Home Brewing thread, offshoot of the beer thread.

Baby Billy

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A bad batch? Welcome to the club. If you are brewing, you are guaranteed to have bad or mediocre batches sometimes. Even the pros have it happen.
True. It seemed to start going sideways when I started making my own recipes. I should just get a kit and jump back in.
 

Golddiggie

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I've only had one or two brews that I found I didn't care for. More due to the style (following the parameters to get there). Those recipes (and styles) are just ones I won't do again.

I'm thinking we'll do my honey ale after the mocha porter. There might be a brew between those two though. Nephew mentioned about a brown ale. Which I happen to have a recipe in my arsenal for already.

BTW, my honey ale doesn't actually have any real honey in it. Not even a drop. I get all my flavors via the grains, hops and yeast used in the recipe.

I need to see if I can get him to commit to helping bottle up some of the batches of mead that have been bulk aging for some time (years). Just need to pull samples from them to confirm they're still good. Or worth bottling. Then get the bottles and set up the floor corker (can handle up to champagne corks).
 

dhuze

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I made a batch of Nut brown ale with one of those all in one kitsa year ago. It was my first time and it came out ok. It seemed like it was over carbonated. every time I opened a bottle I had to have it in the sink with a glass so I could immediately pour some. It still foamed up over the glass and takes a few minutes to settle. Probably takes me 5 minutes to pour the bottle into the glass.
 

Golddiggie

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I made a batch of Nut brown ale with one of those all in one kitsa year ago. It was my first time and it came out ok. It seemed like it was over carbonated. every time I opened a bottle I had to have it in the sink with a glass so I could immediately pour some. It still foamed up over the glass and takes a few minutes to settle. Probably takes me 5 minutes to pour the bottle into the glass.
One of the reasons why I never went with the generic "5oz of priming sugar for every beer" method of bottle carbonating/conditioning. There was a site I used to figure out how much priming sugar was really needed to get the proper levels for the recipe.

I only used two 'kits' when I started brewing. Even then, I modified them a decent amount. After that, I started generating my own recipes and went all grain. The only thing I would buy malt extract for (after batch three) was for making a starter. With canned starter concentrate now available, I don't even need it for that. :)
 

Golddiggie

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Fermentation is on the down swing now...

Seeing this is one of the reasons I use thermometers to judge. I'm using an Inkbird unit right now that's Bluetooth and is connected to my phone. I'm looking to get another one to use in the keg fridge so that I can see what it's temperatures are. That way I can see where it is for the longer span of time. The sensor I have now just gives me the current, min and max temperatures.
 

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dhuze

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One of the reasons why I never went with the generic "5oz of priming sugar for every beer" method of bottle carbonating/conditioning. There was a site I used to figure out how much priming sugar was really needed to get the proper levels for the recipe.

I only used two 'kits' when I started brewing. Even then, I modified them a decent amount. After that, I started generating my own recipes and went all grain. The only thing I would buy malt extract for (after batch three) was for making a starter. With canned starter concentrate now available, I don't even need it for that. :)
I didn't do 5 oz either. The kit I had was, i believe, 1 tsp in each bottle. Maybe less, I can't quite remember.
The beer was good except it was over carbonated.
 

Golddiggie

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I didn't do 5 oz either. The kit I had was, i believe, 1 tsp in each bottle. Maybe less, I can't quite remember.
The beer was good except it was over carbonated.
Jebus!!! That's the worst thing I can recall for priming sugar measurement. It's always been "mix 5oz into the 5 gallons of brew in the bottling bucket" type of thing. That way you don't get too much in any bottle. Since doing it into the bottle, especially using a volume measure, sets you up for bad results. As you encountered.

I wasn't brewing for long before I transitioned to carbonating in keg via CO2 from a bottle/tank. A LOT more controlled and any over carbonation issue is easy to correct.
 

dhuze

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Jebus!!! That's the worst thing I can recall for priming sugar measurement. It's always been "mix 5oz into the 5 gallons of brew in the bottling bucket" type of thing. That way you don't get too much in any bottle. Since doing it into the bottle, especially using a volume measure, sets you up for bad results. As you encountered.

I wasn't brewing for long before I transitioned to carbonating in keg via CO2 from a bottle/tank. A LOT more controlled and any over carbonation issue is easy to correct.
Just looked up the instructions. I used 12oz bottles. And 1 blew up in my basement.

