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About ANR

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    Brewmaster in Training

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  1. It's another step along the way. Many of us start out brewing with the basics and quickly delve into ways to enrich/enhance the base recipes by steeping grains, exploring different yeast strains, boiling hops into the wort, mixing fruit or fruit extracts into the beer at bottling, etc. As we get more comfortable with the brewing process we tend to purchase tools along the way which hopefully make the process easier or more efficient (or are just fun). I got an oxygenation kit early on and have been using it ever since. I use it on wine and beer in lieu of stirring or mixing. I do not care to stand around stirring stuff all afternoon when I can burst O2 into the mix and get everything wrapped up a little bit quicker. Not to say that you need one or will want one but I think there's a place for it along the way. BTW, I use 'we' in the sense that I assume most brewers, like myself, tend to spend more time and money on the hobby, as their experience grows, on ways to make better tasting beer. Cheers!
  2. ANR


    I really enjoy a hint of grapefruit in my beer and have brewed several batches with varying degrees of luck. The first time was a Mr Beer CAL batch (2.13 gal) with the juice of 1 grapefruit, the zest from about half of the same fruit, and the use of some Galaxy hops. The grapefruit flavor conditioned out and never did really take hold. My latest attempt was a 6.6# wheat LME (5 gallon batch) where I used galaxy hops and cascade hops. I also bumped the juice up to 2 fruit and bumped the zest up to 2 fruit. I added the zest 45 minutes into a 60 minute boil and then added the juice at 55 minutes. I then dry hopped with additional cascade and galaxy hops a week before bottling. This is a dumbed-down version of the recipe but it turned out pretty good and I'll be brewing it again (maybe with some tweaks).
  3. I would recommend moving to batch priming as well. But, for arguments sake...I suppose one could boil carb drops if they were inclined to pay premium prices for sugar.
  4. IMHO, convenience is the only factor. If you want to plop a drop into each bottle and then pour the beer in on top before capping it is a bit quicker and easier than measuring out the sugar and dropping it in through a funnel.
  5. 10 minutes is probably excessive and I doubt that I've ever boiled my solution for that long. Basically, I want to get to the point of super-saturation before dumping it. It gives me the warm fuzzies knowing that it'll mix well but I am sure there are some who might simply dump the sugar, give it a mix, and let 'er rip. Just like everything else in brewing, it's whatever floats your boat.
  6. What was your OG and your FG? Some of those flavors should condition out over time. Let em sit for a week or two at room temp to carb and then try one every week (and take notes) to see how the beer matures from week to week.
  7. Yeah, depending on your hop schedule you might have multiple hops going in at different times. For instance, lets say you want something on the bitter side with pronounced hop flavor and aroma. Assuming a 60 minute boil, you might drop in a 1/2oz of Cascade at 60 minutes (as soon as you get a nice rolling boil). 15 minutes in you could drop in an ounce of Amarillo. At 30 minutes another 1/2 oz of Cascade and so on and so forth. The hops that are in there for the longer periods of time will offer the desired bitterness (IBUs) while the 30 minute timeframes should give you the flavor while the hops dropped in for the last 5 minutes of the boil or at flameout will offer the aroma. Then you get in to dry hopping and all that jazz for even more aroma. It all depends on where your taste buds are on the IPA/pale ale/hoppy wheat spectrum and what you want to taste in your finished product. I wouldn't get too worried about some of this stuff until you get the basics under control and you get more comfortable with the process. The easiest way to remove them is to put each type of hop in a muslin sack so that it can be removed from the wort at flameout (when you turn the heat off). You can grab the sacks with a sanitized set of tongs. Or, you can go commando and filter the hop/organic material out as you are moving the wort from your boil kettle to your fermentor.
  8. Any idea what the normal temperature is in your basement? I ask because a cooler and frozen water bottles over and over seem like a lot of extra work. My basement stays around 64° so I simply set my fermentor in the bathtub downstairs and let it go (that way if the spigot leaks it goes down the drain rather than all over the floor). I have never had issues with any of the yeast I have used and it's a lot easier to do the Ronco method (set it and forget it).
  9. No, use corn sugar (you can get packets at your LHBS) or just use table sugar as it's cheap and works the same. Basically, boil a pre-determined amount of sugar in 2/3 cup of water or so for 5-10 minutes. Let that cool a bit and then pour it into your bottling vessel (a bucket & spigot system works fine or a 2nd LBK) and then pour your wort in on top of that. You can google it to find out more about the process but it makes bottling that much easier once you get the hang of it. How much sugar to use? Click here and follow the directions on the calculator. It will tell you how much sugar to use for various sized batches and will also give you an idea of what carb levels are common for different styles of beer. You can modify the sugar levels to carb the beer more towards your taste if desired.
  10. If possible, you might try to batch prime rather than go to the effort of measuring sugar for all of those smaller bottles (or trying to mix & match bottle sizes). You'll also get a more evenly primed result throughout your bottles.
  11. When racking to a secondary, most kits will advocate that you do so after the initial, vigorous fermentation has completed but before the primary fermentation has ended. Without wasting a bunch of hydrometer samples and time, I go 7 days in primary and then 14 in the secondary (unless you are making something which calls for a longer time period in the secondary). If you are a careful brewer you probably won't need to worry about the risks...I haven't had to dump a batch yet and have used a secondary many times.
  12. Assuming one is using pellets: My lazy-day practice is to 'whirlpool' the wort once you have gotten to the point where you are ready to move everything to the fermentor. Basically, get a long spoon and go for a fast, smooth stir until you have a nice whirlpool effect and then pull out the spoon. Let it spin and settle out (give it a good 20-30 minutes) and then, from the edge of the kettle, rack the wort over to your bucket/carboy. When you get down towards the bottom you should have a nice little pyramid-like pile of hops that can be left behind by the auto-syphon. Note~ You'll just want to make sure you are keeping everything cleaned and sanitized since you are on the cool side of the boil. If you have the equipment this can help to minimize the hop prep time if you are using several varieties and/or a hop schedule since you can just dump your pellets right into the boil. It'll also cut down on the need for muslin sacks, nylon bags, and other filtering equipment. So, the time spent on waiting for the whirlpool to settle is somewhat offset by the reduction in prep and clean-up time...
  13. With the bottling wand...be sure to disassemble and clean the seperate parts (plunger, spring, o-ring) after bottling so that it doesn't gunk up. This will help to relieve the dripping.
  14. I wouldn't get too worked up about dunking a whisk or a spoon but, personally, I keep a spray bottle of star san handy (especially on the cool-down side of the brew schedule) for just that reason.
  15. Extract kits might call for 1/2 of the LME/DME at the 60 minute mark with the other 1/2 at 30 minutes. Or the DME at 60 minutes and the LME at 30 or some other combination to try and achieve a lighter colored ale.
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