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Messages - skyler

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: cocoa nibs vs. powder
« on: November 30, 2010, 08:26:36 AM »
I have used 10 ounces of cocoa powder in the boil (2 min to the end) and I have also used 6 ounces of cocoa nibs in secondary. Both worked nicely for me, though the nibs were decidedly less messy. I also tried a third method: chocolate chips in the boil. Actually, the chocolate chips lent the most intense chocolate flavor of the bunch, but it also made a huge mess. I would recommend the nibs if you're going for a subtle cocoa note and the powder in the boil if you're shooting for a choco-kick-in-the-nuts. Hell, you could layer it - powder in the boil followed by bulk aging on nibs for 6-8 weeks.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: November 29, 2010, 11:25:32 PM »
I've done three beers with it repitching twice.
First was a 1.045 og beer with 78% attenuation
second was a brown ale 1.060 og 80% attenuation
third was a pale ale 1.043 og it's at 80% attenuation after one week
I fermented them all between 64 f and 68 f.
The pale ale is still in the fermentor but the other two turned out real well.
I think it would be great for a dry stout.

Were you mashing those for dryness? 80% attenuation seems pretty intense if you were mashing in the 154-158 territory, but if that was at 146-150, it seems pretty on par with what I have been expecting.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Old Newark Ale Yeast
« on: November 29, 2010, 09:36:29 PM »
Man, I got my ECY10 bottle a week ago and it was less than half full (despite being sealed and unopened), but my starter took off within an hour. I have never seen a starter look so creamy so quickly. (I recall my "risen from the dead" Wyeast 3864 took 48 hours on the stir-plate to get going). I know my first beer with this is going to be a ~1.040 OG bitter, but I was also considering brewing up a dry stout with it. Someone on the NB forum said that "just about any yeast" will work for a dry stout, but, since it's a style I have not brewed since my early extract days, I thought I would ask the people here who have worked with ECY10 if you thought it would be a good choice for a dry stout.

Also, a few questions:
1) What temp should I ferment ECY at for a) a bitter, b) a dry stout, c) an IPA (my guess was to keep it around 62-64F for all of them)
2) Does the attenuation of this strain seem more akin to 1056, 1272, 1028? I only ask so I can better guage where to mash/how much crystal to use.

Ingredients / Re: Dry-hopping
« on: November 28, 2010, 09:19:23 PM »
Adding bitterness after the boil just sounds like a bad idea. Boiling with sugar and adding the tea and hops also sounds pretty odd. Next time, I would just split batches that can use the same wort - like an abbey ale and a Scottish ale or a Kolsch and a Belgian Blonde Ale (adding some sugar solution to the carboy would get you there, IMO).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Beginner's Post, Seeking Vertan's Advice
« on: November 23, 2010, 07:53:49 PM »
BTW who is this "Vertan"? Never seen him/her post before... ::)

You totally stole my idea. I was going to say, "Don't take Vertan's advice, he only brews martian beer."


Have you tried cold-crashing in the primary? That's my SOP and with the exception of a few notoriously dusty strains I get clear beer from the keg immediately.

It's also the process most brewpubs use, although there you have the additional variable of filtration.

I cold crash 90% of my beers in primary before I rack them or keg them. Many brewpubs I have been to that don't filter their beer serve cloudy beer. The worst offender I can think of is Amnesia in Portland, OR - whose beers vary from unclear to extremely cloudy. I only find beers sufficiently clear at brewpubs who filter, use an English yeast, or have a substantial-enough system for a bright tank that puts out perfect clear beer.

I think your individual setup can have a lot to do with whether a secondary is worth your time and effort.

1. Fining - One reason not to rack is that, if you keg, you can brighten up (and fine) your beer in the keg. However, if you don't keg, and you want to reuse the yeast you have in primary, and you want to use post-fermentation fining agents, like gelatin or polyclar, then a secondary is the best time to use them. But, if you can't get your carboy down to refrigerator temp, then you might as well not use a post-fermentation fining agent, anyway.

2. Dry Hops and Other Post-Fermentation Additions - if you keg, you can dry hop in the keg (though I have had mixed results doing this, I still do it fairly often). If you don't keg, your only opportunity to dry hop is in the fermenter. Many people dry hop in primary, but this can be difficult if you want to re-use the yeast, or you want to give your beer an extended primary. The one time I had autolysis issues in a batch was when I left it sit in primary for 6 weeks. Since many (most?) people like to give their dry hops about two weeks, you may want to dry hop in secondary to get the beer off the yeast. The same would apply to oak, spices, fruit, or other post-fermentation additions.

