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Q&A: Homebrewing


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Speaking of weakened buckets, I recently left home for about a few weeks and left a batch of beer behind, When I came back I found the apartment smelling a little yeasty and my bucket standing in a pool of beer! Cracks had started to form on the bottom rim. Fortunately, I only lost about 1L to the floor (I threw out the remaining for fear of contamination).

Is this a common occurrence with plastic buckets?

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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So how did batch one turn out, Pilori?

Worked great! I used a primary and secondary fermenter on the recommendation of my local brew shop. I'm about halfway through drinking them so I was thinking about picking up the ingredients for the next recipe and give it a try. I'm excited :smile:. I'd like to try and use the wet (I think it's called that) yeast culture instead of the packets this time. Any recommendations or tips?

Edited by Pilori (log)
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Never heard of that happening before, actually. Unusual. How old was the bucket?

I purchased the bucket less than 2 years ago, and probably used it less than 10 times. Is it possible that the sanitizer could have weakened the plastic? I was mixing up big batches of Diversol and immersing my bottles in the bucket before starting a batch (I'm switching to another sanitizer though, as Diversol seems to basically be powdered bleach and the price recently doubled).

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Worked great! I used a primary and secondary fermenter on the recommendation of my local brew shop. I'm about halfway through drinking them so I was thinking about picking up the ingredients for the next recipe and give it a try. I'm excited :smile:. I'd like to try and use the wet (I think it's called that) yeast culture instead of the packets this time. Any recommendations or tips?

Going with liquid yeast on the second recipe will open lots and lots of opportunities to experiment. The Red Ale recipe is all about maximizing the unfermentable components in the beer that will leave a rich body and some residual sweetness behind. Yeast strains all have different "apparent attenuation" numbers, a measure of how much of the fermentable stuff in there they'll chew through. If you go with a low attenuating yeast, you could end up with a sticky sweet beer, which with a boost to the red ale's hopping, might be pretty tasty. Or you could go with a hungry yeast that chews through most of the fermentables, and might munch on some of the traditionally unfermentables too..

Given my taste preferences, I'd be looking at either a Scottish or a Belgian styled yeast strain. Scottish for some sweetness, Belgian for some interesting funk. If you really want to funky it up, ferment it with a brettanomyces strain.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Worked great! I used a primary and secondary fermenter on the recommendation of my local brew shop. I'm about halfway through drinking them so I was thinking about picking up the ingredients for the next recipe and give it a try. I'm excited :smile:. I'd like to try and use the wet (I think it's called that) yeast culture instead of the packets this time. Any recommendations or tips?

Going with liquid yeast on the second recipe will open lots and lots of opportunities to experiment. The Red Ale recipe is all about maximizing the unfermentable components in the beer that will leave a rich body and some residual sweetness behind. Yeast strains all have different "apparent attenuation" numbers, a measure of how much of the fermentable stuff in there they'll chew through. If you go with a low attenuating yeast, you could end up with a sticky sweet beer, which with a boost to the red ale's hopping, might be pretty tasty. Or you could go with a hungry yeast that chews through most of the fermentables, and might munch on some of the traditionally unfermentables too..

Given my taste preferences, I'd be looking at either a Scottish or a Belgian styled yeast strain. Scottish for some sweetness, Belgian for some interesting funk. If you really want to funky it up, ferment it with a brettanomyces strain.

Thanks for the advice. What exactly do you mean by funky? Heh

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Thanks for the advice. What exactly do you mean by funky? Heh

Belgian yeast strains are known for having high ester/phenolic profiles.

Esters created by Belgian yeast strains often represent a wide variety of fruity tastes from bananas to apples to cherries to pears to whatever.

Phenols created by Belgian yeast can represent smokiness, clove, vanilla, black pepper and other things.

Basically, Belgian yeasts will create fruity/spicy flavor profiles - often referred to as "funky". Many Belgian Beers (Blond, Tripel, Golden Strong) have very simple malt bills, little to no hopping, creating a blank canvas for the yeast to create most of the flavor of the beer - quite the opposite of America where hops tend to play the star, England where many beers are malt forward, or Germany where balance and simplicity is championed. (Yes, there are exceptions to all of these gross generalizations).

Brettanomyces (Brett) is a "wild" yeast strain that can eat sugars that traditional yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) can't - as well as produce a fair amount of acetic acid. (think vinegar) In small (and sometimes larger) quantities, acetic acid can have a positive affect on a beer. Brett also has its own set of ester and phenolic profiles - usually creating tastes slightly less "accessible" than most common brewing yeasts, even compared to many Belgian strains.

