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I decided I needed a better way to estimate the abv of my experimental batches so I purchased a refractometer.  And, thanks to Northern Brewer I also have a calculator to use when I use it.  I feel like a nerd using this thing but it's fun and easy to use.  I also think I've found the perfect place to store my bottled beers - for conditioning.  I'm gonna talk to a realtor soon...as soon as I can learn the language...Norwegian.

Cold? check,   Quiet? check,   Out of the way and likely not to be disturbed? check.

Abandoned home Norway.jpg

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Using a refractometer for measuring OG is fine.  Once alcohol starts being produced, the readings are not accurate.  While there are calculators to try and approximate what the reading should be, you'll find that at the most sophisticated brewing operations they simply use a hydrometer.  They may take OG readings with a refractometer.  

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MB has a very inexpensive single scale hydrometer that tells you all you need to know for OG and FG. I sanitize the hydrometer in the sampling tube to take the OG so I can return it to the LBK before I pitch. FG I take before bottling and take a taste sip of the sample as well as record the reading and save the rest in a glass to sip on at lunch after bottling and clean up is done.

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1 hour ago, RickBeer said:

Using a refractometer for measuring OG is fine.  Once alcohol starts being produced, the readings are not accurate.  While there are calculators to try and approximate what the reading should be, you'll find that at the most sophisticated brewing operations they simply use a hydrometer.  They may take OG readings with a refractometer.  

While I wouldn’t call us “sophisticated” I will say we use a hydrometer and my refractometer sits in its box collecting dust and has for a couple years or so. 

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Unlike most, I do use a refractometer and rarely use a hydrometer.  I did however spend quite a bit of time and beer using both side by side to get a good value for correction.  There is a spreadsheet out there somewhere that you put in both numbers and it calculates a correction number.  It takes like 20 readings to get a reliable correction factor.  I do sometimes check my calculated FG with a hydrometer and they are within a point so I am satisfied that for me it is close enough.

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11 hours ago, RickBeer said:

Using a refractometer for measuring OG is fine.  Once alcohol starts being produced, the readings are not accurate.  While there are calculators to try and approximate what the reading should be, you'll find that at the most sophisticated brewing operations they simply use a hydrometer.  They may take OG readings with a refractometer.  

 

I do have a hydrometer but found it impossible to use with the LBK.  That was before I found out one needs also buy a graduated cylinder to fill with beer to float the hydrometer in, which takes a pretty good amount of beer from the small LBK.  (The instructions with the hydrometer did not inform me of needing the graduated cylinder and, of course, I do not have one).  Meanwhile, the' Northern Brewer' website contains a calculator (as you mentioned) that attempts to more accurately estimate the abv based on original brix, current brix and  current gravity (which itself is based on original brix and current brix).  Whew -  all just for what I would consider an estimate of actual abv.  All I can say is it's a darn good thing I'm not printing labels with abv figures on 'em and trying to sell them to the public.  LOL

 

I appreciate your input and knowledge, btw.  😄

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9 hours ago, Cato said:

MB has a very inexpensive single scale hydrometer that tells you all you need to know for OG and FG. I sanitize the hydrometer in the sampling tube to take the OG so I can return it to the LBK before I pitch. FG I take before bottling and take a taste sip of the sample as well as record the reading and save the rest in a glass to sip on at lunch after bottling and clean up is done.

 

Oh, great -- now that I have already bought both a hydrometer and a refractometer!  lol  Say, did you say that it came with a sampling tube?  Mine did not, tho it was in a plastic tube.  I was not able to use the tube it came in because it is a semi-tight fit, no way the hydrometer floats freely in that tube.  How much beer does it take to use MB's hydrometer? 

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9 hours ago, kedogn said:

While I wouldn’t call us “sophisticated” I will say we use a hydrometer and my refractometer sits in its box collecting dust and has for a couple years or so. 

 

Hmmm.  Do you still brew just 2 gallons at a time in a LBK?

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7 hours ago, BDawg62 said:

 I do sometimes check my calculated FG with a hydrometer and they are within a point so I am satisfied that for me it is close enough.

 

By "a point" do you mean, like 6% instead of 7%?  Or 6.1% vs 6.2%?  For my purposes that would be more than accurate enough.  I just want to know if my recipes are yielding, say 6.5%, (or whatever) give or take  0.5%.  That would be close enough, as they say, for horse shoes and hand grenades....and my satisfaction.  😎

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54 minutes ago, Mic Todd said:

Hmmm.  Do you still brew just 2 gallons at a time in a LBK?

Haven’t for over 8.5 years. We do 35 or 60 gallon batches.   I get your point though, smaller amount used, yeah?  Sanitize your tube, toss it back in.  Personally, I trust a hydrometer more than refractometer. Of the places I’ve got to help brew at or been able to pick their brewer’s brains, I can’t tell you who last told me they use the later of the 2. It’s been that long honestly.  However,  I could tell you the Ducks suck (ouch!) but much like what tool to use, it’s something you have to decide on for yourself. I can only tell you from my experience and btw,  it was Oklahoma’s football! #WorstCallEver!  :) 

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1 hour ago, Mic Todd said:

 

Oh, great -- now that I have already bought both a hydrometer and a refractometer!  lol  Say, did you say that it came with a sampling tube?  Mine did not, tho it was in a plastic tube.  I was not able to use the tube it came in because it is a semi-tight fit, no way the hydrometer floats freely in that tube.  How much beer does it take to use MB's hydrometer? 

If it is the MB hydrometer, yes that would be the sampling tube and stand. Takes about 2/3 fill in that tube to get her floating.

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1 hour ago, kedogn said:

 btw,  it was Oklahoma’s football! #WorstCallEver!  :) 

 

Thanks for your reply and I'm kinda getting the idea from others like yourself that the refractor vs hydrometer controversy is leaning towards the hydrometer.  Fortunately, I still have my hydrometer, or I did have if I can get it back from the wife. 

 

As far as #WorstCallEver! goes, well, that was a looooong time ago and a lot of football has been played since then.  And I might argue that the "worst call ever" might get votes from Duck fans regarding that touchdown against Stanford a coupled weeks ago that was called a TD by the referees (both of them) on the field but reversed during the TV Time Out by someone in the booth.  That was worthy of "worst call ever too".  Probably dozens of them every season across the CFB world...lol  GO DUCKS

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When i first started brewing i was quite anal about gravity readings. Now i never take an OG or an FG. Call me crazy... 

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5 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

When i first started brewing i was quite anal about gravity readings. Now i never take an OG or an FG. Call me crazy... 

Interesting take. Curious though, you’re not concerned about consistency?  Not concerned about conversion rates, efficiency and possibly being able to save $ per batch?  Without those #s you aren’t able to calculate any of that.  Heck, one wouldn’t even accurately know what boil rate they needed or if their IBU calcultions were accurate without knowing their SG.  As an AG home brewer you can certainly get away with that if these things don’t concern you.   You can assume “This is what I hit before, this is what I will always hit” and if it’s wrong, it won’t matter but, for me personally, when I was starting out I knew that for me to get better, to brew the same beer consistently (which is vital to being able to take that step past home brewer),  I needed as much data as I could supply myself and SG/FG is a huge part of that data for more than just abv. Now, having stepped beyond being a home brewer, those numbers are not just random data, they are vital (and legally needed) just like so many other things.   I’ve never met a brewer, at any level, who honestly didn’t care about that data.  Interesting take for sure.  Thanks for sharing that. Got me thinking about so many things, including the “good ole days”.  Certainly got my “wanting to brew” juices flowing.  Good stuff! 

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5 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

When i first started brewing i was quite anal about gravity readings. Now i never take an OG or an FG. Call me crazy... 

I was in production management for too long to do that as everything was logged from machinery maintenance, goods produced, waste, inventory, etc. 

