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  1. ChristinaS1


    Hi Hairy. I have not used them in beer, but have in wine. Since yeast metabolize vanillin, don't add them pre-fermentation. Vanilla beans are quite expensive. A lot of cider makers are switching to oak for this reason, and I am thinking of doing this myself. They say you can get quite a lot of vanillin from one ounce of medium toast oak cubes as well, if added post fermentation. Boil in a small amount of water for a couple of minutes, to kick start the flavour release. American oak has the most vanilla, but French is pretty good too. Leave for a week and then start tasting every couple of days; probably should not leave longer than two weeks. Once bottled the beer will need to age for a couple of months, to integrate the tannins. If you are making a stout, aging is not a bad thing. Cubes are preferred to chips. Good luck with the brew. Cheers. Christina.
  2. ChristinaS1

    Brews all taste the same

    I always dry hop commando style. I read that is the way to get the most out of your hops....Brulosophy uses the commando method; he cold crashes, and fines with gelatine to remove them. Personally I find cold crashing alone good enough, but I make APAs, not IPAs. Maybe if one uses a lot of hops, gelatine, or some other fining agent, might be necessary. If you have the ability to cold crash, try that first. If that doesn't clear enough hops, try gelatine. If you are still not happy, or if you can''t cold crash, then use some form of containment. Several forum members use those cylindrical tube thingies. I have read that if the hops are packed too tightly, flavour extraction is reduced, which makes sense. Cheers, Christina.
  3. ChristinaS1

    Brews all taste the same

    Hi Karlos, If you are using 110gm of hops you should be experiencing a good whack of hop flavour. I never use anywhere near that and have plenty of hop flavour. This makes me wonder if the hops are oxidizing somehow, before you get to the serving stage. Did you use glad wrap on your previous brews too? Perhaps that has something to do with it? Glad wrap lets lots of air in, which can lead to oxidation. I would suggest loosing the Glad wrap. I know some on the forum advise against airlocks, but I would never brew without one, as they help to exclude air. I use them in combination with a carboy. We have already talked about how PET bottles can lead to loss of hop flavour during storage. The same applies to PET carboys. I have both a PET carboy and a glass carboy. I find the beer brewed in the glass carboy tastes better. Beer brewed in PET and bottled in PET is going to go stale fast. Cheers, Christina.
  4. ChristinaS1

    Anzac ipa, or NEIPA?

    I just made my first NEIPA and will be bottling it soon. I am very curious how it will turn out, although I have nothing to compare it to, as I haven't come across any commercial examples in my area (I live quite rural). Lusty is right that NEIPAs are a lot less bitter than West Coast IPAs and are more along the lines of an APA. Some experts are proposing that the style get a name change, to reflect this. In doing my recipe research it seems the hop combination used is very important, to get those juicy flavours, with a combination of Citra, Amarillo, and Mosaic being the most common, so that is what I went with. Citra is very tropical, and I am not sure it has a substitute....Mosaic is high in a hop oil called 4MMP, which creates synergy with geraniol and linalool (other hop oils). Lots of Southern hop varieties in your brew. Can't get any of them where I live so have no idea how similar or different they are to Citra, Amarillo, and Mosaic. You may find this article interesting: https://beerandbrewing.com/hops-oils--aroma-uncharted-waters/ Cheers, Christina.
  5. Hi there Mike. Not sure how you are going to fit 20L in an 18L keg, but I don't keg. LOL! Be aware that the English Bitter kit is already quite bitter (more bitter than the style guidelines say it should be) and if you mix it to 18L or 20L the bitterness will be even higher. The Real Ale kit has lower bitterness, but even it is above style guidelines. In addition, the lower the ABV, the less malt there is to soften / balance that bitterness....I have been to England and am a big fan of English Bitters; I find these two kits produce beer that is more bitter than what you would get in a pub, in England. When I want a Bitter, I prefer using one of the lighter coloured kits and adding some crystal malts to it, and my own finishing hops. Highly bitter kits seem to be a thing with Coopers, as their stouts and the Dark Ale kit are also quite bitter. Maybe it is to suit Australian tastes? Cheers, Christina.
  6. ChristinaS1

    Brews all taste the same

    Hi Karlos, Just out of curiosity, do you bottle in PET bottles? If you are still having problems, it might be that the PET bottles are the issue. Polyethylene, whether high density or low density, is gas permeable: it lets oxygen in, which can oxidize your hops and cause them to fade very quickly. This recently came up in another thread, wi Maybe try bottling some of your brew in glass and compare. Cheers, Chrisitna.
  7. ChristinaS1

    Why do hop flavours fade?

    Hi Headmaster, The seal material will be absorbing some of the volatile oils, same as with pry off. I gather the other issue with PET bottles is not the screw threads so much, but the material itself. PET is gas permeable. Here is some info about it: http://www.composite-agency.com/archive/Carbon-Dioxide-Diffusion-PET.pdf http://homeguides.sfgate.com/permeability-plastic-water-bottles-vs-glass-79401.html I am sure there is lots more info out there. Cheers, Christina.
  8. ChristinaS1

    Why do hop flavours fade?

