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Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
10/29/15 12:53 p.m.

Pumpkin Pie beer got tapped today. I'm very pleased with it. The spices are muted... but that's the way I like it. Base beer is nice. If anything, I could use a bit more actual pumpkin puree flavor, or maybe just do butternut squash next time, since that has a stronger flavor.

I do like the effect of the lactose. It's a very nice, subtle creaminess. I considered throwing in vanilla beans, and am glad I didn't.

We'll see how the sweet potato beers come out in comparison. I now kind of wish I'd thrown some lactose into the yam beer.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill SuperDork
10/29/15 9:43 p.m.

Butternut squash! why didn't I think of that?

People around me couldn't give enough of it away we got so much this year, and I only took what we cooked.

Next year

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 PowerDork
11/18/15 8:47 a.m.

I'm a brewnoob and I'm about to brew my first batch. I have a kit from Home Brew Ohio and a recipe kit from BSG. It's got a glass carboy and a big bucket with a hole in it for bottling. The instructions make reference to a primary fermenter and a secondary fermenter, and the glass carboy is referred to as the secondary. Should I ferment in the glass carboy and siphon into the bucket for bottling, or what? Do I need a primary and secondary fermenter?

Edit: Sorry to clutter up the recipe thread, but I couldn't find a "technique" thread.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
11/18/15 9:47 a.m.
1988RedT2 wrote: I'm a brewnoob and I'm about to brew my first batch. I have a kit from Home Brew Ohio and a recipe kit from BSG. It's got a glass carboy and a big bucket with a hole in it for bottling. The instructions make reference to a primary fermenter and a secondary fermenter, and the glass carboy is referred to as the secondary. Should I ferment in the glass carboy and siphon into the bucket for bottling, or what? Do I need a primary and secondary fermenter? Edit: Sorry to clutter up the recipe thread, but I couldn't find a "technique" thread.

I always just did single-stage fermentation (carboy only) then transfered to the bucket for bottling only.

The goal of doing a primary and then a secondary is really just to rack the beer off the trub and get a brighter beer. But it's home brew. Slightly hazy is fine. Do the simpler procedure your first few times. Learn what you're doing before deciding if you want to make your procedure more complex.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 PowerDork
11/18/15 9:58 a.m.

In reply to Beer Baron:

Great! That's kinda the way I was leaning.

One other thing, there's a mention of using an overflow tube when fermenting in a carboy for the first couple of days. I was just going to use an airlock. Is it likely to bubble out a bunch of foamy gook when it starts working, or will I be okay with just the airlock?

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
11/18/15 4:46 p.m.
1988RedT2 wrote: In reply to Beer Baron: Great! That's kinda the way I was leaning. One other thing, there's a mention of using an overflow tube when fermenting in a carboy for the first couple of days. I was just going to use an airlock. Is it likely to bubble out a bunch of foamy gook when it starts working, or will I be okay with just the airlock?

Depends how full you fill the carboy. Is it a 5gal or 6gal? If you do a 5 gallon batch in a 5 gallon carboy, probably.

Even if you blow a bunch of krausen out an airlock, BFD. It's just a mess. You'll need to clean up your airlock, but it won't hurt anything.

fritzsch
fritzsch Dork
12/21/15 7:07 a.m.

I had the apple wine from page 1 fermenting in a dark glass carboy so I couldn't tell if it was cleared. I bottled it up today because I wanted to try it for christmas, and it is pretty much the opposite of clear. Taste isn't very strong but I think there is alcohol in there. Leaning towards it being a failure but not sure.

Even if the wine is messed up is there any danger in drinking it anyway?

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UltraDork
12/21/15 7:58 a.m.

In reply to fritzsch:

My experience with bad wine has ranged from small headache to bad hangover, but I drank the whole bottle. I can't say I'd recommend knowingly drinking a bad batch though.

That's really a bummer about the failure!

Couple things:

When you took the wine out of the carboy and bottled it, did you siphon it from the top? the sediment settles at the bottom and is easily disturbed. That could explain the lack of clarity.

For alcohol content we can run an experiment (assuming you haven't poured it out already) Fill a glass with water and another glass with your wine. Go find something that floats, but is heavy enough to sit "in" the water (you know, so half of it is actually below the water line). Ok, put said item in the water and see where the water line is. Now put that item in the wine and see if sinks. If it sinks there's alcohol (alcohol is less dense than h2o). If it floats more then the thick sugar/juice solution didn't ferment at all (because sugar juice is more dense than h2o)

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
12/21/15 8:40 a.m.

