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Topics - a10t2

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Equipment and Software / FG from Refractometer Readings
« on: June 11, 2010, 06:13:37 PM »
I know some people have had good results, but I've never found the refractometer correlation to FG that everyone seems to use to be very accurate. I modified it slightly to give better results, based on my last ten sets of readings. If you have data from both a hydrometer and refractometer I'd be interested in hearing how the new numbers compare with the old.

Refractometer Estimates of Final Gravity

I (and some very generous volunteers from the NB forum) recently conducted an experiment to determine what, if any, impact under-pitching would have on a beer. The results more or less conform to the conventional wisdom - slower fermentation, increased off-flavors, etc. I know a lot of people, especially new brewers, question the need for starters, and I think the tasters' results make a pretty persuasive case for using them.

Yeast Pitching Rate Results

The Pub / OK homebrewers, where should I live?
« on: April 07, 2010, 05:08:39 PM »
I've been in the job market for a year but haven't found anything, and I'm starting to think that I can work fast food in a place with better scenery. I like outdoor activities (skiing, hiking, running, cycling) and beer (good local micros and homebrew scene), so I'm thinking Colorado-ish. Then again, I've never been to the PNW and I hear good things. Plus, how do you just up and pick a place to live?

So I figured I'd throw the question out there and see if any fellow brewers live somewhere they absolutely love, and why.

General Homebrew Discussion / Volunteers needed: Pitching rate experiment
« on: February 17, 2010, 11:21:56 AM »
First of all, my apologies for cross-posting - I know it's kind of tacky. But I wanted to let as many people as possible know about the pitching rate survey I'm trying to get organized. At least for now, the main point of contact is at the NB forum:

If you don't have and don't want an account over there, but still want to participate, let me know and I'll get you on the list. Thanks!

The Pub / I may need help
« on: February 05, 2010, 07:43:48 AM »
A friend said something to me about how she was still waiting for her 1098 to arrive in the mail.

My response: "Aren't you worried about it freezing this time of year?"

I think she's planning an intervention. :-\

Homebrew Competitions / Where would you enter this?
« on: February 04, 2010, 02:43:09 PM »
I have a recipe that I've brewed a few times - it's a pretty simple American wheat, about 50% wheat malt, 40% 2-row, 10% dextrine malt, and a couple pounds of honey in secondary. Sometimes I'll add a little coriander in the whirlpool; this time I'm going to try cardamom, and if it comes out well I'm going to enter it in the NHC.

I'm wondering where, though. SHV would be the logical choice, but I don't know if something this delicate would just get muscled out. (Not that I expect to place, but if anyone tastes it after a chile beer I'm not getting feedback at all.) I know with the honey and spice it shouldn't be in American Wheat/Rye (but would it actually get thrown out?), and I already have something going in Specialty Beer. So I guess I have to suck it up and enter it in SHV, or just not enter it at all.

Hopefully some judges with more experience than I can comment. Thanks!

Ingredients / Cardamom?
« on: February 03, 2010, 08:32:54 PM »
There's a Penzey's spice shop in town that I drive by all the time. I finally went in today because I wanted to try some chamomile in a wit. Turns out they don't carry it (and I really don't think I'll be shopping there again; the place has the floor space/product ratio of an Apple Store). The one nice thing was that they have sniffable jars of each of the spices, and I ended up getting some whole green cardamom.

Anyone know how much of this to use in a beer? My first instinct is to treat it like coriander (1/4 oz at flameout) but I was wondering if maybe that would be too much. Everything I can find about cooking with it says it's incredibly potent. So maybe I'll start with more like 3-5 grams. Which also brings up the question of what I'm going to do with 1.7 ounces of the stuff.

The Pub / SOTU Drinking Game
« on: January 27, 2010, 09:23:29 PM »
Anyone else give it a try?

Literally NO drinks in the response this time. Pretty much par for the course on the speech though - these guys do their homework.

Equipment and Software / I got a pump... now what?
« on: January 18, 2010, 06:58:01 PM »
Just kidding, I've already brewed with my new March pump once and it was awesome. But I have a few questions:

1. I could use it to pump from the mash tun but I didn't because I was worried about either compacting the grain bed down so far it wouldn't drain, pulling bits of husk through, or both. Anyone have experience with this? I lauter through a slotted CPVC manifold FWIW.

