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About Mjc

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    Brewmaster in Training

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  1. I have a bunch of Stainless Steel growlers that don't get enough use (tell people you brew your own beer and they seem to have come in as B-day and Xmas presents!). Anyway, I am starting to think about doing some actual lager brews and lagering the beer for 4-8 weeks and was curious. Can I just fill a 64 or 128oz growler to the top, cap it and keep it cold (assume no reason I can't do this), but the real question is after that (or with any ale batch not needing lagering I suppose), can I just drop in some priming sugar and let it carbonate at room temp for a week or two and back into the fridge to condition/lager for as long as I can hold off drinking it? I have a 64 and 128oz Mancan, which the website says you can carbonate in them, also have a 64oz Hydroflask with a TrialKeg aluminum cap (used to pour directly and add CO2 as needed) and a 64oz DrinkTank with its original cap (both insulated, double walled). I can't imagine the pressure during carbonation could damage a steel or double walled steel growler, but wanted to see if anyone has tried, or is there a reason NOT to carbonate in one for a reason I have not even considered. Thanks for any info. Oh yea, while I am here discussing lagers, can someone explain the difference between lagering at like 35 degrees for a month or two before adding priming sugar and adding the sugar and letting it lager while it carbonates? Little fuzzy on the differences.
  2. Bonsai, just wondering if you ever made the Diablo with the Dry River grains and how it went?
  3. Have a can of Diablo IPA I want to brew up, and noticed the partial recipe for Dry River Rye IPA and was curious if Diablo and Long Play IPA are close enough that I can just swap the Long Play out for my Diablo. Anyone made this one yet, any thoughts (using either can)? Thanks,
  4. Thanks Josh, think I am ready to go.
  5. Thanks Josh, I have my juice and gonna try S-04, probably add a little sugar, but not going to use DME this batch as I figure I should try a simple batch to use as a benchmark moving forward. I know you said not to worry about doing a secondary, but I have a question about this. Say I wanted to do a small 1-gallon test batch for my first attempt. I assume enough CO2 is off-gased in the LBK during primary to create a CO2 blanket over the liquid. If you do do a secondary with that much less liquid than the design of the container, will enough CO2 be created at this point (assuming secondary done after full primary fermentation) to create a similar CO2 blanket to prevent oxidation, or if doing a secondary should you do it BEFORE full fermentation is complete to ensure at least some CO2 generation? I suppose the same question is relevant of beer. I have never done a secondary in my dozen or so batches, but if I did, at what point does the head space become problematic..if ever? If I am not carbonating a bottle of cider, is there any difference between bottling and letting it bottle condition and using a secondary process for a few weeks before bottling? My mind just tells me its just simple either sitting in a bottle or sitting in the LBK while the yeast does it clean up, but that assumption does not mean I know what I am talking about! Thanks again.
  6. And even more questions! So, still reading up on how to brew a cider. I think I will go with a still cider the first time, maybe just a 1-gallon batch to start, using my LBK (as carbonating a sweet cider seems to be a bit challenging for a first timer). I am a bit confused about getting a sweetish cider as a final product. Is there a difference between fully fermenting till a dry cider, adding potassium sorbate and then adding honey or sugar or agave or whatever to sweeten and tracking SG and adding the potassium sorbate to halt fermentation at a level where residual sweetness still exists? Also reading about using potassium or sodium metabisulfite in addition to potassium sorbate. Is that a required thing to use both or are they interchangeable? I am hoping/guessing that once I bottle this it is like beer, it will age and condition in the bottle and (hopefully) improve in flavor? Since I will not be carbonating this batch, any reason not to use screw top wine bottles to condition and store or is there still potentially enough living yeast to make this a bad idea? Any ideas on how long to peak flavor and how long till it generally would go bad? Thanks again to all that help, especially Josh.
  7. Many Thanks Josh and Nick. Any tips on how long to condition? Or I guess the old answer of "make it and drink one a week until you figure it out" is always a good rule when brewing new things! Josh, by "stabilize" it do you mean just let it ferment the proper amount of time? I have read about some people "back sweetening", is that where a non-fermentable sweetener is added at bottling and let it condition for a while? You may mean something different as not sure why you would need a kegging system to do that. Anyway, thanks again for the thoughts.
