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Messages - jivetyrant

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Yeast and Fermentation / Braggot pitching rate?
« on: November 18, 2011, 01:37:13 PM »
I'm going to take a shot at a braggot today, something I've never tried before.  It's not my own recipe, it's from Extreme Brewing by Sam Calagione.  Cranberry harvesting season recently finished here in southcoast MA so I really wanted to try and incorporate them into *something* but the idea of a cranberry beer sounded hideous.  A braggot, though....  now that's an idea!  The question I have regards pitching rates, as the recipe calls for champagne yeast.  I intend to use Pasteur Champagne from Red Star, I bought 4, 5g packets just in case.  Here is the recipe;

Cranberry Braggot

3 gallon boil (odd) for 1 hour
OG 1.082
FG target 1.010
ABV target 8.5%
IBU 6.8 (accordning to beersmith, does not take into account contribution from cranberries)

6.6lbs light LME
1oz Hallertau 3%AA (60 mins)
2 lbs dried, boiled, pureed cranberries (10 mins)
1 tsp irish moss (10 mins)
5 tsp yeast nutrient (10 mins) -This seems like a lot, especially since I'm using the wyeast brand which has a lower dosage than standard yeast nutrient at 1/2 tsp for 5 gallons of beer.
6lbs local wildflower honey (flameout)
1tsp pectic enzyme (at pitch)
? packets Red Star Pasteur Champagne

So, how many packets to pitch?  How much yeast nutrient to use?  Are there any other recomendations or comments about the recipe?  Thanks!

Beer Recipes / Re: My first irish red, proofread please!
« on: November 15, 2011, 01:01:49 PM »
Here's the modified recipe, I think I'll go for it!  Thanks for the push, folks! :)

I cut back the demerera to .5lb and added .5lb of extra light DME to bump the FG up a bit from 1.009 to 1.011

I cut out the C55 and flaked rye and bumped the roasted barley and special roast up to 4oz each.  The crystal rye stayed at 8oz.  I also decreased the addition time of the sterling from 15 mins to 10, which should keep the IBU's at about 20.  ABV estimate is 4.7%

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 6.95 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.24 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.047 SG
Estimated Color: 14.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 23.7 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 0.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                                        Type          #        %/IBU         
8.0 oz                Crystal Rye Malt (Thomas Fawcett) (80.0 SRM)          1        6.3 %         
4.0 oz                Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)                     Grain         2        3.1 %         
4.0 oz                Special Roast (Briess) (50.0 SRM)            Grain         3        3.1 %         
8.0 oz                Extra Light Dry Extract (3.0 SRM)           Dry Extract   4        6.3 %         
6 lbs                 Rye malt syrup (6.0 SRM)                         Extract       5        75.0 %       
8.0 oz                Dememera Sugar (2.0 SRM)                     Sugar         6        6.3 %         
1.00 oz               Liberty [3.40 %] - Boil 60.0 min                Hop           7        11.7 IBUs     
1.00 oz               Sterling [7.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min               Hop           8        12.0 IBUs     
0.50 tsp              Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)                       Fining        9        -             
0.50 tsp              Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins)                 Other         10       -             
2L starter             Irish Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP004)     Yeast         11     

Beer Recipes / Re: Looking for a holiday spiced ale recipe!
« on: November 15, 2011, 03:02:43 AM »
Wow, even if the beer never gets off the ground that tea looks awesome!  I will have to pick up a box!

I'm not fond of too much ginger in a spiced ale.  An example of one that I feel is overwhelmed with ginger is Sam Adams's Old Fezziwig.  When I think spiced ale, I think clove, nutmeg, orange peel and cinnamon.  I really like the idea of making a tincture of the various spices.  Not only would it be easily controllable, but it would also be multi-purpose!

Definitely going to look at that brewer's best kit, too!

Man, that roastaroma thing....  fascinating.

Beer Recipes / Re: My first irish red, proofread please!
« on: November 15, 2011, 02:58:09 AM »
This is an excellent example of the perils of assumption!

I honestly always (and this is going back to my pre-homebrewing days) that "red" beers included rye!  I don't really know WHY that was, I guess it's just one of the early (erroneous) connections that folks make which persists until proven incorrect.

So.... I already have *all* the ingredients for the recipe I posted.  I like rjharper's recipe so I will probably swap to that.  Now what do I make with the indredients I have for my rye-rish red?  Does it perhaps sound interesting enough to attempt anyway?

Beer Recipes / Looking for a holiday spiced ale recipe!
« on: November 14, 2011, 01:48:45 PM »
I've been hunting for a solid looking holiday spiced ale recipe for a bit now and I haven't found one that really strikes my fancy yet.  My wife wants to make one for her first solo brew (!) so it's my job to find a reliable, easy extract/partial mash recipe for her to follow.  There's only 1 recipe on the recipe wiki and it looks a bit out of date, so here I am!

