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Jo3sh
Oct 19, 2002

Like all girls I love unicorns!

[What's this? Goons With Booze doesn't have a "drinks" tag?]

Well, after nearly a year and a half and 80 pages, the old Home Brewing Thread was getting a little unwieldy. The move here to GWBooze seems like a pretty good opportunity to start the whole thing over again, so I've taken the liberty of compling some old FAQ posts from the old thread to start this new one.

Here's the old thread for your reference:
http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=2498672

Enjoy!




FAQ: How hard is homebrewing?

FAA: Not terribly. If you can read moderately complex recipes and convert them into tasty food, you can very likely brew. If you've ever done any cooking that took a while to yield results and had some finicky elements, you have all the experience you need.


FAQ: Is homebrewing legal?

FAA: In the US, there are some states and smaller jurisdictions (dry counties, etc.) where brewing is illegal, but broadly speaking, it is not illegal to brew beer for personal consumption at home. You should check your local laws to be sure it is legal where you live - you can start by looking at the rules that apply in your state here: http://beertown.org/homebrewing/legal.html . If homebrewing is illegal in your state, consider campaigning to have the law changed.


FAQ: What's the best book about homebrewing?

FAA: I'm partial to Charlie Papazian's The Complete Joy of Home Brewing, 3rd Ed., but some people donít like his style. It's really hard to beat the cost:benefit ratio of John Palmer's How to Brew, the first edition of which is available online for free at http://howtobrew.com .


FAQ: What do I need to get started?

FAA: Just about all homebrew shops will carry one or more starter kits. These usually start for about US$100, but sometimes there are options to add extras like extra fermenters. These kits assume that you have a few prerequisites, such as running potable water, a stove, a big pot, and a cool, dark place to ferment your beer.


FAQ: What if I don't want to buy a prepackaged kit? Can I make my own? What's the absolute minimum equipment I need to brew?

FAA: Here's a list I put together:
-- Big pot (20 qt. is pretty much the minimum, although others have reported success in pots as small as 12 qt.) with lid
-- Food-grade bucket for a fermenter - 6.5 gallons for 5-gallon batches
-- Lid for bucket, drilled with 5/8" hole
-- vinyl tubing, 5/8" OD, 6'
-- racking cane with standoff
-- jar or bottle to act as airlock/blowoff
-- big spoon
-- stove
-- sink with running potable water and drain
-- Good book on homebrewing
-- sanitizer concentrate (this can be household bleach, but there are much better options)
-- empty, clean beer bottles - amber pryoffs preferred
-- wing capper
-- cool, dark place to store fermenting and bottled beer


FAQ: How much does it cost to brew?

FAA: When you start with your starters' kit, you will almost certainly be using preformulated kits. These kits will make 5 gallons of beer for $30 to $60, depending on the style. As you get into more advanced brewing, the cost of your gadgets and equipment will likely go up, but the cost of ingredients will go down.

Expansion of this answer, 2/9/09: A friend of mine is working to lower his costs and is aiming at "ten under fifteen" - ten gallons of beer out of less than fifteen dollars' worth of ingredients. I think he can do it, too, by buying hops and malt in bulk and banking yeast slurry for reuse.


FAQ: How much beer is 5 gallons, in terms of six-packs?

FAA: Assuming you're using standard 12-ounce bottles, 5 gallons will fill about 50 bottles, or about 2 cases.


FAQ: Are there clubs or other organizations dedicate to homebrewing?

FAA: Yes, there are a large number of clubs all across the country. The club for the Los Angeles area is the Maltose Falcons. Ask at your local shop to see if they sponsor a club.


FAQ: Speaking of local shops, how can I find mine?

FAA: Google knows all - look in Google Maps' Beer Brewing Equipment and Supplies category for your area. Example [Thanks for the pointer, Not UNIX.]. You can also consult online lists like the one at http://beertown.org/apps/shops/index.aspx , but they tend to be limited and frequently are out of date.


FAQ: What about online retailers?

FAA: There are a number of good online retailers. I have used Beer, Beer and More Beer [morebeer.com] with good results, although I buy ingredients locally. Northern Brewer [northernbrewer.com] has also been good to me. Obviously, this FAA needs expansion.

The issue with online shops is that brewing equipment ingredients can be heavy and/or fragile, which means they are expensive to ship. Some ingredients are also sensitive to heat, so shipping in summer can be problematic.


FAQ: What's the best part about homebrewing?

FAA: Answers on this will vary, of course. I like the high tinkering factor and the process of encountering and overcoming new challenges along the way. Of course, you get amazing beer in the bargain, which certainly is a factor. There's a great community of brewers to talk to and experiment with.


