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Topics - morticaixavier

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Ingredients / agar as fining agent
« on: November 06, 2011, 05:12:21 PM »
So here is the idea.

I like making British beer styles and for the most part I am not to particular on perfect clarity. However, as I understand it much of the British real ale is fined with isinglass or gelatin and I am a vegetarian. So I was cleaning out my pantry and I came across a little packet of agar agar flakes. These are the raw version of agar that is used in plating yeast etc. It is widely used in vegan cooking to provide thickening and body as gelatin or eggs might be used in non-vegan cooking. On the package the product is described as a vegetarian gelatin.

So I am thinking I could mix it up, more or less to the levels/amounts used for gelatin (adjusted for the ratio of gelatin to agar suggested, whatever that is) in  beer to clarify.

thoughts? Am I crazy? anyone ever tried it?

CA / Learn to Homebrew Day, Davis CA
« on: November 04, 2011, 08:06:07 AM »
Hey all,

The club I beling to Greenbelt Brewers Association will be holding a learn to homebrew day event ad Sudwerks Brewery in Davis California. We will be starting set up around 9:00 AM aiming for a 10:00-10:30 mash in time. Should be fun. We are brewing on Sudwerks 15 gallon pilot system, All grain.

Also the Sudwerks dock store wil lbe open for the duration. At teh dock store you can get pints or growlers of limited release and experimental batches from the talented brewers at Sudwerks.

Last month I had a sour mash IPA that was really nice.

Wood/Casks / Advice on barrels
« on: October 17, 2011, 03:43:01 PM »
So I am getting one of those 20L whisky barrels that were posted on here a while ago. Should be here in about a week or two. I was hopeing to brew a smaller beer as a starter this last weekend but ingredients didn't make it in time so that got pushed back to this coming weekend.

The small beer is a 1.034 heather ale and I will be putting a 1.110 Barley wine on the cake hopefully the next weekend (I know 1 week is pushing it even for a small beer, but it should be doable) The barley wine on the other hand will take several weeks to work it's way through primary I would imagine.

finally the question. If I get the barrel a week or two before the BW is ready to go in what do I do to keep the barrel fresh. It's a fresh dump (will go on the truck just a day or so after dumping) so I will be getting a barrel only a week or so from being full.

My options as I see them are

1) I have 1 gallon of the same recipe barley wine at teh end of it's primary that I could toss in there as soon as it arrives. I would then turn the barrel every day to keep all surfaces moist (that is a really dirty sounding word isn't it?)
2) wrap the barrel in plastic (or leave it wrapped if it comes that way) until I have 5 gallons to fill it
3) fill it with water and camden till the BW is ready (I don't like this option as I would imagine it would wash away alot of the tasty whisky flavour)
4) I will be partigyleing the BW and the small beer will probably be ready in about a week (or for that matter the heather ale) so I could put one of those in the barrel but I would think that a) it would be totally overwhelmed by the oak/whisky and b) I would lose alot of whisky flavour to the smaller beer.

Other ideas? Suggestions? advice?

Yeast and Fermentation / Just a crazy idea
« on: October 13, 2011, 09:33:12 AM »
Could one, if one were so inclined, use brewers (nutritional) yeast as a yeast nutrient? I know somefolks will put left over yeast cake in the boil for this purpose and it seems like this would be very similar.


Beer Recipes / All Munich Barley Wine?
« on: October 10, 2011, 10:01:00 AM »
So Denny has been talking up Munich lately and it gave me an idea. First a little background

I recently brewed a partigyle Barleywine/small beer (bitter) using only pale ale malt that I 'toasted' in the over at 230f for 2 hours. Haven't tasted the barley wine as it is not done primary yet (1.110 so it will be a while before that gets to a bottle). However I can only toast about 5 lbs at a time in my oven and for 1 gallon BW and ~4 gallons Small beer I used 10lbs. Not a big deal, just 2 sessions of toasting. But scale that up to 5 gallons BW and 7 gallons small and we are talking in the area of 32 lbs of grain. Not looking forward to 15 hours of toasting grain and unable to find an organic Mild malt(5-6L) I thought perhaps I would try light munich (10L) I know it will be a little darker but that is okay as long as it isn't roasty. So what do y'all say?

35lbs Munich 10L

mashed at 148 for 90-120 min (1.2qt/lb)
First runnings into kettle to boil for ~120 min with 5 oz of belgian goldings for the whole boil

mash capped with 1 lb crystal 40 (for a little added body/sweetness in small beer) for 20 min
run off into second kettle for normal 60 minute boil with
.25 oz goldings at 60,
2 oz goldings @ 20
2 oz @ 15
2 oz @10
2 oz @ 5
2 oz @ 0
2 oz DH

Yeast and Fermentation / I think I already know the answer but...
« on: October 05, 2011, 09:43:46 AM »
I know that you should not reuse a yeast cake from a higher gravity ferment to a lower gravity but what about from a high gravity to another high gravity?

