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About InsaneDragun

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    Brewmaster in Training
  1. I just bottled an IPA and a California Common this week. I will be brewing a few more over the next couple weeks including possible a Rauchbier (great by the campfire with some grilled meat), an Irish Red (great session beer at just under 5%), a Spruce beer (first attempt, so hoping that will be nice). I will mention that as FD said, it becomes a lot harder for some of us to brew in the summer as your fermentation space may be warmer than you'd like. If this is the case, brew something that likes that. Lots of wheat yeasts are OK with warmer temps (if it's a difference of 3-5 degrees). Saison is a great brew to make when it gets hot. I made one last year using Wyeast 3724 (Belgian Saison) and the temp zone is crazy high. I fermented at around 85* for the first 2 weeks and the yeast loved every second of it. It also turned out to be one of my best brews ever. Saison recipe (MB sized batch, though I'd be more than happy to double this batch) 1.25# Pilsen DME .75# Wheat DME .75oz. Spalt for 45 minutes .25oz. Spalt for 16 minutes .5oz. Fresh Grated Ginger + .5oz. Orange Peel + 3g Paradise seeds for the last 5 minutes of boil
  2. I wish I could tell you Allen. If you have read this thread then you'll know that the batch I made here got infected. It turned out to be a decent sour if you like that sort of thing, but I couldn't tell you how to replicate that. I have not been able to brew this batch again, but it is on my list for the future. Let me know if you try it first.
  3. Sorry. Can't do it. That's about 2 hours from me each way. Another time though.
  4. I need you to narrow down "Northeast" a bit. I live in North Jersey and I believe BLM is in that general region too. Where did you have in mind as a meeting place?
  5. You're probably right, biscuit might not work. I think I'll just stick with CaraPils or Cara8. Or maybe some honey malt. Honey might be nice, but may make this a bit too sweet as it will already be pretty sweet from all that malt. I'll probably up the Citra a bit. This would definitely not qualify as a dunkelweizen though. Without the biscuit or honey malts, it's still at barely more than 5 SRM. Obviously either of those would cause it to be a bit darker, but I think it still only brings it up to like 8 or so. This would definitely be a bit darker than style obviously, but not quite in the range of Dunkel (usually 14-23 SRM). For those interested in Dunkels though, I picked up some Midnight Wheat and some Chocolate Rye to play around with. I like the idea of darker wheat beers. I have tried a few and enjoyed them very much. I will indeed post when I have my recipe finalized. It will probably be pretty straight forward. All you need is some wheat extract and one or both of the above specialties for color. I'll be throwing in some classic noble hops as well.
  6. If you've never tried the Witty Monk by itself, then do that. It's quite tasty and I agree that you should swap out for a true wheat yeast. You'll get so much more out of it. I brewed this a while back and at one point over the summer, it was on sale when I was placing another order so I picked up a whole bunch. After seeing Sam Adam's Imperial Witbier a little while back, I was inspired. I wrote up a recipe and I have tinkered with it a bit. I think it will be the next one I brew this week/weekend at some point. It has a base of 2 cans of Witty + honey and some light and wheat extract to bounce the ABV up over 9%. After reading this thread, I think I'm going to steep .5# of biscuit and .25# of some Cara8/CaraPils(not sure which yet, has anyone found much of a difference between them?). I need to balance this, so I will be doing a 20 minute hop-burst with 1/3oz. of Citra and adding a bit more orange (and maybe lime) zest with a bit of grains of paradise as well. Oh, and I'm using T-58 with a couple of fromundas thrown into the boil for nutrients. I intend for this to be a very big beer in every way. I just hope it doesn't wind up being too much. Thoughts?
  7. k9dude wrote: Actually lactose does add sweetness, as it's an unfermentable sugar. Your right that it adds body, but lactose is a VERY sweet sugar! In fact YD uses it in his cider recipes as a sweetner. In my experiences with lactose (which are not vast I admit) I have found that FG's in the 1.020 to 1.025 are not uncommon and that's with only .25#, so I don't think that a FG of 1.032 with .5# is anything to worry too much about. Afterall he did try an energizer and many other methods to make sure fermentation was completed, so after doing all that I wouldn't worry about bottle bombs. I'm sorry k9dude, I wasn't saying that lactose isn't sweet. It definitely does taste sweet if you were to eat a spoonful. However, I was simply saying that in the grand scheme of the beer world, lactose is not high the high end of sweetness. You can get a lot more sweetness out of certain malts and lower-attenuating yeasts etc. than you can get from lactose. What I was getting at in this particular thread was that the specific batch referenced (by russki I think), was that in my opinion, more of the sweetness in his case was coming from the unfermented malt-related sugars rather than the lactose. But it's hard to say. It was just my guess. Sorry if I was not more clear.
  8. FYI - any commercially produced honey is going to be pasteurized when it is bottled. Unless it is packaged as raw honey (which you probably have to go to a farm for), you should be fine. On top of that, honey has a natural antiseptic property. It basically kills its own bacteria. If you're trying to add honey to beer for flavor, you want to add it after primary fermentation is done. If you're trying to just add some dryness to make a pilsner extra crispy or add some ABV without using processed sugar, you can just add the honey to a boil. If you're just buying regular un-labeled honey, you should just boil it for the last 5-15 minutes. If you are buying a specific type of honey (Orange Blossom or Alfalfa etc.), then you should not boil it at all as you will dissolve and evaporate the delicate aromas.
