Peter Reed

Homebrewer. Future pediatrician. Those go together, right?

  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Favorite foods: Fresh salmon, toasted cheese sandwiches made with dyed yellow Tillamook Cheddar, lamb in any form.
  • Last bite on earth: Bishop hats in brown butter sauce from Beppe and Gianni's in Eugene, Oregon.

Latest Comments

Ginger Beer

@ibeentired. I haven't tested its longevity so this is conjecture, but I would expect it to last 2 - 3 weeks in the refridgerator, maybe more if you are very careful about sanitation. I do not recommend bottling for long-term storage. Without fermenting to make it alcoholic, you get into the food preservation canning realm here which introduces potential dangers like botulism.

@kathleen440. Champagne yeast is available from your local homebrew store. One packet of dried champagne yeast should run you about $1. You can also use bread yeast.

@mattglet. I think this recipe is pretty similar to Goya on the spiciness curve.

@tomiller. Yes. Simply double.

@Hemz7781. See above about preservation. I would limit room temp time to a max of 48 hours.

@MixedByHand. See above @ibeentired. Canning not recommended for health reasons. Bottle bombs? Could happen.

@clunkclunk. Swing tops are a great idea. Very classy. I haven't tested the ABV with a hydrometer, but I will next time I make it. My guess is that there is some alcohol, but probably less than 1%.

How to Make Your Own Ginger Beer

@pigeonheart. I don't have experience with making alcoholic ginger beer. Without doing any research, here is how I would approach it: Double the recipe (if you're going to the trouble of fermentation, might as well make more of it). Boil and steep the ginger, sugar, and water. (Adjust the quantity of sugar for the degree of ethanol desired.) Strain into sanitized container and dilute with clean cold water and equilibrate at fermentation temp (around 65 - 70). Add a full packet of dry champagne yeast and an airlock. Keep at room temp for a few days to ferment. When fermentation is complete, prepare a simple syrup for sweetening and carbonation and prepare lime juice. Mix in syrup and lime juice and bottle. Keep at room temp for a couple more days then chill.

As I wrote about in the mead article, it is difficult to carbonate and maintain sweetness using yeast for carbonation. You may have more success with arresting fermentation with a Campden tab then force carbonating. Let us know how it goes!

Homebrewing: How to Clone Your Favorite Beer

@ecca31. Broder's Pasta Bar.

@JH Ford. Great work! Thanks for sharing.

@dyrima. Yes. Deschutes. Here's why: Deschutes is big, sure (for you East Coasters, think slightly smaller version of Sam Adams). And I'm all for supporting the little guy, but when I think of a pale ale I'd like to drink right now that will be refreshing and delicious, I think of Mirror Pond. I disagree that Deschutes is run-of-the-mill. Their beers are very much "to style" - they are not unusual. But for their styles, they are outstanding. Some little guys I really like from the PNW: Oakshire, Double Mountain, Elysian. Another Deschutes-sized one: Rogue.

@hungrychristel. Mark (my Dad) was kind enough to babysit my cat and get that photo. Glad you like it!

Winter Warmer

@mayan. Sounds great. Please let us know how it turns out.

Winter Warmer

Good question. Depends on your setup. I make 7 gallons for a 5.5 gallon batch (usually 5.25 after trub is subtracted) because my burner/kettle combo evaporates 1 gallon wort per hour of boil, and I usually boil for 90 minutes to burn off DMS. 1.5 hr x 1 gal/hr = 1.5 gal boiled off. Your mileage will vary - so adjust the preboil volume for your system. Let us know how it turns out!

Winter Warmer

@mayan. Agree with HFTNM. Dry spicing is certainly acceptable but there are two primary risks: infection and missing the mark. The tincture has the advantage of being sterile and giving you better control.

Winter Warmer

Always good questions from you. A couple of directions I could imagine going is just to scale back the dark grains. You can try using Carafa II or III rather than black patent - it's still bitter, but a little less astringent. If you want paler, I would think about bready malts, like biscuit and vienna. Special B is caramelly, so use that if you want caramel flavors. You could even toast some malt yourself in the oven.

Black IPA

erk. I was mixed up -thanks for the catch. According to Palmer in How to Brew, glucose decreases as mash temp increases, but maltose increases then decreases with a high point at about 153. Overall sugar availability peaks at 149. 156 for more body. 150 for drier.

Black IPA

I think you would get a drier version with a higher mash temp - which is why I mash this one at 156 (I think I got this idea from Oakshire brewery's O'Dark:30). Less crystal will also help. If you haven't used Carafa before, I highly recommend it. It provides some nice roasted malt flavors without harshness from the husks - but it does cost a pretty penny.

Serious Beer: 10 New Pumpkin Beers

I've tried a couple recently - both disappointing. New Belgium Ichabod has an overload of cloves. Southern Tier's pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale has real pumpkin flavor, which I like, but it is also a buttery kick in the pants. Elysian in Seattle usually has a whole range of good pumpkin beers on tap this season.

