Thanks guys! This is very reassuring feedback.
I agree with everyone that the stout is a little flat. Part of that is my priming sugar (I cut back the amount since I don't like fizzy stouts) but I think my reduction in sugar combined with the thickness of the beer makes it come off as very flat.
I actually want to thin this out next time (droppping sweetness) and up both the roastiness and coffee, but I was definately not disappointed with it when I first had it (my 31st b-day in december).
I TOLD there was something wrong w/ the porter.
I find a burnt aftertaste (too much patent). Dude/Sam detect oxidation. Billy tastes copper. I already plan to drop the patent next time, but I don't think I'll get rid of completely. My DME is xtra-lite (3 or 4 SRM), so I feel it needs to be there to darken the beer properly. I wanted the color to be a VERY dark ruby-red/black, but too much patent == black.
As for my ferment temp... I'm using a fridge and a home-made mini heater to control temps. Each has an independent thermostat. I can keep the temp within a 4°F window easily.
IPA (whole hops AND pellet hops) Responses
Originally, both SWMBO and I thought we liked the pellet hop better. My wife loves things uber-bitter and I like the almost perfumey hoppiness. However, as we work our way through both batches, we are both coming to the conclusion that the whole hop version is better.... which is good, because I have a TON of whole hops.
As for the hop schedule and the NB hops being prevelant. This was what I wanted. I like the piney flavor (I think I would probably LOVE spruce beer.) However, I have decided that I want to change things just to make my measuring easier. I have 4 oz of hops divided into 7 piles. That comes out to a terrible number. If I had 3.5 oz of hops in 7 piles, that's a lot easier to measure (0.25 oz per pile). I'll try a batch with lowered hops some time as an experiment, but I'm currently happy with the bitterness, flavor, and aroma of this one, so... screw you.
I had to pour an IPA to check on the carbonation thing. I guess I generally pour slowly down the side of the glass and I get a nice managable head on it. However, I do burp a LOT when drinking it. I think you guys are right, and I should drop back the carbonation level on this. I use DME to prime it (1.25 cups) so I think the next batch will be dropped back to 1 cup.
And, finally.... a bit more malt is
in order. I'm considering a tad more crystal in it too.
COlor.... I am totally satisfied with the color. It will clear up almost completely if you leave it in the fridge for a week before opening it, too. I have never NAILED chill haze, except for batches that had no grains in them, and those were boring beers.
Watery Whole Hop version (I had a top-off mistake and added an extra 1/2 gallon of water to that batch. That explains that one.
Thanks for the honest feedback guys. I really appreciate it.
I'm still waiting for dude to try my Fat Tire F*ck-Up (Pandora's Box). That one tastes like a dirty a$$.