  9. Thanks JimBob, I couldn't remember which was which. I haven't had a lot of experience with the lager yeasts.
  10. russki wrote: I had a similar problem with my sweet stout - it had an OG of 1.070, and only fermented down to 1.032. I just went ahead and bottled after unsuccessfully trying to rouse the yeast, raise temps, and add yeast energizer. It's been bottled a few weeks, and the sample bottles have good carb, but taste a bit too sweet. My thinking is that the dark extracts have a lot of unfermentable content, raising the FG along with lactose. I used St. Patrick's Irish HME as a base as well. If I ever make a sweet stout again, I'll only use 3-4 oz of lactose. 1/2 pound is way too much for my taste. Your stout may well be just done - give it a few more days, and if the gravity doesn't change, just bottle. Wow, that's a crazy high FG to be bottling at. Did you have any problems or bottle bombs? I don't think the sweetness in your case was from the lactose, I think it was more from the unfermented malt sugars. In general, lactose doesn't add all that much sweetness. It is added to stout to add body which is often lacking in the dark-roasted malts.
  11. Thanks guys. I don't have a garage at the moment, I just live in an apartment. I will be moving at the end of Nov and hope to have a more convenient location for brewing. @Pepe - I have not used bleach. I have begun spraying the outside of the fermenters with a Star-San solution. This has definitely slowed the growth, but I think I need to do it at least once a week to make it truly effective. It is now cool enough in my apartment that I can prop the cooler open to let it air out after the first 10 days are over. I hope all this can correct for the issues for future batches. I have only had 2 possible issues with this type of problem out of 20 batches now. I don't like that %, but as you said, it's a learning process. I will be focusing on upgrading to larger fermenters in the near future which will eliminate some of the short-comings of the LBK in my case.
  12. So after this, I will never doubt the advice of the borg again. I just bottled up my Pumpkin Porter recipe and oh boy, what a b*#$h that was. For those interested, the original thread (with recipe) can be found here. I went against the advice of many brewers whom are much more advanced than I. I brewed a batch with pumpkin puree, two 15oz. cans in fact! One of the worst mistakes I have made yet. I didn't realize how loose the trub would be even after almost a month in the LBK. I was hoping it would be more compact, like usual. I tilted the front end up during fermentation hoping that most of the junk would sit towards the back. It didn't matter though. A lot of it was still floating around in the beer. The color was beautiful, it is a deep amber brown. It smelled pretty good as well. Bottling, however was quite a nightmare. I managed to leave a good bit of the trub behind in the LBK (with sacrificing a little beer). A good bit of it, though, snuck into the bottling bucket and wound up clogging the spigot often. I quickly sanitized a small screen strainer that I had and tried putting that in front of the spigot (inside the bucket) but it was too late. There was already too much jammed up in the spigot and tubing. I managed to get 14 bottles (2 were 16oz. and 1 was 22oz., but still). And it took quite a bit of time and made one heck of a mess. On top of all that, I may have gotten a small infection from mold or something. I'm really getting fed up with the system I have been using. I am doing the swamp cooler with ice pack rotation, though I often stop swapping ice bottles after the first 10 days or so. I know many have had success with this, but the lack of air rotation is helping the mold to thrive. I have found it in all places on and around the last few LBKs including the inside of the cap and spigot. I recently began spraying Star-San solution all around the keg, but this Pumpkin Porter was the last batch to be with-out it. The taste was not horrible, but it is definitely a bit on the sour side. If it does not get worse, I think it should be fine once it's chilled and carbonated. If it continues to get worse though, the whole batch will be ruined. In which case I will -> :think:
  13. Oh, and as far as scheduling rotation...if you have a regular schedule, you can just pick a day to be your regular brew day. Let's say you have a couple hours every sunday to do with as you please (during the football game you don't watch perhaps), you can set that time aside and brew. If you have 3 fermenters, you can consistently bottle and then brew every week. You can then allow those fermenters to sit for a full 3 weeks to get the best work out of the yeast. This greatly helps to avoid rushing things and will build up your pipeline VERY quickly.
  14. I like the sound of this. At first I was thinking that you wouldn't get much apple flavor out of that little juice added to the wort. I was ready with a few suggestions of my own, but if you're happy with it then, you don't have to listen to them. There is, of course, an Apple flavor extract that you could add to your batch priming solution when bottling. However, I always prefer more natural sources when adding flavors as to get the best product. Some extracts can have that fake candy type flavor and be overwhelming, but something to think about. Another note, if you used sugar (especially white) you will get a bit of a cidery/green apple flavor naturally. You could also get a bit more flavor out of the juice if you added it after primary fermenation had ended. So if you added some apple juice concentrate after about 5-7 days in the fermenter, you might get more out of it. The reason is that generally a lot of the aromatics tend to get lost during the frenzy of CO2 that is released during the primary fermenation. However, if you are happy with the way your brew turned out, then that's great. One last thing though, about the bottles. You said you want people to see the color when you serve it...are you having them drink it straight from the bottle? If so, I personally believe this is a mistake. I'm sure not all will agree with me though. I always recommend pouring home-brew into a glass (which will probably be clear and allow them to see it). This will release a lot more of the aroma which you are probably looking for in a brew like this and also get the beer away from the sediment. Drinking all that yeast and such will not make for a happy post-thanksgiving morning.
  15. Oh! And DEFINITELY make sure you tell them not to drink the beer straight from the bottles. Make sure they pour into a glass. Beer makes a great Christmas present, but giving someone the runs from drinking too much yeast will not be appreciated!
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