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Topics - beer_crafter

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All Grain Brewing / Portable march Pump
« on: May 24, 2012, 01:15:10 PM »
Other than the "Wort Pump In a Toolbox", are there any other designs for making a march pump portable?  I don't need great portability, but I can't mount it to a brewing structure either.   Just need to be able to have it free-standing, basically. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Temp control for fridge/freezer
« on: April 03, 2012, 10:43:37 AM »
Thinking about using my current fridge as a fermentation fridge.  It's a typical kitchen sized fridge with a top freezer.

If I use a single stage temp controller to keep it at, say, 64, what will this do to the freezer?  Most likely it would not keep the freezer below freezing, right?

Beer Recipes / Dunkel- Dark Munich (Best Malz Munich II) revisited
« on: January 27, 2012, 08:35:42 AM »
I know there have been a few threads on Dark Munich malts (in this case, Best Malz Munich II) and Dunkels.  I'm brewing one tomorrow and wanted some input.

I'm thinking about going with something like:
90% Munich II
9.5 % Pils
.5 % Carafa Special II

I've always used around 5% Aromatic Malt, but that was back when I'd brew a Dunkel with Light Munich.  Does anyone think I need Aromatic for maltiness with the Dark Munich?

I typically do single infusion mashes, should I do a step mash (rest at 131F?) with this malt bill?

I am thinking about doing this a little bigger (1.056?) than usual, if that matters.

Is it possible that I can't detect 4-vinyl guaiacol (clove phenol?)  Whenever I am at a tasting and others call a beer "clovey" I cannot detect it at all.  I don't think it is a case of not being able to ID the aroma/flavor.  Is this possible?  I know that diacetyl is not detectable by everyone.

Equipment and Software / Rebel Brewer:Cheap Flasks
« on: December 29, 2011, 02:07:04 PM »
Bought a 3L erlenmeyer flask from Rebel Brewer, and the glass is super thin.  The first time I used it, the bottom cracked incredibly easily on the bottom of a fermenting bucket I had filled with sanitizer.  I've used these types of flasks for many years, and have broken my share of them, but never with as little force as this one cracked with. 

I called rebel brewer and asked if others have complained about this, and they told me no, and that I was out of luck.  Fair enough.  I could have made a stink and said it may have been damaged in shipment, but that's not how I do business.
Fortunately their website has a rating system with the ability to submit feedback for the products they sell.  I submitted a product review with a fair assessment of what I feel to be an inferior product.  I believe it was well-written and informative, and IMO not reactive to the service I recieved.

This was over a month ago.  At this point, the review has not shown up on their site.  Poking around their site, the only reviews that get approved are ones with 4 or 5 starts.  WTF is the point of product feedback if you only show the positive reviews?   ::)

I'm done with these guys.   :-*

Beer Recipes / FG For Quadrupel/BDSA
« on: November 28, 2011, 07:03:39 PM »
Recently brewed a Belgian Dark Strong ale, and besides not being dark enough, I have concerns that my FG is too high.  It's coming in around 1.020-1.022.   :-\

The malt bill was
57% Belgian Pils
17.5% Munich I
5.5% Caramunich
3.3% Aromatic Malt
3.3% Special B
0.2% Carafa II Special

In the boil I added
8.8% Schenk Stroop (Dutch Sugar Syrup)
4.4% Table Sugar

I mashed at 145 for 40 minutes and 156 for 45 minutes.

OG was 1.092, I used pure O2 injection, and fermented with Wyeast 1762 (Rochefort Strain) around 64 degrees for a month.   This only got me 77% attenuation.  I did a fermentation test with the Shenk Stroop alone and it is highly fermentable, so I don't think that was the problem. 

Should I be aiming for a drier beer next time?  I suppose the step mash did not do me any favors here.  Thoughts? 


Equipment and Software / How to use a pH meter
« on: October 10, 2011, 10:54:55 AM »
Does anyone have a link to an article about how best to use a pH meter.  Looking specifically for best practices with respect to calibration, usage, and storage.

Yeast and Fermentation / Freezing wort-- am I risking botulism?
« on: August 08, 2011, 07:23:37 AM »
Sometimes when I brew, I will save 1-2 quarts of my last runnings, boil them for 15 minutes, put into a tupperware, cool down, and then store in the freezer for making a starter at a later date.

After reading an article about canning wort, I am wondering if my process is opening the possibility of botulism.  Is this process safe?

Beer Recipes / Should I FWH a Saison
« on: June 09, 2011, 01:16:50 PM »
I am going to make my first saison with French Saison yeast (WY3711) this weekend. Shooting for 6.0 ABV.... a nice summer beer.
Got some Sorachi Ace hops, because that's what people are doing these days, I guess! 

I loved the Saisons in Belgium... dry and BITTER!  None of this sweet, spicy nonesense.

Should I FWH the Sorachis?  What is the flavor like?  Is the flavor very non-traditional in the context of a saison?  I don't think of saisons as having a lot of hop flavor anyway.   

