Hypothetical Recipe, Maillards Golden LME and Cascade Hops. Will It Work?

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GrowleyMonster

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Looking at a simple house brew for kegging, with minimalist bill of ingredients and minimal price. I just ordered six 6lb jugs of Maillard's Golden LME and a pound of Cascade hops, and some SafeAle US-05 yeast.

Would this end up being fairly drinkable?

9lbs of the LME
3/4oz Cascade hops pellets boiled 60 minutes
3/4oz Cascade dry hopped
1oz SafeAle US-05

Target volume of 5gal, target ABV of 6% or a bit over. I will be kegging this, not bottling. Waste of time and ingredients? Would this suck, or be okay? How about only 6lb of LME? It would be cool to not have any leftover partial jugs, yeah, and they are 6lb jugs. Maybe reduce final volume to 4gal, with 6lb LME? Anyway the general idea is only the three ingredients, being Maillard's LME, Cascade hops pellets, and SafeAle US-05 yeast. The question is not what I could add or substitute to make it "better". The question is simply will this work, and how well will it work, and is there a sweet spot in regards to LME concentration and hopping? I am using corny kegs and so I want to keep batch size down to 5gal or slightly over.

I know this idea runs counter to the connoisseur ethos, but I just like beer and I like it to be inexpensive and I like to not have to spend too much time on doing anything but drinking it. But if the idea is a non-starter then I would rather not start it, dig what I'm saying? I can buy grains and come close to duplicating the NB Block Party Amber that I made as my first ever batch, that I liked a lot. The thing is, do I gotta do that.... or can I use the KISS principle here?
 

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There will be challenges in trying to brew a 5 gal batch of APA (or IPA) using just 6 lb jugs of LME. Partial jugs can be hard to measure and apparently don't store well. Many kit recipes will use a mix of LME (full jugs of various sizes) and DME (often in 3 lb or 1 lb packages) to target an OG that's appropriate to the style.

Recipe software (for example, Brewers Friend) will be helpful for estimating IBUs for the 60 minute addition.
 

IslandLizard

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If you're going to store those jugs for a few months, the fridge is the best place for them, IMO.

Opened jugs of LME will keep well in the fridge for a few weeks, possibly a month or longer. From what I've read it's air, oxygen, both that's in the syrup and from the headspace, that slowly oxidizes it. Maybe flushing the headspace with CO2 will help somewhat against that. You could pour what you don't need of the 2nd jug into one or more smaller container(s) (e.g., mason jars, smaller LME containers), leaving little or no headspace, and put in the fridge. Use what's left of the 6 pound jug for your brew, and rinse it out with your brewing water, so you don't throw any out.

Then for your next brew use a full jug plus whatever you need from the smaller containers, etc.
1oz SafeAle US-05
You mean 1 package/sachet? 1 sachet is 11.5 grams.
You could save and repitch a partial yeast cake from a previous batch.

Are you doing full volume boils or partial boils with topup in the fermenter? Either way, especially in the latter case, only use half (or less) of the extract in the boil, adding the rest at flameout.

Hopwise, if you're aiming for an APA, I'd target 40-50 IBU total, especially if you're getting into higher gravities such as 1.060-1.070. I'd definitely add a late boil (10') or flameout addition, depending on how fast you can chill that batch down below 140F. At those gravities an ounce of dry hop is a more appropriate amount, unless you really don't want much hop character, keeping it maltier.

+1 for using a good recipe formulator.
 
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GrowleyMonster

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If you're going to store those jugs for a few months, the fridge is the best place for them, IMO.

Opened jugs of LME will keep well in the fridge for a few weeks, possibly a month or longer. From what I've read it's air, oxygen, both that's in the syrup and from the headspace, that slowly oxidizes it. Maybe flushing the headspace with CO2 will help somewhat against that. You could pour what you don't need of the 2nd jug into one or more smaller container(s) (e.g., mason jars, smaller LME containers), leaving little or no headspace, and put in the fridge. Use what's left of the 6 pound jug for your brew, and rinse it out with your brewing water, so you don't throw any out.

Then for your next brew use a full jug plus whatever you need from the smaller containers, etc.

You mean 1 package/sachet? 1 sachet is 11.5 grams.
You could save and repitch a partial yeast cake from a previous batch.

Are you doing full volume boils or partial boils with topup in the fermenter? Either way, especially in the latter case, only use half (or less) of the extract in the boil, adding the rest at flameout.

Hopwise, if you're aiming for an APA, I'd target 40-50 IBU total, especially if you're getting into higher gravities such as 1.060-1.070. I'd definitely add a late boil (10') or flameout addition, depending on how fast you can chill that batch down below 140F. At those gravities an ounce of dry hop is a more appropriate amount, unless you really don't want much hop character, keeping it maltier.

+1 for using a good recipe formulator.
Thanks for that helpful reply, IslandLizard. I have a fridge dedicated to my kegging habit and there is plenty of room for LME. I was actually thinking maybe pour excess into a zip lock bag si I could squeeze all the air out, but the shot of CO2 is a good idea, too.

Yeah I meant one sachet of yeast.

No I haven't been doing full volume boils. To avoid boilovers I have been boiling 3 gallons of my 5 gallon batches, on the stove in a big stock pot which will hold the 5 gallons but has hardly any extra headspace for foam. I have been pouring the entire amount of extract from my batches so far, into the pot.

I was aware that the sediment contains viable yeast but I didn't want to risk contaminating the next batch with wild yeast at this stage of my progress. I will be trying that some time soon, though. I suppose I could keep it in the fridge and feed it like a sourdough starter? Or should I dry it?

What effect does reserving half of the extract until flameoout have on the finished product? Can it be underboiled or overboiled? Is boil time actually only critical for hops extraction?

I can chill my wort pretty quick. I have a big deep sink out back, for washing my hands when I come in the house from my workshop. I put a few bricks in the bottom and set the brew kettle on them, then run the sink full of water and let it run. The top of the pot is above the water level of the sink at overflow, and the running water cools the wort. Then when it is just hot but not scalding, I dump a bunch of ice into the wort to equal more or less my water addition. No hoses or pipes or gadgets required, and it works pretty fast.

