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Michael Astfalk

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About Michael Astfalk

  • Rank
    Brewer
  • Birthday 12/30/1968

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Hummelstown, PA
  • Interests
    Model Trains, Craft Beer, Home Brewing
  1. When batch priming, how much table sugar and water are to be used for a typical Mr. Beer batch?
  2. Jim: That new batch that I made on Saturday (Distracted Ale), seemed to reach high klausen over the last couple of days. The LBK temp was right around 68f for that time. Now it is dropping as of today's temp, right around 66f for now - foam has subsided. You said that you ferment around 65f. Should I take any action with this or just let it go & do its work? LBK is in a cooler. I could put some hot water bottles in to bring the ambient temp up and try to affect the wort temp, or just see if it levels off and then let it go.
  3. Wishful thinking on my part. There's four of them. The seven year old likes to help me - and is a big help. the distraction is the two little ones. Probably will get on to it better as I get more familiar with the process. Early morning on a saturday might work. I'll figure something out for the next batch and give that a try.
  4. No, you and John gave good advice here. Thank you. I had copied the recipe in to my notes on the iPhone so I could lay it out - put the order to it - and was using that. It got too much between the recipe, the phone shutting off, and the activity in the house. Trying to sanitize equipment, prepare the recipe and then follow it got to be a bit of a challenge with a toddler & a preschooler under my feet shredding paper all over the kitchen floor. In the end, my mistake and I'll see where it comes out on this batch. Next time I'll actually print my notes/recipe the way I had it in my phone. That ought to help me with the list for brew day and to follow it.
  5. No. It was stuff I had from Mr. Beer already. Had to pick up the yeast at the LHBS. I have this box downstairs with refills, LME packs, hops, etc. I bought it on sale after the holidays. I don't know how much slower I can go. It took me 90 minutes to make this recipe. My trouble is work space/environment and being able to actually read the recipes. Type is very small and cramped and too many distractions in my house. Will read them a couple of times in the future. Will try to go slower next time. Thanks for the guidance.
  6. I met you guys half way on this. I switched gears and I'm doing the Barley Smoked Porter Recipe - at least with ingredients that I could get for it here locally. I'll end up making a donation to this or another similar charity on my own. It was the only recipe I could find where it was close to what I want to do. This way, i have an exact recipe to follow. I'll remove the hop sacks from the wort after the boil times - but it doesn't say that in the directions. Not sure why. It actually is working out content wise - I had to buy 1 oz of hops for each of the types called for, so I can use those later in the other recipes. UPDATE on this, (20 minutes after I originally responded) - I think I messed up the recipe. Will have to see how it turns out. We talked about removing the hops sacks at flame out. This particular recipe said to leave them in for the fermentation. Not sure why, because this recipe is doing exactly what we were talking about, 20 minute boil then 10 minute boil. I removed the hop sacks at flame out as we discussed and tossed them, then noticed the end of that paragraph in the recipe said to leave them in. The other thing I noticed is that the recipe did not say to let the wort cool - but because I had heated it so long and boiled it, the temp in the keg was at 75 even after adding cold refrigerated water. Have it cooling down with ice packs in the cooler & will watch it.
  7. I have some LME bags. What do I do with them? I thought they were to be added to the recipes?
  8. But the Mr Beer recipes do not call for a boil of the HME. In what are we boiling the hops? Just the water? Then the recipes say to leave the hops in - pour the mixture in the LBK for fermentation.
  9. Not sure I'm getting this? So I would boil the wort for 20 mins with 1/2 the hops for the first 15 mins, then the other half for the last 5 mins? Then what do I do with the hops, completely remove them? Do I have it right?
  10. I'd like to get get it slightly hoppy but balanced. If I understand Jim's graph correctly, a balance between flavor and aroma or flavor and bitterness would either be 12 min boil vs 30 min boil respectively? How much hops would I need to add to balance it out? Should I boil or just add to the recipe? Most of these recipes don't require a boil of the hops, so I would think I am just adding hops in the bag and leaving it in?
  11. It is in the 60s, but I should really check that. I use the cooler to regulate the temp. I was advised earlier to add ice packs to regulate it further. I was getting LBK temps in the mid 70s in the cooler when it was in my dining room.
  12. Just wanted to do a quick run down on starting the next batch to make sure I'm on track - I'm going to try Ole Mole Stout. I'm following the recipe exactly. I've got all those steps down. Sanitize everything. Once completed and in the LBK, primary fermentation begins - I'm immediately putting the LBK in to my cooler, which is now in my basement. I'm controlling the temp in THE LBK to be around 68 degrees - or even a bit lower, checking the stick on thermometer that I have on the side of the keg. This is critical during primary fermentation when the yeast heats up and is most active. I will be using ice packs in the cooler to get the temp down, checking several times a day. Do I have all this right? I have a couple of LME packs. Is there an issue adding 1-2 of these to the Ole Mole recipe? Does that affect anything? Thanks in advance for your answers. Again, I know I'm a bit redundant on this - just making sure I'm getting this.
  13. Rick - if I understand, commando or bagged, we are leaving the hops in the wort and pouring in to the LBK. Correct?
  14. Jim: The percentage on the jpg - is that IBUs? Does the desired affect relate to the type of hops that you use?
  15. I want to make sure I understand the hops - going to try a recipe that calls for them - We are putting the hops in AND never removing them per the recipe instructions? I don't see where it says to remove them. We are just leaving them in the hop sack & wort and adding all of that to the LBK?
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