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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/16/2018 in all areas

  1. 12 points
    oldbagobones

    Backstory on my brewing experience

    I just thought I'd chime in here on my experience in the past with brewing. It was about 40 years ago (yeah, I'm old) and I knew nothing about brewing. I bought a carboy and some extract and I don't remember what from a newly opened brewer supply store. I did not know a thing about beer brewing, but I knew I liked beer so I gave it a shot. I put all the stuff I bought into that carboy and thought, I'll have some beer in no time! Well, I made about every mistake that any newbie could. I knew nothing about sanitizing or temperature control or just about anything else that the you need to pay attention to. Needless to say after bottling and what I thought was a good amount of conditioning, I refrigerated the bottles and waited till the next day to try my new found hobby. My excited anticipation for a cold beer was instantly dashed upon tasting the absolute worst carbonated horse piss on earth. Gave me the case of the "I can't do this crap" and decided not to do it again. After all this time has passed and the creation of so many micro breweries and all kinds of beer recipes, I thought I'd give it one more shot. This forum has been the absolute best place for information and I really appreciate all you people that are so helpful and encouraging to keep one from giving up. I only wish this was here back when I first tried brewing, I probably wouldn't have quit then and taken so long to return to the craft. Thanks again for everyone's help in keeping it real.
  2. 11 points
    Nickfixit

    Backstory on my brewing experience

    I tried in the UK in the 1960's using HME from Boot's drug store. (Yeah, I am no spring chicken either which is one reason I like 2 gal LBK that I can carry, instead of 5 gal monsters.) Dissolve malt and sugar yeast and wait. I also tried using grain and hops, what a pain. No info about sterilization/sanitation except wash thoroughly. I covered my plastic pail with a tea towel to keep dust out. I got alcoholic beverage for sure. It tasted beerish but not great. I gave one to a neighbor and he walked around his yard for an hour with a colander on his head (don't ask). I tried again in the USA in 1980's. I got some beer but not great again. When I found Mr. Beer 215 brews ago It was so easy and results were good enough that I continued.😀
  3. 9 points
    MRB Tim

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    Man this is such a wholesome thread. Just wanted to add my $0.02 on the twang issue. I don't think we've ever disputed that liquid extracts can tend to have a twang. Every method of brewing has its pros and cons, none is the "right" way to brew. The advantages of HME are that it's great for beginners to learn on, doesn't take much time, space, or equipment, and I think the smaller batch size is an advantage to a lot of brewers. The disadvantages, as I see them, are less control over some factors, darker color, and occasional twang. To my palette, some refills have more twang than others. I get more of it with Diablo than Long play, and more with Blonde than Weissbier. So, that's one factor to consider. Another is that doing a grain steep or hop boil can reduce it pretty drastically. I find that more important than temp or sanitation, in terms of the twang aspect. I would also just add that I've brewed hundreds of HME batches by now, and only had a few batches where twang was strong and unpleasant enough to impact my enjoyment of the beer. Given our policy of replacing bad batches and, I think, our flexibility, I find that to be a pretty low-risk proposition.
  4. 8 points
    Bonsai & Brew

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    I can't believe 3 pages into this discussion and no one has posted this yet! Thanks for the memories @AnthonyC.
  5. 7 points
    Creeps McLane

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    Then let me add one last thing. You may be the best brewer in the world. You just don’t know it yet. Like @Gutterbunnie said (that should win the day everyday) is you just have to find what works for you. People talk about the high drop out rate on here all the time. For a Brewer who is doing everything right but your beer doesn’t taste like how you want it, that can be frustrating. Very frustrating. But you can’t give up. Ive made enough HME batches to learn I don’t prefer HME. I’ve brewed with enough LME to find that it wasn’t for me. I’m a freak for control and this isn’t a hobby that I’m ok with not putting the time into what I enjoy sitting down and enjoying on a daily basis. That’s me. I’ve had plenty of HME beers that @Bonsai & Brew sent me that blew me away. He’s f***ing good at working with what he has. I don’t have that. So I moved on. All I really wanted to say was this; don’t sell yourself short. Keep pushing. If something isn’t working, try something else. Look at @Nickfixit. He’s constantly tweaking and striving for the perfect balance in his beers. Don’t let one ingredient stop you from perfecting your beers. If you want to take the next step, ask questions. Be open to new ideas. This forum is filled with intelligent people who have been a newbie before. Partial mashes, hoppy beers, drying out your HMEs are a great start. But for me, the best thing I can say is to look at where you want to be in a year or five and start reaching for that level. Don’t sell yourself short! DONT SELL YOURSELF SHORT! Lastly, for years I’ve tried to stay relevant on this forum. I don’t really use HME anymore but I stay here to try to help others with my opinions though they very well may be wrong. Ask me anything and I’ll try to help. Freaking @kedogn is a professional Brewer, ask him. Sometimes a vet like @Screwy Brewer and @bpgreen will be on here. Listen to what they say. They’re amazing. This is what a forum is all about. this was supposed to be a quick post, I’m sorry. I was raised in a house full of women so I get emotional quickly, but God damn it I’m here for you.
  6. 6 points
    Brian N.

