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Everything posted by Cato

  1. Ah, so you use it as you are heating to a boil. Guessing you've got to stir constantly until dissolved to avoid scorching. Every day is a learning curve for me in brewing.
  2. So, on your Chartwell Churchill's brew, you used some DME. I've never used that before and since LME is so easily dissolved, why use DME? I've read where people had it turn into tar like substance, and ended up pouring it all down the drain.
  3. I'd think all the bottles would condition similarly.
  4. +1 on that! I'm thinking that as soon as those Hoppy beers are carbed enough to drink, they belong in the fridge to keep them fresh. My bottles of Deschuttes Fresh Squeezed IPA are bottle conditioned and it's printed on the label they must be kept refrigerated.
  5. Hmm, I probably can't help here but my cider tastes went away when I controlled my temps both in a cooler and now the mini fridge with controller. Do you have your mini fridge set on it's coldest level? Do you have your probe insulated by a folded cloth or sponge and below the wort line? I set my inkbird to 64 with a 1 degree temp differential so that it kicks on the fridge at 65 and shuts off at 63. Do you use a bottle wand? Do you prop up your LBK when fermenting, cold crashing, and bottling? Trub doesn't taste good so you have to be careful when you pour to leave about a quarter inch of beer in the bottle. I know this is all basic stuff but it seems like if you have cider tastes it would come from yeast stress somewhere like pitch temp or fermenting temps, and it would effect the whole batch. I'd think you would taste it in either a taste sampling or hydrometer sampling. When re-using bottles I use an unscented soap like 7th generation to initially wash them and then rinse several times before putting them on the bottle tree to dry. All your procedures sound really solid and good, so it could be some seemingly minor error causing this, so doesn't hurt to review each step.
  6. "Wee Heavy Winston" won't be far behind! Your Special Christmas Ale sounds mouthwatering and likely aptly named for brewing now as a high gravity, probably won't be fully bottle conditioned until Xmas!
  7. Ordered a 5.5 gal kettle today from SS Brewtech. It's bigger than the kitchen pots I've been using but I think will give me more flexibility in partial mashes or even BIAB batches to fit in my LBKs. Once I get it setup and brew a few PMs I hope you and @Creeps McLane can give me a few tips or answer some questions on small BIAB batches. I liked this size because it'll fit on my gas stove top very comfortably and I got the screw in barb and 3 feet of food grade tubing for draining.
  8. Yes I want to try a small batch of mash in sack in that 3 gallon kettle, though I'd need to watch it like a hawk for hot break. No sooner had I lamented the lack of a 5 gallon kettle, when one popped up on my Google. Made by Anvil. https://www.amazon.com/Anvil-Brew-Kettle-5-5-gal/dp/B01HECQZ1Y/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1527127096&sr=8-5&keywords=5+gallon+brew+kettle
  9. Monday, Memorial Day, I'll cold crash my Tangerously Hoppy IPA and Tuesday will be brew day for "Wee Heavy Winston" so dubbed by @Bonsai & Brew! My supplies arrived today and I've got some other names I can give it, but that one stuck like fly paper, so it's named like that in my Excel sheet for now. I kinda wish they made a 5 gallon brew kettle /mash tun for us little guys but found I've got a 12qt. ALLCLAD pot with a full steamer basket that sits about an inch off the bottom. Yeah, that baskets going to hold some grains next Tuesday and relieve me of trying to use my oversize strainer to drain grain sacks. Queue is shaping up for an Irish Red using a Muntons Maris Otter can of LME with grain additions, and then a Strong Dark Belgian Ale, using a jar of Briess LME and grains.
  10. LOL, @Bonsai & Brew, I knew I was dusted before even joining in on this fun, but it's making me put my thinking cap on, and I do have to be able to drink this once its done. However, it'll be fun for me to see where I went wrong and what I might have done right when I show you guys my QBrew recipe, and will welcome any critiques.
  11. Well, I did get carried away with my grain bill and then realized I'd have a better chance at making a decent beer going with a bit less complexity, so going by the KISS thought process, I pared it down. I wasn't sure if we were supposed to stay within items like grains, hops, Lme, etc that MB carried or not, but in doing so helped me solve my items to pare down. Lol, I ordered a spare Churchill's to indulge my whims later on. So I've sifted through enough recipes and finalized my recipe and should be set on my inventory. MRB Tim is quiet on his desert search, but mine is locked in and set to go in my queue. I've used some elements of a Scotch Ale, (MB archived recipe), and elements of Northern English Brown Ale recipes. Where that falls style wise I'm not too concerned, mainly getting my proportions in balance. Churchill-HME, LME, two-row, Victory, Crystal, Roasted Barley, Heather tips, Fuggles, Nottingham yeast. O.G. if I remember should be about 1.071, F.G. 1.018 range and about 6.8% ABV. There, I'm done until I can start brewing which at earliest will be mid to late next week.
