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Messages - skyler

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16
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
« on: October 21, 2016, 11:05:51 AM »
I bought a six-pack of this beer shortly after returning home from Germany this August. My last meal in Germany was at the Hofbrau Brauhaus in the Frankfurt airport, drinking a liter of festbier. I drank lots of festbiers and marzens while I was in Germany, even though I did not go to Munich this time. SN's Oktoberfest was worse than any I drank in Germany. I thought it tasted overly tart and not the right kind of malty. It reminded me of a homebrewed pilsner made with old extract.

Yuck.

17
Ingredients / Re: Special Roast
« on: October 17, 2016, 01:18:36 PM »
It's a bold malt - VERY biscuity, IMO. Don't stack it with victory, biscuit malt, or anything like that. I would use no more than 4-8 oz per 5 gallons.

18
Ingredients / Re: Chocolate Rye Malt
« on: October 05, 2016, 12:21:25 PM »
Yeah, this is for a 12 gallon batch. I have 4 lbs of rye malt on top of the 1-2 lb of chocolate rye. I use rice hulls to keep the wort flowing smoothly whenever I have more than a pound or two of wheat or rye.

19
Ingredients / Chocolate Rye Malt
« on: October 05, 2016, 10:59:10 AM »
I posted this in the "recipe ideas" category, but perhaps this is a better spot for it. I am only really looking for feedback regarding the chocolate rye malt, but nothing is really set in stone here.:

I got inspired to brew a brown ale that is something of a blend between Denny's Rye IPA (Wrye Smile) and Tasty McDole's Janet's Brown Ale, except a somewhat lower gravity (~1.060). In part this idea came about from my also wanting to use up my 2015 hops. I decided to go for a malt bill of:

20 lbs GW 2-row
4 lbs   GW Rye Malt
2 lbs   Bairds Dark Crystal (75L)
1 lb    Bairds Extra Dark Crystal (130L)
1-2 lbs Weyermann Chocolate Rye Malt (245L)

The hop bill is:

US Mount Hood   5.4 %   60 g First Wort Hopped
US Apollo           18.0 %     10 g 60 Min From End
US Cascade   9.3 %   90 g 10 Min From End
US El Dorado   12.0 %   60 g Whirlpool
US Columbus   13.8 %   60 g Whirlpool
US Cascade   9.3 %   60 g Dry-Hopped
US Columbus   13.8 %   30 g Dry-Hopped
US El Dorado   12.0 %   30 g Dry-Hopped

Though I may not dry hop half of it (I am thinking of fermenting half with S-04 and putting it on Nitro, then dry-hopping half and fermenting with an American yeast and putting it on CO2)

If I'm looking at just color, then 1 lb of the Chocolate Rye gets me to a nice 21 SRM - dark enough. But I haven't used this malt as the sole roasted malt before and I was wondering if I should push it deeper - is the flavor contribution of the Chocolate Rye so mild as to necessitate more (like Midnight Wheat)?

20
Beer Recipes / How much chocolate rye to use?
« on: October 05, 2016, 07:15:54 AM »
I got inspired to brew a brown ale that was something of a blend between Denny's Rye IPA (Wrye Smile) and Tasty McDole's Janet's Brown Ale, except a somewhat lower gravity (~1.060). In part this idea came about from my also wanting to use up my 2015 hops. I decided to go for a malt bill of:

20 lbs GW 2-row
4 lbs   GW Rye Malt
2 lbs   Bairds Dark Crystal (75L)
1 lb    Bairds Extra Dark Crystal (130L)
1-2 lbs Weyermann Chocolate Rye Malt (245L)

The hop bill is:

US Mount Hood   5.4 %   60 g First Wort Hopped
US Apollo           18.0 %     10 g 60 Min From End
US Cascade   9.3 %   90 g 10 Min From End
US El Dorado   12.0 %   60 g Whirlpool
US Columbus   13.8 %   60 g Whirlpool
US Cascade   9.3 %   60 g Dry-Hopped
US Columbus   13.8 %   30 g Dry-Hopped
US El Dorado   12.0 %   30 g Dry-Hopped

Though I may not dry hop half of it (I am thinking of fermenting half with S-04 and putting it on Nitro, then dry-hopping half and fermenting with an American yeast and putting it on CO2)

If I'm looking at just color, then 1 lb of the Chocolate Rye gets me to a nice 21 SRM - dark enough. But I haven't used this malt as the sole roasted malt before and I was wondering if I should push it deeper - is the flavor contribution of the Chocolate Rye so mild as to necessitate more (like Midnight Wheat)?

21
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The Decline of Homebrewing
« on: September 27, 2016, 08:33:38 PM »
You need to get pretty deep into the hobby to make pro-quality beer (mash tun, fermentation temperature management, a stir-plate, etc.). Most homebrewers never get that far. But once you have bought all those supplies, you can brew two kegs' worth of almost any non-sour, non-hop bomb for under $.50/pint. If you just don't care about that, you are a lot less likely to stay in the hobby when you start earning grown-up money.