Then when I ran an R&D facility raising shrimp indoors from larvae, where we grew our own algae for feed, well that was a huge amount of data recording.

Nope, even though I'm getting a good feel about what my grain bill is gonna yield, I still want to know and log into my spreadsheet.

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12 hours ago, Mic Todd said:

 

By "a point" do you mean, like 6% instead of 7%?  Or 6.1% vs 6.2%?  For my purposes that would be more than accurate enough.  I just want to know if my recipes are yielding, say 6.5%, (or whatever) give or take  0.5%.  That would be close enough, as they say, for horse shoes and hand grenades....and my satisfaction.  😎

By a point I mean 1.011 vs 1.012

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6 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

When i first started brewing i was quite anal about gravity readings. Now i never take an OG or an FG. Call me crazy... 

with MRB recipes i never check OG/FG. I have to admit though now that I am doing some AG batches, I have been checking OG to get some idea of my mash efficiency. I've been coming in lower than the recipes suggest I should be, so I'm trying to figure out how to make that better. Hydrometer for me.

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Two points.

 

1) While the Mr. Beer site isn't the be all and end all for products, or information, reading the blog on using a hydrometer would have shown the tube and more importantly how to read a hydrometer (many people do it wrong).  The password is "meniscus" (that's a joke, if you don't know what Password means go away...).  I don't want to harp on it, but reading in 10 different places will yield you 14 different answers, 6.3 which are flat out wrong.

 

2) There are lots of places to buy beer stuff.  LHBS (local home brewing store), online purveyors (my LHBS happens to be one of the online purveyors), Amazon (lack of content), etc.  I always remind people that Northern Brewer and Midwest are owned by ZX Ventures, which is Anheuser-Busch InBev.  Personally, I try to not have a penny of my money benefit "big beer", so they'll never get a dime from me at either company.  I do all my purchasing locally as I said, which happens to be one of the competitors to Northern / Midwest, Adventures in Homebrewing.  They are not always the lowest price, but I prefer measuring out and grinding my own grains, which I can do in their store near me (they only have 2 stores, both in SE Michigan).  You can order grains in quantities as low as fractions of a pound, provided you're ordering pounds (i.e. you can get 2.3 pounds of something), and they will grind for free, or not, as you specify.  I don't buy my hops or yeast there as they aren't competitively priced, I buy hops every 12-24 months elsewhere, and my yeast either with my hop purchase or via a small company that sells it very inexpensively, but you have to buy 4 packets or more (and they mix and match).  I won't post either name here, as Mr. Beer is a competitor, but wanted to point out that Northern Brewer is the dark side.

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2 hours ago, Jdub said:

with MRB recipes i never check OG/FG. I have to admit though now that I am doing some AG batches, I have been checking OG to get some idea of my mash efficiency. I've been coming in lower than the recipes suggest I should be, so I'm trying to figure out how to make that better. Hydrometer for me.

 

Same here.  I do have a refractometer, but I only use it on high octane brews to make sure fermentation is complete.

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5 hours ago, kedogn said:

Interesting take. Curious though, you’re not concerned about consistency?  Not concerned about conversion rates, efficiency and possibly being able to save $ per batch?  Without those #s you aren’t able to calculate any of that.  Heck, one wouldn’t even accurately know what boil rate they needed or if their IBU calcultions were accurate without knowing their SG.  As an AG home brewer you can certainly get away with that if these things don’t concern you.   You can assume “This is what I hit before, this is what I will always hit” and if it’s wrong, it won’t matter but, for me personally, when I was starting out I knew that for me to get better, to brew the same beer consistently (which is vital to being able to take that step past home brewer),  I needed as much data as I could supply myself and SG/FG is a huge part of that data for more than just abv. Now, having stepped beyond being a home brewer, those numbers are not just random data, they are vital (and legally needed) just like so many other things.   I’ve never met a brewer, at any level, who honestly didn’t care about that data.  Interesting take for sure.  Thanks for sharing that. Got me thinking about so many things, including the “good ole days”.  Certainly got my “wanting to brew” juices flowing.  Good stuff! 

Do i care about consistency and conversion and everything else? Not really. Thats the honest truth. 

 

However... i must say that ive already done all the hard work so I feel ok not worrying about things anymore. Best decision ive ever made was downloading beersmith. When i did I took the time to go through step by step and build a personal brewing equipment profile for my gear. Time after time everything i saw in beersmith was exactly what i saw on brewday. I used to check preboil gravity, post boil gravity even occasionally mash gravity. Now im so confident that as long as my volumes on brew day are where they need to be, my gravities should be on as well. One less thing to worry about is what I strive for.

 

i will be dusting off my old hydrometer here soon to see where my brett aged pale ale is at. Its been in secondary for prob around 4 months now. If i bottle it I wanr to make sure its done. Otherwise we all know what happens.

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9 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

When i first started brewing i was quite anal about gravity readings. Now i never take an OG or an FG. Call me crazy... 

 

Not at all Creeps, I can see that.  I wanted to start checking because I am tweaking the recipes when I experiment.  But I can see it as not being a must.  Right now I'm just learning about brewing and I thought it fun and a way to tell (besides taste) how I was doing. 

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Just now, Mic Todd said:

 

Not at all Creeps, I can see that.  I wanted to start checking because I am tweaking the recipes when I experiment.  But I can see it as not being a must.  Right now I'm just learning about brewing and I thought it fun and a way to tell (besides taste) how I was doing. 

If i was brewing with extract i wouldnt worry about gravity readings. 

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Just now, Creeps McLane said:

If i was brewing with extract i wouldnt worry about gravity readings. 

 

Well, for example: my 1st experiment began with a can of CAL (no booster) and to that I added one lb of DME, one cup of agave and I substituted i/2 pack of Safale US-05 yeast for the MRB yeast.  I have no idea how it will look, smell (I'm also dry-hopping it when it goes into bottles) or taste, let alone what IBU or ABV it will come in at.  But IF it turns out good, and I hope it will, I know my friends are gonna want to know a few things about it.  Heck, I'll want to know myself!!  lol  - it's all good.  I am a very small homebrewer.  Most of you guys sound like you brew in gallons and gallons.  I probably never will brew more than 2 at a time.  🙂

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My perspective is a bit different.  I record EVERYTHING I can think of, and I'm sure I miss some things.  I also try to not change more than one thing each time, if possible.  Why should you do that?

 

- To be able to replicate results.  If you don't know what you did, how can you do it again?

- To be able to identify WHAT caused the difference from the last result.  If you change hops, and add a different steeping grain, and ferment at 71 instead of 65, and you get a different result, WHAT caused that result?

 

For a while, each batch I bottled a 16.9 PET bottle.  This served two purposes.  First, to give me a soft bottle to squeeze to check for firmness.  However, I found that with batch priming and the right amount of sugar, that's never been an issue.  Second, to give me a reserved bottle (I put all the 16.9 bottles in a separate box) to compare against the next batch and see if I could tell the difference.  I've now stopped doing that, because I was going so long between batches that the held out 16.9 bottle was too old.  And, I was making the exact same thing every time and therefore getting the same results, plus or minus a few points of gravity.  

 

I also measure ABV because SWMBO doesn't like high ABV beers.  To her, the sweet spot is mid 4s.  For me, I like beers up to 6.X, and will of course try anything.  I might even try to brew a higher gravity beer sometime.

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Yeah, replicating it (if it turns out good) would be a biggee.  I remember the pumpkin beer my son-in-law and friend brewed once.  It was freakin awesome and everyone loved it.  But they had just winged it (even using champagne yeast because it was what they had) recording nothing.  When I asked them for a recipe they just laughed and said they could get me close but weren't exactly sure about quanities, times, temperatures or even all the ingredients.  I think they were drinking a lot of beer when they made it.

