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Messages - yugamrap

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: questions
« on: January 03, 2010, 04:02:58 PM »
+1 on the previous comments.  Once you have the basics down, temperature control is a good step.  I think the biggest jump in the overall quality of the beers I brew came when I got fermentation temperatures under good control.  Another good area to address is assuring you're pitching good healthy yeast in sufficient quantities - the Mr. Malty webpage is a big help in this regard.

Well, the most interesting for me was a Jolly Rancher American Wheat.  I made it for our club's "Strange Brew" contest where we drew "strange" ingredients (e.g., licorice, oysters, marshmallow fluff, Jolly Rancher candies, etc.) from a hat.  It tasted pretty good and took 3rd in the contest out of about 20 entries.  The color was pretty weird, though - a little greenish-gray, because I used the Blue Raspberry Jolly Ranchers.

The beer I was most pleased with was a batch of Amber Ale I made with my first harvest of homegrown hops.  It probably wasn't the best beer I made in 2009, but I was really pleased with the results and my family killed the keg in just a few days around Thanksgiving.  I think the best beers I made in 2009 were a batch of Altbier, and one of ESB.  I think the overall quality of all my beers improved over last year as I improved my ability to control fermentation and lagering temperatures, and made other improvements to my brewing techniques and practices.

The Pub / Re: Name My Pub
« on: December 30, 2009, 05:22:11 PM »
How about "The Broken Tooth Brewing Company"?  Broken Tooth (Katawabeda) was perhaps the most celebrated Chief of the Chippewa (Ojibwe) people.  See here:

You might also consider something river ("The Barge Inn"), or railroad ("The End Of The Line") related, as these would provide a lot of other terms and phrases that could be used to give themed names to your beers.

Ingredients / Re: Carafa needed in an alt?
« on: December 30, 2009, 04:33:02 PM »
You could also use CaraMunich III for color.  I use 4 oz in a 6-gallon batch with 6 lbs Munich, 2 lbs Pilsen, and 1 lb CaraRed.  I hop with 3 oz Spalt at 60 min and 1 oz Spalt at 5 min.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Best Practices for Stepping Up a Starter
« on: December 30, 2009, 04:05:24 PM »
Using a stir bar in a gal. jug has never worked for me.  YMMV.


It's an old Martini Rossi wine jug.  It has a convex center that throws the stir bar every time.

I must have gotten lucky when my son saved me this Carlo Rossi jug after a house party at college.  It has a convex bottom, but works fine with a 2" stir bar.  I got REALLY lucky when I found the stir plate (Fisher "Flexa-Mix") at a local industrial salvage place for $5.00.

That's a 1.75 L starter - I have a 3 L starter stirring right now that's gone 36 hours without throwing the bar (it's time to put it in the fridge for tomorrow).  The trick seems to be to start with a slow speed and gradually increase - especially with larger starters.

Equipment and Software / Re: Chilling experiment
« on: December 29, 2009, 02:59:26 PM »
Your recirculation technique will work better if you can get the ice out of the bottles and break it up into smaller chunks.  This will provide greater surface area for heat exchange, and reduce the barrier effect of the cold, but no longer frozen, water in the bottles.  I have a bunch of plastic containers with lids from shredded cheese and won ton soup.  Some are 1/2-quart and some are 1-quart, and they can be stacked in the freezer.  On brew day, I put some water in the cooler that I use for recirculation.  Then, I give each ice container a brief dip in the water to help release the ice.  Once the ice is out, I break it into smaller pieces with a hammer, and add it to the cooler.

Equipment and Software / Re: Cooler woes.
« on: December 29, 2009, 02:48:42 PM »
I'll probably look at the lid. Bet it isn't insulated. Blankets or towels hmmm....
I'm not sure about the cooler you have, but many coolers have no insulation in the lid.  This is easily addressed by drilling a few small holes in the lid and filling it with expanding foam insulation from a can.  It's sold under the brand name "Great Stuff."  I used it to fill the lid of my 60-qt Igloo, and it helped.  I still cover & wrap the mash tun with a couple blankets when the weather is cold, though.  I'm brewing outside tomorrow, and the forecast is for a high of 22F.   

