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Crazy Climber

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Everything posted by Crazy Climber

  1. I'm very "type-A" in general, and I guess that applies to my brewing, as well. I brew about once every 4 weeks. I've got my next 6 batches planned out, taking me into January. :blush: So, doing the math, it's July now and I already know what I'll be drinking next March! There's so many new/different things I want to try, plus so many past "successes" that I want to brew again to have on hand, that my schedule fills up very quickly. It works for me, though. I've been at this hobby for 2.5 years and still enjoy trying new techniques & recipes, as well as brewing old favorites. As for buying ingredients, I'm usually 1 or 2 batches ahead at any given point in time, but with grains, I usually try to get them as close to brew day as possible.
  2. "haerbob3" post=378968 said:Have you contacted Brad with your findings?? I am sure he will be interested in this point. It is a bit of a flaw in my not so humble opinion Brad is supposedly working on cleaning up the bugs in BeerSmith and this issue is one of those that is definitely on his list. No idea how the fix will work (see: the Law of Unintended Consequences, causing one problem while fixing another), but FWIW, a fix is supposedly coming in a few months.
  3. Or, option 4 could simply be that they'll be moving to an in-house forum, which makes use of already-established MB accounts, and need to be able to match back to the current forum's accounts in order to port over the info. In short, I think Beer-lord had it right when he wrote: "Beer-lord" post=371320 said:Just a guess but I think the mrbeer.com site and the forum will be under one roof whereas this forum is a relatively generic forum that is simply tweaked for each group that wants to use (it).
  4. I did this with lime over two years ago, so the details are a little hazy, but I think the zest of 2 lemons would be appropriate for an MB-sized batch. Put the zest in a hop sack.
  5. I haven't done a Saison before, but from what I've read: WLP565 - very prone to getting stuck. Sometimes it's recommended to pitch another clean-fermenting yeast (US-05, for example), about 75% of the way through primary fermentation, to achieve full attenuation. WLP566 - much better attenuating than 565. Wyeast 3711 French Saison - sounds like a really good choice, as it is happier at lower temps than most Saison yeasts, and ferments all the way through. As swen noted, one thing about Saison is that there's room for interpretation. Mixing yeasts (like with the 565 situation mentioned above), or fermenting at high temps or normal temps....it all fits. Good luck!
  6. Wow, that's an interesting one. Sounds right up my alley; I love RyePA's. And Simcoe. And IPA's that are flavor/aroma-focused. Be sure to send the UPS tracking number to me when you ship mine!
  7. I can relate to the OP's story very strongly. My wife got me a kit and 3 refills for Christmas 2 years ago, figuring I'd MAYBE make 1 or 2 batches and be done with it. I had the same expectations. But, after the first batch, I could feel the "gravitational pull" starting to take effect, and it wasn't long before it was my primary hobby, to the surprise of both of us. But, we're both fine with that. She's happy because it's a hobby that doesn't 'involve leaving her home alone with the kids (unlike golf, for example). I'm happy because it's a hobby that involves drinking good beer. The classic win-win scenario.
  8. I did the same thing at a local retailer, for the first time just this week! Stopped in the local "packie," and the manager asked how she could help me. I said, "I've got a weird request for you -- I'd like to buy some of your empties." She said, "not a weird request, at all. You're a homebrewer, looking to bottle your beer in them, right? Do you want Grolsch bottles, or do you have a capper?" She said she used to charge people 7 cents for a 5-cent empty but had a change of heart and lets them go for the cost of the deposit. $1.20 later, I had a case of empty Sammy's and was on my way out the door! I have a new second-favorite packie (after Table and Vine, of course), and I'll be sure to give them more of my business, thanks to their homebrewer-friendly approach.
  9. You beat me to it (by 8 hours), mashani -- I was going to post that chart because it's basically a graphical representation of the BU/GU ratio I mentioned earlier. Same concept. I like the ratio because it's easy to calculate whether the chart is handy or not. I occasionally sort my list of past recipes by the bitterness ratio (in BeerSmith, or a spreadsheet) and see how they compare to each other. That gives me an idea of how my tastebuds are likely to perceive a future recipe -- bitter, malty/sweet, balanced, etc. With experience, you can begin to mentallly formulate your own version of that chart, based on your particular perceptions. And you make a good point regarding how the types of malts used will have an impact on perceived bitterness. Stouts "need" a lot of bitterness just to balance the strong, roasty flavors of the malts, for example.
  10. A good beer should score just as well at the NHC as it would at a local club contest. Worst case, you know you're getting feedback from competent judges (which is still possible but not guaranteed at a small competition). Go all in!!
