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Everything posted by zorak1066

  1. darker beers and beers with higher than average abv% do better with a longer conditioning time. I could do a tripel, which is predominantly Pilsen but has a very high abv... and I would age that way longer than a cream ale. blondes aren't usually that heavy.
  2. I tend to agree that after a couple days from capping, upending gently makes the sugar a little more easier for the yeast to handle. consider too that after fermentation they might get a little tired or lazy. any time my bottles were really slow to firm up, upending remedied it for me. again though whatever works for the brewer... another thing that helps is raising the ambient air temp a little.
  3. I used to hate wheats. I drank nothing but stouts... then I gave wheats a fair go. love them. they are complex little buggers. they can be peppery, tart, tangy... wheat malt makes a good addition to many flavors and styles. if you have a good beer store, look for : weihenstephan hefeweizen or krystallweizen Schneider weisse aventinus good places to start. hefeweizens are fun because they can run the full spectrum of flavors depending on the temp they were fermented. you can go from rich earthy clove and peppery to banana and bubblegum notes. they are meant to be consumed 'mit hefe' meaning you upend the bottle and dump everything into a glass including the yeast dregs. caution: if you aren't used to drinking beer yeast take it easy with this. yeast in your gut can go nuts eating undigested food and cause bloating and gas from hell. . . until you get used to it. I like my wheat beers especially when they are served room temp. . . but they can be very refreshing cold. saaz hops are one of my favorites... a very mild hop with a nice aroma, it is found in a lot of pilsners. as for wheat malt, any beer I make with it has super head retention. it gives your beer a lot of body. my latest batch ( kitchen sink stout made from leftover malts and stuff I had wanted to use up) had a pound of wheat lme added just because. the krausen was through the roof and it smells fantastic .. 1.5 weeks to go to bottle time.
  4. re learning by mistakes.. first hand is the BEST way to learn. so I went from mr beer to 5 gallon kits with steeping grains. that went well enough so I figured lets go all grain! how hard can that be? lol. did my research... got my chemicals.. now what to make for my first all grain? I know! a Russian imperial stout! so what if it has a gravity of 1.095 and a ton of grain. i'll just scale it down to fit my 5 gallon mash ton. so I thought. well.. all my research kept showing that new to ag you really shouldn't do big beers until you get the technique and the math down etc. . . but I knew better. it also showed that on really big beers a partial mash with extracts works better. the efficiency is better. but nope... I knew better. so long story short I a) didn't mash long enough, b- didn't sparge well enough, and c) ended up with a fair but definitely NOT imperial stout of about 1.05 starting gravity. so I gained new insight on brewing. I still ended up with drinkable if not good beer. I still was able to turn the spent grain into bread later to eat with my beer... and thus the experiment was not a failure. I just wasn't as successful as I had hoped for. brewing is like that. you make mistakes. you learn from them.. and.. you can still drink your mistakes (usually). my first foray into partial mash prior to this I ended up with about 1/4 of the fermenter full of unusable thick pudding like sludge from all the grain dust and break material that made it into the beer. (palmers elevenses I think)... I still made good beer, just not as much as planned. I learned from that too. I run my pm through a mesh bag to strain out a lot of the grain dust. any break material that ends in the fermenter is less, and serves as yeast food.
  5. https://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/whats-the-deal-with-peat-malt.43091/ "This malt is lightly peated and used to enhance flavor in Scottish type ales. While the malt is in the kiln, peat moss outside the kiln is gently smoked over slow burning coals, allowing its vapors to drift above the malt. Stronger in flavor than German Rauch (smoked) malt." - a grain/brewing supplier ive only used cherrywood smoked malt. I used it in a smoked porter. used in moderation it can give a nice smoky quality that pairs well with chipotle in smoked chipotle porter. I haven't used peated malt... but all accounts that ive read online say use it sparingly.
  6. this guy reminds me of john McEnroe. scene: wimbeldon. mcenroe serves.. net. mcenroe examines his racket like something is seriously wrong. he serves again... fault. he re-examines racket, and throws it to the ground stomping on it. 'STUPID #(*&$#($*& RACKET! STUPID BLOODY )@(#&$)($&@)& RACKET! IT'S DEFECTIVE! I HATE THIS CHEAP THING!!!'... always easier to blame the equipment isnt it? i think we've all had our moments like this in all honesty. so.. deep breath. calm the hell down. write a tactful note to mr beer customer support and sit back and wait for them to assist you. more than likely you will be taken care of. they are really good ppl who take their customers seriously.
