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About Tindel

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    Brewmaster in Training
  1. Always ferment 2 weeks. Carbonate in the bottle 2 weeks Condition 2 weeks. It's the 2-2-2 rule... and generally makes good beer. You can get a hydrometer too if you want to know when your beer is done fermenting, but it takes some beer to take readings. One advantage of the hydrometer is that you have a good idea what your ABV is too. If you use a hydrometer... take a reading after a week, then another a couple days later... if the reading is the same both days, then your beer is done fermenting. To get an accurate ABV then you need to take a reading before you pitch your yeast.
  2. I've been off of the brewing scene for a while (a newborn and no money will do that to you), but I happened to be in BB&B after Christmas and saw the Cowboy Lager and Wit Beer standard refills for $12.75 or something ridiculous like that and thought 'What the hell?' and I bought two - four brews total. $25 for ~10 gallons of beer... you can't beat that anywhere! So I brewed two of them up today... man, I forgot how easy Mr. Beer is. What a great way to get me back into the swing of things without spending 6 hours in the kitchen doing a mash, lauter, full-boil, lugging around a 50lbs carboy, etc. The best thing - My parents got me a $100 gift certificate to the LHBS for Christmas... time to make some recipes! I'm thinking an Old Ale would be perfect, and maybe a spruce beer for Christmas... when my spruce tree starts making new sprouts. Cheers!
  3. I'm guessing you had a bacteria infection from the raisins. Bacteria infections are not always bad. In fact, the lambic style depends on bacteria infection. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki?search=lambic Wait a year, I bet it is a fine mead... in fact I have a kings nectar that is a year old and I need to put it in the fridge.
  4. Usually anything brewed near of below 1.000 is contaminated with some type of bacteria. Were there any signs of infection? If it still tastes okay then it's probably okay to drink. There could be a chance, I suppose, that your bakers yeast was really champaign yeast. I could see how raisins could harbor lots of bacteria, regardless if you did a quick rinse to sanitize or not.
  5. So, I've had a heffeweizen on tap for a few weeks now, but I'm having a party this weekend for all of my friends and I noticed that my carbonation seems to have been going down the last week or so naturally, I wanted to try to up the carbonation... so this is what I've done over the course of the last month with this beer. Naturally carbonated to ~4.5 units of CO2 Serving at about 5 psi. Tasted great! 2 weeks pass, started to be a little flat. Turned up the pressure last night to ~25psi at ~65 degrees Went back to bed. Went down stairs this morning and found about 1 gallon of beer on my (thankfully) concrete basement floor. One of two things happened... 1. The outlet poppet was bad and leaked after so many psi. 2. I left the beer out quick-connect connected, and just having the beer out connected weakend the poppet connection at that pressure... So I purged my system and removed my poppets to inspect... one poppet o-ring was a little out of round, and I figured that was my problem. I then started to put everything back together and get my beer on CO2 when I realized I had also drained my 5# tank. Doh... I made an emergency trip to the LHBS and the CO2 shop to get more CO2 ($8 each for 2 tanks... score!) and another poppet ($6.50! yikes!). And I got a speeding ticket on the way ($55). So this one batch of beer is about $100 or so now! Thankfully it's pretty damn good! What a rollercoaster of a day!
  6. The audio actually says not to do a late addition, but not to take it past hot break... totally backwards from what I've been doing for the last year.
  7. Interesting listening... I always thought that pasteurizing LME was an inferior way to do things... I might try boiling my wort as suggested next time... and pasteurizing the remainder... I'm curious how it will turn out... maybe I should do a side-by-side batch.
  8. Many things go into determining if you need to make a starter or not. Contrary to popular opinion, if you pitch a single white lab vial in a 5 gallon batch of 1.040 you have technically underpitched. Use this calculator to determine the correct pitch rates - http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html
  9. I use them all the time to clean and store yeast... no ill effect yet.
  10. I have done what you're doing several times with no ill effect that I've been able to discern... However, just putting it on the old yeast can cause problems with overpitching. From the White Labs FAQ site: If the beer is overpitched, yeast do not grow though a complete growth cycle. This results in few new yeast cells, which makes for unhealthy yeast and low viability by the end of fermentation. So for the first time I actually pitched the correct amount of slurry per Mr. Malty - http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html . I had a 5 gallon batch of cream ale that was finishing up using US-05. And I had a double IPA that was just about to get started so I added 1/8 cup of slurry. It started fermenting within 12 hours over a week ago, and it's not quite done yet. I think I pitched just right... I really don't see a problem going 5 batches or more using this method, but I have yet to test this theory. Just to be clear though... it's far more risky underpitching than it is overpitching.
  11. Couldn't you use some DME still... just boil it in water for a few minutes and pour it in? You won't get a good feel on what you're ABV is exactly because you can't stir, but at least you I'm pretty sure papazian has a table on additions to raise gravity. I missed my gravity by 20 points on my first all-grain batch too... a DIPA. I was thinking about doing this if it ended up tasting too gnarly.
  12. FDB... 1) I did figure that out... despite the pictures. 2) Can you explain this one a little bit more? I don't quite understand. 3) Great idea... I noticed mine wasn't insulated either. I may just do that! Thanks for the tip!
  13. These are some of the things I could have done better, my 'lessons learned' based on this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/first-all-grain-what-did-i-do-wrong-234148/ 1. preheat my MLT - I bet this is where I lost a LOT of my heat from... hadn't even thought of that. 2. stir the grains better. I was getting very variable readings when I added 1/4 gallon of room temp water with 163 degree readings. 3. check my grain crush. AHS crushed my grain. I just checked another bag they sent me with the same purchase order. There is some whole barley grains, and a little bit of dust in the bag... Might be worth hitting them with the rolling pin a bit before my next batch. Will this give me a 25% increase in efficiency? I doubt it.
  14. Man, I've been to the thrift store 7283495213 times hoping to find a cooler. I'm a bit jealous, except that my brand new cooler was free because of a gift certificate I received from my aunt last Christmas. Anyway, my first brew day didn't go so well. I'm hoping that it goes a little better the second time around. I ended up with 50% efficiency, and I obviously need to get that number up by 25% or so!
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