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Squeegeethree

Christmas Kit Noob reporting in at 9th batch

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Hi everyone... I've been lurking until now, so, thanks for all the help that the forums have given me.

 

My story starts as many have started with a holiday gift of a Mr. Beer LBK starter kit.  My wife was kind enough to give it to me early with the hopes of me drinking my beer at the holiday time.  My first 2 batches were good but not great and I've improved my methodology since and I'm very happy with what I'm getting now.

 

My family and I live in a small apartment.  My wife was excited by how well her gift went and my enthusiasm so she has cleared out an entire shelf in the kitchen for my supplies.  I ferment in my closet in a waterproof storage bin with an airtight lid.

I am fortunate enough to have 2 home brewing supply stores close enough to work and home to get random supplies even though I have no car.

I am also fortunate that 2 colleges at work started brewing at the same time one doing all grain 5 gallon batches and one doing extract/steep kits in 5 gallon batches.

 

Here's the play by play thus far...

 

Batch 1: Czech Pilsner (that came with the kit via amazon).  

Note: I followed my new instructions after watching the dvd that came with the kit.  All went well, I'm good at following instructions, but after everything was in the fermentor I had the bright idea of looking for a Mr. Beer forum.  I found out I was going to be increasing my times for everything.

Ingredients: 1 Czech Plsner kit can.

3 weeks fermentor, 4 weeks bottle conditioned using the sugar drops that came with the kit.

Results: Tasty beer with a slight cider taste/odor, minimal carbonation, addiction to making home brew.

 

Batch 2: Mexican Cervesa  (that came with the kit via amazon).

Note: I have no real interest in making this style of beer and I'm a tinkerer by nature so I diced up some ginger to boil.  My wife, a ginger enthusiast, had doubts if I was going to have enough time in my boil to exact enough ginger.  She happened to have a bottle of ginger syrup on hand. So...

Ingredients: Cervesa kit can + 2/3 cup Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup

3 weeks fermentor, bottle conditioned with sugar drops for the kit.

Results: Very interesting ginger ale start that finished into a pleasant cervesa finish.  While nobody else noticed but I could still taste some cider notes. I started drinking these after one week stretching out for a month there was no noticeable change in the beer from additional aging.

 

Batch 3: Diablo IPA

Note: I bought additional equipment including a hydrometer, StarSan, a 10L carboy for chilling my water the night before, a digital thermometer. In anticipation of making a beer I would actually buy I bought some additional ingredients.

Ingredients: Diablo IPA kit can, 1 lb DME (Dry Malt Extract for my fellow noobs) CBW Pilsen Light, 1/3rd oz Galaxy Hops 60min boil, 1/3rd oz Galaxy 10 min boil, 1/3 oz Galaxy Dry Hop.

2 weeks fermentor with 4 days of dry hopping (in sterilized cheesecloth), batch primed.

Results: Wonderful beer, better than most of the IPAs I buy. FG was 1.012 and 6.6% abv.  The yeast took off like a rocket making me doubt the viability of my first 2 batches of yeast.

 

 

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Well, first of all you get the standard;

 

post-54332-0-48721100-1426423463_thumb.j

 

Secondly, it sounds like you're well on your way down the home brewer road and so far have most of your poop in one sock.  Keep at it and enjoy the journey.

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Welcome to the obsession.  I haven't found any colleges nearby that brew beer, but I am constantly looking for them.  It would be great to be able to get a Ph.D. in beer brewing though.

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Batch 4: American Ale

Note: Running out of room to horde aging bottles.  Sharing bottles with friends is cutting into my supply of finished beers.  I'm going to ramp up production by following some Papazian advice by bottling when hydro readings are stable but after some dry hopping time.  All priming will be batched primed for the foreseeable future.

Ingredients: American Ale kit can, 1 lb CBW Pilsen Light, 1/3rd oz Centennial 60min boil, 1/3rd oz Centennial 10 min boil, 1/3 oz Centennial Dry Hop.

​Results: another great beer, initial fermentation more relaxed than the Diablo but still way more vigorous than the first 2 batches. FG 1.02 3.9% Abv

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Thanks guys.. still have 4 more batches to report but as you have seen before... This is great fun, my beer is getting better and better, I'm pretty relaxed about making it now.

 

My brew colleagues at work and I are starting to drive the non-brewers nuts with our brew talk but they will happily drink what we bring in to share.

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Batch 5: Irish Stout

Note: I decided to try steeping some Rye Flakes.  This was an interesting experience but the low volume of water I use to boil made it difficult and I lost a lot of water to absorption. Used whirl floc for the first time just to try but a stout was the wrong beer to try this on as the beer was too dark to see clarity in anyway.

