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Messages - jivetyrant

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I just racked my Smash Time IPA to secondary for dry hopping. My wife and I are brewing an Imperial Stout tomorrow and I planned to use the same yeast (US-05) but I had to fine the IPA with gelatin before racking and don't know if I can re-use the yeast cake now. This would be my first time recycling yeast. My gut tells me no, but it would be a waste to toss perfectly good, active yeast! What are your thoughts?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First Brew Tomorrow!
« on: August 09, 2011, 01:42:43 PM »
Good luck, don't worry about sanitation and above all...

Relax.  Don't worry.  Have a homebrew!

I'm sure you'll have a great time!

So my wife and I visited Dogfish Head on our honeymoon earlier this year.  When we got to the brewpub they had a really off the wall beer on draft called Black and Red, an Imperial Stout with tons of mint in it.  It clocked in at about 10.5% and was actually a very deep rep color, not black like a normal stout (hence the name).  I felt like the mint was overpowering, my wife liked it quite a bit though.

While doing an inventory I found that I had some misc ingredients that I had no use for in the near future, including 3 lbs of Dark DME, 1/2 lb of chocolate malt and 1/2 lb of debittered black malt.  I decided that instead of a full batch this week I would do a 3 gallon batch of something, using those ingredients.  Then the thought occurred to me "man, this is the heart of the growing season, I bet there's a ton of mint in the garden that I could use!"  Thus the plan was formed; I would try my hand at a mint stout in the style of Black and Red, though tweaked to my taste.  Here's what I have so far.

Mint Chocolate Stout
Target OG 1.094
Target FG 1.018
Target IBU 50-70, I've not yet decided
Target ABV 10-11%
Target SRM - none, very dark.  I'm not going to try for the deep red color

8oz Chocolate Malt, steeped
8oz Debittered Black Malt, steeped
I'm not opposed to picking up more grains if needed, i also used Dingeman's Cara 8, Dehusked Carafa III, honey malt and cara 45 in my last Imperial Stout.  I have some Munich and Special Roast on-hand, though neither of these seem appropriate.

3lbs Dark DME
2lbs Light DME
1lb Molasses (10 mins)
1/2 tsp Irish Moss
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
O2 injection used
pitch 1(?) rehydrated satchet of US-05 (Does anyone have other suggestions?)

As far as hops go, I don't have much on hand for clean bittering hops.  The closest I have is 2oz Northern Brewer, I have some other medium to low alpha hops around as well such as Fuggles, First Gold, Bramling Cross, Cluster and some others that are not even close to correct.  I was thinking I'd use either the northern Brewer or go pick up some Chinook, Warrior, Magnum or CTZ from my LHBS.  I'm hesitant to be too heavy-handed with my hop additions for fear of overwhelming the mint and chocolate flavors I'll be using, so I'm leaning towards the low end of the style range for IBU's, right around 50-60.  Any recommendations?

For the chocolate flavor (not present in the Red and Black) I was planning to use some cocoa nibs in secondary, pretty straightforward though I've not used them before.  For the mint.... well, I'm not really sure where to go with it.  I have tons of fresh mint to use and could dehydrate it if necessary.  I've seen 2 other recipes using it.  One calls for 6oz dried peppermint in a muslin bag added to 1 gallon of boiling water and removed from the heat, covered and let stand overnight.  I assume this method is used primarily for cooling purposes, as it is from an old fashioned brewing book  (Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, Stephen Harrod Buhner) and I can't imagine there's a need to steep the mint for 8+ hours to extract it's goodness.  It then calls for the remaining water (3 gallons) to be added and brought to 150 F then to add the malt extract, cover, and let cool naturally.  This strikes me as a nightmare recipe, It requires a ton of passive prep, has no boil and no hops!  It does, however, give me some insight regarding the quantity of mint to use.

The second recipe, from the same book, calls for 1/2 oz dried peppermint and 1 gallon of water.  You split the water with the primary brewing ingredients (12 oz rye flower, 1oz wheat flower, 4 oz barley malt) in one half and the mint in the other.  The mint is boiled, the other ingredients are brought to 170 F and both are allowed to sit for 90 minutes off the heat before combining them.  The whole shebang, solids and all, are pitched into and allowed to ferment, then strained and bottled.  In short, another nightmare recipe, though this one has markedly less mint and it is handled much differently.  Perhaps boiling extracts more oils from the mint, similarly to the way hops are handled?

