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Messages - skyler

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I thought some of you guys would be interested in reading about this beer that I am drinking right now in my hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Anyway, Guinness Bright. This was poured from a can and it is a regular CO2-carbonated beer.

A: Tart and roasty, similar to cold filtered coffee (not cold brewed). No heat. Slightly fruity, but no more than cold coffee, so really that is the dominant aroma. No hops. No caramel. Nothing really other than an acidic coffee-like roasty-fruity aroma.

A: Black and crystal-clear. Maybe 5 SRM lighter than regular Guinness. Maybe the same color. Tan head that lasts about a tenth of a second. 

T: Smooth, balanced bitterness, leaning towards sweet. Mild flavor with a low-level Hershey's chocolate aftertaste. Flavor is pretty simple: sweet and slightly tart, with the same savory "soy sauce" quality that I get from regular Guinness and attribute to the partially soured mash.

M: Light-medium body, like a mass-produced Pale or Amber Ale.  Not creamy. Not sprightly. Moderate carbonation.

OA: This is a fine porter or stout, but nothing to write home about. It would be for someone who finds Black Butte Porter "too roasty and hoppy" and who wants a beer to taste like cheap coffee. It's not for me, but it really isn't bad. It is certainly unique. The tartness is pretty bold for a mass-produced beer of any kind. I wouldn't order one in a bar, but I don't hate it.

An update: While I had a substantial lag (I understand this is common with these strains), there was some visible fermentation at 48F when the chamber was set to 46F. I increased the ambient temperature of the fermentation chamber to 48F and found fermentation going actively at 54F the next day. I suppose the slower start was what lead to the decreased temperature initially. I let it ride with the ambient temp set to 48F. I was planning to let it finish, then raise to ~70F for a day or two before crashing to 30F, racking into 5 gal carboys (I don't trust my 8 gal buckets for long-term storage), and lagering it until mid-August.

I ferment using a freezer set to a temperature typically 6º F cooler than my target fermentation temperature. This has never ceased to get me within 2º of my target fermentation temperature. However, I pretty exclusively brew ales, and mostly all using the same 4-5 American and British yeast strains (Chico, Pacman, BRY-97, S-04, and 1968). I tried my hand at a pale lager for the first time in a decade of brewing (5.5 gallons with S-189, 5.5 gallons with MJ Bohemian Lager) and got active fermentation rolling at just 2º warmer than my ambient temperature. This means I am 4º below my target temperature of 52º F. I adjusted the temp control to let it get a few degrees warmer, but I am wondering if lager yeasts tend to produce less heat during fermentation than ale yeasts do. Does anyone have experience with this?

Classifieds / What is Wheaton's Law?
« on: June 12, 2017, 05:00:00 PM »
STTNG 4 LIFE, but Wesley was the weakest part of the early seasons. I'm entertained by Wil's low key career roles; Eureka and the Guild wouldn't be the same without him.

My lower leg:

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

All Grain Brewing / Re: Fauxhemian Pilsner Water
« on: June 11, 2017, 03:29:06 PM »
So I went ahead and did no additions, save for campden tablet to remove chloramine. I did use acid malt, rather than acid for the mash (I know, I know). Since I am utilizing a 2-step mash, and the water addition for the second step would "dilute" the alkalinity of the mash, I calculated it so that I would have a mash pH of 5.25 for the 144F step and 5.37 for the 158F step. However, when I made my first water addition, I didn't use as much water as planned, as I hit 146F when I had put in about 85% of the strike water. I calculated that this "should" put my pH at 5.18 for the first step and presumably 5.31 for the second step. I am not too worried about this, as it is still well within "normal" brewing range, but it does bring up yet another issue with acid malt (versus salts or acid), and this also partly explains the value of decoction over infusion mashing for this style -

All Grain Brewing / Re: Fauxhemian Pilsner Water
« on: June 10, 2017, 09:16:29 PM »
I think you'll find that your tap water with no additions, will be fine. Of course you'll need to add either acid or acid malt to get the mash pH down to the right range.

So I don't need any additonal calcium for the mash?

All Grain Brewing / Fauxhemian Pilsner Water
« on: June 10, 2017, 06:25:20 PM »
Tomorrow I am brewing my first pale lager in 10.5 years of brewing. My plan is to brew something resembling a Bohemian Premium Pale Lager, but taking a couple liberties. For one thing, I am not decocting nor using European base malt. I am taking (minor) liberties with the hop schedule, too. For the water, I am trying to keep it relatively similar, but maintaining sufficient calcium for brewhouse performance.

This is based on additions to my municipal water source in Portland, OR, so there could be some differences in what I get from what I am planning on starting with. FWIW, the guy in the LHBS recommended adding just enough calcium chloride to get 20-25 ppm calcium, but I think he thought I was trying to brew EXACTLY to style.

I have this water profile right now:

CA: 40 ppm
Mg: 1 ppm
Na: 33 ppm
Sulfate: 44 ppm
Chloride: 84 ppm
Bicarbonate: 9 ppm

Does this seem generally appropriate for what I'm looking to do? Should I reduce the sulfate or alter the chloride/sulfate balance?