FAQ: What's the worst part about homebrewing?

FAA: Cleanup. Homebrew likes to boil over, so if you're not careful, you could have a sticky mess on your stove. I brew outdoors these days, so this is less of an issue for me, but I still have to clean up big, heavy, sticky pots. Also high on the list for me is the heartbreaking noise a keg makes when it runs dry.


FAQ: I heard homebrew can make you go blind.

FAA: This is actually a myth associated with bootleg distilling. Homebrew has never made anyone go blind. Beer and all alcoholic beverages should always be treated with respect, but homebrew is no more dangerous than commercial beer because the ingredients and processes homebrewers use are exactly the same as commercial breweries - just at a smaller scale.

Just for clarification, bootleg distilled liquors are also safe to drink if they are produced well. While people have gone blind from moonshine, it was not from the distillation itself, but from the nasty poo poo unscrupulous 'shiners added to increase their profits. This is not a FAQ about distilling, but there is good information out there for the dedicated researcher. Distilling for consumption is not legal anywhere in the US, and very few places in the world.

Expansion of this FAA, 12/12/09: A couple of people have told me this FAA is wrong, but all my reading indicates it is correct. There is no way fermentation of grain and sugar can make enough methanol to harm people. Most people who were affected by this kind of problem were in fact poisoned by patent medicines - Google "jake leg" for some details. Anything you could do to make dangerous distilled liquor at home is pretty clearly outside the parameters of "well-made," so I stand by my statement that home distilled liquor is safe if it is well made.

In any event, this is not the thread to discuss it. If you have information about distilling you think is critical to impart, please start a thread about it so it can be given the attention it deserves. I have asked everyone who has contacted me on this issue to do the same, but .


FAQ: Can I brew a beer like Commercial Beer X?

FAA: In all likelihood, yes. There are very few styles which cannot be approximated at home by a dedicated homebrewer. In some instances, the techniques used are pretty advanced, so you probably will want to get some experience before attempting them, but anything from the palest lager to the darkest stout and from any country you care to name is theoretically within reach.


FAQ: How much space do I need to brew?

FAA: Any kitchen will do, even the smallest, as long as there is a stove and a sink. You will also need a cool, dark, out-of-the-way place a couple of feet square to put your fermenter while your beer is bubbling away, and about that much again to store equipment. You can easily take up more space if you have it, but it is by no means required.


FAQ: My ferment is doing something unexpected, or is not doing something expected! Please help! ...OR... I encountered roadblock X during the brew session, and I think the batch is ruined!

FAA: Relax and don't worry about it. Many, many times, it will all come out okay. Post your question here and we will do our best to help and allay your fears. I do like to keep a packet of good dry ale yeast around just in case I get a no-start, but that's hardly ever necessary. For $2, though, it's cheap insurance.
[/quote]


Thanks to Rocko Bonaparte for the following FAQs:

Q: I pitched my yeast yesterday, and it doesn't look like anything's happening. Did I do something wrong?
A: The yeast can take upwards of three days to show obvious signs of fermentation. The yeast could be still be budding and building up themselves for the booze orgy they're about to unleash. If there's still no clear activity, consider taking a reading with your hydrometer. You got a hydrometer, right? If the specific gravity has dropped, then you are privileged with an immaculate fermentation. If the reading has not changed after three days, then consider pitching more yeast.

Some will recommend creating a starter to speed up the time to obvious fermentation. You can do this by pitching your yeast into a miniature batch of wort a few days in advance and keep it from the elements. Consider a jar with a very loose lid as a container for it.

Old yeast or yeast left at room temperature will lose their fermentation power over time: dry will take a few months, and liquid will take a few days.

Q: I've had my beer bottled for a few days and couldn't resist to try some. It tastes terrible! What did I do wrong?
A: You didn't wait long enough. Time will age out any flaws, and bottle-primed, unfiltered beer will take time to condition anyways. Consider these potential off-flavors, which will go away in time:
1. Cider. This is from acetehaldehyde, which the yeast in the bottle will break down before settling out.
2. Sulfury bread yeast. This is from yeast autolysis. You probably kept your beer on the yeast cake too long. But the compounds are volatile and will work themselves out regardless.
3. Flat. The yeast needs more time to carbonate. It can take more than a week for signs of carbonation, and beyond that to complete. Generally the stronger the beer, the longer this process.
4. Somewhat carbonated but still tastes flat--like a twang. As the beer finished carbonation, the carbonic acid you crave will form and pierce your insides as expected.
5. Hazy/cloudly. Most clarity issues will solve themselves in time, but can be accelerated at a cold temperature. However, if it was hazy in the secondary after a span, this could take up to a year.
6. Very bitter/hoppy. Young beer still has a lot of bittering compounds, but they'll round themselves out in time too. Also, welcome to homebrewing culture, where most recipes call for more hops than you'd expect from commercial samples.
7. Horse butt and vinegar. OK it did get infected, but it would have been very obvious before they even got into the bottles.

