Infection Saturday, Nov 12 2011 

My FrankenHelles has a strange plastic taste. Looks like my plastic stir spoon started to melt in the wort and I picked up the flavor. Gonna dump this batch when the Steam beer is finished fermenting. Sucks because it was a great beer.

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Helles Update Thursday, Nov 10 2011 

I may or may not have an infection problem. I get this soapy kind of taste for an instant and then it subsides. Its not a bad taste but its not what you would expect. I havent had many Helles beers but I expect a bit of hop bite up front followed by malt. It may be a yeast flavor I am getting. At any rate, I bottled 6 up to take to Stubby’s Texas Brewing today and have some guys try it and see what they think.

Mead!!!!! Wednesday, Nov 9 2011 

I have been kicking around the idea of doing a mead. A member of my homebrew club “Cap and Hare” forwarded me the recipe he used and it looks awesome. Here it is:
sweet soltice mead

A ProMash Recipe Report

BJCP Style and Style Guidelines
——————————-

24-B Traditional Mead, Semi-Sweet Mead

Min OG: 1.035 Max OG: 1.120
Min IBU: 0 Max IBU: 0
Min Clr: 1 Max Clr: 16 Color in SRM, Lovibond

Recipe Specifics
—————-

Batch Size (Gal): 5.00 Wort Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 15.00
Anticipated OG: 1.111 Plato: 26.14
Anticipated SRM: 0.0
Anticipated IBU: 0.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 0 Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts
—————-

Evaporation Rate: 15.00 Percent Per Hour
Pre-Boil Wort Size: 5.00 Gal
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.111 SG 26.14 Plato

Formulas Used
————-

Brewhouse Efficiency and Predicted Gravity based on Method #1, Potential Used.
Final Gravity Calculation Based on Points.
Hard Value of Sucrose applied. Value for recipe: 46.2100 ppppg
Yield Type used in Gravity Prediction: Fine Grind Dry Basis.

Color Formula Used: Morey
Hop IBU Formula Used: Rager

Grain/Extract/Sugar

% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
—————————————————————————–
100.0 15.00 lbs. Honey 1.037 0

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.

Extras

Amount Name Type Time
————————————————————————–
5.00 Tsp acid blend Other 0 Days(boil)
0.25 Oz tannin Other 0 Days(boil)
5.00 Tsp yeast nutrient Other 0 Days(boil)

Yeast
—–
White Labs WLP720 Sweet Mead – Wine

Water Profile
————-

Profile:
Profile known for:

Calcium(Ca): 0.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 0.0 ppm
Sodium(Na): 0.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 0.0 ppm
Chloride(Cl): 0.0 ppm
biCarbonate(HCO3): 0.0 ppm

pH: 0.00

Notes
—–

1) 2 days before brew day mix 1 cup of sugar with 1 quart of water

2) bring mixture to a boil

3) cool mixture to 80 degrees F

4) add yeast and shake vigorously and airlock at room temp.
use a stir plate if one is available

5) on brew day place 2 gallons of water in pot over medium heat

6) slowly add 7 1/2 pounds of honey. stir constantly. DO NOT SCORCH THE HONEY
honey amount may vary due to type of honey. modify mixture to achieve a
1.11 gravity at 80 degrees F. my 2006 batch was 1.10 and used 13 pounds
of honey

7) stir mixture until very uniform

8) bring mixture to 160 degrees F

9) place mixture in primary fermenting bucket

10) repeat steps 5 thru 9

note: if you have a pot that can handle 5 gallons of mixture you can do the
whole Pasteurization process in one step

11) add water to the 5 gallon mark

12) cover and let rest for 15 minutes

13) cool mixture to 80 degrees F

14) add yeast nutrient, acid blend, and tannin

15) add yeast and shake vigorously for 5 minutes.
mead must be well aereated at this time

16) let ferment at 65 to 75 degrees F

note: if mead reaches 80 degrees F from “working” place in
a cooler enviroment

17) after 12 weeks rack into a carboy

18) after another 12 weeks rack again

19) after another 12 weeks siphon into a bottling bucket leaving the
sediment behind

note: if mead has not clarified
at this time boil 1/4 ounce of sparkaloid with 8 ounces of water. slowly
add the hot mixture to the mead and carefully stir. wait until mead
clarifies before bottling. I have never had to do this

20) mead can be bottled in wine bottles with a cork or
add 1 cup of sugar and cap for sparkling mead. depending
on the honey your mead may sparkle without the sugar being
added.

