Thinking of home brewing

Trachalio wrote:

I ended up chucking both batches. Neither of them showed any signs of fermentation and because I forgot to stir them one day, ended up with mold growth on one. I would have picked it off, but there was already too much to bother with. I'll try it again, but would make sure I use dried hop cones and unpasteurised honey. I also suspect that, because it's been so chilly here lately and we don't have the heat on yet, that it was too cold for the yeast to really get going.

I'm also thinking of starting a ginger bug for sodas, and figure I can dump some of that in the T'ej if it doesn't ferment quickly enough.

Not sure the difference you will get using whole hops vs. pellets and it certainly won't have any impact on yeast activity. The only differences I have ever noticed are whole hops absorb more water, leaving left behind for consumption and they can be easier to clear in transfer, though that is not a big factor.

For a wild/spontaneous inoculation, the key factor, assuming you are hoping for some lactobacillus and pediococcus bacteria along with wild yeast, is low IBUs (aka, low alpha acids), which have anti microbial inhibition properties, and the primary reasons hops were used in the first place. Whole hops and pellets have the same alpha units, depending on the variety. It is just getting the mix right to the target IBUs.

The situation where whole hops should be used over pellets are when using aged whole hops. My guess is that this is what you would want to use and is what Belgian Lambic brewers use. The other option is to select a relatively low AA pellet hop in a small amount to keep your estimated IBUs below 12 (Lacto Hop Tolerance).

My understanding is that T'ej does not use hops, rather Gesho. If you are subbing hops, you may want to consider using a commercial brewers yeast, at least initially, for the fermentation. Or buy some Cantillon and used the dregs at the bottom to inoculate. Wild yeast collection can be tricky business. It can be fun, but it will also result in a lot of "dumpers." There are some great links to catching wild yeast HERE.

Can you tell that I think very highly of the Milk the Funk group?

Good luck and I hope some of this helps. I have tended to play it safe and stick to mixed fermentation beers and "wild" strains that have been collected and isolated from yeast companies or dregs from bottles. Congrats on being more daring that I!

This is great! Thank you bhchrist!

The main reason I tried to make T'ej is because I had most of the ingredients already, and a burning desire to ferment something after reading Katz's book, not because I had the burning desire to make a mead.

But I'll try it again! I think my original flavour ideas (coffee and Saaz, lemon and ginger) would work well for a mead and I wanna see how it turns out.

But I also feel like this could be a slippery slope? I made my first homebrew at a workshop a month-ish ago and I'm worried that it's going to taste good. Worried because, as one of our local brewers said to me on twitter:

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Pretty much spot on. You CAN do it relatively inexpensively. I have many things I thought I needed that I used, got more experienced, and shelved (March pumps, anyone?). After 10 years, I now know exactly what I want, which is quite a bit less than exactly what I wanted 4 years ago (and didn't buy, fortunately), but still is not free by any means. But, I brought 12+ gallons comprised of 4 different beers to share with GWJ friends over the summer who loved it. Worth it!

I finally tried my brew last night and... it wasn't terrible! Almost no carbonation because I panicked and "burped" the bottle when I thought it might be under too much pressure, but I would make it again. Really bready on the nose and fairly malt forward on the pallet. The lack of carbonation made it someone syrupy too I felt. I definitely want to try the recipe again.

The company that put on the open flame brewing course, The Brew School, said the MOST important thing about home brewing is naming your beer So I went a little nuts and made my own label:

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The course was held at an old fur trading fort called Lower Fort Garry, a place dear to me because it's a 15 minute drive from where I grew up. I wanted the beer's name to reflect the fort's history, so I went with "Muir & Folster's 1846 Prairie Pale Ale". Muir and Folster were the first brewers employed at the fort, they started in 1846, and the fort is in the Canadian prairies, so it came together pretty easily. I even managed to find a sketch of the fort that shows what the old brew house looked like before it was demolished in the late 1800s.

Trachalio wrote:

The company that put on the open flame brewing course, The Brew School, said the MOST important thing about home brewing is naming your beer ;)...

I would quibble and say it is drinking and/or sharing your beer, but that is just me.

Very, very cool label and story. I learned a thing! Thanks for sharing.

I have to concur with drinking and sharing. Being the only beer drinker in the house anymore, a 5-gallon batch goes a long way. It's always a lot of fun to share bottles with family and friends. Plus...then I can brew another batch

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Last update on the White Walker Whiskey Stout. I bottled in June so it's been about 4 months of conditioning and it has done wonders. I've been trying 1 bottle a month since I bottled and each time felt it was just too much oak. Smoke and oak and tannins was just too much and I would sip at maybe half a glass and then dump it. Opened one this week and was shocked at how good it was. Drank the whole bomber. Finally, after 3 brews, I think I got a winner.

So, I'm thinking this one is worthy of a nice label before I gift it out to some friends and family. Has anyone done their own labels? What did you use?

Nicely done! It definitely sounds like a brew that I would love. My last one like that never got past the oak or tannins for some reason, so it's good to hear it's worked for you. Maybe this winter I'll give it another try.

Wish I could help you out with label advice, but I've never made them myself. What I've seen is just doing up like shipping labels and using a regular inkjet printer, but it never turns out well.

I made a label!

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I was just going to order some blank labels and print them myself but after googling around a bit I ended up using Grogtag for the labels. I whipped up the label in Photoshop, uploaded it to their site, and they print and mail them. A little on the expensive side, so not something I'll probably do often.

