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  1. chicken

    Tips for Using Oak spirals

    I used oak spirals for the first time last year, on some Chardonnay I made from fresh juice, and was very happy with the results. I used French oak, medium toast, and left them in for 6 weeks (tasting every couple weeks). I used both spirals. Depending on what kind of oak you are using, you may...
  2. chicken

    Temperature During Primary Fermentation

    I had good results last year fermenting at cooler temperatures, using Lalvin ICV-D47. I got it started inside, at about 65 degrees, and then moved it outside after a day or so. During primary fermentation, I think temps were in the 50s and 60s during the day, and dipped down lower during the...
  3. chicken


    I can't answer your question about muscat grapes (last time we used them was in a zinfandel-muscat blend many years ago, and our notes are a bit spotty, and don't even mention if we were happy with how it came out!). But I wouldn't worry too much about the grapes being dirty. We have never...
  4. chicken

    Is MLF working????

    I don't have a whole lot of experience with MLF, but my understanding is that it can take a number of weeks to complete, and that there may be little or no visual sign that anything is happening (for example, one of my carboys undergoing MLF produced very tiny bubbles, another showed no signs at...
  5. chicken

    Looking to get past beginner

    On my third beer now, we'll see what errors I make, lol. Did you taste it before you bottled it? If so, how does it compare now? My first thought is that 4 months is not very long in the bottle, and perhaps the taste will improve over time. We usually bottle a year or more after the grapes...
  6. chicken

    Is stripping grapes essential?

    I would be worried about excess tannins or vegetal flavor in the wine if stems were left in during fermentation. As far as pressing grapes with the stems, I think it depends on the grapes; I read somewhere that with white grapes, pressing with the stems (or perhaps only some of the stems) is...
  7. chicken

    Slowly Graduating from Extract

    A chiller would be a great upgrade that you could use right away, even before you start all grain brewing. When I finally got one, I couldn't believe I had waited so long. I took baby steps towards all grain brewing by trying a few partial mash brews. It didn't take me long to realize that...
  8. chicken

    How long is too long in Primary?

    I wouldn't worry about it. I have left beer for that long numerous times with no problems. I remember when I first learned to brew, there was a lot of emphasis on racking to secondary, and getting the beer off of the yeast before too long. I left the hobby for a number of years, and came back...
  9. chicken

    Cleaning/Sanitizing New (Used) Carboys

    I've never used PBW, but I find that a hot water and oxyclean soak can do wonders. Occasionally I have to soak a second time. I also store carboys with the opening covered, and then might give them a quick rinse before sanitizing with Star San.
  10. chicken

    Any good partial mash recipes out there?

    Absolutely. I do all grain outside during the warmer months, and partial mash indoors during the winter. I would never even have tried all grain if I hadn't had several successful partial mash brews under my belt first. Dealing with smaller quantities of grain, and having the safety net of...
  11. chicken

    So who's brewing this weekend?

    Chocolate stout boiling nicely while I sip the Cascade amber I bottled three weeks ago.
  12. chicken

    stainless steel immersion chiller

    I have a stainless steel chiller, 3/8" x 25'. I've been pretty happy with it, although it isn't as efficient during the warmer months.
  13. chicken

    So who's brewing this weekend?

    Planned brew day last weekend cancelled due to weather, so I've been looking forward to today all week! After taking my daughter to her cello lesson and getting dinner started in crockpot, let kids know that their Dad is the one to go to for anything, and I am enjoying an afternoon brewing...
  14. chicken

    FermCap vs. Five Star Defoamer

    I've been using 1-2 drops of 5-Star Defoamer per 5 gallons and it works just fine for me.
  15. chicken

    All I want to do is brew...

    Absolutely! I'm a mom of three (21, 14, and 12). My oldest has significant disabilities. There wasn't time for brewing or a lot of other things for a number of years. But as they got older, I was able to carve out a little time for myself and my hobbies (my other obsession is aquariums, and I've...
  16. chicken

    Citra and cascade pale ale

    Thanks for the update. I've been trying to decide what my next batch will be; I may try something like this.
  17. chicken

    Maryland 15 gallon demijohn $40

    Sorry, it's gone. I ended up giving it to a friend's husband.
  18. chicken

    Do any other all grain brewers do it this way...

    I just pour from the kettle into a bucket, and pour back and forth between buckets a few times. Seems pretty easy to me, and does the job.
  19. chicken

    Assistant Brew Master

    My two younger daughters (11 & 13) aren't all that interested now, but have helped me occasionally in the past. They also help crush and press grapes every year when we get together with another family to make wine. I think it's a great idea to grab opportunities like this to spend time and...
  20. chicken

    Maintaining mash temp

    I do that too.