 

Golddiggie

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@dhuze I've never seen that type of instructions when it came to bottle carbonating a batch. Seems to me that was a 'dumbed down' kit (to the extreme so that even a brain-dead cave man could do it). Did it not come with a bottling bucket? IME all the kits (hardware especially) would include that. They are [mostly] "turn key" type sets. Just add brew ingredients and you're 'good to go'.

Of course, I've always use weight measures for any dry ingredients. Measuring spoons are not what I'd use for anything like this. Hell, I have a scale that goes down to .001 ounces (only goes up to 11 ounces total measure) that I use for things like hops and such. I used that on Sunday to measure out the hops and yeast nutrient that went into the batch. I have another scale (goes up to 55#) that has a .1oz resolution that I use for grains.

Do I go for more precision in the ingredients than I need to? Maybe. But I get solid results each time. So why deviate?
 

dhuze

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@dhuze I've never seen that type of instructions when it came to bottle carbonating a batch. Seems to me that was a 'dumbed down' kit (to the extreme so that even a brain-dead cave man could do it). Did it not come with a bottling bucket? IME all the kits (hardware especially) would include that. They are [mostly] "turn key" type sets. Just add brew ingredients and you're 'good to go'.

Of course, I've always use weight measures for any dry ingredients. Measuring spoons are not what I'd use for anything like this. Hell, I have a scale that goes down to .001 ounces (only goes up to 11 ounces total measure) that I use for things like hops and such. I used that on Sunday to measure out the hops and yeast nutrient that went into the batch. I have another scale (goes up to 55#) that has a .1oz resolution that I use for grains.

Do I go for more precision in the ingredients than I need to? Maybe. But I get solid results each time. So why deviate?
It was a very simplified almost idiot proof kit. Someone gave it to me so I used it. I had watched a bunch of youtube "brewing" videos previous to getting this and a lot of steps were taken out.

It was basically boil water, dump in yeast and a can of molasses like stuff (maybe there were two)), cook, ferment, bottle.

This is the product.

Beer Making Kits, Home Brewing Systems & Supplies | BrewDemon
 

Golddiggie

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It was a very simplified almost idiot proof kit. Someone gave it to me so I used it. I had watched a bunch of youtube "brewing" videos previous to getting this and a lot of steps were taken out.

It was basically boil water, dump in yeast and a can of molasses like stuff (maybe there were two)), cook, ferment, bottle.

This is the product.

Beer Making Kits, Home Brewing Systems & Supplies | BrewDemon
I hope you didn't do it in the order you listed. Since if you cook the yeast, it's done. ;)

IME/IMO, "kits" like that is what makes people think that home brew is crap. If anyone gave me something like that, they'd earn at least a nut and throat punch for it.
 

Golddiggie

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Just kicked off a 1L starter with two tubes if Wyeast 1882-PC that I treated and then froze back in December of 2012. Will give it a couple/few days to do something before deciding if I need to purchase yeast for the next brew. Since 1882-PC is not currently available, I'll have to get my alternate yeast strain for the batch.
 

lancecolonel

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Here's a question for you seasoned brewers.....if I bring a specific beer to a homebrew store and say I'd like to make something similar would they be able to tell me how/sell me the supplies?
 

Golddiggie

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@lancecolonel There are usually recipes to be had for most popular brews so you can try to make it yourself. I've never done that since I prefer to be more original. ;) There are also books out there containing clone recipes.

Also be aware that while these will get you 'close' how close is open to interpretation. There are some brews that include either ingredients, processes, or other elements that you won't be able to replicate in a home setting. One important element in all beers is the yeast. IF a brew uses a house strain, you won't be able to use that so the brew won't be a dead match. Which is why I say you can get 'close' with either the kits or recipes.
 

01bmf

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Here's a question for you seasoned brewers.....if I bring a specific beer to a homebrew store and say I'd like to make something similar would they be able to tell me how/sell me the supplies?
Google the name of the beer and "clone." You'll likely find a ton of recipes. Apps like BeerSmith have recipes included with user ratings. What are you looking to recreate?
 

mark2215

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Here's a question for you seasoned brewers.....if I bring a specific beer to a homebrew store and say I'd like to make something similar would they be able to tell me how/sell me the supplies?
As others have already said, you can get close but you'll never exactly duplicate a beer. I've been given the exact recipe and used exact same grain/hops/yeast obtained from brewery that makes the original beer. It was close but still not the same. The biggest difference is the water. While it is possible to replicate water profiles you're talking a much more advanced brewing process.
 

lancecolonel

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Google the name of the beer and "clone." You'll likely find a ton of recipes. Apps like BeerSmith have recipes included with user ratings. What are you looking to recreate?
i LOVE ballast point-victory at sea (vanilla coffee imperial porter) and exhibit a-sunday paper (imperial coffee stout). both come in at 10% abv and both are seasonal brews, very hard if not impossible to find this time of year. i stock up as much as i can during the winter but it never lasts thru the summer. breakfast stout is my summer beer as it's almost always available. if i could home brew a reasonable facsimile of either of the first 2, i would be in heaven.
 

