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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/15/2018 in all areas

  1. 7 points
    Njaim

    A lesson in patience...

    I've been drinking beer I've brewed, so please humor me. Or ignore me. Either way. There isn't a question, just some observations (and anecdotes) as someone that's been brewing for less than a year and on a relatively small budget. I'm on my sixth batch of beer (all Mr. Beer extracts). I've done some experiments in meads and wines and a cider too, but essentially I just started beer #6 (and have ingredients for #7). Batch #6 is a Churchill Nut Brown Ale. I plan to add vanilla and cold-brew coffee to half of it just for fun. I'm not the hugest Brown Ale fan, but it was on sale last month. My first two batches had a lot of issues. The first one was undrinkable (an "American Lager"). I let it age for over 8 months and it never got better. I was slowly dumping a few out at a time (after tasting and gagging) to use the bottles, and finally gave up on it entirely. I've since bought a bottle capper and started saving my commercial beer bottles. The second batch was a Bavarian Weissbier where I wanted to add some hops in hopes of adding some citrus flavors... but I boiled the hops in water by themselves before adding the HME to the cooled hop-water, and it turns out "hop tea" beer isn't the best method. It tasted very tart at first. It was drinkable but not especially good. It got slightly better with age, but it never really stood out as tasty. I did drink them all eventually except for one, which I'm keeping just to see how it ages. My third batch was the Long Play IPA done straight up with only adding two booster packs for a higher ABV. I figured it may as well be strong since I'm not the hugest IPA fan (I'll do them, but not my first pick), but it came with the kit for my second little brown keg at a great Black Friday price. I brewed shortly after (beginning of December). My temperature control was pretty much spot on. I let it carbonate for two weeks, condition for an additional two. They were decent then. Since then, I've drank all of them but two of the 740ml bottles until about 3 months ago, when I finally bottled batch #5. Batch #4 ("Horses Ass Ale") decided to leak out into my fridge the night before bottling while I was cold crashing. The LBK (my first one) that I used for this had given me headaches with the spigot prior to both the brews I started in it, and then (for whatever reason) finally gave out, so at this point I just let it go and decided to not use it again. I bought a 3-gallon Fermonster carboy to replace it and plan to use it for batch #7. Batch #5 was another Bavarian Weissbier, with a Golden LME added. I've tasted it after many stages in aging, and it's been "decent" but has something of a "twang" (what I assume is the "extract twang" people speak of on these forums. A little dash of salt on top before drinking seems to help, but it may be in my head). ANYWAY.... I needed to free up space in the closest I'm using as my "brew area." Between all my one gallon carboys and extras for mead/wine, I needed just a little more room. Among the things sitting around, I had two of the Long Play IPAs (batch #3, bottled at the end of January) left as part of the things I wanted to clear out. I put them in the fridge for about 5 days. Today I planned to go out (and drink some tasty Hefes), but my girlfriend is on a new diet/exercise plan (not a "craze" diet thankfully) and wanted me to help her food prep since I'm always the one to man the cast iron skillet for chicken. So I decided to drink these instead. After conditioning (even in relatively high heat given I live in California) for about six months, these IPAs might be the best thing I've brewed! With age, they've become somehow more mellow and tasty than I even expected, especially for an IPA. The high ABV is a bonus. All of a sudden, I regret drinking all but two of them so soon. But these two were hands down the best thing I've tasted from my own beer brewing experience. Since they were in the fridge already... I also drank a couple from batch #5 (the Bavarian Weissbier, which has only been bottled a month), and again, it's pretty decent, but has a "twang" to it. The point being: giving my brews time to "mature" always seems to pay off. Though I understand that many IPAs (and wheats) are supposed to be good to go when they're still pretty "green," it seems that the mellowing that time brings really helps them stand out as pretty decent brews despite my lack of experience. This hobby is teaching me to SLOW IT DOWN. And being from the age of instant gratification, I really love it for that. And I love it because, well, I get to drink beer. I'm very excited to see how batches #6 and #7 turns out after being allowed to condition (with even better temperature control!) Thanks for humoring me.
  2. 6 points
    Palmetto Brew

