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Messages - majorvices

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Ingredients / Infused sugars?
« on: July 03, 2011, 02:15:06 PM »
Listening to "the Splendid Table" yesterday and heard a pretty interesting idea - infused sugars. Basically you take something, such as jasmine, and ad it to the sugar and the sugar takes on the flavor of the jasmine. Was thinking this could be a pretty interesting way to add both fermentables and aromas/flavors to the beer. Basically approach it like a secondary feeding of sugar (ie: add sugar once fermentation is basically finished).

Or, maybe it would just be easier to add the jasmine, et al. Still, neat trick methinks. I'm thinking about trying it on a saison I have in the fermenter right now. Orange peel and jasmine.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Tell me about Kolsch please
« on: July 03, 2011, 01:41:12 PM »
The recipe makes a great kolsch, but I will point you to water chemistry and pH. I used to but RO water and cut my water 3:1 RO to Tap and add Calcium Chloride back in to bring my clacium back up and adjust pH. You obviously want the pH to be between 5.4 and 5.6 and the light malt with no buffers can lead to a high pH.

Lately I have been brewing kolsch on a monthly basis on teh homebrew level down at the brewery (mostly to keep the wife happy) and I have been eschewing the RO water and using straight tap with lactic acid and calcium additions and, while certainly drinkable, it just isn't as good as with the softer water. If you know your water chemistry well you will be able to pull the style off better than if not.

That said, looks like the water in Cologne is fairly hard from my research so who knows.

Beer Recipes / Re: Hefeweizen
« on: July 03, 2011, 01:31:54 PM »
If it were me I would dough in at ~111 for 20 minutes and then infuse up to 148-150, rest 20 minutes and pull the deocotion (resting the decoction for 15 min. @ 158) and boil the decoction for 30 min and dough back in aiming for ~165 or so. If you are set on doing a p-rest I'd do it at 130 simply to break down the beta glucans and make sparging easier.

Alternatively, since you are set to do a decocotion anyway, you may as well add 30 minutes to your brew day and pull 2. Dough in at 111 for 20 min., infuse to 144 and hold 15 min., pull decocotion and dough back in at 154-156, pull decoction and dough back in at around 165.

Or skip the decoction all together. I hate decocotions!  ;)

Beer Recipes / Re: Hefeweizen
« on: July 03, 2011, 05:24:04 AM »
The "nail polish remover" taste may have been because the beer was old and not stored properly. hefeweizen does not travel or age well. I don't know what part of the country you are in but if you want a fanDAMNtastic version of a hefewezien try Troeg's Dreamweaver - it's spot on perfect.

I'd make a yeast starter if I were you. At least just get the yeast active and pitch the starter. I usually do a 1L well aerated active starter per 5 gallons.

Step mash is optional, but you may find a ferrulic acid rest at ~111 increases your clove character.

"Buttery mouthfeel" sounds like a defect to me. I'd stick with what you have. My preference is 60% wheat malt to 40% pils, maybe a lb or vienna or munich if I'm feeling edgy.

Good luck and have fun!

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Substitute for Maris Otter extract
« on: July 03, 2011, 05:14:16 AM »
Try a mini mash with a lb or so of victory. That's what a lot of breweries use to mimic MO.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« on: July 02, 2011, 03:49:39 PM »
Tom, I don't really know how long it would take for the autolysis to "seep" into the beer. My guess a few days. that said, I hope you have better luck with that technique than myself when I tried it. the effect was like removing half of the yeast. The fermentation slowed to a crawl and never did finish and I ended up dumping the batch. That said, it was a lager, so maybe the fault was that most of teh yeast were still on the bottom.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« on: July 02, 2011, 05:55:27 AM »
BTW here is an excellent article on pitching rates, both over and under:

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« on: July 02, 2011, 05:52:19 AM »
contrary to popular opinion- and perhaps scientific "fact"- I believe in pitching directly onto yeast cakes. In my experience this "overpitching" produces great beers. I step up the OG of each successive batch. Meaning the first batch would be, for example, a mild at OG 1035-1040, followed by a brown porter OG 1040-1050, then maybe a robust porter or barleywine. My thinking has been that I would rather not bother with harvesting the yeast, but brew on the day I am ready to rack or bottle the previous batch. I do also save yeast if I don't have the time to brew, but pitching directly on yeast cakes is a procedure I will continue to do and hope to continue making award-winning beers as a result. Not to brag, but more as a point of justification, I recently won my first ever medal (silver) at Nationals with a brown porter pitched onto a fresh yeast cake!