In reply to fritzsch:

Do you not have a hydrometer? Did you check the original and final gravity?

The suggestion about something that floats in water is... sort of but not really correct. Alcohol is less dense than water and juice are more. But you almost certainly did not get 100% fermentation. There will be residual sugars, and your terminal gravity should be greater than 1.000 (or 0* Plato or Brix). If your density is less than water, it won't be by much. Like, at least .990.

If the wine has very little taste, that actually means you had a very complete fermentation with plenty of alcohol. If it really tastes neutral and not "hot", then you actually had a very nice fermentation with almost exclusively lower weight ethyl alcohol. It is the higher alcohols that make a beer/wine taste "hot" and tend to give a hangover.

Chances are you just made something mediocre but not actively bad. That your fermentation was too clean and your wine lacks residual sweetness, tannins, or acidity to give it body.

Since this is apple wine and you used table sugar, this is very likely. Apple juice and sugar are basically 100% fermentable. It is not as acidic as grape juice and lacks the tannins of grape skins.

So... my best guess is that you've got something to mix with a splash fruit juice and spices that will get you REALLY berkeleyed up because it will be high alcohol without tasting of it.

fritzsch
fritzsch Dork
12/21/15 12:05 p.m.

In reply to Beer Baron:

Nope, you know how Germany is. I haven't even the slightest idea where I would find homebrew stuff, and I was too lazy to order online though I really should have. So no hydrometer. There is a bit of hotness in the chest, but not tasting it so much. But what I feel in the chest makes me think there is a fair bit of alcohol right?

In reply to Hungary Bill:

I siphoned a few inches from the bottom, and I tried my best not to disturb the sediment. But I think it was cloudy even in the carboy. I also added too much yeast when starting it, but I read that shouldn't really matter as the yeast will die off once there is a certain alcohol content.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UltraDork
12/22/15 12:07 a.m.

AW MAN!!!!! GERMANY!?! I'm here right now, I could have hauled stuff across the pond for ya.

Dag gum it all to heck. I had an entire C-17 at my disposal too

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
12/22/15 6:40 a.m.
fritzsch wrote: There is a bit of hotness in the chest, but not tasting it so much. But what I feel in the chest makes me think there is a fair bit of alcohol right?

Yeah. That means lots of alcohol but restrained levels of higher alcohols. Means you're less likely to get a hangover.

Grtechguy
Grtechguy MegaDork
12/26/15 2:18 p.m.

Not actual brewing, but waxed some bottles today. Just because I like it.

From L to R. Peanut Butter Porter, Imperial Stout (brewed with maple sap) and Michigan Cider infused with Jim Beam Honey.

Jumper K. Balls
Jumper K. Balls UberDork
12/26/15 2:45 p.m.
Beer Baron wrote: Yeah. That means lots of alcohol but restrained levels of higher alcohols. Means you're less likely to get a hangover.

Can you expound on this? I find it fascinating and Google isn't returning much in the way of simple explanations.

I would love to know why I can drink quality microbrews all night with no issues, but halfway into my second can of pbr I will already feel hungover.

Is it an ingredient thing or a fermentation thing?

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
12/26/15 9:11 p.m.
Jumper K. Balls wrote:
Beer Baron wrote: Yeah. That means lots of alcohol but restrained levels of higher alcohols. Means you're less likely to get a hangover.
Can you expound on this? I find it fascinating and Google isn't returning much in the way of simple explanations. I would love to know why I can drink quality microbrews all night with no issues, but halfway into my second can of pbr I will already feel hungover. Is it an ingredient thing or a fermentation thing?

Okay, my initial comment wouldn't relate to PBR (I don't think).

Chemically, an alcohol is a carbon chain with a hydroxy (OH) group on it. Ethanol has 2 carbons. Higher (Fusel) alcohols are ones with more than two carbons. Yeast produces them in fermentation, and produces more when it's stressed. Usually as a result of being too warm, or surrounded by too much alcohol. Higher alcohols tend to make a drink taste "hot" - think a cheap red wine that burns. Higher alcohols also tend to make you be more likely to get a hangover (that cheap red wine again).