    Diablo IPA Tasting

    Just tasted the Diablo IPA that I brewed and conditioned for 4 weeks. Not bad, I'm interested in seeing what it taste like with a couple of more weeks of conditioning.
  3. 4 points
    Palmetto Brew

    American Lager

    OK this is my 4th batch of brew and I think I'm getting pretty good at this. This is a standard American Lager and it turned out great! My neighbor who always taste my latest brew with me said I haven't made one yet he didn't like.
  4. 4 points
    Creeps McLane

    Rhizomes

  5. 4 points
    Creeps McLane

    New guy

    My last lager was temp controlled for the first week at 5 PSI then i let the temps go where they wanted and turned the PSI up to 10. After two weeks i kegged it. Its been sitting in a keg for three weeks and it pours crystal clear with no yeast esters detectable by my senses. Im very happy with fermenting under pressure
  6. 4 points
    Bonsai & Brew

    2018 Churchills Challenge

    Look what @Cato started -- I'm drinking my trub bottle of 9% ABV Chartwell's!
  7. 3 points
    Creeps McLane

    Rhizomes

    I planted mine and they did absolutely nothing for months. Now theyre starting to grow. I thought they were dead. Guess not
  8. 3 points
    Shrike

    American Burleywine

    I enjoy it and still have about seven bottles on hand. I recommend trying one right at minimum conditioning time, then periodically afterwards so you can see how it develops. (Or just drink them all...it's quite tasty. ) I also recommend checking your final gravity to be sure fermentation is complete. I had some swollen PET bottles a few days after bottling and had to vent them all.
  9. 3 points
    Shrike

    Caramel Stout

    As Rick said, I'd go with some Crystal 60*. Have you done partial mash brews before? If so, I'd start with steeping 4-6oz as a baseline and adjust up or down as needed based on the result. A Robust and/or Smooth LME would also add some flavor and richness. *Here's the description of Crystal 60 from MRB's website: "Crystall 60 is a widely used and versatile medium crystal malt that will contribute a rich sweetness, pleasant toasted bread notes, and a pronounced, full caramel flavor with a light reddish hue. Use 1-4 oz in numerous beer styles for enhanced body and foam stability as well as additional flavor and color."
  10. 3 points
    RickBeer

    Caramel Stout

    Many flavors in brewing are not made with the ingredients you think. "Hey, that honey beer really tastes like honey!" From honey, right? Nope - honey dries out a beer, the honey flavor comes from honey malt. "Hey, I like that citrus flavor is this beer!" From fruit, right? Nope - usually from hops. "Love the chocolate in this beer!" From melting a chocolate bar, right? Nope, can't do that, has fat, ruins beer. From Chocolate Malt grain, very small amounts. "Hey, I like that caramel flavor in that stout!" From melting caramels, right? Nope - from the addition of caramel malts usually. When you progress to steeping grain, you would steep some Caramel/Crystal grains, perhaps 40 or 60.
  11. 3 points
    what makes it frustrating the most is even under the most perfect conditions, the yeast will still do what they want to do. all you can do is give them a safe home full of good food, at the right temps, and try to keep them happy. the yeast do all the hard work beyond that. what helps is that most of the problems people have are fixable once the cause is known. had a coworker who brewed with his dad. they gave it up because every batch tasted like rubber. they hated it. . .got frustrated and quit. i asked what water they were using? city water from the garden hose. ack. so hot baked rubber leeched into water.. with added chlorine from muni water... easily fixed but they gave up.
  12. 3 points
    Fire Rooster

    First Experiment

    Spruce tip experiment. Disclaimer: None of the beer judges are trained or certified. Wife = Tastes like whiskey Daughter = Reminds her of a bourbon beer Son-In Law = Sweet, hint of fruit with maple aroma. Me = Tart citrus taste, slightly overpowering Going to age more before next sampling.
  13. 3 points
    Kevin Caffrey

    Diablo IPA Tasting

    This has been one of my favorites. Looking at the notes I keep, I had it as excellent at Week 4 and did not note any marked improvements at Weeks 5, 6 and there on out. Kevin
  14. 3 points
    zorak1066