  11. "Wings_Fan_In_KC" post=315085 said:That's an interesting take CC. My boil is usually 1 gallon so I've never ended up with too much wort but your method sure makes me think.....why the frick didn't I think of that? Follow me here...........you add the water to the brewpot and then monitor the temp. As soon as it hits mid 60's you pull it out of the ice bath and BAM!, you have the perfect temp for pitching. Genius! Yep, that's the general idea. Rather than trying to hit a perfect mix of separate cold water and hot wort, I try to put both together ASAP, so that (A ) I only have to monitor that one, mixed temperature, and (B ) the wort gets cooled that much quicker. I usually finish my boil/chill with 1.25 - 1.4 gallons of wort, so adding a gallon of almost-frozen water to that gets me real close to my fermenting volume, and gives me a head-start on the chilling process. Still need the ice bath, though.
  12. Crazy Climber's 2013 total: 13.8 gallons Bottled: 2.4 - Kolsch 4.5 - "house" IPA, double batch 2.4 - Basil lager 4.5 - Bavarian Pils, double batch Fermenting: Horse's Ass Ale (ginger) Saison Hard Lemonade Hard Iced Tea On deck: Irish Red (first attempt at BIAB) 2012 total: 32 gallons 2011 total: 22 gallons
  13. After quickly advancing beyond straight-up MB recipes, I had essentially forgotten how quick and easy it can be to brew up a good beer with an MB refill. I brewed the Winter Dark with a packet of Booster a couple of months ago, and have been enjoying it for the past couple of weeks. It was so quick and easy compared to what I'm used to (steeps, partial-mashes, hour-plus boils, major chilling efforts, etc.). Yes, it was pricey, but my time is worth something, too. I also spiced up half the batch at bottling time using cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond extract. That half came out great, too. I think I'm going to have to work some more straight-up MB batches into my rotation, like Fedora Dave does, in between the more labor-intensive batches. The ease with which you can get good results is a definite plus.
  14. SF- Interesting idea you have there...I say that because I had the same idea! Slightly different approach, but here's what I did: I fermented the MB Winter Dark for the whole 3 weeks, straight up. Then, at bottling time, I bottled half the batch as-is (so I had an idea of what "pure" MB Winter Dark tastes like). Once I had bottled half of it, I then added the spices/extracts, to make my "Holiday Winter Dark." I drank the "Holiday" tester last weekend and was very, very pleased with the results. The spices are subtle, but present in aroma and taste. I agree with Dave that nutmeg is strong, so use sparingly. My additions were as follows: 1/8 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract Keep in mind, that was for HALF of a MB-sized batch, so double those for a full LBK. Next time, I might just leave out the nutmeg and bump up the liquid extracts. The cinnamon is just fine, and can always be increased as a nice pour-time addition, when sprinkled on the head (of the beer, that is) and rim of the glass. Enjoy yours!
  15. Thanks, guys, for all the insights. I just got my scoresheets back from my first competition. My IIPA got a 33 from both judges. This was my first attempt at an IIPA, so I'm pretty pleased with that. (This beer was brewed with organic LME from Northern Brewer, 1 lb of light DME, table sugar, Simcoe and Cascade, and fermented w/ US-05 in my MB LBK.) And as was mentioned often here, the comments are very helpful. Truth be told, the whole reason I entered was to get the expert, unbiased feedback. They felt my submission was a little too balanced for an IIPA. I get the impression from the entirety of the comments that it might have scored better had I entered it as an American IPA. But, that's good stuff to know, and I do plan to tweak my recipe for the next time I brew this. For that reason alone, I call this experience a "mission accomplished!"
  16. My latest brew was an attempt at brewing a Spaten Optimator clone, but more hop-forward, and made with an ale yeast. Hence, the name: "Hoptimator Ale." "Foothiller" post=281691 said:Sierra Sunrise started as a description of a certain picture taken from my bedroom window one morning this summer, then I decided that would also describe how I want my red ale to be. I have a very similar story for my Irish Red, which I named "Summer Sunset" -- it's based on a picture I took a couple of summers ago, and which I used as the basis for the label. (Photo below)[attachment=8701]Misquamicut-2011_0076.JPG[/attachment]
  17. Actually, bayside's correct -- after realizing I overfilled, I could have dumped some out and filled w/ more wort. But while that would have increased my OG somewhat, I was concerned that I might also be increasing the "vegetal matter" a lot, because I had used 6 ounces of hops commando-style in the batch, so the bottom of the kettle was very loaded w/ hop matter. So, it was a tradeoff...some extra OG for extra trub. Instead, I tried to fit as much as I could into the LBK, more than I ever attemped before. Probably close to 2.5 gallons. The krausen was at the top of the lid this morning (18 hours). The real source of the problem is that I set the batch up in BeerSmith as a 2.7 gal batch, to account for the fact that the hops would absorb some of the wort. I was originally planning to sack the hops. When I changed to going commando, I didn't adjust the batch size. Based on my boil-off rate and 1 gallon of top-up water, BS calculated the boil volume right on the money -- for a 2.7 gallon batch. And 2.7 won't fit in an LBK. My mistake.
  18. I use BeerSmith, and it comes up with 18.8 SRM for #1 and 14.8 for #2 ,assuming 8 SRM for the 3.3 lbs of LME in both. (Caveat: I slightly rounded the ounces in this thread compared to what I input in BeerSmith.)