Another recipe I found on Gotmead.com is also promising as it uses household items to make an Ancient Mead thats ready to drink in approximately 2 months. Take a look:

Joe’s Ancient Orange recipe
It is so simple to make and you can make it without much equipment and with a multitude of variations. This could be a first Mead for the novice as it is almost fool proof. It is a bit unorthodox but it has never failed me or the friends I have shared it with.

1 gallon batch

3 1/2 lbs Clover or your choice honey or blend (will finish sweet)
1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller rind and all)
1 small handful of raisins (25 if you count but more or less ok)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole clove ( or 2 if you like – these are potent critters)
optional (a pinch of nutmeg and allspice )( very small )
1 teaspoon of Fleishmann’s bread yeast ( now don’t get holy on me— after all this is an ancient mead and that’s all we had back then)
Balance water to one gallon

Process:

Use a clean 1 gallon carboy

Dissolve honey in some warm water and put in carboy

Wash orange well to remove any pesticides and slice in eights –add orange (you can push em through opening big boy — rinds included — its ok for this mead — take my word for it — ignore the experts)

Put in raisins, clove, cinnamon stick, any optional ingredients and fill to 3 inches from the top with cold water. ( need room for some foam — you can top off with more water after the first few day frenzy)

Shake the heck out of the jug with top on, of course. This is your sophisticated aeration process.

When at room temperature in your kitchen, put in 1 teaspoon of bread yeast. ( No you don’t have to rehydrate it first– the ancients didn’t even have that word in their vocabulary– just put it in and give it a gentle swirl or not)(The yeast can fight for their own territory)

Install water airlock. Put in dark place. It will start working immediately or in an hour. (Don’t use grandma’s bread yeast she bought years before she passed away in the 90’s)( Wait 3 hours before you panic or call me) After major foaming stops in a few days add some water and then keep your hands off of it. (Don’t shake it! Don’t mess with them yeastees! Let them alone except its okay to open your cabinet to smell every once in a while.

Racking — Don’t you dare
additional feeding — NO NO
More stirring or shaking — Your not listening, don’t touch

After 2 months and maybe a few days it will slow down to a stop and clear all by itself. (How about that) (You are not so important after all) Then you can put a hose in with a small cloth filter on the end into the clear part and siphon off the golden nectar. If you wait long enough even the oranges will sink to the bottom but I never waited that long. If it is clear it is ready. You don’t need a cold basement. It does better in a kitchen in the dark. (Like in a cabinet) likes a little heat (70-80). If it didn’t work out… you screwed up and didn’t read my instructions (or used grandma’s bread yeast she bought years before she passed away) . If it didn’t work out then take up another hobby. Mead is not for you. It is too complicated.
If you were successful, which I am 99% certain you will be, then enjoy your mead. When you get ready to make different mead you will probably have to unlearn some of these practices I have taught you, but hey— This recipe and procedure works with these ingredients so don’t knock it. It was your first mead. It was my tenth. Sometimes, even the experts can forget all they know and make good ancient mead.

Enjoy, Joe

11/11/11 extra sumpin sumpin Tuesday, Nov 8 2011 

In addition to my California common I will be making a German Apfelwein that a member over at Homebrewtalk.com posted up. I am copying and pasting his entire first post in its entirety here. Thanks to EdWort for providing this recipe.

Apfelwein – Fermenting

Award Winning Apfelwein Recipe (German Hard Cider) Apple Wine Recipe
Placed 1st in the Cider & Apple Wine category at the BJCP sanctioned Alamo Cerveza fest (out of 11 entries) and took 2nd place for Best of Show for the main category of Meads & Ciders (out of 50 entries).

