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Topics - beerrat

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Ingredients / can I turn crystal 40 into crystal 80?
« on: December 10, 2010, 06:56:47 PM »
Have a recipe that calls for crystal 80, but have only 40L on hand.  Can I roast crystal in oven for x time to make 40 into 80?

Been looking on web, but found no info. 

General Homebrew Discussion / A day in the life of a nano brewer
« on: October 16, 2010, 07:07:31 AM »
My local nano brewer, Breaker Brewing Company did a neat "day in the life" video - only about 6 minutes.. enjoy!

Cool look into the equipment they use.

Oh, and they make good beer too.

<<updated link>>:

Equipment and Software / Fermentation chamber ideas
« on: September 17, 2010, 08:46:16 AM »
I have a refrigerator/freezer for my kegs and beer, and do not want to buy another one, just to maintain fermentation temps.  Want one to do ales and lagers (of course, not at same time)

My thoughts are to use a fermentation chamber (insulated plywood box) that had some means to be cooled by adjacent refrigerator.  Either via air (like: or chilled fluid; either using fan/pump and temperature controller.

I think the added benefit of this is saved floor space by using the adjacent refrigerator.

Thoughts from those whom have done this?

Ingredients / 2010 Hop harvest NE PA
« on: September 12, 2010, 07:39:49 AM »
Just wanted to share this year's initial hop harvest from my small patch in Dunmore PA.  I have 3 bines of brewers gold (3 year old) and cascades (2 year old) growing on a chain link fence.  Been a dry year and I did not water as I should have. 

Only about 4 oz of Cascades, with maybe another 2 oz still on the bine.
12oz of Brewers Gold with about a pound still to be picked!!

A BG/Cascade pale ale on deck to be brewed next week!

Brewer's Gold:

Kegging and Bottling / Long term bottle and cap/cork methods
« on: August 09, 2010, 10:59:58 AM »
Been a few threads of late on what to beers/mead/etc to make to save for multiyear celebrations, and how to bottle them in terms of carbonation, and transfer.

I have a mead that I made during spring chemo fun that I want to bottle and celebrate for many years to come!

Any thoughts on the right combination of bottle, cork, cap, etc for say 25+ years?

I have a both a corker and a capper.

Is there a difference in cork quality, natural vs regular matter.  Store on the side to keep moist for a mead apply like in wine?  Seal with wax, etc?  I'm not sure side storage will work out for me, so synthetic corks ok long term?  

Would wax work similar to this method :

Equipment and Software / Any home-brew weighing scale recommendations?
« on: August 06, 2010, 05:40:15 PM »
Bought a cheap scale a few years back and is lacking in the < 1 oz and gram range accuracy - recommendations?

What I have is ok for base grains, but not for fine tuning smaller additions - especially when I do 2-3gal experimental batches.

Ok - last year I posted that the basement dehumidifier ate my mead.  Well I discovered on Sunday that this year, it sampled my cyser.

So it appears I'm not checking my air lock and ensuring it I filled with liquid often enough in dehumidifier season.

Besides checking every week, anyone have suggestions for air locks for long term aging as I will forget to check again!

I use the standard 2 piece air lock, with a zip lock bag over top.

Will a bubbler be better?

Sunday morning, walk down to the basement for cat food.  Cellar smells of beer.  I checked the kegs sitting in the corner and see about 1 gallon of beer on the floor.

A slow leak from the beer out poppet.  Damn!  Black lager puddle. :(

I don't have a frig or kegerator for my beer, so I usually slap on a cobra tap to fill a growler or 2-liter with a carbonator cap and chill in the frig.  Once filled, I pull off the tap and flush out with star san.

I wiped down the beer post and thought all was good.  I guess next time I'll start spraying the post with starsan and look for leaks when pulling off the tap.

The basement did smell nice though!

Ingredients / Brewing herbs - lemon and bee balm
« on: July 14, 2010, 07:05:56 AM »
I've grown my own hops and used them in an annual harvest ale.  I've been thinking about expanding the scope from just simply hops to other items I've grown.  Not doing barley - tried and too much work ;-)

I've been reading The Home Brewers Garden by J and D Fisher and inventoried by yard for brewing plants options.

I have a lot of options, as I have a pretty diverse urban garden, but am settling in on lemon balm and/or bee balm for this year's brew.

Anyone use these lemon or bee balm?  Will "dry hopping" with lemon balm offer any aroma? success, failures, tips, styles?

Yeast and Fermentation / Should we be eating our yeast cake?
« on: April 28, 2010, 03:41:41 PM »
Interesting article on NPR site ...

Marmite, technically called "yeast extract," is basically what gets scraped from the bottom of the beer barrel. The British breakfast staple, which was originally sold in earthenware jars that resembled the French stockpot called a marmite, was born more than 100 years ago in a small town called Burton-On-Trent. B-on-T is also the birthplace of Bass Ale. Bass was there because the water was considered so fine. Marmite was there as Bass' garbage man: It created a use for spent brewer's yeast.

Other Fermentables / Clarifying mead
« on: April 17, 2010, 08:57:08 AM »
I have a sweet mead in secondary (glass) for 2 months (was in primary for about 40 days).

It is clearing slowly, wonder what others do to produce clear mead.

I have bentonnite on hand.

I see that sparkalloid was used by the past couple NHC winners.


Yeast and Fermentation / Can old yeast be used as a nutrient?
« on: March 29, 2010, 09:15:30 AM »
I have not been able to find the source of where I read/heard this, but can old yeast be boiled (or added to the wort boil) and used as a yeast nutrient?
Something to do with those old packs of munton's that came with the beer kit.  ;D
If so, would same hold true for a yeast slurry from a prior batch?

Ingredients / Palisade hops - suggested usage?
« on: March 20, 2010, 11:24:16 AM »
Just got my second place winnings from a contest - 1 pound of palisades hop plugs 8.5% aa.  I know nothing about the hops, and not really getting a good feel from the fancy internet thingie, so thought I'd ask the experts.  Anyone use this hop before and in what styles seemed to work well in?

Other Fermentables / What's that in my mead?
« on: March 02, 2010, 10:38:37 AM »
I've opened a bottle of a mead I made back in Dec 209, and bottled in April 2009.  It was a small test batch to lock down process, and see what mead tastes like.  A sweet still mead.

The taste was nice - sweet, honey aroma, but there was a white film on the mead at the top of the bottle.  Thoughts on what this is and if a potential issue?  I'm was thinking that it was yeast.  There was no carbonation when I opened the bottle.

This was my first mead.  I did not clarify with any finings - a real simple 4 gallons of honey added to 160F water. Here was the 1 gallon recipe:
2 Gal Apple Honey
2 Gal Raspberry Honey
3/4 gal tap water – GE filtered
Yeast – Redstar montradet

1.   Boil 3/4 gal of water, cool to 160F
2.   Add honey and mix well, Cool to 80F
3.   Remove 1 cup of must and add yeast to it
4.   Add 1/2 campden tablet to full must
5.   Wait 15 minutes, take SG
6.   Add must to 1 gallon jug
7.   Pitched yeast @78F

OG: 1.151
FG: 1.051
abv 12%

Ingredients / Corn sugar vs rice syrup
« on: January 27, 2010, 10:56:41 AM »
I'm planning on making a lite lager as a base for some session beer flavor experiments. 
I have a lot of corn sugar, but most recipes seem to use rice as the adjunct instead of corn.  The BJCP style guide indicates corn ok.

What is the different flavor profile corn vs rice will contribute?

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