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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > First brew for critiquing - Viking Stout
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:15 PM   #11
h4rdluck
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uh I keep my apartment 65 in winter...so does everyone else around here... It is more than sufficiently warm.

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Old 02-06-2010, 08:21 PM   #12
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uh I keep my apartment 65 in winter...so does everyone else around here... It is more than sufficiently warm.
Holy ****, I had no idea that the HBT forum was the collective authority on what people are supposed to keep their thermostats set at. I apologize if I ruined anyone's week by letting it slip that I keep my condo warmer than 65°. I'm a skinny guy and I love the heat. What can I say...

Getting back on topic, the 76° I mentioned earlier was the warmest it would have gotten, knowing that you want fermentation to happen lower than that. Realistically it was lower than that for most of the process. My fiance took last week off work, and needless to say she likes the condo cooler than me, so from the time I pitched the yeast until hour 12, the temps were 71° or so. From hours 12-24 it was up to 76, and 24-36 was back down to 71° - 72°. It was still warmer than I would like to ferment at, but looking back it was quite a bit cooler than 76 for a good part of the process.

I have the 28 bottle wine cooler now, so temperature won't be an issue any more. I also build and sell custom reptile incubators, so another option I came up with is to use a cabinet incubator with a digital thermostat and put it out on my patio in a storage closet. The thermostats I use can heat or cool from 50° - 140°, so I would be able to heat it up into the 60s. That might be a better option since I can build one specifically to hold 2x-4x – 5 gallon fermenters.

And honestly, I know that there's no need to use so many ingredients, but will using smaller amounts of several different malts and extracts do any harm? I never planned to make adjustment to this recipe after this batch is finished, so I don't exactly need to know what elements are the cause of certain flavors.
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:17 PM   #13
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Holy ****, I had no idea that the HBT forum was the collective authority on what people are supposed to keep their thermostats set at. I apologize if I ruined anyone's week by letting it slip that I keep my condo warmer than 65°. I'm a skinny guy and I love the heat. What can I say...
To each his own - my father-in-law keeps his house at a balmy 57 in the winter (yes, I'm serious). We need a hat and jacket when we eat over there.


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Getting back on topic, the 76° I mentioned earlier was the warmest it would have gotten, knowing that you want fermentation to happen lower than that. Realistically it was lower than that for most of the process. My fiance took last week off work, and needless to say she likes the condo cooler than me, so from the time I pitched the yeast until hour 12, the temps were 71° or so. From hours 12-24 it was up to 76, and 24-36 was back down to 71° - 72°. It was still warmer than I would like to ferment at, but looking back it was quite a bit cooler than 76 for a good part of the process.

I have the 28 bottle wine cooler now, so temperature won't be an issue any more. I also build and sell custom reptile incubators, so another option I came up with is to use a cabinet incubator with a digital thermostat and put it out on my patio in a storage closet. The thermostats I use can heat or cool from 50° - 140°, so I would be able to heat it up into the 60s. That might be a better option since I can build one specifically to hold 2x-4x – 5 gallon fermenters.
You're beer is still going to be quite "fruity" and estery, which there is nothing really you can do about now. Seems like you have a good plan for future batches though. Whatever works best for you to keep temps in the 60s. Though of course you could just start brewing saisons and belgians - temps in the 70s (even 80s) are perfect for those styles.

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And honestly, I know that there's no need to use so many ingredients, but will using smaller amounts of several different malts and extracts do any harm? I never planned to make adjustment to this recipe after this batch is finished, so I don't exactly need to know what elements are the cause of certain flavors.
My main "issue" with so many ingredients is that the flavors are going to get all muddled together - not sure if all those different flavors will blend into something you want to drink. Of course some beers are chock full of ingredients, but it takes a lot of practice and experience (and a careful touch) to get all the flavors to play nicely together. It is hard enough to get the right balance with just a few ingredients (something I am still trying to learn).
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:27 PM   #14
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At least you have a good attitude about it. Really. The aforementioned suggestion that you do belgians and saisons isn't a bad one. Those really thrive in temps like you're cultivating. You can even mix it up and do an american style beer with a belgian yeast, and get good results. Like a hoppy american ipa fermented with a belgian yeast. A combo like that can really work. The problem with yeasts that arent meant to go that high isnt just that they will throw a lot of esters at those temps. Theyll also produce fusel alcohols and a bunch of other nasty compounds that not only make the beer taste bad, but will leave you with a killer hangover. It sounds like youll be able to control your temps now with the wine fridge so that should help out future beers. But I'll bet this current beer you;ve got going is going to cause killer hangovers, if not taste weird too.