If anyone has experience brewing with mint I'd appreciate any advice you have, it's really the big unknown of this recipe.  I can calculate my way through everything else, but the mint is mysterious and somewhat intimidating, I've seen what it can do if overused!  I'm hoping to have this beer ready to drink my around Xmas, I think 3 months in the bottle should be long enough to be consumed.  What's everyone think? :)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Massachusetts craft brew alert!!!
« on: August 05, 2011, 12:49:57 PM »
Thanks for the tip, I just sent him an email.  I'm headed to work but I plan to keep an eye on this thread all day!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Massachusetts craft brew alert!!!
« on: August 05, 2011, 12:06:25 PM »
I apologize for bumping this thread, I know it's frowned upon.  This is such an important development that I need to help fight it any way that I can.

Does anyone have experience with this sort of thing?  I know Denny worked on a decision in his state, has anyone else had similar experiences?  I don't really know where to start.  Should I just write an impassioned email to my congressmen?  I'm a little lost and time is short, the decision is to be discussed on Monday in front of the ABCC.  Any help that anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Massachusetts craft brew alert!!!
« on: August 04, 2011, 12:45:21 PM »
Just came up with this via a quick google search.

Souce -

"UPDATE II: According to Brewbound‘s Chris Furnari, the cost difference between the two licenses is nearly $4,500."

"“A decision by the ABCC to force our farm to grow and malt grain will put our farm, and any farmer in the Commonwealth, out of the farm-brewing business,” said Bill Russell of Just Beer @ Buzzards Bay Brewing in Westport, MA."  This is my local brewery, my life would be directly impacted if this decision is allowed to stand.

"If Massachusetts state breweries are unable to meet the 50 percent hurdle of the Farmer-Brewery license, they will need to acquire the only alternative, a Manufacturer of Wine and Malt Beverages License. The Manufacturer license, however, does not allow breweries to sell beer at retail or do tastings on site – one of the unique draws of the burgeoning craft beer market. It also forces breweries to utilize wholesale distribution channels which will result in potentially lower margins for the brewery (or higher costs to the consumer) and limited product distribution. Many small breweries rely on already tight margins and self-distribution in order to survive in an industry that favors more established and larger players."  Yikes!

Source -

Eric Hendler, co-founder of Jack's Abby Brewing in Framingham, said the news came as a shock. His new brewery received its farmer-brewery license in June and will have to renew it in January.

"You can't help but be worried about it," Hendler said. "We invested our entire life savings into the brewery, and our father invested his retirement savings into this. We're feeling betrayed. It's just unfair they just drop this on everyone."  I found this to be truly heart wrenching, I got choked up when I read it to my wife and had to stop and compose myself.

Ben Roesch, head brewer at Wormtown Brewing Company in Worcester, which has a farmer-brewery license, said it would significantly hurt business. Each week they sell between 50 to 100 growlers, or half-gallon jugs, and self-distribute to smaller markets.

"I don't think a lot of these nano-breweries that are popping up will be able to make it," Roesch said.

Martin said he does not think any brewery in the state that has a farmer-brewery license would qualify for the license under the change.

A small brewery producing 600 barrels of beer (roughly 18,600 gallons) would need a 20-acre farm to grow enough barley to qualify for the license. It would also take three or four years before hop plants are mature enough to use in beer, Martin said.

"It's really a difficult problem," he said. "I think the edict was put out there before all of the nuts and bolts were looked at to see if they actually make sense."

Members of the guild are meeting with representatives of the state treasurer's office and the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission on Monday to discuss the farmer-brewery license.

"We're hoping to get a moratorium on this ruling," Martin said. "We want them to let everyone re-establish their farmer-brewery license, because it's only three months away from the renewals, and then work on figuring out what to do."

Alright, I'm sufficiently angry now.  This is really going to affect me and many other people in the brewing AND homebrewing communities in a big way.  

Ingredients / Re: Best Low Cohumulone Hops
« on: August 04, 2011, 12:15:03 PM »
I just (unintentionally) brewed a lo-co IPA.  I used Citra as my primary bittering hop (22-24%) and Ahtanum (30-35%) as my primary flavor/aroma hop.  I will be also be dry hopping with Ahtanum, hopefully by the end of the week if the beer clears up a bit.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Beer Recipes / Re: Sorachi Ace Saison, feedback time!
« on: August 04, 2011, 12:03:35 PM »
Brewed it last night.  The yeast starter concerned me somewhat, it wasn't as active as I had hoped it would be.  I did O2 injection to compensate and that seems to have done the trick, the batch was already actively fermenting after only 5 hours!  OG was 1.039 prior to the addition of the honey, just about on target. (1.037)  I plan to add the honey this evening after work which should bump the "OG" up to 1.050-1.052.  It started a little warm due to the elevated temperature in the basement yesterday so I surrounded the fermenter with a few large ice packs and wrapped it in a towel to help drop the temp a bit.  I think my ME was a bit old though, it's darker than I had hoped for.