 

All I know is that it was a real pity they hadn't documented everything.  I have never tasted a pumpkin beer as good as theirs turned out and believe me, I have tried a LOT.  Pity -

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3 hours ago, BDawg62 said:

By a point I mean 1.011 vs 1.012

That's close enough.  My first experiment came in at 1.061 OG.  I don't remember the corresponding brix reading, but I recorded it too.  I'll be using the Northern Brewer calculator to estimate final abv.  Estimate being the operative word, i suppose.

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3 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

My perspective is a bit different.  I record EVERYTHING I can think of, and I'm sure I miss some things.  I also try to not change more than one thing each time, if possible.  Why should you do that?

 

- To be able to replicate results.  If you don't know what you did, how can you do it again?

- To be able to identify WHAT caused the difference from the last result.  If you change hops, and add a different steeping grain, and ferment at 71 instead of 65, and you get a different result, WHAT caused that result?

 

For a while, each batch I bottled a 16.9 PET bottle.  This served two purposes.  First, to give me a soft bottle to squeeze to check for firmness.  However, I found that with batch priming and the right amount of sugar, that's never been an issue.  Second, to give me a reserved bottle (I put all the 16.9 bottles in a separate box) to compare against the next batch and see if I could tell the difference.  I've now stopped doing that, because I was going so long between batches that the held out 16.9 bottle was too old.  And, I was making the exact same thing every time and therefore getting the same results, plus or minus a few points of gravity.  

 

I also measure ABV because SWMBO doesn't like high ABV beers.  To her, the sweet spot is mid 4s.  For me, I like beers up to 6.X, and will of course try anything.  I might even try to brew a higher gravity beer sometime.

Your wife and I agree on ABV. Almost every recipe I build, I shoot for 5-5.5% 

 

what youre describing is the exact reason beersmith is so great. I have multiple recipes that have multiple versions. The recipe tab has a spot for what version youre building. If i start with one recipe that im trying to tweak then i open that recipe, change whatever im changing and save as a different recipe. Boom, done. 

 

The difference here is when I brew I follow my recipe detail for detail. Thats the only way my system works.

 

I have my beersmith folder. If i make a proven recipe I then copy it into my secret recipe book that is stashed away and future civilizations will find it and marvel at its greatness. 

 

Now im rambling. The saison I entered into that competition was V3.0. If you asked me if i could brew that recipe again I would say yes. I would just follow the recipe. 

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3 hours ago, Jdub said:

with MRB recipes i never check OG/FG. I have to admit though now that I am doing some AG batches, I have been checking OG to get some idea of my mash efficiency. I've been coming in lower than the recipes suggest I should be, so I'm trying to figure out how to make that better. Hydrometer for me.

 

Yeah, the hydrometer seems to be winning with the brewers on this forum.  I have both but wasn't able to use the hydrometer.  Not till I buy a graduated cylinder.

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Great example.

 

I'd also add, which I've also mentioned before, WHY?  If you're going to change something up, what's the reason?  Scientists call it a hypothesis.  

 

I plan to add hops to the bottle to achieve _______.  Note - make sure this is achievable.  For example, don't say "I plan to add hops to the bottle to achieve a higher ABV".  Hops doesn't impact ABV at all. 

 

Then, compare side by side A vs. B.  In this case, the beer with hops added to the bottle against the exact same beer without hops added to the bottle.  Do it blind, with someone opening the two bottles, pouring properly, and making sure you don't know which is which.  Then, conduct a taste test (eyes open, using eyes, nose, and mouth) to see:

 

- Can you tell them apart?

 

- Which is the one you added hops to?

 

- Did it achieve the difference you hoped for?

 

- Did it result in unexpected differences?

 

- And, is it better, or worse, then the one you left alone?

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1 minute ago, Creeps McLane said:

I have my beersmith folder. If i make a proven recipe I then copy it into my secret recipe book that is stashed away and future civilizations will find it and marvel at its greatness. 

 

 

 

I'd like a taste of some of your beer so I can marvel now!!  😍

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8 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

Great example.

 

I'd also add, which I've also mentioned before, WHY?  If you're going to change something up, what's the reason?  Scientists call it a hypothesis.  

 

I plan to add hops to the bottle to achieve _______.  Note - make sure this is achievable.  For example, don't say "I plan to add hops to the bottle to achieve a higher ABV".  Hops doesn't impact ABV at all. 

 

Then, compare side by side A vs. B.  In this case, the beer with hops added to the bottle against the exact same beer without hops added to the bottle.  Do it blind, with someone opening the two bottles, pouring properly, and making sure you don't know which is which.  Then, conduct a taste test (eyes open, using eyes, nose, and mouth) to see:

 

- Can you tell them apart?

 

- Which is the one you added hops to?

 

- Did it achieve the difference you hoped for?

 

- Did it result in unexpected differences?

 

- And, is it better, or worse, then the one you left alone?

You know what youre talking about right now? Its my favorite topic... do you know??? SPLIT BATCH BREWING BABY!!!

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2 hours ago, RickBeer said:

Two points.

 

1) While the Mr. Beer site isn't the be all and end all for products, or information, reading the blog on using a hydrometer would have shown the tube and more importantly how to read a hydrometer (many people do it wrong).  The password is "meniscus" (that's a joke, if you don't know what Password means go away...).  I don't want to harp on it, but reading in 10 different places will yield you 14 different answers, 6.3 which are flat out wrong.

 

 but wanted to point out that Northern Brewer is the dark side.

 

Nearest brewer's store (to us) is around 75+ miles and the better one is in Eugene which is about 90.  But a hardware store about 55 miles away does have a brewers section in it and that's where I bought my DME, yeast and hydrometer and thermometer.  The refractometer I bought on-line.  So......I located a spot for the refractometer calculator that purports to calculate abv using original and current brix settings, etc with built in compensating factors for the introduction of the alcohol.  Of course, that site was...Northern Brewer.  So far, that's my only contact with the site.  I'm not sure why it qualifies as "the dark side", (I know nothing about that).  Unless it's because it's a competing vendor? 

But thanks for that information.  As i said, I still have the hydrometer, just need a graduated cylinder to use with it.  I do know what meniscus is and how to read fluid levels in a cylinder.  I learned that many years ago when in the Navy. 

Great information, Rick -

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16 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

Great example.

 

I'd also add, which I've also mentioned before, WHY?  If you're going to change something up, what's the reason?  Scientists call it a hypothesis.  

 

I plan to add hops to the bottle to achieve _______.  Note - make sure this is achievable.  For example, don't say "I plan to add hops to the bottle to achieve a higher ABV".  Hops doesn't impact ABV at all. 

 

Then, compare side by side A vs. B.  In this case, the beer with hops added to the bottle against the exact same beer without hops added to the bottle.  Do it blind, with someone opening the two bottles, pouring properly, and making sure you don't know which is which.  Then, conduct a taste test (eyes open, using eyes, nose, and mouth) to see:

 

- Can you tell them apart?

 

- Which is the one you added hops to?

 

- Did it achieve the difference you hoped for?

 

- Did it result in unexpected differences?

 

- And, is it better, or worse, then the one you left alone?

 

I'm adding hops (in this case 1/2 oz of the Ekuanot hops) to the beer at bottling to add flavor and aroma of the hops without, hopefully, adding much to the bitterness.  I did record everything in my beer diary, from start to finish, including temperature of the wort before I pitched the yeast.  I did not, however, have a measuring tool to weigh the yeast.  I halved the pack so that is the ONE thing in this recipe that was not carefully documented.  I plan to get a yeast scale sometime.

 

I did not brew a straight-up can of the CAL for comparison, so i will not be able to compare this experiment with the original, which is kinda unfortunate, but I did buy two cans of the American Lager and with those I will be doing a comparison of 'Original as intended' and 'Experiment as concocted' by me.  It could get rather expensive buying two of every recipe, though so i probably won't that often. 

