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Messages - skyler

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Ingredients / Re: Hop hash
« on: January 30, 2017, 08:07:38 AM »
Sorry for bumping an old thread thread - but has anyone brewed exlusively/almost exclusively with the hop hash?

Yesterday, I just brewed a 12 gallon test batch with my hop hash. It's a 1.055 pale ale composed of 94% Golden Promise, 4% Carahell, and 2% Acidulated Malt; bittered to ~40 IBU's with YVH HopShot (10mL @ 60 mins). I dropped 4 oz of Hop Hash for a 30 mins whirlpool at 170F (only aroma hops). I will dry hop with another 4 oz. I mashed at 151 for 60 mins to get it pretty dry, as I'm using BRY-97 on half.

I suspect that this neutral of a malt profile and an otherwise naked hop bill will help showcase the hash - which was surprisingly moist and resinous and smelled fruitier than I expected. But while the aroma of the has was great, my wort didn't smell nearly as aromatic as when I brew a pale ale with more traditional ingredients. That could be a good thing if it means more of those aromatic compounds are staying in my beer, but I  suspect this hash is not the aroma bomb product I had hoped it would be. I'll report in ~3 weeks when I have it on tap.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: State of the Forum
« on: January 27, 2017, 03:32:03 PM »
I agree with most of what OP is saying here, but I don't think the issue is the "tangents," I think it is the lack of decorum, which may or may not be intentional. Perhaps the cause is an increased number of arrogant, thin-skinned millennials (no offense to my fellow 90's kids).

This used to be a friendly and helpful forum for moderately skilled to advanced-level brewers back when I was a more regular contributor (2010-2013). This was where you "graduated" to after you outgrew BN and NB (which is where you went after you outgrew HBT and a few more ancient forums). Now you can either get horrible advice from unemployed neckbeards on Reddit or deal with a lot of snooty unpleasantness on this forum.

This is how I see 9 out of 10 conversations go on homebrew forums these days (not just here):

OP: I'm looking into upgrading from my Mr. Beer kit that I have used for two years (it cracked!) and have about $1000 to spend, what should I do?

A1: Buy an aluminum kettle and lots of liquid malt extract. Use lots of specialty malts. Don't follow recipes. You don't want to make BMC crap!

B1: I would get a 10 gallon steel kettle if you're looking to brew 5 gal batches. Then get some bucket fermenters (2 should be enough) or carboys. If you have been brewing for a while, you may want to look into getting a kegging kit, but you will need a decent bottling bucket if you aren't kegging. You may save $$$ by buying a kit. Pay attention to fermentation management - temperature control and yeast starters will make a major improvement! After brewing a few extract batches that you are reasonably happy with, look into building a mash tun - there are lots of different styles, but I like style A (

C1: The only way to brew is to custom-build this system that will take seventeen engineers and $400,000. B's beer tastes like cat puke because he doesn't have use a tachyon emitter to ionize the atmosphere to hide his IBUs from the Romulan probe. Don't fall into that trap. Here's 4,000 pages of science, most of it is in German, but if you can't figure out what they mean with Google translate, then you shouldn't be brewing, anyway.

D1: Buy a kit!

B2: @C, OP can't read German and he didn't say anything about owning a starship, give it a rest.

C2: Science science science. B can't handle the science of his awful beer.  8)

E: I agree with A - go aluminum. Excellent strength to weight ratio!

C3: Aluminum will work acceptably if you oxidize it properly. Theorhetically, boiling dihydrogen monoxide can make this happen for you. Make sure you manage this well with chemicals because of science.

F: I agree with what B is saying, except I have had no need for yeast starters because I use dry yeast. And don't go with aluminum, it's a lot more hassle for a little less money. I got a bad metallic flavor from my old aluminum kettle and now it just takes up space in the garage. Here's the kit I would recommend: ( C's adherence to the brewing doctrine of the DS9-era Tal Shiar is unproven sci fi and most people want more lens flair.

OP2: Ok, I bought this kit ( I can't wait to brew this pliny kit. It cost me $300 for the ingredients, so if it doesn't come out perfect, I am quitting the hobby. Thanks for the help, A and E!

