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Messages - dmtaylor

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Beer Recipes / Re: lager recipe help
« on: April 06, 2015, 07:15:32 PM »
I would keep the wheat and toss the Vienna.  Maybe even kick your wheat up to like 25%.  I really like the flavor of wheat malt... however I also love just plain jane pilsner malt, tastes like graham crackery goodness, so don't sub out too much of your pilsner malt.  5% Munich seems like not a bad idea, but for a summer beer, maybe you don't even need it.  Still it might add some complexity.

The 20-minute hop addition does nothing for you.  Save it all for the last 5 minutes or flameout, much more character that way.  Or boil it for a full 60 for more bitterness and spice.  You can actually get a lot of spiciness from bittering additions of noble-ish hop varieties.  Whatever you like.  It will be great.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homegrown Hops
« on: April 03, 2015, 09:32:49 AM »
My homegrowns are all still in the cold Wisconsin earth.

I use most of mine for bittering.  Don't know the alpha acid?  No problem.  Take a guess in the middle of the normal range for the variety.  Then brew a pale ale with them.  If it turns out too bitter, call it a session IPA.  If it turns out too weak, call it a blonde or amber ale.  It's all good.  Then take a guess as to how many IBUs you think you really got.  Use brewing software to back-calculate how much your alpha acid really is.  Then on your next batch, you'll be really close within about 0.3 of the true alpha acid percentage.

Another thing I often do is to blend my homegrown hops 50/50 with known alpha commercial hops.  Then you're guaranteed to get something drinkable.


Beer Recipes / Re: Honey blonde ale help
« on: April 01, 2015, 06:20:19 PM »
I would ditch the Carapils and chop the honey malt in half.  And/or take a look at my honey wheat recipe.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Thickness
« on: March 31, 2015, 03:49:48 AM »
+1 to JT.  He is right on the money.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: continental vs domestic malt flavors
« on: March 27, 2015, 04:22:16 AM »
Even if true, it's irrelevant.  Every malt out there is well modified these days.  A few years ago when I purposely tried to source an undermodified malt for a traditional decoction mash, I came up empty handed -- it didn't exist.

Beer Recipes / Re: Stylistic question.....
« on: March 26, 2015, 06:31:27 PM »
Cool.  If it adds just a touch of roasty character, more power to your dubbel!

Beer Recipes / Re: Stylistic question.....
« on: March 26, 2015, 06:12:59 PM »
Recipe looks good.  The only thing that might throw it off is the coffee(?).  If it tastes like coffee at all when it's done, then it's a 16E Belgian Specialty beer.  If not then it's a dubbel.

Sure sounds tasty to me.  Enjoy!

Beer Recipes / Re: Stylistic question.....
« on: March 26, 2015, 05:15:26 PM »
If you used a Belgian yeast, and it's stronger than about 6.5% alcohol, then call it a dubbel.  If not, then we can brainstorm a little more.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Beer Camp Hoppy Lager
« on: March 26, 2015, 02:25:46 PM »
The whole IPL thing seems like a gimmick to me, anyway.

Totally agree.  And not a very good gimmick either.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: continental vs domestic malt flavors
« on: March 26, 2015, 08:07:59 AM »
Changing from domestic to continental malts can certainly have a major impact.  Changing from Weyermann to Dingeman to Best to Schill, or from Briess to Rahr, or whatever for the same style base malt can also have a big impact.  Even just minor changes from month to month, season to season, by the same maltster, can make a big difference.  Grains are grown, not manufactured.  Malting those grains is an art as well as a science, so there can absolutely be inconsistencies there also.  It's not going to taste exactly the same every time, every season, every place that it's grown, every place and time that it's malted.  This is all part of the fun of brewing.  Every once in a while, you get lucky and all the stars align, and you can make really fantastic beer, and with enough practice, even better than your favorite brewery.  Conversely, every once in a while, the stars don't align, and even with all the right ingredients with the best possible recipe, it can turn out a dud.  It's all part of the game.

I get nuttiness from English malts.  It probably has to do with their malting process more than anything else, but could also be due to where the grain is grown, varietal of the grain, etc.  Can you get nuttiness from American malts?  German malts?  Yes, you certainly can!!  There is a spectrum, where basically any malt from anywhere has a certain amount of nuttiness.  It's just that in some sources, some of the time, the nuttiness becomes more pronounced.  And this same sort of spectrum stuff also applies to grassy, hay-like character, biscuit, honey-like notes, coffee, caramel, toffee... you name it, there's a spectrum for it.

Variety... the spice of life.  Enjoy.

Equipment and Software / Re: Keg or Bottle?
« on: March 26, 2015, 06:44:53 AM »
I brew small 1.7-gallon batches so I always bottle.  I still bottle even when I make the occasional 5-gallon batch for festivals because I never bought proper kegging equipment.  I have experimented with the 5-liter mini-kegs and they work great; however, on my last batch, the old steel keg must have begun to rust as the beer tasted like metal, so that kind of turned me off for a while.  One of these days I'll have to get a new mini-keg and try it again.  I remember I liked kegging a lot since it was so dang easy.  But what I don't like about it is that I can't just have a bottle every once in a while, no, I need to keep the keg cold and drink it all in a month or two.  I'm more lazy than that.  I like to keep a few bottles around for many months or even a year sometimes, and you can't really do that with kegs.  There's certainly advantages/disadvantages both ways.  For a guy who doesn't drink heavily like me, bottling is really the best way for me to go.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Type of DME for yeast starter?
« on: March 26, 2015, 04:25:37 AM »
It makes no significant difference.  Use whatever is cheap or available.  Use LME instead of DME if you want.

Ingredients / Re: Longer boil, darker color?
« on: March 26, 2015, 04:23:26 AM »
This is a highly regarded and much discussed beer here in England.
The brewery give little to no information on recipes, but the  general consensus is that the beer is colour adjusted with brewers caramel.
Like jeffy, I used to use a little black malt to adjust the colour but no longer bother these days when I make it.

This ^^^^^

The Brits have been using "brewer's caramel" for artificial coloring for more than 100 years.  It's like a black tar and they add just a little bit.  You can simulate the same thing at home just by adding a couple ounces of dehusked black malt.

The effect of a longer boil is very very small.  You'd have to boil for far longer to get significant darkening, or else concentrate your boil volume and then add water at the end.  Commercial brewers probably don't do those things, but who knows.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Sanitized nutrients
« on: March 24, 2015, 04:39:28 AM »
I got contamination from my last use of nutrient, where I "dry nutriented" into a stalled fermentation.  Clearly I should have heated or soaked in a half ounce of vodka to sanitize.  So, yeah, contamination is certainly a possibility.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Beer Camp Hoppy Lager
« on: March 24, 2015, 04:33:44 AM »
Okay, I looked this up.  The website says:

BITTERING HOPS  Palisade, El Dorado
FINISHING HOPS  Citra, Equinox

I know I don't like Equinox, although I do like Citra so maybe that carries the whole tune for me.

If it's the heaviness that concerns you, yeah, I don't remember how much body it seemed to have.  Nothing memorable for me.  But I guess it could be heavy on the crystal as they do list it (along with Munich and base malts).

Could also be the El Dorado?  A lot of folks say El Dorado can lead to strong sweet candy-like flavors.  I haven't tasted or used this one yet although I plan to try it in my IPA this summer.

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