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Messages - skyler

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Beer Recipes / Re: English IPA tips
« on: September 09, 2010, 10:21:52 AM »
So how is that different than an English pale ale?

Beers dubbed, "IPA" that I came across in London were typically lighter in color than the other bitters available on cask (presumably the caramel coloring agent was simply kept out), and they contained significantly more hop flavor and aroma. I thought of them as "floral bitters." It was really not a huge leap away from other English bitters, and so I actually used the style guidelines for Best Bitter (keeping to the paler, hoppier end of the style), when I wanted to brew this beer recently.

When I was living in England (2004), I hadn't really started appreciating very bitter beers, but I was pretty enthralled with those IPAs that I found in London. Unfortunately, I do not remember the names of these beers (I wasn't a homebrewer at the time), but I remember Greene King (3.6% ABV) as being by far the most common "IPA" I found. If you notice there are plenty of IPA's exported to the US in bottles and they tend to be around 5% ABV, but the bottled "export" versions of most English ales are about 1% ABV stronger than the standard cask ale equivalent. I think of 5.5% ABV as the highest amount of alcohol that would be within the realm of a typical English IPA. The entire time I was in England, including subsequent trips, I never saw a beer on cask that was over 6% ABV - I realize they exist, but they have got to be pretty atypical, because I've looked and never found one.

Beer Recipes / Re: English IPA tips
« on: September 08, 2010, 01:08:06 PM »
There are two styles called EIPA: the kind of beer that BJCP describes, and the kind you actually see in most pubs in England. I heartily prefer the latter.

Most beers I've had called "IPA" in England were straw to light amber in color (4-8 SRM, or thereabouts), 3-6% ABV (typically about 4.5%), light-medium bodied, floral, and smoothly-bittered. This is not what the BJCP guidelines indicate, and so I consider the BCJP wrong with regards to this style - or at least they tend to describe American-made English-style IPAs or "English Export IPAs," rather than beers called "IPA" in England. That being said, I recently brewed a beer along these lines: 4.6% ABV, pale in color (7 SRM), floral and balanced towards the hops. I just tapped it, and it's great. I say you don't really "need" English hops, just as long as you stay away from the really piney/citrusy American hops. Nugget/Willamette was a good combo for me (I even threw in a pinch of Cascade, and I don't think it made it taste any less authentic). I think a FWH addition, a 5 min addition, a flameout addition, and a light dry-hop addition is what you need (and you could probably keep out the FWH addition). I used S-04 in this last one, but I'm sure most English yeasts would be fine. I Burtonized my water, which I think is a good rule of thumb. Shoot for dry to medium-bodied (hint: not more than 10% crystal). I would give it long enough to clear, then cold crash, if you can (English beers really ought to be brilliantly clear, even if dry-hopped). Clarity is another place where choosing the right yeast can save you some time. S-04, 1098, or 1099 would be my first choices.

Equipment and Software / Re: crankandstein vs barley crusher
« on: September 08, 2010, 11:38:24 AM »
I'm thinking of getting the JSP Model A - and I was wondering, is there an additional part needed to attach it to my AC-powered drill? And, would anyone who owns/owned one recommend against the JSP Model A? Is the Model AAA significantly better? Also, does anyone care to show pics of their mods? I am interested in seeing what the cheapest/easiest way to expand the hopper on the JSP to 15-20 lbs (though I figure just milling 3 lbs at a time isn't really that big of a hassle).

This will be an exciting purchase for me, as all 6 LHBSs over-charge for their base malt compared with good old F.H. Steinbart up in Portland. But there's a place that sells nothing but full sacks of grain who allegedly sells real cheap (and no insane CA sales tax since it's technically food). I may also buy a big sack of medium Crystal so I can brew a simple APA, IPA, or bitter anytime I want.

The Pub / Re: Where are you?
« on: September 08, 2010, 11:17:32 AM »
I've moved several times in the past few years, and I don't expect this location to be more than one or two years, but right now I live in Davis, California (where I went to college from 2002-2005). My girlfriend is getting her teaching credential and M.A. here for the next 1-2 years. For those who don't know California, that's 15 miles west of Sacramento and 75 miles east of San Francisco.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Black IPA?
« on: August 30, 2010, 09:06:02 AM »
SWMBO tels me to keep it all for us........

That has definitely happened to me a few times.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Black IPA?
« on: August 29, 2010, 01:38:05 PM »
I see two distinct takes on the beer - the dry, hoppy, IPA-like take; and the syrupy, roasty, "someone added hops to a winter ale" take. I far prefer the former, and I think W10 was a good example of that. Often, the versions calling themselves "Cascadian Dark Ales" are the syrupy ones (case in point: Deschuttes "Hop in the Dark"). However, the point made earlier about blending beers is a good one, and one pertinent to my enjoyment of certain 22oz bottles I buy. I blended my bone dry ~45 IBU hopbursted pale ale with a bottled black IPA that I found too sweet and lacking in hops - a blend of about 20% pale ale with 80% black IPA. The result was damn fine and more of a "black IPA" then the stuff that came in the bottle.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Oskar Blues ...
« on: August 28, 2010, 11:29:54 PM »
Summit hops are dank like CTZ and citrusy-fruity like Cascade - only the flavor is more orange-tangerine than it is grapefruit-pomelo. They are EXTREMELY high AA%, and with low co-humulone, so you get a real smooth bitterness out of them - an excellent hop, and one of my favorites.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 1214 dud?
« on: August 25, 2010, 09:38:16 AM »

I've always gotten prompt replies from them.  Do you remember who you emailed there?