Thanks in advance! :)

Beer Recipes / My first irish red, proofread please!
« on: November 14, 2011, 01:45:10 PM »
I'm taking a stab at my wife's favorite style, irish red, but I've heard of extract/partial mash brewers having bad luck with them in the past.  While browsing Northern Brewer I happened upon a new product, rye LME!  It promises to allow true irish reds to be brewed with extract so I decided to go for it!  Here's the recipe I'll be following, I will also include the information for the rye LME as it is a blend of malted grains.  Apparently I also have the tendency to overdo it on the crystal grains, I'm only just now catching on to that!

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 6.95 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.24 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.048 SG
Estimated Color: 14.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 23.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 0.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     
1 lbs                  Rye, Flaked (2.0 SRM)                   
8.0 oz                Crystal Rye Malt (Thomas Fawcett) (80.0SRM)
8.0 oz                Crystal, Medium (Simpsons) (55.0 SRM)   
3.0 oz                Special Roast (Briess) (50.0 SRM)       
2.0 oz                Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)               
6 lbs                  Rye malt syrup (6.0 SRM)                 
1 lbs                  Dememera Sugar (2.0 SRM)                 
1.00 oz               Liberty [3.40 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           8        11.6 IBUs     
1.00 oz               Sterling [7.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min        Hop           9        11.8 IBUs     
0.50 tsp              Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)              Fining        10       -             
0.50 tsp              Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins)          Other         11       -             
2L starter               Irish Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP004)     Yeast         12       -             

The info for the rye LME is as follows, pulled straight from NB:

"This proprietary blend of 70% 2-row, 20% malted rye, and 10% caramel 40 malt allows you to formulate your own one-of-a-kind rye beer! Our Rye Malt Syrup provides 1.035 ppg and is approximately 6 L"

Thanks for any input you may have!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Pitching rate for a California Common
« on: October 27, 2011, 11:53:26 AM »
I have some empty 3 gallon carboys laying around.  I suppose I could do a small starter batch first!  Now I just need to get my foolish fermentation chamber replaced and I'll be good to go!  I am trying to find a chest freezer small enough for 1 carboy, I can't imagine it would be that hard....

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Restarting a stuck fermentation, methods?
« on: October 27, 2011, 11:50:31 AM »
Well, my FFT did indeed show room for improvement.  I got active fermentation with my sample down to 1.014, so I pitched a healthy portion of S-33 along with 1/2cup of corn sugar and heated to 75+.  Cross your fingers for me!

Yeast and Fermentation / Pitching rate for a California Common
« on: October 26, 2011, 01:32:23 PM »
The subject says it all.  Should I pitch at ale or lager rates?  I'm using Wyeast California Lager, OG is 1.049.  The beersmith pitching rate calculator is calling for 380 billion cells, recommending a 4L starter with 2 slap packs of yeast at 82% viability.  MrMalty is estimating a lower viability of 76%, calling for a 4.7L starter.  That seems like overkill to me, but I've never tried this style before.  When using MrMalty, should I be using the ale, lager or hybrid fermentation type?  I know that you need much higher pitching rates for lagers, but does this count as one since it'll be fermented ~60F?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Restarting a stuck fermentation, methods?
« on: October 23, 2011, 01:50:59 PM »
A few notes that I forgot to mention in the OP.  The dark brown sugar used was actually unprocessed mexican brown sugar, otherwise known as panella.  Also, the blowoff was so vigorous that a large amount of active yeast was blown off in some unintentional top cropping.  Thankfully I had used a sanitized 3 gallon glass carboy with some tap water in it as my blowoff catcher, so when I noticed that the initial fermentation had stalled out very high (1.30+, I can't remember the exact number) I was able to decant off most of the liquid in the 3 gallon carboy and pitch the sizable yeast cake back into the main fermenter as though it were just a monster sized starter.  That worked and didn't spoil the batch (I was genuinely worried about that) dropping the gravity to it's current level.  

I will take one more stab at dropping another few points with some highly attenuative yeast, probably S-33.  The idea of said post hoc FFT sounds like a good one, I will pull a sample large enough to take a hydrometer reading and pitch a whole packet of S-33 and see what happens!  If I have any success I will pitch a packet along with a small snack for the yeast and hit it with a heating pad up to 75ish.  Here's to hoping!

Related question; I plan to dry hop with some homegrown chinook, is there any reason to bother racking to secondary to dry hop?  It's whole leaf, so most of it will just float on top.  I find myself shying away from secondary fermentations lately, the more reading I do on the subject the less necessary it seems for ales, it just seems to add more risk of oxidation and other accidents to the mix.

Yeast and Fermentation / Restarting a stuck fermentation, methods?
« on: October 21, 2011, 01:41:46 PM »
Hi all, it's been far too long since I've posted!

