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Messages - skyler

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Beer Recipes / Re: Porter vs. Stout
« on: September 19, 2010, 03:50:26 AM »
Take a gander at the BJCP guidelines:
The list is quite helpful in a broad sense if you're entering amateur competitions,  but outside of that the 'guidelines' should most definitely be taken with a large grain of salt.

I'd say a pallet-full, when it comes to British styles.

I am wondering if bittering with ctz is a good idea. On the one hand, it reduces hop matter in the kettle (compared with all cascade), which is bound to help me get that beer brilliantly clear, but I could also just use northern brewer, which is somewhat more traditional. Then again, with cascade as the backbone (and only hop mentioned in the description), I feel like the C hop character from ctz won't really screw anything up.

Beer Recipes / Re: Porter vs. Stout
« on: September 16, 2010, 09:07:52 PM »
I think a lot of people tend to think of Porters as sweeter and Stouts as drier, but that's really just because the higher level of chocolate malt vs. roasted barley tends to make the beer seem sweeter and less bitter. At the same time, I think of a stout as being more viscous - because of how often stouts have an addition of oats or flaked barley (and because, in many instances, stouts are much bigger beers). Another somewhat flexible distinction, is that stouts should properly always be pitch black and opaque, wheras many porters are almost cola-colored, a dark garnet-brown that's not quite pitch black. But when I brew them, the key distinction is that my porters never have any unmalted grains and my stouts always have a significant roasted barley addition and typically a flaked oat or barley addition.

Beer Recipes / Re: Halloween beers
« on: September 16, 2010, 08:58:11 PM »
If you want really vibrantly red beer, keep it pale (not even amber), and then add some kind of black malt (Carafa Special II would be my first choice, but some like Black Patent Malt or Dark Chocolate Malt or Roasted Barley) to bring it to 12-15 SRM.

Years ago, when I spent a semester in London, I fell in love with a pub near my school and all the ales they served. Their cask ales were all from Shepherd's Neame, and the best one was the seasonal tap (which changed from an "autumn hop ale" when I arrived to a Christmas ale late in the semester). That autumn bitter was my favorite English ale, and it was called "Late Red." It was a ruby red bitter, relatively strong (4.5% ABV), and very well balanced. When I looked this one up, I found that it was brewed with "traditional English varieties of malted barley" and Kent-grown cascade hops. Clearly I can't buy any British Cascades, but since I'm no clone-stickler, I imagine the Washingtonian variety would serve me well. Also, the website says they use "fresh water from the well," but I don't know what Kentish well water is like. How does one go about brewing a bright red bitter? My instinct is to use Maris Otter, some medium crystal, and either Black Malt or even Carafa Special II (just because I am more familiar with darkening a beer this way). I figured I should shoot for about 12-15 SRM.

How should I go about this, though? I remember the color as very very red, so I thought to lay off of Munich and Vienna entirely, and go somewhat easy on the Crystal. This is what I have now, but I would greatly appreciate some advice from people more experienced at brewing bitters. I recently got a request to furnish 2 kegs of bitter for my friend's baby shower (the other one will be a relatively light, somewhat hoppy 4% ABV ale).

Here's what I have so far:

8 lbs TF Maris Otter
10 oz TF Medium Crystal (45L)
2.5 oz Carafa Special II or Black Malt

US Cascade    5.7 %    0.75 oz    FWH
US Columbus   13.2 %    0.50 oz    60 Min From End
US Cascade    5.7 %    0.50 oz     5 Min From End
US Cascade    5.7 %    0.50 oz    Dry-Hopped

WLP006 Bedford British (1L stir-plate starter or 1 pint of fresh slurry from recently-racked bitter)

Mash at 152F for 60 min (should I go 150F? or 154F?)

Semi-burtonized water (adding a tablespoon of Burton salts to my relatively soft water)

10-14 days of primary at 60-65F (ferm fridge set to 58, then brought to 60 after a couple days),

All Grain Brewing / Re: umami water treatment
« on: September 15, 2010, 07:58:33 AM »
You could try mashing with dried porcini mushrooms. I always thought fresh guinness has a slight "soy sauce/umami" flavor, fwiw.

The Pub / Re: Where are you?
« on: September 14, 2010, 06:26:23 PM »
Did it work?

My location is NOT a commentary on how exciting it is in Oregon, but actually the name of my town.

I've been there - It's both ;)

I think the Portland economy is enough to keep Californians away - those of us who aren't at retirement age. That's what made me leave. Maybe some of them are moving to Seattle instead (frankly, I liked Seattle better, anyway).

OK. you're right.  It also rains every day.  Please tell all of your California friends how miserable it is in Oregon  ;)
But it's better than Washington.  No one wants to move here, the weather is terrible.  They'd be better off in Oregon, or even better if they just stay in California. :)

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long will my grain last?
« on: September 14, 2010, 05:49:18 AM »
I just kegged a chocolate stout I made with grains that were milled, then stores in a paper bag for 4 months... and the final product is excellent. The grains were kept at room temperature the whole time (generally around 65-75F). I am starting to think grains can go a pretty long haul before they taste off - that, or I was just lucky.

Ingredients / Re: Paying for hops is worth it !!!
« on: September 14, 2010, 05:37:06 AM »
Is there any appreciable difference between hops ordered from say... Freshhops and ones you picked out of the backyard? With tomatoes or peaches it does. However, I can't see it being the same with hops.

Honestly, I'd have to say the hops I get from Freshops are at least as good as the ones I grow.

I have found the same to be true, but I have never lived far from rural Oregon - I imagine the shipping process may be more damaging for some people in different geographies than my Portland/Northern California locations.

Equipment and Software / Re: crankandstein vs barley crusher
« on: September 13, 2010, 07:43:12 AM »
Is there any way to search facebook ads, or do we just need to wait for it to show up?

Idunno, but the code I used was "fbads" and it was 11% off at brewmaster's warehouse.

Equipment and Software / Re: crankandstein vs barley crusher
« on: September 13, 2010, 04:45:30 AM »
I just bit on a Crankandstein 2D with the base and hopper. With the coupon code I got from a facebook ad, it ended up being under $150 with shipping.

Beer Recipes / Re: English IPA tips
« on: September 09, 2010, 05:21:52 PM »
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, 08:08:06 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, 06:38:24 PM »
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, 06:17:32 PM »
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.

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