 

You asked a lot of questions, just the sort I'd expect from someone devising recipes and brewing beers for others to drink and perhaps sell?  That's not really gonna ever be me.  But I certainly do get where you're going Rick.  You are much too organized and methodical for my poor abilities.  😐

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3 hours ago, RickBeer said:

Two points.

 

1) While the Mr. Beer site isn't the be all and end all for products, or information, reading the blog on using a hydrometer would have shown the tube and more importantly how to read a hydrometer (many people do it wrong).  The password is "meniscus" (that's a joke, if you don't know what Password means go away...).  I don't want to harp on it, but reading in 10 different places will yield you 14 different answers, 6.3 which are flat out wrong.

 

2) There are lots of places to buy beer stuff.  LHBS (local home brewing store), online purveyors (my LHBS happens to be one of the online purveyors), Amazon (lack of content), etc.  I always remind people that Northern Brewer and Midwest are owned by ZX Ventures, which is Anheuser-Busch InBev.  Personally, I try to not have a penny of my money benefit "big beer", so they'll never get a dime from me at either company.  I do all my purchasing locally as I said, which happens to be one of the competitors to Northern / Midwest, Adventures in Homebrewing.  They are not always the lowest price, but I prefer measuring out and grinding my own grains, which I can do in their store near me (they only have 2 stores, both in SE Michigan).  You can order grains in quantities as low as fractions of a pound, provided you're ordering pounds (i.e. you can get 2.3 pounds of something), and they will grind for free, or not, as you specify.  I don't buy my hops or yeast there as they aren't competitively priced, I buy hops every 12-24 months elsewhere, and my yeast either with my hop purchase or via a small company that sells it very inexpensively, but you have to buy 4 packets or more (and they mix and match).  I won't post either name here, as Mr. Beer is a competitor, but wanted to point out that Northern Brewer is the dark side.

Did not know that Inbev owned Northern Brewer. Thanks for that jnfo.

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1 minute ago, Cato said:

Did not know that Inbev owned Northern Brewer. Thanks for that jnfo.

When I went to home brew con in Minneapolis, I spoke a lot with the omega yeast labs people. I told them that they should get more strains out there to the smaller shops. He told me he cant. Apparently to sell their product through northern brewer they also had to sign an agreement that over half of their strains would be at NB exclusively. Thats BS to me. F@$K NB

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1 hour ago, RickBeer said:

My perspective is a bit different.  I record EVERYTHING I can think of, and I'm sure I miss some things.  I also try to not change more than one thing each time, if possible.  Why should you do that?

 

- To be able to replicate results.  If you don't know what you did, how can you do it again?

- To be able to identify WHAT caused the difference from the last result.  If you change hops, and add a different steeping grain, and ferment at 71 instead of 65, and you get a different result, WHAT caused that result?

 

For a while, each batch I bottled a 16.9 PET bottle.  This served two purposes.  First, to give me a soft bottle to squeeze to check for firmness.  However, I found that with batch priming and the right amount of sugar, that's never been an issue.  Second, to give me a reserved bottle (I put all the 16.9 bottles in a separate box) to compare against the next batch and see if I could tell the difference.  I've now stopped doing that, because I was going so long between batches that the held out 16.9 bottle was too old.  And, I was making the exact same thing every time and therefore getting the same results, plus or minus a few points of gravity.  

 

I also measure ABV because SWMBO doesn't like high ABV beers.  To her, the sweet spot is mid 4s.  For me, I like beers up to 6.X, and will of course try anything.  I might even try to brew a higher gravity beer sometime.

Lol, the recording of everything is ingrained by now, like old habits. However now that I'm older and retired I make good use of inserting comments and observations in Excel on each brew like notes to myself, otherwise I'd surely forget what was it I liked or didn't or a recommendation for next time. I've only replicated one AG recipe, but it hit OG and FG dead on, so hoping thats a good sign for future ones.

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3 minutes ago, Cato said:

Lol, the recording of everything is ingrained by now, like old habits. However now that I'm older and retired I make good use of inserting comments and observations in Excel on each brew like notes to myself, otherwise I'd surely forget what was it I liked or didn't or a recommendation for next time. I've only replicated one AG recipe, but it hit OG and FG dead on, so hoping thats a good sign for future ones.

Our brew day sheet (that stays with the batch all the way thru the process) has a section at the bottom specifically for “Notes”. It’s for anything that comes up that the numbers above don’t cover. :) 

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1 hour ago, Creeps McLane said:

You know what youre talking about right now? Its my favorite topic... do you know??? SPLIT BATCH BREWING BABY!!!

Split batch is on my list to try one of these days in the not too distant.

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2 hours ago, Mic Todd said:

 

.. that site was...Northern Brewer.  So far, that's my only contact with the site.  I'm not sure why it qualifies as "the dark side", (I know nothing about that).  Unless it's because it's a competing vendor? 

 

The craft beer industry and the big brewers are basically enemies, because the big brewers try to dominate the shelf space and take all the business they can get.  With the money they have available to them, craft brewers have a tough time competing.  Only the biggest can really fight them.

 

AB InBev has bought a bunch of brewers.  Pure craft beer consumers have turned their backs on these companies and try to not drink their products (see below).  If you buy from these brands, you not only support "big beer", you hurt the craft beer industry.  They buy the brands, then use their muscle to take shelf space from the smaller guys.  They don't disclose to the consumer who owns these companies, so they are none the wiser.  

 

Then AB InBev started buying up homebrewing stores like Northern Brewer and Midwest.  So some people stopped buying from them.

 

Companies owned by AB InBev:

 

10 Barrel

Blue Point

Breckenridge

Devils Backbone

Elysian

Four Peaks

Golden Road

Goose Island

Karbach

Wicked Weed

 

They are also buying up cider brands, hard liquor, pre-mixed alcohol brands, and soft drinks.

 

Other craft companies bought by big beer:

 

Anchor Brewing (sold to Sapporo)

Avery Brewing (30% owned by San Miguel)

Founders (30% owned by San Miguel)

Lagunitas (sold to Heineken)

Terrapin (sold to MillerCoors)

 

Then there are beers that are designed to fake the consumer out, thinking they are craft beers, when they are not.  Some of my relatives like Shock Top, which is made by AB InBev, not any craft brewery.

 

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23 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

Pure craft beer consumers have turned their backs on these companies and try to not drink their products (see below).  If you buy from these brands, you not only support "big beer", you hurt the craft beer industry.

Buy local, drink local!

 

Its still a hang up for me, and I fail occasionally, but I do avoid some companies entirely.  With Elysian being local, that’s tough (man I miss Space Dust), but luckily we have plenty of local, non sell out, true craft breweries to chose from around here, so that’s nice. 

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3 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

i must say that ive already done all the hard work so I feel ok not worrying about things anymore

Ok then. Not much else I can really say to that.  

 

Thanks for sharing. :) 

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19 minutes ago, kedogn said:

Buy local, drink local!

 

Its still a hang up for me, and I fail occasionally, but I do avoid some companies entirely.  With Elysian being local, that’s tough (man I miss Space Dust), but luckily we have plenty of local, non sell out, true craft breweries to chose from around here, so that’s nice. 

 

As do we here in Western Oregon.  The only brewers we buy beer from from Rick's list above are/were 10 Barrel, Goose Island and Lagunitas.  We still like them because as far as I can tell, they still brew some of the best craft beers available.  When/if they stop, new ones will spring up to supplant them, I suppose.  We don't buy beer based on who makes it (unless we go to the local brew pub itself) but for the way it tastes.  Craft beers will always taste better and be more creative, inventive and enjoyable than mass-produced beer.

