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Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


JohnnySmitch posted:

I never thought of doing a vodka 'tincture' like that - that's a really cool idea.
Anyone here done something similar before? I'm curious about how strong I should try to make it and how much of it I should add when bottling?

I've done it with hops before. Unfortunately, the answer to both is "to taste". What I'd suggest is to get a bottle of commercial beer of a similar style to what you made and add your tincture a little at a time until it tastes right.

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Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Hypnolobster posted:

Oh, I don't mean the hard cider or apfelwein (hell, I'm still drinking a batch of apfelwein from a keg that I made last august), I mean that I intend to throw 3 gallons of fresh, unfermented cider into a keg to force carbonate.


My only worry is that even in a 36-40 degree keg under co2, it might still slowly spoil/ferment/potentially become dangerous, being nothing but a big pile of sugar and water.

I don't know if a nearly completely pure co2 environment will retard any spoilage of fresh cider? I was considering pitching sorbate into the keg in the hopes that it'll kill off any natural beasties from the squeezer, etc.

The guy I bought the cider from uses UV light to kill anything living in the cider and I brought him carboys wet with sanitizer, but I don't know how clean his filling equipment is, where he left the cork while he was filling, how much dust was in the air, etc.

I'm also not sure how sorbate reacts inside a serving vessel. If it doesn't all go into solution, I'd hate to have it sitting at the bottom of the keg to get sucked into a glass. I can't imagine a higher concentration of sorbate in somebody's drink is particularly good for them. If it stays in solution it shouldn't be a problem though.

Using sorbate at room temp and letting it sit for 24 hours the way you'd use it for wine should put it all into solution. If you're concerned, sorbate the carboy, let it sit, then rack into a keg. You'll lose a few ounces, but it would leave any particulate on the bottom.

Last year, I did a few things with cider, all unpasteurized. Nottingham with cider and sour cherries. Cider with Weihenstephan yeast. Cider with Bavarian wheat yeast. And late spring I used a pasteurized cider with cherry puree from the wine section at my local homebrew shop. Cider with Weihenstephan was amazing.

In all cases, I fermented to 1.008 to 1.010, and crash cooled it in the fermentation freezer to 30*, and then racked into keg/growler/whatever. It worked pretty well, I'll definitely do it again this year.

I haven't used Montrachet yeast, I've used D-47 for a number of different meads and really like the flavor. It also consistently goes to 14-14.5% abv, which makes figuring residual sugar really easy. Twice now I've used 12 pounds of honey with 5 gallons of the unpasteurized cider. It went from 1.14 to 1.032. It's very sweet, but it makes for an amazing dessert wine. I bottled half in 750ml and half in 375ml. I'm considering making two this year, the full dessert version, and one with ~2 gallons of water in place of cider.

The family running that orchard loves us. We've been going there for, uh, almost 20 years now for apples and cider, and now that I'm making mead/cider/beer/etc, I've been buying a lot more. The owner's son and I swapped bottles, I gave him mead and cyser, and he gave me an apple/pear wine, and a blueberry/grape wine. Both were quite good!

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


tesilential posted:

If you are getting nice pours at 2-5 psi, your setup is unbalanced. You need at least 10 feet of 3/16" hose to have decent pours with 14psi. Even then you'll have a few inches of head. I'd do 14' personally.

Your other option is to restrict the flow of beer in your system. People have added those plastic spiral shaped "epoxy mixers" to their serving hose and/or dip tubes to slow down the exiting beer.

Also a point to note, something like Tygon tubing, which is lined to prevent picking up flavors, has a LOT less resistance. I have 10' lines and have some foaming issues, but I'm too cheap/lazy to rebuy and coil 20' per keg.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


When I made my collar, I bought a panel of the thick polystyrene insulation, so it's an half inch thick oak collar with an inch and a half or so of insulation. If you keep it full, I have beer and yeast where there aren't kegs, it holds temp better.

Any savings were promptly offset by buying a second chest freezer for lager fermentation and secondary keg storage. It's also full of bulk hops at the moment.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


drewhead posted:

A thread or two ago someone recommended these: http://www.petsmart.com/product/ind...7&lmdn=Category

I got two of the large size and wheel my 50/55# or grain around in the garage. Airtight and pretty convenient.

These don't have wheels, but I have a bunch of http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=24749 in the 40 pound model, which are quite nice.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


drat Your Eyes! posted:

Thanks very much! I don't know why different yeasts didn't occur to me, but that's a great suggestion, as is slowly subbing in/combining different recipes.

