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Topics - Joe Sr.

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Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Low mash pH
« on: May 17, 2014, 09:29:09 PM »
I finally bought pH strips to check my mash pH.

Today, one batch was right on and one appeared to be low.  The batch that was right on was a stout, the low batch was an IPA.

What would be the impact of low pH in the mash?

I've had comments on score sheets that my beers need more body.  Would pH affect body?  Of course, those comments have been on everything from a light saison to an imperial stout.

My last batch came in low.  It's sitting in the fermenter right now.

I know I can add sugar to bring the gravity up to where I want it.

Can I add DME to the fermenter?

I've added sugar straight in and am thinking of doing the same with DME.


Kegging and Bottling / Pin lock to ball lock conversion
« on: May 13, 2014, 09:34:03 AM »
Just bought four pin-locks.  Looking for opinions as I can't decide.

Is it worth converting the posts? has conversion kits for like $11. 

Otherwise, I just buy a couple disconnects and go to town.  Those will run me under $20 all in.  So half price, or thereabouts, vs. the conversion.

PRVs are for a different day.

Ingredients / Brown Malt
« on: May 13, 2014, 09:02:20 AM »
Planning to brew the Old Rasputin recipe from July/August 2007 Zymurgy.

It calls for 0.5lb Brown Malt.  I've never used brown malt that I can recall and the LHBS does not list it on their website.

I understand brown malt can impart roast flavors.

What could/should I sub?

It's a relatively small amount of grain in a strong dark beer, so I'm assuming there's a lot of latitude.  But not knowing what brown malt brings to the party I'm not sure.

Yeast will be a neutral ale yeast, probably US-05.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Hop Extract
« on: May 07, 2014, 10:58:51 AM »
I need to brew an IPA for an upcoming celebration.  I don't typically brew IPAs, but I've been asked for one.

I thought I might do a Pliny clone, but some of the recipes I've seen call for hop extract which I've never used.

For those of you who have, is it necessary?  Can I brew something close without it?

I may go with something a bit smaller than Pliny or I may do two batches.  Not sure.  Still thinking.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Victory Swing - Session Saison
« on: April 17, 2014, 10:13:51 AM »
Ew.  I really wanted this to be good.  It is not.

Almost no aroma.  Almost no flavor other than "soapy" followed by a lingering hop bitterness.

If I brewed this, I would be disappointed.  And it actually reminds me of a light lager that I brewed a number of years ago that I dumped.

I gave the glass to my wife, she said "it tastes like soap."  I poured it out. I have five in the fridge for anyone who wants them.

The Pub / Fat Tuesday
« on: March 04, 2014, 08:57:02 PM »
Have I missed a thread?

It's Fat Tuesday, people!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Tomorrow I have to give up something. Still gotta figure that part out.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Causes of astringency
« on: March 01, 2014, 05:09:04 PM »
Got some score sheets back and one of the comments on one of the beers was "astringent."  Tasting the beer again, I can see what the judge was tasting.

I popped open a stout, and there's that same dryness of finish.  Almost chalky.

I'm doing in a partial mash in a grain bag, rinsed with about at most a gallon for sparging.  I usually do a half gallon but there's some batches I've rinsed more.  I don't squeeze everything out of the bag.

Just curious as to what could be causing this.  I know over sparging will extract tannins, but I don't think I'm doing that.  Any other things I should be watching?

For extract, I use Briess Pilsen.  I know Martin has said they have high sodium (IIRC) in their water when their making the extract.  Could that be an issue at play here?

Kegging and Bottling / New Kegs - Manufactured in India
« on: February 21, 2014, 03:12:50 PM »
Anybody bought/used the new kegs that are manufactured in India?

Just curious if there's a quality difference compared to the Italian kegs.

I don't need more kegs, but maybe I do.

Kegging and Bottling / Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« on: February 10, 2014, 10:48:51 AM »
I took a hydrometer sample over the weekend while kegging my lastest bitter and it was delicious.  My wife loved it.  It was balanced and smooth.

I pulled a half-liter off while kegging and carbed it up in a soda bottle.  All of a sudden the beer was much hoppier.  Too hoppy for the wife.

I never noticed such an impact before but it makes some sense that carbonation could increase perceived bitterness.

Just wondering if I'm crazy or if this is, in fact, what happened.

Ingredients / Dry hopping an Old Ale
« on: January 06, 2014, 09:19:28 AM »
I don't dry hop much, but I have an Old Ale I think I'd like to dry hop.

The recipe was 100% Centennial (inspired by Bell's Third Coast Old Ale).

I have more Centennial.  I have Cascade, Willamette, Fuggle, Goldings, Strissesplat, Northdown, Hallertau, maybe Saaz.  Others, but I don't have them all in front of me to be sure.

Any advice on what might go well with the Centennial?  Stick with it?  Or go a different route?

Wood/Casks / Oaking an Old Ale
« on: January 06, 2014, 09:15:05 AM »
Looking for advice and opinions.  I have an Old Ale I want to put on oak.

I do not have a barrel, but I have the following options available:

Light American oak chips soaking in bourbon;
Medium toast French oak chips soaking in bourbon;
Can't recall what kind of chips soaking in rum (these have been used previously, soaked in bourbon and into a strong stout);
Both the American and French chips un-soaked.

I'm not sure I want the bourbon character in the Old Ale.  But I'm not sure I don't.  If I did, I think I'd pour off the bourbon and just put the chips in for awhile.

I'm sort of leaning toward the American oak.  No spirits.

What would you do and why?

Equipment and Software / Braided lines - how to know if they're stainless
« on: December 26, 2013, 02:56:38 PM »
Doing some plumbing and I've pulled a couple old (but not antique) braided lines.

How do I check if they're actually stainless?  They'd be great filters for the mash tun and kettle that I've been planning to build.

Equipment and Software / Old Coolers
« on: December 11, 2013, 10:50:43 AM »
One of these days, I'm going to get around to building my mash tun.  I bought a round cooler, but have also acquired some larger rectangular coolers.  These are used coolers of indeterminate age.  Coleman Polylite 48, IIRC.

Any concerns using an older cooler?  One of them has some stains on the inside, but I can bleach the bejesus out of it.

Also got a newer cooler that has no drain.  I could bore through with a spade bit, but the other coolers seem ideal as long as there's no concerns about the older plastic or anything like that.

The Pub / White Whiskey
« on: December 05, 2013, 09:31:04 AM »
A year or two ago someone gave me a bottle of this stuff from one of the local craft distilleries.  It's terrible.  I can't drink it and I can't serve it to friends.

I tried aging some on oak in Ball jars and did a sampling last night with a buddy.  The light toast American oak was still terrible.  The medium French oak had improved and had some oaky flavors but still could not out-compete the weird medicinal flavor of the whiskey.

I have most of a bottle left.  What do people do with this stuff?

I'm thinking maybe some charring some of the chips, or getting some charred oak cubes but I'm not sure the experiment is worth it anymore.

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