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Old 02-07-2010, 01:44 AM   #15
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Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I'll probably just get the wine cooler up and running, and possibly build a large cabinet incubator at some point. My plans might change along the way, but for now I'm aiming to find a couple of good European style lager recipes, adjust them batch by batch until I think I have the perfect beer, and just consistently brew them over and over so I always have delicious beer on tap. If anyone has any suggestions for a Pilsner Urquell, Becks or Grolsche clone I'm all ears.

If I enjoy it enough to take the hobby any further than that I might make an occasional batch of different ales to give away, but I'm particular about the beer I drink, since I drink so much of it, so brewing my own pilsner to keep on tap that never runs out will be about the greatest thing I can think of.

That's why I was never really concerned about this batch. Sure, if it's drinkable I'll drink it, but I would never replace drinking Pilsner Urquell with a sweet stout. It might replace my morning "breakfast beer", but other than that it's just a novelty and a little practice going through the motions and making sure I can get through all the steps without any contamination, etc.

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Old 02-07-2010, 03:22 AM   #16
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I find that you can more easily get away with more ingredients with a stout. This beer will probably be fine, but a bit fruity as said.

As for pilsner urquell, I can tell you the exact ingredients they use.
100% Bohemian Pilsner Malt, 100% Czech Saaz Hops, WLP800 or wyeast 2278. Soft soft water and a decoction mash. Somewhere in the 1.050 range with around 40 IBUs.
Incredibly simple, but great style of beer.

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Old 02-07-2010, 10:05 AM   #17
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I find that you can more easily get away with more ingredients with a stout. This beer will probably be fine, but a bit fruity as said.

As for pilsner urquell, I can tell you the exact ingredients they use.
100% Bohemian Pilsner Malt, 100% Czech Saaz Hops, WLP800 or wyeast 2278. Soft soft water and a decoction mash. Somewhere in the 1.050 range with around 40 IBUs.
Incredibly simple, but great style of beer.
That's why I chose a stout for my first batch since I wanted to get nuts with ingredients. I've seen some recipes for stouts that don't make mine look crazy at all, although I'm sure that the brewers who came up with them had the experience to where there was rhyme and reason for the lengthy combinations of ingredients.

I tasted the beer a couple of hours ago and even though there were some fruity undertones, I think the laundry list of ingredients are doing a lot to cover up the esters. It really wasn't that bad. It definitely won't be added to my list of favorites, even if it had been fermented at lower temps. But I've paid for worse. And luckily, I haven't had a hangover for several years now, so that shouldn't be an issue for me at least.

Thanks a lot for the Pilsner recipe! I know what my next batch is going to be.
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Old 02-07-2010, 10:13 AM   #18
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To make a really outstanding pilsner, you really need everything to be on, since off flavors will show up in spades.
Use a good quality pilsner malt. Either from Germany or Czechoslovakia if you can find it. Czech saaz hops are essential if you want a BoPils. Otherwise for a german pils, there are a few noble hops that will work. Soft water is about as important if not more so as to everything else. Finally a pils lager yeast, properly fermented at lager temperatures(50F solid), a Diacetyl rest and then a good long lagering period at sub freezing temps. A decoction mash can really make it stand out as well.

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Old 02-20-2010, 09:56 PM   #19
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It hasn't conditioned as long as I planned, but I got my keg system set up a couple of days ago, so I transferred this batch into it and started force carbonating. It tastes great to me, way better than I expected. The fruity undertones are completely gone, as is almost all the sweetness that was there after primary fermentation.

I bought a cheap bottle of porter last week that tasted horrible, and I told my fiance that I bet this batch would taste just like the porter in all the bad ways; odd caramel/smoke flavor, too sweet, fruity... but this has dried out nicely and has a very smooth flavor with good body. The chocolate and coffee come through just enough to know they are there. I would definitely buy this beer, and I'm not saying that because I made it. I've been drinking it for a couple of hours now, and it's just as good as any micro brew stout I've ever had, which is a huge surprise to me after the negative critiques here.

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