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  1. I think this is pretty common for folks who find out that they really love it. I just started at the end of last year/beginning of this year, and before we had even completed our 1st batch, we were experimenting with our own Porter recipe and ordering an additional LBK so we can have multiple batches going at the same time. For us, it's really about experimenting with stuff, despite some warnings against going too far off recipe too soon, we have been extremely lucky and every batch and been tasty thus far. I think that if you feel like experimenting, you should go and do it, regardless of where you are at, as long as you are prepared for the consequences. You can't let a bad batch deter you from brewing, and I think that's what a lot of the concern is when people advise new folks and not to experiment too much early on. The fear is, somebody new try something outrageous, orcuts a corner,or just makes a bad decision, they ferment for 3 weeks, bottle condition another month, by the time they tasted and find out it's terrible, they are so disappointed they don't want to brew at all anymore. If that's you, then definitely don't experiment. But for us, trying new things, blending flavors that we think will work is so much of the fun that we are perfectly prepared for the inevitable bad batch. We're in this for the long haul, LOL
  2. here is the promised update on our peach classic American lite We gave the batch another month of bottle conditioning, took it out on April 13 and then put it in the fridge for a week or so, tried it again the other night. Surprisingly, the aroma has become a more fruity that was previously. It doesn't smell exactly peachy, but it's definitely a fruity aroma. At the same time, the fruity alcohol flavor on the back end has dissipated, but there is still a definite back end kick. Right now, this is actually my favorite of the 3 batches we have handled. It's refreshing, not overly carbonated, very easy to drink, and it still packs a bit of a punch. We've got about half of our remaining bottles from this one in the fridge, and we're going to give the other half another month or 2 and see how it goes. But, extremely happy with this one as is after 2 months :-)
  3. I'll roll the dice with it once I get the Saison and let you know how it turned out if you don't go for it;-)
  4. definitely do not think it is a bad idea.. In my opinion, you can only screw up so badly if all you are using is the HME and an LME. As long as you go with the 3 weeks fermenting and at least 4 weeks bottle conditioning, keep the temperature is essentially right, you're not going to mess up anything too badly. Of course, I'm a big fan of experimenting, so you might want to do some research on the specific taste profiles for the HME and the LME, it sounded a good combo in your head, then You are golden. I would go for it myself :-)
  5. wanted to update everybody on our 2nd batch, which is the molasses Porter. We used the basic Porter HME, but added molasses at the conditioning agent rather than table sugar when it came time for bottling. For reference, we used golden molasses and check out the amount of sugar per serving and ratio it out accordingly depending upon size of the bottle. We tried after one month, and it wasn't bad. There was a bit of a bitterness on the backend, but it was pretty good overall and if you like some bitterness, you could definitely make it work after a month. That being said, we decided to let it condition for a 2nd month. Being new, we had never condition something that long before, and let me tell you something, the experts around here ain't lying! The difference in flavor after the 2nd month was amazing! The flavor was much more mature overall, fantastic head, clung to the glass very well the entire way down, and any bitterness had mellowed out significantly. This, for my tastes, is now actually a REALLY good beer. We're probably going to refrigerate most of our remaining losses Porter at this point, but we might hold onto one of our quart growlers and condition it for a 3rd month just as an experiment/part of our learning process. So in summary, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the value of being patient and experimenting with longer periods of time when it comes to conditioning. It makes a noticeable, significant difference in flavor.
  6. this is pretty common. According to what I have read the listed ABV is about one percentage point higher then what you can actually expect. This might vary a bit. Regardless, it's really just a base. There are lots of options with LME, DME and various adjuncts where you can work on finding a flavor that you really enjoy. Once you find good flavors,the ABV is really going to be secondary. You'll have a beer you enjoy drinking. The ABV will come along
  7. from what I've read, the flavor isn't going to settle in at this point. But that's okay, it definitely looks like it's going to be an enjoyable beer. Right now we're just conditioning a longer to see if the fruity alcohol flavor on the back end blends with the rest of it a little more. It's definitely drinkable right now, but we think it can be really good with a few more weeks. I'll definitely update after the next taste test! I'll see if maybe I can even get a couple of pictures
  8. hey everybody, Here's an update on our 3rd ever batch. We took a basic classic American lite HME, added a standard Mr. beer Pale LME, then added 15.5 ounces of puréed peaches in syrup (canned). Now on this, our 1st batch using the peaches, we added them during the 1st week of fermentation. Will probably add them during the 2nd week in future batches. That being said, this time we fermented for 3 weeks, then bottle conditioned with basic table sugar for the next 4 weeks before refrigerating our 1st bottle for 3 days and testing. The result has been very pleasant. While a real "peach" flavor definitely does not come through, there is a fruity/alcohol flavor on the backend. It's not overpowering at like that, just like a pure fruit alcohol flavor that doesn't make itself noticed until the finish. This is another one we are going to condition for a few more weeks to see the change in flavor. Will probably be trying the Porter again this coming weekend, which will have been conditioning for 7 weeks at that point. We also have a 4th batch conditioning now, the Aztec HME combined with a Golden LME. Fermented it for 3 weeks and it's only been conditioning for 7 days so far, so still a good while to go on that one.
