I brewed an experimental recipe a few weeks ago...

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Hoochin'Hank

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With apologies to @D.B.Moody for ripping off his title, but not wanting to pollute his thread about "favorite recipes" with "experimental recipes", here goes a new one!

Because I'm a stubborn old fool who can't do 5 gallon batches, I started out making 2 to 3 gallon batches. This is an account of my 2nd batch...

Brew Date: 14-sep-2022
Ingredients:
3 gal RO water
2 oz Briess Chocolate Roast (hammered into a mess), hot-steeped
3 lbs Briess Amber DME
0.4 oz Magnum @ 30 min
0.3 oz Willamette @ 15 min
4 oz brown sugar @ 0 min (added when I realized I didn't boil off enough water)
US-05

Bottled: 28-sep-2022 (+2.5 oz table sugar into bucket), yield: 28 twelve-oz bottles.
Taste: Not bad, but the roasted/coffee from the Chocolate malt is a little too strong. I hope it mellows out a bit with time.

Edit: 10/26 - Just polished off the last bottle from this batch after getting home. Tasted damn good! Tonight I'm going to bottle a second version of this beer, made with just a couple differences:
2.5 gal RO
3 lbs Briess Amber DME
4 oz brown sugar
2 ounce midnight wheat (cold steeped)
0.7 oz Cascades
S-04
OG: 1057, FG: 1014 (it's been at 1014 for 8 days now), IBU: 31
 
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Hoochin'Hank

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Just cracked another one er two bottle(s), I've definitely paid $6 for pints that didn't taste nearly this good! My son (a weirdo who favors bitter grapefruit ipa's) commented: "congratulations, you've made it as inoffensive as possible". I suppose he's right, a large factor in wanting to brew my own beer, was to avoid things I don't appreciate in commercial beers... Anyways, I still think it turned out pretty good. Next batch, I'm going to target a bu/gu ration higher than 0.49, and probably go with Cascade instead of Willamette hops. The roast from the chocolate malt is fading fast, not sure if there was much point in adding any in the first place.

edit: *burp* three!
 
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D.B.Moody

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Next batch, I'm going to target a bu/gu ration higher than 0.49, and probably go with Cascade
What were the alpha acids for the hops? You didn't mention it in the recipe.
I think a batch with Cascades would be good.
Did I ever mention that I crush grains on a cookie sheet that has sides using an old 22 oz. beer bottle? Works fine for amounts up to 1/2 lb. Sometimes a kernel or two or more will escape the pan.
 
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Hoochin'Hank

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I think the magnum packet said it was between 10 to 14 %AA, so I just plugged in "12 % aa". The Willamette says "5.7 % aa".

I'm totally trying your cookie sheet grain-crush method for the next brew! I've found that a coffee-grinder is almost as difficult to control as a hammer :rolleyes:
 
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Adjusting extract based recipes using mineral additions

I've used this process successfully a couple of times, but still consider it 'experimental'.

Equipment
  • 5 oz measuring glass
  • jewelry scale
  • Measuring spoons (tablespoon, teaspoon)
  • Mini cupcake liners
Ingredients
  • Calcium Chloride (CaCl)
  • Gypsum (CaS04)
  • Table Salt (NaCl)
Process
  1. Create a 100ml solution (100ml water, 0.2 g salt) of the flavor addition
  2. Pour a 12 oz glass of beer
  3. Add a tbsp or tsp of solution to the beer, sample, repeat
Recipe adjustment
  • For each tbsp, add 0.3 g of salt per gallon to the recipe
  • For each tsp, add 0.1 g of salt per gallon to the recipe

IIRC, "Advanced Extract Brewing (link)" has references to information on the mineral content of various brands of DME (and LME).

And, FWIW, my additions tend to be small (0.3 g to 0.5 g per gallon of either CaCl or CaS04).
 

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What's the experiential part of it? Looks like a normal amber to me (not in a negative way). So it should be quite tasty.
 
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What's the experiential part of it?
With the Amber DME, the recipe doesn't follow the "conventional wisdom" to "use only the lightest extract possible".

eta: and I like the idea for the topic, back in #1, of having a (hopefully) longer running extract forum topic that doesn't fit in 'advanced' and doesn't fit in 'favorite'.
 

