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Old 06-07-2014, 06:44 AM   #1
RuckingBrewer
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Default Summer ale brew

Hi all. Since I've just cracked open my first bottles of homebrew (Pale ale) and they turned out awesome , the SWMBO asked for a beer of her own. I bought a Brewer's Best Summer Ale extract kit from my LHBS, and of course, the instructions suck. I have most of my brew planned out, but I do have two questions.

1) My steeping grain is 1/2# carapils malt, and the kit came with 3.3# Pilsen LME, 1# Wheat DME, and 1# Pilsen DME. The instructions call for all to be added at the same time, what do you think?

2) The kit has a "spice kit" consisting of 1.25 oz of bitter orange peel and 1.25 oz of lemon peel. The directions call for them to be added the last 15 minutes of the boil, but I'm thinking that may be too long. What effect on the timing of this addition have to my beer?

Thanks!

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Old 06-07-2014, 07:48 AM   #2
GCPHomebrew
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Steep the grains first. 145-155degrees 30min. Don't add all the sugar at once. 1-2 lbs at boiling for hop utilization. The rest at 15-20left in boil.
The spices depend on cooling the beer. Yes 15 is way too long. But if you don't cool your beer fast 5min is too long. I add it at flameout. But i calculate how long it will be at that temp. When you add it take a whiff. That smell is your aroma and flavor leaving your beer. Btw grind the spices up. IMO use fresh zest for better results.


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Old 06-07-2014, 10:23 AM   #3
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1. Depends. Are you boiling the full volume? If you're not, reduce the extract by the same proportion you reduce the boil volume. For example, if you're boiling three gallons, reduce the extract added at the beginning of the boil by roughly 2/3. In that case, I'd boil the LME and reserve the DME for a late addition.

2. Adding your peel at flameout is an excellent idea. I suspect your recipe instructions rely on some misinformation from the early days of homebrewing, when it was thought that you had to boil everything or you'd end up with a horrible infection. You don't. You also don't need to grind up dried citrus peel. There's no point.

2a. I do not agree with the automatic assumption that fresh zest yields "better" results. I have yet to see blind taste-test data which supports that conclusion.* The bitter orange peel is a very specific ingredient with a very specific flavor profile which cannot be replicated by blithely substituting something else. Unless, of course, you have access to bitter Curacao oranges in your local grocer's. Which I'm betting nobody does. For those other experienced brewers who are going to argue with me, let me give you a metaphor. If you're after the characteristic hops flavor of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, you use what variety of hops? Cascades. That's it. That's the ingredient which gives the beer its characteristic flavor profile. You don't switch to, say, Amarillo merely "because it's fresher and it's citrusy". Bitter Curacao orange peel has just as characteristic a flavor profile. It is to Witbier, to continue the example, as Cascades hops are to SNPA. Yet it appears to be a mantra on HBT to chuck the bitter Curacao peel and just zest a grocery-store orange. That's dumb, mainly because there's no real basis for it.

Cheers,

Bob

* It's the same thing with canned beer. "Everyone knows" that canned beer tastes like metal, and that bottled beer tastes better, right? Trouble is it's horsepuckey. Blind test after blind test confirms that you can't tell the difference.

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Old 06-07-2014, 07:58 PM   #4
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I'm doing full boil. Could you explain flame out a little further?


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Old 06-07-2014, 09:25 PM   #5
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It's when the flame goes out. Like when you switch off the burner.

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Old 06-07-2014, 10:15 PM   #6
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I actually prefer to use DME in the beginning and use the LME at flameout. There's no chance for scorching and no need to take it off of the heat.

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