    Hi all. Just an update re: the little experiment I mentioned above. I bottled a Centennial and Cascades batch six weeks ago, on March 28, using a hot steep on bottling day, instead of dry hops, and comparing samples packaged in pry off glass bottles to Grolsch flip top bottles. First off, I was disappointed to find the hop steep at bottling didn't give nearly as much flavour as dry hopping; it is not suitable as a substitute for dry hopping; I won't be using the method again. Next, the side-by-side, non-blind comparison of samples from a pry off bottle to one from a Grolsch bottle: I think I can notice a difference. Though not as strong as a few weeks ago, when I started drinking this batch, hop flavour seems more resinous and intense in the pry off sample vs the flip-top sample. The difference isn't stark, but I find it noticeable. Cheers, Christina.
  9. Hi John. Yes, you are right. But my point is that we have no guidance from Five Star Chemical company regarding the concentration and contact time required to kill yeast. They only vouch for Starsan in terms of bacteria. As I said, I suspect that Starsan does knock the yeast population down a good notch, when used as directed for bacteria, but most likely not to the standard required for commercial use. I know it is a different chemical, but I think what the IO-Star directions for use show is that yeast are tougher to kill than bacteria. If you are a home brewer re-pitching yeast and get a wild yeast infection, you have only lost 23L and aren't likely to sue the company. But a commercial brewery, whose profits and reputation depend clean batches, could loose many times that volume; they might sue Five Star Chemicals. FWIW, I use Starsan for my brewing, but I am careful not to re-pitch my slurry more than one or two generations, also because I do not do full wort boils. Mostly this works fine but Just recently I did have a wild yeast infection. In the first batch it was just a hint, barely detectable, which is why I initially missed it, but the following batch, fermented with slurry from the first, I had to throw down the drain. When I make hard apple cider from raw apples, from my orchard, I give them a bath in Iodophor before crushing and use a kill factor positive yeast strain for extra insurance. Cheers, Christina.
  10. But there is a big "if" at the end of the video: the process happens "over time." What period of time? Is it the same length of time as for bacteria? And using the same concentration? And to how many log? The Devil is in the details. The maker of Starsan, Five Star Chemicals, also makes an iodine based cleaner called IO-Star (which is the same as Iodophor). They provide detailed directions for use here: http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/wp-content/uploads/IOStarTech2.pdf As you can see, it outlines different concentrations and contact times for different end uses, as well as instructions as to whether it needs to be rinsed or not for the use in question. When I wrote to the Five Star Chemicals company to ask them if Starsan is effective against yeast they replied that they had not tested its efficacy against yeast, so you have nothing to guide you, which leads me to believe that while Starsan may well be able to knock the yeast population back a notch, when used in the manner recommended for bacteria, it is not good enough for commercial purposes. I suspect this is why Five Star Chemicals, who know how to test for this, is silent on the subject....It's efficacy against yeast might be good enough for non-mission critical / home use though. I once poured wort into my Starsan storage container instead of the FV by accident. The mix was probably half wort, half diluted Starsan. I threw some yeast in anyway, just out of curiosity. It started fermenting within four hours, and had a huge krausen. Unfortunately the beer tasted like soap, so I threw it down the drain. Cheers, Christina.
  11. ChristinaS1

    RDWHAHB - What Are You Drinking in 2018?

    I am drinking a sparkling hop water/ soda /pop that I made. It is a small, experimental batch. I made it for my wife, who does not drink alcohol, but still wants to drink something grown up. She is not a fan of my hop soda but I quite like it. Apparently hoppy waters are all the rage in trendy American coffee bars. The only fermentable in it is the priming sugar, so it is only 0.5% ABV, and very refreshing. I used 2gm Centennial and 1gm Mosaic, which I hot steeped in a small amount of 50C water for 10 minutes, filtered out the hops, diluted to 4L, added 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice, a bit of non-fermentable xylitol sweetener, primping sugar, and yeast. No head or mouthfeel of course, but it is very refreshing, and low cal. I am going to make another batch, a larger one, but this time I am steeping the hops in a very small amount of vodka for a couple of days, to create a tincture. We will see how that goes. This could really hit the spot on a hot summer day, and okay to drink at work. Cheers, Christina.
  12. ChristinaS1

    Might not be beer but to good not to share,,,

    Hi Mike. Please let us know how the hawthorn gin turns out. I have a lot of hawthorn trees growing on my property. If you like it, I will try to make some too. Did you pick your own? I gather that as long as you don't crush the seeds, cyanide isn't too much of a problem. I am going to try macerating chokecherries this summer too, which have the same issue. It is just spring here in Canada; the snow just melted last week. Cheers, Christina.
  13. ChristinaS1

    What's in Your Fermenter? 2018

  14. Hi Paddybrew. For kits and bits one has to stick with specialty grains that do not require conversion, so crystal malts and roasted malts. Remember that coloured kits already have specialty malts in them, and you don't know which ones, or what percentage, so best to use light coloured kits as your base if you are designing your own recipe....Good idea to start playing with recipe software that gives you percentages, which Ian's spreadsheet does not. Make sure to convert any LME into its DME equivalent (multiply the weight by 0.8). The Brewer's Friend site has a list of fermentables and gives percentages based on style. I find it very handy. https://www.brewersfriend.com/fermentables/?filter=All%20Fermentables It is also a good idea not to go overboard on specialty malts in the "harsh zone," between 70-200L. In terms of the specialty grains typically used with kits and bits brewing that covers the darker crystal malts, and pale chocolate. https://club.coopers.com.au/coopers-forum/topic/17486/ Cheers, Christina.
  15. ChristinaS1

    Thick foam cap after 6 days

    Hi Eric. Agree with leaving it longer and checking with a hydrometer. You can also try rocking the FV back and forth, to help the yeast mix back into the wort. On a slightly different topic, did you just used the 7gm of yeast that came with the tin? That is under-pitching, but you might have made up for it by fermenting as warm as you did. When using that much malt I would suggest pitching more yeast (~14gm), rehydrating, and ferment a little cooler, maybe 18-20C. Cheers, Christina.