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About hi4head

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  1. Your understanding of the experimental hops is the same as mine. The only one that I've bought and used so far is Hop Union's HBC 342 (from MoreBeer). I used it in a porter (primarily for flavor contribution and a touch for bittering and aroma) along with some Cluster for a bittering and a little flavor contribution. (The ale turned out great. It is my Hair of the Brown Dog Porter.) I simply went by the description that was provided to determine if it sounded good to me.
  2. This is the pot that I bought. It is a 9 gallon stainless. I got the one with two welded fittings for $80 plus shipping (about another $11). I am very happy with it. The pot is a decent 18 guage thickness. The lid is a little cheezy, but as they say on their website - it is the lid. The lid being thinner guage made it easier to notch it for my chiller lines. I then bought my ball valve and plug from Bargain Fittings and thermometer from another site.
  3. Dave, Good points on checking the values in Qbrew. One of the things that I've started doing is to update my Qbrew database when I purchase any sizeable amounts of hops with the actual value listing on my hops package. And I doubt that adding to the aroma would do any harm at all. And adding hops after primary is pretty much over (around 3 days) makes sense. Chris
  4. I've done both - hop sack and commando. What I really prefer is my current method of using a hop spider with a one-gallon paint strainer bag. It seems to get good circulation, is easy to do adds, and is easy to remove and drain some of the residual wort.
  5. Suggest you look at Screwy Brewer's calculators (that what I use). Screwy is regulary on the forum. In order to know how much sugar to add you need to know the amount of carbonation you desire (he has a table for that), and what your temperature has been for the beer. The cooler the beer during fermentation, the more CO2 it will still have. Screwy's calculator will tell you how much sugar to add. I'd suggest you consider looking into batch priming as well.
  6. If you're looking for a strong Scotch ale, you should be in the ballpark. Your OG is within range (on the low side) and bitterness is OK as well. Your beverage should lean to the malty side versus being bitter. Let us know how it turns out. Are you using Qbrew yet or another recipe software? Plugging the values in and maniupulating them can really help. According to Qbrew, you should have: OG=1.072; IBU=30; SRM=21 Since you are having an OG that is relatively high, you need to make sure that you have adequate yeast. What are your current yeast plans?
  7. I'm sure that you've read all about steeping the grains, so I won't chime in on that. I'm sure that you'll enjoy your beer but....... I do have a question for you. What is your batch size? Steeping and hop additions are a nice way to expand on your techniques. (and to help you make some very good beer)
  8. First, which cans of St. Patricks are we talking about? Old 1.21 lb cans or the new larger refills. For the older cans, I alway thought that the HMEs were basically "designed" so that when one can of HME and one can of LME were used together, the resulting batch came out the way Mr.B intended. The can of HME has enough hop bitterness to balance the malt contained in the HME and the LME. If two cans of HME are used together for a standard sized batch, and no additional malt is added, the result would be a beer that is more bitter than intended. From looking at the Mr. B site, it looks like the newer larger refills can be used alone. So, if two newer refills are used together, the brew should be stronger, but mantain the same OG/IBU balance. I was going to try to plug the information into Qbrew, but am uncertain about the values with the new Mr. B refills. (as I recall, old cans used to be 1.21 lbs per can as "grain"; and for each can use 1 oz at 5 minutes for hops - don't know if this is still correct) There was some discussion about the OG to IBU ration in one of the recent BYO issues. (I'll try to find which one.)
  9. I grew up in a little farm town outside of Lansing and almost went to Houghton. The brother of a friend of mine did go there. Not sure how it is now, but back in the 70's, there was one girl to every ten guys at the school. (not a very good ratio) While at a party during my senior year of high school, my friend's brother was home from Tech. He told me that the ratio of guys to gals as reported was correct. What wasn't told in the statistics was that a lot of the girls that went there didn't necessarily look too much like girls. I decided to go to engineering school at another school in Michigan. But they do have awesome fishing and cross-country skiing up there. Glad to hear the brewing scene is picking up around Lansing. I seen that there is even a brew supply house and taproom in my little hometown of Grand Ledge. Back when I was there, we didn't even have a McDonalds.