I found the brew recipe calculator and I was actually aiming for IBU in the 20's and ABV just somewhere between 5 and 7. If I reduce total vol to 4 gallons, then a 6lb jug of the LME (they show Briess Golden Light 4L which should be pretty close to the Maillard's which isn't shown as a choice) and an ounce of Cascade pellets boiled for an hour gives me a calculated OG of 1.056, FG of 1.014, ABV of 5.55%, IBU of 26.52. SRM of 5.41, FWIW. This lets me use whole jugs with no leftovers, so I might do 4gal batches. Now if I go 5.5gal, I can use a jug and a half with an ounce of Cascade and get 6.06% ABV and 13.76 IBU, 5.41 SRM. That would be almost as simple, but there, yeah maybe I would want a late boil addition. I am thinking a half ounce for 10 minutes. Maybe a full ounce at 10 minutes. I don't want to overhop. I know hoppy beers are trendy but I don't wax poetic over them. I would like to know what the Block Party ale is, on the scale, for comparison, cause I really did like it. The Block Party Amber Ale kit contains 6lb LME, an ounce of Willamette hops, and a pound of mixed grains, half of which is caramel 80L.

The recipe calculator is pretty handy, yeah.

How about this... I boil only the hops, and add ALL the LME at flameout? Would that work? Or even be an improvement?
 

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Ziplock bags aren't oxygen tight, AFAIK.
I used to get my LME at the local brew store in a doubled up heavy duty plastic bag, poured "fresh" from 30 gallon plastic barrels. They went through a lot of them, so they had never been open for more than a few weeks. The LME tasted wonderful, some of my best beers came from those.

Since extract has been boiled already at the maltsters, before it was condensed, it really doesn't need to be boiled at all.

Lower amounts of sugar in the boil result in lower caramelization. Under the same boil vigor that is.

By boiling very concentrated wort (all the LME in half the water) for an hour you definitely increase caramelization, Maillard reactions, and wort darkening. Often those are beneficial where extra maltiness is desired.
So, if the beer you've been brewing tastes the way you want, then everything is working well for you. You don't have any crystal malt in your fermentables, so you may get a similar effect by boiling more concentrated wort. The flip side is you may get somewhat lower attenuation, meaning somewhat sweeter beer in the end. For example, ending with an FG of 1.014-1.016 rather than 1.010-1.012.

Longer boil times and higher temperatures increase bittering reactions (=isomerization of Alpha Acids in hops). Bittering stops around 140F, but is still very active at 170-180F.
Lower boil gravity also increase bittering. So boiling only half the LME will get you much more bittering than boiling the whole amount.
You can boil hops in water, using no extract, then adding all the extract at flameout, but I have no experience with how that compares with boiling hops in wort.

When you add extract after the boil, just make sure the wort is kept at 150F for at least 10 minutes to pasteurize it. You may need to heat it up to attain 150F if you're adding lots of cold (refrigerated) extract.

Hop flavor/aroma extraction happens anywhere between 140 and 212F, but is faster at higher temps. So steeping hops after the boil at lower temps increases hop flavor and aroma, while bittering slows down. Many modern IPAs use this strategy to become drenched in hops with fairly low bittering.

26 IBU is fairly low, Blonde Ale and Amber Ale (Fat Tire) territory but if it is right for you, then aim for it. 14 IBU is very low, a tad higher than Budweiser.

Lots of variables, huh?
 
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GrowleyMonster

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Ziplock bags aren't oxygen tight, AFAIK.
I used to get my LME at the local brew store in a doubled up heavy duty plastic bag, poured "fresh" from 30 gallon plastic barrels. They went through a lot of them, so they had never been open for more than a few weeks. The LME tasted wonderful, some of my best beers came from those.

Since extract has been boiled already at the maltsters, before it was condensed, it really doesn't need to be boiled at all.

Lower amounts of sugar in the boil result in lower caramelization. Under the same boil vigor that is.

By boiling very concentrated wort (all the LME in half the water) for an hour you definitely increase caramelization, Maillard reactions, and wort darkening. Often those are beneficial where extra maltiness is desired.
So, if the beer you've been brewing tastes the way you want, then everything is working well for you. You don't have any crystal malt in your fermentables, so you may get a similar effect by boiling more concentrated wort. The flip side is you may get somewhat lower attenuation, meaning somewhat sweeter beer in the end. For example, ending with an FG of 1.014-1.016 rather than 1.010-1.012.

Longer boil times and higher temperatures increase bittering reactions (=isomerization of Alpha Acids in hops). Bittering stops around 140F, but is still very active at 170-180F.
Lower boil gravity also increase bittering. So boiling only half the LME will get you much more bittering than boiling the whole amount.
You can boil hops in water, using no extract, then adding all the extract at flameout, but I have no experience with how that compares with boiling hops in wort.

When you add extract after the boil, just make sure the wort is kept at 150F for at least 10 minutes to pasteurize it. You may need to heat it up to attain 150F if you're adding lots of cold (refrigerated) extract.

Hop flavor/aroma extraction happens anywhere between 140 and 212F, but is faster at higher temps. So steeping hops after the boil at lower temps increases hop flavor and aroma, while bittering slows down. Many modern IPAs use this strategy to become drenched in hops with fairly low bittering.

26 IBU is fairly low, Blonde Ale and Amber Ale (Fat Tire) territory but if it is right for you, then aim for it. 14 IBU is very low, a tad higher than Budweiser.

Lots of variables, huh?
Lots of variables, yeah.

Okay I found the information in the Q&A and customer reviews for the Northern Brewer Block Party Amber Ale that I liked so much. Its IBU is only 18 so anything from 18 to 30 ought to be good for me. The ABV was a lot lower than I thought though. OG 1.043, FG 1.01, ABV 4%. Seemed to be a little higher than that, subjectively speaking, but whatevah. I just know it tasted marvelous and had a beautiful head and mouth feel. It was a full 60 minute boil with hops and the full charge of LME and half the water. Grains were steeped prior to boil for 30 minutes at below 170deg. This is all as per the kit directions except they said steep for 20 minutes and I am too hardheaded to follow directions perfectly.

I wonder if boiling the hops in a pressure cooker (gives higher temps because boiling point is increased at higher pressure) would improve extraction? I won't be trying it this time but maybe in a future batch.

Anyway I didn't get around to brewing today. I have another Block Party ingredient kit that I was going to brew today, and this time I will try holding the LME until the last 10 minutes. Or maybe just half. I wouldn't mind seeing the color a little lighter. Then again, like I said, I liked the taste before so I might change my mind. I am going to reduce the volume to 4.5gal I think. Or maybe not LOL. I kinda want it to come out just like last time except wow 4% is kinda low.

Now when I brew my NEXT batch with the ingredients that I have on order, all bets are off. I will probably be doing 4gal batches with 6lb LME and I will definitely try the first or at least the second batch with extract added in the final 10 minutes of the boil, just to see if I like the effect. Maybe a lighter color will look nicer. Maybe a little less malt flavor will be better. I don't know. The big difference is the absence of steeping grains and who knows, I might hit the local brew shop for some Caramel 80L to try match the Block Party.

