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Old 05-05-2013, 05:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treon
Ok, well, at least it was just an experiment. He doesn't have too much money tied up in it, and you learn from your mistakes if you pay attention. We will let it go for a while in the fermenter to see if anything happens, and I'll post an update when we actually taste it. I do have a couple questions though. First, I have read and understand that no activity in the fermenter does not necessarily mean fermentation is going on, but can there be an actively bubbling airlock when there ISN'T fermentation going on? Like if it is infected? I have since noticed a little bubbling in its airlock. Also, when I post a tasting update should I post it to this thread or just start a new one? Also, thank you for the replies, they have been very insightful.
Sounds like the yeast woke up and got to work.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treon
Hello all, I am new to the forums, and have only been brewing for about 6 months or so. So far I have 4 successful brews under my belt, all of which were brewers best kits.

A friend of mine is wanting to get into brewing and asked me to give him a hand with his first brew, but he wanted to try more of an experiment, due to the lack of hops and the fact that neither of us has ever done a mash before, and do not yet have a mash tun. Here is where things get odd. He has read somewhere online, I'm not sure where, that he could use sweet feed to brew with. The recipe he was basing his on was actually one he found for making moonshine, and apparently the poster of that recipe indicated the brew was almost good enough to bottle instead of distilling. This recipe consisted of adding a sweet feed mixture consisting of oat, cracked corn and molasses to a fermenter with some warm water and sugar, then pitching your yeast. He then got the idea to attempt to use malted barley with the sweet feed mixture in an attempt to convert the starches in the corn to fermentable sugars. Since he has no mash tun we attempted this by first adding the sweet feed to the brew pot and bringing it to a boil, then lowering the temp to 150, adding the malted grain in a grain bag, and simmering for 90 minutes. Once this was done we cooled the wort and added it to the fermenter, then sparged the sweet feed and grains with warm water. At this point he was adamant that we add some of the cooked sweet feed to the fermenter as well, since the original poster advised to ferment on the grain, which I advised against, to no avail. we pitched the yeast a little warmer than I normally do, at around 79 degrees F, put on the lid and airlock and set in in our spare room where all my other brews have gone. It should also be noted we only made a half batch, but we used a 6.5 gal bucket, so there was more headroom than I would have liked as well. As a side experiment, I had some yeast in the fridge from an old batch, so just for fun I used the portion set aside for the S.G reading, placed it in a small jar, added some of the yeast cake that has been in the fridge and popped an airlock on it. 24 hours later the bucket doesn't appear to have any airlock activity at all, but the small jar is bubbling away like normal. Now, I was skeptical as to whether his chosen method would even work or not, but what I am looking for here is feedback on the methods incorporated in this brew. The recipe and other specifics were as follows:

2 lbs sweet feed mixture (oats, cracked corn and molasses)
3 lbs 2-row crushed malted barley
20 oz. malted corn (which he had malted himself, so I'm not sure if it was done correctly as I have never malted anything myself)
Munton's ale yeast
2.5 Gallons of water

S.G. was 1.021

My main concerns were the use of sweet feed at all, the choice to ferment on the grains, and whether or not we even achieved any starch to sugar conversion.
Also, your SG should be higher even if it is all starch. What was the temp of the sample? Did you correct for temperature?
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:58 PM   #13
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What confuses the whole thing is where he says he boiled the sweet feed,lowered the temp to 150F & added malted grain in a grain bag,then simmered for 90 minutes. simmering is thought of as being above 150F,but lightly bubbling under boiling temp. That's what makes me question the whole process. Anyone that can cook would question the wording at least.

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Old 05-05-2013, 06:46 PM   #14
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If my wording on this is off, I apologize, maybe steeping is a better term for what we did with the 2-row. The sample was at 77F and I did add +0.003 to the S.G. reading I got at that temp. And yes, you are correct that the feed was what we boiled, the 2-row was in 150F water for the 90 minutes. Also I want to stress that this wasn't my idea, I merely went along with it. He wanted me to help since I had brewed successfully before, but after having done so I believe he is more interested in making something to distill, which I have little interest and no experience in. Why he wanted to make a distill-able concoction and then stop after fermentation and bottle I have no idea. My main reasons for posting were to A: find out wether steeping grains could convert starches to sugars and B: give you guys a chuckle that someone would actually use livestock feed for brewing, because believe me, I will never try to formulate a recipe using such substandard ingredients.

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Old 05-05-2013, 07:28 PM   #15
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Oh,I understand treon. My Grandma made the best keg charred sourmash whiskey this side of the missisipi that I've had in my life. so I still remember the differences well enough to wonder what his motivations are. Besides a chuckle or two. So don't sweat it,man. It's cool.
So understanding a bit more now,you may've gotten some conversion of the sweet feed by the base malt mash. It'll remain for time to show how much with SG readings. Does make ya wonder what he was really thinkin,though...

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Old 06-24-2013, 12:56 AM   #16
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UPDATE:

Ok, so here's the update with this experiment. Also, an update on a hopless beer experiment I did around the same time, using LME and flavoring grains, but no hops. That thread can be found here for any interested:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/hopless-beer-412923/

These experiments turned out pretty much the same. Awful. They both soured in the fermenters. We bottled them anyway to see if anything might change, but it hasn't. Both were in their respective fermenter for 3 weeks, and then left in the bottle for 4 weeks. Upon getting them ready to bottle, we noticed a strong sour smell, and they tasted as bad as they smelled. However, I have been told to not give up on a beer to soon. Well, I don't believe these are getting any better anytime soon. Also, I don't wish to keep the bottles tied up any longer. At any rate, I wanted to give an update. I have learned much about the reasons hops are used in beer, and plan to make sure my future brews include them, or at least some sort of preservative to avoid those brews falling to the same fate. Only one question remains. Before I dump them, are there any uses for the stuff other than slug bait to keep undesirables out of the garden?

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Old 06-24-2013, 03:26 AM   #17
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your process here - bringing it to a boil, then lowering the temp to 150, adding the malted grain in a grain bag - is just perfectly fine. anybody who would disagree with boiling grain should try a decoction mash.

Using grain from the feed store is perfectly fine, I do that whenever i use raw wheat.

If you dont have hops. take something that is bitter and edible and boil it in the beer. Yarrow works fine and grows about anywhere, about 3oz fresh leaves and flowers mixed (1.5oz dried) for a 60 minute boil or so , then dry hop for a week with the same amount - for about a 3 gallon batch. dont use yarrow if you are epileptic. drinking yarrow beer will have a slightly different effect than regular beer, you might find some things just seem a bit more interesting. use dandelion, sage, etc.

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Old 06-24-2013, 06:49 PM   #18
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Decoction mashing only heats a small amount to boiling or near it. This was a lot more than that.

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Old 06-24-2013, 07:14 PM   #19
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It will never be unsour. I'd pitch it, but then I really dislike sour beers.

Sanitize your equipment, or sterilize if you can. Try again with more normal methods. There are plenty of sites with info on the more illegal version of what we do. I suggest your friend do some more reading...

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Old 06-25-2013, 12:03 AM   #20
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Nothing wrong with boiling the cow feed. Gotta gelatinize it some how.
Lousy sparge. Lousy OG.
Lousy yeast. Lousy fermentation.
Lousy sanitation. Good bacteria.

By the way. What is sweet, cow feed going per pound now a days? It sounds interesting to use, to brew up something, with the pilgrims at the HBC. I see a contest on the horizon. I posted a recipe from Jamestown settlement that used smoked corn cobs soaked in molasses as a filter bed for beer that was brewed in Jamestown..

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