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Old 08-30-2012, 07:21 PM   #1
I_Brew_Drunk
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Default Any cool experiments you've done that I should try?

I'm a relatively new home brewer (4 batches total) and I've got a couple ideas for experiments I want to try out. Let me know if these sound like good ideas or if you have any ideas of your own.

First:

I want to get 3 - 1 gallon glass jugs (empty Carlo Rossi bottles probably) and split a batch (pale ale or IPA) into 3 before I start brewing. The first gallon batch will have all the hop addition in the beginning. The second would be the recommended times for hop addition and the third gallon would be all hops added in the last 15/flameout.

Should I just do a longer primary (2-3 weeks?) fermentation for all of these so I don't risk contamination/ have too much head space in secondary (I'd be transferring to another 1gallon jug).

Second:

There seems to be some controversy over using secondary fermentation for some beer styles (I've used secondary for my last three batches (Pale, IPA & Porter)) but I'd like to test this out personally by splitting a 5 gallon batch in 2 after flameout and racking one half to secondary after a week while leaving the other in primary until bottle conditioning.

What style would you recommend for this experiment and how should I go about the half that I rack to secondary (I have 5 gallon carboys & want to avoid too much head space).

I'm really excited to try these out and any other ideas you guys have too!


cheers

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Old 08-30-2012, 09:17 PM   #2
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:43 AM   #3
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You could also try different hops. The brew club near me did this. Took 5 gallons fresh wort x 48 people from a local brewery and each person got to choose a single type of hops to use then we all got back together and and swapped. I took notes on each hop variety as I tried each bottle.

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Old 09-09-2012, 06:16 PM   #4
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Sounds fun. For the second comparison, I wouldn't worry about head space as log as you're not splashing the fermenting beer around and oxidizing it. As the fermentation occurs, CO2 will quickly displace the oxygen in the headspace. And for the style, pick something "clean" like a blonde ale or a light pale ale, that way the utility of the secondary has a chance to come through. I'd be interested, for a blonde ale as an example, if the secondary vessel really helped it clarify or clean up in term of flavor compared to the same time all in the primary vessel.

For the first experiment, I think there's enough known about hop chemistry that you'd know what will happen. The beer with all the early additions will be bitter and the one with late additions will be aromatic. I'd say experiment instead with different hops so you can get a better feel for what each variety of hops can do for your beer.

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Old 09-09-2012, 06:47 PM   #5
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You take it a step further after you find a hopping schedule you like best and try different yeast strains. If you have 3 different fermentation vessels you can pitch 3 different yeast strains.

You could do an American yeast, British yeast and a Belgian yeast strain. your bottles should be small enough you could even do a lager strain if you wanted to.

I second doing a blonde ale or a light pale ale. Any balanced simple recipe should be fine.

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Old 09-09-2012, 07:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by I_Brew_Drunk
I'm a relatively new home brewer (4 batches total) and I've got a couple ideas for experiments I want to try out. Let me know if these sound like good ideas or if you have any ideas of your own.

First:

I want to get 3 - 1 gallon glass jugs (empty Carlo Rossi bottles probably) and split a batch (pale ale or IPA) into 3 before I start brewing. The first gallon batch will have all the hop addition in the beginning. The second would be the recommended times for hop addition and the third gallon would be all hops added in the last 15/flameout.

Should I just do a longer primary (2-3 weeks?) fermentation for all of these so I don't risk contamination/ have too much head space in secondary (I'd be transferring to another 1gallon jug).

I'm really excited to try these out and any other ideas you guys have too!


cheers
I think this is a great way for you as a new brewer to identify the characteristics of various hops schedules. I typically use three hop additions, with mulitple types of hops (if i want a solid pale ale i might only hops with cascade but otherwise i like to mix it up) and it can be difficult to identify where i need to add/reduce/alter the hop schedule.

Ideas:

Make the same recipe, same hop timing schedule, but change the hop type.

How about different yeasts? I ferment in 2 three gallon fermentors, so once i made an amber pale ale, same exact wort split between the two fermentors. In one i used american ale 1056, and in the other I used northwestern yeast. I was amazed how different they were out of the fermentors. I then actually mixed them in my 5gallon keg, and the result was very complex and interesting, one of my best batches yet.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:47 PM   #7
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:21 AM   #8
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I like all these. Some experiments I want to try:

1) same malt, same hop, different yeast strains--this is arguably the easiest thing to try

2) Same malt, same yeast, different hop--a little bit tougher.

3) same yeast, same hop, different malt--the toughest likely

I like the two chicks at the same time one, though. That's a really good idea. I'll broach the subject with the wife later, keep y'all posted. I may need a place to stay.

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Old 09-10-2012, 01:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jakeintoledo View Post
I like all these. Some experiments I want to try:

1) same malt, same hop, different yeast strains--this is arguably the easiest thing to try

2) Same malt, same yeast, different hop--a little bit tougher.

3) same yeast, same hop, different malt--the toughest likely

I like the two chicks at the same time one, though. That's a really good idea. I'll broach the subject with the wife later, keep y'all posted. I may need a place to stay.

I did #1; once with five types of general purpose yeasts, once making a wheat beer and then five wheat or wit yeasts, and then made a golden belgian and used five Belgian yeast varieties. My results for the general yeast I posted here.

The hops altering will only be for dry hopping, or you could make a five gallon batch, and then separate it and finish on the stove in different vessels for late hop additions.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:30 AM   #10
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Different yeasts will really change how you think about them after tasting the "same" beer with totally different flavors.

Another good one is ferement temps. Have part of a batch going at 60 F, one at room temp, one at something warmer.

An ipa with a half pound addition of oats, wheat, flaked rye, etc. to see what it does to head retention.

Change the base malt in a brew.

Hopburst a beer.

You could dry hop a part of a batch and leave another part without.

BIAB vs batch sparging mashing.

Yeast pitching rate. 1/2 recommended vs recommended vs 2x recommended.

Almost related: Make the same beer like 5 times in a row and take good notes.

***As I'm typing these, I realize I'm lifting them from Basic Brewing Radio. There's your experiment, listen to all of those shows.

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