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Messages - dmtaylor

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer Swap Idea
« on: April 09, 2015, 09:11:31 AM »
Both UPS and Fedex have it on their website that you can print a label and pay on the website. Then drop it off at their store, or have it picked up. I have never been asked the contents.

Same here - Neither UPS or FedEx ever asks me about contents as long as I pre-pay and print and attach the label at home.  It's a very simple drop-off process at that point.  In the very unlikely event that they ask, just tell them it's non-perishable food, glass/fragile, so be kind of careful with it, etc.

It's also important when packing it, if you haven't done this before, to line your box with a big garbage bag and put everything inside that bag and tie it up.  Then if there are any bottle cracks or cap leaks (both of which occasionally DO happen unfortunately), it won't soak into the outer cardboard and cause them to question the contents en route.  They should have no reason to question a well packed box unless they totally mutilate the box, and then that's THEIR fault, not yours.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beer Swap Idea
« on: April 09, 2015, 06:37:24 AM »
I'm in.

It's been years since I've done one of these.  We should come up with a list of rules and guidelines so no one gets surprised or screwed or anything like that.  Personally I would usually share 2 bottles each, 12 ounces each, of perhaps 3 or 4 different recipes.  In the past I have seen forums where they said the minimum should be 2 recipes.  To some extent you can use PMs to negotiate with whoever is swapping with you and jack this up or down as necessary to keep things even.  I have also swapped commercial beers such as New Glarus, etc.  It's all good, as long as you work it out with your specific swapper via PMs or email.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Safbrew Abbaye Ale
« on: April 07, 2015, 03:21:58 PM »
...a woodsy, grapevine aroma that is pleasant but unusual, not at all Belgian or abbey-like... It finishes with just a touch of fruit that is maybe grape or pear, not at all unpleasant.

Based on this description, this sounds almost more like an English ale yeast than a Belgian.  Strange.

There is a great dry Belgian yeast... Belle Saison!  I've been thinking about how I might try to make this yeast work in beers other than saison, to kick the gravity up a bit.  Might require lactose or something to bring the body back up, since it tends to finish around 1.002-1.003 no matter what.  But it certainly tastes very Belgiany!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Enzyme weak Malts, conversion?
« on: April 07, 2015, 03:18:14 PM »
I don't think it's a temperature thing falling from 148 F to just 145 F, unless your thermometer is wrong.  Have you calibrated it lately, in boiling water, adjusted for your elevation?  You'd have to look up the boiling point at your elevation.  Also helps to compare to other thermometers if available.  Personally I calibrate mine in both boiling and ice water so I know it's pretty accurate, although it's been a few years so I should probably do that again.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: No signs of fermentation
« on: April 07, 2015, 10:15:43 AM »
Add more yeast.  US-05 would be perfect and virtually guaranteed to work fast.

Ingredients / Re: Peated malt
« on: April 07, 2015, 10:11:55 AM »
It's been about 10 years since I bought one single pound of peated malt -- I doubt they sold different grades of peat malts back then.  It still stinks as bad today as it did the day I purchased it.  I have to store it in an entirely separate container from the rest of my malts to prevent "contamination".

All Grain Brewing / Re: Enzyme weak Malts, conversion?
« on: April 07, 2015, 10:08:56 AM »
It's not a low enzyme issue.  However there might be a mash pH issue at play here.  How soft is your water?  If using distilled or RO water, with about 35% specialty malts in there, your mash pH might fall as low as 4.8 to 5.0, which is on the very low end of scale.  Your finished beer might even taste quite tart and acrid at that low of mash pH.  Are you adding any baking soda to bring mash pH up??  You should, unless your water is very hard.

Ingredients / Re: Peated malt
« on: April 07, 2015, 09:56:00 AM »
Maybe we really are using different peated malts here. I used two pounds in a 2.5 gallon batch (11% of the malt bill) and it hardly came through (which, I reiterate, could be cause by the specifics of my own tastebuds but I suspect not).

Two possibilities indeed: either not all peated malts are created equal, or not all tastebuds are created equal.  I tend to suspect the latter more than the former.

Ingredients / Re: Peated malt
« on: April 07, 2015, 04:50:56 AM »
No more than 0.5 oz in 5 gallons.  I learned this through experience.  You don't need any more than that to get peatiness if you want that.  It is some seriously strong stuff.  I will probably never use it again.  While I cannot really say that I hate it, I really do not like it, plus it does not belong in any named beer style, historical or modern, so then what is its purpose.  If you want smoke, get it from Bamburg where it is far more tasty and impossible to use too much.

Beer Recipes / Re: lager recipe help
« on: April 06, 2015, 07:15:32 PM »
I would keep the wheat and toss the Vienna.  Maybe even kick your wheat up to like 25%.  I really like the flavor of wheat malt... however I also love just plain jane pilsner malt, tastes like graham crackery goodness, so don't sub out too much of your pilsner malt.  5% Munich seems like not a bad idea, but for a summer beer, maybe you don't even need it.  Still it might add some complexity.

The 20-minute hop addition does nothing for you.  Save it all for the last 5 minutes or flameout, much more character that way.  Or boil it for a full 60 for more bitterness and spice.  You can actually get a lot of spiciness from bittering additions of noble-ish hop varieties.  Whatever you like.  It will be great.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homegrown Hops
« on: April 03, 2015, 09:32:49 AM »
My homegrowns are all still in the cold Wisconsin earth.

I use most of mine for bittering.  Don't know the alpha acid?  No problem.  Take a guess in the middle of the normal range for the variety.  Then brew a pale ale with them.  If it turns out too bitter, call it a session IPA.  If it turns out too weak, call it a blonde or amber ale.  It's all good.  Then take a guess as to how many IBUs you think you really got.  Use brewing software to back-calculate how much your alpha acid really is.  Then on your next batch, you'll be really close within about 0.3 of the true alpha acid percentage.

Another thing I often do is to blend my homegrown hops 50/50 with known alpha commercial hops.  Then you're guaranteed to get something drinkable.


Beer Recipes / Re: Honey blonde ale help
« on: April 01, 2015, 06:20:19 PM »
I would ditch the Carapils and chop the honey malt in half.  And/or take a look at my honey wheat recipe.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Thickness
« on: March 31, 2015, 03:49:48 AM »
+1 to JT.  He is right on the money.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: continental vs domestic malt flavors
« on: March 27, 2015, 04:22:16 AM »
Even if true, it's irrelevant.  Every malt out there is well modified these days.  A few years ago when I purposely tried to source an undermodified malt for a traditional decoction mash, I came up empty handed -- it didn't exist.

Beer Recipes / Re: Stylistic question.....
« on: March 26, 2015, 06:31:27 PM »
Cool.  If it adds just a touch of roasty character, more power to your dubbel!

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