  8. Have four LBK's sitting around and only use 2 for beer (picked up a few as spares during a $5 sale years ago), so I thought I would try one with cider. Found a recipe for Apfelwein online, basically apple juice and some sugar/yeast, figured I would give it a shot. I had a couple questions to any experienced cider brewers: 1 - Can I switch back and forth from beer to cider in LBK or designate it one or the other (like root beer). 2 - I have read a wide range of fermenting times (from days to months/a year). My idea is to ferment in the LBK for 3 weeks, but than I want to put it in a secondary. I was thinking of using some old beer Growlers, so I am curious if that would work just capping it, no airlock and storing it 2-4 more months in the dark just letting it mellow and than if I want to carb some of it, batch prime it like a typical beer and bottle it, or will I blow up the growler if kept at room temperature? I suppose I can move it to my 4th LBK and store it that way if the idea of the growler is no good, or can it be stored in the original LBK with no off flavors for several months? 3 - Temperatures similar to beer? My wine fridge has a top temp of 65 degrees which works great for my beer, assume it will work fine for cider, but figured can't hurt to ask. 4 - Types of yeast? Anyone have any insight. Seems some use cider yeast, some champagne some ale (S-05 has been mentioned and I have some laying about so that would be ideal, but not adverse to getting the right yeast if needed). 5 - Thoughts on carbonation (how to do it, if to do it at all), or just treat it like beer carbonation? 6 - any other thoughts on sweetening or anything I have missed? Anyone added Light DME to see if it has any effect on flavor? (assume it will up the ABV %) Thanks as always to everyone.
  9. Thanks Guys, that's what I was hoping (or is it hopping) to hear.
  10. Been about an 18 month Mr. Beer brewer and people here have always helped me a great deal. Well I finally tried my first extract batch doing full hop boiling, so technically first time I have not used Mr. Beer kit. It was a 5-gallon extract/partial mash kit and I just split in in half to make a 2.5 gallon batch. Everything went fine until today, day 17 of the batch, dry hopping day. I was talking with my wife, boiled some hop sacks for 10 minutes, dropped in some hops and quickly dropped them in the LBK. An hour later it dawned on me I forgot to halve the amount of dry hops, so instead of 1/2 oz Simcoe and Centennial I did a full ounce of each. So my question is should I take half our, should I dry hop 2-3 days instead of 3-5, should I not worry about it? Any thoughts. The beer is an IPA. Thanks for any insights.
  11. Thanks for the info. Some good stuff to think about. Couple more questions. People discuss the efficiency of the wort creation process. I get that the efficiency dictates how much sugars get into the wort, but I am not sure how adding additional grains (which are very cheap) doesn't offset the loss of efficiency in a no sparge brew. By topping off, do you mean adding cold water to the hotter wort vs actually chilling the wort to the desired temperature? I sort of understand the desire for a rapid wort chill for the cold break, but than I read about hop stands which, unless I greatly misunderstand them, is the exact opposite. Can't return the 6 gallon pot, had it too long and not sure my stove can boil an 8-gallon one and than I am into the budgeting for major equipment which I am trying to avoid, I don't mine the time vs amount of beer ratio being "poor" for small batches, I don't drink that much beer, just like the process of learning the craft AND drinking the final results, but a case lasts me up to a month, so once a month brewing is not a problem. In terms of chilling, living in a drought state with pretty high fines for water usage, I was wondering if people use a electric drill pump hooked up to a wort chiller drawing from a medium sized water source that you can chill and/or add ice to, in essence recirculating the water and chilling it by adding additional ice as needed? Is that not feasible? I would think in some ways it better as my tap water is probably in the 60's and I can drop the reservoir water to the high 30's pretty easily (at least in the beginning) and when done, water a tree with it.
  12. Been brewing casually about 1.5 years, and starting to think its time to at least try some small batch all grain beer. Been reading around, came across this posting that makes it seem pretty straight forward, but wanted people with more experience's input before I dive in. http://www.classiccitybrew.com/homebrew.html any thoughts on this technique and methods? I bought a 6 gallon pot, so doing 2-3 gallon boils should not be too difficult, will have to size it for about a 2.2-2.5 gallon batch, mainly curious about the idea of not worrying to much about sparging and just adding 20% more grain and using the LBK to ferment. Thanks Matt
  13. Follow-up question. I just bottled my first lager. I brewed it in a temperature controlled wine fridge at 55 degrees. I plan to carbonate at room temp about a month and than I am trying to figure out what to do with it. Not enough room in the wine fridge to long term condition. I can either just keep it at room temp (70-72 this time of year) or put it in a small dorm fridge which I put on minimum setting and seems to be leveling out at around 50-51 degrees at that setting. I plan on doing a few of each just to test, but was curious what is the lowest conditioning temp that should be used? Does cold conditioning have to be done at a temperature the yeast is rated for? I suppose I can set up the dorm fridge on a timer and turn it on and off each hour, but that may be more trouble than its worth if 50 degrees is fine (and I think it should be, I think the yeast is rated down to 48 degrees (W34/70) and this may introduce wider temperature swings). Someday maybe I will build and set up a temperature controller for the dorm fridge, but wanted to get some input from the group first as maybe it's not necessary if a somewhat consistent 50 degrees is held. I just don't want the yeast to fall asleep, wake up, fall asleep etc if the fridge cycles between 47-50 if that can effect the final product.
  14. Started Helles Bock this last weekend, have a bunch of hops in the freezer I would like to use some up. Any suggestions on dry hopping the brew or should I just brew as intended? Thanks.
  15. 8-inch funnel from local brew store, pour towards you, 2-3 times practice and I haven't spilled since (and I made a mess my first batch).
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