As long as you are going from a lower gravity beer to a higher gravity beer you can usually get away with it, and as long as you are not carrying dead cells over for more than 2 or 3 generations at most. And, perhaps, had you pitched a more "proper" slurry of yeast you may have gotten gold.  ;)

From my experiences over pitching can definitely lead to problems in the finished beer. You can certainly get away with it from batch to batch but I really believe you will have more consistent results if you aim for a "proper" pitch every time.

Its not the fruit flies that get in, its the larvae and they can get in under the seal. I was pointed to a couple of links several years ago. An internet search might find it for you.

Truth be told, the only time I have ever had troubles with fruit flies were in buckets. The flies are attracted to, but can not tolerate Co2. So when the Co2 abates they can and will find a way to get in. My opinion is that Carboys hold Co2 better than buckets and so the flies can not get in.

Ingredients / Re: Using Watermelon
« on: July 01, 2011, 08:30:10 AM »
I would think that it would be difficult to reduce the water mellon juice without boiling. I would laso bet that the inside of a water mellon is fairly sanitary as long as it is not rotten. I would just brew a stronger beer and add it to the water mellon juice in secondary.

I racked it to another 6.5 gallon plastic bucket as a secondary fermenter but then I found out that a glass carboy is best because it has less headspace & less oxygen in contact with the beer, Any help is greatly appreciated!

5 gallons of beer in a 6.5 gallon bucket has the same volume of headspace (1.5) gal, as 5 gallons of beer in a 6.5 gallon carboy.  the surface area may be a little different based on the configuration but this is unlikely to be a significant change over several weeks of fermentation. 

That's why you would never use a 6.5 gallon carboy as a secondary. 5 gallon carboy only and limit head space, unless you are replacing the volume with more fermentables such as fruit. Also, if you are to do a secondary in a carboy you want to transfer while there is still some Co2 in solution or introduce a secondary fermenation with fruit, bugs, etc.

That said, at least with a glass carboy you can seal the secondary. You can;t really seal a bucket no matter how hard you try. It is always 02 permeable. Not only that, but fruit flies can and will find a way inside a bucket. The bucket seal won't stop them. Apparently it is the larvae that can get in under the bucket lid.


.... no Yellowhammer brewing???  :-\

Seriously, reading that list just made me thirsty for a beer. Might have to go pull a tap.  ;)

Next year!  We'll mount a campaign.  And expect free samples afterwards.

Free samples are already available to everyone on the forum - 2 oz only. AHA membership card gets you a full pour!  :D

Ingredients / Re: Maris Otter in a Belgian Dark Strong
« on: June 30, 2011, 03:19:13 PM »
That said, just looked over your recipe and there are a few things I would change. Definitely lower the crystal down. You want some chewy crystal malt but you also want the beer to attenuate to a lower gravity (what belgian's call "digestable"). I'd use some sugar in there for sure, simplify the recipe a good deal (no need for 3 different crystal malts, probably keep crystal around 5%) and consider some of the dark belgian Candi syrup - that stuff rocks. If you use that you won;t need any special B, which I don;t particularly care for anyway.

Ingredients / Re: Maris Otter in a Belgian Dark Strong
« on: June 30, 2011, 02:37:05 PM »
I personally feel that Pils is the better option but since I have never tried it I couldn't swear one way or teh other. Tripel would be  a different story.  ;)

Just to add to what the others said, plastic buckets are great for primary fermenation but you need to get them out of the bucket soon after fermentation is finished because they are not air tight and oxygen will quickly start to move in. The only beers I have lost to acetobacter (and infection that can only happen in the presence of o2) are beers I kept far too long in buckets in the primary. No way you would want to secondary beer in a plastic bucket. In fact, I don;t think the merits are that high for secondarying any beer in any vessel that you can not purge the head space with Co2.

In your case, you might consider bottling this beer ASAP. It may actually be fine to wait until the weekend, but I would not let it sit around much longer than this (assuming the fermentation is complete.)

Congrats on your first beer!

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