I disagree with most of this.  I don't spend barely a dime on new equipment yet can compete with the rest of 'em.  Also I don't really care about the cost per bottle.  I homebrew because I love the process and the creativity of it.  That will never change, even though I make 6 figures.  Many of my other friends making great money (including a doctor and a lawyer) aren't doing this to save money.

And you and those friends are examples of people who will stay in the hobby regardless of circumstance. I think I am, too. But I think many of the people quitting and causing the homebrewing bubble to burst are people who brewed more when they had more time and less money.

22
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How long is your brew day?
« on: September 26, 2016, 07:09:01 AM »
So much depends on the groundwater temperature for me. I don't get hot water outside, just hose water, so I have to heat my strike water with my kettle. Usually I do this while I weigh and mill my grain and gather and prepare everything else. But sometimes it takes well over an hour (it takes a long time to get 40º water up to ~170. So that starting point is 30-90 mins for everything up to mash-in, this is followed by 60 mins to mash, then I run off the first runnings into the kettle and start heating the first runnings while I batch sparge. From the end of mash till boiling usually takes 30 mins. I do 90-min boils about half the time now, and the rest of the time I do 60 min boils, so 60-90 mins for boil. If it's not a hoppy style, chilling wort takes 20-90 minutes, depending on the groundwater temperature. If it is a hoppy style, there will be 30-90 mins of hop standing, often in two stages (flame-out to ~180, then chilled down to >150 and another 30 minutes). Filling the fermenters and cleaning the kettle will be another 20-45 minutes.

So this can be an absolute minimum of 2 hours 40 minutes (very rare) to a max of 7 hours for that 96% pilsner malt session IPA in July.

23
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The Decline of Homebrewing
« on: September 26, 2016, 06:30:18 AM »
There's a reason why most homebrew clubs (and this forum) are largely populated by men over 50. I think a lot of people get into brewing in their 20's or early 30's and get out of it when they have a kid or move in with their girlfriend/wife. Those who really value the hobby keep with it and get more involved as they get older; the rest will slowly give it up as they become fully-formed adults.

An yeah, money plays a factor. You need to get pretty deep into the hobby to make pro-quality beer (mash tun, fermentation temperature management, a stir-plate, etc.). Most homebrewers never get that far. But once you have bought all those supplies, you can brew two kegs' worth of almost any non-sour, non-hop bomb for under $.50/pint. If you just don't care about that, you are a lot less likely to stay in the hobby when you start earning grown-up money.

24
All Grain Brewing / Re: First all grain brew going into competition
« on: September 22, 2016, 06:16:51 AM »
Yes, read what the judges write, but also take it with a grain of salt when you can't get at what they are saying. Especially with IPA, personal preference can go a long way. I once judged the second round of IPA in a large competition. One of the beers I tasted was really great. It was, by far, the best of the bunch to me. I gave it a 44, I think. Most other judges gave it a low-30's score. One gave it a 28. It turned out none of the older judges thought it tasted/smelled like hops because it had an obvious "new school" (mosaic) hop smell. They actually misidentified the beer as being faulty because they didn't understand that hops (not yeast mismanagement or a fruit addition) provided those aromas. One even said something like, "I just don't get any citrus in this, so it's not a well-made AIPA." After we submitted our final scores for the round (this beer placed 4th of 6, I think), the steward (who was silently agreeing with me) told me whose beer I had been drinking. It was a well-known award-winning homebrewer who had won several major awards for IPA in the past and took at least one 1st place in this same competition. It was called "Mosaic IPA" which is how I knew the specific hop.

We brewers like to think that the competition is about technical proficiency, and this may be the case with many styles (helles comes to mind), but the broad styles like IPA, American Amber Ale, and Porter will often come down to the personal preference of the judges rather than just technical merit.

25
All Grain Brewing / Re: Making a Black IPA
« on: September 21, 2016, 07:12:18 AM »
I really like this beer. Made it a few times now. You hould ry it.
http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/RoseCityBlackIPA

Hey, that's my recipe! I think it's great. I brew BIPA a lot, in part to have two IPAs on tap that are visibly different.

A few things to consider: at this quantity, you will get some flavor from any roasted malt product - carafa spezial II, midnight wheat, sinamar, and blackprinz all have different flavors they provide depending on how you use them. Sinamar will give you the smallest flavor/color ratio. Adding the dark malt to the mash will provide the largest flavor/color ratio.

I like to get the right amount of dark malt (Carafa Spezial II or III) to put me at ~40 SRM, but I add it all at sparge. I batch sparge with coolish water (~150º F)when I make black IPA and let the sparge water steep for 10+ minutes to extract enough color. When the recipe says 40 SRM, I usually get about 30-35 SRM from this process (which is ample). Generally, 1.5 lbs per 6 gal works.