Edit 10/20/2008
FAQ: How can I keep my ferment temperatures constant? I live in a hot place and I can't afford to keep my house at 65 degrees all the time!

FAA: There are several widely-used methods of temperature control. The absolute most effective method is to acquire a dedicated refrigerator and use an external thermostat to control it. If you don't have space for a second fridge, you can build a "son of fermentation chiller" out of rigid foam insulation from Home Depot. Plans here: http://home.elp.rr.com/brewbeer/chiller/chiller.PDF

Jo3sh fucked around with this message at Dec 12, 2009 around 16:25

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Josh Wow
Feb 28, 2005

We need more beer up here!


For those of you who haven't been reading the last thread I made a scottish ale little while ago that tastes like poo poo, it's got a plasticy aftertaste from me pitching too little yeast and trying to ferment it too cold. I brewed up my second attempt at this beer this past Saturday, using the exact same recipe except for making it a little bigger and using different hops,but the type of hops in this recipe really isn't important since they're only for a little bitterness.

Well I pitched my yeast on Sunday and it was going within 12 hours. Unfortunately there's a tiny bit of the same smell coming from this batch that was completely dominating in my last batch, I imagine it's because I let the beer get up to 66* while I was at work (not that I could really help it) while I wanted to keep it in the 58-62* range. It's very faint and maybe it's just all in my head but I really want this batch to turn out well. I've decided to leave the lid off my bucket while I've still got krausen for 2 reasons.

1) I'm hoping leaving the lid off while fermentation is most active will help the smell dissipate more than it would if I had left the lid on.

2) I'm sick of reading about people being all worried about little crap like opening their bucket to take a gravity reading because they're afraid of getting an infection. That's right, I'm going to leave my bucket open for several days out of spite for what people say on the internet.

Josh Wow fucked around with this message at Oct 14, 2008 around 21:58

drewhead
Jun 22, 2002



Josh Wow posted:

I'm going to leave my bucket open for several days out of spite for what people say on the internet.

/me slowly backs away from the carboy...

A laundry list of sorts as I've been a bit busy and neglected posting.

I survived the In-Laws and somehow we managed to keep them out of eyesight of my kegerator (they are Southern Baptists and... well need I say more?). During this time I actually did manage to sneak a sample of my:

Holiday Spice Beer: The spice flavor is a bit pungent, but I'm pretty pleased with the underlying beer. It's got a nice color and a good body. I mashed high to keep some of that sweet in the brew to balance out the spice. The cloves a a bit overwhelming ATM, but it's only three weeks in the bottle and I expect with a few months age they will blend back in to finer balance. It's just a little green at this point and that was entirely expected. I can still drink it even if it doesn't improve.

I've been getting inconstant conversion ratios between different batches. Big time swings like 64 - 77 %. I'm trying to take some better notes and see what I can determine is causing this. I'm mashing in a 58 QT cooler and batch sparaging. This past Saturday I did my first decotination and frankly fell in love with the process. I found the idea of boiling a portion of the volume to bring up the temp to be of a more controlling nature. I had planed a single and ended up doing a double cause I missed by about 8 degrees of my target. It dawned on me that this kept my mash thick. When I miss on my infusions I just keep dumping in more water to reach my rest temps thinning the mash. I hit 77% Saturday. The other recent good yield I had was a batch where I didn't have to fiddle with the mash-in volume cause I nailed it outright. The two recent bad ones were an undershoot that I had to add more to, and an over shoot that I had to add cold to bring down each thinning the mash. Does this sound like I have found the likely culprit? inconsistent water/grain ratios?

For those of you that have built fermentation coolers using the 'Son of a fermanator' design template. What kind of thermostat did you use? I bought the cheapest round thermostat from the hardware store. It's a heating/cooling system one with five inputs. I can get the circuit to close for both the heat and cool for the fan-on setting. But the auto-fan I can't seem to wire correctly. I'm no HVAC guy by any means but I thought this was as simple as wiring R(ed) Y(ellow) from any old thermostat into my circuit. Apparently not so.

I'm looking for an APA (Centennial heavy cause that's what I got) and to try a Steam recipe if anyone has suggestions. Pulled a few suggestions down from the net already but if you have a all-grain to swear by I'll give it a shot.