Golddiggie

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As others have already said, you can get close but you'll never exactly duplicate a beer. I've been given the exact recipe and used exact same grain/hops/yeast obtained from brewery that makes the original beer. It was close but still not the same. The biggest difference is the water. While it is possible to replicate water profiles you're talking a much more advanced brewing process.
Another factor (often over looked) is temperatures the brew ferments at. Not to mention mash efficiency can play a role. Unless you're doing an extract recipe (no thanks) you need to take that into account.

Also don't dismiss yeast wrangling as a factor. Pitching the proper amount of yeast into a batch, and providing it with what it needs to do the job best, is vital. Not long after I started brewing, I picked up using pure O2 to oxygenate the wort prior to pitching in the yeast. I also started making yeast starters in order to pitch the right amount of yeast for the brew.
A good book to pick up that covers this aspect is (believe it or not) "Yeast the practical guide to beer fermentation" by White and Zainasheff. Biggest 'take-away' is that yeast NEEDS O2 in the wort in order to create healthy cell walls during it's growth stage. Plus pitching the right amount of healthy yeast cells into the wort (at the start) means they will need to reproduce/replicate fewer times in order to get you the beer you want.
Case in point, my latest 10 gallon batch (into fermenter, putting 9 gallons into kegs) went from yeast pitching to done in under three days. OG was 14.2 brix. Sure, I could have done away with the pure O2, but why when it's easy to do and gives me great results.
 

01bmf

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i LOVE ballast point-victory at sea (vanilla coffee imperial porter) and exhibit a-sunday paper (imperial coffee stout). both come in at 10% abv and both are seasonal brews, very hard if not impossible to find this time of year. i stock up as much as i can during the winter but it never lasts thru the summer. breakfast stout is my summer beer as it's almost always available. if i could home brew a reasonable facsimile of either of the first 2, i would be in heaven.
Some recipes in here:
 

01bmf

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Another factor (often over looked) is temperatures the brew ferments at. Not to mention mash efficiency can play a role. Unless you're doing an extract recipe (no thanks) you need to take that into account.

Also don't dismiss yeast wrangling as a factor. Pitching the proper amount of yeast into a batch, and providing it with what it needs to do the job best, is vital. Not long after I started brewing, I picked up using pure O2 to oxygenate the wort prior to pitching in the yeast. I also started making yeast starters in order to pitch the right amount of yeast for the brew.
A good book to pick up that covers this aspect is (believe it or not) "Yeast the practical guide to beer fermentation" by White and Zainasheff. Biggest 'take-away' is that yeast NEEDS O2 in the wort in order to create healthy cell walls during it's growth stage. Plus pitching the right amount of healthy yeast cells into the wort (at the start) means they will need to reproduce/replicate fewer times in order to get you the beer you want.
Case in point, my latest 10 gallon batch (into fermenter, putting 9 gallons into kegs) went from yeast pitching to done in under three days. OG was 14.2 brix. Sure, I could have done away with the pure O2, but why when it's easy to do and gives me great results.
Under pitching the yeast causes strain on it and produces some nasty effects. Better to over estimate and not over work it.
 

Golddiggie

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It took a few days, but the starter made with the frozen yeast is finally showing good activity inside. I'll need to get some more of the starter wort cans. I had already planned to add that to the order for the ingredients for the next batch. Also looking to get enough hops to brew the next several recipes.

BTW, I always use a stir plate for my starters. One of the best things you can buy when you get serious is a stir plate and a couple of flasks. I'd advise getting a 2L and 3L flask. Some batches you won't need to go beyond the 2L flask. others you'll need to do a few steps and the 2L won't be large enough for the later stages.
 
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Fermentation is on the down swing now...

Seeing this is one of the reasons I use thermometers to judge. I'm using an Inkbird unit right now that's Bluetooth and is connected to my phone. I'm looking to get another one to use in the keg fridge so that I can see what it's temperatures are. That way I can see where it is for the longer span of time. The sensor I have now just gives me the current, min and max temperatures.