I appreciate all the input. It has given me some background knowledge and a good perspective on this, as well as confidence to go for it.
 

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From the Block Party Amber recipe:
SPECIALTY GRAIN
- 0.5 lbs Caramel 80L
- 0.125 lbs Special B
- 0.125 lbs Light Roasted Barley

These assist with the color, residual sweetness, and more importantly, flavor profile.
  1. Start with only half the recipe's total volume of water, as you've been doing. All fine.
  2. After steeping your milled specialty grains at 155-165F (don't go higher) for 20-30', dunk a few times to rinse, and remove bag.
  3. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat to prevent scorching, add a third to half of your total recipe's LME to the kettle, mix well to dissolve it all, and bring back to a boil.
  4. Add your bittering (60') hops.
  5. You'll be boiling off 1/2 to 1 gallon during that hour (evaporation), so the wort becomes more concentrated, increasing wort caramelization over time. Some (light) boil caramelization is unavoidable, even desired in many cases. You could top up with hot or boiling water during the hour boil to keep the boil volume around 2.5 gallons, if you want. Or add a little bit more bittering hops (~30-50% extra, use recipe calculator) to attain the same final bitterness and boil for only 30' or even 20'.
  6. Add your late hops at the indicated time(s).
  7. At flameout add the remainder of your LME, stir well to dissolve, make sure it remains at or above 150F for at least 10' to pasteurize, chill, transfer to fermenter, top up to recipe's volume, stir to homogenize, aerate and pitch your yeast.
With extract, if you add all the fermentables, spill and waste nothing, and bring the volume in the fermenter to the recipe's specs, mix well, you should get the intended recipe's FG within a couple points. The only way to get more alcohol is by using more fermentables, or ferment to a dryer (less sweet) beer.

If you fermented at higher temps, say above 65-68F the yeast will produce more byproducts and possibly some fusel alcohols, which have a more pronounced, pungent, and often unpleasant scent and flavor (e.g., rubbing alcohol). Maybe that's part of what you tasted. An actively fermenting beer generates heat and may well be 5-10F higher inside the fermenter, keep that in mind.

==> Controlling temps of active fermentations is an important step toward better, cleaner tasting beer.
 
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GrowleyMonster

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From the Block Party Amber recipe:
SPECIALTY GRAIN
- 0.5 lbs Caramel 80L
- 0.125 lbs Special B
- 0.125 lbs Light Roasted Barley

These assist with the color, residual sweetness, and more importantly, flavor profile.
  1. Start with only half the recipe's total volume of water, as you've been doing. All fine.
  2. After steeping your milled specialty grains at 155-165F (don't go higher) for 20-30', dunk a few times to rinse, and remove bag.
  3. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat to prevent scorching, add a third to half of your total recipe's LME to the kettle, mix well to dissolve it all, and bring back to a boil.
  4. Add your bittering (60') hops.
  5. You'll be boiling off 1/2 to 1 gallon during that hour (evaporation), so the wort becomes more concentrated, increasing wort caramelization over time. Some (light) boil caramelization is unavoidable, even desired in many cases. You could top up with hot or boiling water during the hour boil to keep the boil volume around 2.5 gallons, if you want. Or add a little bit more bittering hops (~30-50% extra, use recipe calculator) to attain the same final bitterness and boil for only 30' or even 20'.
  6. Add your late hops at the indicated time(s).
  7. At flameout add the remainder of your LME, stir well to dissolve, make sure it remains at or above 150F for at least 10' to pasteurize, chill, transfer to fermenter, top up to recipe's volume, stir to homogenize, aerate and pitch your yeast.
With extract, if you add all the fermentables, spill and waste nothing, and bring the volume in the fermenter to the recipe's specs, mix well, you should get the intended recipe's FG within a couple points. The only way to get more alcohol is by using more fermentables, or ferment to a dryer (less sweet) beer.

If you fermented at higher temps, say above 65-68F the yeast will produce more byproducts and possibly some fusel alcohols, which have a more pronounced, pungent, and often unpleasant scent and flavor (e.g., rubbing alcohol). Maybe that's part of what you tasted. An actively fermenting beer generates heat and may well be 5-10F higher inside the fermenter, keep that in mind.

==> Controlling temps of active fermentations is an important step toward better, cleaner tasting beer.
I already brewed the Block Party kit before I saw your post.

I started with 3gal water and steeped grains for half hour at 160deg to 165deg and removed. Then added hops and boiled 15min. Stopped the boil and added LME, stirred gently for 5 minutes, brought it back up to boil for 45min with the hops. Started the sink chill immediately. I am fixing to add ice and then let it settle for a half hour and siphon to the fermenter.

My idea here is to tweak this gently with no big changes, because I liked the first batch.

I won't be bottling, so should I toss the kit's priming sugar in the wort? Or will that make the initial fermentation too active? I was also thinking to boil a couple bags in solution and add after 4 or 5 days. If I bottle at all, it will be from the keg, after keg conditioning for a few days.

I don't have a lot of control over fermentation temp. GF doesn't like the house cooler than 74deg, though I can cheat a bit and take it down to maybe 72deg for the first couple of days. I can put a fan to blowing on it, to carry away the heat generated in fermentation but the ambient air will still be what GF (it is her house, after all) considers room temperature. Maybe I can go 70, I don't know. Maybe I can sit the fermenter in a water bath and just throw in a couple of ice cubes every time I walk by it.
 

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I already brewed the Block Party kit before I saw your post.
You're quick! Good idea to stay close to what you brewed before, as that turned out to be what you like.

Just keep those notes for next time in case you want to tweak some in your process. Going to a 20-30' boil for example would make for a much shorter brew session, and less wort smell in the house. I use a large box fan I hang in my open kitchen window, right above the kettle, to drive all the vapor out. It makes all the difference!

You can add the 4-5 ounces of priming sugar at the end of fermentation, when things slow down. Or at the beginning, it's not a large amount to cause excessive binging.

If you're dry hopping, you can add the priming sugar together with the dry hops, when active fermentation has pretty much finished, and say 3-5 days before you plan to keg the batch. The sugar will restart fermentation somewhat, and create extra CO2 in the headspace to protect your beer from oxidation due to adding the (small amount of) dry hops.

What kind of fermenter are you using?
I was also thinking to boil a couple bags in solution and add after 4 or 5 days.
Bags of what?