Thanks for the new Thread and the FAQ Jo3sh!

drewhead fucked around with this message at Oct 14, 2008 around 22:42

Jo3sh
Oct 19, 2002

Like all girls I love unicorns!

Hey, Rocko, we're over here now!

How did the Summit brewing experience go?

Ajaarg
Jul 25, 2000
Probation
Can't post for 946 days!


Hello new brewers! If you're thinking about homebrewing, stop thinking, just do it! Best hobby ever. I started about a year and a half ago with extract + steeped grain (the so-called "mini-mash"), but moved to all-grain brewing after two batches. It's easy, fun, and gives you more control. My secret is that I read just about everything published on beer. Thus I will do some book reviews.

Beginner's books:

The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing (3rd edition) by Charlie Papazian: A classic beginner's text. Well, it was classic in 1990, now it's just kind of outdated. Plus, there's Charlie himself, a huge fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-relax-and-have-a-homebrew hippie. If that sounds like your style, this is your perfect intro text.

How to Brew (3rd edition) by John Palmer: The new classic beginner's text. Palmer was/is an engineer and so this book leans heavily towards the science side of brewing. If math scares you, stick to Papazian. It's also available for free in the first edition. If you're considering going all-grain, you want to read up on how to build a mash-tun from Palmer, not Papazian.

Intermediate books:

OK so you've got a few batches under your belt, and want to start making some recipes. There are two must-read books here:

Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher: This is just a straight up amazing book. I have learned more about different types of malts and recipe design from this book more than any other. Mosher is a weird one: he's in love with historical beer research, but he likes to break those conventions when it suits him. My single favorite brewing book.

Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainascheff: A good book and general style guide. I start recipes from here now.

Classic Beer Style Series by various: A lot of these are made obsolete by Brewing Classic Styles, but some of them have a lot of traction still. They give histories of the style, plus commercial examples and how they're brewed by the pros. The series is very hit-or-miss; you really have to watch out. George Fix's book on Oktoberfest is crap, while Dornbusch's books on Helles and Altbier are amazing. Greg Warner's books on German Wheat and Kolsch are great too. If you're curious about a really specialized style, these are the books to go to, but ask someone if they've read it first before you spend money on 'em.

Culture and craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition by various: These are all really good. Recommended if you like Belgians (and what beer nerd doesn't).

Advanced Books:

These books are packed with information but are not light reading.

Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels: Good book, but intense reading. It's not a recipe book, first off: It's a statistical survey of what award-winning beers used in their grist. It's quite interesting, but get Zainascheff's book first.

The Brewer's Companion by Randy Mosher: If you too fell in love with Randy Mosher in Radical Brewing, it's imperative you find this book. Classic mashing schedules (including the traditional ridiculously long Czech triple), lots of compressed information here. If you're an all-grain brewer, own this book.

New Brewing Lager Beer by Greg Noonan: This book will gently caress your brain. It's tough reading but one of the absolute handbooks of advanced brewing. If you hate turn away.

The Principles of Brewing Science by George Fix: This is a chemistry book. That's all I really need to say about it.

Hope that helps someone!

Drunkboxer
Jun 30, 2007



Ajaarg posted:


The Principles of Brewing Science by George Fix: This is a chemistry book. That's all I really need to say about it.


Oh hey thats that book I read a bit of a few years ago. I was trying to remember the title, thanks.

ScaerCroe
Oct 6, 2006
IRRITANT

Ajaarg posted:

Hello new brewers! If you're thinking about homebrewing, stop thinking, just do it! Best hobby ever. I started about a year and a half ago with extract + steeped grain (the so-called "mini-mash"), but moved to all-grain brewing after two batches. It's easy, fun, and gives you more control. My secret is that I read just about everything published on beer. Thus I will do some book reviews.

Beginner's books:

The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing (3rd edition) by Charlie Papazian: A classic beginner's text. Well, it was classic in 1990, now it's just kind of outdated. Plus, there's Charlie himself, a huge fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-relax-and-have-a-homebrew hippie. If that sounds like your style, this is your perfect intro text.

How to Brew (3rd edition) by John Palmer: The new classic beginner's text. Palmer was/is an engineer and so this book leans heavily towards the science side of brewing. If math scares you, stick to Papazian. It's also available for free in the first edition. If you're considering going all-grain, you want to read up on how to build a mash-tun from Palmer, not Papazian.

Intermediate books:

OK so you've got a few batches under your belt, and want to start making some recipes. There are two must-read books here:

Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher: This is just a straight up amazing book. I have learned more about different types of malts and recipe design from this book more than any other. Mosher is a weird one: he's in love with historical beer research, but he likes to break those conventions when it suits him. My single favorite brewing book.

Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainascheff: A good book and general style guide. I start recipes from here now.

Classic Beer Style Series by various: A lot of these are made obsolete by Brewing Classic Styles, but some of them have a lot of traction still. They give histories of the style, plus commercial examples and how they're brewed by the pros. The series is very hit-or-miss; you really have to watch out. George Fix's book on Oktoberfest is crap, while Dornbusch's books on Helles and Altbier are amazing. Greg Warner's books on German Wheat and Kolsch are great too. If you're curious about a really specialized style, these are the books to go to, but ask someone if they've read it first before you spend money on 'em.

Culture and craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition by various: These are all really good. Recommended if you like Belgians (and what beer nerd doesn't).

Advanced Books:

These books are packed with information but are not light reading.

Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels: Good book, but intense reading. It's not a recipe book, first off: It's a statistical survey of what award-winning beers used in their grist. It's quite interesting, but get Zainascheff's book first.

The Brewer's Companion by Randy Mosher: If you too fell in love with Randy Mosher in Radical Brewing, it's imperative you find this book. Classic mashing schedules (including the traditional ridiculously long Czech triple), lots of compressed information here. If you're an all-grain brewer, own this book.

New Brewing Lager Beer by Greg Noonan: This book will gently caress your brain. It's tough reading but one of the absolute handbooks of advanced brewing. If you hate turn away.

The Principles of Brewing Science by George Fix: This is a chemistry book. That's all I really need to say about it.

Hope that helps someone!

I am seconding Jamil's book, and sweetening the deal with the fact that Palmer co-authored the book. I am a huge fan of Palmer and his deliciously drinkable science, and with Jamil's recipes you will get some great brews.

Johnny Truant
Jul 22, 2008



My good friend and I just bought a pony-keg for the two of our brewing forays; I'm so loving pumped! We already have a CO2 canister so we're going to rack our Amber Ale into it in a few days, then it's just a waiting game!

tonedef131
Sep 3, 2003



ScaerCroe posted:

I am seconding Jamil's book, and sweetening the deal with the fact that Palmer co-authored the book. I am a huge fan of Palmer and his deliciously drinkable science, and with Jamil's recipes you will get some great brews.
If you like the way the two of them work together they now have a joint podcast on https://www.thebrewingnetwork.com called Brew Strong. It is incredibly in depth and overall the best brew cast I have ever heard. They choose one topic, melanoidins, attenuation, head retention, ect and talk about it for over an hour and go so in depth you would have to listen to it several times to be able to retain it all.

As for the books listed above, I would consider How to Brew by Palmer a beginners and intermediate and in some cases advanced book. There are concepts in that book that people who have been brewing for 20 years still don't fully understand. Everyone who brews, homebrew or commercial, should read that book...twice.

ScaerCroe
Oct 6, 2006
IRRITANT

tonedef131 posted:

If you like the way the two of them work together they now have a joint podcast on https://www.thebrewingnetwork.com called Brew Strong. It is incredibly in depth and overall the best brew cast I have ever heard. They choose one topic, melanoidins, attenuation, head retention, ect and talk about it for over an hour and go so in depth you would have to listen to it several times to be able to retain it all.

As for the books listed above, I would consider How to Brew by Palmer a beginners and intermediate and in some cases advanced book. There are concepts in that book that people who have been brewing for 20 years still don't fully understand. Everyone who brews, homebrew or commercial, should read that book...twice.

Haven't listened to that one because it sounds a little boring. I do, however, listen to the Jamil show.

tonedef131
Sep 3, 2003



ScaerCroe posted:

Haven't listened to that one because it sounds a little boring. I do, however, listen to the Jamil show.
Well I guess it depends on how in depth you like things to get. If you are perfectly happy with what The Joy of Homebrewing has to offer then yeah, Brew Strong is gonna bore you to tears. If you drank up every page of the ridiculously detailed Designing Great Beers, Brew Strong is for you, I find it far more interesting than The Sunday Show or anything else where they just scrape the surface. I have listened to the Jamil Show when I am trying to formulate a recipe for a specific style though, there is some pretty good discussion on replicating styles.

Also for anyone looking for a more broad podcast https://www.basicbrewing.com cover a huge range of topics. Most of the time he has interviews with knowledgeable commercial and homebrewers or people who are experts on a certain aspect that relates to brewing.

strangemusic
Aug 7, 2008

I shield you because I need charge
Is not because I like you or anything!




