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  1. 8 likes
    I just tried a beer from my first batch ever brewed. It was the Classic American Light that came with the kit and it was awesome (that is as awesome as a classic light beer can be)!! Good color and tasted great!!
  2. 8 likes
    I've done it once w/o a hop sack ("going commando" as many refer to it) and do not recommend it. Had lots of residue/chunks at bottling. In retrospect, I could've cold crashed and that might've prevented it, but even so, I wouldn't do it again. Kevin
  3. 8 likes
    I think many of us found this forum because our 1st batch was less than impressive. I'm pretty sure thats what led ME here. I think the first thing to be realized is that in the beginning you will make mistakes, which will result in your beer not being as good as it could have. You WILL get better though. The 2nd thing though, at least for me, is that I was just used to commercial beer. I had to acquire the taste for homemade ale. I now prefer mine over store bought. I just can't make enough to alleviate buying it, lol. Just keep it up and your beer will get where you want it.
  4. 7 likes
    Proper way to create a Helles Bier! Works best in the cool early days of Spring!
  5. 6 likes
    I want to brew a Kolsch (one of hubby's fav) using extract recipe. Was going to make Shade Tree Kolsch - any recommendations for this one? Wondering if I can/should add any booster although I'm going to be using Pilsner (light) DME (have 1 lb but might only use 1/2). Also picked up some Tettnang hops for short hop boil near end. And going to try using WLP029 Kolsch yeast. Couldn't find the Safale K-97 anywhere & I don't want to pay $8 shipping for a $4 yeast. Kolsch will be my 5th batch and I think I'm getting better at this. Tried my second batch again last night, the Oktoberfest (basic/standard refill). After 5 weeks conditioning, it is much improved. Very drinkable. Might even give a few away to family to try. Brew de Ale ze Bub is currently fermenting using Safale 05 (first time using this yeast). I'm going to echo what someone else posted somewhere, but I almost enjoy brewing the beer more than drinking it! Has become new obsession. Cheers!
  6. 5 likes
    I've been making Mr Beer batches for a few years now and I've always wondered what (if anything) I'm missing by not doing my own hop boils etc. On the other hand, I'm a big believer in the 80/20 rule, that is, you can get 80% of the benefit of most things with 20% of the work. So I've decided to run a direct comparison experiment to see if I can figure out whether the extra work and time involved in doing the full boil results in a beer that enough better than Mr. Beer to justify the work. So here's what I did. Last week, I made a 2.5 gallon batch of the Mr Beer "Grand Bohemian Czech Pilsner" using the can of HME, two packets of booster, and 1 lb. of Mailliard Malt Pilsner LME I pitched one smack-pack of Wyeast 2278 Czech Pils and put it in the fermentation chamber at 55F. O.G. was 1.053. Total ingredient cost = $28.94. Total time spent = 45 minutes. This weekend, I made a 2.5 gallon batch of Pilsner using 2.5 gallons of water, 3lbs of Briesse Pilsnen Light DME. I dissolved the DME in the water, fired up the burner and brought the wort to a boil. After the hot break, I added .75 ounces of Czech Saaz hops and boiled for 45 minutes. With 15 minutes to go, I added another .25 ounces of Saaz. At the end of the boil, I put the pot in an ice bath and got the wort down to 68F in about 15 minutes, pitched one smack-pack of Wyeast 2278 Czech Pils and put it in the fermentation chamber at 55F. O.G, was 1.058. Total ingredient cost = $21.97, Total time spent = 2 hours. I tried to get the IBUs on the two beers pretty close, but no guarantees. I do prefer lower levels of hops and bitterness so I think they'll both be good. The plan is to treat the two batches exactly the same; 3 weeks in the fermentation chamber, 72 hour diacetyl rest @ 65F, 48 hours cold-crash @ 35F, then bottle. The Mr Beer batch will have a small advantage of being a week older at each stage of the comparison, but I'm okay with that. Anyway, stay tuned and I'll keep y'all posted about the results.