Yes, a "swamp" cooler!
Aside from a dedicated temp controlled upright freezer, I also use a large beverage (Igloo) cooler in which I place my fermenter(s) (I can fit 2 of them side by side) in that "water jacket" to keep them around 65-66F. I fill the cooler up with cold water, right up until the fermenters don't start to float yet. I add a few frozen water bottles to that water jacket once or twice a day to keep that temp. The whole setup is draped with a thick sleeping bag to keep the cold in. That whole setup is in a spare bathroom in my lower level, where ambient temps are between 68-72F, depending on season. Since it's a big heat sink, temp variations are small and very gradual.

You could use a storage tote too. Just put some insulation around the whole system as much as you can. Maybe in a spare room, closet, under steps.

Once fermentation has slowed down to a crawl, it's advisable to let it climb a few degrees (to ambient room temps) as it helps the yeast with conditioning, cleanup. Same as you, we keep our home at 74F during the non-heating months. 72-73F when it's very hot and humid, a few weeks a year.

Oh, most importantly, keeping the girlfriend happy is mandatory protocol.
Keeping ferm temps controlled and on the lower side of the yeast's optimal range makes better beer while preventing many unexpected blow offs and geysers too. Now for some beers (and yeasts) using a blow off tube instead of an airlock is no luxury, even in a controlled environment.
 

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I am fixing to add ice [...]
Many brewers apparently have no problem adding ice to their wort to help chill it.

But... be aware, ice is not sterile, it may not be even sanitary either, and could contain "bugs" (bacteria, wild yeasts, etc.) that can infect your beer. The plastic bags commercial ice comes in may be the bigger culprit, as is their whole process, handling, and whereabouts. The ice dispenser (chute) in your freezer may not be a pretty place either.

Chilled wort, under 140F and certainly in the 110-70F range is highly susceptible to infection. A small infection can blossom into a fulblown one within 12-24 hours, before yeast has gotten a good foothold. That why good cleaning and proper sanitation of everything that touches your chilled wort, and beer, is paramount. No, it's critical.
 
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GrowleyMonster

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Many brewers apparently have no problem adding ice to their wort to help chill it.

But... be aware, ice is not sterile, it may not be even sanitary either, and could contain "bugs" (bacteria, wild yeasts, etc.) that can infect your beer. The plastic bags commercial ice comes in may be the bigger culprit, as is their whole process, handling, and whereabouts. The ice dispenser (chute) in your freezer may not be a pretty place either.

Chilled wort, under 140F and certainly in the 110-70F range is highly susceptible to infection. A small infection can blossom into a fulblown one within 12-24 hours, before yeast has gotten a good foothold. That why good cleaning and proper sanitation of everything that touches your chilled wort, and beer, is paramount. No, it's critical.
We don't have a problem with the smell. Smells kinda nice, actually.

The bags I mentioned are the bags of priming sugar. 5oz per bag. I figured to dissolve the sugar in boiling water, then add it to the wort when cool. After the initial active fermentation is over.

My fermenter is a NB Big Mouth Bubbler. Two, actually. Initially I used buckets but it is a PITA to get a good seal and to reopen the lid. The Big Mouth Bubbler is like a carboy except the opening is about 8" across, and there is a lid with a flanged silicone seal and a hole in the middle for a drilled bung to stick the airlock in. Oh and a spigot near the bottom. Very handy. Only thing is it is clear, doesn't attenuate UV. I just dress him up in a black Tshirt. I was thinking of going with a conical but meh. The Bubbler works great and is easy to clean.

Point taken on the ice. I should probably freeze water in ziplock bags and wipe them down with sanitizer or everclear before dunking them in the hot wort. I been using ice out of the fridge. I pull the whole bin out though, instead of using the door chute.

I didn't fill all the way up to the 5gal mark. About a quart or a bit more short. SG is 1.043 or maybe 1.044 at 75f. So corrected, about 1.045 I guess. Kinda lean. Hopefully the sugar will bring the final ABV up a hair. Just pitched the yeast and covered it up in a damp tshirt. It is on the dining room table and an AC vent is blowing right on it, as well as a ceiling fan. I will keep a spray bottle filled with water next to it and when the tshirt starts to dry out I will spritz it again. Should be good for about 5deg of cooling below ambient. I will try to keep it up for the first 4 days, then just let it go. Not gonna mess with the water bath. The damp tshirt under the fan and the AC vent blowing right on it, ought to be good enough. Better than the other batches, anyway. GF likes the beer so hopefully she will be okay with Mr Bubbler sitting on the table.
 

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The bags I mentioned are the bags of priming sugar. 5oz per bag. I figured to dissolve the sugar in boiling water, then add it to the wort when cool. After the initial active fermentation is over.
Yes, pre-dissolving prevents CO2 coming out of solution when adding. Don't wait too long with adding, you want it at the trail end of fermentation, while yeast is still active and hasn't gone dormant. Otherwise it may take a week or longer to ferment out, as it does in bottle priming.
Don't add too much, it "thins" the beer as it has no body, just boosts alcohol. 5-10% of fermentables in sugar is fine, hardly detectable if any at all. Above 10% you may start to notice it, especially in low gravity/low alcohol beers, which are usually low on body already, turning it into a "light" ale, similar as in macro brews.

Yes, the BMBs are very useful. Just don't pour hot wort (or hot cleanser) into them, they'll shrink, distort, even collapse. Just wipe out with a soft cloth, they'll last a long time. Clean and sanitize that spigot and the rubber gaskets well and thoroughly, they can become bug traps.

The ice from your freezer bin maybe fine as is. You haven't had any issues, so that's a relaxing thought. Good intuition to avoid the chute, too.
Is the ice added to make up volume as wort, or just as a chilling medium?

Yes, Starsan is better than Everclear when it comes to sanitation. A small bucket of it is great for dunking things in, like those ziplock bags, yest pouches, dedicated sanitizer wash cloths (I swear by those, wiping surfaces is best IMO). If kept clean a Starsan solution lasts for weeks, months.

Glad you covered the BMB with a shirt, light will skunk beer, even indoor and reflected daylight, depending on the source and given enough time. Make sure she doesn't get too cold with the AC blowing on her wet shirt...
Placing the BMB in a adequately sized shallow bin or tote with an inch or 2 of water can keep that shirt wet too, round the clock. That's the design of the original swamp cooler. A fan directed on that causes the needed convection.

