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Messages - dmtaylor

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856
All Grain Brewing / Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« on: September 08, 2014, 06:41:11 PM »
The Oktoberfest and altbier styles are indeed very similar, with a few subtle differences.  Certainly the yeast is a bit different, although if memory serves, it is becoming acceptable(?) to just go ahead and use a lager yeast to brew an altbier (or am I wrong??).  Beyond that, altbiers tend to be a little more bitter, with very subdued hop character.  A little hop flavor is more appropriate in an Oktoberfest beer IMHO, whereas with altbier the malt clearly dominates and the hops are more limited to bitterness without much flavor beyond some unavoidable noble spiciness.  Also, an altbier tends to be a little lower in original gravity than a fest beer, i.e., while both beers might be considered "session" styles, an altbier is generally the lighter of the two styles.  There are exceptions to challenge all of these general tendencies though.  And then there is also the sticke altbier that is greater in strength, and the newer Oktoberfest beer is more akin to a stronger yellow helles than to the amber Vienna and Munich malt based lagers of old.  So, indeed, the lines between styles can be blurry.  One thing is for certain -- these are all very tasty, malty, German style beers.  In both styles, the malt is king, and noble hops play a supporting role, though still important.  For instance, you wouldn't want to go anywhere near a C hop in these styles, it would just be wrong in my book as well as in the books of most other folks.  Some of the great things in life are just meant to NOT be Americanized, and these German styles are prime examples IMHO.  Just sayin'.  But you are right.  Just how much difference is there between styles, really.  Place a few examples side by side with no labels, take sips of each, and declare which styles are which.  Good luck with that.  But they're all great.

857
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Vienna/Octoberfest Maltiness
« on: September 08, 2014, 06:21:51 PM »
I have not done this personally but I know a guy who did.  In fact our local homebrew club the Manty Malters had a SMASH beer "competition" where we each did a SMASH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beer.  I made a Bohemian pilsner with Saaz that turned out too fruity, must have fermented a little too warm.  But anyway..... the one my friend made with 100% Vienna and Tettnanger hops was the standout awesomest beer of all that won the comp.  Everyone loved the complex toasty malt.  The Maris Otter beer took second I believe.  Somewhat personal preference, I suppose, but even so, we certainly proved, at least to ourselves in our club, that a fantastic beer can be made with all Vienna and no specialty malts.

858
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Vienna/Octoberfest Maltiness
« on: September 08, 2014, 01:04:11 PM »
Edited.

Graham crackeriness sounds a lot like Vienna and Pilsner malt.  Pilsner malt, to me, tastes like honey grahams.  Vienna helps take it to another level.

I get nuttiness from English Maris Otter malt, especially if you toast it for a little while in a 350 F oven.  It might sound crazy, but I see no reason why if you wanted nuttiness that you couldn't use some percentage (maybe 10%?) Maris Otter, toasted or not, in an Oktoberfest style beer.  Or you could try toasting your own German malts to see if it does the same thing.

I'd recommend a good percentage (20-30%) pilsner malt in any Oktoberfest, to make it taste more "German" and preserve some honey-like sweetness.  The remainder should be Vienna and Munich, except perhaps as discussed above.  My humble opinions.

859
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fleischmann's Yeast
« on: September 08, 2014, 03:40:04 AM »
I used it once.  If you like beer or cider or wine that tastes like bread yeast, then bread yeast will do that for you.

860
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: need advise on grains
« on: September 07, 2014, 07:31:25 AM »
Is the OP's recipe for 5 gallons?  If so, the original gravity will be way too high for a brown or mild.  This is more of an old ale at 1.071 -- wowser!  Cut the amber malt back by 2 pounds if you want it to style.  As for specialty malts.... first of all, you'll want to double your chocolate malt to 1/2 pound, and secondly, add 1/4 pound of either Special Roast or Victory malt.  Also... egad, that's too many IBUs.  Knock down the Northern Brewer hops to 1 oz unless you like it super bitter.

861
Other Fermentables / Re: First Cider
« on: September 04, 2014, 12:42:32 PM »
Check your specific gravity about once per week for the next month.  If/when the gravity doesn't change anymore, it will be safe to bottle.  Your guess is as good as mine as to when it will quit fermenting -- could be in the 1.010s, could be in the 0.99s, I am not sure which.  I don't think you need to do anything special besides waiting.  Although you could rack it at any time if you wish, to get rid of the clods of brainy stuff at the top.  Optional though, methinks.

