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  1. bigdave3124

    UME vs. LME

    It will stay good in the fridge for at least a month. Probably more. The big enemy is mold. Some people splash a bit of cheap, potent vodka on top to discourage mold growth. That's what I do. It's good for at least a month that way.
  2. bigdave3124

    best LME

    I've heard 2 sorts of answers that make sense. One is that you usually want to get your malts (any malt - LME, DME, or grain) to suit the style of beer you are trying to make. Munton's for an English Bitter, Briess for an American Pale Ale, Mountmellick for an Irish Stout, etc. Another intelligent sounding answer is to use the same malts over and over so you get very familiar with them. Personally I always just go with the cheapest. Since that's usually Briess, you might say I've become pretty familiar with it. (So I guess I've taken the second answer to heart.) As for the bulk LME, it is usually of the highest quality. At my LHBS, it is Briess, but some stores sell other high quality malts. More importantly it is usually fresher than what you get in the can. I highly recommend it. Fresh is always best.
  3. bigdave3124


    Good advice, Fedora Dave.
  4. I have brewed several lagers successfully - and some unsuccessfully - over the past several years. I do know what works for me, but I'm sure other things would work as well. I agree fully with starting the fermentation warm and then cooling to 48 (or whatever ideal fermentation temperature is). White Labs also agrees, but they do suggest an alternate procedure of making a starter and pitching at ideal fermentation temperature. There are those who will insist that you must do it that alternate way. I have tried it and (a) I don't like it, ( I can't tell the difference in the beer, and © I got a 3rd place ribbon at Ohio Brew Week for a Classic American Pilsner that was made pitching warm (so there!) Maybe it would have been better if I had made a starter and pitched cold, but at least none of the judges said anything like "Hey, you must have pitched warm without a starter!" I can't believe it would make all that much difference. The rest of your procedure sounds fine also, but, I personally have always racked to a secondary and let it lager for over a month in the secondary prior to bottling. The main reason I do that is so that as much of the sulfur smell as possible gets stripped away with the ongoing bubbling. I don't think that process is as effective in the bottles. However, I definitely notice the faint sulfur (lit match) smells fade even in the bottle over the months (wonder where it goes?) A little bit of that lit match smell can definitely be a good thing in giving that "crisp" lager taste. Maibock is a difficult style, I think. My record is one big win, one huge loss with that style. Traditional Bock is much easier in my opinion. In fact, I plan to brew one tomorrow. Tell us how it goes with yours.
  5. bigdave3124

    My idea on a Bock

    Sounds tasty. It may or may not be what you are looking for. I have a couple of comments. Bocks - particularly traditional bocks - are sweet beers. Some might even say they are out of balance, but that's just the style. It seems to me that you'll have more hop bitterness than the traditional bock would usually have. I had never hear of Rakau hops until I just looked them up, but they seem to be pretty high AA hops. With an ounce and a half and a 50 minute boil, that's alot of bitterness. Add to that the OVL HME and you probably have a good beer - but not a bock. A less serious concern would be the black patent malt. If you really only want to add it for color, you might be surprised that you're getting more than that. Again, bocks are really pretty sweet beers - not roasty-toasty like stouts and such. Two ounces of black patent malt will be noticable even in a 5 gallon batch. Not bad at all, but noticable enough that some might say it isn't right for a bock. On the other hand, it might be just enough roasty flavor to be "distinctive" and there's nothing wrong with that if that's what you want. If you just want color, however, you might look into Carafa malt. It's a perfect way to get color without much roasty flavor. Finally, at the risk of opening a debate about mashing vs. steeping, I think Vienna malt really ought to be mashed. You didn't say whether you intended that or not, but I thought I'd put in my opinion.
  6. bigdave3124

    Need guideline to brew first batch ever

    SenorPepe wrote: Welcome aboard Popp! Yeah the extract will degrade over time; 5 years is a long time. If I were you I might order a new recipe from Mr. Beer. I'd hate to see you wait a month or more to find out it's no good and get discouraged. Just my 2 cents and, that being said, I would definitely try it out at some point. But having your first batch come out badly (and I'm not saying it will) can be a big bummer. Good advice, I think.
  7. bigdave3124

    Dry Hopping Question

    I'm of the opinion that one man's "grassiness" is another man's "fresh hop" aroma/taste. I've put in loads of dry hops and left them in the secondary for weeks. That's supposed to give a lot of grassiness, but I always liked it. I think I'm tasting the "grassiness" sure enough, but just liking it. Sort of like how I used to get very worried that I was not drying my homegrown hops enough. Folks said you'd get a "grassy" taste if you left them too "wet". Then I hear that Sierra Nevada makes some beer by putting in hops right from the vine. I've heard great things about it. Some probably think it's too "grassy", though.
  8. bigdave3124