And yes, we're getting a propane burner too. This will be our first real equipment upgrade since we cobbled stuff together to get started, and I think it's going to be a doozy...

I've been doing ten gallon batches, and another option is to use different dry hops when doing an IPA. If you're doing an Amarillo/Cascade IPA, give just Amarillo dry hops, and the other gets Cascade. Also entertaining is having people try both and telling them there's only one difference. I think most of my friends are convinced I'm lying about the different saison yeasts.

I do different yeasts a lot, and when I make porter, one always gets cocoa nibs, and the other gets the experimental option.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


On the oxygen aeration stone, I have the one from Austin Homebrew, and it's nice. However, ONE of the shops had one where the stone was on a 2' plastic/metal rigid tube. Buy that one instead. The plastic tubing on the AHS one stays curled and I feel like I should have it deeper in the wort.

One day I'll take it apart and fix it. Or something.

And yeah, it's the red tanks from Lowe's / Home Depot. I just let it rip for 30 seconds. I'd also be interested to see a table of time and dissolved oxygen.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


stormrider posted:

Wow, just discovered this thread. I've been tinkering with a Mr Beer kit for a while, and plan to step up to a better set up this summer. Eyeing the goon craftabrew setup. This thread is daunting, but I'm going to start reading from the beginning.

Anyone have thoughts on well water with lots of minerals, vs softened well water, vs buying bottled water? I can pull water from my well pre-softener, and it's good, very tasty, drinkable water, but there is definitely lots of calcium and other minerals. In theory I would think that better than softened water, but don't really know, and how those compare to buying bottled water

I turn off the softener, and prefer it. For some lagers I'll mix in some softened water, and it smoothes the flavor a bit. Remember that softening adds salt, which yeast doesn't really like. Personally, I feel I get better fermentation with harder water.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


I drive to North Country Malt twice a year or so, it's about a 150 mile round trip, and I typically get five or so sacks, plus some hops. Mileage is better in my car, but last time we took the truck because a friend wanted five sacks too. I try to ignore the gas cost and pretend I'm having a fun drive, but it's not bad.

Their per sack price is really good, but shipping would be terrible. Also, I don't think they're taking on new homebrew customers

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Cpt.Wacky posted:

Right. You'll have less off flavors if you treat the yeast right by giving it nutrients. I use Go-Ferm for rehydrating and Fermaid K during the fermentation. I found that the Joe's Ancient Orange Mead made with regular baker's yeast was drinkable after only a few months with surprisingly good flocculation.

Yep. I use Go Ferm and Fermaid K with D47 yeast, and it's been great. Healthy yeast tastes better. I also don't boil my honey.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


I bought whichever the cheapest one was at Wal-Mart two years ago, it's been going strong through several boxes of refill packaging.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


When I bought stir bars, I bought the "stir bar retriever", which is another stir bar fixed onto a flimsy plastic handle, and it's not all that effective at retrieving. Plus, you have to sanitize it and worry about what goes into your starter. The best solution is a hard drive magnet on the outside of the flask. It'll hold that sucker firmly in place while you swirl the yeast and pour it in.

Said hard drive magnet also helped hold the lids to tart cherry cans in place while opening them, since the fancy automatic opener poo poo the bed. Batch two of tart cherry hard cider is looking good!

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Docjowles posted:

Anyone have tips on adding cocoa nibs (or any other chocolate-flavor product) to secondary? I made a dunkelweizen and it's just kinda "meh". I feel like some chocolate in the finish would make it really nice. It's being served at a party in a week, is that long enough to impart chocolate or should I not bother?

I do my cocoa porter by putting the beer on the nibs for a week, just like dry hopping. If it's in a keg, use a bag to keep them out of the dip tube. Bags in the produce section have worked out well for putting hops into the keg do far.

I've been doing four ounces for a week and it's been fantastic every time.

Just be careful if you're putting the bag into a carbonated keg. Holy foam.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Jo3sh posted:

I'll be interested to hear about your results with the bread yeast.

On a related note, does anyone have a favorite dry yeast to use for cider/apfelwein? I know the original HBT recipe calls for Montrachet, but I have not personally used that strain. Any others I should consider?

I'm asking because I have an old friend visiting for Christmas, and I would like to send him back home with a few things he can use to get a basic batch going, and there is no homebrew shop near him. The idea would be to put a few packets of yeast in his luggage together with an airlock, a bottles of Star-San, etc.

