Brewing, anyone?

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Loyalist Dave

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From experience grohlsh style bottles loosen up and allow CO2 to leak during priming. I like a nice fizzy beer. These type bottles need a lot of TLC to consistently prime over several batches.
Well ya don't know how long Grolsch had the washers on hand before they used them on a bottle. Dry exposure to air over time messes with rubber. BUT you can replace those washers, with fresh new ones, and they will last for many refillings. Longer if you reverse them each time.
Grolsch Gasgets

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Well ya don't know how long Grolsch had the washers on hand before they used them on a bottle. Dry exposure to air over time messes with rubber. BUT you can replace those washers, with fresh new ones, and they will last for many refillings. Longer if you reverse them each time.
Grolsch Gasgets

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Mine took one batch to start leaking. First batch sealed well, second had two that were flat, third about half failed. I think the cages got loosened up on mine causing the issues. Bought a capper and have sealed hundreds of bottles since with only one fail due to a chip on the lip of the bottle, (why I don’t use Sam Adams bottles). The Grolsch style are really cool looking, but it takes me around a month and a half to make 18 beers, so I don’t mess around.
 
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I love brewing almost as much as ML'ing,

I do "all-grain" (we'll get to that in a bit), because with the way I brew (decoction), you can tell a difference with extract.

I'll share my "Dry Stout" recipe (as of MAR2022): feel free to try it or ask questions

1646267866974.png

To Make roasted malts for this:
.5 LBS Brown Malt (Pale Malt that has been dry roasted in the oven 500'F for 60 min)
3.25 LBS Roasted Rolled Oats (500'F for 80 min)
Stir every 5min for the first 40 minutes, every minute for the remainder of the time.

Yeast is Mangrove Jack's M15 "Empire"
You pull the next decoction as soon as you get to the previous temp step, and then bring that slowly up to a boil for the last x-minutes of the preceding step.
Use a darker roasted coffee you would actually still like to drink.
Hold the Cereal Mash for 15 minutes to hydrate and start to gelatinize the starches in the unmalted grain.

Ferment in open bucket (lid loosely on to keep dust out) for 3 days (assuming an ambient temp of 70'F), carefully transfer to keg (with conditioning coffee) and spund to maintain 1-1.5 volumes of Co2. Move to cold storage after 10 days, wait 4 days to tap keg. For bottle conditioning, I primed a small trial batch with molasses simmered with about a pint of beer to dilute it, then placed in a bottling bucket and the fully fermented beer (10 days at 70'F, place conditioning coffee in at day 3) was racked on top with a raking tube that makes the beer slowly swirl as it fills the bucket to mix it up. Allow bottles to sit at 70'F for a week, then store it for a couple days before drinking.

This particular brew session was fermented waayyy too hot and didn't attenuate quite as much as I would like, but it was still great. Good with lunch, dinner, after dinner, ect.... ok, you could have a pint with breakfast too, I suppose 🤣. The Coffee isn't necessary, but I have found that it can accentuate and round out the bitterness and roasted flavors from the roasted grain and hops.

I also have an 8% Export Stout that is like a big-brother to this "every day stout"

Also have a decent recipe for a Dunkles weizenbier, Hefeweizen, Dunkel Lager, Early American Pale Lager, and a KY Common. (I have others that are in development as well).
 
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Used to brew some in the eighties and enjoyed working with various grains and other ingredients. Rice-barley wine made with rosemary was really good after a year in the bottle. Prickly pear cactus was great. Ginger metheglin would take your head off. Using various substitutes for hops created some amazing brews. My standard house brew ended up havng a cup of pearl barley added to the canned Blue Ribbon malt for flavor, toasted brown on a cookie sheet and run through the old cast iron coffee grinder (another nephew now has that one).
These days all I ferment is veggies from the garden :)

By the way, one of my nephew-in-law's is getting into brewing. I drew his name for Christmas this year so scored him a brand new glass fermenter. Then looked into getting him some hops vines from an outfit in Michigan. In the process I found out about skin irritation from harvesting hops. I'd read something about that in passing in a novel fifty years ago but never knew anything else. Well, researching on the interseine it sounds as though for some people it's as bad as poison ivy. Any you guys got experience with this? I bought hops pellets and hops in bags way back when but none of it ever irritated my skin.
 