    New guy

    i like the 3 weeks time guideline because it gives the yeast a chance to clean house. on the last week i move the fermenter to someplace around 70f to encourage the yeast to stay busy. it also gives any crud that washed into the beer from the side walls a chance to settle out...usually.
  15. 3 points
    MRB Josh R

    New guy

    Actually, they can usually have these beers out of primary in 7-10 days. They have pressurized, temperature-controlled systems that can promote a full fermentation without off-flavors so it's a lot easier for them to ferment a large amount of batches in shorter periods of time.
  16. 3 points
    vinegar usually comes from a sanitation issue. there is a nasty little bacteria everywhere. it's on your hands. in the air. .. everywhere to some degree. it is acetobacter. this nasty little bugger can sometimes get into your wort or inside scratches in your fermenter. they sit there quietly waiting for your yeast to produce alcohol, then they spring into action. the bacteria feasts on the alcohol and pees out co2 and vinegar. two things start to happen. your bottled beer starts to over-carbonate. the beer inside starts to turn into acetic acid. (vinegar) if left to consume all available alcohol you can get bottle bombs... and when you go to drink it, the acid concentration can be strong enough to hurt your mouth. --- if it is very very slight 'sour' instead of in your face vinegar, it might be a lacto-bacillus infection. they too are everywhere. these guys are more polite. they dont consume the alcohol but produce lactic acid. the same thing in unflavored yogurt that makes you pucker, ends up in your beer. another 'sour' source is a yeast called Brett C. this yeast is common in nature too... and it produces the beers known as gueuze, lambics to name a couple. --- take a sip of your 'off' beer and hold it in your mouth. does it burn in any cuts or scratches in your mouth lining? or is it just sour? if youre hitting the sour notes more than the acid notes you can still drink your beer. i had a lactobacter in a pumpkin weis batch.. god awful on its own. when i wanted to drink it i stirred in a spoon of tang which cut the sour. --- fermenting at 67-70f means at peak fermentation (usually within the first 5 days) the temp inside your fermenter can hit 77-80f. your typical ale yeast gets stressed out at high heat and pees out acetaldehyde. this can give your beer a strong apple cider taste.. .which some ppl might find 'sour' or tasting like apple cider vinegar. work on getting your fermentation temperatures down closer to 60-64 f ambient during the first week. also what sanitizer are you using? ---- when you opened the fermenter to bottle did you notice a white/grey film floating on top? (google beer infections for pics) hope this helps
  17. 3 points
    Bonsai & Brew

    Calidelic Mandarin IPA ?

    I'll chuck the Caramel 120 and go with something a little lighter, then substitute Pale DME for LME. Other than that, I think I've got all those hops on hand for a mid/late summer session IPA.
  18. 3 points
    MiniYoda

    Here we go again

    And yes, I did see Mama Mia #2 this weekend. Don't ask, don't tell (but it was a very good movie) Thinking another mid-west get-together. While I have no problem with another visit to 3 Floyds, I'm open to suggestions on where to go this time. There are a lot of great breweries in the mid-west area. Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and other areas in between. Not going to plan anything yet, perhaps a get-together in March/April of next year. Just opening the table for ideas, as far as where and when. Yoda
  19. 3 points
    D Kristof

    New guy

    Welcome to our shared addiction and happy to know you found this forum. You've discovered the age old conflict between marketing and reality. For most contributors on these forums, the first batch wasn't the greatest, but it was beer; beer they had made. After that first batch they began the quest to learn how to improve their second batch. For some, we got lucky but couldn't repeat the results. As suggested above, seek out RickBeer's posts. Rick's posts summarize the knowledge of many who have gone before us. You will discover temperature control is vitally important for all brewers. Yeasts have specific temperature ranges they love, ranges they'll tolerate and ranges they really don't like. When in doubt, for best results, hold your temperatures as close to the low end of the recommended temperature range. Yeast doing their thing during fermentation generate heat. When the temperature strays outside the recommended range, the yeast will produce compounds which you may not like or do not fit the style of beer. Patience and perseverance. If your first batch doesn't please you as much as you had hoped, set the bottles aside and wait. Often, the yeast will devour the off flavor compounds created during that first week of fermentation. Don't allow disappointment discourage you. Humans have brewed beers for nearly 10,000 years. In other words, it ain't rocket science, but it does require knowledge to repeatedly brew tasty brews. Appreciate the processes required to brew those beers you love. Homebrewing can be a very enjoyable hobby or disappointing and discouraging work. Ask questions and you'll be surprised by the help received. As a community we look forward to your contributions to these forums.
  20. 3 points
    zorak1066

