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Messages - a10t2

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Despite doing a lot of reading and research, I'm still a little confused about the hydrometer.  Can someone give me a brief description/functionality of it please?

Have you read this yet?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: oops... starter woes.
« on: July 16, 2010, 11:06:10 PM »
Agreed, they certainly won't *all* be dead, but I wouldn't assume you'll get anywhere near what you were expecting either. I would take what you get from the starter and pitch it into another 1 L of wort, just to play it safe.

Welcome to the forum, and to brewing!

At this point, you can really only do more harm than good by trying to get the grommet out. Just let it sit for a few weeks, then take your gravity reading(s) and proceed as normal. It's a very common problem, and I've never heard of anyone who had a batch ruined as a result.

For future reference: a carboy is a glass vessel, generally 5-7 gallons in volume, that's used to ferment beer (in place of a bucket). What you have on top is an airlock.

I've actually never brewed a kit - I was fortunate in that my first two batches, I was assisting a (more) experienced brewer. The only beer I've ever "borrowed" directly from someone else's recipe is Denny's BVIP, and even that I think I made some minor tweaks. For me, the recipe design is one of the most fun parts.

The Pub / Re: can someone explain
« on: July 16, 2010, 05:34:26 PM »
Or just because it's a massive, custom-fabricated steel part that has to withstand 5000 feet of water pressure on one side and 8000 psi of oil on the other.

Beer Recipes / Re: Need a recipe for an Oktoberfest AG
« on: July 16, 2010, 05:27:29 PM »
Mine is identical to Matt's except for the grain bill, since I also like them on the malty side. 55% Munich 1, 37% Pilsen, 4% CaraPils, 4% CaraMunich. I know the crystal malts are heresy, but they're oh so tasty.

edit: I should add that I'm using ~6°L Munich, so it isn't too far off from some maltsters' Vienna.

Beer Recipes / Re: °designing° a recipe using an extract kit
« on: July 16, 2010, 10:20:37 AM »
I'd just use it for starters. Cooper's ingredients don't have a great reputation, and I believe all of their kits are pre-hopped.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP 820 rate of Fermentation?
« on: July 16, 2010, 10:18:36 AM »
Sorry to be the bearer of an unfavorable opinion, but WLP820 is terrible stuff.

 :o This is W206, right? Same as Wyeast 2206? Any chance you have a bum culture? I mean, it's one of the most commonly used lager yeasts in the world, and has been for a century. I guess there's no point in debating flavor online, but I've never had any problems with it. This year's Oktoberfest dropped from 1.054 to 1.014 in ~12 days, and that was the first generation. The maibock that's currently fermenting has dropped from 1.069 to under 1.020 after 9 days (FFT went to 1.012). Both of these were mashed fairly high - with a low single-infusion mash it will get to >85% ADF.

Lazydog: I'm wondering if you under-pitched. I know you made a 3 qt starter, but how was it handled? Airlock, shaking, stirplate? How old was the vial? How confident are you in the temperature? I would typically ferment at 48-50°F, so if it's at 54°F I'm surprised you haven't seen a very fast fermentation.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Membership Levels?
« on: July 15, 2010, 09:43:10 AM »
You rock, Drew.

The Pub / Re: Sign of the times.
« on: July 14, 2010, 04:58:50 PM »
Great idea, and I love their interface. Only problem is none of the links work!

Plus I'm pretty jealous of anyone who lives within driving distance of RR...

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Koning Hoeven Dubbel
« on: July 14, 2010, 10:07:58 AM »

They make it sound like it's the same strain in all their beers, so you could probably culture it up from a bottle. The Blond might be easiest - although the White is lower-gravity, I wouldn't bank on it using the same strain without tasting first.

All Things Food / Re: H**lth Food
« on: July 12, 2010, 10:46:38 PM »
In terms of filling calories, chicken breast meat is your best friend. It's actually terrible from a calorie/carbon standpoint, but I buy it at the local farmer's market to assuage my liberal guilt. One of my favorite lunches is a chicken reuben.

4 oz of chicken breast meat
as much sauerkraut (homemade) and fat-free thousand island dressing as you want
1 oz slice of swiss cheese (I use the real, 100% fat stuff, because otherwise what's the point?)
two slices of homemade rye IPA bread with whole wheat flour

Works out to about 600 calories, and I don't think I could eat more than one a day, it's so filling.

I make my own sushi/nigiri too, and I'll post on that as soon as I can take some pictures to show y'all up. ;)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: New brew success!
« on: July 12, 2010, 10:34:33 PM »
OK, I'll try and take these as directly as I can. Suffice it to say that you've touched on some complex and subtle issues and a little more research will do you well. I wrote up a basic primer (here) that I'm not pimping so much for the process itself as the number of links to other resources. In particular, John Palmer's How to Brew is indispensable. The first edition is online, but showing its age. Do yourself a favor and buy the book, now in the third edition.

Should I expect the beer to continue to get better as it sits in the bottles?

This will depend to some extent on the beer, but most average gravity (~5% ABV) beers will be best after something like a month or two in the bottles. The darker/heavier the beer, the more time it can handle.

Is the creamy head (unusual for most pub ales hereabouts) a result of bottle conditioning?

Not necessarily, but I'm assuming you used the ingredients that came with the kit. Those generally include 5 oz (~142 g) of priming sugar, which is a little more than I like for the average ale. A carbonation calculator (like this one) can help you figure out exactly how much you need.

What is this "off taste" I have been warned about from using extract?

Don't worry about it. There was a time when it was difficult to get high quality, fresh extract. That time was the 1970s. Anything you buy from a reputable retailer will be top-notch.

If I need to top off after racking, do I have to boil and cool some water, or can I just use bottled water?

I would recommend adding the water immediately before pitching the yeast, rather than after fermentation. Ideally, you want to pre-boil and cool the water. Even freeze it a couple days ahead of time, since it will help you chill your wort before pitching, which you want to do a few degrees below your fermentation temperature. (That means getting the wort down to about 64°F for most ales, and keeping it there.) Bottled water is *probably* fine, but to be absolutely sure you aren't introducing contaminants, you need to boil it.

This is fun - already!  And my wife is interested in helping now, and as soon as her training period at work is over and she's working regular-like, she wants to brew, too!

Sounds like you have a keeper. I can't count how many brewers I know who brew to "get away from the wife".

The Pub / Re: 42!
« on: July 11, 2010, 12:53:46 PM »
BTW, BOS this year was a Northern English Brown. I was ecstatic to see a session beer win.

The Pub / Re: 42!
« on: July 11, 2010, 12:42:40 PM »
The truth is, you and I would both cringe if we saw someone brewing this beer. It was my fifth extract batch, and I used dark LME, with a partial boil, no late addition, way too much hopping, dumped it on an entire yeast cake, and probably fermented close to 80°F. When it stopped at something like 1.055, I added Beano to the secondary and let it go for a few months until it got down to 1.034, then kegged it. It was at least a year until it was even drinkable, and four until it was good.

Don't dump your beers, people!

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