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Messages - dmtaylor

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511
Equipment and Software / Re: Brew target OG way off
« on: October 19, 2014, 06:00:40 AM »
I bet they assumed your brewhouse efficiency was 75%, which is kind of an all-around average for different brewers.  The "problem" might be that your efficiency is higher at around 72 * 75 / 63 = 86%.  If so, that's pretty cool, you are crushing and sparging well.

It could also be that your software assumes too little extract out of each specific grain, i.e., there might be a discrepancy between the points per pound per gallon assumed by your software compared to the actual maximum based on malt brand, the season, the weather, the phase of the moon (exaggerating a little), etc.  It happens.

512
All Grain Brewing / Re: Crushed Grain Shelf Life
« on: October 19, 2014, 05:52:09 AM »
Think of it like cereal.  Like corn flakes or wheaties.  Open the bag of corn flakes, then leave sit for a couple weeks.  Still good?  Yeah, if the bag is curled up nicely and it's not too humid.  Soon as humidity gets in there, it messes up the flavor.  Might take a month or two before things start tasting odd.  But if you left the bag wide open then you are just asking for it to go stale.  So, pack it up well and keep it dry and it will keep fine for a few weeks.

513
All Grain Brewing / Re: Double Crushing Grain
« on: October 18, 2014, 08:31:17 AM »
Depends on the mill. If the mill is set well, a double crush should not be necessary.

Yep.

In general, I would say that your efficiency can increase by as much as 10-15% with a double crush if a single crush on the same mill is subpar.  YMMV

514
Beer Recipes / Re: Mini BIAB
« on: October 16, 2014, 04:13:37 AM »
First ensure you have crushed hard enough.  You can take it down finer with BIAB than other mash methods.

I would play with volumes to hit your desired gravity.  Looks to me like with a good crush you can easily get up to 4.3-4.4% ABV with 2.25 gallons assuming a hard crush and 75% attenuation.  At 2 gallons this becomes about 4.8%.  At 1.75 gallons maybe 5.2%.  You would have to crush and drain pretty poorly to get just 4.1% unless my math is off for some reason... maybe you are making a bigger volume and are already taking into account the volume lost to hops in the boil?  I dunno.

Do not be afraid to undershoot your volume.  If your efficiency kicks butt then you can add boiled water later to bring the volume back up if desired.  It is really important to crush well and collect every drop of wort IMHO and then you do not need as much grain as you might think.

515
Beer Recipes / Re: American Mild v3
« on: October 14, 2014, 10:19:21 AM »
And one more thought.... maybe jack up your salt additions.  More chloride accentuates malt, more sulfate accentuates hoppiness..... so why not add more of both!?

516
Beer Recipes / Re: American Mild v3
« on: October 14, 2014, 10:16:39 AM »
Denny,

I'm late to the party, but based on my first read, I think the key to body here might be a high mash temp for just 35-40 minutes.  That will inhibit the alpha amylase from taking things too far.  Munich malt has fewer enzymes from other malts as well which should also keep things fuller if you mash for a short time.

517
All Grain Brewing / Re: Another BIAB thread
« on: October 13, 2014, 07:06:07 PM »
BIAB sounds like the best option for you.  (Me too.)

Yes, you can easily do 2.5 gallons in a 5-gallon pot.  It helps to have a second pot on hand so you can do a quick dunk with more water for a batch sparge, or with a colander and a bucket you can even do a quasi-fly sparge, which is what I usually do.  Either one will improve your efficiency by a bit, if you care about that at all.

I mash for just 40 minutes most of the time.  Based on lots of experiments, 30 minutes wasn’t enough, but 40 minutes always is.

DMS is a tough one.... some people never seem to get it no matter how short or long the boil, and other people get it even after 90 minutes, so I don’t know what to tell you there except to try a 45-minute boil if you like and see what you get.  If you experience the slightest DMS then boil longer next time.

I BIAB on my stovetop.  It will lose a little heat even over just 40 minutes, but I find that if I shoot a little high on the mash temperature, then if it falls 10 degrees over the course of the mash, it’s not too big a deal since the average mash temperature will still be close to what I wanted.  I also keep a quart or two of boiling water on a side burner in a smaller pot in case I need to bring up temperature fast.  Pretty simple and effective.  I do like your oven idea, keep the whole stove warm there for a while!  Good idea.  Some people even put their kettle directly into a slow 160 F oven to keep things warm.  I haven’t done that yet but it seems a great idea as well.

Cheers to another BIAB brewer!  It’s all I ever do anymore.  I’ve taken small batches to the next lower level, now doing 1/3 of a standard 5-gallon batch, or 1.67 gallons per batch.  I do this, like, all the time now, and love it.  More bottles than a 12-pack, but not so many that I get tired of the beer either, and lots lots more room for experimentation with different recipes.  Perfect for people like us.