3. Space - If you're impatient like me, then maybe you want to brew and all your buckets and 6.5 gallon carboys are already full of beer! A happy problem, I solve this one by racking one of the beers to make space.

4. Lagering - I have heard of people lagering in primary, but that option would be risky, IMO, if you planned on lagering for an extended period of time. I would be weary of leaving my beer on my yeast for more than 2 months, even at lagering temperatures - and many beers are lagered for even much longer than that. While you can certainly lager in a keg rather than a secondary fermenter, this may not be a good option if you dont keg or you have a limited number of cornies or a lagering fridge that isn't tall enough for a keg, or whatnot.

5. The "If It Ain't Broke" Rule - If you secondary, and are happy with your results, why change it? Likewise, if you do not secondary, and you get bright, beautiful beer, why secondary?

Personally, I do not get bright beautiful beer unless I secondary, cold crash, and lager; or use a post-fermentation fining agent. And I find the flavor of too much suspended yeast to be unpleasant, especially in hoppy beers, which can be biting and needlessly bitter when I don't clear out the yeast. I also like to reuse my yeast several times, and so I don't like putting anything (dry hops or polyclar or gelatin) in my primary vessel. So I frequently do a secondary. When do I not do a secondary? When I am brewing a cloudy style like a witbier, or when I am brewing a low-gravity beer with an English yeast strain, or when I just don't have time.

Equipment and Software / Re: 8 Gallon SS Brew Kettle
« on: November 18, 2010, 09:34:27 AM »
weldless works great for me. I used an 8 gallon morebeer kettle for years (until my last batch, even!). 8 gallons is just not big enough for a 5 gallon batch when you're brewing all-grain (and you're using lots of wort-absorbing hops). Getting 7.5 gallons of wort to a boil was messy, to say the least.... I wish I could go back in time and just start off with a 10 gallon kettle.

Ingredients / Re: Favorite Odd Hop Sensations
« on: November 17, 2010, 08:21:06 AM »
I don't get "grapes" from Nelson Sauvin so much as jolly rancher candy. I like that hop a lot, and wish I had easier access to it - it blends great with Simcoe and Summit, IMO, and I would love to try a sauvin, summit, simcoe, citra IPA sometime.

Ingredients / Re: re-using dryhops
« on: November 17, 2010, 08:13:06 AM »
Since my next brew is one where I am not so concerned with the bitterness level (it's a double red ale so anywhere from about 40-65 IBUs is ok with me), I am going to try this out. I have 50g of Amarillo dry hopping my Belgian IPA.

Ingredients / Re: Gambrinus Pils or Cargill IdaPils?
« on: November 17, 2010, 08:09:49 AM »
I don't really make lagers (just not a fan of giant starters and waiting forever). But I brew the occasional Altbier and Belgian ale. Truth is, easily 50% of my beers are APAs and IPAs, and a solid 25% are porters, brown ales, and stouts. I guess I will get a sack of the Gambrinus pils this once (been meaning to do a Double Mountain IRA clone). After 10 gallons of IRA (the brewer gave me the close recipe), if I'm not crazy about how it works in an APA, I'll just use up the rest of the sack on a Schwarzbier or a Baltic Porter (been meaning to try my hand at those eventually).

Equipment and Software / Re: Experiences with a Penrose Kettle
« on: November 17, 2010, 06:41:32 AM »
I moved my propane today and it felt awfully light for just 3 5-gallon batches on it, so I must have had a much more vigorous boil on this one than I thought. WIth all that extra space (and the anti-foam), I must have just thought it was boiling less vigorously. I'll be trying it with my first 10 gallon batch this weekend. The plan is to start with 14 gallons (hops will absorb 1 gallon, minimum).

Ingredients / Re: Gambrinus Pils or Cargill IdaPils?
« on: November 17, 2010, 04:28:28 AM »
I have never tried it, but I like Double Mountain's beer a lot, so I thought it was worth a shot - also, I already have a bunch of TF Maris Otter and I would want some pils for other styles (maybe). I suppose I could always get Gambrinus Pale or another bag of Cargill 2-row (though I haven't been crazy about it).

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Another Nottingham Recall . .
« on: November 16, 2010, 07:27:06 PM »
Damn, they got me too! Thankfully, I haven't used it, yet.

Zymurgy / Re: 2010 M/A Geeks column - Malt Conditioning
« on: November 16, 2010, 04:26:11 AM »
I generally only have lautering problems with wheat or rye beers. I wanted to malt condition so I could crush finer. I'll try malt conditioning one more time before I decide it's not for me - this time I won't let it sit in the tun overnight.

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