  7. 5 likes
    There is a lot of biochemistry going on when you pitch. Yeast are not "obligate" anaerobes and will gladly use an aerobic pathway (oxygen) to gain more energy from the maltose. As oxygen levels decrease in the wort (higher yeast cell count) they will rely upon an anaerobic, less efficient pathway that produces ethanol as a waste product. Other pathways, using different enzymes, can lead to sulfur compounds. Nearly forty years ago in grad school, I knew more, but in theory aeration of the wort gets the little guys going faster.
  8. 5 likes
    It's not just about the recipe, but about technique, sanitation, etc. I'm all for someone entering a recipe they didn't create into competition. They will still get valuable feedback which will help them create their own recipes. @Ironman brew even pointed out how he's going to tweak the recipe for a fuller body, which will pretty much make it his recipe. Many of my AG recipes are inspired by base recipes that other people wrote. There really is no such thing as an original recipe.
  9. 5 likes
    I disagree with the idea of not entering MR Beer based brews into competitions if you want to (It will use ingredients anyone can get) - if it was that easy to make best of class brews using Mr. Beer, there might be more of them in the competitions. Mr. Beer makes it easy to make drinkable beer, sometimes good beer but probably not often competition rating beer. (I am not intending this as a put down of the MR B brews and I intend to continue using them.) That said, having a beer judge comment on the beer is very useful in assessing the merit of the recipe and process. Also in combating/confirming the assertion that one (or someone :-D) cannot make really good brews using Mr. Beer ingredients and method. If one can get the review outside of a competition fine, but maybe it is not that easy unless you have a beer judge buddy. Just because someone else has made the HME, does not always mean you will get a good beer out of it. (As mentioned in this forum - lol). Even Mr Beer recognizes the limitations of beer made from extract, and sells augmenting grains and other ingredients. So to score well in a competition is an achievement to strive for.
  10. 5 likes
    All lagers will lager at cold temps (35-45). The word "lager" means "cold storage". The closer you can get to freezing temps without actually freezing is best. Yeah, they used to lager in caves back then, but we have refrigeration now and I can almost guarantee that the quality of lager we can make now is way beyond what they had when they were still lagering in caves. When lagering, colder is always better.
  11. 5 likes
    That's quite an accomplishment! NOBODY enjoys CAL the 1st time, lol.
  12. 5 likes
    Brewed the following today, kind of a variation/experiment on the Horse's Ass Ale recipe: CAL + Booster 1/2 cup honey 1 oz Cluster Hops (steeped for two minutes) We'll see how it goes! Kevin
  13. 5 likes
    well, he COULD tape ice to it, and just stay awake constantly taping more on, maybe it would work..................the mental image is priceless either way
  14. 5 likes
    It's coming up on my second time to mess around with the CAL. This time I'm mainly clearing out some grains and hops that I've got in the fridge that I have nothing else to use in. CALEX#2: - One CAL HME - Two of the "new" booster packets. - 2oz. each Munich, flaked red wheat, and two-row Mash grains for 30 minutes, add booster, bring to a boil. - 1/2oz Waimea for 30 minutes - 1/2oz Citra for 20 - 1/2oz Citra for 10 I've got excess MRB yeast on hand so I'll probably just use that. According to QBrew it'll be about 5%-ish and nicely bitter at about 80 IBU. It should be a nice, refreshing brew for summer.
  15. 5 likes
    Make sure you are not going by ambient room temperature but wort temp. Wort temp can rise during the first 5 days, high krausen. Most here will tape a sponge or folded cloth to the back flat side of the LBK below the wort line and slip a temp probe between them. This insulates the probe enough from ambient to give you wort temp. Putting your LBK in a camping cooler with a 16oz frozen water bottle should keep it around 64-65 for at least 12hrs. Just keep rotating them. You may already be doing this, but if not doesn't hurt to mention it. Aside from good sanitation, temp control of your yeast is a crucial aspect in avoiding off flavors. Lol, it's how I found this forum after two batches that did not do so well.
