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7 minutes ago, minstrels said:

Funny, you've just scaled up and I'm thinking about scaling down. :)

I think 10ishL is just about where I want to be tbh. I’ve got some new fermenters that’d let me go up to 25 easy but I can’t imagine bottling that much again and maintaining my sanity.

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Update: I had some doubts about how Mangrove Jack Cali Lager could cope at 14C ambient, but it’s absolutely powering away with a tiny initial lag. The fermenter outside temp strip is sitting at 18C so god knows how hot it is in the middle. Smells spectacular too; I’m definitely brewing with Hallertauer Mittelfreuh again.

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1 hour ago, Spacehost said:

Update: I had some doubts about how Mangrove Jack Cali Lager could cope at 14C ambient, but it’s absolutely powering away with a tiny initial lag. The fermenter outside temp strip is sitting at 18C so god knows how hot it is in the middle. Smells spectacular too; I’m definitely brewing with Hallertauer Mittelfreuh again.

That sounds really interesting. Keep us posted!

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So I fully expected M54 to be a slow starter and have a protracted brew time- nope, totally finished 6 days in, assuming the needle doesn’t move any more. I’ve hit 7.9% expected ABV, and it tastes like it, but it’s also full bodied, bitter, and delicious. I want to drink this now, and really want to redo this at a sensible ABV. It’s built for pints.

 

You don’t get much if any of the hop aroma, we’ll see if it comes back.

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On 29/10/2020 at 14:45, Sabes said:

Finally got round to bottling this today. Smells, looks and tastes amazing. Blows the 2019 version out of the water.

 

Over-carbed this by some way - didn't take into account that a lot of what was in the fermenter was cherries rather than beer. Had one bottle explode at 1:00am and the others fiz up when opening so if you've not got a glass ready you lose half the bottle. I've had some froth up a bit when you open, but this one is something else.

 

Apart from that, it's amazing. Really fruity with a slight sourness, not too overdone. Best beer I've ever brewed, so gutted I messed up the carbonation.

 

Happy to do a bottle swap and dig out something less explosive.

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  • 2 months later...

I went on a mad brewing spree these last few months.  I came to realise that my home-brew has the same distinct flavour that can be detected in a NEIPA style, heavy hopped USA Pale and a Kolsch. Basically its there all the time. (all grain, keg finished).  

 

None of it tastes bad per se. But the lingering taste bothers me.  My water profile is fairly indistinct and I add stuff to it to make up for that. I have a habit of being impatient, but don't feel that this is explainable.    Thinking of clearing out all my kit for new stuff just to be sure, some of it is fairly old.

 

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I made a simple 5% SMASH out of Maris Otter, Mosaic and US-05 last month, and let me tell you, it’s the best, simplest beer. Easy drinking, keeps out of its own way but you really get that nice hop flavour. I need to do more like that.

 

So obviously, next up is a NZ IPA with three different kinds of hops that I’ll make with Saison or Verdant IPA yeast, then try to remake it with loads of some NZ fruit compote I had to order off Amazon because my mate says it’s great for brewing with. I’ll make it 7-8%.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I decided to brew three beers at once this time, because I am an idiot. Based off of a previous recipe I made up, refined a little. Same base wort with Belle Saison in two, Verdant IPA in the third, and two litres of feijoa compote (with the fruit) in one of the saisons. Big NZ hops with big dry hop addition.

  • My efficiency sucked because I’m brewing 15L in a setup really just intended for 10L, so I had to cut down dilution to it my SG. So my bitterness is a little high, 
  • Whole leaf hops instead of pellets for the first time. Loose. Christ, what a flap to siphon, constantly getting blocked completely. I wound up pouring all the wort into a sanitised bag and dripping it through before I could transfer. How it’s not infected, I dunno.
  • Whole leaf hops for dry hopping in carboys. I’m an idiot. It’s like a terrarium in there, jamming them in was no fun, woe betide me when I siphon it out.
  • It smells and tastes AMAZING for all that, I am a GENIUS

Bottling tomorrow, then I’ll plot how I’ll do this recipe again but less messy.

25DAE0CB-A7F5-409B-B9AF-1C0B90315771.thumb.jpeg.797d9b8aa935d376d4a20a105d921e06.jpeg


762C2320-9C82-4AC9-9011-ECF5AFE34A43.thumb.jpeg.71d7f08f8a38b6312e6e3e2a08c658fe.jpeg

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On 25/11/2020 at 01:29, Spacehost said:

F27E6946-056C-4D01-8E18-492C06ABB434.thumb.jpeg.25593a653bde3123513235dcf92d51f7.jpeg

Obligatory bottle art.

I dug one of three bottles of this that I kept in my safety deposit bike shed through the cold months to lager, it’s cleared up beautifully. Wish it was 3 percent weaker and I had ten more of it, but I’m quite proud of it. Good lager seems like such a challenge without temp control, but I think I might have a go at another CalCom around Halloween to drink over Christmas.

