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  1. ChristinaS1

    Brewing evolution

    I do partial mashes all the time now, for about the past two years, and it has made a big difference to the beer I produce. Depending on the size of the partial, you don't save any money, but it has the advantage of taking no specialized equipment, except for a mesh bag, and being something you can do on your stove top. It makes your beer taste way better, and provides the freedom to make nearly any style of beer you want. As you get into it, you learn about the process of mashing and recipe formulation; I say that because there aren't many partial mash recipes out there and you have to learn to adapt all grain recipes to your system. I think the deciding factor whether to go the partial mash or all grain route should be 1.) whether you have the funds to buy an all grain set up, 2.) have the space for all the gear, and to brew, 3.) live in a climate where you can brew outdoors year round, or 4.) the country you live in has a 230 volts (if you go the e-brewing route). In North America we use 120 volts and e-brewing systems are incredibly expensive. Many parts of Canada are also too cold to brew outdoors for eight months of the year. A lot of all grainers buy their base malts in bulk, and that also takes storage space. Cheers, Christina.
  2. ChristinaS1

    Progress of a first time brew

    It does not go away, and there might even be a bit more. You have to be careful not to suck it up when you bottle, which may mean leaving a little bit of beer behind. Once you bottle you will find that a new layer forms at the bottom your bottles. This is why you don't drink home brew from bottles; pour carefully into a glass and leave the last little bit of beer and yeast in the bottle....There are people that make a point of rolling the bottle around to re-suspend the yeast, for health reasons. It is full of vitamins and other nutrients. Makes the beer cloudy though. Cheers, Christina.
  3. ChristinaS1

    Goodbye us05

    I agree. If I ever do try it again, I will pitch it on the warm side, maybe 23C, and keep it there until signs of condensation appear.
  4. ChristinaS1

    Progress of a first time brew

    Yes, it is supposed to be there. It is perfectly normal. The sludge has yeast in it, both dead and live yeast that has fallen out of suspension and gone dormant. Later in your brewing career you can use a bit of that sludge to start your next batch, as a way of saving money. When you do that it is called slurry. Cheers, Christina.
  5. ChristinaS1

    The cheapest brew

    Keep talking that way Otto and I may have to try US-05 again. LOL! Cheers, Christina.
  6. ChristinaS1

    The cheapest brew

    When you say lighter grain bill do you mean lighter in colour, or lighter in gravity, or both? For mean it means both. Using just a moderate amount of hops means you don't have to bump the gravity up to be balanced, so better for the waist line. I have switched from using the APA and Lager kits as a base to using the Cervesa kit. I find the lower IBUs means I can use lighter coloured crystal malts, and fewer of them, and still be balanced. My grain bill consists of Vienna, malted wheat, and 115-200gm of CaraVienna, or sometimes 65gm of Honey Malt instead. Most of my partial mash APAs these days are made with 60-65gm of finishing hops. Very tasty and balanced. How you deploy them also plays a role in how much you get out of them. Minimal boiling of late hops (to limit boil off of volatiles), hop stands, shorter dry hops. The experimentation and science on this keeps evolving. I have not given up on five and ten minute additions so far, in favour of bigger hop stand additions, but I may try that yet. Cheers, Christina.
  7. ChristinaS1

    The cheapest brew

    As has been mentioned, hops are expensive. Want cheaper beer? Develop a taste for APAs instead of double IPAs. There is an insane amount of hops being put in a lot of beers these days. It was driven by craft brewers trying to differentiate themselves from mega swills. Now that everybody is using more hops, including the mega swills, they are driven to extremes. There is a certain amount of machismo to it, trying these hop bombs, as a special treat, for a special occasion. It is akin to how some people will go outside of their comfort zone when they are out celebrating and order a spicier dish than they normally eat, or a very peaty Scotch. Do it often enough, you get used to it, and like it. Here is an analogy: most people eat a lot of salt. We think salt makes food taste better, and we like it....I am sure we all know people who have been told by their doctor to cut out salt for health reasons. The ones that do as they are told get used to it. When they are in situations where they have no choice but to eat something salty again. I have heard them say, "There is so much salt, I can't taste the food." They don't like it anymore. There are diminishing returns at a certain point, in terms of bang for the buck. Does a beer with with 500gm of hops really taste twice as good as one with 250gm? Or five times as good as one with 100gm? I don't think these things go in a straight line. Cheers, Christina.
  8. ChristinaS1

    StellarSan problem - urgent request

    If it is like Starsan, I think it will be fine, since it was only residue and will be diluted by the beer. It will definitely ferment out. Might taste a wee bit soapy, but I doubt it. Cheers, Christina.
  9. ChristinaS1

    Reclaiming Trub Yeast.

    Have you tried other ale yeast besides US-05 and also found them hit and miss? I have never tried re-pitching US-05, because I banned it from my brewery long before I began using slurries. I found US-05 inconsistent even when using a fresh pack. Cheers, Christina.
  10. ChristinaS1

    Water For Mixing With Starsan

    If you have a pH meter, you can use any water for dilution. Just test the pH of the mix periodically to make sure it says below 3.0. Hard water will make it become cloudy early on, but it can still be effective if the pH is okay.
  11. ChristinaS1

    #$%! Silverfish!

    Silverfish Ale, yes indeed! Well just cracked the first one of these today and am happy to report that it tastes as it should. No hint of taint. Hats off to Starsan! I am so pleased and relieved. Thanks for all the encouragement. Cheers, Christina.
  12. ChristinaS1

    Blushing blonde

    It will be fine added at the 24 hour point, but you can wait until day 2 if you want. I have not added strawberries or raspberries to beer, but I have used them in wine. I find raspberries add a lot of colour but strawberries add more esters for a delectable aroma and flavour. You get more out of strawberries. Cheers, Christina.
  13. ChristinaS1


    Way to go Ben!
  14. Yes, well done Ben10 and Joolbag. I once listened to a Brew Basic Radio episode where they compared (blind taste test) the same beer fermented with a number of different yeasts. I don't remember all of them, but one was Kolsch and another was US-05. The panel preferred the one made with the Kolsch yeast and found that it accentuated the hops better than the much touted US-05. They were quite surprised to discover this. Cheers, Christina.
  15. ChristinaS1

    Barefoot Rattler (Radler)

    I agree with Hairy about just adding a little squeeze of lemon or lime in the glass. But if you use zest, suggest cutting it off the lemon or lime by hand with a sharp knife in one long, thin strip (if you can manage), with as little of the white pith as possible (pith adds bitterness). That makes it easy to remove / fish out of the fermenter. Taste the beer every other day or so and, when it is at the level you want, remove it. Cheers, Christina.