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Messages - redzim

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Beer Recipes / good recipe for first Doppelbock
« on: October 26, 2011, 06:02:35 PM »
So I'm currently fermenting a North German Pils (thanks for the recipe, HopfenUndMalz!) and planning a nice yeast harvest when it's done, and thought it might be time to try my first Doppelbock, which could be ready around Lent....

I'd like input on a good recipe... so far the ones I have that I would trust are the one on Kaiser's site ( and Jamil's from BCS.  Main different between the two is that Kai's is roughly 75% dark Munich, and Jamil's is about 2/3rds light Munich, with the balance of both being Pils and some caramels.   I'm leaning towards Jamil because I have plenty of light Munich on hand and won't have to lay out anything to brew this one... but if 90% of you say "it sucks... make Kai's!" then I will reconsider.

Or who has a better recipe than either of these two?


The Pub / Kaiser?
« on: October 21, 2011, 01:06:04 PM »
anyone know Kaiser's where-abouts or status? Haven't seen him on the boards for about 6 months, it seems.... did I miss him saying he was going somewhere or ....?

Thanks Gordon, that makes sense now. I think I'll give it a shot.

I agree on the worn out slurry.  The yeasties were worn out from the big IPA and got lazy in 1.051 gravity.  Also agree that if you tried to purposely get O2 in the fermenter at 1.018 after pitching the US-05, you probably did and oxydized the beer creating off-flavors.  You technically may not have under-pitched, just pitched too much worn out yeast......

If it's oxydized, there is not much to be done.....

I should mention that I only shook the closed fermenter after adding the new dry yeast; I did not shake or stir with the lid off - so I can't see how too much O2 would have been available to get into the beer - but maybe it doesn't take very much for oxidization?

Cidery and yeasty seems to indicate that it needs more fining and/or conditioning.  Is it pouring bright?  The beer sounds green (young).

It is pouring bright - I kegged with gelatin and dumped the first cup... I can try to dump another pint or so and taste it again, there may be more trub / hop matter / dead yeasties in there than usual.

If it smells sulfury, try purging it with CO2.  Chill and force carbonate the beer, let it warm up, shake some of the CO2 out, vent it.  Repeat.

Well since it is already chilled and force-carbonated, you're saying I should warm it up for like 6 hours or so, then just shake and release CO2 through the relief valve in the corny lid?  Then repeat the whole chill & warm up cycle, or just the shaking and releasing of CO2?

I would avoid repitching yeast from batches with strong flavors that don't belong in the new beer. 

Definitely going to become a more prominent part of my yeast re-use philosophy! thanks

So we think the culprit (or at least a big factor) is under-pitching, which I can certainly fix for future batches - but what can I do to this batch? anything?

Yeast and Fermentation / just tasted possibly my worst beer ever - HELP!
« on: October 04, 2011, 12:03:52 AM »
By this I mean, the worst beer I have brewed - I've tasted a lot worse from the BMC's of the world.... actually probably my first extract beers were this bad, but nothing in the last 3 years I've been doing AG comes close...

Anyways, what we have here is a Mocktoberfest (Jamil's Oktoberfest recipe, just brewed with a US-05 slurry instead of lager yeast).  OG was 1.051, and I used a slurry from a big IPA that was taken out of primary the day before I pitched it into the Mock. I usually collect my slurries pretty thin and keep them in the fridge for 3 or 4 days to get a hard pack cake, then decant the liquid and pitch a nice thick slurry.  Anyway of course the IPA slurry is damn hoppy which I sort of forgot to take into account, and also after just an overnight in the fridge it hadn't really settled out and was still thinner than usual.

So I make 20 gals of wort, pitch about 250mL of this slurry into each 5gal fermenter, which is reasonable based on Mr Malty for slurry that is even a week old... but fermentation does not take off like a rocket, (it usually does when I pitch a fresh slurry, even at 60F which I was fermenting at)  I have a pretty good idea of what my airlocks should look like for different recipes (I've done this Mock before, same mash sched, etc etc... so wort fermentability is not an issue here)  anyways the fermentation never really gets going. After 10 days the gravity is only 1.018.  So I warm it up to 65F and toss in about 5grams of fresh dry US-05 to each 5 gal ferm, trying to shake each ferm enough to get a little O2 in there. Probably futile, I know.  After 3 days of no airlock activity, gravity is still 1.018 so I say screw it and keg it anyways. It did not taste too bad at that point, just a little sweeter than I would like.

Well that was 2 weeks ago - I tapped 2 of the 4 kegs this afternoon for a taste (I keg with gelatin, carbonate at 34F, and always dump the first cup out of each keg) - it had horrendous sulfury smell, kind of cidery and yeasty, and tasted astringent and dry - not sweetish like I was expecting from a 1.018 beer.   After 10 mins in the glass, the smell dissipated but the taste remained.  It is not UNdrinkable but it is not good beer.

