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Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

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    growing hops in VA?

    Blue Mountain is growing enough Cascade and Centennial for all of their Full Nelson and a couple of their other beers. From what I understand, we've got a pretty darn good climate for most hops, so if you've got enough sun I'd say pick whatever you'd like to brew with. I'm going to try planting...
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    High Final Gravity (with lactose)

    I'm currently doing a batch of Northern Brewer's Chocolate Milk Stout. It's been in primary for about two weeks, and I was hoping to rack to secondary and add the cacao, but I'm concerned the gravity is still pretty high. My OG was 1.051, just what the recipe specifies. After two weeks, I'm...
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    Bought a complete brewing kit at a yard sale for $5.00

    If the 5 gal has a spigot at the bottom, then it's definitely the bottling bucket. There's no real need to use a secondary fermenter unless you're doing a few slightly advanced things (adding fruit or whatnot for flavoring, trying really hard to clarify, etc), but there are some advantages to...
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    whole foods "beer class"?

    The only problem I have with Whole Foods' draft beer is that their growler pricing can be a little frustrating. They'll usually have some decent stuff for $10 a fill. I like breweries that offer $8, but I can spring for $10 if I like the stuff. Then they'll also price some at $15 or $20, which...
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    racking into frozen strawberries.

    Fermentation stops because the yeast are running out of sugar to eat. You just gave them a load of strawberries full of sugar, so they're going to start eating that and making more alcohol.
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    Does anyone know when the club in Charlottesville, Va meets?

    You could see if anybody at Fifth Season over on Preston knows. I've never dealt with the club myself, but I know they've done a demo there once or twice, so those guys might know something.
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    Will aging change the "plastic" flavor?

    Short answer: Maybe. Long answer: Bottle conditioning (in a much cooler place than you fermented in, hopefully) will definitely change some flavors. Whether the flavor you're picking up fades or not is impossible to guarantee. It's also worth noting that the fact that your water was...
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    Please help me educate my palate

    One of the best ways to educate your palate is to visit a brewery or two. Even if they don't have a tour where they go into detail about their styles and methods, most will at least have a bar where you can get a sampler and compare half a dozen beers. If you don't have any near you right now...
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    Brewing to an Area

    Yes and no. I'd say seasonal brews (lighter, smoother during the summer and heavier, hoppier during the winter as a very rough sketch) are probably bigger than regional brews. You'll still hear things like "west-coast style IPA," but these days you can find plenty of eastern breweries doing...
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    any tips for electric stove?

    Another thing to watch out for: Once you've actually got it boiling, try and turn the temperature down just enough to keep it going. Leaving it all the way on max is a good way to wind up with LME burned to the bottom of your pot.
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    Beer clean glasses

    I've been to several bars that have something right by the taps that sprays water upwards into the glasses. Basically a bottle washer but designed primarily for glasses. I think the best home route to go is to get one of these, then build it into a home bar with at least a couple taps.
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    Craft Beer in a Can (Bad Experience?)

    Are you drinking directly from the can or pouring into a glass? Depending on your hotel you may or may not have any decent glasses, but in my experience even a cheap plastic cup tastes miles better than drinking from the can.
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    Beer in Cans

    My issue with cans is that proponents always mention how they can go places other beer can't. Parks, the beach, backpacking, etc. But when I have to drink directly from the can (which I would in most of those situations), I absolutely abhor the way the can tastes. I know the beer tastes fine...
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    What beer to pick up in the Carolinas?

    If you're close enough to Durham, Fullsteam is a young brewery that's doing some real nice stuff. Last I checked they're not bottling, but their growlers look fantastic. Mother Earth is from a little farther east and are putting out some nice stuff. Not incredible, but definitely not bad.
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    Brewer's Best: Amber Ale--My First Beer: Taste Question?

    My first batch was a Brewer's Best American pale ale. After two weeks in the bottle, they were certainly drinkable but there was a little bit of an odd taste to the finish. Very hard to describe, and not strong or terrible, but it annoyed me a little. After a month in the bottle, this taste had...