862
Other Fermentables / Re: First Cider
« on: September 04, 2014, 10:34:15 AM »
It looks like it keeved!  A lot of cider makers struggle to make this happen on purpose, and you got it keeved without even trying!  It is probably good this way.  I've never had it happen to mine, although I really have not tried.  It aids in clarity and in maintaining sweetness in your cider.  I believe it has to do with the amount of calcium in the cider, and this can come from adding gypsum or CaCl2, or just from the juice itself.

863
Other Fermentables / Re: using some malt for making cider
« on: September 03, 2014, 01:53:40 PM »
You might also be interested in my apple ale recipe.  I really love this recipe and many others have tried it and love it as well.

http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=71478&p=662452&hilit=smoked+harvest#p662452

864
All Grain Brewing / Re: Small Batch OG question
« on: September 03, 2014, 01:51:51 PM »
You pretty much HAVE TO BIAB for very small batches like 1-gallon size.  The equipment for bigger batches is just too big for very small batches.  There can be a lot of losses due to dead space in the mash tun, and just any transfers of the wort around in general.  Crush harder and BIAB.  Then you should honestly see HIGHER efficiency than ever before as opposed to lower.

865
Burnt extract tastes horrible.  I worry that you ruined your batch in that regard.  The other things are not a real big deal.

866
Ingredients / Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« on: August 27, 2014, 06:58:13 AM »
I *was* a little bit of a jerk, although not on purpose.  My comments involved inside jokes that were not fair to outside folks, which is most everyone.  The OP is very new to the forum and I certainly hope that we have not scared him away.

No need to say anything more about this Pete.  Let's just forget about it.   8)

867
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Racking into half-full keg
« on: August 26, 2014, 04:45:09 AM »
I did this once.  It worked great for me.  Saves a ton of time cleaning the keg etc.  For my case both beers were the same recipe.  However blending should work fine as well.  I would only do this once and then clean the keg thoroughly after the second batch.

868
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: getting the bacon flavor correct
« on: August 18, 2014, 11:30:01 AM »
I like the idea for this beer!  Sounds tasty to me.

If you want bacon flavor, 100% Bamburg smoked malt is perfect for this.  A pound or 1.5 lb of crystal malt would probably be a good idea, maybe some Crystal 80 and Crystal 120.  I wouldn't use a lot more specialty malts beyond that, as the more you use, it will dilute the smoked malt flavor.  Personally I would never use actual bacon in a beer.  It is unnecessary.  You'll get all of that hickory-smoked bacon flavor that you want directly from smoked malt!  If you can smoke the malt yourself with hickory, so much the better!

If you want maple flavor, you don't really need to use maple syrup or brown sugar.  Rather, add a spice known as fenugreek.  This is the same thing used to make artificial maple syrup just like Mrs. Butterworth and Aunt Jemima.  Just a very small amount is all that's needed.  Figure out how much you think you should use, and then use about 1/4 as much, as fenugreek is very strong.  You can add it to the end of your boil.  You can find this at any spice shop and many homebrew shops.  Or use both maple syrup AND fenugreek if you like.  Real maple syrup does not taste very mapley at all after it ferments, that's why you need both.

Salt... maybe try 1 tablespoon for 5 gallons to start, and if that's not enough then add another tablespoon.  It's somewhere in that ballpark.

Hops don't matter too much.  Just don't use any citrusy hops that start with C.  I think Northern Brewer hops would be a good addition to this style, with their herbal, slightly minty and peppery spiciness.

I am also wondering if a small addition of black pepper might be a good idea for this beer.  How much?  I am not certain... as much as you think you would like!  Or none at all.  Again, you could boil this, or you could make a small vodka infusion and add just before kegging/bottling.

Best of luck to you.

869
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Chlorinated Water
« on: August 18, 2014, 08:52:47 AM »
A tip I learned on the B&V several years ago has made chlorine removal even easier than using Campden tablets.

Add a half teaspoon of peroxide to 5 gallons of brewing water, swirl it around, and the chlorine is volatilized and gone.

Does that work for chlorimine too, or just chlorine?

Yes, Campden works for both forms of chlorinated water.  There is hypochlorite, and then there is chloramine.  Campden works instantly for both kinds.

870
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bobbing for apples
« on: August 18, 2014, 04:26:53 AM »
I'm not sure either.  Floating and potential contamination from airborne stuff might be why some people juice their apples then just add the juice.  You'll know it's bad if the result tastes like vinegar or turpentine.  But... it might turn out fine.  Not sure.

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