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Messages - dmtaylor

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Beer Recipes / Re: Need a little advice...
« on: June 28, 2016, 05:15:40 AM »
Another update: Rebrewed this beer on the 18th, same exact recipe but with a one hour boil. Sadly I erred in the opposite direction this time, with too little boil off. The result was an OG 1.027 beer that's actually really surprised me. Finished at 1.004, still has good body and mouthfeel. Really pilsner like, the caramel notes are absent in this iteration. A hint of grapefruit, a touch of malt sweetness, but still very dry and quenching.

I think I'm on to something with this recipe, I've really been pleased with both beers.

Other Fermentables / Re: sour cider
« on: June 28, 2016, 05:00:45 AM »
I have made a Sacch/Brett cider before.  It does keep on going and get funky like beer does.  That said, I really did not like it at the time.  Nowadays I would probably appreciate it a lot more.  Have you ever tasted a Basque cider from Spain?  It is very dry,  tart, and funky with a distinct green olive flavor.  That is what mine tasted like.  People pay a lot for Basque ciders but it is certainly an acquired taste that you might not enjoy on your first go.  Maybe try a commercial version before simulating your own with Brett.  They come very close.


Kegging and Bottling / Re: Priming sugar amount
« on: June 17, 2016, 06:21:36 PM »
Sure the bottles might handle it... But if you hate gushers as much as I do, you'll wish you'd only used 4 oz.

Of late I've become more a fan of munching on the raw grains to see which ones I like the best for a particular recipe, rather than saying "MO is more biscuity, 2-row is more bland", as nothing could be closer to the real truth than just by munching on a couple kernels of each immediately prior to buying or brewing.
I've never brewer with a malt I didn't chew first.

Then I am assuming you have not brewed with rye malt, as that s**t will bust your teeth in half!

Nothing could be further.  I love rye malt.  But yeah, it's quite steely.

I once made a beer with MO that I had toasted for a few minutes in a 350 F oven...... and it tasted very much like peanut butter.  So, the results indicating the MO to give a more nutty flavor definitely make sense.  Even when not toasted you can definitely pick up this character.

Of late I've become more a fan of munching on the raw grains to see which ones I like the best for a particular recipe, rather than saying "MO is more biscuity, 2-row is more bland", as nothing could be closer to the real truth than just by munching on a couple kernels of each immediately prior to buying or brewing.


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3711 French Saison
« on: June 02, 2016, 10:24:23 AM »
I'd keep in the 60s for a whole week before ramping up.  Then give it time.  It can take up to a full month before the last few sugars are eaten up by this yeast.  You'll still get your Belgiany esters.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: IPA with WY2565
« on: June 02, 2016, 07:36:20 AM »
Kolsch yeast is actually one of the secrets to awesome IPAs.  I believe I learned this from a Basic Brewing podcast from several years ago, where they ran a yeast experiment, and Kolsch yeast was the hands down winner.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Nottingham dry yeast and esters
« on: June 02, 2016, 07:34:38 AM »
Historically (like 5-10 years ago), Notty gave me consistent attenuation of 77-78%, regardless of mash temperature.  Now it seems to have evolved and is consistently giving people closer to 85% or more.  I don't know how this has happened, but it's the dryest dry yeast I've seen besides Belle Saison (which will give you >95% attenuation but also the Belgiany flavors).

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Nottingham dry yeast and esters
« on: June 02, 2016, 06:06:49 AM »
I've used Notty for my last couple of batches.  It's a friggin beast, even more beastly than it was years ago.  Took a 1.077 beer down to 1.009!  It's friggin hot and going to need a year to age, and that was fermented in the low 60s.  I don't pick up any banana, but just a low nondescript fruitiness, maybe something like pear or apricot, somewhere in there, but not overpowering at all.  I wouldn't ferment it close to 70 F or above, that would probably spell trouble.

As far as banana goes, I get that not from this yeast but from EXTRACT.  If all your extract beers start to taste kind of the same with an odd caramel & banana flavor, that's the "twang" and you might want to look into partial mash brewing or BIAB to get started on more malty flavors and away from the twang.  Others will disagree with me, but that's fine, they have a right to be wrong.  ;)

Ingredients / Re: malt substitute for molasses?
« on: May 24, 2016, 10:15:08 AM »
Special B malt will get you into the right neighborhood.  Also any deep crystal malt like Crystal 120, 140, or higher if you can find it.

Other Fermentables / Re: First Hard Apple Cider - Any Tips?
« on: May 21, 2016, 08:07:31 PM »
Looks like all the advice so far has been really good.

Welcome to the easiest alcoholic beverage to make on the planet.  It’s so easy that cavemen almost certainly did it.  Get some apple juice and just let it sit for a month, and the result is delicious.

It’s easy to make very good cider on your very first try.  However, there are some things you can try to give you truly excellent cider, if you don’t mind just a little extra effort.  So for that, here’s my 3 cents (some of this might overlap what others have already mentioned).