My new batch just came out of hiding yesterday night! A nice red which is a lot darker than what I've seen come out of bottles. Prominent, big flavour, yeasty and sharp. For some reason both of the batches I've done have come out with a pronounced aroma of apples... I have no idea why this is the case, though.

ACTUALLY HEY I READ THE POST.... Apparently the cidery snap to the beer will work out and mellow over time? Cool.

Rocko Bonaparte
Mar 12, 2002

Every day is Friday!


Jo3sh posted:

Hey, Rocko, we're over here now!

How did the Summit brewing experience go?
I used too little water in the rice gelatinization, and some stuck to the bottom of the pressure cooker. The brown bits tasted like Sugar Smacks so I scraped up as much as I could and added it to the mash.

I have been having trouble reaching my alpha rests. I will have to check the math I use; I do all the mash calculations by hand so there's always a risk. I used to screw up the weight of a gallon of water. According to Google's little unit conversion tool, a gallon of water should be 8 1/3 pounds.

It is fermenting right now, and it's too early to determine if it's any good.

For anybody that wants to try brewing out on the cheap without getting special gear, I have a link up on my cooking site with instructions on making 1 gallon batches:
http://www.adampreble.com/foods/ind...gallon-batches/

I'd like to hear from people trying it out.


Edit: Josh Wow, would you like to send me a bottle or two of this ale? I would like to check myself.

Jahoodie
Jun 27, 2005
Wooo.... college!

I'm making some cheap BJ's apple juice wine (5 gallons with 2lbs of added honey), with redstar blue packet champagne yeast. I just came into a crapload of champagne bottles and want to try my hand at making some apple bubbly for new years, but it's quite cloudy after a month. What I'm thinking of is to rack it to a secondary to clear, but I've never racked to a secondary before except with still meads. Will it still have enough yeast after racking and sitting for a month to get carbonated?

Drunkboxer
Jun 30, 2007



Couldn't you just repitch with a little more yeast if you were worried?

Josh Wow
Feb 28, 2005

We need more beer up here!


Rocko Bonaparte posted:

Edit: Josh Wow, would you like to send me a bottle or two of this ale? I would like to check myself.

Do you want the lovely plastic tasting scottish ale? I don't have any problem sending you a bottle but it's gonna be loving gross.

toenut
Apr 11, 2003

fourth and nine

Josh Wow posted:

Do you want the lovely plastic tasting scottish ale? I don't have any problem sending you a bottle but it's gonna be loving gross.

Did you use a Scottish ale yeast? Could the aroma and the flavor somewhat also be described as "yogurt" like Yoplait? It's something I've noticed that Scottish ale yeasts give off a lot and in large amounts it is stale/plastic sort of tasting.

il serpente cosmico
May 15, 2003

Best five bucks I've ever spend.

So I'm interested in brewing an all-grain beer. I'd like to make an IPA, and some recipes require nearly 15 pounds of grain. Given that most resources recommend 1.5 quarts of water per pound, and at least as much for the sparge, this would leave me with approx 9 gallons of mash (after accounting for the water absorbed in the grain). It seems like this could take many hours to concentrate this for a 5 gallon batch. Am I missing something here? It's my understanding that using less water in the mash will give me fewer fermentable sugars (and overwhelming sweetness is contradictory to the style), and not sparging enough will create quite a bit of waste. What to do?

Ajaarg
Jul 25, 2000
Probation
Can't post for 946 days!


On the contrary, a thinner mash will give a less fermentable wort, but in general the difference is tiny (2% tops). I would do something around 1.2 to 1.3 quarts/lb for an IPA. That's actually the dilution I use for just about every infusion mash. You'll want it thicker for a strong beer, thinner for a weaker one. But it really doesn't matter much.

As for the sparge, unless you have a really permanent setup, your best bet is to batch sparge: drain the entire contents of the mash into the brew kettle, throw in another batch of water, let it rest for 10 minutes, then drain that as well, until you get to your desired volume. It is worth noting that you should cut off the sparge when you hit 1.010 but this is hard to measure because the temperature is way too high, so I generally sparge to volume and don't worry about it (it's only really an issue for weaker beers). If someone has a clever way of deciding when to stop sparging I'd love to hear it.

Run off something like 7 gallons and you should be gravy.

il serpente cosmico
May 15, 2003

Best five bucks I've ever spend.

Thanks for the info. When you add more water to batch sparge, do you generally shoot for water in the 150-155*F range? Or is it advisable to deactivate the enzymes with something in the 170* range?

Ajaarg
Jul 25, 2000
Probation
Can't post for 946 days!


Josh Wow posted:

Do you want the lovely plastic tasting scottish ale? I don't have any problem sending you a bottle but it's gonna be loving gross.

