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Jim Doherty

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About Jim Doherty

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  1. Jim Doherty

    Pumpkin beer attempt

    I took the reading from the full volume of the fermenter. Also to clarify, it was canned pumpkin I got at the grocery store, the brand name is Farmers Market Organic. I added the pumpkin spice at the end of boil, so I would think that that would kill anything bad that might be in there. I am thinking that it is the pumpkin puree that is causing the off smell and taste. There was nothing unusual visually in the fermenter, such as floating masses of gunk or pellicles, etc. I have seen dozens of pics online from people with all kinds of shit floating in the top of the fermenter asking if it's an infection. So I guess my stupid question is: can there still be an infection if there is nothing visually abnormal (no floating masses in or on top of the beer)? It seems this Frankenbeer will be one to remember in the long haul. I will definitely keep this thread updated as time passes. 🤢 hopefully this isn't me after sampling it in a few weeks. lol
  2. Jim Doherty

    Pumpkin beer attempt

    While I have been brewing the Mr. Beer kits for over a year or so now, up until recently I haven't bothered with gravity readings and checking pitch temps and fermenting temps (which explains a lot on why my brews have been just ok, I know, no lecture needed on that aspect) so I am still pretty new at the "proper" ways of brewing. The pumpkin beer was actually my first attempt at fermenting at a controlled temp. I had just bought the keezer and other equipment off Craigslist to eventually go all grain, 5 gallon batches (not quite there yet time wise and still need a few more pieces). Up until recently, I just went with the standard protocol of Mr. Beer - 3 weeks in fermenter, 3 weeks carbonation, and minimum 3 weeks conditioning and ferment up to 76 degrees max. I hadn't been checking my pitch temps as well, I had assumed my refrigerated filter water was enough, but now use gallon spring water jugs and put in freezer about an hour before brewing. I bought the brix refractometer recently, so it is most likely user error on my part. All I know is that when I read the sample from the wort the reading was at the top of the scale. Maybe all the pumpkin puree floating in there threw it off. Regardless, I am not so concerned with the alcohol volume in this batch, but more so wondering what the experts think I may wind up with. Eventually I will find out. 😀 The reason I steeped the pumpkin instead of adding it straight to the fermenter at the start or after a week as some recipes call for was that I read a recipe online that added the puree in the boil and another guy said he got a bad infected batch and not to assume it was properly pasteurized in the can. As far as the odor, I noticed it when I first emptied the trub jar at the one week mark of fermenting. I assumed it was due to the pumpkin puree. It's very hard to describe, as I never smelled anything like it in any brews thus far. It was almost like a sour, dirty smell, like a dirty sock, but not strong, more faint, if that makes sense. The actual "beer" when I bottled was pretty clear, with a slight orange color. At start of fermenting, it was a bright orange, but slowly darkened. The taste, as I said, was like a very strong dry cider and not beer like at all. Taking out the obvious errors in OG reading and pitch temp, what are the expert opinions on what this might end up as? Will it stay cider like or morph back closer to some type of beer? Again, thank you all for the replies.
  3. Jim Doherty

    Pumpkin beer attempt

    I attempted a pumpkin pie beer by experimenting with some left over grains, not sure what I wound up with after bottling today. Here are the details: I steeped 2 oz Honey malt, 2 oz Pilsen malt and 10 oz of canned pumpkin puree (farmers market organic pumpkin to be exact) in a muslin bag for 30 minutes at about 160 degrees F. Basically followed the standard partial mash recipes protocol. After the 30 minutes, I boiled for about 10 minutes, removed from heat and added 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice, then added a can of Grand Bohemian Czech Pilsner, then added to my 3 g Fast Fermenter as per the usual steps. I used a whole pack of Safale US-05, pitch temp at 74 degrees F. I fermented in my keezer at 68 degrees for 8 days, then moved to my usual storage spot under the stairs at around 73 degrees. Total ferment time was 22 days. OG was 1.118 according to my brix refractometer. For the final, I used the hydrometer and was at about 1.010 to 1.012. Here is my dilemma. It had a very odd smell, not bad, but not really good, hard to place. Didn't really match any of the standard off flavor descriptions. I assume it is related to the pumpkin and the spices. When I was bottling it, there was a very faint scent of the spices, but that could have been wishful thinking on my part. It tasted almost like a dry cider, not pumpkin beer like at all. I had meant to add some fuggle hops for the 10 minute boil, but guess I forgot. 3 questions: Is there hope for this concoction conditioning into some semblance of a pumpkin beer? Is it possible to over pitch by using the whole pack of Safale US-05? I noticed the pack is about twice the size/weight of the yeast that comes with the cans of extract. This is my first time using that yeast and also the keezer to control fermenting temps. Does this seem like a candidate for bottle bombs due to the taste and/or gravity readings? I plan to let it ride and sample after at least month in the bottle, but curious as what the experts have to say and advise. Thanks in advance. This group is awesome. Jim
  4. Jim Doherty