Ingredients

5 Gallons 100% Apple Juice (No preservatives or additives) I use Tree Top Apple Juice
2 pounds of dextrose (corn sugar) in one pound bags
1 five gram packet of Montrachet Wine Yeast

Equipment

5 Gallon Carboy (I use a Better Bottle)
Carboy Cap or Stopper with Airlock
Funnel
First sanitize the carboy, airlock, funnel, stopper or carboy cap.
Open one gallon bottle of apple juice and pour half of it into the carboy using the funnel.
Open one bag of Dextrose and carefully add it to the now half full bottle of apple juice. Shake well.
Repeat Steps 2 and 3, then go to step 5.
Pour in the mixture of Apple Juice and Dextrose from both bottles into the carboy.
Add all but 1 quart of remaining 3 gallons of apple juice to the carboy.
Open the packet of Montrachet Yeast and pour it into the neck of the funnel.
Use the remaining quart of juice to wash down any yeast that sticks. I am able to fit all but 3 ounces of apple juice into a 5 gallon Better Bottle. You may need to be patient to let the foam die down from all shaking and pouring.
Put your stopper or carboy cap on with an airlock and fill the airlock with cheap vodka. No bacteria will live in vodka and if you get suckback, you just boosted the abv.
There’s no need to worry about filling up a carboy so full when you use Montrachet wine yeast. There is no Kreuzen, just a thin layer of bubbles (see here). I’m able to fit all but 4 oz. of my five gallons in the bottle. Ferment at room temperature.

It will become cloudy in a couple of days and remain so for a few weeks. In the 4th week, the yeast will begin to drop out and it will become clear. After at least 4 weeks, you can keg or bottle, but it is ok to leave it in the carboy for another month or so. Racking to a secondary is not necessary. It ferments out very dry (less than 0.999, see here)

Apfelwein really improves with age, so if you can please let it sit in a carboy for up to 3 months before bottling or kegging, then let it sit even longer. Here’s what some folks think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saccharomyces
Six months and it hits its stride. Eight months and it’ll blow your mind.
If you want to bottle and carbonate, ¾ cup of corn sugar will work fine. Use as you would carbonate a batch of beer.

Remember to reserve judgment till after 3 glasses. It grows on you.

DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND START ANOTHER BATCH 2 WEEKS AFTER YOU START THIS ONE.
YOU WILL THANK ME LATER!

GENERAL QUESTIONS
compiled by Dammed Squirrels from the first 37 pages of this thread. Thanks DS!

How does it taste?
It ferments quite dry. Some people have tried different yeasts in order to achieve a sweeter taste. It may take you a few glasses to get a feel for the flavor. It is very reminiscent of a sort of apfelwein produced locally in Germany. There really is no comparable product in the United States. It’s drier and less sweet than commercial hard ciders. It gets better with age and at 6+ months, the apple flavor really comes out.

How do you sweeten it?
Many folks back sweeten it with Wine Conditioner. Wine Conditioner is a blend of sucrose and sorbic acid. The addition of 2-4 oz. per gallon adds sweetness and prevents renewed fermentation. It can be purchased as any LHBS that caters to wine makers. Others will use Splenda or lactose (other non-fermentable sugars). Germans who prefer it sweet (or Suß as they say) will add a splash of Sprite or 7up to a glass. This is the easiest method as you don’t have to make a whole “sweet” batch that way.

What is the difference between Apfelwein and hard cider?
EdWort says, “Most ciders are a bit sweeter. Ciders and Apfelwein are about 6% abv, but I like the little boost I give it with 2 pounds of Dextrose. It adds no body or flavor and still tastes like Possmann’s Apfelwein, only it will kick your butt much quicker.”

Is this like Apfelmost / Apfel Korn?
No. Apfel Korn is a german liqeur made from wheat spirits. Apfelmost is spontaneously fermented with fresh-pressed apples or apple juice. It is probably similar, but the results may vary as a result of the spontaneous fermentation. Either way, Apfelmost is most certainly has a lower alcohol content since the initial gravity is not increased by the use of concentrate or corn sugar.