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sounds as though for some people it's as bad as poison ivy.

generally, it's the hair-like structures on the bines that causes the irritation to the skin, it feels like 800 grit sandpaper when you rub your skin on the leaves and bines. A similar thing happens when people are picking large quantities of cucumber and zucchini, the spines and hair-like structures on the stems and leaves irritate the skin over time (we're talking commercial quantities). I have to wear long sleeves to go through pick summer squash when it's hot (I plant 10, 250' rows every year), otherwise my forearms turn red and sore from rubbing up against the plants. I would imagine that's why not a lot of animals eat them once they get past the cotyledon stage, I suppose (that being said, they eat thistles, so who knows).
 

flntlokr

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Does anybody have any old-school beer or hard cider recipes or methods they could and would share?
I prefer ales (not IPAs, can't wait for this IPA fad to end), stouts and porters.
Have an extra special fondness for Octoberfest beers.
Ciders I prefer unfiltered and on the tart side.

Care to share?
I have been making ale from syrups like Coopers (Brown Ale) for about 40 years. I don't use the instructions they provide. I do it this way: Dilute the syrup plus a cup of sugar in hot water (about 2 gallons) You can use a second can of syrup or dry malt in place of the sugar (it gives a richer beer). Bring it to a boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Let it cool until you can stick your finger in without cooking, then pour it into an open primary fermentor with enough cold water to bring the volume up to 5 gallons. Pitch the yeast on top of the wort when it cools to about 70 degrees. Cover the container with a cheesecloth (or other) breatheable cover, keep it warm (I use a heat tape) and let it work until the foam subsides (usually 3-4 days). Transfer the wort to a glass secondary fermentor, being sure to let lots of bubbles mix into it as you siphon. Put an air lock on, and place it in the warm until it stops bubbling. Carefully siphon it off of the yeast on the bottom into your primary fermentor. (You can bottle at this stage if you are into flat beer) To get some head (stop grinning; this is serious!), take a couple of cups of wort, and bring it to a boil, then add half to one cup of sugar to dissolve (more sugar: more head) I like to use the half cup dose to keep the explosive properties tamed. Mix the boiled sugary wort back into the main batch, and bottle into clean containers or keg. (By adding your heading sugar in this way, you avoid the silly business of trying to put a half-teaspoon of sugsasr in each bottle.)
Place your product in a dark corner for a week or so, and enjoy! (Now you can grin.)

This procedure will leave virtually no yeast deposits in your bottles, and produces a smooth mellow, ale. I have stored my brew for a year or more, and never had any go 'skunky'}
I have also made natural cider, but that's another story. (ask and I shall tell)
 
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I have been making ale from syrups like Coopers (Brown Ale) for about 40 years. I don't use the instructions they provide. I do it this way: Dilute the syrup plus a cup of sugar in hot water (about 2 gallons) You can use a second can of syrup or dry malt in place of the sugar (it gives a richer beer). Bring it to a boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Let it cool until you can stick your finger in without cooking, then pour it into an open primary fermentor with enough cold water to bring the volume up to 5 gallons. Pitch the yeast on top of the wort when it cools to about 70 degrees. Cover the container with a cheesecloth (or other) breatheable cover, keep it warm (I use a heat tape) and let it work until the foam subsides (usually 3-4 days). Transfer the wort to a glass secondary fermentor, being sure to let lots of bubbles mix into it as you siphon. Put an air lock on, and place it in the warm until it stops bubbling. Carefully siphon it off of the yeast on the bottom into your primary fermentor. (You can bottle at this stage if you are into flat beer) To get some head (stop grinning; this is serious!), take a couple of cups of wort, and bring it to a boil, then add half to one cup of sugar to dissolve (more sugar: more head) I like to use the half cup dose to keep the explosive properties tamed. Mix the boiled sugary wort back into the main batch, and bottle into clean containers or keg. (By adding your heading sugar in this way, you avoid the silly business of trying to put a half-teaspoon of sugsasr in each bottle.)
Place your product in a dark corner for a week or so, and enjoy! (Now you can grin.)

