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Everything posted by JoshR

  1. +1 on everything said here. If you want a dry cider that still has a good fruit profile, Lalvin's D47 is a winning yeast. I love it. Red Star's Cote De Blanc isn't too bad either. English ale yeasts work well, too. Or if you want to be more adventurous, try a Belgian or Abbey yeast. This will give you more complexity, especially if you add some honey or Belgian candy sugar to your must. I don't like using champagne yeast at all. Like Brewer said, it's very aggressive and it WILL strip away the fruit profile leaving you with a "hot" cider (you can taste the alcohol and not the apples). If you ferment at lower temps, you can avoid this, but it's just best to use a more appropriate yeast.
  2. We don't, but I can put one together for you if you wish. The closest thing we have is the Wicked Winter Warmer, but it doesn't use oak chips. http://www.mrbeer.com/wicked-winter-warmer-recipe
  3. Yes. Cold temps will reduce the pressure caused by Co2 resulting in less firm bottles. This is why champagnes and sparkling wines should be chilled before opening. Ever opened a warm bottle of sparkling wine? It gets messy. As zorak pointed out, the co2 dissolves better into solution when it's cold than when it's warm. That's why when force carbonating in kegs, it's best to do it when the beer has been chilled.
  4. +1 on this. I only use my refractometer for my OG. Like Barley said, testing with a refractometer after fermentation begins, even using a calculator, it can still be WAY off your actual reading. That's why I would recommend using your hydrometer for your FG instead.
  5. Give it a spin when you put it in the test jar. This will keep it off the sides and it will remove any bubbles that may alter your reading.
  6. Welcome to the community! I think you'll fit in well here. And if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask. There are no stupid questions here. Well, there might be a few, but we'll go easy on you.
  7. I'm not too sure what we have that will be similar to Coopers Sparkling Ale, but I'll look into it. They've kept their beer a secret for 150 years. They may be our parent company, but even we don't know exactly what's in it. In the meantime, you can either buy the Coopers kit and split it, or you can use this recipe from BYO (just scale it down to 2 gallons): http://byo.com/stories/recipeindex/item/501-coopers-sparkling-ale-clone
  8. You're probably not going to get much lower than 1.010. The sweetness you're tasting is residual sweetness from the unfermentable sugars in the malt. It should be ready to bottle.
  9. Do you mean 1.010? Or 1.100? I'm sure you probably don't mean the latter unless you're making wine...lol.
  10. No. Vinegar (acetic acid) isn't produced by yeast. It's produced by a bacteria called acetobacter. It will only turn to vinegar if this bacteria is introduced to the batch. Just use any ale or wine yeast.
  11. Depends on the recipe. If it's an IPA or hoppy pale ale, I like to add some to the boil AND dry hop. Otherwise, just add it in the boil. Also, I would like to point out that dry hopping does affect flavor as aroma and flavor are tied together in our senses. When I dry hop, I can definitely taste the hops in it. Sure, probably not as much as if I had added it to the boil, but the flavor is there.
  12. +1 Most homemade ciders will be dry unless it contains some unfermentable sugars. When making sweeter ciders, I usually keg them. First, I'll stabilize the cider by adding potassium sorbate, then I backsweeten to how I like it and force carbonate it. This obviously requires a kegging system, but those are always a great investment for someone that loves brewing.
  13. Yes, you can just use apple juice/cider. Just be sure the ingredients in it don't include potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate as these will inhibit yeast reproduction/fermentation. Also, pasteurized is best.
  14. Yeah, I've never had any issues with carbonation and I've used the exact same measurements, temps, bottles, etc. Let us know how they turn out.
  15. Then be sure you're using no more than 50% apple juice/cider. The rest will be water. Also, try using a good British yeast such as Safale S-04. This can minimize the presence of any cidery flavors. I've never really had any issues with cidery flavors when making graffs. Otherwise, you can just do what Jim suggested and add extract at bottling. Though then it wouldn't be a "true" graff.
  16. Looks good! Just substitute the water that you'll be using to top off the batch with apple juice. You can also use apple juice for the mulling spices, which I think would be the way to go. There's nothing wrong with experimentation. It's YOUR batch. And we're here to help you along the way.
  17. Hmmmm. I'm thinking you may just need to wait a bit longer. The only other thing I can think of is temperature swings. If there are any temperature swings (such as night temps being colder than day temps), it could inhibit the carbonation process.
  18. The pressure of Co2 will drop a bit in the cold. Which is the reason champagne and most sparkling wines should only be opened when chilled. And since it's not quite carbonated, perhaps you just need to leave them out longer? Also, what size were your bottles?
  19. This is correct. I still prefer to use spring water instead of distilled water for my HME batches (that's just a personal preference and not a scientific one), but you can use distilled water as the HME is full of enough nutrients for a healthy ferment and balanced flavor.
  20. I've heard of others doing this, too. I'm going to have to try it for some of my LBK recipes. Just not sure about how to keep temps consistent with this method.
  21. What temps were your bottles stored? Did you tighten the caps all the way? Did you use the correct amount of carb drops/sugar? Was there uneven carbonation (some carbed more than others)?
  22. I was about to say the same thing. Whenever I add extra LME/DME, I'll also add a half oz or so of hops to balance it a bit.
  23. Or you can just brew saisons all summer. That yeast can ferment at 90 degrees with no issues. lol
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