    Going OG

  9. bigdave3124

    Tsingtao and Singhai Beers

    Tinybuffalo's suggestions are excellent. You really can go with more than 1/2 lb. rice if you want, but that just might be a good amount to start with. And S-23 is a good choice too. It's is easy to use (being a dry yeast and not requiring a starter or anything fancy to get large cell counts) and it makes good lagers. It's a lot more expensive than it used to be but it's still cheaper than any liquid lager yeast. If you can maintain lager temperatures it's probably the way to go. If you can't maintain lager temperatures, I must say I'm getting ever more impressed with US-05 as a "clean" nearly lager-like ale yeast. If done right (that is, fermented at a steady temp in the low 60's) US-05 just does a great job of pretending to be a lager yeast. (But it's also more expensive than it used to be )
  10. bigdave3124

    Partial mash - Do I understand it?

    Tanarri wrote: So basically you just need to hold the temps longer than steeping and sparge and you are more or less mashing? So you could do all grain this way? Well, sure! But just to make sure I'm not misleading anybody, I'll repeat that it's not only time, but also temperature and mash thickness. Most brewers don't worry much at all about the water to grain ratio when they steep - nor should they. But in mashing, it's the water to grain ratio that detemines the pH and the concentration of the enzymes; so you have to pay attention. (Not that it has to be terribly precise. Usually 1.25 to 2 quarts of water per pound of grain are recommended. FedoraDave's was at the upper end of that, so I suggested that unless he really wanted it there for a reason, he could go higher with his grain amount.) Of course if you normally steep somewhere in that range, then "mashing" is no different in that respect. As for temperature, again it depends on where you normally steep. And again, most brewers aren't too picky about that. I've seen, for example, suggestions to steep grains in the 160's and that actually makes some good sense. On the other hand, steeping at, say, 140 would be okay too. The sugars and flavors from the grain would probably dissolve just fine at 140 degrees even if a teeny bit slower. But for mashing, a bit narrower range is "standard" (like 150 to 158). There are reasons for that including activation and denaturing (inactivation) of the enzymes and also gelatinization of the starch matrices in the grains. Going slightly outside of that range isn't a disaster, but you do need to be a bit more attentive than with steeping. And just to make extra sure I'm not misleading anyone, the type of grain is important in mashing. That is, you need a grain that has enzymes if you hope to convert starches! 6-row and wheat malt have lots of enzymes and 2-row almost as much. Munich and Vienna malts have enough to convert themselves, they say, but not any extra starches that you might add (corn, rice, oats, unmalted wheat, and malts with almost no enzymes but a substantial amount of unconverted starch like Victory malt or something.) If you were to "mash", say, a pound of Victory malt and a pound of crystal 60, it wouldn't really be mashing.
  11. bigdave3124

    Partial mash - Do I understand it?

    skydvr wrote: This seems a lot like steeping - is this just the process for grains that can't be steeped? To be honest, I don't really see the difference between this and steeping (other than the necessary sparge), but I realize that's just my inexperience. Edit: Hmm.. Looks like I was posting at the same time as Ron. In a way mashing and steeping are the same thing: soaking grains in hot water. And the difference really isn't whether or not you sparge. Some brewers do mash without sparging. One thing that I think that makes the distinction unnecessarily confusing is that many recipes call for "steeping" grains using a specific procedure sort of like FedoraDave's. (Are they intending to make you "mash" without telling you? I'm never 100% sure. Why not just call it a partial mash?)The real difference is that in steeping you are supposed to use grains that have all (or at least most) of their starches converted to sugars already. So there's no worries about the enzymatic action to convert the starches. In mashing, the enzymes are (more or less) what it's all about. So that means extra attention to the ratio of water to grain (mash thickness), temperature, and time. There's not much "bad" that can happen with a steep. With a mash, it isn't necessarily a "grave danger" but if you do it "wrong" you can get uncoverted starches into your wort. That really is potentially a horror since brewer's yeast can't ferment those starches. But there are wild yeasts and bacteria that can feed on those starches. So you "risk" providing any such microbes that get into your beer (despite your sanitation efforts) a "delicious" meal with absolutely no competition from the much more numerous brewer's yeast that you added. But don't make the risk bigger than it is. Millions of brewers do mashes all the time and make great beer. RDWHAHB.
  12. bigdave3124

    Partial mash - Do I understand it?