What the hell happened? I've just been googling autolysis and underpitching and getting more confused. Seems like the 2 weeks on yeast cake is not really long enough for autolysis to occur? What sort of flavors will underpitching give me? I know it's probably a little early to serve this beer but the taste is bad enough to make me wonder if another week or two in the keg will help at all.    I kind of need this beer for a oktoberbash this weekend.... guess it's a good lesson in hubris vs. humility, etc etc but if anyone knows what I can do, let me know.

what with this and the steelers sucking this past weekend, things can only get better, knock on wood


The Pub / Re: American Football
« on: September 08, 2011, 07:32:08 PM »
Sorry to disappoint all yinz out there, but the Steelers are going to the Super Bowl yet again this year. :D

(And this is just a reminder to you Raven fans. ;))


Yinzers all the way

All Grain Brewing / FWH questions
« on: September 02, 2011, 12:02:26 AM »
I want to try FWH one of these days. Some noob questions:

1) Do you add the hops to the 1st runoff of wort, or only when you start the sparge? I assume the 1st runoff (duh) but want to make sure cause one website I saw mentioned adding them "when you sparge" which I assume they actually mean the 1st runoff....

2) How long is too long for the hops to sit in that wort before you begin boiling? 30 mins? 1 hr?  Is there a minimum time? Just trying to plan a brew day around it...


Ingredients / mocktoberfest hops
« on: August 30, 2011, 07:52:29 PM »
I'm brewing up 20gals of Mocktoberfest for a bash in Oktober - will use 14.5# Pils, 11.5# Munich, 9.5# Vienna, and 3# CaraMunich III. Target OG to 1.052 or so.   I have done this recipe before with Hallertauer hops - 5.5oz at 60 min and 1.75oz at 20min.

However I can't get my hands on that much Hallertau at a reasonable price.  Is Vanguard a decent sub? I can get that cheap from Midwest and it seems close in characteristics...

Remember this is a "Mocktoberfest" which will be fermented at 60F using US-05 and then lagered in kegs for only about a month, I've done this before and it is "good enough" to keep the masses happy (you know, the ones who loooooove Sam Adams Octoberfest already)

Ingredients / hops direct stock
« on: August 29, 2011, 05:51:41 PM »
And I'm not talking 'bout an IPO (but maybe an IPA)

Does anyone know when/if HopsDirect will start getting new supplies of imported hops (I'm looking at you, Hallertauer and Saaz).


All Grain Brewing / Re: The More I Read...Confusion and Vorlauf
« on: August 24, 2011, 02:14:08 PM »
Think about it:  why bother keeping your sparge water temps at or below 170F and your pH < 6 during lautering if you're just going to run chunky wort into the boil kettle and let 'er rip at 212 F for an hour or more?  Take the time to set the grain bed by vorlaufing.

Very good point. I'm going to have to do better to remember, and not rush my brew days.

All Grain Brewing / Re: The More I Read...Confusion and Vorlauf
« on: August 23, 2011, 08:10:38 PM »
OK so I'm sure a vorlauf doesn't hurt anything... but what does it help? (playing devil's advocate here) Yes I have read in all the literature that it helps settle the grain bed for lautering, keeps chunks of grain out of the kettle, etc.... but I have forgotten it on brew days occasionally, when I was in a hurry and can't say I tasted a noticeable difference later... yes maybe more stuff in the kettle but I leave most hot break in there anyways...  just interested to know why it is so strongly recommended in all the basic all-grain primers.  it's got to be for more than just ease of lautering.


All Grain Brewing / Re: fix my Bohemian Pilsner
« on: August 15, 2011, 08:07:36 PM »
anyone have input on this water recipe:

Add 10ppm gypsum, 20ppm CaCl2, and 150ppm undissolved chalk to distilled water to get 38ppm Ca, 5.6ppm sulfates, 9.6ppm chlorides, and use 2% of mash weight acidulated malt to get RA of -31 and ph around 5.5.....  I've never used undissolved chalk and it seems counter-intuitive to be adding alkalinity here but I am scratching my head trying to figure out how to build a water with enough calcium but basically no chlorides and no sulfates, which is what I'm hearing from you guys that I need. or am I missing something here?

and I am still undecided about whether to do a single decoction or a stepped infusion for this baby... what would be better?

All Grain Brewing / Re: fix my Bohemian Pilsner
« on: August 15, 2011, 01:22:16 PM »
I don't think so.... I made a  typo above, it should be 40ppm Ca, 5ppm sulfates, and 68ppm Cl, (not 68ppm Ca as in previous post) with zero Mg and Na.   At least this is what Kai's spreadsheet tells me..... 

BUT maybe 68ppm Chloride is though the roof for Bo Pils..... in which case, what salts do I add to get my Calcium up to 40ppm (what Martin suggested) while keeping everything else close to zero...... remember I'm starting with 100% distilled....

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