    Backstory on my brewing experience

    I tasted a good many home brews for years, some very good and others not so. Always looked like too much work and waiting. But after 25 years of marriage, my wife ran out of unique gifts, until MB. Small batches easy process and an hour in the kitchen so I gave it a try. My first beer was not great but there was hope and the support of this forum.
  7. 6 points
    MRB Tim

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    Most of my recipes that I don't really like all that much sell very well, and all my pet favorites sit all-but-unnoticed, appreciated only by the true connoisseurs. I think I might just have bad taste.
  8. 6 points
    Nickfixit

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    Aaaagh! Yes indeed. Tweak does not always improve. I am probably less scientific too than it reads - lol - certainly I am less picky about my process too than many here (not a control freak 😄) .. But overall I am up to 215 brews now. I do get some with funny flavors still. I very rarely get any that are undrinkable. Differing from Creeps, I prefer the ease of using HME, and I find the beers drinkable and my friends do too, so that is good enough. Also SWMBO hates brewing smells so prolonged boiling etc. is not tenable. But I like the ease, starting or finishing 1 LBK brew in about an hour including cleanup. (maybe more for PM) Today I bottled Oktoberfest enhanced with PM (2 oz each Munich, Vienna and Biscuit grain ) and strengthened by 2 packs of booster and flavored more with 0.5 oz Hallertauer hop at flameout in a bag. This tasted good with no off flavors. It was fermented in ambient low-mid 60's using Mr. Beer yeast. Why booster? #1 I have a bunch of it, #2, I do not like too malty as I also do not like too hoppy. I also have been messing around with beers so much I though I should try tasting more of the Mr Beer intent. I think it will be fine, having a sweetish start and a balanced finish where you can taste hops. Targeted at Halloween/Thanksgiving timeframe. The only place I am picky on is sterilization using Mr Beer sanitizer or Onestep. Having a basement room at 63-65 deg also helps. I actually have to warm some brews up in a different room if I want 70+. (Wheat or Saison) I use directional lamps with spot light bulbs as heaters - 2 for 80 deg, one for 70-72 deg. I do not use temp controller I just use a thermometer on the LBK and move lamps closer or further away to get desired temp. It seems close enough. For 80 I have to partly wrap the LBK in towels though. When people ask me about the long process of brewing, I tell them I do it the easy way. If you think warm temperature is your problem - cool the LBK ( I use Coleman cooler chest and ice packs) or ferment a beer that likes warmth e.g. Saison. For cheap temperature monitoring I use a $10 digital aquarium thermometer taped on the LBK side with paper towel insulation over the thermometer and under the tape. If you have a cooler with a drain hole, you can run the wire through that and see temp without opening the cooler. If you are concerned about temperature fluctuation, putting the LBK in a container will help even it out - even a cardboard box but cooler is best. Early on I used a $2 foam one (you can still run the thermometer wire out if you make a little groove where the lid fits) and that worked too,. But keep at it - try cooling the LBK in a cheap cooler with freezer ice packs of frozen water bottles (2/3 full only) first.
  9. 6 points
    Gutterbunnie

