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Messages - majorvices

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Effects of Gelatin in the Boil
« on: February 05, 2011, 12:40:58 AM »
Of course I don't dry hop just because I think its wasteful.

Wasteful?  ??? I can't get my head around that. If you were a pro brewer maybe I could get on board, but as a homebrewer you have a lease on brewing to do whatever you want! And dry hopping can create spectacular results!!

+1 - WLP029 makes a very good kolsch and you can make an OK alt with it in a pinch, but WY1007 makes a superior Alt, given the choice. Whatever you do don't tell anyone from Dusseldorf you made an Alt with a kolsch yeast or you might receive a swift kick in your lederhosen!  ;)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sugar
« on: February 01, 2011, 04:13:55 PM »
I'm starting to find myself wondering what I have done right.

Every batch is a learning experience. Brewing is a craft and the longer you do it the more you learn how much you don't know. I've been brewing for 15+ years and I still am amazed how much there still is to learn, which also makes it still fun. That said, once you learn proper fermentation practices everything else falls into place.  ;)

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: weird fermentation please help!
« on: February 01, 2011, 03:29:09 PM »
Hard to say, but as SlowBrew mentions, airlock activity is not a good indicator of fermentation, only of Co2 escaping solution. Take a gravity reading.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sugar
« on: February 01, 2011, 01:35:30 PM »
I have the old standard dial, analog type thermometer.  Not attempted to calibrate for couple of years.  I'm not sure of the process for calibration but what I just did was put it in an ice bath, note lowest temp I could get it to and did the same in boiling water. 

In the ice I could not get below 35deg and it got to 213deg in boiling.  I would guess that means that, on average, my thermometer is showing about 2 deg higher than true.

Unfortunately, that's not a great test.  It could be WAY off around 150 where you really need it to be accurate.  The best way to calibrate it to get a calibrated lab thermometer and compare your to it at mash temps.

No, I did not make a starter.  Frankly, I'm not sure the process of doing that (ie, what medium to use, how long to wait before adding to wort, etc).  And I don't know if it is necessary.  I don't want to start  a new topic here, though.  I'm sure there is another thread I can find about it.

Unless your beer is under 1.040 OG, making a starter will always make you better beer IMO.  For great info, see .

+1 on both accounts, I've gotten into the habit of double checking with the lab thermometer every time I brew just about. As far as making a starter go, couldn't be simpler, just like making a small batch of 1.040 beer. DME as the medium (or you brew up several batches as AG.) I know you said you didn't want to "start a new topic" - but had you made a starter (or, more accurately, started with the appropriate pitch of yeast) you would probably have not run into this problem. Pitching enough healthy, fresh, viable yeast is one of the most important aspects of brewing.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentation schedule for Belgian Pale
« on: February 01, 2011, 12:01:22 PM »
Obviously the risk of autolization is much greater in the pro brewer world where there is so much more pressure on the yeast crammed in the bottom of the cone. But in the homebrew world where most brewers are using flat bottomed carboys and buckets the risk is much less, especially when the temp is kept cold. I have kept beer on the yeast for as long as 6 weeks without any deleterious affects, though that temp was brought down under 38 degrees after active fermentation was finished.

That said, personally I like to get the beer in the keg or bright tanks as soon as fermentation is finished and the yeast has had a chance to clean up the beer. Just a lot less to worry about when the beer is off the yeast and under Co2.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sugar
« on: February 01, 2011, 10:15:09 AM »
I have a hard time understanding how a 1.044 OG beer can taste anything like DFH 120 min.... even with that type of low attenuation. Can you post a recipe? What yeast did you use? What was your fermentation temp?

Ingredients / Re: Dry hops for a sticke alt
« on: February 01, 2011, 06:03:44 AM »
Definitely spalt, but you could blend in some other noble(ish) hops as well.

Hops do have an affect on sleep, there is some studies that suggest they help enhance dreams and drop people into a slightly deeper sleep. In fact there people have been making "hop pillows" for centuries to induce dreaming. However, alcohol is a sleep disrupter - after a couple beers you may find you fall asleep faster, but wake up after the initial effects of the alcohol ware off. This is because alcohol is a depressant and a stimulant. Most doctors advise people with sleeping issues to avoid alcohol.

I don't usually have problems sleeping (unless I have been drinking) but I know a lot of people who do. One of the main sleep issues with people is the TV. The flickering light actually tricks you into thinking it is still daytime and causes your brain not to produce melatonin, which is what your brain needs to produce to fall asleep. She may also want to try taking melatonin in a tablet form - this is what I have often taken when I have had too much to drink and have woken up at 2am.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Too hot for fermenter?
« on: January 30, 2011, 08:08:04 AM »
With an IC you really need to add it 20 minutes before the boil is finished to sanitize it, thats one of the big conveniences of using an IC, easy to sanitize. That said, I'm with the rest of the group, no harm done but I wouldn't make it a practice. And there is some good reason to leave the break behind in the kettle if at all possible, especially if you plan on repitching yeast.

Ingredients / Re: can i prime with syrup?
« on: January 29, 2011, 10:26:11 AM »
I have blue agave syrup and was wondering instead of priming sugar can i use blue agave syrup ?  ???

I would just stick to plain table sugar or corn sugar. You most likely won't notice that small of an amount of agave syrup in 5 gallons of beer, so what's really the point? At least with regular sugar you will know what you are going to get as far as consistent results go.

I don't wash or rinse my slurries.  I simply divide by eye by pouring intpo 2 sanitized plastic containers with snap on lids.

+1 - I saw no appreciable benefit when I rinsed my slurries.

in full disclosure however, I do have the ability to dump trub, dead yeast and other waste during high krausen which probably means less junk in my slurries.


I have conicals as well, and do pull from the middle of the slurry. But when I was using carboys full time I found the same as Denny, washing didn't make an appreciable difference. That said, I was never using more than 3 or 4 generations. If you go higher than this I think washing becomes more important for removing dead cells and trub.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: New brewer, still green
« on: January 29, 2011, 06:28:29 AM »
Rebel Brewer has always done me really well. Northern Brewer is fine, too, but the shipping will take longer if your are in Tennessee area.

While you are at it, since you are still "green" you need a good homebrewing book if you haven't one already. Pick up a copy of John Palmer's "How to Brew"

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Walgreens Big Flats 1901
« on: January 29, 2011, 06:24:50 AM »
I saw this about a month ago at Walgreen's as well. If it really is rebranded Genese Cream Ale it can't be all that bad. I have fond memories of stealing my dad's Genny Cream Ale out of the case or two he always kept in the basement, usually drinking it at cellar temps out of the bottle in two or three quick gulps. Ahhhh nostalgia.... :)

Contamination shouldn't be a problem (assuming your previous batch was sanitary) but over pitching can be a concern, and certainly the build up of dead cells over multiple repitching can be.  You will get more consistent results by pitching only a part of the slurry. Check the pitching calc at to get an idea how much slurry you should be pitching.

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