Equipment and Software / SImple pickup tube for keggle
« on: August 13, 2010, 02:00:10 PM »
I currently use a keggle with a false bottom, with a pickup tube that goes from the ball valve to the middle of the keggle.  I am looking for an alternative for this, mostly because I need to use primarily leaf hops with this rig.  The pickup tube today uses what I think is called a flare fitting (basically it is a nut and a ferrule which are attached to the pickup tube).

I was thinking about having an alternative to this that I can use with pellet hops and a whirlpool-- it would basically be a short copper pipe to the edge of the keggle, which is a common design I've seen others have.  How do I connect the pickup tube to my ball valve?  Is the same type of fitting which is on my false bottom's pickup tube easy to use?  Is this a flare fitting?  Am I making this too complicated, and I shouldn't use a pickup tube at all?

I have a Munich Dunkel on tap right now which I think is exactly what I was targeting in every way except one-- the head retention on the beer is poor.

The beer is well carbonated and pours with a perfect head.  But the head dissipates quite quickly, so quickly in fact that you can hear the bubbles popping (kind of like when you pour a soda, although not *that* quickly).
I do not have this problem with other beers BUT most of my other beers are highly hopped.

Obviously adding more hops is not an option for a malty style such as a Dunkel.

My malt bill was 
95% Wyermann Munich I malt.
2% Aromatic
2% Caramunich
1% Carafa Special II

I mashed at 152-154F for 90 minutes.  I added some chalk to the water to bring up the RA, and batch sparged.

Adding more Cara malts is not something I want to do as a solution.  Is there something I can do with my mash schedule to improve head retention?


Was overseas recently and discovered Schenk Stroop (translated as Sugar Syrup).. this stuff:

When I tried it, I thought it tasted a lot like the Belgian "D" candi syrup I've used in my dubbels.  I brought back 3 bottles of it.  Has anyone ever tried this stuff in a beer?  Does anyone know what it is, and is it similar to the candi syrup from belgium? 

Beer Recipes / Looking for feedback on Belgian Dark Strong malt bill
« on: March 15, 2010, 05:26:23 PM »
Brewing a Belgian Dark Strong on Friday, have a starter of Wyeast Abbey II (1762) already getting stepped up.

Just realized my pack of D2 Candi Syrup is only 1lb, not 1.5 lbs like the bottles used to be.....  Anyway, looking for feedback on my recipe:

Amount Item Type % or IBU
9.75 lb Pilsner (Weyermann) (1.7 SRM) Grain 54.93 %
3.00 lb Munich I (Weyermann) (7.1 SRM) Grain 16.90 %
1.00 lb Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 5.63 %
1.00 lb Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 5.63 %
0.50 lb Caramunich II (Weyermann) (63.0 SRM) Grain 2.82 %
1.50 lb Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM) Sugar 8.45 %
1.00 lb D2 Syrup (160.0 SRM) Sugar 5.63 %

2.00 oz Styrian Goldings [4.20 %] (60 min) Hops 27.5 IBU

Plan is to mash at about 150. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Best yeast for "American" Tripel
« on: March 01, 2010, 10:00:45 AM »
Planning on making a Tripel in the next few months, but using American hops.  Similar to Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold.  Not a Belgian IPA-- but a properly balanced Tripel using Amarillo hops instead of noble. 

Can anyone suggest a good belgian yeast strain that would play nicely with the peach and tangerine flavors from the Amarillo?

All Grain Brewing / First stuck mash: batch sparge
« on: January 06, 2010, 02:09:34 PM »
I've done dozens of partial mash and all grain brews using Denny's cheap'n'easy mash tun design, and it's always worked well for me.

This past week I brewed a Munich Dunkel with 94% Weyermann Munich I malt, 3% Carafa Special, and 3% CaraMunich.  I belive my crush was finer than I normally crush, since there was a lot of flour.  I did something different with this batch by adding water slowly to the grain in the tun, rather than vice-versa.  Ultimately, I mashed at 152.  When I went to vorlauf, as soon as the runoff cleared, it slowed to a trickle.  I tried to stir up the bed, and the same thing happened.  I attemped to move some of the mash to a different (smaller) tun with the same design, and it got stuck there too.

I ended up changing out the hose that passes through the wall of the cooler to one that had a large ID with the same OD... unfortunately, this is a regular, non hi-temp tube, so I prefer to use the original tube I had been using.  Nevertheless, it, along with a lot of patience, helped me to get through the brew day.

I noticed that there was a rather thick (.5 - 1.25") layer of trub/mud/protiens that sat atop the grains once my sparge was complete.  I have seen a thin layer of this substance before, but never has it been so thick.  I assume it was this substance that was causing the stuck sparge. 

It is likely that this was caused by my crush?   Or is it possible that at some point I unintentionally throughout this pricess did some sort of temperature rest that caused a thick, muddy like protien to form in the mash? 

Next batch, I will be using a coarser crush, but I thought I would ask the group here for opinions as well. 

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