Check out the "Tilt" Hydrometer. They are pretty cool.
 

Golddiggie

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Check out the "Tilt" Hydrometer. They are pretty cool.
I've been using refractometers for a long time. No electronics to worry about either. Plus, IDGAF about getting such readings all during the fermentation. It's why I have thermowells in the fermenter caps. I can watch the temperature climb, plateau, then drop telling me exactly what's going on. Plus, there's really not much I'll do if things don't go as expected. Although they rarely do in a bad way. This batch fermented faster than I had expected. But, that's not a bad thing.
 

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Just a little 'update' on the yeast that was frozen for over 7-1/2 years. ;)

I was working in the basement/garage after dinner. Came back up once finished and I was greeted by this sight.
IMG_20200606_010023.jpg

I'd say the yeast is doing VERY well now.

My earlier time estimates for the lag were a little off. I started the starter Wednesday evening (before bed). So it was in lag for just over two days. Now it's gone into hyperactive mode.

Picked up four more cans of Proper Starter from Jaspers this afternoon too (plus some Target hops for the coming brew). Once the starter has calmed down/finished, I'll chill (cold crash) it for a couple of days. Then decant the spent starter and add another liter of starter for it to eat some more. I'll decide additional starters once I get an idea of how much yeast cake is on the bottom of the flask (after either/both starters are finished).
 

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This morning I harvested the yeast from that first starter (after being frozen since December 2012).

Here's what I retrieved (jar is quart size):
IMG_20200610_085544.jpg

From my estimate, I had about 15-20ml of yeast between the two tubes of frozen.

Began a new starter just before 9am:
IMG_20200610_085940.jpg

State as of about 10-15 minutes ago:
IMG_20200610_114020.jpg

I had to push the foam stopper back into the flask opening. It was starting to get pushed out. I'll need to keep watch on this one. Maybe put a foil hat on it, to keep it protected (plus block the radio signals ;)).

You can see the color change in the starter wort as well. That means the yeast is doing it's job with gusto.

On another note, I've started adding CO2 to the fermenter that the English IPA (MO SMaSH) is in. Only going with about 5psi at this point. Mostly to get the carbonation rolling. It finished fermenting about a week ago, so no harm being done to the yeast. Plus, from what I've found, 5psi is a safe pressure even when fermenting. It smells EPIC!!
 

Golddiggie

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Well, basement isn't cooperating this summer as far as temperatures go (for fermenting). Of course, ever since I moved in here (late 2015) the back room of the basement (front is the garage) has always been in the 50's year round. High 50's in the summer, mid to low in the winter. Now, it's ranging from the upper 60's to low 70's. Nope, not gonna work for the yeast I use.

So, coming soon will be a fermentation chamber. I'm picking out the mini fridge that will be the cold engine for it. I'll get the 2x4's and 4'x8' sheets of plywood (or OSB) as well as the rigid foam sheets soon. My nephew will be giving me a hand with the build on the 27th. We're brewing a batch on July 3rd where this will be used for the first time. I also have a controller already selected (can do both hot and cold, but I'll use it for the cold side initially).

When this is all said and done, IF he decides he wants to try making a lager, we'll be able to.

I had thought about using my 5 cubic freezer as the cold engine for this. But, it's a bit small (would only fit the 50L fermenter by itself). Plus it would require lifting the fermenters (converted sanke kegs) up over the edge and then resting them down in the bottom. Yeah, pass on that shit Fartman. I'm still deciding if it will be 3' or 4' long total (planning two sheets of OSB), I have until we start cutting the wood to decide. I do have a pair of gas springs that I'm going to use with this. My plan is to have the very end hinged so it can be opened up for loading. Plus have the top (or a good section of it) also hinged with the gas springs installed so that it will open (and stay open) on it's own.

The chamber will be on wheels (caster type, at least four of them) so that I can move it around as needed. Either while it's in use, or when it's not.

Another bonus/benefit will be the ability to cold crash a brew once it's done fermenting IF I decide to. I've never done that in the past since I've not had a chamber. I've simply given the yeast enough time to flocculate out and make a nice yeast cake for me. They're so very thoughtful that way. ;)

I'll post up pictures and such once it's created. Links of items used will be provided where I can. I got the gas springs from ESS (in Manchester, NH) and they're no longer in business. I also bought a much smaller pair of gas springs. I'll be using one, or both, of those on the tracking arm assembly for the 2x72 belt grinder I'm building. Instead of the simple spring the designer called out.
 
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