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Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/18/2017 3:58 PM

I've brought it up before and I thought I'd do so again in light of some good stuff coming up with yamdankee's brew. Most of my home brewing has been finding clone recipes of my favorite beers because I'm too scared of experimenting and failing and also a little too lazy to come up with my own recipes. I thought I'd change that this time around.

I did do one clone though - Hop Slam IPA clone. This one is heavily hopped - boil, flame out, and dry hop. I brewed this a month ago and typically by now I'd be racking to secondary and dry hopping, but much to my surprise the airlock is still bubbling! I can't believe it's still somewhat active about a month later. I'll probably just get impatient after the next gravity reading or two and rack anyway. We'll see.

The yeast starter for this one was quite active! (Home made stir plate)

Another one I brewed is a 12.25% ABV Imperial Stout that I've been aging in a 10 gallon Rye Whiskey barrel that was also used to add some character to maple syrup, too. So this will have some good complexity and richness getting some of that rye whiskey and a little sweetness from the maple syrup. I took a bit about a month ago and it was surprising how quickly it took on that oak/rye/maple flavor. I have a feeling this is going to be one of the best beers I've ever made. I'll have to bottle some of this instead of kegging all of it like I usually do.

And finally one I'm really excited about - a brew that is my own recipe. A lot of my fellow brewers and friends are a lot more willing to experiment and get funky. So I thought I'd try my own for once. What I thought I'd do is see what a beer tastes like with one type of grain and one type of hop. I want to see what a beer that is as basic and straightforward as you can get with current popular ingredients tastes like, and then add/change the recipe from there. I want to see how much of an impact there is when adding one other hop varietal or one other type of grain to the bill. So I'll probably bottle some of this, too, and drink some side by side. So the goal is to have 5 bottles, and each of them building off one another increasing in complexity.

All American Two-Row, All Mosaic hops. California Ale yeast from White Labs.

Hop slam clone in plastic carboy on the left, all two row all mosaic on the right:

I know some of you like to brew! Have you done anything interesting lately, have plans to?

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#1

Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/18/2017 4:57 PM

I have a big wagon full of pears that I hope to use. Warm weather and busy me mucking it up

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#7
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/19/2017 9:03 AM

Oh wow, that should be nice! What are you planning to do with them? Whatever you do, I suggest getting to them quick. We have an apple tree in our front yard that I ambitiously thought I'd use to make cider but life gets in the way and I only got to pick and juice like 20% of the apples it gave me. I can still make a hard cider out of that or something, just not nearly as much as I would have liked to get.

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#2

Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/18/2017 5:46 PM

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#3
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/18/2017 6:35 PM

SolarEagle wins, I want to be your neighbor. For my tastes, it should be darker though.

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#5
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/18/2017 8:55 PM

if enough people swim in it, it'll get darker in a hurry.

My current human house load does not allow such luxuries. Brewing, not swimming in it. Maybe someday.

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#11
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/19/2017 10:51 AM

I can't see a thing in your post. It's just blank. Apparently, you posted a picture? Any particular format?

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#12
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/19/2017 11:25 AM

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#13
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/19/2017 4:33 PM

Come on Lyn, would that not be a refreshing dip in the Arizona summer?

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#14
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/19/2017 4:59 PM

Well, I doubt that the Arizona Department of Child Safety would think it was a good idea.

I'll stick with water in the pool and beer in the fridge.

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#15
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/19/2017 5:56 PM

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#4

Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/18/2017 6:40 PM

All joking aside, I have seriously considered getting into brewing my own beer. It seems like all the brewing kits I see are the paler ales and lagers. I am into the thick, dark, malty German beers, preferably bock style or doppelbocks. Have you brewed anything like that?

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#8
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/19/2017 9:30 AM

German Beer Recipe Kits - Give those a look. Skip past the Kolschs, Goses, and Pilsners and you'll find some that may fit your criteria. I see some nice bocks and doppelbocks in there. I actually haven't brewed anything strictly that style, no. My palate favors the bitter/hoppy a bit more than the malty side. But I do appreciate and like the style!

I support your consideration of getting into brewing! It may seem daunting at first to get rolling, but once you get the first 1 or 2 under your belt you're gonna be wondering what took so long. (At least I did!)

If you end up buying an extract kit like from link above, there's a few things you'll need. (I only linked to extract because it's easier to get started with extracts. If you want to jump into All-Grain, look up how to make a mashtun or simply buy one. Otherwise the below is all you'll need.)