Regarding pasteurizing the honey, I'll have to think on that during work today.  It's great tasting but mildly waxy and definitely has some pollen in it.  I don't want those two things be reflected in the final taste.  When I've used this honey for mead in the past I've heated to 150 and skimmed, that seemed to help substantially.  On the other hand, a little funkiness would be in character for a Saison....


General Homebrew Discussion / Massachusetts craft brew alert!!!
« on: August 04, 2011, 11:53:35 AM »
Italics are me, everything else is from the articles.

the ABCC announced this change 8/1.  It threatens to close many small craft breweries, many of them considered local staples.  I myself regularly partake in beers from no fewer than 6 of the breweries on this list!  It would also make it much more difficult and costly to open a new craft brewery in rural areas.  If you're from MA, or know someone from MA, pass the message along and write to your congressman!  Tell the state to keep it's hands off you're beer!  -  Source

The Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission issued an advisory yesterday that has some brewers scratching their heads -- and probably worrying about their futures.

The ruling apparently will make it more difficult for small beer makers to get licensed. Many of the state's breweries have what are known as farmer-brewery licenses, which are less expensive and less cumbersome to obtain than full manufacturer license. The licenses also allow breweries to distribute their own beer locally, sell beer on premises, and operate tasting rooms.

The ABCC's advisory -- which followed its decision last week to deny an application for a farmer-brewery license from a new beer maker called Idle Hands Craft Ales -- says a business can get a farmer-brewery license only if at least 50 percent of its beer-making ingredients are grown in Massachusetts. That would pretty much disqualify every brewery in the state.

None of the roughly two dozen breweries that currently have farmer-brewery licenses will be grandfathered, either. "The Commission put the industry on notice that it will apply this ruling prospectively and, specifically, during the next annual renewal cycle to ensure that every applicant for a Farmer-Brewer license meets the state law definition of farmer-brewer," the advisory says. "Moreover, applicants that do not meet the criteria for a Farmer-Brewer license are welcome to apply for a manufacturer’s license." (Some breweries hold both licenses.)

The law creating the farmer-brewery license was written "for the purpose of encouraging the development of domestic farms."

Representatives of Sam Adams and Harpoon declined to tell us whether they think the advisory would affect their popular tasting rooms.

More to come on this developing story. The full text of the ABCC's advisory is below.



The Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission ("the Commission") endeavors to support and enhance the agricultural community, ensure the long-term viability of agriculture, and support farms that protect the common good in many ways including maintaining open spaces in communities. Through the issuance of Farmer-Brewery licenses, the Commission proudly encourages the development of domestic farming and the people who help it thrive.

Each Farmer-Brewer license exists for the specific public purpose of "encouraging the development of domestic farms." To advance this public purpose, the law requires that a Farmer-Brewer grow cereal grains or hops for the purpose of producing malt beverages. While a licensed Farmer Brewer may import malt, cereal grains fermentable, sugars and hops, this does not eliminate the basic growing requirement. The Commission recently issued a decision relative to Farmer-Brewery licenses. A Farmer-Brewer is any person who grows cereal grains or hops for the purpose of producing malt beverages and who is licensed to operate a Farmer-Brewery.

In its decision, the Commission held that each applicant for a Farmer-Brewery license must document that it grows cereal grains or hops of at least 50%, in the aggregate, of the quantity of cereal grains and hops needed to produce the gallonage of malt beverages estimated to be produced by the applicant during the license term. The Commission also held that when that applicant contracts exclusively for the rights to the yield of cereal grains or hops produced from acreage of domestic farmland that applicant will also be considered to grow "cereal grains or hops for the purpose of producing malt beverages" as required by this law.

For example, if an applicant estimates it will produce "X" barrels of malt beverages in calendar year 2012, and that to produce this volume of malt beverages it will require 200 bushels of cereal grains and 4 bushels of hops, the applicant is required to produce evidence that it grows at least 102 bushels of cereal grains and/or hops used to produce the malt beverages, or that the applicant has exclusive contracts rights to the yield of cereal grains or hops produced from acreage of domestic farmland, or some combination thereof that reaches the "at least 50%" required amount.

The decision dictates compliance with the letter as well as the spirit of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 138, §19C. The Commission put the industry on notice that it will apply this ruling prospectively and, specifically, during the next annual renewal cycle to ensure that every applicant for a Farmer-Brewer license meets the state law definition of farmer-brewer. Moreover, applicants that do not meet the criteria for a Farmer-Brewer license are welcome to apply for a manufacturer’s license. If you have questions concerning this Advisory or would like more information, please call Executive Director Ralph Sacramone at 617-727-3040.