  10. My recommendations, if you even think that you might want to go to full boil batches, is to go with a 8, 9, or 10 gallon pot. This will be total overkill for brewing in the kitchen if you are doing partial boils and then topping up in the fermenter. But, you'll never have to worry about a boilover and it gives you lots of flexibility for the future. I currently use a 16 qt stainless pot for partial mash brews. I manage to start with around 12 qts in the boil pot and live dangerously when the boil starts. As others have mentioned, one can want to "upgrade" very quickly as our learning curve progresses. I'm in the process of deciding what I want to do in the future. I know I'll be getting a 9 or 10 gallon pot, but am deliberating on if I want one with prewelded couplings or not. Also thinking about going electric. Out on ebay is a 40 qt. stainless pot by Concord for around $77 shipped. It looks to be the exact some pot that Spike Brewing makes (I think Spike simply adds the welded couplings - they look like nice pots). Adventures in Home Brewing also has some stainless pots on sale - with the couplings welded in (~$80-$90 shipped). This gives the option of adding a ball valve for transferring the wort to the fermenter (and you can even add a thermoteter). Some Bayou Classics were being discounted on Amazon yesterday. They are a little thinner guage than the others above (I think 20 guage versus 18), but reportedly are nice pots as well. I think that you are wise to think about what you may wish to do with your brewing and invest a little bit more in a brew kettle now. On the other hand, if you simple go with a 4-5 gallon pot now and want to upgrade later, you could always use the 4-5 gallon pot as your hot liquor tank to feed hot water to your mash tun.
  11. Should be a tasty beer. Let us know how it turned out.
  12. TT, Is this your first porter, or are you simply expanding (tweaking) on some of the other porters that you've previously made? Porters can be relatively simple, but can also have almost everything but the kitchen sink in them. I can't speak for the rest of the gang, but I'd guess that all of us have our vision of what should be in a porter. I think that what each of us has said has merit, but this is your ale. The only thing that I'll add is for you to think about what each grain (and yeast/hop for that matter) is going to contribute, and does that line up with your vision for this porter. If you don't think it fits with the direction that you want for this porter, then don't include it. (and that includes my suggestion for the lighter caramel malt) After the beer is done and you feel that something is missing, then you can make the next batch with a change in ratios of your grains or could add an extra grain that you feel would fill in the void. Regardless, it sounds to me like you are on to making a delicious beer.
  13. I've never used smoked malt either, so I'm not sure of the impact. If you haven't read it yet, you may want to look at a recent article by Jamil in BYO that covered Robust Porters. Robust Porter Article I'm not a brewing expert, but I would think that you may want some light caramel malt in the mix. Also, I'm not sure about the actual style guide requirements, but I tend to think of "robust" porters as having a little bit higher OG. Hope it turns out well. I've got a robust porter that should be ready to bottle this weekend.
  14. Based on what Stevecom listed from Qbrew (which I also use and suggest you try as well) you will most likely end up with a beer that is very malty. See how you like this one. My gut reaction is that you may want to up the bitterness so that you have a more balanced brew. For this to be considered "balanced' you would probably want an IBU level of 45 to 60 based upon an orginal gravity of 1.090. I'm sure that there are a number of folks here that would be glad to taste test one of your beers for you as well. Cheers, Chris
  15. Back then when I used to brew I had three major obstacles versus what I'm able to do today. First was that I had to malt my own grain. Since I didn't have a reliable thermometer or timer, I had to guess a bunch. (and it was primarily only air dried - although we did have a fireplace) [i also used mainly what the horses and hogs wouldn't eat.] Next was that my selection of hops was quite limits. My beverages were a little on the malty side. But I did have great Appalachian mountain water (with all the little floaties and all). I'm not sure what yeast strain I used - basically whatever floated by in the air. Still, most of my brews were at least safer to drink than the water. And I'd normally have some of my "friends" try it first. If they didn't get sick, then I'd have some. (Not much different than now.) But I was watching Robin Hood this morning. Friar Tuck evidently was a master and had man wooden barrels for he and the boys to savor. Unfortunately, he never shares any of his real secrets in the movie. On a more serious note, around 30 years ago when traveling in England for business, we stopped a couple of times at some country pubs that brewed and served their own real ale. It was hand-pulled to draw a pint. As I recall, it was actually quite good.
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