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Messages - dmtaylor

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All Grain Brewing / Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« on: April 09, 2016, 11:00:50 AM »
Any estimation on the type of efficiency achieved by using this method? (For projection sake next time)

What temperature do you heat the sparge water to? Is 195* safe to use?

You should experience an increase in efficiency of at least 5-10% with a double sparge.

195 F is perfect sparge temp for batch sparging.  You did good.

All Grain Brewing / Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« on: April 09, 2016, 09:42:10 AM »
Could it be that 3# of the 15# was flaked oats? Just realized that the oats are the only thing that I was told not to crush. The rest of the grains were crushed by the LHBS.

When you double sparge do you recycle my of the water, or just use less for each sparge?

The oats didn't hurt anything, that's not an issue.

Split the sparge in half.  Try to get 1/3 of your total preboil volume from the first runnings, then 1/3 from the first sparge and 1/3 from the second sparge.  The two sparges are the same 1/3 of the total each.

All Grain Brewing / Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« on: April 09, 2016, 09:03:49 AM »
Big beer, lots of grain = lower efficiency.  That's all this is, I think.  Could also be that the grains weren't crushed quite enough.  But the bigness of the desired beer and the big grain bill was the real killer.  For a big beer it's a good idea to double-sparge and boil for a long time, like 100-120 minutes, to rinse more of the sugars out of those grains and concentrate down more.  Otherwise you throw a lot of sugars away with just a single sparge because so much wort stays soaked into the huge grain bill.

Unlike the advice of others, for a big beer I also REDUCE the water to grain ratio, down to about 1.0 qt/lb.  This likewise forces you to sparge more, helping your efficiency significantly.

Otherwise, about 65% is about the best efficiency you could have hoped for, in my experience, with just a single sparge of a desired 1.080 beer.  So, 55% wasn't bad really.

All Grain Brewing / Re: getting rid of clorine
« on: April 08, 2016, 07:25:16 AM »
MKE uses a lot of chlorine.  Definitely use 1/4 Campden tablet per 5 gallons water.  Cheap insurance indeed.

Life is too short to drink bad beer.....

I say this more and more now anytime I'm drinking anything other than an imported German lager or truly classic example made in the States such as Lakefront Maibock (man is that beer ever awesome).   ;D

Jeez, I should really be brewing more lagers, and dumping way more batches.  Like probably 3/4 of them.

Actually my phrase is something more like, "Life is too short to drink anything other than world-class."  That's what I really mean.

I have dumped 11 batches in the past 11 years.  11 years ago, my average batch size was 3 gallons.  Today my average batch size is 2 gallons.  Overall average was probably around 2.7 gallons.  So, I have dumped an overall average of about 2.7 gallons per year.  However, I have responded 0 gallons because I have now dumped only 1 batch in the past 4 years, and hopefully have improved both my sanitation practices (now use glass fermenters only) and recipe formulations (due to research and experience) such that I won't need to dump any more hopefully.

So there you have my long-winded justification to go along with my brief click of the 0 number.  Not to mention, your survey didn't break down the gallons to figures between 0 and 5.   ;D

Beer Recipes / Re: Koyt-gruit hybrid
« on: April 05, 2016, 06:56:25 AM »
Go for it!  I've brewed several gruit ales with great success, actually call mine a "koyt" as well.  I've done both hopped and unhopped, did well in competitions, etc.  What was most surprising to me with my first gruit is that it turned out so tart.  Some herbs (yarrow in particular I think) actually add tartness with the flavor, more than bitterness.  Either way, it helps balance the ale.  Sweet gale is one that you really must try.  It is a lovely addition with mild character for bitterness and flavor, and unlike most other herbs, the sweet gale can safely be used ounce-for-ounce in the same amounts as hops.

You didn't list any amounts, but I would suggest doing a lot of research on how much you think you should use.... and then take whatever final number you come up with, and only use about 1/3 as much, because everybody always overdoes it, I swear to you.  I don't have my recipe here with me but I recently gave some of my successful amounts on, see below.  The amounts I give already were literally already 1/3 the amount I thought I should use, but also tweaked up or down slightly based on real life experience to give a slight herbal flavor that is not so overpowering.  In fact probably could get away with even less than I use, as some of my friends were like "ew!" when they tasted it, but to me I didn't mind the herbs at all.  This is truly a case where less is more, and even less is even more.  So here's that other article (thread was about "mead" but my post is based on experience with gruit ale, not mead):

Good luck.  And, be careful with that wormwood.  Based on what I read, I'm afraid to use any at all, as it's super bitter and easily overdone.  The other herbs will give you flavor, less bitterness, and the surprising tartness, like I said.  Hope you enjoy.