In this instance, C isn't being helpful because they are offering advanced Roddenberrian brewing advice to a relative newb. B is trying to be helpful, but OP is getting directed to doing "what sounds the easiest" rather than "the best they can manage" because of the needless nagging and bragging by C. I, for one, am fascinated by what the LODO community has to say, and I would like to learn more about it and try some experiments to see if the extra effort is worth it. But instead of simply putting together a digestible website to showcase their approach, we get a lot of highly technical arguments that are unnecessary in posts from newbs and moderate-level brewers. This leads to an argument from someone who takes a less technical approach and it has lead to a generally less friendly and easy-going forum.

Other Fermentables / Re: Bottle conditioning cider
« on: January 24, 2017, 02:40:45 PM »
Since bottling is a process that risks exploding glass in your face, I think you need to be a little more scientific about how much priming sugar to add and not make bottle priming recommendations to strangers based on things you've heard.


Other Fermentables / Re: Molasses as a Fermentable
« on: January 24, 2017, 02:08:17 PM »
Personally, I think you would do better to brew 5 gallons of a simple Irish Stout (maybe underhop it slightly), add 8 oz (no more than 1 lb) molasses and 1 can of baking cocoa (and the cinnamon stick if you need it) at flameout, then add half a liter of concentrated cold brew coffee (made from boiled, but chilled water) at bottling/kegging. I think you will get all the rich chocolatey molasses you want from that. I think distilling a cocoa molasses sugar mix will end up thin and horrible-tasting.

Other Fermentables / Re: Bottle conditioning cider
« on: January 24, 2017, 02:00:49 PM »
FWIW, I used 2 cans of frozen apple juice concentrate (no additives) to prime my 5 gal ciders and the carbonation was pretty good. I've heard of adding as many as 3 cans to get even more carbonation, but I haven't tried it.

We've all done it - ordered that seasonal IPA variant (black IPA, rye IPA, Northeastern IPA, etc) thinking it may be interesting. Sometimes we are offered something great (2010 Wookey Jack and Sublimely Self Righteous come to mind) and sometimes it's just a way to market a new beer that costs less to brew for some reason (using up old hops, often).

Seasonal and one-off products are always going to trend towards "hit and miss" territory. They are unproven, often experimental, and they are not a product that the brewery has declared worthy of year-round production. Still, one expects a level of consistency from the same product produced a different year. A craft beer consumer expects Wookey Jack to taste roughly the same in 2017 as it did in 2015. After all, Pale 31 tastes the same, doesn't it?

But something I have noticed is that many of these beers that have become seasonal rotations or year-round brews have greatly worsened recipes since they first came out. In some cases, hops have been swapped out or reduced. In other cases, we are given essentially just dry porters called "CDA" or or strangely-balanced strong pale ales called "RyePA with some kind of M. Night Shyamalan-style twist (personally I hate it most when dry hops are replaced with a fruit or vegetable in an "IPA").

This trend towards making things slowly worse after they have developed a following is nothing new to the beer business or the restaurant industry, for that matter. The reason you don't see Bob's Big Boy or El Torito in your neighborhood anymore? Corporate leadership sought profit growth through cost reduction, leading to an increasingly inferior product that eventually got abandoned by its customers. The same thing happened to a number of once-iconic beers like Ballantine Ale and Henry Weinhart's lager.

I have found that the IPA variant has become ground zero for quality drift in the craft beer sector (though sometimes, even flagship beers like Ninkasi's Total Domination IPA and Double Mountain's IRA get nerfed by recipe changes).

Example: I remember the instant that I decided I liked Black IPA and that it wasn't just a gimmick or a way to make cloudy beer look more presentable. It was in 2009 and I drank a glass of Hopworks Secession Black IPA (now called Secession CDA). This was a Simcoe/Amarillo IPA that was pitch black and had a subtle chocolate complexity from Carafa II (I asked the brewers and they told me). I recently had a pint of this same beer (first keg of the season) and it tasted like a thin, slightly hoppy porter. Having spoken to some of the brewery staff, I know they switched to a domestic malt "that they already use in other beers" instead of Carafa (I think black patent) and they switched hops a few times (I assume it's now a blend of leftover hops rather than a consistent recipe, but no one would confirm that). The color has gone from black to cola-like (though it tastes roastier than it did before) and the aroma has shifted from A+ IPA to B- American Porter. The balance is all off and it now seems like "Black IPA" would be a poor descriptor (they do call it a "Cascadian Dark Ale," FWIW).