And, FWIW, this is my recipe (for 12 gallons):

"The Unbearable Lightness of Beering"

90% Gambrinus Pilsner
6%  Carahell
2%  Melanoidin Malt
2%  Acid Malt

10 mL HopShot @ 60 mins (~27 ibus)
1 oz Sterling @ 30 mins (~7 ibus)
1 oz Czech Saaz @ 5 mins (~1 ibu)

Hochkurz Mash (batch sparge)
144º F for 40 mins
158º F for 30 mins

~1.052, ~35 ibus

Split batch, half fermented with 2 packs of S-189, half with 2 packs of Mangrove Jack Bohemian Lager, both at 50º F.

Lagered at 34º F for 6+ weeks while I'm in Asia.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lallemand Abbaye dry yeast
« on: June 10, 2017, 12:01:46 AM »
Since many Belgian styles tend to be higher gravity, perhaps a simple test of one packet for an ordinary-strength dubbel or tripel would be sufficient to test "underpitching." I'll get around toi trying that, one of these days.

Yeast and Fermentation / Imperial A43 Loki Yeast
« on: June 03, 2017, 05:43:05 AM »
Ok, so, I bought a can of this yeast believing that it would be some sort of "normal" ale yeast, since its number is "A43" and "A" indicates British and American ales with Imperial. I realized before using it that this was a "farmhouse" strain, so I tried it in a basic strong bitter wort (20# pale ale malt, 1# wheat,  1.5# C40, and 1# corn sugar 1.051, ~35 ibus, mashed at 151F for 60 mins).

Anyway, I pitched cooler than expected (58F), but visible fermentation began at 62. I let it finish at ambient in my garage during a warm week, so the top fermentation temp was in the high 70's or low 80's. The high temperature was recommended from the few sites where I could find details. Then I cold crashed and kegged it with some biofine.

My opinion: the aroma and flavor are somewhere between a hefeweizen and a trappist yeast, and not in a great way. There's a ton of clove and a little pepper. Maybe I should've gone with a simpler recipe (I split it and the other half got Fuller's yeast, fwiw), but this just ain't great. I have about 750 mL of slurry saved, but I don't think I will use it. This is a niche yeast, and I think it would taste best in a low-gravity wheat beer. I wouldn't consider it saison-like.

Ingredients / Re: Best bitter water profile
« on: June 02, 2017, 02:10:43 AM »
I like this profile for bitters:

50-100 ppm Ca, 0-15 ppm Mg, 20-40 ppm Na, 100-150 ppm sulfate, 50-80 ppm Chloride

If starting with soft water, just gypsum and sea salt/canning salt can be used.

Beer Recipes / Re: 'Black witbier'
« on: May 30, 2017, 06:35:58 PM »
Yeah def going to drop the # of tangerines. I was only thinking of adding Munich since it's a darker beer and may give that impression of cola that I sometimes get from Munich malt... thought it would compliment the licorice.

I understand that sensibility, but I suspect that any darker malts will detract from the "witbier" quality. If you're making more of a witbier/porter hybrid, then so be it.

Beer Recipes / Re: 'Black witbier'
« on: May 30, 2017, 04:25:58 AM »
I also like the idea, I would drop the munich and add the lion's share of the dark malt at sparge (and sparge a little cooler than usual <160F) like with a black IPA. I would also drop it to ~2 tangerines and maybe 3 star anise stars. You could also add brewers' licorice, if you wanted. FWIW, I like my witbiers around 1.048 and with ~15 IBUs.

Ingredients / Re: Funny Stuff in Package of Hops from Hops Direct
« on: May 25, 2017, 01:14:44 AM »
Well, this is what they said in the email:

Thank you for your email. What you have found is all the lupulin hop oil residues off the belts during harvest. It’s very ugly, but will not harm the hops at all. I understand if you do not want to use your hops, I can send another pound out to you right away if need be.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Moving to dry yeast exclusively
« on: May 24, 2017, 06:04:51 PM »
I've been gone for a few days, but I want to touch more on my prior post.

I've seen the best results just pitching dry yeast straight, no rehydration. I suppose the difference in strains could be the case? Though in my experience S-04 isn't really like any of the liquid British yeasts I've used. It's like it's fruity in the wrong ways.

I won't even comment on US-05 from a strain perspective, as I don't like 1056/WLP001, and haven't used either in years. They're so clean as to be boring. Good for a pseudo lager, but that is IMO.

Have you tried using S-04 REALLY cool? Like, 56F-60F cool? IME, it is the most temperature-sensitive of all the strains of common dry yeast, and standard ale temperatures of 66F-70F make for horrible "homebrewy" beer, but it does a great job fermented at near-lager temperatures. I usually pitch around 52F, set my fermentation freezer to 52F, and let it rise to ~58F. When I get foamy krausen, I raise the freezer temp to 60F and let it free rise up to ~66F to finish (takes about 2 days at that point). I then let it sit at ambient for a day or two and then crash chill to 32F. IME, this will completely ferment a clean ~1.046ish bitter in about a week.

Ingredients / Re: Funny Stuff in Package of Hops from Hops Direct
« on: May 21, 2017, 02:49:52 PM »
Have you contacted Hopsdirect?

Not yet, I figured I'd ask here first.

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