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Messages - dmtaylor

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry yeast for English styles
« on: September 20, 2014, 04:55:48 AM »
I haven't used many besides Notty, which is a favorite.  But I think Notty might be too clean and high attenuating (77-78% every time) for most true English beer styles.  I have not been impressed with S-04 yet, but I only used it once.

Now on my last batch I just used the dry Windsor ale yeast, and it seems tasty, but attenuation really sucks.  I mashed at 150 F for 65 minutes, and only got 61% attenuation.  Now the recipe did have 20% crystal, so that might also play a role.  But the beer doesn't taste terribly thick and flabby either, it tastes quite good actually.  Might be worth a shot, but be sure to mash low and slow, and perhaps reserve it for low OG beers <1.050 so the flabbiness isn't too prevalent.  Windsor is also an absolute beast.  I pitched and fermented at 64 F, and it went from 0-61% attenuation in just 48 hours -- no exaggeration.  It is also literally a bottom-fermenting yeast -- you will get virtually zero krauesen, it just settles to the bottom immediately and does all its work down there, and stays there.  I have been swirling the fermenter (still in primary) once or twice a day for the past few days to try to eek a couple more points of attenuation out of it, but it is almost crystal clear again after a few hours, so it might just be time to bottle it now.

That's kind of a lot of Special B.  Your beer will taste like Special B.  Hope you like it.  I love it.

Ingredients / Re: Is Wet Hopping BS?
« on: September 18, 2014, 01:50:22 PM »
Pumpkin beers.  NOW that is a craze that is overblown.

Amen!  Hallelujah!

And then there's the pumpkin CIDERS.  God help us.

Other Fermentables / Re: First Cider
« on: September 18, 2014, 09:09:01 AM »
I rack mine often purposely to slow fermentation and to retain sweetness.  Otherwise my ciders would all finish below 0.998 and that is not the preference of myself and probably most other novice cider makers.

Ingredients / Re: Is Wet Hopping BS?
« on: September 17, 2014, 02:36:43 PM »
Wet hopping is another scatterbrained American idea based on idolization of hops and just plain American silliness.  It is not just a fad, as it will never die, but that doesn't mean we all need to like it.

I grow my own hops and I dry them.  I like to know the percent solids so that I know I harvested at the right time (shooting for 21% or more), and this helps to get a rough guess of how much alpha acid I have per unit dry weight compared to the commercial guys.  AA% varies from year to year but is often higher than commercial, and I know this because I know my dry weight.  Otherwise I would pretty much be forced to just throw them all into an IPA every year, and that's..... unoriginal and very American.

Although contrary to what you read here... I am in fact proud to be an American.  It's just that I am also proud to be an Earthling.

All Grain Brewing / Re: mash temp for porter
« on: September 17, 2014, 01:31:14 PM »
I have not noticed any attenuation problems from dark roasted malts.  Attenuation is more dependent on the mash temperature and time, and the yeast strain used.  Often times, a porter or stout will specify use of English or Irish strains of yeast.  These typically are poor attenuators.  So, consider whether the yeast is more your "problem" than anything else.

Also consider that some folks like me mash ALL their beers low at 148-151 F.  It's just what I like best, and might be what you like too.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Low FG, any fix?
« on: September 15, 2014, 11:00:45 AM »
I have had the same hydrometer since I started in 1999.  Over the years I have dropped my hydrometer several times (without breaking!!), and each time it seems to change the calibration a little bit.  For many years it read high by 0.002, and for the past 3-4 years it has been high by 0.003.  No big deal.  Measure clean water at 60-70 F and just remember to always add or subtract the number of points necessary to hit 1.000 for all readings.

The next time I drop it will probably be the last.  I don't know how it can last so long, but I know its days are numbered.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Low FG, any fix?
« on: September 15, 2014, 04:52:15 AM »
Fermentation is complete.  Mid-60s for attenuation is as high as the Irish ale yeast can get.

I think you could add a pound of sugar or brown sugar if you like to bring effective OG up.  But it won't change the FG, it will still end at about 1.020 plus or minus one point.  I would dissolve the sugar in 2 cups water, bring to a boil, cool, and add to your fermenter.  Then give another week for it to ferment out.  This should get you closer to what you wanted.