  7. diablo was my favorite mr beer kit. I followed someones suggestions for tweaks and the result was outstanding.
  8. to me no matter what I am brewing, unfermented wort smells like raisin bran cereal. only when it is fully done does it take on hoppy smells or smells like just beer to me. unfermented wort tastes waaaay different from done beer. conditioned beer tastes way different from your bottling sample. if it tastes good at bottling it likely will be great after a couple weeks or more. if it tastes like meh at bottling, you cant judge the final product by your bottling sample. beer tends to get better with aging. you need to be aware of your yeast's needs when fermenting. ale yeasts typically like to be about 64f while fermenting. fermentation makes heat. if your wort starts at 60f, once it gets brewing up a storm it can be 70f or more in the fermenter. too hot? you end up with possible cider tastes. too cold? yeast go to sleep. lots of great research for you can be found in rickbeers signature block usually. stored finished beers can age indefinitely but undergo changes. hop presence slowly mutes. malt presence slowly melds and goes to the foreground. a very old ipa might taste more like just a imperial ale. your first few beers will likely be mediocre. don't get discouraged. welcome to your new obsession!
  9. I make a pretty mean porter with smoked malt and chipotle. just enough heat and just enough smoke... I steep my chipotles in rock and rye , enough to cover .. for about a week then dump everything in at the last week of fermenting.
  10. it's aliens I tell ya.
  11. i have had multiple batches, usually with US04 that look identical to that at bottling. they all came out fine. looks like nothing more than yeast rafts and hop dust to me. sometimes when the krausen collapses it leaves this junk behind as floaters. no biggee.
  12. i have never bothered cold crashing. it just isn't worth it. any crud that does end up bottled will settle out with the bottle trub. I don't shove my siphon all the way down to the bottom so I am not sucking up excessive amounts of trub or hop crud. if I ever see the wort coming up cloudy I pull the siphon up a little . only on my last bottle, my trub bottle do I suck up every last drop..trub and all be damned. that is usually my sampler. the trub bottle I WILL stick in the fridge for a couple days to settle out. I usually drink it without carbing too.
  13. you have to be careful not to use too much or your beer might get overwhelmed by tannins(?) from the wood. . . which will need longer aging. I used wood cubes (French oak I think). I put them in a small hop sack and soaked for a week in rock and rye. bourbon works. vodka works. etc.. then dump the whole lot in when ready. the liquor volume is small enough not to kill your yeast and sanitizes everything. you get a very small increase in abv.. not worth counting. I like rock and rye oaked cubes in imperial stouts. the sugar in the rock and rye mixed with the smoky wood adds a nice touch. when done I take the cubes, rinse, dry in microwave or stove.. then put in a jar for the next time until i'm no longer happy with the result.
  14. never wanted to try that. you never know what yeast you will get. you might end up with sour beer. I have however done yeast washing which was to me pretty cool. how would you identify which yeast you 'caught'? microscope? or just take the catch as catch can?
  15. I like the domino dots.. 2g sucrose per cube. use a priming sugar calculator set to bottle size.. ta da. easy peezy. if you are .025 g off? who cares one way or the other. I shoot for close enough on the carb level. better slightly under than over.
  16. if you added lactose that can make for a higher final gravity. lactose is an unfermentable sugar.
  17. i owe my start in brewing to mr beer and the good ppl of this forum.... rickbeer.. dogsnharleys... screwybrewer... all the old guard who use to haunt this place. it is super having this forum when you just start out. I learned as much from here as I have doing personal research and experimentation. . . and... it is always nice to have reassurance when you are first starting out. that reassurance may have come with humor, eye rolls , 'not THAT question again! you know there is a search feature here you can use but....'... but never ridicule or negativity. while I am far from an expert it wasn't long before I was taking my turn at 'paying it forward' by trying to help the new batch of brewers too. the one thing that separates the current forum from the old days? you actually see mr beer employees here answering questions and sharing. I think that in itself is pretty darn cool.
  18. the dude at my lhbs was cool when I first started brewing and mentioned mr beer. he understood that a lot of brewers get their start this way. he asked what I was interested in brewing.. offered suggestions.. we talked about beer and I walked out with a bunch of supplies that I needed for brewing anyway. got my hydrometer from him , bunches of yeast packets, etc etc... over time I moved on to more complex methods of brewing and I have never heard him badmouth mr beer once. he also always tries to make sure you have what you need before you leave. I think I got my first 3 gallon Italian glass carboy from him. my only complaint about his shop when I first started out brewing was that he catered more to wine makers so his stock was a little limited. that has changed.