Since you're kegging, look up:
  • Preventing oxidation of beer
  • Closed and semi-closed transfers to kegs
  • 100% liquid pre-purging kegs (using Starsan, or water). Fill them through the liquid out post with a QD on it. Lid remains on until next cleaning!
:mug:
 
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Brewed just now. 4 gallons water, 1oz cascade hops boiled 100 minutes. I intended to boil an hour but I fell asleep in my chair. GF snores and snorts like a buffalo sometimes, and I end up taking nooners a lot. Anyway, hops boil, then added 6lbs LME, boiled to foamy stage and then to foam breakdown, about 10 minutes, started the chill immediately by adding ice to the wort to make up for the boiloff. It is in the overflowing sink now. Fixing to sanitize the BMB and get ready to pitch. Meanwhile the Block Party Amber Ale kit has been in it's BMB for 9 days now, and is settling nicely. Monday I will keg it, chill it, and carbonate. I will probably bottle whatever Nut Brown Ale is left in the other corny keg but it should be empty long before today's brew is ready for kegging.

So this will be a very minimalist brew, single LME and single hop, no grains, single stage ferment. The color of the wort is noticeably lighter than the Block Party, as you might expect. I will take a sg when it is cool. I am very optimistic.

I do have some grain, a chocolate malt (Briess, I think) and if this brew doesn't satisfy, I might try a half pound of it in the next batch, or get some crystal and some plain 2-row for a mixed bill of steeping grains, maybe a pound total, or two pounds and increase size to 5 gallons. I am hoping that the single LME agrees with me, though.
 
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GrowleyMonster

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Okay I got an OG of 1.054. I just pitched the yeast a couple hours ago. The wort has a very dryish taste I guess from the too long hops boil. I think it will still be good, just a little different from my target.
 
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And now, about 16 hours after the pitch, it is working nicely, with a good krausen developing and the airlock blooping about once in two seconds. Now, nothing to do but wait. Meanwhile the Block Party is now 10 days in the fermenter. Monday I will keg it. My keg of Nut Brown Ale is starting to get light. I think it will be empty by tomorrow night so I will have two kegs available and I have enough bottled stuff to tide me over until Tuesday when I can start drinking the Block Party. Life is good.

I guess I ought to give this recipe a name. Gentilly (our neighborhood) Joy Juice. There. GJJ for short. My only concern is that it will be more bitter than I was shooting for, though less so than an IPA or in fact most other ales. I think it will go about 45 IBU or so. I can live with that. Next time I will set my alarm so I am not sleeping when it is time to stop the hopping.
 
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I just plugged the numbers into the Brewer's Friend calculator, using the 100min boil time I ended up with due to nodding off while the hops boiled. The site gives me an OG of 1.056, and I tested mine at 1.054 but it was still pretty warm when I tested so that's about right. Calculated FG is 1.011 and 6% ABV. 51.16 IBU, and 5.1 SRM. It looks a bit darker than that, actually. The bitterness is evident in the taste of the wort but not too bad, less than many beers I have drank. Next time I will go with 60 minutes boil time on 1oz of the Cascade and if that is still too much, half ounce for 60 and half ounce for 10min.

48hrs after the pitch, the GJJ is blooping about once a second, with an inch thick krausen on it. So far, so good. Looking forward, meanwhile, to kegging the previous batch settling out in the other BMB in 3 days. The batch in the fridge is nearly gone, feels like about 5 glasses, maybe 4, left in the keg, and it is getting very foamy, even with pressure down around 2lbs so yeah, definitely nearly ready to refill.

I AM BREWER! HEAR ME QUAFF!!!
 

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I just plugged the numbers into the Brewer's Friend calculator, using the 100min boil time I ended up with due to nodding off while the hops boiled. The site gives me an OG of 1.056, and I tested mine at 1.054 but it was still pretty warm when I tested so that's about right. Calculated FG is 1.011 and 6% ABV. 51.16 IBU, and 5.1 SRM. It looks a bit darker than that, actually. The bitterness is evident in the taste of the wort but not too bad, less than many beers I have drank. Next time I will go with 60 minutes boil time on 1oz of the Cascade and if that is still too much, half ounce for 60 and half ounce for 10min.

48hrs after the pitch, the GJJ is blooping about once a second, with an inch thick krausen on it. So far, so good. Looking forward, meanwhile, to kegging the previous batch settling out in the other BMB in 3 days. The batch in the fridge is nearly gone, feels like about 5 glasses, maybe 4, left in the keg, and it is getting very foamy, even with pressure down around 2lbs so yeah, definitely nearly ready to refill.

I AM BREWER! HEAR ME QUAFF!!!
There are two causes of your beer being darker than expected. One is the making of the malt extract which causes it to darken a little. The second is your 100 minute boil time. The darkening is called the Maillard reaction from which the name of the malt extract was derived.
 

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and 5.1 SRM. It looks a bit darker than that, actually.
Since you brewed on Wednesday (Oct 9th, reply #13), are you measuring SRM by looking at the fermenter?

In addition to the causes that @RM-MN listed, keep in mind that recipe software provides estimates. Also be aware that LME (liquid malt extract) can darken noticably as it ages and that will also impact actual SRM.
 
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There are two causes of your beer being darker than expected. One is the making of the malt extract which causes it to darken a little. The second is your 100 minute boil time. The darkening is called the Maillard reaction from which the name of the malt extract was derived.
Oh, only the hops were boiled that long. The malt I only boiled to foam and then to foam breakdown, about 10 minutes. Maybe a little longer.
 
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Four days fermenting. Now down to a bloop every 8 seconds, krausen is still in a solid layer but is thin, less than 3/4" thick. Color has lightened a little, I think, not that it matters much to me.
 
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Tomorrow makes 2 weeks in the fermenter. Looks good, will take a taste sample later today. I am thinking about leaving it in for another week, to see if I get better clarity and less sediment in the keg. I have two buckets and also an unoccupied BigMouth Bubbler available, so I might transfer to get it away from the cake.

Meanwhile, my final batch of Block Party is being enjoyed, though I did notice slightly less body and I am blaming the addition of priming sugar. I won't use it any more unless I am going straight to bottle. I won't be using recipe kits any more, I don't think, so there won't be any priming sugar to discard.

So next I want to try something different with a little higher ABV and getting away from the 4 gallon batch size, even without tasting the current batch first. It would be nice to not split the 6lb LME jugs if possible. Maybe this:

6 Gallon batch size
60min boil time, 4 gallons limited by kettle size
12lb LME 20 minutes
20z whole Cascade hops, 60min
Safeale US-05
to keg after 3 weeks, maybe 4.

