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Messages - beerrat

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Should we be eating our yeast cake?
« on: April 28, 2010, 07:00:38 PM »

Thanks for the thread link.. I enjoyed...    so the question is, has anyone been nutty enough to spread their yeast cake on a sandwich or toast?  I'd imagine that here my be an added hoppiness to this vs the commercial version.  When I brew next i'll have to be a guinea pig on this one.

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.

The Pub / Re: How Much you Brew vs How Much you Drink.
« on: April 25, 2010, 08:59:00 AM »
I brew 5 or less gallon batches.  it enables me to brew more often.  I drink 1 beer an evening during the week and maybe 2-3 on the weekends, so I'm not going to be able to consume all I make.  My brews have also been too hoppy for my miller lite wife ;-).  I share a good portion at poker nights, local home brew club meetings, and other quarterly parties with friends.   So I must give away 50% of what I brew.

I switched to kegging, 3 full kegs, and 4 cases of home brew.  Need to make room for a mead, cider, and wine that are getting close to bottling time.

Then there are 3-4 recipes I'm anxious to make - so will scale to 3 gallon so i don't drown in my own beer.

I like the bucket in the tub with a pond pump ideas.  I use an ice chest and a very small pond pump from Lowes.
Here's the pump I used:

Check this thread for more ideas.  I have pics of my set up posted here:

Zymurgy / Re: Easing the physical process
« on: April 24, 2010, 02:19:15 PM »
Excellent topic idea!  I have some on and off back issues, but still want to make 5 gallon batches.  A brewhauler and ability to keep process located to a single floor of the house helped a lot.  I'd think a pump may be the next item to help. 

I've also gone thru chemo/radiation in the past month and found brewing help keep my mind on something positive.  Had to balance that with ensuring I did not get burns/injured when the blood counts dropped, so ended up making a mead and wine and getting help from family to move the heavy carboys.

A couple thoughts as I initially had a "house flavor" in my first beers.

1) I used filtered water instead of straight out of the tap.  Something with a charcoal filter to remove chlorine.  I'm not a fan of bottled water because you really don't know what your are getting.  Often, someone else's tap water :-)

2) I switched to starsan to sanitize my equipment.  I think the other no rinse stuff was introducing flavors.

3) Fermentation temp keep < 70f (or per recommendation for yeast/style).  

4) I use DME more then liquid as DME has longer shelf life and less issues with temp impact.

I no longer have the house flavor.

Good luck.

Other Fermentables / Re: Clarifying mead
« on: April 18, 2010, 04:45:55 PM »
Any suggestion on when and how to apply clarifying agents in a mead.    I've used some in making a wine - same technique of degassing, etc?  Ken Schramm's book does not cover application steps for fining agents - he mentions them, but not how to use.

This seems like a good reference,but looking for other opinions:

As always, thank you for the valuable input!

The Pub / Re: Healthy Beer
« on: April 18, 2010, 08:12:56 AM »
If they get Chuck Norris to pimp it on an infomercial though - we're all in trouble.

Chuck does not need any of this health eating stuff, he simply punches the illnesses out of himself. ;D

The Pub / Re: Healthy Beer
« on: April 17, 2010, 12:49:58 PM »
If drinking it for flavor or aroma - taste, then I cool with it.   8)

Now my rant.... >:(  if for the "health benefits" then these brewers are nothing more then snake oil salesmen preying on folk. 

I'm getting treatment for colon cancer and had a few well intention people telling me to take this fermented mushroom tea (kombrucha)to help cure me.  There is no scientific/medical evidence what so ever to prove benefits, yet that has not stoped people making a buck off anyone or recommending a waste of money.  Can't wait for the infomercial on TV telling us how the brewer's elixor will help you lose weight, and let us eat as much as we want too!

</end of rant>.


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.


Ingredients / Re: My babies
« on: April 14, 2010, 01:36:30 PM »
I finally got out to check mine.  Nice growth for the brewers gold and cascades in NE PA.  I need to weed, toss some compost, and mulch.  Other then water, not much else during the year.  The soil is pretty bad construction fill, but a lot of compost fixes that up.

Brewers Gold:   Cascades:

I'm skipping building the trellis and going back to just training them onto the chain link fence. Bines balled up at the top of the trellis, mixed the 2 plants, and I was not able to easily lower rig as planned.  Also, solar array installed in the fall would be shaded by trellis, so solar wins and hops go back to chain link.  I got same production both years, so works out not having to build/maintain yet other structure ;-) .  Chain link is simple, gold goes left, cascades to the right.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Major slowdown in Fermentation
« on: April 03, 2010, 08:32:09 AM »
I'd let 'em go and check the gravity after you return.  I usually have my ales in the primary 14-21 days as I bottle/keg when I have the right time.  Assuming that when you are on vacation the temp of the beer can be kept in right temp range an you have a filled air lock.
When you come back and if gravity has not changed, then you know you are good to bottle.

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?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Major slowdown in Fermentation
« on: March 29, 2010, 09:00:09 AM »
I think you be fine - you still have activity after 2 days.  I used this yeast a few times when I started brewing 2 years ago and I've seen a similar pattern - slowing at the end of the second day and no activity by the forth.  My temps were about 65F.  I took gravities readings on day 5 and 7 to see if it was done, then let it sit a couple more until I had time to bottle.

I no longer use this yeast.  It did make good beer, but other yeasts enabled me to make better beer. (That and a lot of experience learned from sites like this).

Ingredients / Re: Palisade hops - suggested usage?
« on: March 25, 2010, 03:38:39 PM »
Thank you all!  :)  I think I'll try a pale ale first and then determine if I want to do an IPA if I like the character.

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