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  1. I don't think you need an ice bath but couldn't hurt. I refrigerate two gallons of spring water. One gets poured into the LBK before the wort, the other afterwards. Then pitch yeast; at that point the wort is around 62*F. Have two batches going now with that method and 'foamy vigorous fermentation' is an understatement. Your stout sounds good.
  2. Thanks for the reply Josh! My aforementioned temp controller kicks on the fridge at 67.5*F and turns it off at 65.5*F, at which point the temp floats down to 64.0. where it bottoms out then gradually warms back up. These temps are using the digital readout from the temp controller. The stick on thermometer, which is installed below the wort line, reads: At 67.5..... 68 is Yellow and 64 is Blue At 64.0..... it reads the same as above. If I understand that thermometer correctly, when it reads Green, that is the correct temp. Which could lead me to assume my beer is at 66*F + the slightly warmer in the keg amount. Would this be correct? If so should I leave the temp controller as is? I'm brewing a Nilla Porter now, put it in the LBK at 9:30pm yesterday. Right now it has lots of foam on top. And will start on a Chocolate and Orange Stout soon. I don't know if I should drop the temps a few degrees right now, while its at High Krausen? Just in case? Then switch back to this setup? My logic behind the temp controller thermometer location is, hot air rises so put it on top + the center of the wort should be the warmest since its furthest away from refrigerated air. But I have been known to miss the boat before And hear what you're saying. Reason I'm asking is I read on another thread here that 'if you set your temp controller to 61*F ambient you'll be fine' and my beer then came out sweet. Likely unfermented sugars? Thanks again! -Brad
  3. The Mr. Beer stick on thermometer, does it measure wort temperature? Just on the outside diameter of the wort, not the center? Or does it truly measure temps on the outside of the Little Brown Keg, which would be cooler than the warm wort inside? Just trying to figure out how to set my temp controller, which has an external sensor taped to the top of the LBK lid, with a folded paper towel on top of the sensor to theoretically make it not as impacted by ambient air temp.
  4. Brewed last night, won't be using the honey.
  5. Agreed! I was thinking of using only 1 carb drop instead of the normal 2, and add some drops of honey. Honey malt, that sounds like a good idea. Another beer, another new malt to try
  6. Ordered all the ingredients above. I'll use less allspice say 1/2 teaspoon? but I still want to try the cherries. As for honey, why not? Considering adding a few drops to each bottle instead of adding to the keg, to keep some honey taste.
  7. What do you think of this Cherry Christmas Porter? - American Porter HME - LME Robust - Dark Sweet Cherries in Heavy Syrup -Tettnanger Pellet Hops - 1 cup of honey - 1 tablespoon Allspice - 1 cinnamon stick - 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract - Safbrew S-33 Dry Ale Yeast Using a measuring cup, pour 6 cups of water into your clean 3-quart or larger pot. Add 4 oz. of Chocolate Malt to the Muslin Grain Sack and bring your water up to above 155 degrees F. Add the grain sack to the hot water and steep for 30 minutes between 155-165 degrees. Carefully lift the grain sack out of the pot and place into a strainer/colander. Rinse the sack over the pot with 1 cup of hot water. Let drain. Do NOT squeeze the grain bag. Discard grain bag. Remove the yeast packet from under the lid of the Brewing Extract, then place the unopened can in hot tap water. Bring the grain water to a boil, add tettnanger hops to muslin sack, toss into the grain water. Then remove from heat. Open the can of American Porter HME and the LME Softpack and pour the contents into the hot mixture. Add cinnamon stick, allspice and vanilla extract. Stir until thoroughly mixed Fill keg with refrigerated water to the #1 mark on the back. Pour the wort into the keg, then bring the volume of the keg to the #2 mark by adding more cold water. Stir vigorously with the spoon or whisk. Sprinkle the S-33 yeast packet into the keg, and screw on the lid. Do not stir. After one week of fermentation, put whole can of cherries in blender. Strain thru strainer, pour cherry juice into LBK. Spoon cherry pulp into muslin sack, tie off and add to LBK. Add 1 cup of honey to LBK. Brew for two more weeks then bottle.
  8. Spiced Ale would best describe what I'm looking for. With some hops but not at an IPA level of hops. Cinnamon sounds like Christmas..I would like to stick with a HME it is just easier and less work. I do want to add a few ingredients I source such as vanilla extract or some fruit. Don't mind doing a partial mash, but not required. I found the ingredients list for an old MrBeer Christmas beer, but not the instructions. People really seemed to like it but it used an HME that's no longer available. I wouldn't mind doing that one if I had the instructions and knew when to add the cherries, honey, vanilla. And could come up with an alternative to the Winter Dark HME. But, doing that one isn't a requirement. I'm really looking for what other people have brewed specifically for Christmas and would pick one that appeals to me.
  9. That uses HME and some sort of additions that I supply such as almond extract or allspice or some sort of fruit. I couldn't find any Christmas Ale recipes for sale on the MrBeer site so thought I'd ask here. Don't mind doing a partial mash either.