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Topics - morticaixavier

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Tonight I pulled a sample of the all munich barley wine I brewed nearly 2 months ago. It has been sitting in the Rumble barrel that I got from Balcones distillery for 3 weeks and it is friggin awesome. I think this may be the best beer I have brewed. certainly the best barley wine.

ok enough of that.

Equipment and Software / grain mill advice with a slight new twist
« on: November 30, 2011, 07:31:35 PM »
So my wife and I are buying ourselves a grain mill for xmas. We will use it not just for brewing grsit but also for making flour so an adjustable gap is a must.

any ideas on adjustable gap mills?

Beer Recipes / wheat wine
« on: November 26, 2011, 07:20:47 PM »
I am planing what to put in my rum barrel with the barley wine that's in there now comes out and that thought combined with plans to brew a hefe with/for my wife. The synthesis being a wheat wine/hefeweizen partigyle brew day. something along the lines of...

12 lbs munich 10L (Great western)
20 lbs malted wheat (I would use raw but I don't want to have to cereal mash 20 lbs of wheat)
Mash this at 148 for 90 minutes

Cap the mash with 1 lb crystal malt for body and add 'sparge' water to hit 160 for 20 minutes

So my question to you all is what hops should I use for this? I imagine using something like a hallertauer for the hefe, although I would love a domestic option as, like I said, I like to keep it local as much as possible.

What for the wheat wine? What's a good domestic alternate for hallertauer?


Ingredients / Diastatic Power of Munich
« on: November 24, 2011, 07:32:12 PM »
So my question boils down to

does 4 lbs of munich have enough enzymes to convert it self plus 6 lbs of raw wheat?

Yeast and Fermentation / fast(er) turnaround and big beers
« on: November 08, 2011, 10:37:44 PM »
So with all this talk about fast turnaround on beers (nice article by the way Drew) It got me thinking. I have a 1.100 barley wine heading into it's second week in primary. It is destined for a 20 litre rum barrel which is currently sitting in my spare shower. I have been soaking the outside of the barrel with water every couple of days in hope of preventing too much drying and was planning on going three weeks (given a finished beer in that time) before introducing the two. But now I wonder. Given that I did everything right with the BW (Except pure O2), Yeat nutrient, lots of shaking and a whole big, fresh eyast cake from a 5 gallon batch of bitter, can I get away with moving the beer to the barrel after two weeks (given a finished beer)?

And more importantly can I actually produce as good a beer as if I had left it for three weeks?

It appears to be more or less done fermenting, the krausen has dropped and the temp has dropped to ambient. Havn't taken a gravity reading yet though.

Trying to balance letting the yeast have plenty of time and not ruining a really nice barrel with lack of filler.

on a side note do I need to be sure to have 20 litres in the 20 litre barrel or if there is only 17-19 will that be okay?

Ingredients / agar as fining agent
« on: November 07, 2011, 12:12:21 AM »
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, 03:06:07 PM »
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, 10:43:01 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, 04:33:12 PM »
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, 05:01:00 PM »
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, 04:43:46 PM »
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, 08:34:46 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, 05:00:48 PM »
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, 06:47:53 PM »
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, 03:31:53 PM »
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?

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