  12. Boy, I've been back and forth a lot but think I'm starting to close in on what I'm going to brew. Lol, I know I am going to have to drink this once its done and bottled. Definitely going to be interesting because I've only tasted the hydrometer sample from Calavera Stout. So I'm going a lot by description and have likely created a Frankenbrew, working with some new grains and HME. RDWHAB, its all good.
  13. Lol, I have both the Best Haze of our Lives and The Tangerlously Hoppy IPA in the fermenter right now. I was going to say it was a good time to get tangerines as they are plentiful, but realized I was commenting on the wrong brew, The Best Haze of our Lives, ought to be pretty good on its own, but I won't be able to say for a few weeks yet on either brew. Now I'm trying to roll a pineapple tasting brew around on my tongue, but I'm not there yet.
  14. For the most part I prefer glass, but find the PETS great for squeeze checking carbonation progress. So far I haven't brewed any of those high gravity 5-8 mo. conditioning beers that MB promotes the oxygen barrier bottles as being good for.
  15. Well alrighty then, I love just planning a new brew out and making little tweaks here and there. This'll be fun and I'm sure to learn a lot from you and MRB Tim on critiques of my grain bill.
  16. That was a B.S. answer from customer service. Hold them up to the light. The oxygen barrier bottles are darker. I have labels on mine and I just held my Oktoberfest kit bottle up against my oxygen barrier Bewitched Amber. Thicker bottle shows darker. Particularly around the base area.
  17. I'll play along on this since I was planning to try a couple PM's that I've been working on in Qbrew anyway. My LBK's won't open up for a few more weeks. Lol, since you are the OP @Bonsai & Brew, how do we go about this? Do we share our recipe before brewing or just have at it and brew it and then reveal?
  18. Yeah, the new design must be a lot different, because its short and tapers down quickly so not much room left to put something like a clamp on the hose to hold it firmly. Bottling wand fits inside pretty snugly and the tubing fits pretty well, so I think it will work okay for batch priming transfer. If the bottling wand wasn't so long I would have gotten some 3/8 I.D. tubing and put it over one end of it.
  19. I haven't batch primed yet, but want to be set up to do so. Do those of you who batch prime just put 3/8 O.D. tubing up the spigot on an LBK and run that into your priming bucket? I picked some tubing up today and tried it on a new LBK that I needed to sand the spigot opening down on and make sure it didn't leak. The tubing fit okay up the LBK spigot but did leak a drop every now and then when I ran the water through it. I'd prefer just a tad tighter fit, and not sure if it would take a wrap of Teflon tape on that smooth surface. I did notice that the tubing leaked when I had the LBK fully filled to the top with water. When the level dropped to the 2 gal mark it stopped, so could be just too much gravity force was on it when the LBK was so full.
  20. I brewed a nice saison fairly recently using that yeast and kept it at 70-72. It turned out very well with low to no esters. Priming I used 1/4 tsp / 12oz bottle and that turned out well. I tried 3 PET bottles using 1 carbo drop and that was too much and while not a gusher its still way overcarbed.
  21. I kind of like checking my OG and FG. I log it into a spreadsheet along with the other data, and now experimenting with Qbrew it gives me a better understanding of what to realistically expect if I add grains, booster, LME, honey etc to a recipe. Kind of fun for me anyway to play around and build to a starting OG, and then see if I finish out close enough to the FG. Then of course I drink the beer and try to figure out how to make it better the next time!
  22. Honestly, I only noticed twang before I changed up my brewing routine a bit. @Creeps McLane has some good points here that should help a lot. I'm a fan of higher attenuating neutral yeasts that will tolerate cooler fermenting temps, 63-64F. I get a cleaner taste with very low to no detectable esters. US-05 and Nottingham work well for most of what I brew. I mostly use the Craft HME's with an LME, carapils, and always some hops. I also like adding honey on the IPA's. I have a lot of fun and get good results from the partial mashes and no twang.
  23. That Tangerously Hoppy is in my queue for tomorrow! Thinking I might zest the tangerines a day or so before and cover them in vodka and then pour it all into a sanitized hop sack and add the juice and zest and hops after the first week of fermenting.
  24. Yeah, the lager conditioning stage would throw a wrench in my schedule!
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