Ingredients: Irish Stout can kit, 1 lb Tradition Dark DME, 1 lb steeped Rye Flakes, 1 package of Lallemand Nottingham Yeast, 1/4 tab whirl floc

Results: Great Stout, beautiful coco colored head FG 1.02 at 71F Abv 5.3%

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Batch 6: Rye Ale

Note: I decided to try a Briess only batch using a 3.3lbs can of Briess CBW Rye as base. My 10L water chiller I turned into a Secondary.

Ingredients: CBW Rye LME, 1 lb Pilsen Light DME, 2 oz Mosiac Hops (60min, 10min, dryhop equal amounts) 1 pack Safale US-05 yeast.

Results: Distictive Rye Spiciness FG 1.022 at 70f, 7.5% Abv, not as complex as either of my more successful Mr. Beer kits but too young to tell really.

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Batch 7: Amber Ale

Note: Another Briess only attempt but with a Camel Malt 40L Steep.

Ingredients: 3.3 lbs Sparkling Amber LME, 1 lb Golden DME, 1 lb Carmel 40l for steeping, 2 oz Amarillo pellets, 1 tsp gypsum, Wyeast Denny's Favorite.

Results: Too early to tell but in the secondary at Final gravity 1.02, 7.6% Abv

Additional Note: I tried my hand at harvesting and rinsing the yeast from this batch.  It was easy to do but I haven't reused it yet.

 

Batch 8: Belgian Dunkel

Note: wanted to try a Brewferm kit so the base of this was a Brewferm Abdij kit.

Ingredients: 1 can Brewferm Abdij, 1 lb Dark DME, 1 lb Belgian Amber Candy Sugar, 1 oz Willamette Hops, Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Grav, 1 tsp gypsum.

Results: Original gravity 1.09 @ 60F

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What's the purpose of posting your recipes in New Brewers and FAQs?  Doing original recipes, using secondaries and such aren't New Brewer topics - Also don't know why you're doing secondaries, as discussed they aren't needed except in special circumstances.

 

Nothing wrong with what you're doing - just asking why you're posting in this section of the forum.  

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Well I thought I was posting here because I was a new brewer.   This wasn't supposed to be recipes but I cannot tell you what I'm doing without posting these.  A mod can move this thread to a better place if needed.

 

The reason I switched to a secondary is more experimental than anything but for the time being it has the added benefit of increasing my production and allowing me to harvest my yeast.  So more opportunities to learn and make mistakes.  From my beginning experience I agree that a secondary isn't needed but these higher OG beers that I'm now making the peeps at the home-brew shops think some additional aging could be used to take some of the "heat" out of them.  They do seem pretty alcohol hot initially but I haven't finished bottle conditioning to report.

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Considering the fact that this thread contains more advanced techniques such as hop schedules and such, I'm moving this to the Advanced Brewing Techniques section.

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Welcome to the obsession.  I haven't found any colleges nearby that brew beer, but I am constantly looking for them.  It would be great to be able to get a Ph.D. in beer brewing though.

CMU is now offering a major.  Youngest was looking to see if he could take some classes as electives hoping that when the winery gets going we can bring a nano online and he could help, but the classes are not being offered as electives.  Probably a tad far for you to drive tho.

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Sweet, my second post I canz be advanced nhaw via moderation.

 

In truth I'm a basic beer crafting noob that in the real world has a job with the word "master" in the title (que master bater jokes now).  The carryover from from one to the other means I am drawn to making things complicated from the beginning.

 

I have to say that in the 2 days since I originally posted this I've been having a lot of fun on your forums (spreading incorrect information *looks at Josh and Rick*)

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My job has "master" in the title, too! We're like twins! :D

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Batch 2: Mexican Cervesa  (that came with the kit via amazon).

Note: I have no real interest in making this style of beer and I'm a tinkerer by nature so I diced up some ginger to boil.  My wife, a ginger enthusiast, had doubts if I was going to have enough time in my boil to exact enough ginger.  She happened to have a bottle of ginger syrup on hand. So...

Ingredients: Cervesa kit can + 2/3 cup Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup

3 weeks fermentor, bottle conditioned with sugar drops for the kit.

Results: Very interesting ginger ale start that finished into a pleasant cervesa finish.  While nobody else noticed but I could still taste some cider notes. I started drinking these after one week stretching out for a month there was no noticeable change in the beer from additional aging.

 

 

 

I'm loving this Ginger Cervesa idea.  

