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Topics - redzim

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General Homebrew Discussion / low level infection?
« on: January 03, 2014, 11:48:06 AM »
First of all, Happy New Year to my fellow brewers.

I’ve been detecting a low-level vegetal-type taste in my last 6 or so beers.  Not enough to cause me to dump them, but enough to bug me (most of my beer drinking friends haven’t noticed it).  A couple judges at comps I entered this fall noticed it too, but just made notes like “you may have a slight infection in this beer; check your sanitation procedures.”   It has gone thru a fresh start with my favorite lager yeast, so while at one point I thought it was maybe one bad batch of beer that infected my yeast and screwed up subsequent batches, now I’m not so sure.

For sanitation, I mix up Starsan with distilled water every 2-3 brews, so it is a max of about 6 weeks old, and never cloudy when I use it. I have a stainless steel boil kettle with copper IC but a plastic run-off tube (but I chill with a big IC so only chilled wort is going thru the run-off tube into fermenters.) My fermenters are 7-gal plastic tanks about 5 years old.   Is it possible they harbor something? I soak in hot PBW solution overnight after every fermentation though…  or is it time to replace them?

I don’t think this is DMS because for all my pilsner-malt based beers I boil 90 minutes, and for all of them I chill quite rapidly (I can chill 10 gal of down to 60F in 10 min, on average).  So I’m wondering if there a bugs that survive Starsan?  Is there such a thing as a low-level beer infection vs. a "really bad" infection?  Or does anyone have suggestions?

One other thing I was thinking: I buy my hops by the pound, and vacuum pack them in plastic vac seal bags when I open the pound. I keep them in an industrial walk-in freezer at work at -15F. Some varieties are 18 months old when I finally finish the pound. Any chance these old hops are possibly causing my problem?

Any help would be appreciated…

Beer Recipes / Irish Red Ale
« on: September 30, 2013, 12:09:59 PM »
Anyone have a favorite recipe that they like better than the one from BCS?  I've never made one before but like the style, and I'll start with that recipe unless someone has a really better idea...


General Homebrew Discussion / belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« on: September 14, 2013, 05:30:55 AM »
I brewed Jamil's Belgian Blonde. It went thru primary in about 1 week, then I kegged it and it's been carbing for 2 weeks. I tapped it yesterday and there are ferocious cider and green apple aromas, not so much in the taste, but certainly in the aroma. Some quick reading of Palmer, etc, says that the primary cause is usually too much cane/corn sugar, and too high a fermentation temp.

Well this is exactly what the recipe called for: 1.5# sugar per 5 gals (and I've found a couple sites saying the 1# is general considered the upper limit per 5 gals) and Jamil also says to start the fermentation at 64F and let it rise to 68F, which I did.  The beer went from 1.065 to 1.011,  and I used dry T-58 yeast.

This being my first non-Witbier Belgian attempt, is this normal? Is Jamil's recipe messed up? Should I just keep tasting it every week and see if it dissipates (Palmer suggests that it will...)? Is this (gasp) my first dumper in 6 years?


General Homebrew Discussion / how to long to age a Belgian Blonde Ale?
« on: September 12, 2013, 06:07:35 AM »
I brewed the Belgian Blonde Ale from BCS in hopes of getting something similar to Leffe Blonde. It fermented nicely from 1.065 to 1.011 and I kegged it about 2 weeks ago, it's been sitting on my cooler at about 33F under 10psi.  When is it ready to drink? I'm unfamiliar with Belgian stuff aside from a yearly Wit batch.  Normally I'd drink an American ale as soon as it's carbonated (about 5 days in my system)....


All Grain Brewing / how do you add your salts?
« on: August 19, 2013, 10:32:01 AM »
I'm relying a lot more on BrunWater for my lighter-than-amber beers, and finding that just about every beer calls for some combination of CaCl2, gypsum, and epsom.  Here's my current SOP:I read somewhere that gypsum dissolves better in cooler water, so I've been heating my strike water in a kettle, while dissolving the salts separately in a small beaker of ~1 cup cool water. Then I put strike water and salt solution into cooler box mash tun, and wait until it drops to strike temp, then slowly stir in the grain.

The problem I'm running into is that the CaCl2 does not dissolve very much. (I think it's the CaCl2, because I've never see this problem with some brews that just called for gypsum & epsom.)  It stays all flaky in the beaker; I've tried dissolving it in 2-3 cups water; no dice. When I add that "solution" to the mash tun, the flaky white calcium just drops to the bottom. I'm assuming that it is doing no good, since it's not in solution...

So is this a problem? if not, I'm fine. But if so, how do you dissolve all your CaCl2?


Beer Recipes / a little flaked corn and flaked barley in Witbier?
« on: July 16, 2013, 06:04:26 AM »
I have the Witbier recipe from BCS which I've brewed the last 2 summers and like it. For 10 gal it is 9.5# pale malt, 8.5# flaked wheat, 0.5# light Munich, and 2.0# flaked oats.