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Got the new kit cleaned last night, so hoping to get the first brew in at the weekend if my ingredients arrive. Doing a simple Maris Otter/Citra Smash with WLP001.

 

Been doing a bit of rearranging at home, and it looks like I now have space for a fermenting fridge and a serving fridge in my office, so hopefully that will be happening soon!

 

Cracked open any of your latest brew @Spacehost?

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1 hour ago, minstrels said:

Cracked open any of your latest brew @Spacehost?

I have actually! First one (NZ saison) was not bad, but too bitter (as expected) and lacking hoppy character. I put that down to poor hop storage; no room in the fridge or freezer so it went in an outdoor storeroom for months. Will buy hops closer to brew next time.

Second, NZ saison with 40% feijoa compote, is too busy, except for hop character, which is subdued. Bitterness from the hops, near sourness from the fermented sugar water in the compote, saison character covers all the feijoa flavour. I’ll probably try again, with mashed up whole feijoa fruit and do it as a Verdant IPA with just one NZ hop.

 

I’m a little concerned about possible infection- got some weird stuff going on at the top of the saison bottles- but given I’m pitching for 3+ vols of CO2 maybe it’s just the residual saison yeast having a party. I’ve stuck them all in a sturdy plastic crate just to be safe, but no gushers yet, just nice fizzy beer.

 

I’ll try the last one, the Verdant IPA, this weekend.

 

As an attempt to make a lot of delicious beer it’s failure, but as an experiment it’s a resounding success. Lot of process and recipe things to think about.

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33 minutes ago, Spacehost said:

Snapped and tried the IPA. Tastes fucking boring, except bitter and boring. I honestly dunno if I’ll drink the whole lot. There’s a nice stone fruit note in the back that’s just swamped by the bitterness.

With the abundance of low bitterness, juicy IPAs right now, that actually sounds amazing. Bitterness is all I need sometimes. :lol:

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Brewed on Friday night for the first time on my new kit. 

 

Very smooth and successful brewday until I hit chilling, with my little filter in the kettle getting completely blocked up almost immediately. I had to keep scraping the hops off with a spoon... :lol:

 

Just a few tweaks to make next time but overall very happy with the process, and even with the trouble I had the chilling time was still only 30 minutes. A five hour brewday in total, including a chemical clean at the end, so much faster than my old eight hour brewday.

 

15L of wort has been fermenting away since Friday night and appears to be done now. I'm picking up a fridge later today so I'll actually be able to get this chilled and try and drop it bright.

 

image.thumb.png.b0b50422217c2fa0e785a7c08381b6cc.png

 

Also been using my iSpindle, haven't calibrated it so the readings themselves are useless, but the graph has been super handy and really fun to watch.

 

image.thumb.png.a1f67aabfbb42eb9a796d7e9fdb1d5f1.png

 

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Gotta love a wort chiller.

 

Been tempted by an iSpindel, but I know it wouldn't actually help that much- I haven't got the capacity to alter ferm temp much, and I've not run into any stuck fermentations yet, so I know it would just be another graph to stress about.

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22 hours ago, Spacehost said:

Gotta love a wort chiller.

 

Been tempted by an iSpindel, but I know it wouldn't actually help that much- I haven't got the capacity to alter ferm temp much, and I've not run into any stuck fermentations yet, so I know it would just be another graph to stress about.

I'm not sure if anybody uses these to alter ferm temperature, they're more for the data. I'm sure you could set up something with a Raspberry Pi and a web interface, but by that point you're better off spending 30 quid on an Inkbird.

 

The most useful part of it for me is tracking activity. I usually like to make sure the gravity is stable for three days before bottling, so with this I don't need to bother taking hydrometer samples three days in a row, I can just look at the graph.

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I love taking gravity readings! Any excuse to have a little beer at lunchtime.

 

Pretty sure this batch is infected, so I'm checking every couple of days to see if the beer is beginning to gush. I'll dump it if it starts looking suspect. Next lot is a Kitchen Sink extract brew to use up all my odds and sods and clear out a corner of the freezer for the next brew. If that winds up infected as well I'll have to start dumping equipment.

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I think it’s definitely infected. For one, I have magic self-emptying bottles of the feijoa saison, just pop the cap and let it fizz over. For another, the feijoa saison still tastes fucking grim, getting worse by the week. Glad to know what an infected brew is like at last!

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6 minutes ago, minstrels said:

Likely something has gotten into the beer from the fruit.

 

What sort of flavours are you getting from it?

Oh it's not the fruit- I used sealed bottles of compote, basically sugar syrup and feijoa halves, it's totally shelf stable. I had to dump all the beer in a BIAB bag and squeeze it out to get it in the fermenters due to my siphon clogging. Which involved me using my hands, because it simply would not get out due to all the hop matter. That's your infection source.

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