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With the Amber DME, the recipe doesn't follow the "conventional wisdom" to "use only the lightest extract possible".

eta: and I like the idea for the topic, back in #1, of having a (hopefully) longer running extract forum topic that doesn't fit in 'advanced' and doesn't fit in 'favorite'.
It's does make sense to me that for an amber ale, one might think about using an amber extract! But this might be only me...
 

D.B.Moody

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I like the idea for the topic, back in #1, of having a (hopefully) longer running extract forum topic that doesn't fit in 'advanced' and doesn't fit in 'favorite'.
I do too. I've actually posted a couple of experimental batches (as in tests as opposed to actual, known favorites) on the "I brewed a favorite recipe today" thread. One, "Tri-Carb Classic," did not measure up and will not be repeated; another, "Buster Brown," was excellent and is already slated for repetition next year. This site would have made more sense for these "experiments."
 

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It's does make sense to me that for an amber ale, one might think about using an amber extract! But this might be only me...
The Briess Sparkling Amber extract (only used the DME) does taste really good by itself, it's a good start, won't get in the way. But it surely can benefit from adding some extra steeping grains to make it better, giving it more character, and tailoring it to the kind of Amber (or darker) beer the brewer has in mind.

Briess lists the ingredients of most of their extracts, but I've never seen the ingredients on their Sparkling Amber. It's most likely very proprietary... I'd say there's C-40 in it, and perhaps some Biscuit Malt.
 
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Hoochin'Hank

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What's the experiential part of it? Looks like a normal amber to me (not in a negative way). So it should be quite tasty.

Just my newb-ness, which means every beer I make (that isn't a kit) is experimental! To be honest, I was hoping people would post "new" (to them, at least) extract recipes, with followup comments on tastings and considerations of things that they would change in the future.
 
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Hoochin'Hank

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Briess lists the ingredients of most of their extracts, but I've never seen the ingredients on their Sparkling Amber. It's most likely very proprietary... I'd say there's C-40 in it, and perhaps some Biscuit Malt.
Thanks to BrewnWKopperKat's research (see this post: link), it seems to be: 85% base malt, 5% munich, 10% caramel 60.
 
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With the Amber DME, the recipe doesn't follow the "conventional wisdom" to "use only the lightest extract possible".

It's does make sense to me that for an amber ale, one might think about using an amber extract! But this might be only me...

As of this reply, let's consider the conventional wisdom of "use only the lightest extract possible" to be an reasonable alternative when making recipes with DME.
 
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Thanks to BrewnWKopperKat's research (see this post: link), it seems to be: 85% base malt, 5% munich, 10% caramel 60.
I'll put the original link here.

My understanding is that the suggested grain bill is a really good educated based on the flavor/color profile provided: "Its color is a deep amber and has a robust malt profile that gives the beer a nice caramel flavor note." There may be a couple of other ways to make it - but one would need to work with only Briess malts from the early 2010s.

Muntons also makes an Amber DME. Given a recent side-by-side taste test in "I Brewed a Favorite Recipe" (link), it may be an interesting alternative for malt forward amber styles.
 

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Just cracked another one er two bottle(s), I've definitely paid $6 for pints that didn't taste nearly this good! My son (a weirdo who favors bitter grapefruit ipa's) commented: "congratulations, you've made it as inoffensive as possible". I suppose he's right, a large factor in wanting to brew my own beer, was to avoid things I don't appreciate in commercial beers... Anyways, I still think it turned out pretty good. Next batch, I'm going to target a bu/gu ration higher than 0.49, and probably go with Cascade instead of Willamette hops. The roast from the chocolate malt is fading fast, not sure if there was much point in adding any in the first place.

edit: *burp* three!
Are you using any kind of brewing software to build your recipes? It definitely helps, especially figuring bitterness calculations for you.

I wouldn’t think 2 oz of chocolate malt in a 3 gallon batch is alot.

.49 is low for a bitterness ratio. Willamette is like Fuggle, milder and more earthy. Cascade will have more pine cone and grapefruit flavor if thats what you’re looking for. I only mention this because you made the mention of your son who likes bitter grapefruit ipa. There are a whole bunch of new hops out there now, too, depending on what you want to brew.

If you like to brew small batches - 2.5 to 3 gallons check out the Anvil Foundry 6.5. Its what I use to brew 3 gallons at a time almost exclusively. Or if you want to keep doing extract, thats fine too.
 