  9. hey mregione:-) Don't let Rick scare you off. He totally knows what he is talking about, and he answers tons of posts, so sometimes the answers are short, but we are a friendly bunch. No reason to only lurk in the corners:-)
  10. totally agree with Rick. I think there's a fine line between researching and experimenting. What one person feels might affect the "taste" of something too much, might be exactly what you are looking for. Definitely do the diligent research,, but in my opinion, don't be afraid to experiment once you think you know what you're looking for. I'm finding that brewing beer is equal parts science and art. You don't want to just throw a bunch of stuff into the LBK, and then just decide you want to use maple syrup as your sugar for conditioning because, well, you love maple syrup. Using golden molasses in a lighter beer, for my taste, would definitely NOT work. The bitterness it adds would be too much and would overwhelm the rest of the flavor. You might find gold molasses in a Porter is not enough, or too much. For me, through some combination of research, experimenting and pure luck, it's very nice in the Porter in the right amount. So I say, do your research, consider your costs, don't be afraid to experiment, and if your experiment goes off course and doesn't come out like you planned, do more research and try again. Don't give up! Somewhere in between the science and the art is a great beer.
  11. update on my 2nd ever batch: used the basic Porter refill kit, fermented for 3 weeks, then bottled using Golden molasses rather than table sugar. We used approximately 1/2 tablespoon per 16 ounce bottle. Conditioned for 4 weeks. Put one bottle into the fridge, waited 72 hours and then tasted. Result? Really good! A very nice, dark, rich Porter flavor, a slight bit of bitterness on the back of the tongue. Very dark color, nice Porter head that clung to the glass nicely on the way down. A very good, drinkable beer. We're going to condition the rest of the batch for a couple more weeks before testing another bottle, see if it mellows out just a little bit more on the bitterness, but very pleased with the result thus far!
  12. what size bottle are you using for the conditioning? You say you are using the suggested 2 1/2 teaspoons, but that's the suggested amount for a 1 L bottles. If you're using the included 16 ounce bottles, those are pint bottles, and suggested amount of sugar is only 1 teaspoon. Is it possible you been using 2 1/2 times more than suggested? That would make it pretty sweet
  13. as a new brewer here as well, I just started this past Christmas, I can totally back what RaiderRob says here. I started my 1st batch shortly after Christmas, before I even knew there was a community forum here and I only let it ferment for 2 weeks. I was planning on conditioning for 2 weeks, but then discovered the forum and decided to let it condition at room temperature for a full 30 days, and I have to say, it was/is delicious(I still have about 12 bottles remaining) Since then I've got 3 more batches going (was planning on a 4th over the weekend, but couldn't get around to it), 2 of them conditioning and one still fermenting. Definitely going to go with the 3-4 schedule. But, you can definitely save the ones that you only fermented for 2 weeks by conditioning a few more weeks!
  14. when I was younger, my 2 primary questions about beer were: 1) was it beer? 2) how cheap was it? Then, oh, maybe 20 years ago, I discovered Guinness and was like… "Wait a minute? This tastes… Good?!" After that, I was pretty spoiled. I hate paying for anything that is Budweiser, Coors etc. If I'm with friends, at a party or something, and that's all they have, I'll drink 1. I live in a small town and around here, if it isn't Budweiser or something that has a major commercial on television, then "that ain't beer!" Then, about 10 years ago, I discovered "Beer dinners" where you get 4-5 courses and each one is paired with a different microbrew. Started hearing a little more about homebrewing, and then just started getting into it at Christmas of last year. Sometimes, there's just nothing that hits the right spot like a delicious beer. Right now, I have one beer that I've brewed that we are enjoying, 2 more matches that are bottled and conditioning, and another 2 fermenting in the LBK. Looking forward to a great year :-)
  15. what kind of expiration time is there when it comes to unopened LME/DME? Do they stay good as long as the basic HME cans? or, is still best to use them sooner rather than later?
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