    Oh and I would add that sanitizing the grain bag might be a bit of "overkill" since you'll be boiling everything long after the grain bag is removed. Again, it wouldn't hurt anything, just wouldn't be all that necessary.
  13. bigdave3124

    Partial mash - Do I understand it?

    FedoraDave wrote: I'm posting this as a way to see if I understand the procedure for a partial mash. I'm going to try it Sunday, if I get all my ducks in a row. I hope my way of putting things is clear. I'd appreciate any feedback. 1. Put 4 cups water in pot. Clip edges of sanitized grain bag to edges of pot. 2. Pour 1/2 pound of cracked grain into bag, submerging grain in water. 3. Heat to 150 degrees and maintain temperature for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally 4. After 15 minutes, raise grain bag out of the water and pour 2 cups of water preheated to 170 degrees through the grain. 5. Squeeze the hell out of the grains to get as much liquid as possible out of it. 6. Discard grains, and proceed with DME and hops boil. Do I have the basics down? Am I missing anything? That should work, yes. But I would have a couple of questions.Using 4 cups water and 1/2 pound of grain does put your mash on the "thin" side. I'm pretty sure it would work, but maybe you would like to use a litte more grain? You certainly could. Maybe as much as 3/4 lb. 15 minutes is on the "short" side for conversion of starches - especially if you raise the temperature immediately when you're done mashing. It probably would work, but I'd probably go longer unless you're really in a big hurry. Maybe a more "standard" 45 minutes. Squeezing the grain bag probably wouldn't hurt a thing, but as the amount of sugar in the wort gets diluted, the pH rises and you risk extracting tannins from the husks. Squeezing might get lots of those diluted (and tannin-filled) drops of wort. I doubt you'd notice, but I doubt squeezing is all that necessary either. Either way it's probably good.
  14. bigdave3124

    Tsingtao and Singhai Beers

    bpgreen wrote: dferron wrote: @TinyBuffalo Been looking for some rice hulls ... found some. They are cheap, but shipping is outrageous. I also read a couple of posts that indicated that rice hulls are flavorless. So why add the hulls? Would rice itself offer the flavor desired? If so, how much to a MB batch? I take it that it should be ground, but how/when to add to wort? What about rice solids/syrup? It would be more convenient to buy a few bottles, but not near as much fun for the potential of a great brew. I'm not sure, but I think rice hulls just add body, but no fermentables. Rice might be able to add fermentables, but only if you convert the starches to sugars. Rice syrup and rice syrup solids are examples of rice starches converted to sugars. Yankeedag and Swenocha are correct about the rice hulls. And for whatever it's worth, I do mashes with corn fairly often - almost always with a fly sparge - and haven't gotten a stuck sparge yet, despite not using rice hulls. There's no harm in using them, of course.As for dferron's question, bpgreen is right. You wouldn't really want to add rice without a mash that included plenty of base malt (2-row or 6-row pale malt) to convert the starches. And he's also right about the rice syrup, I think. People say that if you're brewing with extracts, rice syrup is a pretty good way to try and get that light, crisp flavor that you get from beers like Kirin and such. I personally have never tried it, but it would be the first thing I would try if I wanted to brew a beer like that and didn't want to do a full mash.
  15. bigdave3124

    Crazy Idea that could be awesome!!!

    yankeedag wrote: ...:borg:... do a search. It was tryed some time back. Results: Sucked. Maybe the post will have the contents. Yes, I remembered the same thing. Here is where David Gilbert first tried it.Then later he came back with this advice: I tried this. It is one of the two batches that I poured straight down the drain. Now I was using real, strong, dark tea. If you are talking about some herbal steep, this may not apply. The problem, in a word...Tannins. Tannins get very bitter with age, and further, in large quantities, do not mix well with beer. I gave this 57 days to age. I just looked at my notes. The word on day 57 is "Undrinkable" It was so bitter and astringent it would turn your head inside out with one sip. I thought it was a great idea also, but if you try it, I wish you much better luck than me. And this: I tried a tea beer back about a year ago. I do NOT recommend it...tea is naturally full of tannins, and tannins and beer do not mix well. It was so astringent it would turn your head inside out. I think this may be one of those situations where the big guys use a lot of money and science and artificial chemistry to create something that just won't work well naturally. Good Luck. Yep, you get the impression he didn't like his!Anybody heard from him lately?