Why does PBR give you a hangover but microbrew not? Dunno. Could be any number of reasons. It could be something to do with the corn sugar used to brew it. And/or they might be doing forced fermentation (I do not know if they do this or not) where they ferment a couple degrees warmer to speed the process, and limit the aroma production of the yeast by keeping it under pressure. This can increase the production of higher alcohols. Or it could be that the microbrew has live yeast in it which is chock full of B-vitamins that make you less likely to get hungover.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 PowerDork
1/6/16 12:42 p.m.

Okay, so I actually did finally brew that batch today. I think it went well. Time will tell!

Question about light: Does it matter if the fermenter is in a well-lit but away-from-direct-sunlight location? Instructions just say "away from direct sunlight." I'm in an exterior corner of my eat-in kitchen, near lots of windows, on the north side of the house. No direct sunlight. Near perfect temps. Should I cover the fermenter, or just let it be?

Grtechguy
Grtechguy MegaDork
1/6/16 1:21 p.m.

In reply to 1988RedT2:

I keep mine in a closet. The idea is to keep UV light away. I'd use a sheet if it must remain in the kitchen.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic UltimaDork
1/6/16 8:45 p.m.

Wrapping a towel around it definitely won't hurt.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
1/7/16 6:20 a.m.

Towel or cardboard box at the least. Closet is best. The issue is that UV light will cause your hops to skunk.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 PowerDork
1/7/16 11:35 a.m.

Okay, I've covered it with the big cardboard box that it came in. Has plenty of room for the fermenter and the airlock. The yeast is definitely very active today.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 PowerDork
1/9/16 9:53 a.m.

Well, it's calmed down quite a bit today. I took the box off at night so I could keep an eye on it. I woke up yesterday to brown spots halfway up my wall and two windows where the krausen had geysered through the holes in the airlock cap. I blame you all!

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
1/9/16 10:09 a.m.

In reply to 1988RedT2:

Next time, use some sort of blow-off tube. You can buy big fat ones that fit the neck of a carboy, or you can get another airlock and slide like a 1/2" i.d. tube around it. Put the other end of the tube in a bucket or pail of water with a bit of sani solution in it.

Grtechguy
Grtechguy MegaDork
1/9/16 2:23 p.m.

At least it's just spots. I've use a bucket (with a blowoff tube) on a very vigorous stout.

Thankfully it was in the utility sink, but the plastic lid had bounced of the ceiling and krausen was still bubbling off when I got home from church.

bgkast
bgkast UberDork
1/9/16 4:57 p.m.
bgkast wrote: Ok brewmasters. Critique my recipe for a Lebkuchen beer for my annual holiday batch: Lebkuchen beer US-05 yeast 7.5 lbs English Maris Otter 0.25 lbs. English Chocolate Malt 0.25 lbs. Briess Caramel 120 0.25 lbs. Belgian Biscuit 0.25 lbs. Briess Special Roast magnum hops 0.5 oz 13.4% at 60 minutes (22 IBU) 6-8 oz molasses (half if blackstrap) at end of boil Cinnamon 2-4 sticks in fermenter Cloves-2 or 3 whole cloves at 5 minutes Allspice ½ tsp at 5 min Nutmeg ¼ tsp at 10 minutes The base beer is the recipe for Northen Brewer's Brown Ale. The molasses and spices are based on a traditional Lebkuchen recipe and my best research/guess into how much to use and when to add them in the process. I plan to make test tea with spices, and adjust them based on how that goes.

It turned out pretty good. OG was 1.042, and it finished at about 1.010. The spices and molasses didn't come through much, with the exception of the cinnamon (I used 3 sticks).

Next time I think I will up the grain bill and spices a bit.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
1/10/16 9:31 a.m.
bgkast wrote: It turned out pretty good. OG was 1.042, and it finished at about 1.010. The spices and molasses didn't come through much, with the exception of the cinnamon (I used 3 sticks). Next time I think I will up the grain bill and spices a bit.

Nice! It is always better to err on the side of not-quite-enough spice, rather than too much.

Cinnamon is my least favorite spice to put in a beer. A little goes a really long way for me. Molasses is partly fermentable, so the flavor impact will be less than you'd expect - like with honey.

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