I have a half a pound each of flaked corn and flaked barley sitting around with no plans to use them, and was wondering what would happen if I just toss them in the mash, maybe reducing the pale malt by a pound, or half a pound. That would change just 5% of the grain bill, and I probably wouldn't notice it, right? But at least would use up two things that would otherwise just sit around.


The Pub / bacon
« on: June 05, 2013, 01:04:46 PM »
my first bacon-related post. i guess it's hopeless now....

Equipment and Software / sani clean slime
« on: May 08, 2013, 11:11:15 AM »
anyone else every see ropey slimy crap in sani clean after it is a month or so old?  i mix mine into distilled water and try to reuse it for 3-5 batches (for kegging only - I use star san during brewing).  but the ropey stuff has always disturbed me, although I have never had an infection or sanitation issue to date.... 

[crosses fingers] [knocks on wood]

Yeast and Fermentation / yeast re-use
« on: May 08, 2013, 11:06:00 AM »
any one see a problem re-using W-34/70 from a Bo-Pils that was 1.058, to a German Pils that is going to only be around 1.050?   I ask because a couple years ago I reused US-05 from a 1.066 IPA in a 1.045 brown ale....  major off flavors etc occurred, AFAIK because of the yeast dropping in gravity so much.... I am assuming a 1.058 to 1.050 drop is not such a big deal?


Ingredients / Amarillo
« on: April 23, 2013, 04:04:17 PM »
What does Amarillo go well with? I've got about 10oz sitting in the freezer doing not much of anything.  I'm thinking of it a basic American IPA. I'm a big fan of all-Centennial IPAs, what about mixing Amarillo 50/50 with Cents? Or are they best used at a certain point in the boil, like flavor or aroma? 

Other hops I have on hand (in case anyone sees anything that pairs nicely with Amarillo) are Columbus, Cascade, Magnum, Mittlefruh, Tettnang, and Willamette.  (And Saaz but that's going in my Bo Pils this week)


All Grain Brewing / Brun Water question
« on: March 21, 2013, 07:04:10 AM »
Recently started using Brun Water to acidify my sparge water with lactic acid. When I'm doing a brew where I'm building water from scratch, based on distilled water, do I enter the Water Alkalinity on Tab #2, Cell B4, as zero, since distilled water plus gypsum & CaCl2 has zero alkalinity, according to Tab #3, Cell L12? 

And then when I enter a zero alkalinity into Tab #2, it tells me to use zero lactic acid in the sparge water. I guess I should believe this, but am having trouble figuring out why...  won't the distilled water still have a pH of around 7, and I'd like it to get down to 5.5?


Events / noob NHC question
« on: March 11, 2013, 04:55:22 PM »
I'm probably giving myself mucho bad karma by even asking this ... but having never entered the NHC before, here goes....

IF one of your beers wins in the first round and you get selected for the 2nd round, do you have to send in more beer? In other words, should I be saving some of each beer that I submit to the first round, for possible submission to the 2nd round judging? If so, how much? 

Assuming I don't win anything in the first round, then I'll at least have some of each beer to drink while I ponder the 1st round scoresheets, so I guess it would be worthwhile saving some in any case...


All Grain Brewing / adding sulfate to my SNPA clone
« on: February 25, 2013, 08:04:31 AM »
My water profile, which I've used for Pale Ale in the past, is as follows (all ppm): 56 Ca, 10 Mg, 15 Na, 7 SO4-S, 28 Cl, 172 bicarbonate, 141 Alkalinity.

I'm thinking about looking to get a little more sulfate crispness in there.  How about adding a few grams of gypsum to the  mash, which would get me 89 Ca, and 99 Sulfate (according to Kai's worksheet), while leaving everything else alone (of course it will reduce the RA a bit)...

Sound like a good idea, or not?

Also, would this be a good idea for an IPA and/or Rye IPA?


Events / NHC entry registration - how fast does it fill up?
« on: February 23, 2013, 06:31:53 AM »
this may have been asked/answered elsewhere but I can't find it....   how fast do the slots fill up when the bell rings at 3pm EST next Tuesday?  do i have a day, or 6 hours, or only 1 hour???

FYI, I live in NY so would have to register in the NYC area?  or can I ship to say, Ohio or Atlanta if NYC fills up?


All Grain Brewing / where do you take mash pH?
« on: February 12, 2013, 06:12:21 AM »
Just suddenly wondering where you guys get the mash sample that you are taking the pH of....  do you scoop off the top, or run some cloudy liquid out of the drain of your mash tun, or what?  And does it make a difference? 

FWIW I take a cloudy sample out of the mash drain about 10 minutes into the mash, and I have lately been getting within +/- .2 pH pts of what Martin's and Kai's worksheets predict....  but of course I always like to second-guess my SOP.


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