I've done all of my meads with D-47. Goes to 14.5% abv every time. You can balance the sweetness around that!

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


ExtremistCow posted:

He means the mill in the brick and mortar store. And it's true, I got burned enough by that mill that I just bought my own drat mill.

There's no real incentive for a store to use a fine crush. They sell more grain with it loose, and they avoid having to listen to people complain about a stuck sparge. With my own mill, a close gap, and slow speeds, I can hit about 85 to 90% efficiency.

Also, with my own mill it's easier to justify buying sacks of base malt, at a lower price per pound. That mill is paid for, and I'm probably still close to even on the motor driven three roll one I put together.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Ubik posted:

1. Put on latex gloves.
2. Spray hands with sanitizer.
3. Cram, mush and manhandle the cherries into the funnel with as much force as you can muster.

Trust me, it's how we pros do it.

Please don't use latex. Use nitrile, vinyl, or plastic gloves instead. I'd really rather not have to jab my wife with an epi pen for drinking beer. (Latex protein allergies are goddamn awful)

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


LaserWash posted:

Just call it a Session American Weissbier.

Okay, I'll leave now.

That'll be in the 2020 BJCP guidelines.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


If you're judging, just brew and enter beers in the categories you don't want to judge.

Our former club president complains about judging Belgian string and IPA every time. Because he doesn't drink those, he doesn't brew those, and thus he'll never judge German alt or English bitter.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Nth Doctor posted:

I'm in the midst of a mad dash to get as many batches ready for the early summer as possible. My wife's cousin is getting married in six weeks, and my father-in-law wants to bring as many batches of homebrew as can fit in his truck from Michigan to Oklahoma.
We currently have:
A Belgian Strong Dark carbing in bottles
Moose Drool clone in secondary
Citra Pale ale in primary
and on Saturday we're going to be doing a 60-minute type IPA with some hops that got gifted to us.
If we can squeeze it in, we also have a grapefruit sculpin clone kit that's otherwise going to sit, so maybe the first week in June we can knock that guy out.
The big effort will be to drink the half of the belgian strong dark batch that is still in the keg, but we all must make sacrifices, I suppose.

If you have the brewing time available, I've found that I can turn around a wheat beer pretty fast. Also a bonus as they tend to be lower alcohol, which will be nice if it's hot out. For a double bonus, they don't need time to clarify.

That said, I brought my homebrew to my wedding, and out of six kegs, the most popular was the 14% maple imperial stout. And it was 98* outside.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


I started out making a dark mild at 3.5% abv, and my dad continued making it when I moved out of state, it let my mom have a bit of beer while minimizing alcohol intake. I've also made a 3% kettle sour wheat beer that turned out fairly well, and it's probably a bit more summer friendly.

I was going to make a session ipa, but my wife doesn't like hoppy beer, so drinking it all myself wasn't going to be a net benefit.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Well with that much co2 production, it's actively pushing everything away from your beer, so you're good.

I haven't heard a boom before, usually it turns the airlock into a spray nozzle.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Der Penguingott posted:

It's been done before. I looked into it but gave up after reading that the flavor hardly carries through.

Lawson's in Vermont does a beer with it, Sap.

Fiddlehead brewing in Shelburne VT does it too, or try used to at least.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Jo3sh posted:

First, here's the instructions I have (very loosely) base my mead methods on:
http://morewinemaking.com/public/pdf/wmead.pdf

Now, bearing in mind that I only follow those directions loosely, anything - including doing nothing at all - is going to make a good product, although it may take longer. I don't have any nutrients in front of me, because I haven't restocked, but one to two grams of nutrient per gallon is probably about right for most applications. Add that when rehydrating the yeast, at first signs of fermentation, and at peak ferment, and you will be just fine. The doc above probably says a lot more about exactly how much to add and when, but I just can't be bothered, to be honest.

Yeah, this is a good basic approach. Also, my club (being mostly made of scientists) did a number of one gallon side by side comparisons of honey varietals and fruits with Fermaid K vs Fermaid O. Universally, the club liked Fermaid O much, much better. We have two bjcp grand masters, a bunch of masters, and a lot of certified judges.

I think O is a bit more expensive, but worth it to get a healthy yeast going in honey without any unwanted flavors.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


If not flat, certainly much less carbonated.