 

Long live Craft Beer!

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It also sounds like everything I've tried to do, to this point, has drawn criticism from the forum.  My use of adjuncts to experiment with, my use of a refractor instead of a hydrometer (tho I own both) my decision to use brown sugar, (even tho MRB uses brown sugar in many of their recipes, themselves), my decision to cold crash for 24 hours (I ended up doing 72 hrs) and my decision to experiment in the first place after only my 3rd batch brewed.  And my decision to try dry-hopping in the bottle with a self-brewed hop tea.

 

You guys are a tough bunch on beginners like myself!  LOL

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29 minutes ago, kedogn said:

Buy local, drink local!

 

Its still a hang up for me, and I fail occasionally, but I do avoid some companies entirely.  With Elysian being local, that’s tough (man I miss Space Dust), but luckily we have plenty of local, non sell out, true craft breweries to chose from around here, so that’s nice. 

 

As I said earlier, I don't even know who owns who or what.  I guess I don't really care.  I only care how the beer itself tastes and whether or not it's fit to drink.  If it weren't for craft beers, I'd very likely not be drinking beer at all anymore.  I had essentially quit years ago - until the advent of the Craft Beer Industry here in Oregon really got going and began to take over the state.

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31 minutes ago, kedogn said:

Ok then. Not much else I can really say to that.  

 

Thanks for sharing. :) 

 

It can get tedious, all this bantering back and forth.  Best not to lose focus on what we all share in common.  Good craft beer.  And making more of it. To that end, I have a lot to learn and I thank you all for helping me to do so.

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45 minutes ago, Mic Todd said:

It also sounds like everything I've tried to do, to this point, has drawn criticism from the forum.  My use of adjuncts to experiment with, my use of a refractor instead of a hydrometer (tho I own both) my decision to use brown sugar, (even tho MRB uses brown sugar in many of their recipes, themselves), my decision to cold crash for 24 hours (I ended up doing 72 hrs) and my decision to experiment in the first place after only my 3rd batch brewed.  And my decision to try dry-hopping in the bottle with a self-brewed hop tea.

 

You guys are a tough bunch on beginners like myself!  LOL

 

It may seem that way, but it's because this hobby has a very, very high drop out rate (I'd guess it's 80 - 90%).  Here are some of the top reasons:

 

1) Can't follow instructions, makes crappy beer, quits.

 

2) Goes all mad scientist, makes crappy beer, quits. 

 

3) Has no clue what the result might be by adding X, adds it anyway.  Makes crappy beer, quits.

 

3) Doesn't have the patience, organizational skills, or time.  Quits.

 

I would suspect #2 is the #1 reason.  If you read through the old posts on this forum,  you'll see lots of "I fermented for 5 days, bottled for 2, and my beer is awful" or "I added grapefruit, a piece of raw hamburger, and some pickles.  My beer tastes awful."  Or my favorite, "Do I have to put in the yeast?".  

 

If you look back at your posts, and our responses, you'll see you were adding some of those things without having a clue what they would do, and we were cautioning you that you might not like the results.  Brown sugar for example - no idea that the yeast will eat the sugar and leave the taste of licorice, which can ruin your beer.  If you look through the Mr. Beer recipes for brown sugar, I suspect you'll see it in DARK beer recipes only, with strong flavors.  Just a guess.

 

Here's the progression I followed, which worked for me, and may not work for anyone else.  There were no steeping grain recipes on the Mr. Beer site back then.  

 

1) Made Mr. Beer refills.

 

2) Made Mr. Beer recipes, all of which were adding fruit and LME, no hops.

 

3) Added LME to Mr. Beer refills.

 

4) Added steeping grains and LME to Mr. Beer refills.

 

5) Made beer with steeping grains, LME, and hops, no Mr. Beer refills.  

 

Those steps took me 6+ months.  When I see someone jumping in 3 batches, I can tell you that 99.9% of them quit.  

 

Again, that worked for me, may not work for anyone else.  

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1 hour ago, Mic Todd said:

I don't even know who owns who or what.  I guess I don't really care.

As an owner of a local craft brewery, this is something I do need to concern myself with.  However, like I said previously, I am not infallible. 

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18 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

 

It may seem that way, but it's because this hobby has a very, very high drop out rate (I'd guess it's 80 - 90%).  Here are some of the top reasons:

 

1) Can't follow instructions, makes crappy beer, quits.

 

2) Goes all mad scientist, makes crappy beer, quits. 

 

3) Has no clue what the result might be by adding X, adds it anyway.  Makes crappy beer, quits.

 

3) Doesn't have the patience, organizational skills, or time.  Quits.

 

I would suspect #2 is the #1 reason.  If you read through the old posts on this forum,  you'll see lots of "I fermented for 5 days, bottled for 2, and my beer is awful" or "I added grapefruit, a piece of raw hamburger, and some pickles.  My beer tastes awful."  Or my favorite, "Do I have to put in the yeast?".  

 

If you look back at your posts, and our responses, you'll see you were adding some of those things without having a clue what they would do, and we were cautioning you that you might not like the results.  Brown sugar for example - no idea that the yeast will eat the sugar and leave the taste of licorice, which can ruin your beer.  If you look through the Mr. Beer recipes for brown sugar, I suspect you'll see it in DARK beer recipes only, with strong flavors.  Just a guess.

 

 

 

!) I followed the instructions exactly on my 1st two batches.  So far, so good.  - CHECK

2) Gone all Mad Scientist?  I've tried one experiment (so far) by using a MRB mix and adding 2 adjuncts.  Hardly 'Mad Scientist'  - CHECK

3) Has no clue what results might be by adding X...  Do you really think I did that Rick?   I checked here with the forum, read on-line and asked friends that brew.  - CHECK

4) Doesn't have patience, organizational skills or time.  Nope, I am exercising great patience.  Most of my 1st batch is still conditioning in bottles 2.5 months after brewing.  CHECK

 

Brown sugar... no idea that the yeast will eat the sugar....?  Why do you think I was going to add it to the mix in the 1st place, to make my beer taste like candy?  I got the idea from reading about the affects of adding various types of fermentables to the wort - including Mr Beer's advice.  If it always makes beer taste like licorice, why does anyone ever add it? 

 

I think you must think me stupid and not someone trying to learn new things and try new things.  Good news is, you won't have to try my experiments - that's what the wife is for!

And I mean this with my tongue in my cheek.  I appreciate your advice and have followed almost all of it.  Drink more beer - Be Happy!  Cheers 😎

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16 minutes ago, kedogn said:

As an owner of a local craft brewery, this is something I do need to concern myself with.  However, like I said previously, I am not infallible. 

 

No wonder you know so much about this business.  I, on the other hand, know almost nothing, as Rick has so often made a strong point of.  Is your brewery in my state (Oregon)?   Because, if it is, I'd certainly like to patronize it and meet you sometime.

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I suppose this would be my response to Rick about why so many fall out of the hobby:

 

I remember when I built my first skateboard.  did I go to the library (On-Line wasn't invented, yet) to read all about it before I just built one?  No.  I just built it.

When the skateboard wobbled badly, did I go to the library to find out why?  No, I figured out a better way to align and attach the wheels.

When the board warped badly, did I go to the library or ask the manufacturers of them why?  No, I figured out a way to make them by laminating different woods.

When the wheels wore out fast, did I......... No I went to the parks and watched others with better boards and found out what they were using.

When I tried making my boards of different sizes, shapes and styles, did I follow instructions of others?  No.  I just did it, going with what worked best.

 

And finally, when I could no longer make them fast enough to satisfy all my friends who wanted to buy them (they were the best on the block)  - I moved on to motorcycles and found a new hobby.  But that's just me, Rick.