The calculator gives me 1.075 and 1.014, ABV 7.99%, IBU 22.93, SRM 6.21. I don't like hoppy beers so no late hops additions. The almost 8% ABV would be welcome for that post supper evening glass.

Still trying to stick to the SMaSH LME concept here. I was considering a 5 gallon batch with 9lb LME, splitting a jug in half and purging the leftover half jug with CO2 and storing in the fridge. This alternate plan, with one ounce of cascade, gives me 1.068/1.013, 7.2%, 17.72 IBU, SRM 5.78. At 5.5 gallons I get 6.54%, IBU 16.11, SRM 5.41 and increasing hops to 1.5 and reducing hops boil to 30 minutes gives me IBU 18.57, similar to the Block Party Amber Ale that I like. 5.5 gallons would be an ideal batch size, nearly filling the corny keg. 6 gallons would leave me with a little for a couple of bomber bottles but that's okay.

Reducing batch size to 5.5 with 12lb LME and 1.5oz Cascade for 60 minutes works out to a whopping 8.72%, IBU 18.76. Maybe a wine or champagne yeast would work better at this strength. Not sure this beer would have the kind of body I would want, though the calculated FG of 1.016 hints that it might. Anyway I don't want to get too radical before trying more normal numbers first.

Of those options, I suspect that the 9lb 5.5gal recipe would be a good balance between simple, practical, and tasty, and it would fill a corny with no leftover. If I do two batches back to back then the half jug gets used up pretty soon after opening. Input? Opinions? Wild ass guesses? Feel free to parrot the conventional wisdom, but for this project I am definitely sticking to this one LME only, this one hop only, low IBU, and kegging.
 
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Okay, after two weeks in the BMB, I have just transferred to the other BMB and I am brewing the next batch right now, to go right in the first BMB with the cake of the previous batch. So no pitch of fresh yeast. This time I am using 9lb, a jug and a half, of the magic elixir LME. Here is the plan.

Batch size = 5.5gal
boil 4 gallons, limited by kettle size
1oz Cascade hops boiled 30 minutes, remove.
kill fire, add 9lb NB LME, boil 20 minutes or until foam begins to break down
1.073 OG 1.018 FG 7.18% ABV
20.87 IBU 5.41 SRM

I am kind of liking that FG, should be a nice bread-y brew and might have pretty decent body in spite of the high-ish ABV and lack of grains. At any rate I have high expectations of drinkability. Hope the old yeast does its job, but I think it will, with such a short dormancy. Maybe next time I will go to the secondary right after the bubbler stops burbling.

Okay I think my water is boiling and I haven't put my hops in yet! Later folks.
 
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GrowleyMonster

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Okay GJJ batch #002 is in the fermenter. Funny thing is, the Brewer's Friend calculator said I should have 1.073 OG and my reading was 1.060. That's about what 7.5lbs of LME would give me. Yeah sure I just eyeballed the half jug, but NO WAY I would put in 1.5lbs if I am trying to put in 3lbs. So I don't know. Anyway, 9lbs +/- a quarter pound is what I put in total and I sure as hell didn't take any back out. The reading is also in the ballpark for a 6.5 gallon batch from 9lb LME but no way I did that, cause the BMB is marked on the side and it's definitely 5.5 gallons according to the marks. Also I put in 4 gallons water in the boil and then added about 1-3/4 gallons distilled water to the wort after putting it in the BMB and that makes 5.5 gallons plus a little boiloff minus the volume of the old trub. I think I will get the hydrometer off one of my boats and take another reading. Not whining, it's still good for about 6% if the hydrometer is not lying, and I am cool with that. I just want to figure out why the OG reading was lower than expected.

Anyhow a couple of questions. After two weeks in the BMB, I transferred GJJ batch #001 to another BMB for a little extra settling in hopes of getting less sediment in the keg. It is now gassing a little. A bloop a minute, thereabouts. It was completely inactive before the transfer. I watched it for an hour this morning (well, listened, anyway) and didn't bloop once. Does getting the beer away from the trub normally cause new fermentation? Does the trub inhibit fermentation? No air got to it. I purged the second BMB with CO2 before the transfer and pushed the beer out of the first BMB with a half pound of CO2. The second BMB was clean and sanitized, as well as all hoses and stuff used. Not shaken or stirred. No movement except the actual transfer, by hose to the bottom of the second fermenter.
 
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Meh. I found my mistake. I entered DME instead of LME in the calculator. Okay now they agree. The calculator sez 1.062 and I measured 1.060, close enough.
 
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GrowleyMonster

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With an extract kit that difference might be from not getting the extract and water fully mixed but in any case, close enough.
Or being 1/4lb off in pouring off half a jug into the pot. Mixing in this case was good.

OK, so GJJ002 is now over 12 hours in the fermenter and still no sign of yeast activity. I suppose this is perfectly normal, when reusing the old yeast? I will let it go until tomorrow morning, and if no yeast action by then, I will rack into a fresh bucket and pitch a safale US-05.

Meanwhile GJJ001, apparently going through a secondary fermentation in a fresh BMB, is still bubbling. I did not expect that.

I am thinking I ought to set up a filter and pump for aeration of new wort.
 
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WOW no cause for alarm! I have both fermenters "dressed" in black tshirts for UV protection and I didn't see that a formidable krausen was building on batch GJJ002. I have a new setup for temp control. We have central air but as a backup we have a 24kBTU window unit, and I put both fermenters on top of a shorty refrigerator a few inches in front of the window unit and set its thermostat at 67 degrees, while the central air thermostat is still at the normal 74 degrees. No swamp cooler setup, just a dry tshirt enclosing the BMB. I wanted to see what my temps were looking like with this setup so I pulled the airlock and stuck my thermometer down into batch 002 and found the temp to be a decent level for the US-05 parent yeast, 71 degrees. Okay, so temp was good. Stuck the airlock back in, still hadn't seen the wort. Bubbling was strong as soon as the airlock was back in place, about twice a second. Huh? What's going on? I lifted the custom high tech black tshirt UV shield and saw a glorious krausen about an inch and a half thick on top. I guess breaking the krausen with the thermometer was all it took to set it to bubbling. Weird. Anyway, so now it is working strongly.

I will start the timer when all bubbling in batch GJ001 ceases once and for all. A further week of settling out and then into the keg with it. This may make the beer a little dryer than what I have been making, so the taste test will determine whether or not I continue to use a secondary or not. Maybe I like it. Or maybe I like it a LOT. We will see. But presently I am leaning away from the 4 gallon format, in my mind. I think it will be a LOT more efficient to fill those corny kegs instead of having almost two gallons of headspace in there. I can barely fit two cornies in my beer fridge and only have two, anyway. It means using a jug and a half of LME per batch and I can live with that small inconvenience.