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I don’t believe in “the lightest extract possible” thing either. It depends on what you’re trying to make. I have no problem using dark extract for dark beers like stout or porter. I have mixed extracts to get color, for example mix dark and light 50/50 or dark and amber 50/50 for a brown ale. If you’re using specialty grains you also have to take their color contribution into account.
 
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BBR "Hop Sampler" process: Red IPA / Double Red

Over the last couple of years, I have experimented with brew days based on BBRs "Hop Sampler" process. The key idea from that process is to let the wort cool naturally from a "1 second" boil for 20 or 30 minutes.

For me, with 12-pack batches, the wort seems to remain above 180 long enough to produce some bitterness but not 'boil off' many of the desirable hop oils.

Here is a experimental batch that I brewed last March.

Ingredients
Batch Size: 1.25 gallons
Estimated OG/FG: 65/14
Estimated SRM: 14
24 oz DME (Muntons Extra Light)
4 oz Sugar
x oz Crystal 40L (Briess) [see note 3]
y oz Crystal 60L (Briess)
7 g Magnum (13.8 AA)
35 g Amarillo (8.5 AA)
Yeast: Lallemand Verdant

Process
  1. heat 1 gal water to 140F
  2. while water is heating, start a cold steep of the crystal malts in 1 qt water; stir occasionally
  3. when water reaches 140F, add DME, then heat towards a boil
  4. when wort gets close to boiling (around 30 min), add wort from steeped grains
  5. when wort is boiling, add hops, remove from heat
  6. let kettle sit for 20 minutes
  7. finish chilling normally (or use a "no chill" process)
Notes
  1. in step 3, the idea is to avoid adding DME over steam. Any temperature below 200F-ish would likely work.
  2. in step 6 (wort cool down), with a 1.25 gal batch, wort temperature was:
    1. 208F (at end of boil)
    2. 199 (after 10 minutes)
    3. 188 (after 20 minutes)
    4. 170 (after 30 minutes)
  3. The short cold steep appears to have added the 'right' color / flavor without being 'too sweet' for me. But YMMV. For those that prefer less crystal 40/60, black malt could be used to adjust color. Darker crystal is also an option (but personally, I'm not a 'fan' of crystal 80/120 in amber ales). FWIW: x=3, y=5.
Observations
  • With room temperature chilling, the "Hop Sampler" process probably doesn't scale up. A 3 gal or 5 gal batch of wort, in a kettle chilling at room temperature, likely cools slower than 1 gal or 1.25 gal batch.
Question for future experimentation or discussion
  • With 3 gal batches, could 'chilling' with water (perhaps warmer than tap water) produce the same temperature profile (207 to 170 in 30 minutes)? edit: I have an approach
 
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Hoochin'Hank

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Back on the Sept 23rd, I brewed an experiment, that I was hoping would turn into an amazing imperial stout, mostly by looking at clone recipes for beers I've had where I thought I could go a little less roasty or whatever:

3 gallons RO water (no added salts or anything)
3 lbs Briess Golden Lite DME
3 lbs Briess Amber DME
6 oz roasted barley 550L
2 oz chocolate 350L
1.5 oz caramel 120L
.6 oz Magnum (12% AA) @ 30 min
.7 oz Willamette (5.7% AA) @ 30 min
1 oz Kent Goldings (5.6% AA) @ 15 min
Nottingham, fermented in a bucket, 4 weeks.
OG: 1.093, FG: 1.015, ABV: 10.2-ish, IBU: 60-ish

Just bottled this evening. The beer tastes very boozy, and still super hoppy and harsh all around. With some luck, it'll age out, but I'm not overly confident, primarily because of the muck at the bottom of my fermenter: looked (and smelled!) like it came straight out of a swamp.
 