    Fermentation temp control

    Thank you BDawg62 and D Kristof! I realized only recently that I was pitching the yeast for the first several months way too warm - closer to or above 80 degrees F. I had just been using the cold water from the fridge which apparently didn't cool the wort enough. Looking forward to seeing how they turn out from this point on following the advice you guys gave me. I have noticed a lot of the brews I made, regardless of the recipe style, all have the same kind of flavor. Can't quite tell what it is. I have looked up off flavors, but none of the descriptions seem to match what I taste. Not terrible, but just a very similar flavor in most of them. Thanks again.
  5. I recently acquired a keezer with a Johnson controller similar to the Inkbird. I want to use the keezer as a fermentation chamber. The problem is I have four 3 gallon FastFermenters and 3 LBKs and can only fit one FF and 1 LBK in there at the same time. Up to now, I have been putting my fermenters in a closet under my stairs. The temp in there stays at around 73- 74 degrees F. I know that's a little on the high end, but so far most of my brews are pretty decent, none have been so bad as to be undrinkable. I thought I read somewhere the first few days to a week of fermentation are the most critical as far as controlling lower temps. I would like to brew at least once a week (right now I have 13 different Mr. Beer refills to brew thanks to all their sales). I guess my question is, would it be OK to put the fermenter in the Keezer for the first week, then move it into my closet to make room for the next brew? Thanks in advance for any advice. Jim
  6. Jim Doherty

    3g FastFerment warning when dry hopping

    Just wanted to give an update. I brewed the American Resolution Hazy IPA again in the fastferment, only this time, I used the muslin bags for the hops. I only emptied the small jar twice before bottling day, no issues or clogs. Got a 21 twelve oz bottle yield. Still waiting on carbonation to see if the hop flavor is any different. Tasted a little while bottling, seemed to be good. Seemed a little less hoppiness than the other batch, but it may be too early to tell. Bottom line, I guess, is use the muslin sacs to prevent clogs. Just remove with sanitized tongs when ready to bottle. Got a Velvet Velociraptor in there now, Brewed it before in the fast fermenter, and everyone that tried that one has said it is the best beer I have brewed so far.
  7. Jim Doherty

    3g FastFerment warning when dry hopping

    I am trying the American Resolution Hazy IPA again, just brewed it this morning. This time I will put the hops in the Muslin sacs and remove at bottling time like I did with the Horse Ass Ale. Will update this post in three weeks to let everyone know if it helps.
  8. Jim Doherty

    Left over yeast packs

    Thank you again everyone. Just have to wait another week to bottle my Bewitched Amber Ale to free up one of the LBKs.
  9. Jim Doherty

    3g FastFerment warning when dry hopping

    I think the main trouble is that the opening is too small to let all the hops go thru. It was clogged each time I put a new jar on. I had to tap on the valve to get everything to flow again.
  10. Not sure where to post this, but wanted to warn about not using muslin sac for dry hopping in the 3g FastFerment, which is in the revised instructions. I brewed the American Resolution Hazy IPA, which uses 3 dry hop additions. I emptied the 4 oz jar twice because it filled up fast. After the second time I emptied it, I decided to use an 8 oz jar, because I could see there was still quite a bit of trub/hops caught above the valve at the bottom of the conical tank and I figured the 4 oz wouldn't hold it all. Had to tap on the fermenter to get it to unclog the valve aIso. I did this a week prior to bottling. See the picture below for how much was in the 8 oz jar after the week. I thought I would be good to go and wasted beer by using a larger jar, but was wrong . The glass next to jar in the picture was what I was finally able to get out after filling the glass 3 times and unclogging the bottling wand 2x. Pics of the wand and the glass show how much hops were still in the fermenter. In the pic of the fermenter, you can sort of make out what was still stuck to the inside surface (pic doesn't show it too well, sorry). The other pictures of the glass show just how much crap was still left at the bottom of the fermenter. That glass is 12 oz btw, so you can imagine how much wasted potential beer there was. Needless to say, by the time I got a clear flow, I wound up with only 15 twelve ounce bottles. Not a great yield for the price in my opinion. I didn't take any samples to check gravity, and even slightly overfilled the fermenter. I recommend going back to using the muslin sacs and remove them on bottling day with sanitized tongs or something, which is what I did with the Horse's Ass Ale, and it came out great. Anyway, rant over, just thought I would share. Other wise, I really like the 3g FastFerment..........
  11. Jim Doherty

    Left over yeast packs

    Thanks everyone for the advice! Question for hotrod3539- do you follow the same rule as for carbonating beer? For example, I use 3/4 tablespoon per 12 oz bottle as per the chart on the website. Organic apple cider, pasteurized, is on sale this week at the local grocery store so will give it a shot. Not much to lose if it doesn't work but about $3.00.
  12. Jim Doherty

    Left over yeast packs

    Thanks Dawg! Do you think 2 gallons of store bought apple cider would work to make it like a Hard Cider? And if so, would I follow the same 3 in the keg, 3 in the bottle to carb and then 3 or more weeks to condition rule would apply?
  13. Jim Doherty

    Left over yeast packs

    I have a bunch of left over yeast packs, not too old, from recipes that called for a different yeast. Was wondering what to do with them. I was wondering if I could use them to ferment some apple cider/ apple juice. Does anyone know if that would work? Then the next question would be, how much cider in the LBK. Should it be diluted with water? Maybe time to experiment.........
  14. Jim Doherty

    Fast Fermenter and the Ambrosia tripel

    I called support and asked about that. I was told to empty it at 5 days, and again at 9. I brewed the velvet velociraptor in the 3G Fast Ferment, emptied it 3x as the fruit puree filled up the jar. Not quite ready yet, but it smelled great while bottling, and the small taste was nice.
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