This procedure will leave virtually no yeast deposits in your bottles, and produces a smooth mellow, ale. I have stored my brew for a year or more, and never had any go 'skunky'}
I have also made natural cider, but that's another story. (ask and I shall tell)
I have never made natural cider since I don’t own an outhouse, lol. Most homebrewers these days don’t rack to a secondary. The O2 exposure can be a fault for some, though I actually enjoy a beer with moderate oxidation especially if it’s a very strong ale.
 

HighUintas

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Whoa!! I knew you guys were my people when I first started reading this forum. I will have to go back and read this whole thread soon.

Brewing was my first love and i left teaching high school to open a small farm brewery with a couple of partners in southern Illinois in 2013. I left the company to move west but they're still going strong. I implore any of you in that neighborhood to visit Scratch Brewing. I think everyone here would truly enjoy the place. They've done quite well since I've been gone. Get yourself a bottle of their chanterelle biere de garde and wild cherry biere de garde.

I continued working in the brewing industry as a brewer and then quality manager up until a year ago when I needed to better financially support my family.

I am going to have to get that 18th century libations book. Looks interesting.

Here are some suggestions for interesting beers to brew:

Scottish hickory bark ale:
Find a Scottish 80 schilling recipe. Low bitterness, very malty and cooper to ruby brown, with caramel and fig flavors from malt. Find a shagbark hickory tree and remove some bark. Toast that bark in the oven at 400-450F ish for an hour ish or until the bark becomes really aromatic and changes color. If it starts to smoke pull it out. Put the bark into the boil for about an hour. You need a good amount of bark. I'd estimate that the bark in the pot should be about 25% of the volume of wort. This beer will have a slight toasted marshmallow quality from the bark.

Sassafras leave (or file') pale
Safale s04 English yeast is good
Pale ale malt base to about 6%
Marris otter 80%
British crystal 15-20L 10%
British crystal 60L 5%
Golden toasted oat malt 5%
Mash at 154F
Bittering hop addition to 15ibu
East Kent Golding hops at 5 min to end of boil probably about 0.5-1 oz per 5 gal batch
Find a sassafras tree and pull a ton of leaves, preferably left on branches. Hang to dry. Strip leaves off the branches and put into a mesh bag in the boil for the last 10 minutes. I would estimate the amount needed to be about 20% of the boil volume in dry PACKED leaves. So if doing a 5 gal batch, have about a 1 gal jar packed somewhat tight with dried leaves ready that you'll use.

Cedar ipa (for those that like IPA)
7-8% abv
Safale s04 English yeast
Maris otter 68%
Flaked oats 10%
Munich malt 15%
American crystal 40L 7%
Mash at 154F
Chinook bittering hops to 25ibu
Simcoe and Chinook aroma hops at flameout about 1oz each for 5.5 gal batch
Find an eastern red cedar tree and pull about 1 - 2 pounds of blue cedar berries (actually juniper species. True cedar is toxic). You may want to start on low end for amount of berries but I think 1.5 lb is safe for 5.5 gal end yield batch. Put berries in food processor to bust up but don't go super fine. It's ok to have some of the green branch leaf material in it. Put in mesh bag in boil 5 min before flameout.
Dryhop near end of fermentation with 1oz Simcoe and 1 oz Chinook.

These are off of memory so the exact amounts may be a little off. I believe all these recipes are in the Homebrewers Almanac book. I get no royalties on it ;) it's a good book though

Also, I'd you want to use some wild hops, travel along old railroad tracks or former rail lines in August. You may find old hops vines that have grown from hops that fell off of rail cars back in the 1800s. Or, they could be native, but likely not. Pick them late summer when they start to feel dry and the lupulin is bright yellow (not school bus yellow as they might be too old at that point). Give them a squeeze and if they smell good, use them. If they smell onion like or rancid or like parmesan, don't use them. Either use them right away or dry them in a food dehydrator on lowest heat until they stop losing moisture and then either vacuum pack and freeze them for a short bit or use them immediately.
 
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