  16. 5 likes
    The yeast would have worked their magic on the sugars in the honey during fermentation and converted them into alcohol. So prime with sugar as you normally would. As a side note, there are some who think that the recommended priming amount is too much and 1/2 tsp per 12oz bottle is plenty. That's totally up to personal preference, though.
  17. 5 likes
    I think that it should be left misspelled in memory of the former brewer and English teacher @AnthonyC.
  18. 5 likes
    I recently brewed an all grain New England Tropical IPA and I added most of my seven ounces of hops as late addition. Bittering hop was Citra at 60, flavor and aroma hops were Stonefruit, Simcoe and Mosaic at 15 minutes and the rest were flameout and dry hop. Sorry, the recipe is a closely guarded secrete so I will not post.
  19. 5 likes
    I bought 5 rhizomes, all different varieties and they are growing in pots on my dining room table being as how the temps outside have been dipping below freezing still....looks like last night was the last (according to the forecast), so trying to start putting them in the ground today......this should be interesting, me hanging out of the second story window trying to string a steel cable across to put the string to.....and then there is the rabbits and squirrels I have to keep off them. Yeah, this is gonna be real interesting to be sure.
  20. 4 likes
    How are everyones hops doing this year??? Post a pic
  21. 4 likes
    In the spirit of friendly competition, grab some Churchills Nut Brown Ale refills for $10 and get crafting! I've always felt a little sorry for this extract because there is only 1 recipe for it. Maybe we can get some ideas going here and brew something special to keep Calavera Spiced Chile Stout company. This would be a great time for @AnthonyC to return to the Forum with his "Fat Bottomed Squirrels" Nut Brown Ale recipe, but get crafty, be original, and have fun!
  22. 4 likes
    Made American Ale as directed, with the following modifications. 1. Boiled 1/2 cup Honey & 33 young spruce tips (in hop sack) for 10 minutes. 2. Discarded hop sack, continued with American Ale directions 3. Double pitched yeast
  23. 4 likes
    @Cato @Creeps McLane I have a can of nw ipa and I think I’m gonna try the Santa Rita Pale Ale recipe that @Shrike said was good. It has been tough temp controlling now that it’s hot. Think I’m gonna try that hothead yeast on a batch and see how it turns out. I have a lager in a cooler in my 90-100 degree garage right now. 4 frozen bottles every 24 hrs. It’s an RTIC cooler so it holds good temp but still....wanna try an omega batch and just keep it in a closet somewhere, no cooler, and not worry about temps.
  24. 4 likes
    The answer is you just use them all, if when you open one, the beer tastes off, chug it quickly and try another. Eventually you will find one you consider good enough - then mark the bottle with a marker. Silver sharpie is good.
  25. 4 likes
    Yeah I don't know how accurate my hydrometer is. I've tested it with spring water but was told I must test it with distilled for accuracy & haven't done so. Where's all the distilled water gone when you really need it? Most importantly, I need to stop watching & reading about other homebrewers' infection horror-stories. Just making me paranoid about infections. BTW, I just cracked open a Voodoo that You Do after almost 5 wks conditioning & it was awesome, and yes, I'm bragging. My best batch to date. And no issues & ferment temps were probably 64F ambient most of the time. I checked my notes using the S-05 in Brew de Ale ze Bub - temps were between 61-64 ambient. I thought from what I read should have been fine even during high Krausen. I was worried about going too low & having it stall out. But I could get temps lower than that very easily, in the low 50s. Currently, I have another batch chugging along using S-05, 1776 Ale, & it started around 64 & I'm keeping it a little under that. So, we'll see. I'll have to experiment & see if I can go lower next time without stalling & if that clears up the acetaldehyde notes. I could smell it, not taste it. Weird. As for the sample, I've pulled samples from other batches from LBK the same way & didn't ever have this bitterness. I think it's just the style - it was Diablo HME, plus the hop boil at the end. Have to wait & see how things turn out, nothing much I can do about it at this point - it's bottled! Now it's the waiting......not my strong suit haha, scratches, well, it's possible the LBKs could get beat up quite a bit with enough use! (no I never use metal, I use silicone). No, but honestly, I just needed an excuse to buy more LBKs while they're only $10! Doesn't hurt to have a spare or 2, or gift to another to take into the fold of homebrewing. Just wanting to share my passion, right? Right. Time to get some shut-eye. Thanks for all the feedback & for the reality check - definitely need that. like others have said many times before - R, DW, HAHB! Which I did tonight & thoroughly enjoyed. Can't wait to make more beer:)
  26. 4 likes
    Maybe, but I'm not certain that he is still at that address. 'Why' often spoke of beer and brewing in almost transcendent terms -- I really do wonder if he brewed The Perfect Beer and then rode off into the sunset. Remember though, @AnthonyC pulled a similar stunt a year ago by taking a 6-8 month break from the Forum and then suddenly reappeared for a short time. I guess we all have circumstances and real world issues that could potentially interrupt our brewing lives, but yeah, kinda' miss those guys.
