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Messages - ncbluesman

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1
Ingredients / Re: Domestic vs Continental Pilsner Malt
« on: May 15, 2014, 10:15:06 AM »
Thanks to all who shared their experience. I look forward to my experiments with domestic pilsner malt and will refer back to these comments when I taste the results. I may even make the same recipe twice but switch out the malts.  That would be educational.

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Ingredients / Re: The latest experiment
« on: May 08, 2014, 02:24:38 PM »
Cool experiment. Thank you, Denny. I've always been a pellet guy but I'm curious of the impact of 2 of the 4 leaf hops being homegrown.

3
Ingredients / Domestic vs Continental Pilsner Malt
« on: May 08, 2014, 07:26:43 AM »
I bought a bag of Rahr Premium Pilsner. Has anyone compared this with continental Pilsner malts? I recognize that if I make a Bo-Pils, it won't be authentic, but how would it differ from one?

The price difference was compelling.

4
Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC
« on: May 07, 2014, 10:42:45 AM »
I know they're popular categories, but dang, a 43 doesn't advance?

I'm sorry you didn't advance. I can understand why you feel that way having scored a 43.  I got a 45 in the IPA category in Nashville and squeaked into the second round with a 3rd! As I understand it, your initial score will get you into the mini-bos, but after that scores are no longer considered. 

Question for the experienced judges: What exactly happens in a mini-bos?  How are the judges selected to participate and what process is followed to select the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place entries?

5
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: To clone or not to clone
« on: May 06, 2014, 08:52:50 AM »
To each, his own.

For me, I'm in a phase where I love to try to reproduce certain beers.  I've done several beers from CYBI podcasts and have been very impressed with the results. Living on the East Coast, I'm not able to buy some of the west coast beers I've enjoyed, such as: Deschutes Mirror Pond & Black Butte Porter or Firestone Walker's Union Jack & Pale 31, Pizza Port's Shark Bite Red. It allows me to focus on my process, remove variation and improve repeatability while producing delicious beer from proven recipes.

Maybe when I'm done having fun with other people's recipes, I'll focus on the creativity of recipe formulation. Then again, maybe not.

6
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg Manufacturer Preference
« on: May 06, 2014, 04:48:03 AM »
I wish the 3 gallon kegs cost less. But they cost just as much, and more in some cases, than the 5 gallon kegs. It's crazy. I usually put in the comments of the order to make sure the posts can be removed before shipping.

I always assumed the higher cost of 3 gallon kegs was due to the lower economies of scale. They don't make as many, so the fixed costs of manufacturing them are shared by a smaller number of units.  Just a guess, though.

7
Equipment and Software / Re: jerry rigging a lauter tun
« on: May 03, 2014, 08:47:59 AM »
Have you considered using the brew in a bag method?

8
Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC 2014 scoring sheets
« on: April 30, 2014, 08:48:32 PM »
I got my score sheets from Nashville, today. 

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: Barleywine Bottling Advice
« on: April 30, 2014, 07:27:11 AM »
I suppose you could try for the best of both worlds - force carbonate to a low level, then add just the slightest amount of sugar at bottling just to wake up the yeast and finish the last half-volume or so. That should minimize the sediment in the bottle, but hopefully allow for the yeast to take up the small amount of O2 introduced at bottling.

Great idea, Eric. I like it. I'll have a lower risk of foaming when I bottle and i'll get the benefit of an O2 scrub which should make for a longer lasting bottled beer. 

10
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Shake Carbing
« on: April 29, 2014, 05:53:23 PM »
Does anyone use a carbonator cap and PET bottle to fine tune carbonation for competition submissions? Seems like a quick way to chill the beer, hit it with gas at the desired PSI, shake, bleed, and repeat a couple times before transferring into chilled bottles and capping. I've gotten to a point of feeling comfortable enough to enter my beer into some competitions but not comfortable with picking a random bottle and hoping it carbed correctly. Have noticed some inconsistencies with bottle conditioning, so I've switched to kegging.