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA Membership
« on: December 27, 2009, 12:46:22 AM »
I'm a member now - my son got me a gift membership for Christmas.   ;D

Equipment and Software / Re: Light bulb in fridge to control temp.
« on: December 16, 2009, 06:48:56 PM »
I have done the same with a low watt bulb in the temp controlled chest freezer (in the unheated garage) during the winter months.  I usually ferment in steel or plastic, and have not have any skunking issues.  Given that the chest freezer is well insulated a very small source such as a night light or 15 watt lamp is enough. 
+1  I do the same thing to keep my fermenting fridge and my serving fridge (both are in my unheated garage) from getting too cold in the winter.  I use 15-watt bulbs in reading lamps in the bottom of the fridges.  This provides just enough heat that the temperature control will cycle the fridge to run occasionally.

Ingredients / Re: Peanut Butter Brew
« on: December 16, 2009, 06:29:14 PM »
Our club did a "Strange Brew" contest not long ago where we each drew "strange" ingredients (e.g., Jolly Rancher candies, marshmallow fluff, breakfast cereal, black pepper, licorice, oysters, etc.) from a hat, then had to make a beer with whatever ingredient we drew.  The brewer who drew peanut butter found a powdered peanut butter product that was very low in oil.  His beer had decent head retention.  The peanut butter flavor was present, but not very strong.

FWIW, there were around 18 entries.  1st place was Robust Porter with Licorice, 2nd was Black Pepper IPA, and 3rd was Jolly Rancher American Wheat.   

All Grain Brewing / Re: Difference between Batch and Fly Sparging
« on: December 16, 2009, 06:14:32 PM »
The main difference is that fly sparging is a continuous process - a relatively slow, continuous rinse of the mashed grain done simultaneously with collection of the wort.  Batch sparging, on the other hand, is a fairly quick collection of wort (often called "first runnings") before adding additional sparge water, followed by addition of one or more "batches" of sparge water that are stirred into the mash, briefly rested, recirculated, then collected.

Either process can be used to make beer.  Fly sparging can yield higher efficiency, but generally takes substantially more time than batch sparging.  I think batch sparging is simpler, requires a little less attention and control, and is generally faster - but there is usually a sacrifice in efficiency (though some who batch sparge get very good efficiencies).

Here's the link to the definitive take on batch sparging the Cheap-N-Easy way  It also includes a brief description of fly sparging.


Ingredients / Re: Vanilla Bean
« on: December 15, 2009, 03:21:07 PM »
I cut and scrape the beans and add them to the secondary like Denny does and, as hokerer suggests, I start tasting the beer from the secondary after about a week.  I don't bother with teh vodka soak - I just spray the cutting board and knife with Star San before prepping the beans.  I've only used vanilla beans in Denny's BVIP recipe (OG around 1.080-1.085) and both times I've brewed it I used two beans.  In last year's batch, I racked after 14 days in the secondary.  This year, the beans I got seemed to be fresher or more potent, and I racked after 11 days.  YMMV in a 1.046 beer since there isn't as much alcohol to extract the vanilla flavor.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Note to self
« on: December 15, 2009, 03:00:29 PM »
That's one of the reasons I switched to Star San.  Iodophor would be another good choice for a liquid, no-rinse sanitizer.

The Pub / Re: 29 years
« on: December 09, 2009, 03:15:34 PM »

you know who i really miss......  frank zappa.

+ a billionty and eleven.  "Freak Out" is the reason I ended up in the rock'n'roll biz.

+ eleventy-billion and one!  I went to see "Zappa plays Zappa" last year.  It wasn't quite like seeing FZ, but the kid did a nice job and it was a damn good show.  It was great to hear the tunes live again....

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Suggest a brew for next weekend
« on: December 07, 2009, 03:52:49 AM »
This is the season for brewing Miabock.  Here's a good recipe from Braukaiser:

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