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22 minutes ago, Mic Todd said:

 

No wonder you know so much about this business.  I, on the other hand, know almost nothing, as Rick has so often made a strong point of.  Is your brewery in my state (Oregon)?   Because, if it is, I'd certainly like to patronize it and meet you sometime.

We are currently only doing wholesale distribution. We are based in Issaquah, WA (for now) and have 6 accounts from North Seattle to North Bend down to Kent.  We do the House Beer at a place called Brewmaster’s Taproom in Renton and might be doing the same for a different location (different beer) fairly soon. We are in the process of scouting for a location for a full brewery/taproom.  If all goes even close to right, we should be open by 10/15/19. 

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3 hours ago, kedogn said:

Buy local, drink local!

 

Its still a hang up for me, and I fail occasionally, but I do avoid some companies entirely.  With Elysian being local, that’s tough (man I miss Space Dust), but luckily we have plenty of local, non sell out, true craft breweries to chose from around here, so that’s nice. 

elysian space dust is a great beer, and I will still buy it. it's also possible for a company to thrive even after "selling out" to a large company. That's what Warren Buffet does. He buys great businesses and let's them continue to do the things that made them great. I understand the negatives of selling out, but it doesn't necessarily ruin the product going forward. I support my local HBS and local craft breweries in my area, Shannon, Revolver, Rahr, Community....etc.

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2 hours ago, Mic Todd said:

It also sounds like everything I've tried to do, to this point, has drawn criticism from the forum.  My use of adjuncts to experiment with, my use of a refractor instead of a hydrometer (tho I own both) my decision to use brown sugar, (even tho MRB uses brown sugar in many of their recipes, themselves), my decision to cold crash for 24 hours (I ended up doing 72 hrs) and my decision to experiment in the first place after only my 3rd batch brewed.  And my decision to try dry-hopping in the bottle with a self-brewed hop tea.

 

You guys are a tough bunch on beginners like myself!  LOL

Don't worry about it. Its your beer and you can do what you want and put anything you want in there. After all you've always got store bought beer in case your experiment didn't work out.

 

After all it is a hobby and so should be fun, so do it any way that it pleases you. Seriously, its your beer have fun with it.

 

For me I see learning the brewing craft is no different than learning how to cook really well, or play music, or build furniture. There's basics to learn, so you start out a bit simple, you learn your spices, your chords and scales, how to build a simple box or table,  or your grains, hops, adjuncts. Once you've tasted some success you get that feel of confidence and you can start choosing your own complimentary spices, playing in different keys, or brewing more complex recipes with a reasonable expectation of success and good drinkable beer in 2-3 months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Mic Todd said:

 

!) I followed the instructions exactly on my 1st two batches.  So far, so good.  - CHECK

2) Gone all Mad Scientist?  I've tried one experiment (so far) by using a MRB mix and adding 2 adjuncts.  Hardly 'Mad Scientist'  - CHECK

3) Has no clue what results might be by adding X...  Do you really think I did that Rick?   I checked here with the forum, read on-line and asked friends that brew.  - CHECK

4) Doesn't have patience, organizational skills or time.  Nope, I am exercising great patience.  Most of my 1st batch is still conditioning in bottles 2.5 months after brewing.  CHECK

 

Brown sugar... no idea that the yeast will eat the sugar....?  Why do you think I was going to add it to the mix in the 1st place, to make my beer taste like candy?  I got the idea from reading about the affects of adding various types of fermentables to the wort - including Mr Beer's advice.  If it always makes beer taste like licorice, why does anyone ever add it? 

 

I think you must think me stupid and not someone trying to learn new things and try new things.  Good news is, you won't have to try my experiments - that's what the wife is for!

And I mean this with my tongue in my cheek.  I appreciate your advice and have followed almost all of it.  Drink more beer - Be Happy!  Cheers 😎

 

It doesn't make beer taste like licorice.  It adds subtle notes of it which in less robust beers can be unpleasant (more of a molasses flavor to me, but palates vary.  Flavors will also vary depending on the type of brown sugar used.  Dark brown sugar is much more assertive than light, for example).  Why would anyone add it to a brew?  Speaking only for myself, I add about 1/2 cup when making a coffee stout solely because to my taste it helps cut the bitterness of the coffee.  I don't use it in any other of my brews.  I've had it in other recipes and really don't care for the taste of it.

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32 minutes ago, Jdub said:

I understand the negatives of selling out, but it doesn't necessarily ruin the product going forward.

I hope I haven’t made anyone think I refrain because their product isn’t good any more.  No, it’s still good, I’m sure, but I just try my best not to put my $ into their parent companies.  #DrinkLocal 

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1 hour ago, Cato said:

Don't worry about it. Its your beer and you can do what you want and put anything you want in there. After all you've always got store bought beer in case your experiment didn't work out.   After all it is a hobby and so should be fun, so do it any way that it pleases you. Seriously, its your beer have fun with it.

 

For me I see learning the brewing craft is no different than learning how to cook really well, or play music, or build furniture. There's basics to learn, so you start out a bit simple, you learn your spices, your chords and scales, how to build a simple box or table,  or your grains, hops, adjuncts. Once you've tasted some success you get that feel of confidence and you can start choosing your own complimentary spices, playing in different keys, or brewing more complex recipes with a reasonable expectation of success and good drinkable beer in 2-3 months.

 

Exactly, Cato.  Thanks -

I'm in this hobby now for beer and for fun...

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1 hour ago, Shrike said:

 

It doesn't make beer taste like licorice.  It adds subtle notes of it which in less robust beers can be unpleasant (more of a molasses flavor to me, but palates vary.  Flavors will also vary depending on the type of brown sugar used.  Dark brown sugar is much more assertive than light, for example).  Why would anyone add it to a brew?  Speaking only for myself, I add about 1/2 cup when making a coffee stout solely because to my taste it helps cut the bitterness of the coffee.  I don't use it in any other of my brews.  I've had it in other recipes and really don't care for the taste of it.

 

Well, I side-stepped the issue by going with agave instead.  Got a pretty good OG out of that and the DME.  Now, to see if I got the flavor I was after

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1 hour ago, kedogn said:

I hope I haven’t made anyone think I refrain because their product isn’t good any more.  No, it’s still good, I’m sure, but I just try my best not to put my $ into their parent companies.  #DrinkLocal 

no i hear you. always best to support small business when you can. you can't blame a business who probably started from scratch in their garage or something for taking the money during a buyout. that's the american dream. 

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1 minute ago, Jdub said:

no i hear you. always best to support small business when you can. you can't blame a business who probably started from scratch in their garage or something for taking the money during a buyout. that's the american dream. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve said “If the check is as fat as I am or fatter” I’d take it too. :) 

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Just now, kedogn said:

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve said “If the check is as fat as I am or fatter” I’d take it too. :) 

i can see the conversation now....."we'd like to offer you $100,000,000 for Manfish....." nah.....i'm good. just want to stay true to craft brewing. LOL

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21 minutes ago, Jdub said:

i can see the conversation now....."we'd like to offer you $100,000,000 for Manfish....." nah.....i'm good. just want to stay true to craft brewing. LOL

LOL!  Yeah, right!  You’d see this fat guy RUN for the first time in his life.... right to the bank!  Lol 😂 

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8 hours ago, Mic Todd said:

I suppose this would be my response to Rick about why so many fall out of the hobby:

 

I remember when I built my first skateboard.  did I go to the library (On-Line wasn't invented, yet) to read all about it before I just built one?  No.  I just built it.

When the skateboard wobbled badly, did I go to the library to find out why?  No, I figured out a better way to align and attach the wheels.

When the board warped badly, did I go to the library or ask the manufacturers of them why?  No, I figured out a way to make them by laminating different woods.

When the wheels wore out fast, did I......... No I went to the parks and watched others with better boards and found out what they were using.

