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Messages - dmtaylor

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Nutrient
« on: December 23, 2015, 05:02:16 AM »
I use nutrient for beers with finicky yeasts (Belgians jump to mind) or when fermentation gets stuck.  For cider and mead where I want to keep fermentation as slow and controllable as possible to maintain sweetness, I never use nutrient.  I promise it makes great beverages with no nutrient required.  These latter fermentations never get stuck for me, so in my view any reasons for using it are defeated.

Other Fermentables / Re: Yeast Nutrient and Cider
« on: December 23, 2015, 04:53:03 AM »
Takes at least 2 months or maybe 3.  I keep wondering if I should bottle mine from October -- I probably could but I am also lazy and it is likely still fermenting anyway.  A couple of my 4 batches are definitely still slightly active yet.  Guess I should check on all 4 again and see where they are at.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: evaluating dark beers
« on: December 22, 2015, 05:27:19 AM »
Could be the water.  Do you have a full water report?  Is the water chlorinated and treated to get rid of chlorine??

Could it be that everyone is using the same or similar poorly crafted malts or recipes?  Like too much black patent?  Can you share any recipes?

Could it be that the beers you tasted were just fine but you personally were just not in the mood for dark beers last night?

Other Fermentables / Re: Krausen and Cider
« on: December 22, 2015, 05:19:36 AM »
Sometimes there is krausen but not always.  Usually there will be some for the first few days but after that it's gone.  But sometimes none at all.  But if you have a clear fermenter and good eyesight you can always see CO2 fizz bubbles going up -- that's a sure sign of fermentation, besides the change in specific gravity.  This all makes sense because cider is very low in protein, unlike beer which has plenty of protein -- protein is one of the primary building blocks of foam.

Other Fermentables / Re: Yeast Nutrient and Cider
« on: December 22, 2015, 05:11:53 AM »
My garage here in Wisconsin has ranged from 30s to 60s with an overall average of 45-50 F.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: What's your favorite Cider yeast?
« on: December 21, 2015, 09:32:47 AM »
The one nice thing about the Scottish ale yeast is that it doesn't ferment so dry.  Should finish above 1.000, especially if fermented cool around 60 F.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: What's your favorite Cider yeast?
« on: December 21, 2015, 07:41:48 AM »
Scottish ale yeast was the favorite in Zymurgy.  I thought it was okay.  But still not better than the two best cider yeasts on Earth: Cote des Blancs, and US-05.  Cote des Blancs is super clean, sweet, and appley.  US-05 adds a slight crackery flavor and ends up more tart for some reason, but is very enjoyable.

Other Fermentables / Re: Yeast Nutrient and Cider
« on: December 20, 2015, 05:55:14 AM »
Sometimes I get a bit of sulfur.  This year I didn't get any sulfur at all, out of four batches.  Not sure the rhyme or reason, but it does go to show that nutrient is not always necessary.  If I'd fermented at room temp, the ciders would be done already.  Mine at colder temps since mid-October are just about done now.  I'm beginning to think about bottling, maybe, but I want to be certain they're totally done.  Gravities are all still >1.005 for natural sweetness, yay.  I should just drink them out of the fermenters.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Whirlpool/ 0 Minute Addition Difference
« on: December 19, 2015, 01:44:33 PM »
Not much difference if any.

Other Fermentables / Re: Yeast Nutrient and Cider
« on: December 19, 2015, 01:42:43 PM »
None.  Nutrient does not serve any useful function in ciders in my experience.  I haven't used it for many years.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Expired Dry Yeast
« on: December 19, 2015, 01:36:24 PM »
It takes years for dry yeast to "expire".  I would use them like normal.  The best by dates are bogus.

Beer Recipes / Re: Hard Root Beer - Anyone have a recipe?
« on: December 14, 2015, 07:28:27 PM »
Oh my gosh... Keith is serious!  In that case...

The lowest attenuating yeast I have ever used (at about 42%!) is 1099.  So I'd use that over anything else.

Aim for a starting gravity around 1.070 and a final gravity around 1.030.  Seems a good ballpark.  This would give you just >5% ABV.

Go with the Gnome for most or all of the root beer flavor.  I've made soft root beer with it a few times and it tastes good.  Make it easy on yourself.  If you want to add more personality, look into birch vs. wintergreen, see what's cheaper.  Same maybe for licorice vs. anise.  These would be additives on top of the Gnome.  I'd still start with Gnome as a base flavoring to give you all the other in-between, and add the others to taste somehow or another (vodka tinctures maybe even??).

Hmm... what else would work here..... I dunno.  Simplicity is probably best.  Maybe 90+% pilsner malt with enough debittered black or Carafa III or whatever to darken.  Or cheat and use Sinamar?!  Or do both.  I wouldn't use much if any caramel malts.  If you use any molasses, keep it real slight.  No more than like 1-2% of the fermentables.

Just thinking out loud.  Can't say I'll ever try brewing this myself.  Maybe this gives you a few ideas to bounce around anyway.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Playing Favorites
« on: December 14, 2015, 03:22:30 PM »
In order to get an idea of what the more experienced members here have concluded, I'd like to know the following from any or all of you:

List your favorite:
Pilsner malt -
Pale malt -
Munich malt/Vienna malt -
Other Base malts (MO/GP) -
Specialty malt(s) -
Bittering hops -
Aroma hops -
Flavor hops -
Adjuncts -
Sugars -

Great question(s).  I have few answers but I am curious how others will answer.

One favorite malt is Special B.  I love malt and this one takes the cake.  Also love Vienna and Pilsner malt.  I am still playing around trying to find favorite brands for my malts.  I want to play with Gambrinus honey malt some more as well, it's interesting.

I love to use my homegrown hops for bittering.  The flavor and aroma never seems to be too stellar, at least mine growing here in the shade.  But for bittering they are great and reliably in "normal" range for alpha acid.

Love to use Hallertau for bittering, whether homegrown or not.  Believe me, you can taste them after a long boil.

I want to run more experiments using low alpha hops for bittering.  Everyone uses high alpha.  Yawn.  Why not get some flavor out of your boil hops, for those styles where you want subtle hop flavor.  Not every beer needs to have the term "IPA" in its name.

Curious to see what others are doing.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Hochkurz vs 150F - The 'play nice' thread
« on: December 12, 2015, 07:52:56 AM »
How about having everyone give feedback (spider plot?), and then do the triangle test? You could still ask for impressions from correct triangle-testers afterward if you wanted, but the initial input would be blind.

No way..... that makes way too much sense........ :)

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Attenuation/High FG
« on: December 11, 2015, 07:12:40 AM »
Welcome to the forum!

Is your mash thermometer recently calibrated?  Is it possible you mashed hotter than 153?

What were your fermentation times and temperatures?  Did you rack to secondary?  You should never rack blindly at X number of days but rather need to wait until you are positive that fermentation is done.  Or better yet, never rack at all.

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