Therein lies the problem most likely.  I just used the generic 'Contact Us' email link.

Not too concerned, just curious about these kind of things.

I have both gotten prompt replies (when I told them they needed to fix a problem on their website), and 6-week-later replies (when I had a question).

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Steam beer question
« on: August 25, 2010, 09:27:03 AM »
I would leave it at 30-36F for a month or so, then try drinking it. You definitely transferred it too soon to a serving device, IMO. I have also noticed that yeast making a sharp, almost astringent-like off flavor when fermented warm and underpitched (my friend's attempt to make a "steam porter" was so bad it kept me from ever trying the yeast). My advice would be to lager it in the keg for a while (CO2 not needed), then try some gelatin/polyclar after a month or so to clean it up.

Ingredients / Re: Citra Hops
« on: August 23, 2010, 08:25:56 AM »
Served my citra/amarillo wheat down at the brewery today and evreyone liked it but me. I just don't care for this hop much at all. Guess it is a personal thing. Same flavor to me as that "mango fruit tea" flavoring at "Nothing But Noodles" or whatnot. I hate that stuff.

Mango and tea sounds about right to me. I think it works best blended with other fruity hops like simcoe or nelson sauvin. I used it successfully in a black ipa with simcoe, cascade, and sorachi ace. The only flavor I could detect that wasn't perfectly harmonious was the slight tartness from the 1028 (back IPAs are way better with American-style yeasts, IMO).

All Grain Brewing / Re: Direct heat step mash - info for first-timer.
« on: August 16, 2010, 09:18:38 AM »
I have found it very perilous to hit various steps with infusions. It often ends up using way more water than I had planned on, and is very time-consuming. Now, I rarely ever use anything but a single infusion, so the problem is generally moot, but I thought direct heat would be worth a try since, by combining our supplies, my friend and I can accomplish it fairly easily.

I do not have a false bottom, but I have a kettle screen (like a bazooka) on my kettle (which, in this case, would be the mash tun). So I guess I will have to mash super-thin, and use a lb or so of rice hulls. I suppose I will go for a wheat beer or a lager when I brew this one, since I can't really think of what else would particularly benefit from steps (maybe an altbier? a dubbel?). I mostly brew American and British styles, so I just do single infusons (I don't even bother with a mashout).

So I went to a club meeting recently, and it was my first time with this club. There was a competition, and the way the comps for this club work is that everyone tastes the beers along with the judges (so competitors have to bring a whole lot of beer to the comp). The styles for this comp were APA, AAA, and EPA (all three styles). I remarked to my friend that, despite the beers not being very cold, every one was still VERY hazy and that the brewers needed to fix that. He said clarity cannot be a factor in judging comps, then told me that AHA-sanctioned competitions (this was not one such comp) required that clarity not be considered as a factor in judging homebrew. To me that just sounded whacky, so I figured I would come here and ask.

Is clarity a consideration in judging homebrew in AHA-sanctioned competitions?

And should English Pale Ales, American Pale Ales, and American Amber Ales be clear?

All Grain Brewing / Direct heat step mash - info for first-timer.
« on: August 10, 2010, 02:15:53 PM »
Since I am moving by a buddy who also brews, and has a nice keggle, I thought we could probably use my 8 gal brew pot as a mash tun. This would allow us to do a step mash fairly easily, I think (we each have a burner). Is there anything more to it than just heating and stirring gently until I get to the target temp, then turning the burner off when the temp is right, waiting, and heating to the next step? Should I still use about half the water in the mash and the other half as sparge water? What styles would benefit from this? My guess is that this would be most beneficial for a lager or a wheat beer. Does anyone have any tips for brewing this way? I have previously just done the denny-tun method of brewing.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Cloudy Beers with Bitter Bite
« on: August 07, 2010, 11:56:40 PM »
It can be the yeast and the hops.  The bittering compounds and resins are attracted to the yeast and stick there.  Some yeasts are known for doing this more than others. 

The most extreme case I had of this problem was in a hopbursted APA made with 1272 that didn't get my usual month-long secondary at 32F, but did get crashed at 32F for a day or two before I transferred it from the primary to the keg. I am currently having this issue with 1028 (a black IPA that has more hops in it than any beer I've yet brewed.

Kegging and Bottling / Cloudy Beers with Bitter Bite
« on: August 07, 2010, 03:22:44 PM »
I have deduced that, despite what people say, the flavor of most beers are greatly improved by fining and a reduction of yeast and other gunk. I have found, with my own beers, that the first week or so in a keg I get a cloudier beer that often has a small "yeast bite," like a sharp, almost astringent kind of bitterness. This typically only happens when I use a low-flocculating yeast, but it happens even when I cold crash at 32F for a week or two. I will find that, after some time in the keg (drinking the cloudier and imperfect beer from the keg) that the beer will magically get clear and beautiful (and taste significantly cleaner and better).

Not all of my cloudier beers have this problem, but the majority do, particularly when the beers are also very hoppy. What could this be? Is it yeast? Hop particles?

I understand that water chemistry can combat this... and I am moving again soon to a place where the tap water is so bad, even for drinking, that I plan to use RO water for all my brewing. Is there any "rule of thumb" way to keep the right chemistry with straw, amber, brown, and black beers?

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