I have a 1 gallon batch of 1.110 in primary now, it will remain for at least another week or two. If I brewed a 5 gallon batch of the same wort and pitched to the cake would I be asking for trouble?

I am guessing the answer is yes but I though I would put it out there anyway.

Beer Recipes / tweaking a hefe recipe
« on: September 23, 2011, 01:34:46 PM »
My wife and I brewed her first brew three weeks ago, a double decoction hefeweizen, and all went well on the brew day except that one of the hop bags got pinned to the bottom of the kettle for the last 15 minutes of the boild and burned up. So we have 5 gallons of a pretty good hefeweizen with an aftertaste somewhere between camp fire and ashtray. que sera. It's my first dumper.

Trying to salvage something from this experience we tasted, ignoring the nasty as best we could, and her critique is that she would like more flavour. Without being able to really finely analyze the beer cause it's too gross to have more than a couple of sips that is really the best we can do. so I figure I will try to bump up as much flavour as I can through yeast/ferm temp manipulations to start with and then, if still not right, start messing with the grain bill and hops.

the recipe was a simple one

60% weyermann malted wheat
40% weyermann pils

16 IBU of hallertaur at 60 minutes

111* acid rest
130* protein rest
144 beta
150 alpha (missed this temp a little should have been 155)
160 (missed this temp should have been 168) mashout

fermented cool (don't have a temp controller so just use a timer on the fridge and it hovered around 60 for the first three days then the weather cooled a little so dropped down to 54 for a week or so and finally down to 50 for the last day or two.

WLP380 in 1 qt starter

How do I do this?

I am thinking

1) make a slightly smaller starter, but I am hesitant to do this as I don't want a banana bomb
2) ferment a little warmer (leaning towards this)
3) just leave it alone and try to hit my temps better.


Beer Recipes / beefing up a small beer
« on: September 21, 2011, 10:00:48 AM »
I am planning a partigyle brew this weekend with the following stats

Grain bill

10lbs 'mild' malt (actually pale malt re-kilned at 230 for 2 hours)

mash at 148-150 for 1 hour

first runnings will be 1 gallon of 1.105 XXX mild with 1 oz of goldings at 240 minutes
second runnings (and here is the question) will be 2-3 gallons of small mild but with that low a mash temp I expect it would be to thin so I am thinking I will cap the mash with a little something. But what? Oats? crystal? Rye? any and all ideas welcome. Just be aware that the goal is more body. I figure I will bring the 'sparge' water up to a temp sufficient to hit around 158 on the second stage of the mash.

Hops for the small beer will also be goldings, havn't decided on amount yet though, probably lots of late hops (I have 6 oz for both beers).

Also planning on using 1968 ESB yeast for the XXX not sureif I want the same for the small beer or to try something else. ideas welcome here as well.

General Homebrew Discussion / Grrr... who knew the burner got that hot
« on: September 13, 2011, 11:47:53 AM »
about 1.5 weeks ago my wife and I brewed a hefeweizen. all went fairly well, we missed some of our temps by a few degrees but our overall numbers were okay, our OG was a little low but that is because our volume was a little high. nothing to worry about there.

However, as usuall I put my IC in the kettle with 15 minutes remaining in the boil without first fishing out the hop bags. These are organic cotton hop bags so I don't worry too much about them getting scorched like I would with nylon. And it has never happened before. course before I wasn't boiling on a bayou classic SQ14. When cleanup was just about finished we discovered one of the hop bags had been pinned to the bottom of the kettle by the IC and had actually burned through! even under all that wort!

Well other than a nasty cleanup to get all that carbon off the bottom of my kettle everything seemed okay, the wort tasted fine and didn't have any obvious burnt notes.

fast forward to 1 week later I took a sample of the extra 1 gallon I fermented in a separate jug and everything still tasted fine. super malty and great hefe yeast character. so no worries right?

now, yesterday we sampled the full batch, took gravity, down to 1.010ish so the missed temps don't seem to have set up back to much. but tasting the sample there is a distinct campfire character. Grr.

Long story even longer, I was planning on putting my one gallon batch on some blackberries as an experiment but now I am thinking I will put the whole 6 gallon batch on berries to try to cover this camp fire taste. does it seem like that might work?

Recipe details

60% weyermann wheat malt
40% weyermann pils
1 oz hallertaur at 60 minutes

double decoction with protien rest

160* (should have been 168* this is where we missed out temp)

Yeast and Fermentation / hefeweizen starters
« on: September 02, 2011, 08:31:53 AM »
So I think I remember this topic being discussed a while ago but I don't think it was ever really resolved. I have a starter for a hefeweizen going right now for a brew day this weekend and I wondered about decanting. As the hefe yeast is by it's very nature extremely non-floculant would you be selecting the wrong yeasts by decanting?