Since you are adding that dark malt flavor, you need to consider other things in recipe development. Going heavy on the sulfate will make the beer more mineral-bitter, which will make people (even experienced BJCP-certified judges) think the beer is too roasty. Don't do this. Keep the mineral profile minimal and balanced. An agressive bittering hop will do the same thing. Use something really smooth like Summit, Apollo, Magnum, or a resin product like HopShot. I like the addition of a little light or medium crystal malt and munich malt in this style - roast by itself will be more prominent than roast balanced by a little "sweet" flavors (though I make it very dry by mashing low and using an American yeast). After that, just brew it like any other IPA. Personally, I like the hop combo of Simcoe + Citrus (Cascade, Amarillo, or Centennial), but whatever tastes great in an IPA will taste good in a BIPA - though it may come across as less fruity due to the smooth roast malt flavor you are getting.

26
All Grain Brewing / Re: Bittering with chinook question
« on: June 01, 2016, 12:44:52 PM »
For years I disliked Chinook as a hop because of its harsh bitterness. When I think back to my years of not liking IPA's, I associate them with hazy beers with a Chinook-heavy bitter bite, too much C-40 or C-60, and a little cascade/centennial floral note and a the sensation of sucking on grapefruit pith. These guys were probably 1.070 OG to 1.020 FG and I remember thinking "why do this to perfectly good pale ale ingredients?" That combination of big malt and sharp bitterness was the hallmark of an era of hoppy beers like Arrogant Bastard. Now you see it less and Chinook is used mostly as an aroma hop - I learned to love what it can do dry and really only use it dry and in whirlpool.

Personally, I don't care for harsh cohumulone bitterness nor mineral bitterness in my beers. In most styles, my preference is for smooth bitterness like Magnum, Summit, Apollo, Simcoe (too expensive, though), or any other low co-humulone high-alpha hop. Depending on the style, I might bitter with a low-alpha or medium-alpha hop (like Glacier or Perle) or an extract like HopShot. In an AIPA specifically, I tend to like CTZ best, but might use Apollo or Summit depending on what's available or the hop profile I'm shooting for.

27
All Grain Brewing / Re: ESB water profile
« on: May 17, 2016, 09:05:47 AM »
I've gotta say it: I don't think overly mineral-rich water improves English beers or hoppy beers. Having done extensive experimentation on this, my palate prefers beers with 50-150 ppm Calcium and a balanced 50-100 ppm Chloride and 50-100 ppm Sulfate. With maltier beers, I will favor Chloride to Sulfate 2-1 and with hoppier beers, I will favor sulfate to chloride 3-2.

I have had a lot of real ale in England and I don't think they are all using highly mineral-rich water, either. When I taste a homebrewed bitter or an IPA that is too rich in sulfate, I invariably find it harsh and my sulfate-rich beers have been marked down for "harshness" and "astringency" by competition judges. I just don't think it improves things to go overboard in minerals, even if it may be more historically accurate. For my mouth, having 50 ppm calcium and good pH is what matters.

28
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WY1450 - a couple of questions
« on: May 14, 2016, 11:08:44 AM »
I've had good success starting that strain around 64F and ramping it up two degrees a day after it hit high krausen. I leave most beers at ambient for a week after visible fermentation is complete, then I cold crash before kegging or racking/lagering.

29
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Orval Brewing
« on: May 06, 2016, 10:23:06 AM »
I have poured various syrups into actively fermenting wort (usually as krausen starts to slow) and have never had an infection from it (and several of these beers have been long-aged bottles). I believe it is a good way to keep the yeast happy and maximize dryness and yeast health for very high gravity beers - the yeast goes through its growth phase in healthy wort and then eats the simple sugars later, as it is still active, but most of the maltose has been consumed. That said, when I am brewing 12 gallons of tripel, I usually toss the syrup into the boil ~10 min before flameout.

For me, adding syrup into the primary allows me to split a 12 gal batch nicely - half can be a lower-gravity American, British, or German style, and half can be a higher-gravity Belgian ale. Splitting a ~1.048 Kölsch and giving the other half a pound or two of D2 and WY3787 can lead to a more diverse kegerator. If I noticed infection coming from the syrup, I probably wouldn't do it again (or I would boil the syrup with an equal amount of water before adding it), but it has been a nice option for me so far.

30
Ingredients / Re: Whole Coffee Beans
« on: March 20, 2016, 03:21:40 PM »
In my experience, the best way to add coffee to beer is to make cold brewed coffee at home and add it to the keg. To cold brew: french press regular ground coffee overnight at room temperature with twice the normal amount of coffee, then press it and pour it through a coffee filter. IME, one 20 oz French press's worth of concentrated cold brew is good for a keg, but I'd bet you could use half as much and still taste it.

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