  19. scottyb wrote: I was wondering why people hate mr.beer kits? I stopped by a local brew store and the guy bashed mr.beer I left mad. ok point 1.. you were in a place that sells beer. point 2 .. most of the beer they sell is probably American made , mass produced swill like buttweiser or miller or coors. point 3.. most ppl that work in beer stores think they are experts at beer. they know everything and are happy to tell you that. point 4... a good percentage of people who try mr beer kits don't stick with it. they don't follow instructions. or they buy a can of expired beer from someone's garage that is 10 years old, bulging, and has flies on it... and use it to make beer... then are shocked that when they put garbage ingredients into a beer they get garbage beer. .. then they blame mr beer. same with the people who go all mad scientist on their first kit and end up with crap. they blame mr beer. "ooers! I think i'll dump half a liter of hot sauce, some hersheys chocolate syrup and 2 cans of peaches in my lbk of American cal that ive got sitting in my 92 degree F attic fermenting! it will be so cool!!!!!! good thing I had extra Fleischmans rapid rise yeast coz that guy who sold it to me at a garage sale juked me on the yeast pack! oh wait... it's 5 minutes from the last time I opened it up to look inside the lbk... better give it a stir too. I think i'll use this pencil to stir it. don't want to dirty a spoon." or you have category 5... the snob who bases their opinion on something they have NEVER even tried. sure the starter kits for mr beer are very basic. they make simple , drinkable but unremarkable beers. they are simple for a reason. BUT.. they also sell a wide variety of styles and complexities of beer. a person can augment them with hops and malts, steeping grains... in short, they make beer that I would gladly stack up against any snooty pants beers that guy sells in his store. had I been a beer snob I never would have gotten into brewing. I would have tried going straight to all grain, got bogged down with how much work and science and etc it is... and would have given up on my first batch. my ONLY complaint when I started mister beer was... quote... "OH MY GOD! A GALLON OF WATER WEIGHS 8 POUNDS????? IF I DO a 5 GALLON BATCH OF BEER IT WILL MEAN IT WEIGHS FOURTY PLUS POUNDS!!!!". that was it... unless you count 'its been 2 hours since I pitched the yeast. WHY ISNT ANYTHING HAPPENING!?!?!? oh noes... I mustve killed the yeast!'.
  20. some of us have to work for a living and don't have time to do searches.
  21. you can tape your aquarium probe to the outside of the lbk below the water line, then tape a small piece of reflectix insulation over that and you will get a ballpark idea of wort temp. those thermometers (the yellow one above) are not 100% accurate but close enough. I use them. my lazy man's guide for temp control is if my cooler ambient air temp stays around 62f then my wort temp should be ok for most ales. 62f is good on its own. peak fermentation would mean wort would be around 72 max probably...which is a little high but still ok for most ales. . at least for me. ive only had apple esters on one or two batches. one was because I used us04 in a stout and let temps get way too high. imo stouts and apple esters are a major no no. if I wanted fruit in my beer I would dump a can of it into my glass. here's a thought. if you were confident about sanitation you could probably soak your probe and about a foot of lead wire in starsan for a bit... then run the probe directly into your lbk but how would you screw the lid down I wonder? or you could take a meat thermometer , sanitize the probe end and poke it through your lid into the wort... but then you would have a hole in the lid. I don't worry about it. I just shoot for ambient of 62f.
  22. didn't the really really old lbk's have a standard airlock at one time? I like standard airlocks. watching all the little bubbles and bouncing thingamajig makes me feel like my yeasties are singing my praises for being such a great host.
  23. too much sugar can cause bottle bombs. sugar + live yeast = co2 = pressure build up in bottle . bottle bombs are not cool. plastic bottle bombs are only messy. glass bottle bombs can seriously injure you... and are messy.
  24. generally if you have a high abv beer it will benefit from a longer conditioning time. high abv beers tend to taste like rubbing alcohol early... figuratively speaking. aging them allows them to mellow out and the flavors to blend better.
  25. you can save money by using dry yeast and washing it / harvesting it when done to use in another batch. even if you only do about 4 generations on one sachet of yeast, that's still a big savings over liquid yeast.