Why are breweries seemingly unable or unwilling to maintain quality with these seasonal beers? Do they think customers don't notice? Do they assume that people with discriminating tastes only order their year-round products? Are hop prices continuing to rise at an unmanageable rate? I just don't get it.

Is this a nationwide thing or just something here on the west coast?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Strain and Beer Color
« on: January 19, 2017, 06:08:48 PM »
Fwiw, the malt bill was 81% Canadian pilsner malt, 6% carahell, 6% dextrose, and 1% acid malt. The paler beer looks almost bmc gold (~4 SRM) and the other looks more like a standard IPA (~8 SRM).

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Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast Strain and Beer Color
« on: January 19, 2017, 03:49:03 PM »
I made an IPA recently and split the batch into two fermenters, one with US-05 and one with Danstar London ESB. The color difference is startling. On the left is the ESB yeast. On the right, the US-05. How? And, fwiw, the US-05 (darker one) tastes hoppier and fresher, but both are fine beers.

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Looking at all of your tap lists makes me never want to go to your breweries. IMO the best breweries brew a few styles well with the occasional special. Anything past a half dozen is noise and confusion.

Yeah, especially when you're looking at 5 different yeast strains. For example, I have never had a good (or even decent) saison from an American brewery that doesn't make (essentially) nothing but saison. I can count with two fingers the number of good Bavarian-style weissbiers I have had brewed in America. And I only know of one brewery who consistently uses three or more different yeast strains and isn't garbage (and that's Sierra Nevada - who is too big to really compare to).

Honestly, I don't know what percentage of American-made Belgian ales actually taste good, but I reckon it's around 2-3%. And they usually are particularly crappy on tap. I would respect a brewery that made really good lagers, but typically a lager specialist is also brewing 5 terrible beers called some kind of "IPA." Most small breweries that put out lagers aren't putting out good lagers, though. I don't know if any professional brewery on earth makes great lagers, Belgian ales, and hoppy American ales, but the yeast management would be a big hassle for a smallish brewery to manage. I would probably stick to one house yeast with 1-2 batches brewed out of another yeast strain per year. That way the in-house yeast propagation would be just one strain. I'll bet a single pitch of a different strain could be had from another brewery for free or for trade.

There are two directions I would go. If I opened this in my current city (Portland), I would almost certainly attempt to be a British Ale specialist, as no one does that anymore. I would focus on cask ales and ciders and have ONE IPA and ONE pale yellow ale on CO2, along with a guest cider or two on CO2, but the focus would be on cask/nitro. I wouldn't import hops, but would focus on using "cheap" hops and making modern English style ales, as well as one typical 2017 IPA.

That place would go like this:

House yeast would be WLP002 or WLP007

1. Ordinary Bitter (~3.5% and dry-hopped)
2. Golden Bitter (~4.2% and more malt-balanced)
3. Pale Ale (~5.5% and balanced, moderately dry-hopped)
4. Strong Ale (~6.5% ~14 SRM ~50 IBUs and hoppy)
5. Typical Northwestern IPA (on cask and CO2 draft)
6. Porter (~5.5%, on cask and nitro)
7. Local Cider on cask
8. Local cider on keg

If I was doing this literally anywhere but Portland, I would go for a more varied taplist and would probably use WLP007:

1. English Golden/Summer Ale ~4% abv and 25 IBUs (might call it blonde ale or extra pale ale, and it would blend goldings with cascade and be dry-hopped) ALWAYS AVAILABLE ON CASK!

2. Red Ale ~6% abv and 38 IBUs (80% US pale ale malt, ~12% crystal malts 10% Munich or Vienna, moderate dose of fruity whirlpool/hopback hops like Citra) 

3. Flagship IPA ~6.5% abv and 65 IBUs, 90% US pale ale malt, 5% carahell, and 5% wheat malt, hops depending on availability, but ideally Nelson Sauvin, Simcoe, and Chinook or Mosaic, Simcoe, and Chinook)

4. Porter (always on nitro) ~6% abv and 40 IBUs (US pale ale malt, melanoidin malt, UK extra dark and dark crystal, pale chocolate malt, and midnight wheat/blackprinz/carafa, malt-forward with small amount of Willamette or similar late in the boil).