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Never heard of that happening before, actually. Unusual. How old was the bucket?

I purchased the bucket less than 2 years ago, and probably used it less than 10 times. Is it possible that the sanitizer could have weakened the plastic? I was mixing up big batches of Diversol and immersing my bottles in the bucket before starting a batch (I'm switching to another sanitizer though, as Diversol seems to basically be powdered bleach and the price recently doubled).

I've been out of the biz for a while but I have never heard of Diversol. The best sanitizer for brewing is iodophor. If diluted properly for use, it's tasteless, odorless, doesn't stain, won't create off flavors in the beer (so no need to rinse) and has a built-in potency indicator (as long as it has color it will work).

It's possible your sanitizer weakened the bucket, but it's more likely just a cheap bucket or a bad batch. Is the bucket opaque white or slightly translucent? White ones tend to be more brittle.

Mark

My eG Food Blog

www.markiscooking.com

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  • 1 month later...

Chris and others-

I am hoping to make a Bier do Garde style ale soon and have an all-grain recipe formulated. I've been reading that this ale style needs lagering. Is this true and a requirement? I really do not have the ability to store my fermenter at any temperature below 65-70F right now. Should I abandon this particular style and try something else? Here is the proposed recipe:

BdeG Style: Bière de Garde

Type: All grain Size: 5.0 gallons

Color: 19 HCU (~11 SRM)

Bitterness: 22 IBU

OG: 1.067 FG: 1.011

Alcohol: 7.2% v/v (5.6% w/w)

Grain:

5.0 lb. Belgian pale

4.20 lb. German Light Munich

0.50 lb. British brown

0.50 lb. Melanoidin Malt

0.8 lb. Rye Malt

0.25 lb. Oat Flakes

Mash:

70% efficiency

Mash at 155-158° F

Boil:

70 minutes SG 1.056 6.0 gallons

8 oz. Belgian candi sugar

8 oz. Cane sugar

Hops:

0.75 oz. Fuggles (4.75% AA, 60 min.)

0.55 oz. Eroica (12% AA, 15 min.)

Yeast: White Labs European/Belgian Ale

Carbonation: 2.6 volumes Corn Sugar: 4.74 oz. for 5 gallons @ 70°F

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Your question really depends upon your choice of yeast. There has been a run of interesting variants on Saison yeasts released as special selections from Wyeast in the past few years... One called, if I recall rightly, 3711, may do the job for you without requiring cold storage.

Have you read Farmhouse Ales? That is really the bible for the Saison/Biere de Garde brewing.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Your question really depends upon your choice of yeast. There has been a run of interesting variants on Saison yeasts released as special selections from Wyeast in the past few years... One called, if I recall rightly, 3711, may do the job for you without requiring cold storage.

Have you read Farmhouse Ales? That is really the bible for the Saison/Biere de Garde brewing.

Thanks for the tip about the yeasts. I have not read Farmhouse Ales, but I think it will be on my list soon.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  • 4 weeks later...

About 10 yrs ago my husband did some kit brewing and I recently talked him into trying again.

This time we used the New Complete Joy of Home Brewing.

Our first attempt was called Lovebite Weizenbier and everything went off well except that we refigerated right after bottling so carbonation has taken a looooong time, it was starting after about 3weeks and we havent opened one for another 3 weeks. Then we tried Palilalia India Pale Ale, as I was about to pour the Malt Extract into the pot I realized it was supposed to be powder, Oh well it will still be Beer right?

Indeed it is, after 2 weeks in the bottles at room temp we chilled and opened one. Well, it's not Pale to be sure and it doesn't act like an IPA either. Dark red and creamy with a head you want to try balancing a coin on, lacy film down the sides and a rich Hoppy after taste that really lingers in the mouth. I am thinking it came out like a pre-mixed Black and Tan. Hubby loves it but he likes Guiness, I will stick with whats left of the Weiss and the IPA is Christmas gifts.

Oh well mistakes were made and probabley will be again but this is fun

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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Glad you're having fun!

I do wonder why the IPA came out ruby red colored, though... Great effect that some people have to really try to acheive. Sounds like it was intended to be a fairly amber-y IPA, and you added some caramelization in the boiling pot to redden it up. Did you use a pre-hopped extract, or were you adding hops to the boil?