EDIT: You might also find this interesting.

EDIT2: Oh, and then there's this.

Our first collaborative xBmt with House Of Pendragon Brewing is in the books! We tackled one of the most commonly requested variables, the step mash, and had over 120 people participate in the evaluation. Results are in!

First of all, excellent experiment.  I love the big turnout and significance of the results.  That said... ;)

Methinks it could be more a total mash time thing (105/90 minutes steps vs. 80/60 single, with/without mashout times included) than an actual difference between mashing processes.  Or maybe a bit of both.  I have this theory (or isn't it fact?!) that enzymes work at any temperatures until they get denatured.  So all that time at 113 and 131 F for the step mash beer?  Yeah, the alphas and betas are chugging along nicely for a whole hour, and then later for another 30-45 minutes again at higher temps.  Compare that with just 60-80 total and there likely could be a difference from the total time, not just the process.  That's my thoughts on this.  More than one variable so it's tough to nail down exactly why there's a difference.

But, good to know that regardless of variables, the mashing process or time or both probably do make differences.  Makes sense.

I was going to say <2 (was 1.7 gallons average), but now I'm kind of liking the full 2.0 or 2.1 that I've been doing lately.  Think I might keep it up there for a little while, maybe.  So I voted 2-3.  I dunno.... I keep going back and forth between 1.7 and 2.0 actually.  It's always in there somewhere.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP005 - Underattenuating?
« on: April 02, 2016, 07:01:25 AM »
WLP005 is an English style yeast, and in general, English yeasts tend to flocculate out very quickly and they tend to attenuate less than most other yeasts.  As such, rousing the yeast is a very good idea but might not work.  It's worth a try though.  You could also warm it up even more, maybe to 22 C.  You could also try adding a starter of a more highly attenuating yeast such as WLP001 or US-05 to get it rocking again.  If you try this, it must be a vigorous starter -- if you only add a pack of yeast and skip making a starter with the new yeast, it probably wouldn't do a darn thing.  But a vigorous starter with a more highly attenuative yeast is likely to get it going again.  Then wait a couple weeks and hope for the best.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Belgian Saison fermentation temp and recipe
« on: April 01, 2016, 10:13:52 AM »
Belle Saison makes crummy saison.

Totally disagree.  It's the same dang thing as 3711 anyway.

Probably not.  It may have come from the same source but I doubt that it's exactly the same any longer.

Of course you are correct.  Similarly, 1056, WLP001, and US-05 are very different, even though they are considered by most people to be equals because they originated from the same source, they are not any longer exactly the same since yeast mutates after just a few generations by each manufacturer.  But... they continue to be close enough for most people to not care too much.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Always start low and go high?
« on: March 31, 2016, 10:10:21 PM »
Always start at the low end of the recommended yeast temperature range (possibly even lower).  When primary fermentation subsides, slowly ramp to the desired temperature.

Are there any exceptions (or yeasts that are an exception) to this rule?

That's what they say.  Who "they" are and whether "they" are right, who the hell knows.  We all just blindly do what the Pope tells us to do I guess.  It sure does seem to work well for everyone though, including me.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Belgian Saison fermentation temp and recipe
« on: March 31, 2016, 10:08:37 PM »
I've got opinions...

Belle Saison makes crummy saison.

Totally disagree.  It's the same dang thing as 3711 anyway.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Belgian Saison fermentation temp and recipe
« on: March 31, 2016, 11:42:48 AM »
Drew recommends starting saison at 63.  After a week (?) or so he ramps up. 

Coincidentally (independently determined, not because of Drew) this is what I do as well.  Start in mid 60s, then ramp up to about 74 F in the second week.  There's no need to heat above the low to mid 70s, that's excessive and unnecessary, and theoretically could even lead to fusels, yes, even in a saison.

Ingredients / Re: suitable sub for wild hops
« on: March 31, 2016, 08:24:24 AM »
Cluster is probably the best choice.  Also IMHO could add a touch of Chinook or Northern Brewer, just to simulate "wild" flavor, but go easy on those.  Use at least 75% Cluster with small amounts of the others IMHO.

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