friend.  Hear hear.   :)

Kegging and Bottling / Re: How much priming sugar
« on: May 28, 2010, 01:41:34 AM »
I would just prime as normal.  Don't use any extra.

DO give it plenty of time to get sour.

DON'T reuse any plastic or rubber equipment on later batches unless you want it to turn out sour.  After I made my first sour beer a few years ago, several subsequent batches also turned out unintentionally sour because it is NOT POSSIBLE to sanitize plastic equipment, until I got fed up and just threw it all away and bought new stuff.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sour Mash
« on: May 25, 2010, 01:49:24 PM »
I used about 1/4 last time and I didn't think it was quite enough -- it was slightly funky, but not easy to detect.  Next time I'm going to go for a full 40% of the mash being sour.  I want it to have real obvious funk!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sour Mash
« on: May 25, 2010, 12:09:19 PM »
Yep, what he said.  Although I prefer to let the sour mash ferment for 3 or 4 days to make sure it's good and ripe by the time it gets into the main beer.  If you only wait 1 or 2 days, I don't think there would be enough strange stuff going on to make hardly any difference in your finished beer.  Yes, this is based on experience.  Look up "Kentucky Common" sometime to learn more about the style.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« on: May 25, 2010, 03:27:33 AM »
I have three little monsters and I brew with them around.  You do need to be careful around hot things, but that's about it.  In my case, they know what beer tastes like, and have decided that they don't like it at all (so far anyway), so they have virtually zero interest in my hobby except they occasionally like to take a peek at the mash or the boil to see what it looks like, but that's all.  Otherwise they just leave me alone to do my thing because that's daddy's thing and it's not really too fun for them.

I agree with others' sentiments that in most states, it is perfectly legal to brew, but you do need to find out your state's laws, to confirm that they've got nothing on you or your buddy.  Then, assuming it's legal, make it clear in court that what you are doing is perfectly legal and therefore can't be held against you.  The "investigator" should know better -- are they getting some kind of search warrant for this??  If not, you could refuse to let the investigator in, and counter that their basis for any such warrant would be flawed.

Now on the other hand, if homebrewing is not legal in your state, you could have a slight problem -- Better get rid of the equipment and all homebrew kegs/bottles immediately.  If this is the case, the investigator is basically giving you a free chance to clean up before they come over (because maybe they're really on your side?).  But as soon as the investigator leaves, you could probably sneak all the stuff back in with no one being the wiser.

In reality, regardless of legality, there is really nothing bad about homebrewing around kids as long as you're not alcoholics and you're not serving it to children.  Anyway, the feds say we can brew 200 gallons per household per year, which in my eyes basically implies that as long as you're under that, you're legally not drunks either.  Right?!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Infusion mashing
« on: May 23, 2010, 11:39:51 PM »
156-158 F is a little too warm, IMHO.  I typically shoot for 148-152 F.  Anywhere in that range is just fine for almost any brew.  45 minutes is plenty for efficiency.  But your high mash temperature will certainly affect your final gravity.  Not a real big deal.  Just aim lower next time, and don't play with the heat as much.  Once the temperature is in the lower to mid-150s, you can pretty much turn off the heat and just let it fall the whole rest of the time unless it falls below about 146 F.

The Pub / Re: Howdy everybody!
« on: May 23, 2010, 12:50:35 PM »
I feel like I've been missing out -- all my friends are here!  You don't mind me dissing the unofficial rules of thumb of brewing here, do you?  No really, I'll try to be a little bit polite.

The Pub / Re: Census 2010
« on: May 23, 2010, 12:44:30 PM »
This must be some form of racism.  You're not a non-hispanic -- really really sure you're not hispanic -- Caucasian, are you.  Rhetorical point, no need to respond.  Regardless of the real answer, racism is alive and well in the USA.

Ingredients / Re: US Goldings
« on: November 19, 2009, 03:00:19 PM »
I'm a proponent of using authentic hops for finishing, especially in smaller beers like a bitter.  You can use U.S. Goldings just fine for bittering, but if you want a good bitter, I think you should seek out the real English hops for your flavor/aroma additions.

That said, I did use U.S. Goldings as flavor additions in an English barleywine recently, and to be honest, I really don't get much hop flavor at all, nor do I feel I need to, since this beer is much more about malt complexity and smoothness of alcohol, as opposed to hop character, at least it is to me.  So for that, I think it was fine.  And it certainly did not ruin the beer at all!  But it's all covered up with malt and alcohol.

For a bitter.... I'd try to find the real English stuff.  But I guess I might use the U.S. version in a pinch (like, if I wanted to brew it TODAY and couldn't get it).  I guess it all depends on how serious you are about making the most authentic possible example of the style.

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