First of all, you don’t necessarily need or want to add any sugar at all.  Why?  Cider is naturally about 6-7% ABV on average without any extra sugar added.  If you try my method below you can get closer to 5%, which in my book is still plenty.  If you want a more wine-like cider, then go ahead and add sugar, but be aware that all it really does is add a bunch more alcohol where you’re getting into the 7-12% range closer and closer to a wine rather than an easy drinking common cider.  If you do add any sugar, you should heat or boil it ahead to kill any wild critters.  A half pound in 2 gallons will raise the ABV by approximately 1.1% over the ~6% you probably would have gotten, so it’s closer to 7%.  It’s a personal decision, but personally I never add sugar and I really love the results.

Champagne yeast will make the cider very dry, bone dry, like no more sweetness left at the end at all dry.  Final gravity might be close to 0.992 unless you intervene.  Fortunately, you can stop the yeast early to prevent dryness, and here’s how:  When specific gravity hits the range of 1.010 to 1.015, add gelatin to knock out most of the yeast, then the next day add sorbate and sulfite to kill what’s left.  When the time comes, dissolve a half teaspoon of unflavored gelatin (I use Knox brand) in a half cup of hot boiled water, then pour that into your beer.  The next day, about 90% of the yeast will be on the bottom of the fermenter.  Then add sorbate in the recommended dose and 2 Campden tablets crushed (this is sulfite).  These don’t kill yeast but hurt them real bad so they can’t ferment too far out after this.  Then chill and wait another couple weeks to make sure things don’t take off again, then you should be able to bottle.  That’s how I’d do it with the champagne yeast.  Some English ale yeasts like S-04 have the advantage of not fermenting quite so dry so you can skip most or all of these steps.  Or, just let it ferment to dryness and sweeten at the end, that’s what most people do, however I find I get superior flavor from leaving the natural sugars in the cider this way.

I do love what US-05 yeast does with cider.  Very good stuff.  However, don’t be surprised when it too wants to finish close to 1.000, still a bit dry in my opinion.

You are correct.  Half a pack of yeast will work for this.

I like to ferment cool, about 55-60 F if possible.  This preserves more of the apple character.  You can make good cider fermenting at 70-80 F, and it will ferment faster, but just not as elegant and awesome as when you ferment cool.  But you’re right.  Temperature control is not very strict with cider.  People do all sorts of temperature regimens and it really all turns out pretty good no matter what.

Finally, and most important, patience is a requirement with cider.  It ferments a lot more slowly than beer does.  No matter what yeast you choose, it will take it’s sweet time and fizz slowly for about a month, plus or minus.  Carbonation in bottles may take at least another month, sometimes longer.  I have a batch fermenting at 40 F that’s been fizzing away for 7 months now.  Colder temperatures take longer, while in warm temperatures it can be done in as little as ~3 weeks.  Also be aware that carbonation can be a bit of a crapshoot.  Sometimes you’ll get lucky and it will carbonate perfectly in your bottles within a month.  Other times it will turn out flat, sometimes gushers..... it all depends on how patient you are, how much yeast is still alive, how many sugars are in there.  If you have the ability to keg, that’s probably the easiest and most consistent way to guarantee the right level of carbonation in cider.  Otherwise, you’re kind of at the mercy of a dozen different variables.  Personally I enjoy my cider flat most of the time, which is actually most traditional.  Carbonated cider is a 20th century thing.  So take that for whatever it’s worth (not much).

By the way.... sucralose makes a chemical tasting cider.  Try xylitol instead if you’re going with artificial sweetener.

Good luck and don’t forget the patience.  :cheers:

All Grain Brewing / Re: Adjusting IBU's
« on: May 20, 2016, 09:23:39 AM »

All Grain Brewing / Re: Adjusting IBU's
« on: May 19, 2016, 09:43:45 AM »
for what it's worth, it wouldn't have actually been 49.9 even if you have hit your numbers exactly. There are too many system assumptions for even complex calculations to be really accurate.
True, but having a calculated IBU reference point to go with your perception of the beers you make is really helpful when making adjustments to recipes or formulating them.

That was my thought as well.

Does anybody really know what time it is?  Does anybody really care?  ;)

All Grain Brewing / Re: Adjusting IBU's
« on: May 18, 2016, 10:33:30 AM »
Lower gravity will give you higher hop utilization, plus smaller volume will give you more IBUs per unit volume.  So, your IBUs will probably be more like upper 50s.  This is going to taste like a very bitter beer indeed.  But you might enjoy it that way anyway.  And if not, bottle it and let it age for 6 or 9 months.  Bitterness does drop out over time.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: W-34/70 Equivalents?
« on: May 05, 2016, 11:08:40 AM »
I looked it up and confirmed that yes these seem to be equivalent or really close.  Wish I would have known this before impulse-purchasing a pack of WLP830 when I already have a pack of W-34/70 in the refrigerator!!  Perhaps I can run a side-by-side experiment though -- perfect chance for that I guess!

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