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Messages - dmtaylor

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All Grain Brewing / Re: unfermentable porter
« on: October 08, 2014, 06:08:43 AM »
Throw in a pack or two of rehydrated Belle Saison yeast.  That should improve attenuation considerably.

Too bad if it got contaminated.  You could drink it up real fast if you like, but it sounds like you don't want to do that.  Keep your fingers crossed.  Maybe it will still turn out.  The odds do seem against it though.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long is a FWH?
« on: October 08, 2014, 04:52:23 AM »
In some ways I am Denny's evil twin.  Not sure if he'd agree with me on that.  I'm not a hippie, but I do have a kickbutt beard.  I'm a little less kind and more bitter and stubborn.  Or at least, that's my impression based on the wonderful world of the interwebs.   ;D

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison Attenuation
« on: October 08, 2014, 03:41:02 AM »
Yes, take a look at that link.  Apparent attenuation of 95-100% is not uncommon with this yeast strain.  However it has the uncanny ability of being able to attenuate that low without tasting that low.  Still tastes like it's an 1.007-1.008 beer, or I guess what I should say is, there's still a little body left and it doesn't feel watery in the mouth.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long is a FWH?
« on: October 08, 2014, 03:38:20 AM »
All I can say is, run your own experiments and don't let people fool you into believing anything that isn't truth.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long is a FWH?
« on: October 07, 2014, 12:43:23 PM »
Yes, that's the one.  He ran the experiment on a small system.  I forget if it was 20 gallons or 1 barrel or what it was.  As such I do indeed think it was representative of homebrew scale.  We're not talking a big craft brew scale.  This was their little demo system.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long is a FWH?
« on: October 07, 2014, 11:00:01 AM »
This is another one of those things about FWH.  Different people do it different ways.  There really are no "wrong" answers.  You can add YOUR hops to YOUR beers any way that YOU see fit.  It's all good, if not consistent.  And honestly, there's really not much difference between steeping and then boiling your hops, versus just boiling them for 60 minutes, or 90 minutes, or anything in between.  It's all bittering and gets you to almost exactly the same place.  More heating and more boiling may lead to a handful of extra IBUs, which you will probably not be able to taste the difference.  So it really doesn't matter much if at all.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long is a FWH?
« on: October 07, 2014, 09:36:40 AM »
I don't FWH anymore, but if I did, they would be in the first wort for about 15-20 minutes before bringing up towards a boil.  Then leave them in, yadda yadda.  As far as IBUs, science has proven that you get more IBUs out of FWH than conventional bittering hop additions, and that the flavor difference is almost imperceptible or perhaps just a tad bit more bitter than a standard bittering addition.  There was an excellent experiment run by Basic Brewing Radio that you should listen to if you haven't where this was all tested and tasted.  The experiment was done alongside the mash hopping technique as well.  The experiment proved also that you get a handful of IBUs (like the equivalent of a 10-minute boil) from mash hopping, and very little flavor and aroma, which basically debunks the benefits of mash hopping, unless perhaps you have a huge amount of hops to waste and don't like the flavor of hops too much.  That being said, I might give it a try sometime since I do have a ton of old hops to waste.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Kolsch and hot/solventy off flavors
« on: October 07, 2014, 06:36:23 AM »
I don't see why it makes any difference at all.  But maybe he's right.  More experiments are needed.  My intuition tells me that it doesn't matter at all.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison Fermentation Temperature
« on: October 06, 2014, 07:21:50 PM »
Mine fermented in upper 60s with a final gravity of 1.002 did not taste anywhere near that dry.  It tasted like the gravity was closer to 1.007 or something like that.  There was still some body and mouthfeel left.  Unlike certain other saisons.

Other Fermentables / Re: Cider original gravity
« on: October 03, 2014, 01:31:57 PM »
I juice my own apples.  I juice each variety separately so I can learn the specific gravity of each.  Overall average of all of them is exactly 1.045.  However the range is 1.031 (Wynooche Early) to 1.073 (tiny decorative crabapples).  The best overall cider apples are:

1) the ones you can get for free or dirt cheap,
2) the most volume of juice per weight of whole apples, and
3) the highest original gravity.

Weighing each of these factors, my favorite cider apples include: any crabapples (crabs all seem to hit all the marks highly), Golden Noble, Washington Strawberry, Scarlet Surprise, and good old Honeycrisp (a little expensive but unbelievably juicy, with good gravity at 1.048).

The ones that I might not use so much for juice anymore include: McIntosh, Cortland, Jonathan, St. Edmund's Pippin, Gingergold, Winesap, Ellison's Orange, and Wynooche.  That being said, I picked a bushel of Cortland and Jonathan this year so I'll give them another shot.  Their juice is extremely aromatic and flavorful so it's good to blend some in probably, but they also kind of turn to mush when juicing and don't seem to want to give it up as much as other apples will -- low volume yield.  A mushy apple is not your friend when juicing.  You need a little bit of body to it to be able to squeeze the juice out from between the cracks, so to speak.  It's kind of similar to a stuck sparge in beer brewing -- too much goo and the liquid doesn't want to pass through anymore.

Many other apples fall between these extremes and are fine for juice.  Many of your grocer's apples are probably just fine.  What you want is good ripe juicy apples that are still reasonably fresh and not turning too mushy.  At least, that's what's worked best for me.