When I tried making my boards of different sizes, shapes and styles, did I follow instructions of others?  No.  I just did it, going with what worked best.

 

And finally, when I could no longer make them fast enough to satisfy all my friends who wanted to buy them (they were the best on the block)  - I moved on to motorcycles and found a new hobby.  But that's just me, Rick.

All Rick was trying to explain was, in general, if I may use your skateboard analogy, too often after falling off multiple times the enthusiast got discouraged. When the boards warped instead of trying to improve them by laminating, the skateboard enthusiast quit. None of his comments were intended to be taken personally. Not everyone perseveres.

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7 hours ago, Shrike said:

 

It doesn't make beer taste like licorice.  It adds subtle notes of it which in less robust beers can be unpleasant (more of a molasses flavor to me, but palates vary.  Flavors will also vary depending on the type of brown sugar used.  Dark brown sugar is much more assertive than light, for example).  Why would anyone add it to a brew?  Speaking only for myself, I add about 1/2 cup when making a coffee stout solely because to my taste it helps cut the bitterness of the coffee.  I don't use it in any other of my brews.  I've had it in other recipes and really don't care for the taste of it.

I added it to early versions of my coffee stouts and porters. Now that they're approaching two years old the licorice flavor is IMO VERY pronounced. I like licorice but IMO those beers didn't age well.

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7 hours ago, D Kristof said:

I added it to early versions of my coffee stouts and porters. Now that they're approaching two years old the licorice flavor is IMO VERY pronounced. I like licorice but IMO those beers didn't age well.

 

I've only done it twice and neither batch lasted that long.  :)  I'm going to keep that in mind, though, for future batches, and probably omit the brown sugar.

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13 hours ago, Jdub said:

no i hear you. always best to support small business when you can. you can't blame a business who probably started from scratch in their garage or something for taking the money during a buyout. that's the american dream. 

 

Totally agree.  When you create something, and at some point have the ability to monetize your creation to that degree, who wouldn't sell out?

 

If you look at the list of breweries that sold, and you go back and research things their owners said at points prior to selling, you'll find at least one brewery (Wicked Weed) that was very vocal about breweries that sold out.  Very vocal.  Then they did.  I get why they sold, but they shouldn't be surprised at the criticism, or boycotting, they got afterwards given their outspoken opposition prior to selling.

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3 hours ago, Shrike said:

 

I've only done it twice and neither batch lasted that long.  :)  I'm going to keep that in mind, though, for future batches, and probably omit the brown sugar.

 

I see that MRB's 'That Voodoo That You Do' recipe calls for their Bewitched Amber Ale mix,  a pack of LME and 1 cup of brown sugar.  This was one of the first recipes that I wanted to try making.  I have a can of the BAA that I bought last month but have decided to put it to use making a pumpkin beer instead.  So, there's at least one recipe using brown sugar - have any of you here ever tried making this?

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6 minutes ago, Mic Todd said:

 

I see that MRB's 'That Voodoo That You Do' recipe calls for their Bewitched Amber Ale mix,  a pack of LME and 1 cup of brown sugar.  This was one of the first recipes that I wanted to try making.  I have a can of the BAA that I bought last month but have decided to put it to use making a pumpkin beer instead.  So, there's at least one recipe using brown sugar - have any of you here ever tried making this?

 

I did not care for it at all.  It's pretty much the only BAA-based recipe I've made that I didn't like.

 

There are others that love it, though.

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10 hours ago, D Kristof said:

All Rick was trying to explain was, in general, if I may use your skateboard analogy, too often after falling off multiple times the enthusiast got discouraged. When the boards warped instead of trying to improve them by laminating, the skateboard enthusiast quit. None of his comments were intended to be taken personally. Not everyone perseveres.

 

I suppose this hobby is like others: many start, few stay interested long enough to get as good at it as most of you guys seem to be.  Pretty normal.  In my case, if all I did was brew beers like MRB's CAL, straight-up without experimenting, I'd probably get bored too - real quick.  But I think I'm in this hobby for a long time - I love craft beer and I love trying all kinds of different types

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19 hours ago, Mic Todd said:

I suppose this would be my response to Rick about why so many fall out of the hobby:

 

I remember when I built my first skateboard.  did I go to the library (On-Line wasn't invented, yet) to read all about it before I just built one?  No.  I just built it.

When the skateboard wobbled badly, did I go to the library to find out why?  No, I figured out a better way to align and attach the wheels.

When the board warped badly, did I go to the library or ask the manufacturers of them why?  No, I figured out a way to make them by laminating different woods.

When the wheels wore out fast, did I......... No I went to the parks and watched others with better boards and found out what they were using.

When I tried making my boards of different sizes, shapes and styles, did I follow instructions of others?  No.  I just did it, going with what worked best.

 

And finally, when I could no longer make them fast enough to satisfy all my friends who wanted to buy them (they were the best on the block)  - I moved on to motorcycles and found a new hobby.  But that's just me, Rick.

Mic Todd,

 

So based on this skateboard analogy that you have spelled out it sounds as if it is a waste of time to give you any advice because you are just going to do what you want to anyway.

 

I can respect that but I will also probably not be giving any advice to your questions since you are going to only listen to it if you think it is the right thing to do.

 

Remember, those of us that help out a lot on this forum have made the mistakes, researched the hobby and or spent countless hours learning about the hobby from others.  I have listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts and brewed nearly 100 batches of beer and mead.  I have won many medals in beer competitions and am now also a BJCP beer judge.  I don't brew Mr. Beer batches any longer, in fact I have converted to All Grain brewing.  But I still take time on this forum to assist others who are just getting started in this hobby.  I have seen countless post from users on this forum that have asked for advice and not taken it or have gone all mad scientist with their brewing.  I have also seen many of them disappear from this forum.  Maybe they just moved on or more likely they quit the hobby. 

 

So when @RickBeeror any of us who have been here for a period of time give advice that you may not like. Understand that we are trying to keep you form the members who have disappeared from the hobby.  There is nothing personal in what some think are attacks.

 

Dawg

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3 hours ago, Shrike said:

 

I've only done it twice and neither batch lasted that long.  :)  I'm going to keep that in mind, though, for future batches, and probably omit the brown sugar.

 

If you omit brown sugar, as you say, what would you replace it with?

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15 minutes ago, Mic Todd said:

 

If you omit brown sugar, as you say, what would you replace it with?

Booster. 😛

ACTUALLY, I would play around with the MrBeer malt extacts in CAL to gain an idea of what each adds to the brew. Then try a few hop additions and steepong grains. From there, you're ready to fly on your own.

If you choose to go your own route, using your skateboarde analogy you'll likely have one wood wheel, one rubber wheel, two steel wheels one with ball bearings and one without.

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1 minute ago, BDawg62 said:

Mic Todd,

 

So based on this skateboard analogy that you have spelled out it sounds as if it is a waste of time to give you any advice because you are just going to do what you want to anyway.

 

I can respect that but I will also probably not be giving any advice to your questions since you are going to only listen to it if you think it is the right thing to do.

 

Remember, those of us that help out a lot on this forum have made the mistakes, researched the hobby and or spent countless hours learning about the hobby from others.  I have listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts and brewed nearly 100 batches of beer and mead.  I have won many medals in beer competitions and am now also a BJCP beer judge.  I don't brew Mr. Beer batches any longer, in fact I have converted to All Grain brewing.  But I still take time on this forum to assist others who are just getting started in this hobby.  I have seen countless post from users on this forum that have asked for advice and not taken it or have gone all mad scientist with their brewing.  I have also seen many of them disappear from this forum.  Maybe they just moved on or more likely they quit the hobby. 

 

So when @RickBeeror any of us who have been here for a period of time give advice that you may not like. Understand that we are trying to keep you form the members who have disappeared from the hobby.  There is nothing personal in what some think are attacks.