I just dumped my underpitched Helles. It tasted solventy, kind of like paint thinner. I think that was from severe underpitching at cold temps. Maybe it's a similar disaster?

Ajaarg
Jul 25, 2000
Probation
Can't post for 946 days!


il serpente cosmico posted:

Thanks for the info. When you add more water to batch sparge, do you generally shoot for water in the 150-155*F range? Or is it advisable to deactivate the enzymes with something in the 170* range?

Here are the magic temperature ranges for all-grain:

140-149 beta amalyse happy zone (creates maltose, highly fermentable, takes longer)
150-159 alpha amalyse happy zone (creates dextrins, mostly tasteless mouthfeel, denatures beta amalyse)
160-169 mash-out/sparge temp happy zone (denatures just about everything)
170+ can mess up the ph and start extracting tannins

So for an IPA, I would do a single infusion at 149 or so for 90 minutes. Stronger IPAs would probably need a multi-rest mash.

Sparge with water that's 170 so that it takes the mash no higher than 169.

There are a few tricks you can use to crank out more IBUs, like mash hopping, but I don't generally like IPAs so I can't really elaborate.

Are you dry hopping your last IPA?

il serpente cosmico
May 15, 2003

Best five bucks I've ever spend.

I'm not dry hopping my current IPA, but I do believe I'm going to try it with the next one. My plan is to use a decent amount of bittering hops for the 60 minute boil, and then backload the hell out of it with some good, citrusy, west coast hops, and then dry hopping it with a bit more. My favorite beer is probably Green Flash West Coast IPA, if that gives you an idea of what I'm after (mid-high alcohol percentage, high IBUs, and a taste / aroma profile similar to sticking your nose in a bag of fresh, citrusy hops).

Thanks again for the info...I feel like my head is swimming with beer theory that I've been reading, and I'm probably making the process seem more elaborate and difficult than it actually is.

Jo3sh
Oct 19, 2002

Like all girls I love unicorns!

Ajaarg posted:

It is worth noting that you should cut off the sparge when you hit 1.010 but this is hard to measure because the temperature is way too high, so I generally sparge to volume and don't worry about it (it's only really an issue for weaker beers). If someone has a clever way of deciding when to stop sparging I'd love to hear it.

Refractometers are wonderful for this. The two drops you need to get a good reading have so little thermal mass that they cool to the temperature of the slide instantly.

But that's way more than il serpente has to worry about.

Ajaarg
Jul 25, 2000
Probation
Can't post for 946 days!


Where can you get a refractometer that measures in SG?

Jo3sh
Oct 19, 2002

Like all girls I love unicorns!

Ajaarg posted:

Where can you get a refractometer that measures in SG?

All the ones I have seen measure in Brix - I have a spreadsheet that acts as a lookup table.

il serpente cosmico
May 15, 2003

Best five bucks I've ever spend.

So I just bought one of these for some all grain brews. $60 shipped seemed like a reasonable price, and it's much cheaper than anything I could have found local (outside of a lucky thrift store find or something).

Josh Wow
Feb 28, 2005

We need more beer up here!


toenut posted:

Did you use a Scottish ale yeast? Could the aroma and the flavor somewhat also be described as "yogurt" like Yoplait? It's something I've noticed that Scottish ale yeasts give off a lot and in large amounts it is stale/plastic sort of tasting.

Yes, I used Wyeast 1728 both on my gross lovely plastic tasting one and on my one that is currently fermenting now that seems to be coming along pretty good. As soon as the krausen drops on the one I have in my fermenter I'll give it a taste and see where it's at.


Ajaarg posted:

I just dumped my underpitched Helles. It tasted solventy, kind of like paint thinner. I think that was from severe underpitching at cold temps. Maybe it's a similar disaster?

Yea, I'm pretty positive the off taste came solely from me underpitching and trying to ferment it too cold.

Ajaarg
Jul 25, 2000
Probation
Can't post for 946 days!


What about oxygenation? I admit I am terrible about that myself, but I've considered getting a little kit for lagers.

Josh Wow
Feb 28, 2005

We need more beer up here!


Ajaarg posted:

What about oxygenation? I admit I am terrible about that myself, but I've considered getting a little kit for lagers.

I've never had problems with it before, so I'm inclined to think that isn't the problem. I usually just hardcore shake up my bucket for 3 or 4 minutes, although I'm considering getting a cordless drill and a mix-stir to make sure I'm aerating well enough.

Josh Wow fucked around with this message at Oct 16, 2008 around 10:36

Rocko Bonaparte
Mar 12, 2002

Every day is Friday!