  27. 4 likes
    What’s two more plants...
  28. 4 likes
    To use up my leftovers I did Lock Stock IV this weekend, or maybe I should say Captain's Barrel II. Followed the pattern above but this time I got the Cocao nibs included in the late boil.
  29. 4 likes
    yeast need o2 at the start of fermentation for reproduction. pitch enough and the yeast will just start eating because their numbers are high enough to do the job. pitch enough yeast and you dont need aeration. true enough i would think. rehydration IS actually un-necessary with modern dry yeast... IF you pitch enough. you will likely get some osmotic shock pitching directly into wort if the wort is significantly high in gravity. cell walls are fragile on rehydration. rehydration gives the yeast a leg up on getting started quicker but again... not necessary. they will get going when they choose to. i often get activity starting in under 4 hours when rehydrating. sometimes on direct pitch, it takes 12 hrs. not a huge difference. after rehydrating in water you only stir to mix. you arent aerating the yeast in the water. you aerate the COOL wort , then pitch. stirring makes getting as many cells into the wort as possible easier. well mixed yeast = no clumping. aeration of wort on the home scale does no harm prior to pitching. hotside aeration is also largely a myth. consider large scale breweries like the colt45 plant that used to be in baltimore. huge amounts of wort flow through pipes into fermentation chambers the size of rooms and surely splash like mad until the thing is full. no harm on the big scale means no harm on the small. i'm no expert but it is my understanding that the lifecycle of yeast in wort is something like this: the cells are given food then freeze dried. the cells take up a store of nutrient before going dormant. they are then packaged. on hitting liquid they purge the contents of their cells and begin flushing with whatever liquid they are immersed in. they then take stock of the food around them and their numbers. if sufficient cells exist they skip budding and start eating. if cell numbers are weak they start budding. budding requires o2. if you rehydrate in water, they purge and fill the cells with....water. sg = 1.00. drop them in wort with a sg of 1.07 and it's a bit of a shock. cells tear. you get some die off. the cells then begin the budding cycle if needed and carry on. i wonder who was doing this 'research'? back in the 40s and 50s research demonstrated that cigs were actually healthy! they relaxed people. they inspired cool and calm focus etc. because you were relaxed you would live forever and be rich and happy! yay! the research was conducted by the labs sponsored by the cigarette industry. again i am no scientist but in my personal observation, every single batch i have ever done of wort has been with healthy , happy yeast no matter what i did to them.. as long as i did not pitch them into really really hot wort or really really cold. i can stir, not stir, feed, not feed, hydrate, not hydrate... and if there is food and sanitation i get good results. i sometimes rehydrate. i sometimes feed them nutrient boosts. i sometimes underpitch...sometimes over. i always have aerated my wort before pitching... and each batch has worked just fine. as for wild yeast 'getting a head start' and overpopulating the desired yeast? really? you are probably more likely to get lacto bacter transferred from your hands to the tool you stir with or even just airborn. pitch enough healthy yeast and give them every advantage you can and they will kill wild yeast or other invaders. i could be wrong but ive only had one batch turn out bad and that was operator error... not because i aerated my wort before pitching/.