5. Rotating IPA: (always something different, like Rye IPA, Black IPA, or Session IPA).

6. Seasonal Ale: Regular rotating seasonal ales (Summer Belgian Ale - possibly just the English Golden Ale fermented with a different yeast and not dry-hopped, Fall American Brown Ale, Winter American Strong Ale - maybe a bulked up version of the Red Ale, Spring Pale Ale - probably a 35 IBU "single hop" beer brewed with a similar base as the Flagship IPA, but at a lower gravity.[/li][/list]

7. Experimental Beer: something different, brewed in a pilot system OR one of the standard beers with something extra (e.g., coffee porter, Dry-Hopped Red, etc), or where leftover seasonals get poured till they are done.

8. Extra Nitro Tap (Porter will always be available on nitro and off, and another beer will be rotate on nitro)

9. Extra Cask Ale (EGA will always be on cask and regular, but another beer will also be served on cask - the cask ales will be kept in a different fridge at a warmer temperature than the other beers, but will have a CO2 mechanism purging any air out of the firkins).

Ingredients / Re: Hibiscus beer
« on: January 17, 2017, 09:37:29 PM »
I brewed up a Hibiscus Wit a few years back. It worked very well. Just brew a super-concentrated liter and add it to the keg or at bottling. It gave my beer a pleasant pink color.

Ingredients / Re: Red X pH
« on: January 17, 2017, 10:12:10 AM »
Well I'm trying it again at 90/10 - Red/Wheat malt. Likely next weekend.

I'll bet it gets better results under 1.050 and without much in the way of aroma hops.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: BRY97 vs. S-05
« on: January 10, 2017, 02:33:27 PM »
Both strains work better 2nd generation, IMO. And both produce pretty similar beer fermented at around 62º F - with US-05 being somewhat more powdery and higher-attenuating than BRY-97.

The biggest difference, IMO, is that BRY-97 is much more temperature-sensitive. I have successfully fermented with 1st-generation US-05 as low as 52º F, and I usually ferment with US-05 around 58º F - 62º F. BRY-97 WILL ferment at 58º, but I have been unable to take it cooler than that. Typically, I find BRY-97 is happy and best from 62º F - 66º F. Any colder and the fermentation is slow and lag is unacceptable. Any warmer and the esters are too much for my taste. US-05, by contrast, can ferment pretty effectively from 56º F - 68º F. As such, I consider US-05 more versatile and user-friendly, especially when fermenting at ambient during cooler months (sometimes I will brew too much for my fermentation freezer to handle around March/April).

I use both quite frequently, as well as Imperial Joystick (purportedly Pacman), which is very cold-tolerant and fairly flocculant.

Ingredients / Re: Calypso and Citra for a Pale Ale
« on: January 10, 2017, 02:17:03 PM »
Calypso ranks as one of my least favorite new world hops for an APA/IPA. As a sole hop, it makes beers smell estery (instead of hoppy), as the aromatic character I get from pure Calypso doesn't immediately register as "hoppy" to me. That said, Citra is pretty bold and pretty upfront in its "IPA-ness," so I would probably try something like 2-1 Calypso to Citra, or maybe schedule Calypso earlier in the boil (Like FWH Calypso, 5 min Calypso, Whirlpool 2:1 w/Calypso and Citra, dry 2:1 with Calypso and Citra). I have had similar issues with El Dorado, and I found that I just like using El Dorado in beers that don't require an IPA-like hop character (like in a stout or malt-balanced brown ale).

Ingredients / Re: complimentary hops with Ekuanot/Equinox/366
« on: January 10, 2017, 02:05:36 PM »
I'm planning to do two beers with my pound of ekuanot (13 gal batches give me enough beer for two kegs with a kittle wiggle room for dry hops). My thoughts were a single(ish) hop pale ale (bittering with CO² extract) using 9 oz of Ekuanot, split between whirlpool and dry-hopping; then 7 oz in an IPA blended 1:1 with chinook (understanding that Ekuanot will dominate the hop character). Here I would bitter with CO² extract, then drop 2 oz of hops at 5 min, 6 oz whirlpool, and 6 oz dry. Both beers would have fairly dry/neutral malt profiles, with CaraHell or perhaps CaraBlonde as the sole specialty grain (though some wheat malt and acidulated malt may be added for body/pH). And both would be fermented with a neutral American yeast (probably BRY-97 or Imperial Joystick).

Do these sound like reasonable approaches to get the most out of this pound and get to know Ekuanot better?

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