New old guy

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by RoadRoach, Apr 26, 2021.

  1. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Well-Known Member

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    Howdy from Helena Alabama where the water's harder than some rocks.

    What I've found, though, is that the high calcium content seems to make for a pretty good surfactant to help separate and settle beer though.

    I got into the 'hobby' last year after my step-son gave me a little one gallon batch to try out. I had rotator cuff surgery last year on both shoulders (4 months apart) so have had to have a hobby to keep from driving the missus crazy with my boredom. My latest foray was a 10 gallon batch of Rapier Wit (a Blue Moon knockoff), which I don't mind saying turned out pretty darn good by enhancing the citrus a little bit with a smidgeon of fresh lemon peel to go with the orange. Brought out the citrus over the coriander. YUM! Next batch may be a tangerine twist. Rapier's my go-to because it's so easy and quick to make. It's usually done fermenting in 2 weeks, but I push for 3 just to make sure I'm not making bottle bombs. I seem to have some kind of anomaly in my basement that conditions beer very quickly. Good steady temperature around 67-70 F, and a good dark spot under the stairs to shelve the bottles till time to consume.. I'm usually ready to go with the first bottle in only about 4-5 days, with the peak flavor and fizz happening around 8 days.

    I've done a few oatmeal stouts, but haven't quite duplicated the Founders Breakfast Stout yet. That's a goal. I find the higher OG beers tend to be very malty, so I'm thinking I may be underpitching. Still learning on a very steep curve, and most of it lately is about making starters and reusing the yeast for those times when the yeast I want just simply isn't available. Some of them seem to rotate out with seasonal beer choices. Seasons schmeasons. I like a good strong (high ABV) stout with a juicy steak any time of year, and consider IPA's good parts cleaners. I like what I like, and don't particularly care what's fashionable. Once the IBU breaks about 30, I'd just as soon chew on a used Q-Tip. Bitter don't work for me. Don't mind hop aroma or flavoring, just not keen on bitter.

    This week I have Hobgoblin (English) Ale, and an all-grain Belgian Blonde Ale (Leffe Abbey) in the fermenters with another 10 gallons of Rapier to follow that up. I found references to re-using yeast here, so decided to join and see what else I can learn. The Hobgoblin should be ready for racking next weekend. Gotta give a shout out to Alabrew in Pelham, AL for their extended recipe list and excellent suggestions. Now that I've learned some of the nuances of bitterness, ABV, aging, and other things, Kim's been most helpful in helping me decide what recipe to try next. I could spend hours in his recipe book, and point blank, I don't mind tasting some of the different brews while I make up my mind what I like or maybe change it about what I like better. He had a most excellent hefeweizen in the fridge when I was there last. That one's on the list when I can get a fridge set up for slow fermenting.
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like your having a ball with your new found hobby there mate.
    Man you've lernt so much so soon cudos to you man. Sounds like you've well and truly taken to this hombrewing hobby. You'll fit in well around here were all a bit mad for hombrew:p.
    Looking forward to seeing some of your Wheatbiers in the what are you drinking right now. I love wheat beers for sure yet I hear some people can't stand wheat in their beers go figure.

    Cheers !
     
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  3. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to Brewers Friend!
     
  4. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    Welcome!
    Sounds like you are keeping busy :cool:
     
  5. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    Welcome!

    I love the name of your Witbier!

    Malty in darker beers is sometimes a function of mash pH. Dark malts are often more acidic.
     
  6. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Well-Known Member

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    I thought I detected an Aussie twang in your writing, so had a look at your info. Kinda interesting that an Queenslander is the first to welcome me. Love the country, love the people, especially the missus. FIgure I got the best Aussie gal in the bunch, and 3 pretty good step kids to go along with her. Have been DownUnder a dozen times since 1999, and the latest trip was the beginning of the pandemic fiasco that's got everyone peeing their pants over a flu virus. The whole thing broke out while we were there. Unfortunately, the MIL was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer on Boxing Day in 2019, and the trip was pretty much to say our goodbyes. Pretty bizarre to come back through Houston airport, and see NO ONE except the folks I just got off the plane with. It was a scene straight outta "The Walking Dead", except no zombies. It was like everyone threw down everything and left. That's how close we were to not being able to come back stateside.

    The missus grew up in the Barossa Valley in SA, and moved to Port Pirie (about 300K north of Adelaide) a couple blocks from her folks after divorcing a wanker that didn't have any idea what he had. She likes to think of herself as somewhat an Outback girl, but realized what an urbanite she really is when I took her to my mother's place the first time. Let's just say, the world is flat, and I can prove it. I used to live on the edge where I could see off it. I met her electronically (playing backgammon on MSN Gaming Zone) in 1998, and took a trip I'd wanted to do since I was a kid for my 41st birthday in 1999. She was just that extra catalyst to get me to do it. Glad I did.
     
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  7. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Well-Known Member

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    Most of what I'm doing is extract stuff with adjuncts. Very little mashing compared to a whole-grain batch. The last batch I did was a Leffe Abbey Blonde all-grain knock-off. I'm firmly convinced that the more complex efforts involved in all-grain brewing is what makes most purists say it's better. I'll agree to that notion with the lighter stuff, but don't think I've got my techniques perfected yet for the heavier beers like stouts or porters. I always feel like I'm getting "incomplete combustion" because they always taste really malty if not sweet. Like there wasn't enough yeast for the sugars available. I would have expected an oatmeal adjunct to raise the pH, but man was I ever wrong. Of 20 something batches, only two have blown out through the air locks, most recently the Leffe. My fault there entirely, because I put WAY too much in the fermenter. I just hated to waste the wort that I worked so hard to make. Silly me, I should have saved a couple gallons (collected nearly 8 gallons during sparge) for making yeast starters. Live and learn. Keep making messes to figure out what NOT to do.

    Now, it's time to learn more about controlled pitching (rather than just dumping the packet into the wort), re-pitching (primarily to preserve some flavorings), and figure out a way to better control temperature and ferment rate. I'm reading all kinds of things about fermenting fast or fermenting slow. All the different little subtleties introduced by something as simple as mashing temperature (always below 165, of course) and duration of each step are what I want to learn. I'll never be producing to sell, and have given up on finding that "WOW" beer that impresses everyone that tries it.

    I find beermaking to be a lot like engineering. If you want 5 ONLY ways to do something, just ask an engineer (brewer). Gotta listen and read a lot to figure out what to try next.
     
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  8. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    Indeed!

    The recipe builder here on Brewer's Friend has a nifty sub-function for yeast pitch rates, worth trying if you haven't already.

    Ah, yes. I'm an engineer, too...:p
     
  9. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Welcome. You can make the software as simple or complicated as you like really. Lots of rabbit holes to go down.
     

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