What’s the difference between apple juice and cider?
Cider is made by pressing apples. Juice is then filtered to remove all of the stuff that makes it cloudy.

Can I use apple cider instead?
Sure! You can use whatever you want. However, there is not enough information in this thread to give you any better details as to how it will turn out. I recommend starting a new thread or ask more experienced cider-makers.

What kind of Apple Juice should I use?
Ideally, you want to use 100% natural apple juice with no preservatives. The only acceptable preservative is ascorbic acid, which is a source of vitamin C and does not affect fermentation. Pasteurized juice is preferred, since it will have less bacteria.

How much will this recipe cost me?
5 gallons of Apfelwein can be made for between 20 and 25 dollars.

What else can you do with this recipe?
EdWort says, “this makes a great Grog in the winter time. Take a quart in a sauce pan, add some rum, turbinado sugar, and float a cinnamon stick in it and simmer for a while. Serve hot in mugs. It’ll warm you right up.”

Drink a quart of water and take 3 aspirin before going to sleep tomhelp reduce the effects of excessive Apfelwein consumption as well as the urge to call EdWort a M’F**kR the next morning!

20111114-181527.jpg

Starting fresh Sunday, Nov 6 2011 

From this post on I will be keeping brew day notes and photos, posting recipes and ideas and talking about all things brewing.

11/11/11 Brew Decided Sunday, Nov 6 2011 

I decided my 11/11/11 Brew would be a California Common named “Steamboat Willie” I love steam beer and thought it was about time to try my hand at it. All good brewers should master this type of beer in my opinion. I just need to develop a nice label for this historic beer. Next year there will be a 12/12/12 beer but then you will have to wait for a while for the number consecutive beers LOL. I picked up the grains from Stubbys Texas Brew yesterday and all the items I need to do a yeast starter minus the stir plate. Hopefully he has that in stock this Thursday.

Helles tasting Wednesday, Nov 2 2011 

After 36 hours of 30psi and 3 days of serving pressure, 12 psi my beer is ready to taste. Man is this stuff fantastic! Definitely a keeper, I will brew this one again!

First All Grain Wednesday, Nov 2 2011 

So, for my first all grain batch I decided to go with a Helles Recipe I found on http://www.homebrewtalk.com and made a couple of minor modifications to It. I can’t lager so this particular recipe is with a Kolsch yeast, this works out perfect for me! I learned a lot of lessons on this brew, one being that you should calibrate your thermometers. I had 3 Thermometers and all 3 read differently. I also calculated too much spare water and ended up with way more wort than I should have. Let me tell ya, I wasn’t too optimistic about how this beer would taste. After fermentation I had a CO2 issue. Come to find out I Had a leak in my manifold, so I took it apart, used liquid thread sealer, and ran a bead of silicone around the nuts. This fixed the issue. So, now the FrankenHelles is on gas and carbing up nicely.

Kegging & Hefe Weisen Tuesday, Nov 1 2011 

I read and talked to people that there’s no reason to all grain Hefe’s so I did an extract kit from Northern Brewer and it was my best beer to date. This was also my first foray into kegging. Now, I never wanna go back to bottling. I do need to get better at bottling from the keg so I can take beer to my Father in Law in Memphis. I had some trouble with leaking kegs and manifolds but eventually I got that worked out. This pretty much catches me up on old brews.

Older Brews Tuesday, Nov 1 2011 

In an effort to try and get caught up with some older brews I did I decided to just post me here but they won’t be in chronological order. My first beer ever was an extract kit from Northern Brewer, it was an English brown Ale. I learned a lot from my first experience so I jumped right into my second extract brew, it was an Irish Red kit from Northern Brewer. This one turned out great as well, but both of them were bitter for a long time. After some age on them though they ended up losing the bitterness and are a joy to drink. These were my first 2 beers and were bottled. Kegging and a Hefe Weisen comes next!