  30. 4 likes
    John Palmer says (quoting a familiar saying) "Lager": I do not think this word means what you think it means Check this out. https://www.homebrewing.org/Lagering--Chapter-1-Common-Misconceptions_ep_58-1.html * I have only one issue with this. He says traditionally lagering was done in deep caverns. Deep caverns adopt the subterranean temperature of the earth's crust and generally that is around 45-50 deg F. So much for lagering at 35 deg F. (Unless this was in their outhouses back in the days of no central heating. Or in winter with a fair amount of air exchange into the cave.) However, that does not mean that 35 deg lagering is bad just maybe not what was originally experienced. * So my take is that for an old fashioned beer, lager it at fermentation temps - otherwise do whatever you like :-D Of course it could be that the caves used to have 2 areas, closer to the surface for most activity i.e. brewing, and lower down/farther in for cellaring. That would make the cellaring/lagering happen at a lower temp probably, but still not 35. * Anyway that is my interpretation. * Another good read https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/06/lets-talk-beer-styles-pilsner.html Stranger than fiction.... https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/did-lager-beer-originate-south-america-180964962/ *
  31. 4 likes
    From what I've gleaned, the MRB lagers should carb at room temp for three weeks, then get lagered at their fermenting temperature. That's what I've done...to a point. I have an old wine fridge that I can get two full batches in. So after bottling them they sat at room temp for three weeks then into the wine fridge they went. I keep them there at 54*F until ready to drink, then I put one or two in the beer fridge for three days. The down side is that last winter I brewed four batches of lager. So two have been sitting at room temperature since bottling (this is why I brewed them during the winter - colder room temperature.) As room opens in the wine fridge I rotate some of the ones sitting at room temperature into it. But the ones that have stayed at room temperature have all been very tasty. Would they have been better if "properly" lagered? Quite possibly.
  32. 4 likes
    I put it in while boiling the water/hops for at least 10 mins.
  33. 4 likes
    Extract twang is a result of how HME is made. Ive only ever had it with HME. If you use HME you will have twang to some degree. The trick is to either stop using it or using it to your advantage. HME twang to me is a residual sweetness. A little something on the back of the tongue that just kinda sits there. You either need to dry it out with something like honey or use a higher attenuation yeast. You can also mask it with malty recipes or hoppy ones. Ive found that its hard to differentiate between the twang of extract and certain lager yeasts. So a lager may be a good idea also. Ask @Cato what he thinks about the topic. For me, i just moved to all grain since it was my destiny anyway. But others i feel have mastered this art. Partial mashes will help significantly. I think 1/2 cup of honey per batch does amazing things also. Ive commentes on this topic for years. Search the forum. Lots of good info on here
  34. 4 likes
    Yes add this - this one is well worth it and very spicy - I entered this in the Home Brewers contest and recieved 34 on both scores !! Both judges said need more body so already working on that for the second go around.
  35. 4 likes
  36. 4 likes
    lager yeast is nothing but a diva. i do only ales. ale yeast is forgiving, less demanding... and i like my beer with some oomf. ale yeast has never cared about rests or mild temp swings. it just wants food and a safe place to eat. if i wanted to brew something high maintenance i'd do a mead.