 

Dawg

 

Not at all!  I have about 150 posts here asking questions, lots and lots of questions.  Rick's initial responses to me, (and many after that) was to read, study, go to his blogs, etc etc etc.  He was losing patience with me cause I was asking so many questions, I guess.

 

Well, I was doing a lot of reading, but then he told me to ignore some of those sources - one he even called a 'dark' site.  LOL  OK....

 

So, I came back about my wanting to learn as much as I could, from as many sources as I could and I didn't really know what was a "dark" site and what wasn't.  In the post about the skateboard analogy  I was stressing that I'm the type of person who likes to experiment (and will) in this hobby.  But by no means do I ever ignore others who know more than I - it's why I was asking so many questions in the first place.  I guess Rick wanted me to get my answers from the blog sites.  He seemed critical of my wanting to experiment and by asking so many questions. 

 

Now, I appreciate any advice I can get, from just about anyone kind enough to offer it.  You guys know a heck of a lot more about this hobby that I do and I am smart enough to know that!!  😎

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I probably need a few more batches under my belt before I begin steeping grains and things.  Plus, I need more equipment.  I have my eye on a good, stainless steel 6-qt stock pot that I need to pick up before I can do steeping but, yeah!  Steeping grains is definitely something I want to learn to do some day.  Baby steps first.

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4 hours ago, RickBeer said:

If you look at the list of breweries that sold, and you go back and research things their owners said at points prior to selling, you'll find at least one brewery (Wicked Weed) that was very vocal about breweries that sold out.  Very vocal.  Then they did.

Elysian too. The whole “Corporate Beer Sucks” thing.  I get why Dick sold, the $ was just too good to say no to, so he took it.  Steve, his head brewer (creator of such beers as Space Dust), moved on and opened Cloudburst. Great guy, amazing beer. 

 

I get why why people do things. Like Arod taking 252 Million from TX after saying he will always be a Mariner and “It’s not all about the $”.  Yeah, well, 252 Million reasons can change someone’s mind for sure. 

 

My thing is dont be a HYPOCRITE!  Take me, I say #DrinkLocal and #DrinkCraft all the time, but admit that I am not infallible (but I’ve really been trying, especially lately). I also fully admit that if the check is fat enough, I’m gonna run to the bank with it as fast as my 2 fat handicapped legs can carry me (lets be honest,  in case it ever happens so I’m not part of a similar discussion down the line, I’m gonna drive to said bank!)  :) 

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Steeping grains and mashing are neither difficult or require special equipment. If you can boil water you're almost there. LOL. Only difference is holding the water temperature between 140-160 degrees for 30 to 60 minutes. I often still use our Farberware pots one the kitchen stovetop.

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A-Rod and beer.  Now there's two things (a ball player and a drink) that I never thought to see together in the same sentence.  But you make your point.  A person would have to be crazy not to accept 252 million smackers for swinging a bat, i suppose

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2 minutes ago, D Kristof said:

Steeping grains and mashing are neither difficult or require special equipment. If you can boil water you're almost there. LOL. Only difference is holding the water temperature between 140-160 degrees for 30 to 60 minutes. I often still use our Farberware pots one the kitchen stovetop.

 

This (steady temp thing) might be tricky, don't know yet.  My wife replaced our oven-range with one with the glass top and it's weird how it works. The burners come on...and off...an on again, to maintain temperature.  We've found that it is NOT good for pressure canning vegetables.  In fact it flat out will not work with our cooker.  So we use an outdoor gas grill instead.  I wish we had a gas cook stove but couldn't talk the wife into it.  She may be changing her mind now, tho.

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If you heat the water to the proper temp, turn off the burner, drop in the grains, stir, and cover, you'll find that it will likely hold the temps just fine with no burner on.  

 

I do my all grain mash in the oven.  Water is heated to about 158/159, grains added which brings the temp down to 152-153, stirred well and cover the pot. I then put it in my oven, which I pre-heated to 170 (lowest it goes).  Oven is now turned OFF.  Every 15 minutes for an hour I open the oven, stir, and take the temperature.  It doesn't move more than a degree or two off 152.  Every now and then I turn on the oven, and as it quickly climbs past 160 I turn it off again (it's on for like 90 - 120 seconds).

 

With steeping, 30 minutes is fine, even 20.  If you're worried about heat loss, move the pot to a cold burner and wrap it in a bath towel.

 

I'd recommend carefully reading the Mr. Beer steeping instructions 😉

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2 hours ago, Mic Todd said:

 

If you omit brown sugar, as you say, what would you replace it with?

For a coffee stout?  I'll steep 4oz of one of the more caramelized grains, probably Crystal 60.

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2 hours ago, Mic Todd said:

 

I see that MRB's 'That Voodoo That You Do' recipe calls for their Bewitched Amber Ale mix,  a pack of LME and 1 cup of brown sugar.  This was one of the first recipes that I wanted to try making.  I have a can of the BAA that I bought last month but have decided to put it to use making a pumpkin beer instead.  So, there's at least one recipe using brown sugar - have any of you here ever tried making this?

i have brewed that recipe. I did not care for it. good, but not great. Had really high expectations for it. probably been in bottles for 6 mos now and I only fridge one up every so often. i have another can of BAA and am wondering what to make with it.

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44 minutes ago, Shrike said:

For a coffee stout?  I'll steep 4oz of one of the more caramelized grains, probably Crystal 60.

@Shrike what would you think about replacing a cup of brown sugar with a cup of dark DME? thinking about the voodoo recipe....

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1 hour ago, RickBeer said:

I'd recommend carefully reading the Mr. Beer steeping instructions 😉

 

Thanks, Rick.  When I'm ready to try doing that I will definitely read the MRB instructions before I start.  I'm looking for a suitable pot now for expanding my brewing capabilities.  Actually, I have a lot of equipment that I will need to buy first.

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40 minutes ago, Jdub said:

i have brewed that recipe. I did not care for it. good, but not great. Had really high expectations for it. probably been in bottles for 6 mos now and I only fridge one up every so often. i have another can of BAA and am wondering what to make with it.

 

MRB has a recipe for pumpkin beer (Pumpkin Rising) that utilizes the Bewitched Amber extract.  And that's why I bought it - to try making our own version of it with my wife's home-made pumpkin spices and puree.  She grew pumpkins in her garden again this year, might as well put them to good use.  😎

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2 hours ago, Mic Todd said:

 

MRB has a recipe for pumpkin beer (Pumpkin Rising) that utilizes the Bewitched Amber extract.  And that's why I bought it - to try making our own version of it with my wife's home-made pumpkin spices and puree.  She grew pumpkins in her garden again this year, might as well put them to good use.  😎

I like A good pumpkin beer.  Notice I said “A” as in singular.  I can enjoy one and then I’m done and ready for Winter Beers. :) 

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2 hours ago, Jdub said:

@Shrike what would you think about replacing a cup of brown sugar with a cup of dark DME? thinking about the voodoo recipe....

 

I think it would definitely be tastier than with the brown sugar.  :)  For replacing that small of an amount, though, I'd probably just mash some Munich and Crystal 40 or 60 with some 2-row. 

 

Whatever you go with, I'd like to hear how it turns out.

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1 hour ago, kedogn said:

I like A good pumpkin beer.  Notice I said “A” as in singular.  I can enjoy one and then I’m done and ready for Winter Beers. :) 

Amen! I've got 2 more in a S.A. seasonal box, but will let them "condition" for a bit longer.

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1 hour ago, kedogn said:

I like A good pumpkin beer.  Notice I said “A” as in singular.  I can enjoy one and then I’m done and ready for Winter Beers. :) 

funny i happened to have a SA pumpkin beer tonight after work. not a big fan. i am open to all kinds of beers, but didn't care for this one. finished it though!

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