All Grain Brewing / reverse step mashing
« on: August 31, 2011, 09:42:15 AM »
So as I understand the process in a step mash with a lower sacc rest followed by a higher sacc rest (145 step to 154) you are going for a more fermentable wort but still with some body.

What would happen if you reversed that? mash in at 154 hold for say 15-30 minutes then stir temp down to 145 and hold again for 15-30 minutes. does the beta amylase work on the midlength sugars formed by the alpha amylase? or will you end up with a less fermentable wort as if you just mashed at 154 the whole time?

All Things Food / canning
« on: August 22, 2011, 09:47:04 AM »
I just got a preasure canner! woohoo! gonna order 25 lbs of tomatoes while they are good and can them whole! What else? I like canned peaches but my wife doesn't gonna can starter wort. beans maybe? having canned black beans and refried would make life easier. Salsa would be cool but I can't imagine you can get it to stay really fresh tasting.

how bout y'all?

All Grain Brewing / am I wasting my time?
« on: August 20, 2011, 11:27:50 AM »
So I decided to do an experiment. I want Mild Malt but that is not available to me in an organic brand. I do have some pale alt malt and doing some research and comparisons I see that Mild malt is really just pale malt that has been kilned a little higher (around 230*f as far as I can tell) for a color about 1-2* L higher (around 4-5L) So I grab three quarter pounds of pale malt and split it up.

1) Pale malt as is
2) Pale malt toasted in the over at 170 for 15 minutes and at 200 for 30 minutes (no noticible difference in color but a nice nutty flavour that isn't there in the control)
3) Pale malt toasted in the oven at 170 for 15 minutes, 200 for 30 minutes and 230 for 1 hour. Slight darkening of kernel (Groat? Corn?) resulting with a toastier slightly LESS nutty flavour than #2

So not I know that if I toast the pale malt for 1-2 hours at around 230*f I can get close at least to the color I am after. But what have I done to my enzymes? They denature at 170 ish right? as far as I can tell that is not true with dry malt (perhaps one of you science guys or gals can elucidate) Pale malt is kilned around 95-105*c so I guess not. But just to be sure I am mashing each sample now

Mashed in each sample with 2 cups 161* degree water for a mash temp of 151 or so. I will leave them for 45 minutes now, here is my question (finally) Will I be able to get any information from the OG of these three samples in terms of effect of the toasting on enzyme activity? If they all hit more or less exactly the same OG have I determined that the toasting didn't effect the enzymes? or do I have to then ferment the samples and check FG to get that info?

Any insight is appreciated.

All Grain Brewing / malting your own
« on: July 18, 2011, 12:51:34 PM »
So, as if brewing by itself isn't enough of an obession I have decided to try malting my own. This is the first step on an eventual growing my own project but it is too late in the year to plant hops and too early to plant barley so I will experiment with malting. The eventuall recipe is based on the Barclay Perkins 1839 XXXX as seen on the 'Shut Up About Barclay Perkins' blog. which is 100% Mild malt. from what I can gather this means a base malt kilned a little higher than normal pale malt for a SRM of around 5-6. I have read up on the process of malting and understand the basics;

soak malt 8 hours on 2 hours off until moisture content is around 35-45%
Germinate till 90-95% of grains are fully modified (acrospire full length of kernel)
Kiln back to 10% moisture.

I am planning to get a food dehidrator for the kilning, unless I discover a way to build a more efficient kiln or the weather gets really hot for a while (not impossible here in northern california) but what I cannot find is the temp to kiln at to reach my desired SRM. I can't just toast after drying cause I need enzymes. The only thing I have found so far is that we are looking at 90-105f for pale malt and 'a little higher' for Mild although the site where I found the ' a little higher' advice had typos so the kilning temp given for pale was 95-105c which is WAY to hot as it would denature the enzymes so I am not trusting that much.

This may be kind of out there but if anyone has advice I would love to here it. I hope to begin this project in mid august.

Commercial Beer Reviews / mikkeller 1000 IBU
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:44:22 PM »
So I tried this beer because I have seen in on the shelf a few times and it was on tap at the local bottle shop/tasting room. I know it's gimmicky and you can't go over 100ibu etc. I will say this, this was the Hoppiest most bitter beer I have ever tasted. It was kinda gross at first. Just a huge hoppy slap in the face. But after all the tastebuds responsible for tasting bitter had been wiped out by the first couple of sips there was actually a nice little malty sweetness in the background.

over all I would say that I will NOT be drinking this beer again but it was fun to try. I suggest anyone who feels a beer can't be too hoppy give this one a try and let me know if you still think that.

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