Josh Wow posted:

Do you want the lovely plastic tasting scottish ale? I don't have any problem sending you a bottle but it's gonna be loving gross.
Well it's your postage, right?

jailbait#3
Aug 25, 2000
forum veteran

Jahoodie posted:

I'm making some cheap BJ's apple juice wine (5 gallons with 2lbs of added honey), with redstar blue packet champagne yeast. I just came into a crapload of champagne bottles and want to try my hand at making some apple bubbly for new years, but it's quite cloudy after a month. What I'm thinking of is to rack it to a secondary to clear, but I've never racked to a secondary before except with still meads. Will it still have enough yeast after racking and sitting for a month to get carbonated?

Definitely rack it. Champagne yeast makes a very crisp cider, and in my last few batches, the ones that have sat on the yeast cake for more than 2 weeks have had a bit of a yeasty aroma to them. There will be plenty of yeast in suspension for carbonating, especially since the racking process will stir some up. Be sure to chill the bottles at least a week in advance, too. I've found that it helps build up a very solid cake on the bottom of the bottle that stays put when you pour.

Josh Wow
Feb 28, 2005

We need more beer up here!


Rocko Bonaparte posted:

Well it's your postage, right?

Well it was going to be but I just went over my student loan stuff in detail last night and I'm more hosed than previously anticipated, so I'm trying to cut down on most if not all of my non-essential purchases and that includes sending people beer because it gets expensive quick. I'm also going to attempt to drink only what I brew for a while as well, I would normally go to the store once a week and buy a six pack and a bomber of something but I'm going to cut that back to special occasions. Good thing most of what I brew is pretty drat good, and this will encourage me to brew a little more and make sure everything is going to turn out right.

JodoKaast
Apr 18, 2001

An All-in-One and One-in-All of limitless being and self


So in the most recent issue of Brew Your Own, there was an article about making sake. I'm definitely going to do it, and am in the process of getting everything together, but there's one little bit that I'm having trouble thinking my way through.

They say the final alcohol by volume can come out to be 18-22%, but I'm having a hard time deducing how exactly to take readings with a hydrometer. The recipe calls for a yeast starter, with about 1.5 cups of rice that has been liquefied by the koji mold, and then three additions of the main mash over a period of days. A little bit more koji-innoculated rice is added every night before adding the next addition of rice, starting with 2 cups, then 5 or 6, and finally 4 or 5 pounds. So since there's fermentation happening at every stage, and you're adding more and more unfermented rice to the fermenting batch, and not to mention that the rice doesn't liquefy until being in with koji for a while, how in the world do you accurately measure the gravity at any or all of the steps?

Dr. Fishopolis
Aug 31, 2004

ROBOT

oh man I have an empty primary and I can't decide what to brew

help me goons

tonedef131
Sep 3, 2003



Dr. Fishopolis posted:

oh man I have an empty primary and I can't decide what to brew

help me goons
What style are you in the mood for? I would be more than happy to share any of my recipes. If you are in the mood for something crazy I just finished formulating a recipe for a Kentucky Common, I can't wait to brew it!

Drunkboxer
Jun 30, 2007



What do you guys think the most cost effective way to ferment 10 gallons? I've been doing 5 gallons in a bucket so far, I'd like to do a double batch this time. Should I just get another bucket and divide the batch?

il serpente cosmico
May 15, 2003

Best five bucks I've ever spend.

Drunkboxer posted:

What do you guys think the most cost effective way to ferment 10 gallons? I've been doing 5 gallons in a bucket so far, I'd like to do a double batch this time. Should I just get another bucket and divide the batch?

You could get a 10 gallon bucket if you don't want to split it up. Your batches may be a bit more consistant that way, if you care about such things.

They sell them here: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/prod...spx?ProdID=6009

But I'm sure you could find them easily anywhere.

nickutz
Feb 3, 2004

Put blue and red chicken in mouth plz

I want to get started on this and get some brews going tracked down a brew shop in another city about 30 miles away, hopefully going to check it out this weekend!

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ScaerCroe
Oct 6, 2006
IRRITANT

So I turned 21 yesterday and went barhopping, and had some very interesting MI brews. The most interesting was a beer called Night Tripper, a Russian Imperial stout. Never having an Imperial before, I was surprised by its taste. It tasted like a shot of vodka, two cups of espresso, and a regular stout mixed, but I thought the "hot" fusel alcohol wasn't supposed to come through, or is it nearly impossible to not taste the alcohol in a huge beer like that? I also tried an Old Ale, the hoppiest Red Ale (Nosferatu) I have ever had, and a Scotch Ale that hit me like a train. Overall, good night, and I can't wait to brew a red ale.

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