(Issued: Monday, August 1, 2011)



Here's a list of the 21 breweries that had farmer-brewery licenses as of 2010. More have been added since, so this is not a complete, up-to-date list:

Amherst Brewing Co. (Amherst)

Berkshire Mountain Brewers (Great Barrington)

Lefty's Brewing Co. (Bernardston)

Boston Beer Co. (Boston)

Buzzards Bay Brewing (Westport)

BYOB Brewery (Amesbury)

Cape Ann Brewing Co. (Gloucester)

Cape Cod Beer (Hyannis)

Cisco Brewers (Nantucket)

Element Brewing Co. (Millers Falls)

Franklin County Brewing Co. (Greenfield)

Mass Bay Brewing Company (otherwise known as Harpoon) (Boston)

Mayflower Brewing Co. (Plymouth)

Mercury Brewing and Distribution Co. (Ipswich)

Nashoba Valley Spirits (Bolton)

Paper City Brewing Co. (Holyoke)

Sherwood Forest Brewers (Marlborough)

South Shore Brewing Co. (Canton)

Vineyard Brewing Co. (Oak Bluffs)

Watch City Brewing Co. (Waltham)

Wormtown Brewery (Worcester)

Beer Recipes / Re: Sorachi Ace Saison, feedback time!
« on: August 03, 2011, 12:29:50 PM »
Brewing this batch today, updated recipe is as follows;

Batch size 5.5 gal
OG 1.060 1.050
FG est 1.005
Color est 6.4 4.5 SRM
IBU est 32.3 31.8
ABV est 6.0%

1lb Honey Malt, steeped
6.6 3.3 lbs Pilsen LME
1 lb Light DME (new)
1 lb Wheat DME (new)
2 lbs honey, raw local wildflower
1/2 oz Sorachi Ace - 60 mins (10.7% AA)
1/2 oz Sorachi Ace - 20 mins
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient - 10 mins
1/2 tsp Irish Moss - 10 mins
1 oz Sorachi Ace - 0 mins, steeped for 20 mins
Pitch Wyeast French Saison 3711, 1.5L starter

Rack to secondary when complete, dry hop with 1oz Sorachi Ace for 14 days.

I have one final question.  I was going to add the honey to primary once fermentation has begun, do I need to pasteurize it first?  It's filtered, raw honey. 

Ingredients / Re: Dry hopping with whole leaf
« on: August 01, 2011, 01:31:48 PM »
That's my problem, too!  I have a fridge in the basement, but it's a serving fridge full of 4 kegs and a Co2 tank!  I really want to do a marzen as an octoberfest, but I need to kick 2 kegs first.  I have to get to it!

Ingredients / Re: Dry hopping with whole leaf
« on: July 30, 2011, 11:30:37 AM »
Man, I love making IPA's.  My basement smells sublimely hoppy and delicious, unlike making other styles.  Then it mostly smells like beer and yeast farts!

Primary is chugging away as we speak.  We had a nasty heat wave recently (as did the rest of the country, apparently!) so temperature control was difficult.  It got all the way up to 72 in my basement, yikes!  I think the batch spiked up to 68-72, it may have gotten a touch higher during the daytime while I was at work.  I'm not too worried about it though, US-05 is a tough little bugger and with all the hops in it I don't think I'll much notice any bi-products of warm fermentation.  Hopefully I don't end up with 5 gallons of fuselly headache juice. ;p

Incidentally, I tried fermcap for the first time with this batch.  So far I like it a lot, I did a nearly full 5.5-5.75 gallon batch and didn't even need a blowoff hose.  So long as the beer turns out well I'll have to use it more often!

Ingredients / Re: Dry hopping with whole leaf
« on: July 28, 2011, 12:04:55 PM »
Will they sink after a bit if I just drop them on top, or should I drop them into an empty carboy and rack on top of them?  Does it much matter?

Ingredients / Dry hopping with whole leaf
« on: July 28, 2011, 11:43:53 AM »
The subject says it all, really.  I'm planning to dry hop an IPA with Ahtanum, but only have whole leaf available.  I was going to try putting it in a muslin bag with a ball bearing to weigh it down.  It'll probably be a nuisance to get out of the carboy, though.  Will there be enough surface area between the bagged hops and the beer?  Should I dry hop in a bucket instead of a carboy?  Should I just try to find some Ahtanum pellets online?


Beer Recipes / Re: Oktoberfest alternatives?
« on: July 23, 2011, 01:38:39 AM »
I've had a pretty solid Marzen that was fermented warm, 65-68 F.  It wasn't amazing but I'd surely drink it again.  I also know a buddy who served a Bier de Garde as an Octoberfest selection.  It was pretty well received!

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