I have a problem brown ale that's stuck at 1.020, I'm shooting for 1.014.  It's not cloyingly sweet, but the sweetness that's present is masking the malty, hoppy flavor I was going for.  The recipe is as follows;

OG 1.072
FG (current) 1.019

12 oz               Caraamber
12 oz               Caramel Malt - 60L
8 oz                 Light Chocolate
2 oz                 Roasted Barley
8 lbs                Light Dry Extract
8 oz                 Brown Sugar, Dark
1.00 oz               Warrior [15.00 %] - Boil 90.0 min       
1.00 oz               Vanguard [5.50 %] - Aroma Steep 20.0 min
1.0 pkg               Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) (no starter, I realize this is probably the problem)
0.50 tsp              Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins)
0.50 tsp              Irish Moss (10 mins)

I've tried rousing the yeast and feeding it another 1/2 cup boiled brown sugar, no luck.  I've tried re-pitching a packet of US-05, no effect.  I have some spare packets of T-58 and S-33, along with some other misc dry yeasts.  I read an article a while ago about making a starter and adding some of the stuck beer every day for several days in a row to acclimate the yeast to it's environment, then adding some extra sugar and pitching during high krausen.  I've never tried this before, but it seems to make good sense.  Would pitching some re-hydrated T-58 or S-33 along with a little extra sugar be enough, or should I go the route of the acclimated starter?


All Grain Brewing / Re: Fresh Spearmint
« on: September 05, 2011, 12:49:11 PM »
Sometimes I think there's a collective unconsciousness amongst us homebrewers.

I just did a mint chocolate stout a few weeks ago, it's in secondary with 4oz of cacao nibs as we speak.  I used 1oz of dried peppermint (I prefer it to spearmint, the latter tastes too much like chewing gum to me) at 5 mins.  I have not dry-minted it yet, I'm going to taste it after another week or two in secondary and evaluate further.  The last time I tasted it was just before transferring to secondary and the mint character was exactly what I wanted, light and noticeable but definitely not overwhelming.  It tasted much more like beer than mint, exactly what I was going for.

It probably won't be ready until around xmas, but that's what I was shooting for anyway. :)  Now if I could just decide on a brown ale/nut brown recipe to brew next....  any suggestions?

Ingredients / Usage options for wet hops?
« on: August 29, 2011, 02:11:43 AM »
I'll be doing my first ever hop harvest in the next day or two, hooray!  I wasn't expected any yield at all this year, but much to my surprise one of my Chinook vines really took off.  It reached 20 feet and has plenty of hops on it, I don't know exactly how much, though.  I may have all of 10 cascade cones as well, heh.  Amazingly enough they seem to have survived hurricane Irene with little damage, I probably lost a few cones and only lost one plant, though it was a pretty pathetic looking thing.  It never even reached 5 feet tall, it simply wasn't meant to be!

At any rate, I plan to pick in the next day or two and haven't decided what to do with them.  I have a dehydrator and vacuum sealer, but I also have a batch of a serious IPA that's ready to keg.  It's a 6.5% bittered with Citra and aroma/dry hopped with Ahtanum and a bit of Amarillo.  It's pretty strongly grapefruit flavored as of a week ago when last I checked it, I don't know if it has mellowed any since then.  I've read of some people throwing green hops in a mesh bag and putting them in the keg, does anyone have experience with that?

Alternatively, has anyone every dry hopped with green cones as opposed to normal dried ones?  I could rack off of the cones floating about in it now before kegging.

Am I simply better off drying/sealing them up for later use?  The kegging idea seems bold and interesting, but I'd hate to wreck a great tasting batch of beer by doing so.  Any tips or warnings to be had?

I ended up pitching 2 packets of rehydrated US-05, worked like a charm as I expected it would.  It appears to be almost 90% fermented in only 7 days, wow!  1.100 to 1.028, I expect to drop another 10 points before it's done.  The yeast hasn't flocced out yet and I'm still getting bubbles in the airlock every 5-10 seconds.  It already tastes awesome, btw. :)

I decided to take the dive and size up to 5.5 gallons, here's the final recipe.

Partial Mash
OG 1.096
FG target 1.015-1.018
37.9 SRM
59.5 IBU
10.7 ABV

Steep for 45 mins at 155 F in 2 gallons of water

1/2 lb Chocolate Malt
1/2 lb Munich (mostly for the reddish amber color, and to get it out of my supply area)
1/2 Debittered Black Malt

Boil - top up water to 6.5 gallons

6.6 lbs extra light LME
3 lbs dark DME
1 lb light DME
1/4 oz Warrior 60 mins (again, it's just taking up space and slowly going stale)
1 oz Chinook 60 mins
1 oz Chinook 30 mins
1/2 tsp irish moss 10 mins
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient 10 mins
1 lb Molasses 10 mins
1 lb Demerera Sugar 10 mins
1oz dried peppermint 5 mins


4oz Cacoa nibs
1oz dried peppermint?

For the mint flavor I intend to add 1oz dried peppermint at 5 mins and go from there.  I'll taste it when i'm ready to transfer and "dry mint" with another 1oz if necessary.  Alternatively, I'll get some mint extract and add it to taste at bottling.  I'm not trying for a distinct mint flavor, more of a pleasant undertone.  Some other recipes I've read call for a mint lifesaver or an altoid or two, that seems like it would be really intense, though!  No thanks.  My other thought was to hold off on the demerera sugar and molasses until after fermentation started to slow down, pasteurize and add them to primary.  I don't know that's it's necessary but I've done similar things with honey in some other beers.  Any have any thoughts/advice?

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