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I think you'd oxygenate the beer transferring to chilled bottles, unless you have a device that would do that for you.  Determine the PSI you need to achieve the volumes of CO2 at the temperature of your refrigeration.  Apply the co2 to the liquid post, using the proper disconnect, of course. And give it 3 or 4 days and you'll be golden. I overcarbonate slightly for competition because you will lose some bottling. A poorman's Beer Gun is a picnic tap and a piece of gas line that fits into the faucet. 

11
Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC 2014 scoring sheets
« on: April 29, 2014, 05:47:12 PM »
I'm still waiting for Nashville score sheets.

12
Kegging and Bottling / Re: force carbonation-best method
« on: April 29, 2014, 05:43:31 PM »
Ideally, your beer needs to age. Set it at pressure for your desired volumes of CO2 and wait. Generally, the beer will carb in 10-14 days but the beer needs more than that to properly age.

Then again it is homebrew so drink it whenever you want. :)
You make a great point.  Some beers, like my APA or even some of my IPAs are ready to drink in 4 weeks. Ditto lightly hopped beers like my Dark Mild, ordinary bitters, etc.  I was talking to the head brewer at one of the best breweries in our state and they are grain to glass in less than 3 weeks. 

Sometimes, like today, I had to force carbonate quickly to bottle some beers for a competition 2 weeks from now.  The beers will condition in the bottle, but they needed to be carbonated now. But I also like to have my beers carbonated while they're conditioning. It's interesting to me to taste the beers through the various stages of maturation. It's educational and fun.  And since I brew 10 gallon batches, I've got plenty to experiment with.

These different techniques are our tools. It's up to us to use to choose the right tool to achieve the desired outcome given our constraints. Like Joe Sr. said, "Do what works for you". I couldn't agree more.

13
Kegging and Bottling / Re: force carbonation-best method
« on: April 29, 2014, 05:23:54 PM »
I connect my co2 to the liquid post (using the proper disconnect, of course) and pressurize at 30 psi for 24 hours, then I vent the keg, drop the pressure to serving pressure and pressurize for another 24 hours.  The co2 filtering up through the beer absorbs faster and you don't have to shake and roll your beer around on the floor.

Do what works for you, but without a sintered stone on the end of the diptube I have a hard time believing that the beer carbonates significantly faster by pushing the gas in through the liquid post.

Actually it works quite well.  I am drinking fully carbonated beer in less than 48 hours. I've done it faster by leaving it at 30psi for 36 hours or so, but it's easy to overcarbonate.

To me it makes logical sense. More surface area of beer in contact with the CO2 as the bubbles rise to the top, then the headspace is pressurized as well.  If I'm carbonating from the gas side, the surface area at the top of the keg is all that is exposed, so it takes longer (a week to 10 days in my experience).  Give it a try and see what you think.

14
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Barleywine Bottling Advice
« on: April 29, 2014, 05:14:26 PM »
the missing piece is o2 uptake. the yeast will absorb any o2 introduced during racking and bottling. this will reduce the effects of oxidation on the beer as it ages. Additionally, as the level of carbonation increases it become more and more difficult to bottle from the keg and not get excessive foaming.
Makes sense. The yeast scrubs out the o2 reducing staling.  Thanks! 

15
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Barleywine Bottling Advice
« on: April 29, 2014, 08:42:56 AM »
You need a surprisingly small amount of yeast to carbonate beer. When I reyeast at bottling and I have dry yeast available I just tap a few out of the sachet into each bottle.

Maybe I'm confused: if you already have a keg of beer then why are you adding more priming sugar and yeast? Why not just bottle the already carbonated beer?

The keg isn't carbonated, I'm just cold crashing it right now. But you make a great point. I could easily carbonate the beer and bottle. I've been reluctant to do so because of the additional effort I think it takes to keep foaming to a minimum.

So, that's another great question.  Should I force carbonate my Barleywine, then use the Beer Gun to fill the bottles? 

And why do breweries like Bells bottle condition rather than force carb and counter-pressure fill like other breweries?

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