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Messages - dmtaylor

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Beer Recipes / Re: Commission brew/Blue Moon style beer
« on: November 07, 2015, 05:21:01 AM »
No starter will ABSOLUTELY give you some extra flavors such as bubblegum, especially with a Belgian yeast like this one.  You need to make a starter for the cleanest flavors.  If you want a lot of yeast character, then you can skip it.  If not, starter.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brewing with raisins
« on: November 06, 2015, 06:05:11 PM »
Woo-hoo!  Special B is the easy and effective way to go.  I would call it "the secret ingredient" for dubbels, except that it's not a secret at all... "everybody's doing it, man!"  :)

Beer Recipes / Re: Dortmunder
« on: November 06, 2015, 09:07:11 AM »
Answers to your questions: no, no, and no.  Or, maybe, no, and no.  The Dort water profile is fine, there's not really anything wrong with it.  But need a step mash?  Heck no.

Beer Recipes / Re: Commission brew/Blue Moon style beer
« on: November 06, 2015, 06:28:46 AM »
I'm sorry to hear that the bubblegum overpowered.  Did you make a yeast starter?  Sometimes a small thing like that can make all the difference.  I'd use a starter.

Beer Recipes / Re: Help a new Brewer find her style
« on: November 05, 2015, 07:22:43 AM »
Hey, welcome to the homebrewing world!  Looks like you love some of the same styles that I do.  Here are some links to several favorite recipes that have won awards over the years (these are not all my own recipes), including some more styles that I think you might like.  If the recipe is for 5 gallons, just cut the ingredients in half or whatever for a smaller batch size, it will still come out the same.  Hope you find something here that you really like.
Vienna Lager
Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
Bells Oberon
American Blonde Ale
My American Honey Wheat or Rye
Brown Ale
German Hefeweizen
Belgian Tripel


All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« on: November 05, 2015, 05:25:53 AM »
You have to do no sparge or partigyle, or just plan on adding some extract after the mash.  Figure your efficiency at 45-50%.  Then you will hit your goal.  Water to grain ratio doesn't matter much.  Just be sure to mill the grains well.  If your LHBS is milling the grains for you then mill at least twice if not 3 times.  There is no incentive for LHBSs to do a good job milling, it costs them money and customer complaints of stuck sparges.  It works wonders for your efficiency to double mill if they won't change their mill settings.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brewing with raisins
« on: November 04, 2015, 10:50:52 AM »
I've not used raisins before, but I've used dates.  I know that if not crushed, the raisins will simply swell up into grapes again but probably not do a whole lot for your beer.  I would put them through a food processor to chop, then soak in either a few ounces of vodka or cook them in a bit of wort to sanitize before adding them to the beer.

Alternatively, just use Special B malt, and get all the raisin flavors you could ever want without using actual raisins.  :)

Excellent thread, I'm going to use this data to get some more ideas of my own.  I use dry yeast about 50% of the time, but my favorite liquid yeasts in approximate order of use and favoritism (all good, none "bad"):




Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Is it possible?
« on: October 28, 2015, 05:29:28 AM »
Hefeweizen yeast strains are notoriously fast.  It's most likely finished, that's very normal.  But, like the others suggested, take gravity readings a few days apart just to make sure.  Then you'll be ready to bottle or keg.... or cold crash if you want kristall style.

Ingredients / Re: specialty malts for brown ale
« on: October 26, 2015, 01:09:57 PM »
Go to your local shop, and eat one kernel of each of several specialty malts.  The shopowner shouldn't care.  Pick the one that you think tastes the best.

Gosh... I need to start following my own advice.

Beer Recipes / Re: lager recipe for lager-hater
« on: October 22, 2015, 02:21:31 PM »
You look just like Landfill, and act just like Landfill.  Do you mind if we just call you Landfill?  Sure!

Beer Recipes / Re: lager recipe for lager-hater
« on: October 22, 2015, 09:02:43 AM »
Is a Vienna lager "not too malty"?

Gosh, you've got to take all the fun out of it, don't you!

You're right, you don't like lagers.  :P ;)

Beer Recipes / Re: lager recipe for lager-hater
« on: October 22, 2015, 08:11:34 AM »
You really can't beat a Vienna lager.  Use almost 100% Vienna malt, just a touch of CaraMunich, noble hops, and 2206 yeast.  Those are all the keys to it.  You can play with other specialty malts if you want, play around with hops, use whatever mash schedule you like, ferment as slow or fast as you like.  But just use a ton of Vienna and the 2206, and you're 95% of the way there.

It sounds like a bad case of burnout to me.  A lot of intensely dedicated home brewers experience it.  Some come back after few months or years away from the hobby; however, many more move onto something new after bringing balance back to their lives.  Home brewing can become an unhealthy obsession that can dominate one's life, especially if one has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.  I have been through home brewer burnout twice, so I know the feeling.  One can only burn the candle that hot for so long.

This has happened to me.  In 2011 & 2012, I barely brewed at all, and stopped visiting all of my favorite forums like this one.  Then I got back into my groove.  It happens.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Finding my Style
« on: October 20, 2015, 09:02:20 AM »
I might be crazy, but... it's a goal of mine to eventually brew every style and see what I'm good at and what works with my water and my process.  I've already narrowed things down to my Top 15 that I like the best AND that score well in competitions -- these I consider to be my "flagships" that I will continue to brew occasionally forever.  Interesting coincidences out of my Top 15 beers I have ever made:

6 of 15 are very simple blonde color ales or lagers!  This seems to be too many to be just a coincidence.
5 of 15 are German styles.
4 of 15 are Belgians
3 of 15 have somewhat unusual ingredients (gruit herbs, jalapenos, smoked malt, etc.)
Only 2 of 15 are recipes from someone else with few or zero modifications, the other 13 are totally original.

What styles might be most worthy of checking out if you haven't considered them already?  My own humble opinions:

Gruit Ale
Jalapeno Porter
Scotch Ale
Rye Anything (try using >40% rye malt in any style!)
Traditional Cider (no added sugars or spices)
Traditional Mead (no added sugars or spices)

As you can see, I'm a bit of a malthead (opposite of hophead).  I also tend to be more traditional and purist, excepting mainly the jalpeno porter.  The porter is great on its own, but the jalapeno just makes it go BOOM!  I like to split batches very often as well, and experiment with slightly different ingredients in each.  Try that, it's very educational.  Even something as simple as two or three different yeasts can be very eye-opening.


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