518
I have heard many others complain of too much banana with that yeast.  From what I've gathered, this yeast needs to stay in mid-60s for the first half of fermentation to avoid the banana bomb.  It should mellow with age though.  Give it 3 months and it will fade.

519
Other Fermentables / Re: Cider Making 2014
« on: October 12, 2014, 10:39:36 AM »
This year I have 6 gallons juice that I will be splitting 6 ways.  Last year I played with different apple blends and kept yeast a constant (Cote des Blancs).  This year primarily I want to run some more yeast experiments and keep the juice relatively simple.  My plans:

2 gallons fresh local orchard juice go into 6 gallons of my famous Smoked Harvest Apple Ale (uses WLP400/3944).  Redd's, eat your heart out... my apple ale actually tastes GOOD.  The juice is a 50/50 mix from two orchards, one of which is very aromatic and sweet, and the other relatively bland but very tart.  Should turn out very nice.  Same blend goes for the next two batches of cider cider.

1 gallon fresh local orchard juice will be fermented with my favorite yeast, Cote des Blancs, which always turns out positively awesome and applesaucy but a bit dry.

1 gallon fresh local orchard juice will be fermented with Wyeast 1728 Scottish ale yeast, which based on what I've heard from others is supposed to keep the cider a little sweeter but nicely balanced.

1 gallon home-juiced from primarily Jonathan, Cortland and McIntosh will be fermented with my favorite yeast, Cote des Blancs.

1/2 gallon home-juiced from primarily Jonathan, Cortland and McIntosh will be fermented with Nottingham ale yeast, which people have said results in a clean, semi-dry cider.

1/2 gallon home-juiced from primarily Jonathan, Cortland and McIntosh will be fermented with US-05.  I have had great results with this yeast before, although it does leave a slightly honey-like ale-like flavor.  Certainly more tasty than Redd's Apple Ale though.

That should do the trick for this season.  I make cider once a year.  This is the week.

I shall never hop a cider.  Yuck.

I have tasted many Belgian yeast ciders.  They do NOT taste Belgiany.  Sorry.

520
Beer Recipes / Re: Peach, Habanero Kölsch
« on: October 10, 2014, 05:05:15 AM »
The peaches will add a lot of acidity and dryness to the finished beer.  As such, I would strongly recommend that you mash higher at about 153-154 F for just 45 minutes.

Also, that's way too much habanero.  I would use only 1/4, or at most a 1/2 of one.  That will be PLENTY.

For a name I might call it Whipper Snapper Peach Habanero Kolsch.

521
All Grain Brewing / Re: BIAB grain bill question
« on: October 09, 2014, 07:14:42 PM »
You could also try a double crush of the malt at your LHBS to improve your efficiency.  It will probably get your efficiency up into the 70s on your first try.

I sparge with 50% of the pre-boil volume.  So, for 1.7 gallons (my standard post-boil batch size), my first runnings out of the mash are 1.4 gallons and I sparge with another 1.4 gallons.  Then I boil off a little more than a gallon over about 70 minutes to hit the 1.7 gallons post-boil.  After fermentation, about a quart is lost to the trub, so then I still have about 14 bottles of beer left.

Volume calculations would be a little different for bigger batches, in that you'll still lose about a gallon per hour in the boil, but everything else kind of sort of doubles or triples or whatever depending on your batch size.

522
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Getting Back
« on: October 09, 2014, 03:00:53 PM »
For small BIAB batches, I try to hit an initial mash temperature about 5 degrees too high, then let it fall to about 5 degrees too low over the course of the mash.  For example, hit 155 F and then 45 minutes later it might fall to about 145 F, with a goal of "150 F" for the average.  Close enough and works pretty well about 70% of the time.  I also keep a little boiling water available on the side so I can add a pint of boiling water or a half cup of cold water to adjust if necessary, rather than adding direct heat which I can also do but prefer not to.  Obviously this works best if done on the stovetop, I'm not sure how you might do it with a turkey fryer but I suppose it could be done, to avoid melting your grain bag.

523
All Grain Brewing / Re: BIAB grain bill question
« on: October 09, 2014, 02:53:00 PM »
Grain bill and everything for BIAB is just like "regular" all-grain brewing.  Personally I find that with a good sparge, I can get efficiency in the upper 80s just like using a cooler -- there's no difference for me and my techniques between the two.  I usually sparge by setting the grain bag in a large colander and slowly pouring 190 F water through the grain bag as something very similar if not identical to a fly sparge.  Other times I just dunk the grain bag in 170 F water for a quick rinse.  The reason I prefer the colander method is to avoid getting too many grain particles in the wort.  I guess if I had a very fine mesh colander or grain bag this would not be as much of a concern, but on the other hand you can certainly still get a "stuck mash" if the grain bag is too fine.  It's a good method to play around with, including different mesh and sizes of the bags, etc.  But yeah... bottom line is, if you want to get high efficiency with BIAB, it is certainly possible.  I have gotten efficiency as high as 92% with a really fine crush and good sparge, and you can too with experience.  In fact I've dialed down the crush on my grains because I fear that efficiency that high can result in lackluster malt flavor due to so little malt required to hit your OG.  So I purposely try to hit about 85% efficiency, and have been successful doing so on most brews.  Or occasionally for very malty or low gravity beers, I just don't sparge and then efficiency will fall to low 70s, which is fine too.  Whatever you want to do, it all works.