I was going to purge the air from the half jug with CO2, but instead I filled to the top with distilled water and stuck it back in the fridge. I think that will work okay. Yeah, some small amount of dissolved O2 in the water, but once it is depleted, it's gone. And that's still better than just sticking a half empty jug back in the fridge for use in the next batch.
 

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You could make it even easier by skipping the boil in an all LME beer. The LME has already been boiled. Just heat the brew to about 180 to kill any unwanted yeast/bacteria.
Make a "hop tea" in a small side pot and toss it in. You can use plain water or mix up some DME and water
Skip the secondary, its one less thing you have to do, dry hop in primary when the ferment is about 75% done; you'll have beer to drink in about 10 days.
I've experimented with all LME brews and I don't like the taste. If you are using a lot of hops, that will cover up the LME flavor. Note that some people don't mind the extract taste and some brewers have won competitions with all extract brews.
I sometimes make an LME brew and blend it with cider and that makes an acceptable drink.
My LHBS has drums of LME and you can buy as many lbs as you want, I've thought about using 2 or more kinds of LME to change up an extract brew, but haven't got around to it yet.
 
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The LME does seem to go through some fundamental changes in the boil. Before the foam stage it appears to be full of little visible flakes of some sort. After the foam stage, they have disappeared or became tiny amorphous semi solid particles. Not sure it makes any difference, but there it is. I would try a no-boil batch but as long as I am pasteurizing anyway, I may as well go a few minutes longer and do a quick boil.

The taste of LME, or at least this LME, seems to agree with me. I have 3-1/2 jugs left. When they are done I will probably do a couple of BIAB batches, still using a single malt approach.
 
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GJJ001 is now almost 48 hours into secondary fermentation and is now only blooping about once in ten or fifteen minutes. Half inch of sediment. I figure by tomorrow there will be no observable gassing. Next Wednesday I will take it to keg, I think. It should be a good drinker as soon as it is cold and carbonated, right from the first glass. We'll see next Thursday, when I pull the first glass. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile GJJ002 is still working hard. I woke up this morning and checked and there was no bubbling at all. WTF????? NOOOOOOOOOOO! MY YEAST IS DEAD!!!!!!!!! I took off the high tech fancy black tshirt UV screen and the krausen was almost 2" thick, but no bubbles in the airlock. I rocked the fermenter and got the wort swirling good, still no bubbles in the airlock. Then I noticed the lid of the Big Mouth Bubbler was sitting way higher than it ought to be. I pushed it down and immediately was rewarded with a fusillade of bloops. Note to myself... tie the lids down tight on the BMBs. It was gassing so hard that I am sure it stayed well purged but it could have happened at a worser time, and caused an infection.

I just ordered a two hole stopper with a thermowell so I can monitor the temp without removing the airlock. However, in their new home right in front of a large window AC with the thermostat set to 66 degrees, the back side of the BMBs (opposite the air conditioner) feel very very cool, so I am pretty sure internal temps are about 70, and maybe a hair less for the batch in secondary. I am thinking if I duck tape a blanket or tarp over that window unit and drape it over the fermenters, I can get the temps down to where I can do a lager. As if I wanted to. I have enjoyed the ales I have been making, and ales are dead easy to get to come out pretty decent.
 
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Into the keg today, with GJJ001. After charging the keg with CO2, I just had to pull a sample. At room temp, head was dense and fine grained, almost creamy, with plenty of cling. Beer had very good clarity, light amber color. Looked like some commercial beers. A hair darker than most IPAs, about the color of Sierra Nevada Torpedo. Taste was as I expected, a touch more bitter and hoppy than I was originally planning. No bread taste, very dry. I will try it again tomorrow, when it is cold. I may go to bottles with this, to free up the keg rather than have two partly full kegs using up all my kegerator room.

The secondary fermenter had only about a 1/8" thick ,very fine and easily disturbed sediment layer in the bottom. This spread out over a much bigger area than the bottom of a corny keg, so it is going to make a big difference. Is the difference from the secondary stage in a new fermenter, or simply from the extra week? I honestly don't know but in time I will find out. And the big question is whether the beer, overall, will taste better or not, from the extra week or the clean secondary vessel.

All in all, my initial impressions are not spectacular, but good, worth the money and effort put into the batch. I know my IPA-addicted neighbors at the marina will like it. I will try another batch with the same recipe some time before the end of the year, but this time I won't go to sleep while overboiling the hops. I am pretty sure I will enjoy it more, with the malt flavor standing out a bit from the hops. The flavor profile is, as you would expect, uncomplicated and unsurprising. Nobody is going to wax poetic over the subtleties and nuances. The taste is just a beer taste. No watermelon blossom notes or hints of elderberry or aged molasses packed in casks made from planks sawn from the true cross, or dwarf siberian tundra oak or 100 year old Perique tobacco or black forest moss or dust of mummified andean babies or unicorn dandruff. Just beer, a little on the hoppy side. But pretty good. I honestly like my Block Party Amber Ale a bit better, but tomorrow's taste test will be more conclusive.

Meanwhile, GJJ002, a week in the fermenter today, is down to a very slow ferment. Still very fuzzy looking with suspended yeast. The kreusen has fallen completely, only a couple patches of fine bubbles on the surface. In another week, I will transfer to a clean fermenter for a week of secondary settling, like I did with GJJ001. The following batch, GJJ003, will be the same 9lb, 5.5gal recipe, hops boiled and hour and LME added late. I will pitch with fresh yeast as I don't want to move GJJ002 yet but I want to brew tomorrow or Saturday. I have to build up a 2 keg surplus for a wedding that will take place before the end of the year, and I am drinking as fast as I am brewing.

More tomorrow after the first cold glass.
 
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UPDATE:

GJJ001 is now on tap. The Block Party is gone. GJJ002 has been moved to the secondary for a week's settling. While the primary is empty seemed like a good opportunity to brew GJJ003 and ferment it right on top of GJJ002's leavings, so a-brewing we did go.