2. When I started my whirlpool, using the pump to pull wort from the bottom of the kettle, through the CFC, and back in at the top, I had a lot of hop particles and break running through the system. By the time I was done it was running clear, but after all was said and done I started worrying. I don't think any of it is hard enough to actually do damage; I'm more worried about binding up the impeller and burning out the motor or something like that. Am I just obsessing?

3. Finally, I cleaned everything up by pumping hot Oxiclean through it, then running hot water through until it ran clear, then blowing through it to get as much water out as possible. Is there anything else I should be doing to clean it? I guess I could take the head off, but it seems like pretty soft plastic (I almost stripped one of the threads just putting the fittings on). Maybe I'll compromise and clean it every 3-4 brews. How well do the plastic heads hold up long-term?

Yeast and Fermentation / Starters and aeration experiments
« on: January 14, 2010, 12:31:35 PM »
I did a few simple tests to see what the effects of various aeration methods were on starters, and thought other people might find the results interesting. A full writeup is here: but the results are summarized in the image below.

Questions about the forum? / Typo
« on: December 02, 2009, 04:11:10 PM »
In the blurb for Homebrewer Bios, it says "associaiton".

Other Fermentables / Where does wine flavor come from?
« on: November 21, 2009, 10:24:31 AM »
This is a cross-post from the NB forums. My apologies for the inherent tackiness.

I have a fair amount of experience with brewing, but I've never made wine. Not that I dislike it; I just don't drink enough wine for it to be worthwhile. Over the past few days, though, I've been experimenting with blending some wines and beers and it's gotten me thinking about trying something like that on my own. I'm thinking about using some grape juice for a secondary fermentation in a beer, followed by some oak aging. And it would make my life a lot easier if I could get a reasonable approximation of the wine character without having to do a separate wine yeast fermentation.

From what I've read, it sounds like wine yeasts have a pretty small flavor impact, and most of the flavor comes from the grapes and/or oak aging. Is that a fair generalization?

Oh, and are there any other combinations people have tried? My favorites so far have been merlot in an RIS and reisling in a hefeweizen.

Questions about the forum? / "Partial Mash"
« on: November 19, 2009, 12:04:30 PM »
Any chance I could talk someone into changing the name of the subforum to "Extract/Mini-Mash Brewing"? There's nothing partial about it!


Kegging and Bottling / Room temperature keg?
« on: November 15, 2009, 03:50:17 PM »
Backstory: due to my employment situation I've had to move into a smaller place, so my kegerator is in storage. Kind of ironic, since now I have all kinds of free time to brew (and saving money on beer isn't a bad thing either). But I don't have any bottles saved up, and don't really have room for more than a few cases anyway, and buying them at fifty cents a pop means they'll cost more than the beer, at least until I get enough in rotation. Plus I'm spoiled... I can't stand bottling.

So what I'm wondering is if there are any issues associated with keeping a keg warm, and using it to fill a 2 L bottle (with a Carbonator cap) that could then go in the fridge. The furnace is set at 68°F, but I'm thinking the garage (insulated, but not heated) will stay cooler than that, maybe even get down to serving temps once it's colder outside. I guess all I'm really wondering is if there's a dramatic difference in flavor, aging in the 60s versus the 40s.

Anyone have experience with storing a keg warm for a few months?

The Pub / The Martini Thread
« on: November 12, 2009, 07:51:46 PM »
I know there was one of these over on the-forum-that-shall-not-be-named, but it's gone now and was several years old anyway.

So, who else likes martinis? What's your secret? Is there some delicious but obscure gin I'm missing out on? In the name of lively discussion, I'll allow non-martini cocktails as long as they are substantially martini-esque. I'll even allow vodka!

Here are my (possibly excessive) thoughts on the subject:

1/3 jigger (0.5 fl oz) Martini & Rossi dry vermouth
3 jiggers (4.5 fl oz) Bombay Sapphire gin
2 large olives
4 large ice cubes

Place cocktail glass in the freezer to chill.
Soak olives in cold water for 10-15 minutes to remove brine.
Add gin, vermouth, and ice to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
Strain into the chilled cocktail glass and add olives.
Wait 60 seconds for the drink to come to thermal equilibrium (watch the condensation on the glass), then enjoy.

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