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    Yeah, I can echo what others have said. Just don't give up. I just brewed up my 20th LBK batch last night, the Dead & Berried Mr Beer recipe. But i added a few things, and I substituted Safale BE134 for the Belle Saison (undecided if I'm a fan of that yeast). Really I believe it boils down to a matter or personal preference/tastes. I tried Safale US-05 on several batches: HME, partial mash, DME, LME & even all grain BIAB. Honestly, I don't like US-05 very much at all. There's some weird cabbage off flavor in my finished beer that I just can't quite describe. And I believe it's possibly my taste buds & olfactory senses, since so many others rave about it & I just don't care for it. So anyway. I've found that that I prefer 04 or even Nottingham. I've tried a few WLP (1272 is pretty good) and WYEAST (American wheat) which aren't bad at all. And I enjoy the WB-06 Wheat yeast (after cold conditioning a Bavarian Hefe a few months, awesome!). I would say this hobby is just as much about experimentation. And since it's 2 gallon batches, it's much easier to go that route & be OK with some not-so-great batches. Trial & error. Sure, I've had a few botched batches here & there (that I'm still drinking by the way) but overall I've had a lot more successes. Whether that's a Mr Beer HME/partial mash, an all extract using DME or LME, or an all grain BIAB. Find what you enjoy & keep doing it until you get it right the way you like it! Read up, borrow some homebrewing books from your local library such as from Papazzian, who if I can remember his quote, basically says you really have to work to screw up a home brew! Enjoy the process, take good notes, pay attention. But most of all, have fun. It's a hobby! Cheers
  10. 6 points
    Marius

    Upcoming Brewing Schedule

    I have been getting in to partial mash lately but not long enough to have a mature product. I have Let it Bee and Grass-cutter Lager conditioning - both tasted good at bottling. Dry River Rye is brewing at the moment. Next in line is Naughty Cream Ale and Foggy Days California Common. It is going to be an interesting pipeline.
  11. 5 points
    Creeps McLane

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    You could be on to something. HME comes in a can, LME in a plastic jar, dme in a bag. I have never had a twang with LME. Ive never really done a straight up DME batch so i cant speak on that. It definitely is more present in higher fermentation temps in my opinion. But its not so much the fermentation temp as it is in the mash temp in which the HME is made. Extracts are usually made to cover many different styles of beer so they shoot for a mash temp somewhere in the middle of the spectrum so brewers can use them in a wider range of beers. I think coopers mashes at a higher temp than say for example briess. Possibly the hopping of the wort also contributes to this taste. Im going to nerd out for a second here. when you mash between 130-150 you break down the beta amalyse enzymes (more coxplex) which get you a higher ABV and a drier beer but it takes longer. When you mash 154-167 you break down alpha amalyse enzymes. You get lower abv which means a sweeter taste and more body. This is why i usually mash at 152 to hope to get the best of both worlds depending on the style. Im guessing coopers is above 154, im guessing 157-160 for a quicker conversion of the starches into fermentable sugars. Then they boil under vacuum pressure to concentrate the wort for us. That then denatures the enzymes and locks in that wort profile. If you were running a business wouldn’t you do the less costly and time productive way? coopers is a giant in the beer game. They know what they’re doing. I dont doubt the same HME we use is the same wort recipe they use for their beers. I do think the hops play a part in some way. Hops have sugars too. If you dry hop a beer youll get another Little fermentation after and everything that goes along with it. Thats why breweries dry hop and let it sit for awhile cuz youll get things like DMS if you’re not patient.
  12. 5 points
    Shrike

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    Those are a lot of reasons why I stick with HME. I like doing two gallon batches; five gallons is just too much to work with, bottle, etc. Plus, if I'm not too fond of the final product, I'd rather have two gallons to slog through than five. The darker color doesn't bother me. If it tastes good I'm happy. And as I posted earlier, doing PMs and hop additions can cancel the twang pretty handily. When I had family visit earlier this year they preferred some of the MRB brews we sampled to some of the craft beers we had while eating out. That was a nice little ego boost. And to me, this is a fun hobby. I spend a couple of hours every ten days or so bottling and brewing, and I get tasty beer as a result. When I look at a setup like @Creeps McLane has posted photos of I think "Man, that looks so cool...but it also looks like work." It's what he enjoys doing, but it's not for me; I don't want my fun hobby to become a chore.
  13. 5 points
    Jdub

    Upcoming Brewing Schedule

    one problem with home brewing is there are so damn many recipes out there, and I wanna brew them all!
  14. 5 points
    Joe G