 

Honestly, in the past, I always turned away from Mr Beer / Cooper extracts, but now that I have tried them, I really like them.  I can serve my friends (and my wife) immature beer that they really like because of the fruity (green apple  - or off flavors) that the standard yeast gives off.  They like fruity drinks.  And the Aztec Cervesa is becoming my favorite HME base.

 

I'm currently waiting on a simple recipe that is promising to be really good using 1 can of the Aztec, 1 package of DME - smoothe; and .5 ounces of Hop Pellets

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The reason I switched to a secondary is more experimental than anything but for the time being it has the added benefit of increasing my production and allowing me to harvest my yeast.  So more opportunities to learn and make mistakes.  From my beginning experience I agree that a secondary isn't needed but these higher OG beers that I'm now making the peeps at the home-brew shops think some additional aging could be used to take some of the "heat" out of them.  They do seem pretty alcohol hot initially but I haven't finished bottle conditioning to report.

 

if I'm not mistaken, that heat should dissipate during the conditioning phase so you don't really have to do a secondary for that. It won't hurt either, as long as you maintain good sanitation. I used to be one of those people who always did a secondary, but I recently stopped and can't tell any difference. I might do a secondary for a barleywine that's in my lbk if i need to add more yeast, but the OG for that one was pretty high.  

 

BTW, you mentioned Charlie Papazian in an earlier post. I love the guy and I have all his books, and just bought the latest edition of "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing." I first bought that book in 1995 (2nd edition, I believe), and I still use it to this day. Having said that...while you can't go wrong following his advice, it is considered a tad bit dated by some and sometimes he kinda does things the hard way. There are techniques that have become popular relatively recently that are easier and work well, mainly in the all-grain brewing department if you decide to try that. So read as many brewing books as your interest level allows, and take what you like from each one. If you don't already know, "How to Brew" by John Palmer seems to be the homebrewing bible now, and an earlier edition is available for free online. I like Charlie's writing style a lot more than Palmer's, but "How to Brew" is also an excellent reference. I might even break down and buy the actual paper book one of these days.

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I may try switching my secondary to a second primary but because it's not an LBK it's a little harder to use as the mouth isn't as large.

I'll ask for "How to Brew" during the gift receiving cycle I encounter. Thanks for the recommendation.

 

An update of the batches above is that the Rye Ale I made ended up being the big hit.  The Begian Dunkel ended up being the first batch to escape my LBK but the sticky mess that it made was pretty much contained.  After a week it had fallen to 1.04 sg.

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I recommend:

The Home Brewer's Answer Book by Ashton Lewis

he's a columnist for BYO

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I recommend:

The Home Brewer's Answer Book by Ashton Lewis

he's a columnist for BYO

I recommend anything having to do with brewing and you can't go wrong.  I like reading all the back issues of BYO and recently picked up a used copy of Homebrewing For Dummies just because I haven't read it yet.

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I recommend anything having to do with brewing and you can't go wrong.  I like reading all the back issues of BYO and recently picked up a used copy of Homebrewing For Dummies just because I haven't read it yet.

 I bought Homebrewing for Dummies long ago. I think it's actually pretty good, a beginner could do a lot worse imho. I picked up Mosher's new homebrewing book ("Mastering Homebrew"). I haven't read the whole thing, just been skimming through it. It isn't bad, but it isn't my favorite either. We should start a thread on brewing books, if there isn't one already.

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I just picked up "Mastering Homebrew", also. I'm a big fan of Mosher's work, but I agree, it's not as good as "Radical Brewing" or "The Brewer's Companion" (one of the best brewing books ever).

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I only read howtobrew.com and I got The Complete Joy of Homebrewing 3rd edition(at the time the only one that was an book, it's on my Kindle). The rest of my reading is here, the Beerborg, and Home Brew Talk. reading, following links. Forums are an incredible resource of brewing knowledge. Then there's researching the brews you want to make. finding out what makes a pilsner a pilsner etc.

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I just picked up "Mastering Homebrew", also. I'm a big fan of Mosher's work, but I agree, it's not as good as "Radical Brewing" or "The Brewer's Companion" (one of the best brewing books ever).

 

I like "Radical Brewing" too, I picked that up when it first came out.. As a matter of fact I was just looking through it because it has a little section on Kentucky Common beer, which I must have missed or completely forgotten about over the past decade or so. I'm not familiar with "The Brewer's Companion", which I see was originally released in 1995 (not to be confused with "The Homebrewer's Companion" by Charlie Papazian, originally released in 1994).  

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