Ingredients / Re: Advice on using Maple Syrup
« on: September 15, 2014, 04:33:47 AM »
2 lb maple syrup will dry out your beer a lot.  To compensate, mash really high at like 156 F for just 40 minutes and/or add a half pound of lactose.  If at the end of ferment it does not taste mapley enough, add a little fenugreek which is the artificial flavor used in artificial syrup.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mini batch newbie
« on: September 13, 2014, 01:19:44 PM »
I make 1.7-gallon batches most of the time.  Just brewed one today.  Always BIAB.  I debated whether to steep the bag in the sparge water, or to just pour the water over the top.  Given the amount of particulate matter, I decided to pour everything through the bag to help filter that stuff out.  I've made good beers both ways but in this case I wanted to ensure perfection and the best clarity possible, so... basically fly sparge in a colander, works really fast for small batches like 1 or 1.7 gallons.  Not so easy for 5 gallons as you'll often get a stuck sparge, and thus be stuck holding that huge kettle of 3-3.5 gallons sparge water or whatever for a really really long time, ouch.  Only takes 5-10 minutes with small batches.  Love the small batches.

I used Beano amylase one time, and one time only.  I vowed never to use it again.  If you really want to kill the sweetness, you can try it, but use less than you think you need.  One tablet is probably all you need.  Then give it a few weeks to ferment out again.  But still....... I really do not advise it.  Absolute last resort.

Just to check, usually you all see Notty attenuate better than 61%, right? I am normally seeing closer to 80% by my records.

Notty gets me about 77-78% attenuation every single time, REGARDLESS of mash temperature or amount of crystal malt.  Maybe all you need to do is pitch more Notty.  I am very surprised by your result.  You did not use any lactose or maltodextrin, correct??

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison Fermentation Temperature
« on: September 11, 2014, 04:07:30 AM »
dmtaylor... I just assumed that when the company rep tells you it's fine to ferment in the 90's, it would be safe to pitch at ambient temps.  I hope that turns out to be a safe assumption.

So no one else has pitched the Belle Saison at 75F+?  I'm just trying to figure out what to expect.

I cannot say for sure what you will get but I do think your odds of getting a good beer with saison yeast at high temperatures are far better than if you were using any other type of yeast.  Belgian yeasts in general can turn out good at higher temperatures than other strains.  It is certainly worth the experiment.  And yes, the manufacturer and many homebrewers do report good results at high temps with this yeast.  So try it and see if you like it.  It hasn't been something that I would personally experiment with but that is not to say it isn't worthy of experimentation at all.  Sorry if my previous post came out that way.  Experimentation is awesome.

All Grain Brewing / Re: dialing down the boil volume
« on: September 10, 2014, 11:50:11 AM »
I have a 7.5 gal pot, which is just not quite enough space to make enough beer to fill up my 19L secondary carboy.  I want more beer.  To achieve that without buying a new pot, please tell me if I'm thinking about this correctly:

Say a given recipe gives me, post-boil, 5 gal at 1.050.  I like the beer, but I want it to be 6 gal, or 20% more volume.  To achieve that, in the next batch I could adjust the grain bill to increase the OG by 20%, which is 1.060, but still use the same amount of strike and sparge water as the first batch.  At the end of the boil I will have 5 gal, but the OG will be 1.060.  I then dilute the batch with an additional gal of water.  I will now have the same beer as the first batch with an OG of 1.050, but 6 gal instead of 5.

This will work fine, except.... your beer might indeed taste a little bit like it was watered down.  I've diluted many beers, and it's close but not quite as fantastic as if you had brewed up the full 6 gallons of 1.050 beer with the proper equipment.  That being said, it's certainly worth trying so you can decide for yourself.  I am kind of picky and self-critical and tell myself that I can taste a difference, but on the other hand I have never run blind experiments to know for certain if there truly are any flavor impacts.  In theory, there should be very little to no impact.  So, give it a try and find out.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« on: September 10, 2014, 11:39:29 AM »
I dare you all to pour yourself 4 to 6 different examples, 3 of each style, and have a friend help you taste them all blind, and you declare which ones are "alt" and which are "Oktoberfest/maerzen".  Or, actually... how many altbiers have you all tasted in your lives??  I have never been to Germany.  I would guess that most other style nazis like me have not been there either.  So who is to say, really, what the differences are?  The BJCP??  I place about as much trust in the BJCP as..... well, maybe it's better than nothing.  Sometimes.  Maybe.

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