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Chris the recipe was supposed to be 7# of light or amber DME, 1# crystal malt, and 1/2# toasted barley...I ended up using a can of light and a can of amber malt syrup instead. It was double hopped with Northern Brewer for the boil and Cascade at the end.

I am sure the color had Nothing to do with that little teeny tiny scorch mark on the bottom of the pot : )

At least most of the people we are spending Christmas with will really appreciate the beer, now I just need to make the labels....Log Cabin Hoppy Christmas Ale

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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I ended up using a can of light and a can of amber malt syrup instead. It was double hopped with Northern Brewer for the boil and Cascade at the end.

How big were the cans?

How many ounces of hops?

Did you take gravity readings?

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Ok lets see....

The Malt was the lightest one they had, the salesman took away what I had in my basket and gave me?? something else

The canned Malt Syrup were 3.3 pounds each

1.5 oz Northern Brewer Hops

1 oz Cascade

but here it is, I am the only one that didn't NUTZ over it

Dec 09 008.jpg

Not what I would call an IPA....and I know keep a notebook of what the heck you used, I know, I know.

Tracey

Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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Ok lets see....

Not what I would call an IPA....

Next time try 8 lbs of pale malt extract, .75 lbs light crystal malt (about 17 degrees), .25 lbs 95 degree crystal malt and 1 lb of a dextrin malt. (Dingman's can be steeped with the crystal - if all you can get is Breiss then do a "mini-mash" by covering with 160 degree water for 15-30 minutes then steep with the rest of the grains).

For bittering hops use any neutral hop - Northen Brewer as you used is fine - shoot for 35 to 45 IBU. You need about 1.5 ozs of Cascade for finishing and then dry hop with another 1.5 ozs. (If you're after an "American style" IPA - otherwise use East Kent Goldings or Fuggle for a British style IPA.)

Mark

My eG Food Blog

www.markiscooking.com

My T shirt site: Guy Bling

My NEW Ribs site: BlasphemyRibs.com

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  • 2 months later...

Well, I just picked up my ingredients for the Red Ale today! They didn't have Weyermann Melanoidin malt in, but the guy recommended something similar to me (I believe it was from Belgian, instead). I also decided to pick up a Scottish Wyeast since I wanted to try a wet yeast this time instead of the dry.

I forgot to get the hop bags, but I'm going to be in the brew shop area on Thursday so I'll get them then. For future reference can I use something like cheese cloth with a string attached to it as a hop bag?

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Well, I just picked up my ingredients for the Red Ale today! They didn't have Weyermann Melanoidin malt in, but the guy recommended something similar to me (I believe it was from Belgian, instead). I also decided to pick up a Scottish Wyeast since I wanted to try a wet yeast this time instead of the dry.

I forgot to get the hop bags, but I'm going to be in the brew shop area on Thursday so I'll get them then. For future reference can I use something like cheese cloth with a string attached to it as a hop bag?

I'm assuming the hop bag is for dry-hopping: You don't need a hop bag. Just dump them in.

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I'm assuming the hop bag is for dry-hopping: You don't need a hop bag. Just dump them in.

When doing big batches, that's good advice. When brewing small, a hop bag might let you get another couple of bottles-worth out of the primary before your siphon starts sucking yeasty sediment, as the sludge is not augmented by the hop volume.

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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And while we're talking brewing, I must report that after a couple of years with the fermenting space tied up with sour beers that take lots of time to finish, I'm back to brewing more regularly now. I just got in on a local group grain buy, and have stocked up with 55 lbs of pale malt and 27.5 lbs of Munich malt... I've got the materials to do a bunch of brewing this spring...

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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And while we're talking brewing, I must report that after a couple of years with the fermenting space tied up with sour beers that take lots of time to finish, I'm back to brewing more regularly now. I just got in on a local group grain buy, and have stocked up with 55 lbs of pale malt and 27.5 lbs of Munich malt... I've got the materials to do a bunch of brewing this spring...

Glad to hear. I spent a good part of the day in the brewery cleaning up and trying to organize. Pulled the Brew Magic out and cleaned it up and did a good Clean In Place. Time to brew here to. I have about 300 pounds of grain and 10 pounds of hops to brew up.

IMG_2068.jpg

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So once we are done with these recipes here where should we go if we haven't developed our skills enough to create our own recipe?

Also, in terms of the Red Ale, I have two fermentation vessels. One bucket with airtight lid and airlock along with a clear plastic container with the really narrow mouth (like the water jugs) with another airlock. Can I do a primary and secondary fermentation with this ale? And, in general, which container should I start with?

Edited by Pilori (log)
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