    New guy

    welcome aboard! they make an 8 gallon keg??? oh! the 7.9g fast ferment conical thing! try to keep the temperature around your keg as close to 64f as you can for most ales. if your house gets hot, the fermenter temps will go up and the yeast might make apple cider flavors. lots of good info on these forums.. a good place to start is with the sticky posts in rickbeer's signature block.
  21. 3 points
    Fire Rooster

    First Experiment

    This picture is exactly what I used for the beer, spring growth spruce buds. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spruce_beer
  22. 2 points
    Creeps McLane

    Rhizomes

    This is one of my first year hop plants. Roots are just adjusting to their new home
  23. 2 points
    usually you can tell theres an infection that would cause either sour or vinegar tastes. at bottling you will likely see a film of grey/white on top. really... google beer infections. the pictures speak volumes. when one of my batches developed a lactobacter infection, it had huge snotty looking grey bubbles and looked really weird. https://www.homebrewsupply.com/learn/is-my-batch-infected.html the first pic kind of looks like what i had in my pumpkin weis. as the article mentions not ever infection is necessarily bad. i would add not every weird thing floating on the surface of your wort is an infection. some times you get yeast rafts. some times hop oils and other junk floats on top. if you are getting sour beer or mouth puckering vinegar, odds are really high that your beer looked like one of the pics before you bottled. if it looked fine... it's most like just too high temps. another thing you can try: for many styles of beers fermentis US05 is a clean fermenting yeast that can take higher temps. if your ambient temp hits 67-68f it shouldnt care one bit. it doesnt produce too many esters in my opinion. i like it way more than the mr beer yeast that comes with the kits. fermentation range: (64-82°F) rehydration instructions: sanitize a mason jar. add sterile water. warm water to about 80f. sprinkle in yeast. cover with a sanitized piece of saran wrap or something. let it sit for about 20 mins. you should see the yeast diving to the bottom as they fill with water. after 20 mins take a sanitized spoon and gently stir to mix it in. let it sit for about another 10 mins then pitch into your wort. your wort temp should be around 68-70f. if you still get vinegar... especially if your wort looks weird at bottling... then youre getting infections from somewhere.
  24. 2 points
    Bonsai & Brew

    Calidelic Mandarin IPA ?

    Finally, I brewed a Hoppy CAL! ? Calidelic Mandarin IPA Classic American Light HME BrewMax Pale LME, 0.55 lb. Rahr 2-Row, 1.25 lb. Caramel 120L, 0.06 lb. Summit, 0.25 oz., 20 min. Azacca, 0.25 oz., 10 min. Galaxy, 0.25 oz., 7 min. Citra, 0.5 oz., half for 5 min. and the remainder @ flame-out Mandarin zest @ 10 min. Mandarina Bavaria, 0.5 oz. dry-hop along with additional mandarin juice/zest on Day 7 Safale US-05 Mash grains @ 152 F for 60 min. Sparge with 2-3 cups hot water 30 min. boil including LME OG 1.058 IBU 58 SRM 5 ABV ~5.5% Inspiration for this recipe: Mr. Beer Tangerously Hoppy IPA and New Belgium Citradelic Tangerine IPA.
  25. 2 points
    Cato

    2018 Churchills Challenge

    Lol, Cato is back from a great vacation! Had some very good home brews that my brother in law brought. He uses Northern Brewer kits and they were quite tasty. The Fams favs of mine were the Tangerously Hoppy, Witch's Flight, @Creeps McLanesaison, and yes finally a vote for my Wee Heavy Winston! Glad to be back home,lol, need to diet now for sure.
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