I use 10' Tygon beer lines, and keep the regulator around 10-12 PSI for pretty much all of my beer. Seems to work pretty well (the Tygon is lined, and has lower flow resistance). I keep the kegerator around 38*.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


calandryll posted:

I would love to have my setup in the basement. The only downside is I have not water or waste setups there. The main stack for waste is actually about 5 feet above the ground in the basement. So I'd have to rig up some kind of pump to get rid of water.

I don't think it's this exact one, but my homebrew club president has something like https://www.amazon.com/BurCam-30051...h/dp/B000GA3PFG

It's a little loud, but kicks on when water hits it

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Jo3sh posted:

The big saving for me in owning a mill is not in efficiency, but in the ability to buy base malts in bulk. If you live anywhere close to a shop that sells sacks for reasonable prices, you'll save loads over the per-pound price.

Of course, you also need a way to store the grain.

When I first started all grain, I was able to buy directly from Country Malt Group, since they didn't own a homebrew arm at that point. I was getting sacks for $35 each. I think my mill paid for itself in just over two sacks, since the local shop was charging about $1.50 per pound for base malt. Plus, my efficiency did go up, their mill gap was nuts.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


calandryll posted:

Would that work for sealing hop pellets?

I'm sure I could convince the wife to get into sous vide.

Not that brand, but sealing hop pellets is the reason I bought a vacuum sealer. Works great.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


triple clutcher posted:

Has anyone used an induction burner for beermaking purposes? I'm looking to expand / improve my setup a bit in the near future and something like this seems like it might be a happy medium between a normal propane / gas burner and getting into something with heatsticks, especially for two or three gallon batches.

I use that exact induction burner. Wrap some reflectix around the kettle and you can still boil over doing a 10 gallon batch. It's great, definitely worth it.

It needs 220v though.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


My club did a comparison trial, and universally preferred meads made with Fermaid O over Fermaid K or DAP. Adventures in Homebrewing usually has it for a decent price.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


It's probably the crush. When I went from having the LHBS crush it to milling my own, I went from 60% to 90% efficiency. It makes a difference.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


My club has a lot of folks with various levels of bjcp certifications, and by and large aren't hop heads. It was an interesting discovery.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Hefty posted:

So Iíve just moved from a house with a gas range and easy access to a garden hose size faucet, to an apartment with an electric range and modern(ish) fixtures. Iíve got a couple questions.

Iím new to brewing (only 3-4 batches so far), but Iím already attached to this hand me down wort chiller I got from a buddy. Is there a way to make that work with a sink or bathtub faucet somehow?

How much different/harder is it going to be boiling with an electric stove? Anything I should watch out for?

Iíve had issues with previous batches being much darker than they should be, and my assumption is that some of the extract didnít get mixed well and burned on the bottom. Any suggestions for avoiding that if that is the case?

You'll need something like https://www.homedepot.com/p/NEOPERL...12-98/202243063 to connect a hose to your kitchen sink. Which one you need will be determined by your kitchen sink faucet.

If you're doing 5 gallon batches, just get https://smile.amazon.com/Duxtop-810.../dp/B0045QEPYM/ and an induction ready pot. I bought a 3500 watt induction cooktop, and Northern Brewer kettle, and it works great. Since I was also in an apartment, I made an adapter to plug the 20amp cooktop into the 50amp clothes dryer socket. The 1800w will plug into a standard 120v, 15amp plug.

I have the inverse problem now, though. I bought a house that's plumbed for natural gas, and has no 220v run. So, I ordered a Blichmann Hellfire burner. Now I just need to actually brew, once I start wrapping up the house projects.

Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


Jo3sh posted:

God drat it.

Here in CA, I have never been able to get the "real" 190 proof Everclear, but I could get 151, which was almost the same for making limoncello and so on. Until now. I've just got home from the liquor store, and it appears there has been a rule change, so now all I can get is 120 proof.

I guess I am going to have to make a trip to a state where I can get the high-test stuff. Can any brewgoons in Arizona confirm for me that 190-proof Everclear is available there? A rough price would be appreciated as well. I already have half a plan to go visit a friend in the Phoenix area, so it looks like that is going to need to firm up.

You can select and shop specific stores on Total Wine's website. Looks like the 190 everclear is limited quantity, so you may have to call, but looks like in Phoenix a 750 is ostensibly $14.99. https://www.totalwine.com/spirits/w...06&igrules=true

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Alarbus
Mar 31, 2010


robotsinmyhead posted:

Offset taps are the mvp. Really upset I put mine in the center as it makes loading a real pain in the rear end, but I don't wanna rebuild the collar

Yuuuuup.

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