GJJ003 got off to a bad start by me doing stoopid stuff. WTF was I thinking? I pulled my half jug of LME and a whole jug out of the fridge for 9lb LME at about 4L. Cold, right? Pours like tar, right? I had my 3.5 gallons of water on the fire getting hot. I thought I would just stand the jugs up in the hot water to get it warm and pourable, right? Some of you can already see where this is going, but for those of you who never do stoopid stuff, the jugs have a very very low melting point. Now most of you know that water conducts heat fairly well, and so you can actually boil water in a paper bag. I figured this would work, that the plastic would never get above 212 degrees no matter what. What I didn't realize is that the plastic would get very very soft way before the water reached boiling temperature, then seal itself to the kettle and trap enough heat there to really have an effect on the plastic. I picked up the first jug, half full of LME and purge water on top, poured it into the kettle. Picked up the other jug and started pouring the 6lb of LME in, and noticed the bottom of the jug looked like it had elephantiasis. Sorry, I didn't think to take pics, but I was horrified. What if the plastic melted and stuck to the kettle bottom? What if it released all sorts of methyl-ethyl-hypochlorinated-megabadstuff into the wort?

I shut the flame off and poured the wort into my gumbo pot. The bottom had several patches of stucky stuff. A rinse with cold water and it was hard and crackly. Just wort? Plastic? Was anything bad tasting or deadly or just unhealthy dissolved in the wort? Hmmmm.... my second pourout. I scrubbed the kettle and it came clean very easily. I scrubbed it some more. And some more. Byebye, wort, down the drain with you. Okay, let's go again.

What did I have left in my fridge for LME? Two 6lb jugs of the same gold 4L. I didn't want to do a 4 gallon batch and I didn't want to have a half gallon left over to use who knows when. Then I remembered I had a recipe kit for a pilsner that came with two 3.3lb jugs of light LME. I decided to use one of them, and one of the 6-pounders for 9.3lbs total LME in the 5.5 gallon batch. With a 4 gallon boil of 30 minutes, everything boiled the entire half hour, 1.5oz Cascade and the aforementioned fermentables on the previous batch leavings in the primary, the calculator says this:
OG 1.063 FG 1.012 ABV 6.72% IBU 18.19 SRM 5.02.

Okay, it's a do. Now I still have a 6lb jug of 4L and a 3.3lb jug of 2.5L or maybe 2L for another batch just the same. And plenty of cascade hops in the mug freezer. So if I can not screw up again, if this batch is nice I can do an exact repeat. I will then be out of LME and I can move on to something else, maybe a BIAB batch.

And meanwhile, the final batch of Block Party is gone. I took the first glass from GJJ001 and it was still a bit more bitter than I personally prefer, but tastes like a perfectly acceptable IPA for those who like that sort of thing. Quite drinkable, just a very minor irritation that it is hoppier than I like. I already knew that from previous sampling. I guess I was hoping that the beer gnomes would come in the night and fix it. Anyway it is only a 4 gallon batch so it will get drank pretty quick. I am having a glass now and thinking that some fried apple rings would go good with it. As soon as GF gets home from work I think I will tell her she needs to make some for me.
 
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Yesterday, 15 Nov, I transferred GJJ002 into a corny keg, 23 days from brew to keg. The secondary sediment was heavier than GJJ001, about 1/4" thick. I forgot to test s.g. but who cares.

After 17 days in the keg at around 35 degrees, GJ001 is getting quite tasty. Not particularly bitter or hoppy in the aromatic sense, either. Just a little on the dry side with a bit of an edge to it. Not as bready as I like. There was a strong yeasty component at first tasting, but that has pretty much gone. This has been my daily glass for a few days now and I can almost taste the improvement from day to day, and anticipate the next day's improvement. I think I need to set up a keezer for cold crashing and conditioning prior to transfer into a service keg.

GJJ003 was transferred yesterday from primary into secondary. It is blooping about once in 10 minutes and almost a half inch of sediment is already present on the bottom. That was only 10 days in primary so maybe I should have let it go a bit longer. The trub in the primary was getting massive and holding a pretty significant "angel's share" of the beer, including what I left on top. So my 5-1/2 gallon batch is now down to a hair less than 5-1/4 gallons. If I were reusing the yeast again, I would remove about 90% of it before pouring in new wort. But I am not, because we will be out of town for a few days and I am not brewing again until we get home. I want to get this in the keg on the 25th and in the fridge. I will probably have to make room by pulling the oldest keg out and bottling what is left in it. This time I was VERY careful to fully purge the secondary with CO2 before transfer, and to push the beer with CO2. No air at all got to it. And still, removing it from the trub brought it back into surprisingly active fermentation. It is like the trub inhibits fermentation to a degree, once it has reached a certain point.

GJJ002 tasted pretty decent on first post-carbonation tasting. It won't be on tap until after Thanksgiving. I think it is gonna be a pretty good batch. Might be getting married at the end of the year and so these two 5.5 gal batches will probably be reserved for the wedding. Otherwise it will be PBR or BYOB LOL!
 
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GJJ003 into the keg today. GJJ001 all gone, GJJ002 on deck. Very nice, basic, easy drinking amber-ish ale, not so different from the Block Party Amber. Considerably better than 001, a lot more body and just the right balance for me. Not too bitter, barely any hops presence. Preliminary sample after force carbing of GJJ003 was similar. And yeah, Tuesday we going out of town until Friday but I brewed GJJ004, anyway. 5.5 gallon batch, 4 gallon boil, 1oz Cascade and 9.15lbs LME all boiled 45 minutes. The LME was all what I had left in the house... 6lbs NB Maillards Golden, 3.15lbs NB Pils. Should be interesting. Fresh yeast, Safale US-05, 1 packet, pitched at 68 degrees.

Basically, the 1oz cascade and 9lb more or less LME in a 5-1/2 gallon batch is working pretty good and I think this will be my #1 or possibly #2 house recipe. I still haven't tried an all grain batch yet. I will visit LHBS for 10 or 12 lb of malt when we get home, and commence brewing my first BIAB batch, again with the Cascade and US-05.
 
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Just a quick update. GJJ004 was moved to the secondary yesterday and I brewed my first BIAB batch yesterday, too. GJJ002 has been a great drinker and gets better every day. I haven't tasted GJJ003 since I kegged it but it is hard to resist pulling a short glass just to make sure it is okay. GJJ004 will be in secondary for a week, maybe two, then into the keg. So is that my last ever all-LME ale? Maybe. Maybe not. The all LME approach is dead simple and very consistent, and it doesn't have to be expensive. The 6 jug special on LME from NB keeps the price pretty reasonable, and I am sure I can probably beat that if I look around. So I might do another series of all LME ales some time. I might even grab another NB Block Party Amber Ale kit some day. GF really likes that one, and it is hard to source the ingredients separately and save any real money over buying the kit. I am also liking that kit as a potential gift idea. And I do have a good feeling about the BIAB batch I brewed yesterday, but wow, all extract sure is convenient. So we will see.
 
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