I've also found that I while I like a few tart apples in the mix, I don't like it too tart.  I also don't like a ton of astringency.  So for example, crabapples tend to be very tart and very astringent.  So, as sugary as their juice is (1.060s and 70s!), you can't use too many a lot of times or the finished cider will be quite harsh.

Cider making is an art.  It's extremely simple to make great cider on your first try.  It's also fun to play with blending, and so it can take many years to master the art.  It's great fun.  Love it.

Other Fermentables / Re: Cider original gravity
« on: October 03, 2014, 09:55:23 AM »
Funny this topic comes up... just a couple of weeks ago, I tasted a cider I made 12 months ago that had an OG=1.042, and my tasting notes were that it was kind of weak and beginning to taste stale.  Meanwhile other ciders I made that were in the upper 1.040s are great.  As such I decided that if my OG is ever less than 1.045, that I will add just a very small amount of sugar to bring it up to the upper 1.040s.

Other than that, I am really an advocate for not adding sugar at all.  If you can find juice made from really ripe apples, OG should be closer to 1.048 or even above 1.050 in some cases.  Then I certainly would not add any sugar.  What I don't like is when people say "I added 3 pounds of brown sugar just for the heck of it, plus a couple cinnamon sticks..."  To me, that ain't a great cider anymore.  If you add a few ounces, fine.  If you like wine, fine.  I guess I'm more of a purist.  But at the same time, I do treasure shelf life and will make very small tweaks in this regard.

If you plan to drink all your cider within 6 months, then I wouldn't add any sugar either.  But it's true, the higher gravity will get you more alcohol which will preserve it better.  Just be reasonable about how much you add if any.

blah blah blah... yeah, I write a lot.  :)

Beer Recipes / Re: shooting for a Pete's Wicked ale clone
« on: October 02, 2014, 07:33:18 AM »
69franx, the recipe I posted is for 5 gallons.  Further specs:


Next time I would reduce IBUs to about 26 (personal preference) and maybe try a White Labs or Wyeast English Ale yeast.  Mash at 150 F for 40 to 60 minutes (your call).  Ferment in the low 60s for a week or so or until well beyond finished fermenting.

Beer Recipes / Re: shooting for a Pete's Wicked ale clone
« on: October 01, 2014, 08:07:43 PM »
Resurrecting this blast from the past!

First of all, no, they don't make this stuff anymore.  Pete's went belly-up a couple of years ago.

Just wanted to say that I finally got around to brewing the recipe I posted above.  This is the real original recipe from Pete himself.  Just popped the first bottle tonight.  My thoughts: Color and flavor are right on.  Bitterness seems a little high, but on the other hand, I bet in the past I have always tasted bottles that were sitting on store shelves for a couple of months, how much you want to bet.  So in other words, I bet this recipe will taste more authentic after a few months of aging.  Surprisingly, even though my final gravity was 1.021 with that Windsor ale yeast, I swear it does NOT TASTE SWEET OR THICK AT ALL.  It is very well attenuated, and if anything it tastes a little on the thin side!?  Also some tartness that bugs me a little bit.  If I make this again, I'll reduce the IBUs slightly, and try a different yeast.  However, I do think this recipe is really close.  To those wanting to re-live the 1990s, give it a try.

Beer Travel / Re: Houston
« on: September 30, 2014, 07:40:01 PM »
It's been about 7 or 8 years since I was in Houston, but I did do a lot of drinking when I was down there.  You won't find much for breweries, but they have some great pubs.  Red Lion and Mucky Duck were my favorites, spent a lot of time and dough at those two, and they're only roughly a mile apart if memory serves.  Also the Ginger Man was alright, although filled with trendy poser hipster yuppies.  But they do have a lot of great taps and Belgians including sours so it's kind of worthwhile if you can put up with the humans and the high prices.  Yeah... Red Lion was definitely my fave.  English beers on tap, great atmosphere.  Get the fish 'n' chips -- you will not be sorry!  At least, assuming it's remained the same for the past 7-8 years.  And Mucky Duck's got great music every night... worth a stop or three.  Yeah, it's between those two for me.  I went to a bunch of other pubs as well but they all sucked in comparison.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Kolsch and hot/solventy off flavors
« on: September 30, 2014, 07:29:02 PM »
One last word of advice before I head off to bed...

Don't ever take one or two judges' word for anything.  Get more beer geeks to taste that beer for you -- whether it's through local homebrew club members, or friends who won't try to be nice but will give you their honest and forthright opinions, or judges at additional competitions.  Get more opinions, and do NOT tell the others that they should be looking for "hot/solventy" flavors, and just see what they say.  It might truly be hot/solventy, or it might not.  It might have some other kind of off-flavors, or it might not.  If you can detect it yourself, then it's probably there.  But someone else might be able to help you characterize it, assuming you are not a BJCP judge yourself.  But anyway.... yeah, I always say that you should always enter a beer into at least THREE competitions if you really want to fully understand what's going on with the beer, because inevitably, one pair of judges will be totally screwed up, while the other two pairs will give you great feedback.  So it's entirely possible that you just got bum scoresheets.  It happens.  A lot.  All the time.  Everywhere.  If you can taste it then maybe it really is a problem.  But if you can't... then don't let the judges sway you to their opinion, because about 1/3 of the time, they're just flat out wrong.

I am BJCP Certified rank, by the way.  My opinions are my own and in no way reflect that of the BJCP.  I like the BJCP and everything I have learned from them.  But of course, individuals within the organization are humans with flaws.  Judges are not all perfect robots.

Okay, I'm sure you get my drift.  Later.

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