  19. MrBill - For future reference... Something worth trying at some point, when you have time, is to boil a known amount of water in your brewing pot, for a set amount of time, and measure the remainder to calculate your boil-off rate. I did this recently, boiling 1.5 gallons for 30 minutes, and I wound up with a little over a gallon remaining. So, I know I lose .875 gallons per hour. Knowing this, you can calculate how much water you should start with to end up with a desired amount of wort. (I use BeerSmith to calculate this for me, but it's easy enough to do by hand, too.) For example, with my loss rate, if I wanted to brew a MB-sized batch with a 90-minute boil and have enough wort at the end to be able to get by with just one gallon of top-up cold water, I need to start with a little over 2.5 gallons in the boil. I'll lose about half that in the boil. A little more is lost due to chilling and trub. The end result should about 1.125 gallons, plus the 1 gallon top-up = a full LBK.
  20. Definitely check out Screwy Brewer's calculator for the priming info. You could steep some CaraRed if your LHBS has it, or maybe some Crystal 60. Although on second thought, with the color you'll get from the MB cans, you may not need to go that dark with the steep, lest you darken the beer too much. S-04's a good choice for yeast. +1 on the Kent Goldings hops, especially for flavor and aroma. Could go with something like Galena or Simcoe for bittering -- not truly "traditional" but not crazy-off-the-reservation, either. Sounds like a fun project - enjoy it and keep us posted on your friends' impressions!
  21. On the topic of extract vs. AG: the current issue of Zymurgy magazine has an article where an AG brewer tries a couple of extract batches for the first time in over a decade, and finds that the quality of extract brewing has increased to the point where the quality difference--if any--is minimal, in his opinion. Obviously, AG has it's own compelling benefits, as stated in this thread (more control/fine tuning, cost, fresher ingredients, etc.), and I wouldn't be silly enough to proclaim "See? extract's just as good!" Just interesting to note that "modern" extract brewing gets some love from someone who had sworn off it for years.
  22. If you're looking to do something other than brew those "straight-up," I would suggest checking out this link. There's a list of HME's on the left-hand side, you can click on the ones you have and see a variety of recipes you can try which include that particular HME. It's a good resource when beginning to experiment. Cheers!
  23. bpgreen wrote: Have you ever tried one of the safety can openers? The don't cut at all--the lift the lid off. No part of the can opener even goes into the can so technically you don't even need to sanitize. I use one of those. I think it's OXO brand. Works very well. I sanitize it anyway, just in case. BTW - Welcome Matt -- great story! Nice job taking photos at appropriate times in the journey. Happy brewing...
  24. What do you guys think about using water from a stream/brook? I live in a rural area and have got a stream behind my house that moves at a decent clip, and I'm close enough to the source that it probably hasn't picked up many impurities along the way. Someone mentioned ways to "make a beer their own" in a recent thread. I've occasionally thought about using a gallon of this stream water for a steep/hop boil. It would add a "personal touch" to the beer, for sure. But, I don't want that personal touch to be: infected or awful! I would think that since I'd be boiling it for at least a half-hour, it should be reasonably safe. But I'm leery about risking an entire batch to find out for sure. Any insights, past experiences or hunches are welcomed. Thanks in advance!
  25. allenc85 wrote: Thanks, that way makes sense, I just didn't know if the grain tea could be boiled for extended periods of time. Like I just recently read to only add a little of the UME for the hop boil to prevent from messing with it's flavor/color profile. You might have read that from me, as I recently posted it in another thread. Just to expand on that thought, for clarity's sake:I suggested that the original poster in that thread use only some of the UME because he was boiling a small amount of water. If you tried boiling a whole can of UME in only 4-6 cups of water, you'd run a risk of scorching and carmelizing the extract, thus giving it a 'burnt' taste and darkening your finished beer. Boiling all the UME is perfectly acceptable, as long as you use enough water (I'd suggest at least a gallon), and add the UME while the water is not boiling, with decent mixing motion, so that it doesn't settle at the bottom of the pot and get burnt. It's also worth noting that the longer you boil extract, the darker it will likely become. There are other valid reasons to NOT boil all the UME for the full duration of a hop boil. One is the color issue. Another is: if you're boiling all the UME in less than your full volume of water (2.125 gal), the gravity of your boiling wort is potentially higher than the final gravity at the start of fermentation. Optimal hop utilization takes place at a gravity that's LOWER than most people's FG (optimum might be around 1.030, I think?). So, to get the most from your hop boil, you're better off starting with only some of the UME -- probably 1/4 can or so, and then adding the rest near the end of the boil (5-10 minutes to go). Last rule of thumb worth mentioning here: do not boil HME, as it will mess up the hop profile that has already been boiled into the extract. (The lone exception being if you want to do a hop boil for a recipe with no UME -- in that case you could add a spoonful of HME up front.) Apologies if this is heading off the topic of this thread! Back on topic, +1 to those who recommend steeping grains. Lots of bang for the buck there.
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