  37. 4 likes
    Marius, To answer your question, yes you can change yeast. A lager yeast will usually create a cleaner fermentation than what an ale yeast will create. However that is based on being able to handle the lager fermentation with proper temp control throughout. That means fermenting in the 50s and then raising to the upper 60s for a diacetyl rest and then cold crashing to the low 30s to "lager" the beer for a month or two. Most brewers don't have the equipment or patience to accomplish this fermentation profile. You can use an clean fermenting Ale yeast to closely simulate the lager cleanliness but you will end up with a slightly different beer. US-05 would be the best choice for this (or similar liquid yeast) and it should be fermented in the low 60s to help make it as clean as possible. You could even go as low as 60. Be sure to pitch plenty of yeast so that there is no yeast stress that will cause ester production and it will be a good beer. Dawg
  38. 4 likes
    In my experience... everything! While I much more prefer the ease of using a sack for DH'in, and that fact that the beer clarifies so much faster when you Cold Crash, we have done several batches both ways and noticed that when we Dh by "going commando" the DH aromas are so much better vs the sack where they appear to be muted. This is, of course, comparing apples to apples or as in the case, the same recipe to the same recipe. With that said, let me also say that we use conicals vs the LBK. I feel this is an advantage for sure. If you choose to go the "commando" route, one thing I would advise to watch is your cold crash temperature. You really want to get it as cold as possible, without freezing. Our walk in cooler has usually been set to run between 35*-37*. Last Wednesday I went to keg a beer and noticed it hadn't clarified enough to do so yet. I was puzzled. We checked it again on Thursday, still a no go. That's when we noticed the temp in the cooler was running at about 45*. Friday afternoon I made some adjustments to the Coolbot (unhooked it, reset it and started again) and it seemed to bring it down a few degrees. By yesterday that beer was *this close* to being ready. Yesterday we did some routine cleaning in the brewery, as well as 4 hours worth of cleaning kegs(!) and we are hoping that the unit will be back to running between 35*-37* again. At those temps, a conical with 30-32 gallons in it takes roughly 4 days to clarify. Anything warmer and it just wont happen. Just my 2 cents... #ManfishUP!
  39. 4 likes
    I went commando for a few months but have lately gone back to using hop sacks. Even after cold-crashing, I was still getting hop residue in my finished beer, contributing to excess CO2 nucleation and too much foam when pouring. My 2 cents...
  40. 4 likes
    So it has been five weeks and I finally bottled. Sampled it yesterday and was surprised that I had no green apple taste and I’m on the right track. Here’s a few picks... The Coleman cooler has been my wingman during this process.
  41. 4 likes
    @Nickfixit has never sent me beer, nor have I sent some to him. This needs to change. Please accept my Beer peace treaty offering
  42. 4 likes
    Just don't cold-crash. It's not required. In fact, I almost never do it.
  43. 4 likes
    FYI, I had multiple problems trying to view the feed today. I tried going in and out a few times, closing my browser and pulling it back up...nothing. I'm a computer geek by trade, so I know the basics. Recheck the firewall. Nope. Clear out the temp files and cache. Nope. Gave up. Tried it again about 3 hours after the episode was over. Nothing. Then, I remembered something I used to tell people when I first started in the corporate world on the help desk. First restart the computer, then power off/on Restart worked. AAAAARRRRGGGGHHH Although, Now, I can watch back episodes Yoda........going back to Computer Sciences 101
  44. 4 likes
    Totally with that 1 small dot (198 per lb. box) for most beers. That is what I use in 12oz. I usually use 2 dots in 500 and 750 ml (rarely 3) and 2 or 3 dots in 1L bottles. For beers styles needing lower carb I have gone to 1/2 dot. Sugar dots make life easy.
  45. 4 likes
  46. 4 likes
    Remember, most of what is sold are lagers, not ales. MB brews are mostly ales. And, absolutely experience matters! Thinking back to my first brew, it tasted like a combination of apple cider, band-aids and cheap beer.
  47. 4 likes
    Don't fear the rye! I just poured myself a yet-to-be-named Roggenbier brewed with 40% cereal-mashed rye. It has very nice flavor and even better mouthfeel. I think I actually like this better than some of the Dunkelweizens that I've brewed. As for Dry River, I don't remember the flaked rye overpowering the IPA profile and I agree with @Creeps McLane that 4 oz. would be just right.🍻
  48. 4 likes
    I thought is was MAGIC, isn't that what the "Bottling Wand" is for?
  49. 4 likes
    You are a victim of the obsession we call HOMEBREWING. There is no cure, you now have the ability to only think about beer no matter what you are doing and to think of how everything you see could be used in your brewing process. Congratulations
  50. 3 likes