    Newbie needs brew plan confirmation

    I just realized that, after all of your amazing help, I never posted my results! The Oktoberfest beer came out absolutely amazing! Way better than I was expecting for my first batch, and I owe much of it to all of your advice. I sanitized the spigot after testing, cold crashed, only chilled what I was going to drink, and each bottle was better than the next. Had a few friends try it and they loved it as well. Best compliment I got was from one friend, who said if he tried it in a restaurant he would order it again! Just bottled my Classic American Light (it came with the Oktoberfest in the kit), and the taste sample had more beer flavor than any typical light beer on the market. Looking forward to this one being ready, and trying to decide which one to do next. Yep - I'm hooked! Many thanks again to all of you.
  15. 4 points
    I am currently thinking things over for a MUG Midwest meeting, similar to the one we had this year in Munster IN. Here are some thoughts: - Naturally, even though it's "Midwest", anyone/everyone is invited. - If we get a date and location set up early, more people can participate, including those from more distant locations. - I'm thinking it should be held in April, like last year. Most of the snow should be gone from this area by then (although it did snow on us on the day we departed this year) - We could bring our own beers, but unless we have someone who is BJCP or has similar qualifications, I'm not sure about making it a competition. Some locations I'm considering are: - Munster, home of 3 Floyds - Columbus, specifically https://www.brewdog.com/usa/doghouse - Cincinnati. Lots of great breweries there, as well as in Northern Kentucky (specifically Braxton) - Indianapolis. - Louisville. Yes, my home, but I know it well and know the best breweries. I'm open to other location suggestions. Also, I know that Louisville has a company that can take us by van to various breweries, so that we don't have to drink and drive. I'm sure other communities have them as well, or we can hire an Uber van or some other company to truck us around. Please feel free to post suggestions/comments here, or to me by personal message.
  16. 4 points
    JoshR

    MUG Nationals

    Confirmed! The competition is still on. I won't be organizing it, but I will be competing and judging, so be sure you bring your best beer, boys! 😈
  17. 4 points
    Nickfixit

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    I will admit my first thought with twang is not CT above but this guy.
  18. 4 points
    MRB Tim

    MUG Nationals

    As of right now, we're lining up the details to still have the competition. So, it's tentatively still on. I'll make an effort to get an informational thread back up today.
  19. 4 points
    Its very hard for me to sit here and be quiet. Its an HME thing. Honestly, since ive gone all grain i had to relearn what i knew. I can go 5 degrees higher with your same yeasts with no notice of off flavors. Thats the difference of needing a fermentation chamber or not for me. Thats huge. Im not saying you cant hide that flavor youre getting. It just takes more effort. I may expess this too much on an HME forum, and i hope i dont sound like im bragging cuz i can do AG but to me the beers ive brewed have been more than enough of proof.
  20. 4 points
    Screwy Brewer

    Fermentation temp control

    You'll find out as you go along that temperature control has everything to do with brewing beer. Especially when pitching yeast and throughout fermentation.
  21. 4 points
    Creeps McLane

    Upcoming Brewing Schedule

    Ill Prob brew this one before I brew anything else. Home grown hops, hand picked wild berries.
  22. 3 points
    Big Sarge

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    I thought the going rumor is that they got caught up in a beer-shipping sting operation?
  23. 3 points
    kedogn

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    My only thoughts on that are: I get the control part. It’s why I went AG. I’ve said many times that when I brewed my first AG batch all I could think was “If this sucks, it’s *all* on me!” Luckily that first recipe went on to be the 1st award-winning beer from Manfish. Second, if your plan is to take this away from being a “Neat Little Hobby” and to the professional level, just remember what I still struggle with, and that is “You’re tastebuds really don’t mean sh*t!” There are a few, literally like 3, Manfish beers that I am personally not sold on. Yet, well, people drink them and those kegs sell and fast. It’s a double edged sword really.
  24. 3 points
    kedogn

    Conditioning/Cider flavor

    As cheesy or corny as it sounds, I’ve always felt that where ever you are is where you should be and that is the right way to brew. I remember catching so much crap for doing Mr. Beer, yet I was right where I needed to be and that was, at that time, the right way to brew. I am not one of those who have so much talent they can do anything. I am one of those kinds where I have to bang my head against the big green wall over and over and over again before It sticks. Bottom line is every little step in Brewing has different things for different people and when you are there... it’s the ‘right’ way to brew, in my “been there done that” opinion.
  25. 3 points
    Bonsai & Brew

    Upcoming Brewing Schedule

    Maybe some dampfbier.
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