Homebrewing: How to Build a Mash Tun

@mayan. Absolutely right! Partial mash is a great way to go if you want to increase control without accumulating more gadgets or lengthening the brew day.

Homebrewing: Getting the Most Out of Hops

Thanks for the comments, all! Looks like there's a consensus out there that dry hopping longer than 5 days is just fine as far as not introducing vegetal flavors. Have any of you who dry hop for 7 days or longer tried just 5 days? I wonder if there is an appreciable difference in hops aroma when the hops are left in for longer than 5 days.

@mayan. I deliberately left out flameout and late in the boil additions (besides just late hopping) because I wanted to cover hopping methods that were lesser known. But you are absolutely right, hopping at 15 - 5 minutes to go in the boil and at flameout are great ways to add hops aroma. My typical IPA schedule is 60/30/15/10/0/dry hop, although I'm moving to first-wort/30/15/10/0/dry hop because I takes some of the edge off without sacrificing bitterness, meaning I can enjoy a second pint and still taste my food.

How to Brew Your Own Munich Helles for Oktoberfest

@mayan. To get the amounts in DME, divide the LME weights by 1.25. It's true that DME packs more sugar per pound than LME, because of the water. I haven't done a head to head test of the two extract types (future article?), but I've had better success in general with LME. For this beer, though, I strongly encourage an all-grain approach because you will get the very best malt character, which is really what this beer is all about. Take the plunge. It's worth it. The Melanoidin Malt just adds a little bready/biscuitty quality to the beer. It is meant to replace a decoction mash with a much simpler procedure. I've brewed this style with just high-quality Pilsner malt - no munich, no melanoidin - and won an award. The risk with that is that you are totally exposed. Any problems in the process will come through in the taste. Specialty malts provide some cover, especially if you are using extracts. Hope this helps.

Munich Helles

@nique jim. My lager fermentations take about 6 days before the diacetyl rest. I recommend using a yeast starter with a stir plate to get lots and lots of good healthy yeast in there. Allow the temp to rise from 45 to 50 over the course of about three days, then hold for 3 days, then raise to 60. Apologies for not making that clear in the above instructions. Even if your fermentation is not quite done at 6 days, it's OK to let the temp rise to 60. The undesirable flavors you can get from hot fermentations are produced at very low levels after the first three days of fermentation. Raising to 60 will allow for some diacetyl clearance and finishing the fermentation. Allowing for finishing is also why I lower the temperature slowly to near freezing. Your method is also fine: ferment for longer then crash cool. But I'd be careful about not doing a diacetyl rest even if you don't smell butterscotch. Diacetyl in the background, even if you can't single it out in the flavor or aroma, will hurt the clean quality of this style and interfere with featuring the Pilsner malt.

How to Brew Your Own Munich Helles for Oktoberfest

You can store excess LME and use it later with another beer. I would make sure it's well-sealed and store in a cold refrigerator. Try to use it quickly - I wouldn't wait more than a month to use it up, but I've never tested these limits.

Homebrewing: Reusing Yeast

You are right to be cautious about oxygenation when racking to secondary. I haven't been in the past and I've paid for it with oxidized beers.

Neat to know about Cilurzo's practice at Russian River. I had the privilege to drink a glass of Pliny the Elder a few months ago... it deserves its rank as one of the best beers in the US. I don't know all of the factors that went into RR deciding to use pellets, but one thing to keep in mind is that pellets are cheaper to buy, use, and handle by the pound, and for a commercial brewery, that makes a big difference. We homebrewers can usually tolerate a little more cost per gallon because we brew in such small quantities.

Homebrewing: How To Build Your Own Stir Plate

True enough. But you will have much less growth (maybe half?) or need to use more materials, i.e. make a bigger starter.

@christine h
A good idea if you don't have oxygen. Just make sure you use an air filter in-line with the air hose so you don't introduce bugs from the surrounding air.

A good idea. You can use oxygen on your starter as well. Just blast it with about 30secs of oxygen. Again, make sure you have a filter in line. This will help to jump start your starter, but it will not be as effective as a stir plate, and probably not as good as constantly bubbling with air, which accomplishes the two main goals: introducing oxygen and driving off CO2 (with the bubbles). And yes, oxygen is expensive, so I wouldn't leave it on constantly. I wouldn't worry about gunking up the stone - just rinse and bubble some O2 through in the rinsing solution to clean out the pores.

@phillamb 168
Looks like a good plan to me. I like the pot because I can dial in a speed that makes the stir bar silent. Rattling stir bars are annoying.

Homebrewing: Reusing Yeast


No worries!

Good question. The common wisdom is that if you are going to dry-hop your beer (or add wood chips, fruit, anything else out of the ordinary) that you should first rack to secondary. (Also, it's generally preferable to dry-hop with whole hops to minimize the amount of crud that makes it into the final beer.) If you rack to secondary, your yeast cake will remain free of that extra hops resin and residue. Another thing you can do is to repeat the rinsing steps I gave: separate the buffy layer, add about that volume in sanitized water, shake, let settle, separate the buffy layer again. As for storage time, 7 days max. 3 days is better. 0 days is best.


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