524
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Getting Back
« on: October 09, 2014, 08:44:33 AM »

There are a ton of advantages to brewing smaller batches.  I only brew 1/3 size batches (1.67 gallons) these days.  This gets me about 13-14 bottles, i.e., a little more than a couple 6-packs.  A 1-gallon batch is way too small to be worth the effort IMHO, because you'll only get about one 6-pack for all your efforts.  But 14 bottles... that I can do.

You really need to just BIAB.
Would you kindly share your equipment profile? In particular the brew kettle size(s) and fermenters. Thanks!

Oh... but are you sure you really wanted to ask me that?  Well, here goes...

I'm super ultra mega ghetto... even "worse" than Denny.  It is a bragging point for me how simple my equipment and process is.  I've used the same 5-gallon stainless kettle for 15 years, and still do.  I usually BIAB in the kettle.  For sparge water, I have a 2 gallon pot on the side, and I have a big colander and drain and quasi-"fly sparge" all the runnings into an old 6-gallon bucket, then pour it back into the kettle again.  I do not own a turkey fryer burner or equivalent, and I do all my boils in the house on the stovetop.  Always have, always will.  Works great.  I also do not own a chiller.  Don't need to.  I chill in a bucket or the kettle in a tub sink with cold water.  After 15 minutes, drain the cool water bath and fill it up again with fresh cold water.  A few minutes later, you're ready to pitch.  I do not own an aeration stone or O2 or CO2 tanks.  To aerate, I stir or shake the living crap out of the wort for 5 minutes.  Works fine.  I ferment in 3-gallon glass carboys.  I used plastic buckets for many many years but they experienced contamination too often so now I have just a couple buckets for collecting runoff as explained previously but otherwise use solely glass for all fermentations.  Exception is for small 1-gallon batches of cider where I ferment directly in the plastic milk jugs that the juice came in, or in cases where I juice my own apples, I sanitize milk jugs and for the most part keep them fermenting and stored in my refrigerator in the 40s Fahrenheit.  Other than that I do not own a fermentation refrigerator, and I conduct all fermentations in one of several locations in my house, either at 68 F (upstairs closet), 74 F (on top of the computer desk), 62-64 F (basement in summer), or 52-55 F (basement in winter), garage (variable but very cold in fall thru spring).  I also advocate the use of a wet t-shirt and fan to reduce fermentation temperature by approximately 5 degrees in any of the above locations.  In doing so, I am able to perform good fermentations most any time of the year.

I do have a round orange cooler for bigger batches but I only use it once a year for my annual 4.5 to 6 gallon batch for the local brewfest.  In these cases, I either borrow a turkey fryer burner and chiller, or I boil the wort on stovetop in 3 big pots and continue to chill in the tub sink.  Usually I do the latter.  It works fine.  I do own one 5-gallon glass carboy, so rarely I will use that, but I can also just split the annual big batch into two 3-gallon carboys, in which case I have also experimented with different yeasts, different fermentation temperatures, etc.

I don't mean to brag but merely to state a fact: I do make pretty great beer with these methods and equipment.  Homebrewing is just so gosh darn cheap 'n' easy, cavemen can do it.  We don't NEED to turn it into the crazy science and engineering projects, we really truly don't need to.  Anyone with any very basic equipment can win Ninkasi.  I'm positive of this.  It's not something I'm going for personally right now, although it might be the subject of the occasional daydream that makes me smile to think about.  :)

525
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Getting Back
« on: October 09, 2014, 04:57:01 AM »
There are a ton of advantages to brewing smaller batches.  I only brew 1/3 size batches (1.67 gallons) these days.  This gets me about 13-14 bottles, i.e., a little more than a couple 6-packs.  A 1-gallon batch is way too small to be worth the effort IMHO, because you'll only get about one 6-pack for all your efforts.  But 14 bottles... that I can do.

You really need to just BIAB.  You can easily do all-grain that way and have more control over the beer's destiny.  This way you can knock out a decent batch in 3 hours on brew day, or even less if you make that a goal.  So the time savings is huge.  Plus you can brew as often as you like and run more experiments.  And there will be enough to enjoy more than 6 or 7 of them, but a full 12-pack and then some.

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