Also did a new brew last weekend. Trying an Irish Red this time around. It's been fermenting a few days now and I got a little worried because the whole basement smells like a fart. I thought it was infection, but after doing some reading it seems to be caused by the yeast I used. California Ale yeast apparently puts out a lot of sulfur.

So, the glycol chiller I was going on about on the previous page finally arrived back in late-February.

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I haven't touched it because of obvious events that began in March, but figured now was as good as any time to jump back into brewing. I found a clone recipe for a "Sol" style Mexican lager so I think I'm going to give that a shot in the next week or so.

Anyone been making any quarantine brews?

I need to brew a beer to go into a 65 Gallon barrel (shared) after we get beer from over a year ago out of it. May also do a saison to go into another barrel. Haven't decided yet, though. Should do something simple and quick to have at home.

65 gallons?! A year ago?!! Is there any way that beer still good?

Its been a while since I brewed, and I gave my equipment away again, but I still think about going back, maybe with a little bit of a simpler system. We're moving into a new house soon with a large utility room, its tempting as a brewing space.

I brewed a big Belgian dark ale back in May that turned out really nice. One of the best I've made in a good while. Definitely not a summer beer, but I'm enjoying it nonetheless!

Very cool, Vega. I need to get my hand on some lager yeast. I've got a brew stalled out in primary atm (first time using Bry-97) but want to do a lager next.

polypusher wrote:

65 gallons?! A year ago?!! Is there any way that beer still good?

A year isn't too unusual for sour/wild beers, which I'm guessing might be the case here since there's a barrel involved.

LupusUmbrus wrote:

Very cool, Vega. I need to get my hand on some lager yeast. I've got a brew stalled out in primary atm (first time using Bry-97) but want to do a lager next.

polypusher wrote:

65 gallons?! A year ago?!! Is there any way that beer still good?

A year isn't too unusual for sour/wild beers, which I'm guessing might be the case here since there's a barrel involved.

Correct. We are lucky enough to have some bugs from Funk Factory Geuzeria, an incredibly good mixed microbe fermetation brewery here in Madison. We have also tossed in some Cantillon dregs from time to time. The Barrel has been going for 5 or 6 years now (formerly a white wine barrel). Empty the beer, wash out the barrel, and add new beer. The beer we ferment with traditional yeast typically, using a malt bill that leaves behind plenty of goodies for the brettomyces and bacteria to chew on, and there is plenty left behind in the wood of the barrels after washing/steaming them out.

Good article HERE on Funk Factory. Levi Funk (yes, his real name) is a great guy and really dedicated to the traditional Lambic brewing and blending process as carried out in Belgium for hundreds of years. The art of blending beers from different barrels and of different ages (often a one, two, and three year version together) is just as important if not more so than the brewing itself.

LupusUmbrus wrote:

Very cool, Vega. I need to get my hand on some lager yeast. I've got a brew stalled out in primary atm (first time using Bry-97) but want to do a lager next.

If you go with a liquid yeast for a lager, the key is a LARGE pitch of yeast. If you are set up to make a starter, we are talking a 3-5L starter with likely 2-3 yeast packs. You can also look to use lager yeast at a higher temperature. The Brulosphy fellows have done some really intereesting tests with fast lagers/warmer lagers. I really enjoy them, and should do more. Instead, I have "cheated" more often than not and stuck with a Kolsch, given how much I love the style.

bhchrist wrote:
LupusUmbrus wrote:

Very cool, Vega. I need to get my hand on some lager yeast. I've got a brew stalled out in primary atm (first time using Bry-97) but want to do a lager next.

If you go with a liquid yeast for a lager, the key is a LARGE pitch of yeast. If you are set up to make a starter, we are talking a 3-5L starter with likely 2-3 yeast packs. You can also look to use lager yeast at a higher temperature. The Brulosphy fellows have done some really intereesting tests with fast lagers/warmer lagers. I really enjoy them, and should do more. Instead, I have "cheated" more often than not and stuck with a Kolsch, given how much I love the style.

Yup, I've done both "warm" and cold lager ferments and have had both some out really good. My current favorite is Omega OYL114. Pitch in the low 60's and let it rise a little and it makes a fantastic beer. I have yet to go as warm as some of the Brulosophy experiments, but I'm not sure there's any need if you have temperature control.

LupusUmbrus wrote:

Yup, I've done both "warm" and cold lager ferments and have had both some out really good. My current favorite is Omega OYL114. Pitch in the low 60's and let it rise a little and it makes a fantastic beer. I have yet to go as warm as some of the Brulosophy experiments, but I'm not sure there's any need if you have temperature control.

Cool. I really like Omega's Yeast. I will have to try that one. I am with you as to temp. If you can go cooler and get good results, why not? I do the same with my Kolsch.

First time brewing in a new house, even though we've been here a few months, and first time making anything since last January. Provided a welcome sense of normalcy during a very abnormal time, if only for a few hours. Pseudo-Marzen with Lutra kveik. Not the smoothest brew day, for a completely unexpected reason. House has a finished basement with a bonus kitchen (wonderful change from the dark, scary stone basement in my old house!), and I did not realize until I got started that the kitchen sink had never really been used. The plumbing is all in place and was able to withstand typical usage like rinsing glasses and such, but it wasn't even hand tight and came apart when I dumped a few gallons of leftover sanitizing liquid in it. When I saw water all over the floor I thought the Grainfather pump had sprung a leak, until I realized it was coming from the cabinets. Back in business now, though.

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