  • 5 gallon pot (at least) - Extract brewing you only actually brew 2.5 - 3 gallons, and then add water towards the end of the brewing process to bring it up to 5 gallons of wort which is what these recipes make.
  • Large stirring spoon - Metal or wood, ideally with a long handle to stir in this pot, it gets hot quick.
  • Thermometer
  • A large funnel that can fit into the mouth of a carboy
  • A 6 gallon carboy (glass or plastic, glass is easier to clean, plastic is cheaper. An issue many of us engineers are very familiar with)
  • Carboy carrier - Dropping 5 gallons of wort (or even worse, fermented wort - beer) and all the glass is a nightmare no one should have to endure.
  • Bung and airlock
  • Sanitizer
  • Bottles, caps, and a capper - You can save up empty bottles, clean, and sanitize them, but that's a long process and pretty tedious. You can also buy enough swingtop style bottles that make it a lot easier. (Capping is not fun)
  • Bottling bucket (6 gallon) and bottling wand
  • Hydrometer and cylinder
  • Racking cane

I might be forgetting something but that's pretty much it. These kits come with instructions, and there are lots of great youtube videos. But really all it is on brew day is bringing water up to a certain temperature, let the grain back steep for a certain time, bring that up to a boil, add the extract, boil that for an hour or so, add hops according to the recipe/schedule, let it cool in an ice bath in your sink or tub, pour from cooled pot through funnel into your sanitized carboy, add cool water, make sure temp is below 80 degrees, add the yeast, apply sanitized bung and airlock and wait! When you test the gravity a few times and it's about the same each time, you can rack to the bottling bucket, add the simple sugar solution you make on bottling day to the bucket as well, and rack the beer into the bottles. Another week or two and it'll be carbonated and ready to drink!

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#10
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/19/2017 10:06 AM

Thank you for the tips.

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#6

Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/19/2017 8:49 AM

I have a small home brew kit. I have used it a few times and I enjoy the fruits of my labor. My biggest hurdle is temperature control. I have to create a way to keep it at the right temperature.

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#9
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/19/2017 9:38 AM

I understand your woes. Keep an eye on craigslist for mini fridges, people have them for sale all the time. Then you can buy a temperature controller and have your beer ferment in that controlled environment. And if keeping it warmer is your issue, carboy jackets are a great solution!

Another interesting thing I learned recently - lagering doesn't have to be done at cooler temperatures. Well, at least lager-like character can be achieved with Saflager S-23. Great stuff! Made a watermelon lager with this and it turned out great.

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#16

Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/20/2017 11:30 AM

If you ever need a tester for an IPA, give me a shout!

Engineering360 has published some good beer-related articles lately. We do try to give our readers what they want to read.

This is about healthy beer with added probiotics.

Here's one about spiffy new home-brewing equipment and another about engineering your own beer.

Freeze-dried beer, anyone? Maybe space station residents?

Some Penn students won an award for speeding up the fermentation process. is that really a good idea, though?

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#17

Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/22/2017 7:04 PM

Unlike the above posts. I make a little stronger brew, dilute it and flavor it. Tequila! 98 proof or apple pie about 32 proof. I get about 195 proof on the second time thru the still.

I usually start with apples ( they're free) and ferment it to about 25%abv. Turbo yeast. Run it thru the still twice. I ferment with powdered charcoal in the mix. It slows down the fermentation process and removes the off flavors you sometimes get. For some reason unknown to me the charcoal makes cleanup easier. The left overs from the still go into the compost pile. I bottle in one gallon bottles and age for at least 6 months. Then I rack it and rebottle it in clean bottles, always dark colored bottles. I have had a few people try to convince me to go commercial with the apple pie. It has been my experience that using fruit for strong alcohol taste better than using grains or vegetables. Maybe I just don't do the grains and vegi's correctly.

The still is 8 gallons stainless with a 3 in column 6 ft tall. I run it with the bottom two feet of the column empty with a coarse screen at the bottom. I also insulate the bottom of the column. then above another screen, short small diameter ceramic tube pieces for 3 1/2 feet then copper mess for the rest. I used to use glass marbles in the column. I think the ceramic pieces work better.

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#18

Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/26/2017 2:01 PM

I have several fig trees and have been drying the figs. I was thinking about some wine. I'm not a brewer, so I haven't gotten around to it yet. Still need to figure out what kind of brew to make before I try to get the recipe. I'd need a detailed recipe for dummies, tho. I'm not a cook either. Don't know if I'll ever get around to it.

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#19
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

09/26/2017 3:23 PM

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#20

Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

11/15/2017 12:28 PM

What kind of yeast did you use to allow you to get to 12.25% ABV?

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#21
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Re: Brew Anything Good Lately?

11/15/2017 3:10 PM

if you are replying to #17 I used brand name "turbo yeast" I buy it from my local distillery supply house. I have gotten as high as 26.6 percent alcohol, this was with excess sugar. It does require using an activated charcoal step. I buy the charcoal in liquid form, at the same place.

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BestInShow (1); Dennis R. Levesque (1); harley (1); JE in Chicago (1); JPool (5); lyn (4); Mikerho (1); Rinkrat (1); silvCrow (2); SolarEagle (1); yamdankee (3)

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