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Back on the Sept 23rd, I brewed an experiment, that I was hoping would turn into an amazing imperial stout, mostly by looking at clone recipes for beers I've had where I thought I could go a little less roasty or whatever:

3 gallons RO water (no added salts or anything)
3 lbs Briess Golden Lite DME
3 lbs Briess Amber DME
6 oz roasted barley 550L
2 oz chocolate 350L
1.5 oz caramel 120L
.6 oz Magnum (12% AA) @ 30 min
.7 oz Willamette (5.7% AA) @ 30 min
1 oz Kent Goldings (5.6% AA) @ 15 min
Nottingham, fermented in a bucket, 4 weeks.
OG: 1.093, FG: 1.015, ABV: 10.2-ish, IBU: 60-ish

Just bottled this evening. The beer tastes very boozy, and still super hoppy and harsh all around. With some luck, it'll age out, but I'm not overly confident, primarily because of the muck at the bottom of my fermenter: looked (and smelled!) like it came straight out of a swamp.
That's normal, wait one year and it will be beautiful.
 
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Hoochin'Hank

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I'm attempting a porter soon, going to be roughly 90% briess golden light dme, 5% caramel 40L, and 5% black patent. I'm going to cold-steep the black patent overnight (and then adding at end of the boil). Should I include the caramel 40L in the cold steep, or hot steep as my water is heating up for the boil?
 
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Hoochin'Hank

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Also, those percentages came from an all-grain recipe, do I need to adjust my steeping grain amounts to account for say 6.3 lbs of DME would have been more like 9 to 10 lbs of pale malt (at typical 70 to 80% efficiency), if I want to aim for that same 90 / 5 / 5 balance.

Lemme turn that around...
9 lbs pale malt
.5 lb cara40
.5 lb patent

should be "extract-ized" to something like:
6-ish lbs DME
.5 lb cara40
.5 lb patent

Does that math look good?
 
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short answers (maybe more this evening):
Does that math look good?
yes.

Should I include the caramel 40L in the cold steep, or hot steep as my water is heating up for the boil?
If I brewed the two alternatives side-by-side, I suspect the beers would taste, at best, slightly different.
 
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Made a 2.5 gallon wort this evening:
3 lbs Briess golden lite dme
4 oz caramel 40 (hot steep)
4 oz black patent (9 hour cold steep)
.7 oz Kent Goldings (5.7 AA) @ 60 minutes
boil 30 minutes, and then slo-chill while I cleaned everything up (took about 90 minutes to drop below 180).
Finish active cooling to 80F, then aerated wort by pouring from pot to spare bucket, back to pot, back to bucket, then onto the S-04 yeast cake from the beer I'd just finished bottling.

Brix: 16, OG: 1.063, IBU: 30... Anticipated FG: 1016, ABV: 6.1-ish

Then I split the batch into 2 smaller buckets, one I left as is, and the other, I added a chocolate syrup I'd made last night from 1.5 oz cocoa powder, 2 oz sugar, in 4 oz water.

-- 12 day update:
Fermentation appears to have stopped, the brix reading for both is at 8. Bucket 1 (no chocolate syrup) tastes like a halfway decent porter! Bucket 2 (with the chocolate syrup) tastes quite odd (like a slightly sour, bitter chocolate), and is still very cloudy. 😟

-- 25 day update:
Both beers (plain, and with added chocolate syrup) are good, better than I'd actually hoped for this being pretty experimental. I think both were a little sweeter than I wanted, if/when I make it again, I'll back off the caramel-40L to 2.5 oz (OR maybe the lack of "bite" from cold-steeped black malt was the reason for the sweeter than desired taste?)... Finally, the chocolate syrup batch leaves a pretty ugly trail of small particles if you pour out the last bit of beer from the bottle, so not sure if I'd do the chocolate syrup into the fermenter again.
 
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Hoochin'Hank

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Early review: just tried a half-bottle of the chocolate porter (yes, I'm cheap enough to cap a half-filled bottle from the bottom of the bucket). Nicely carbonated already, happy with the chocolate flavor, but the cold-steeped black patent maybe was a dumb idea, because there's no roasty bite to this at all.
 
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Last weekend, I brewed another variation of my "Citra Hop Steep" where I
1) brought the DME to a short boil
2) let the wort cool at ambient temperature from boil to around 175F (hops add bitterness)
3) held the temperature at around 175F for 20 or 30 minutes (hops add aroma / flavor)
Citra Hop Steep
Size: 2.5 gal; OG: ~60 FG: ~13 IBU: 🤷‍♂️ SRM: ~ 8

Ingredients
2.5 gal "no minerals' water + 1 g gypsum​
3 lb DME (Briess Pale Ale)​
8 oz sugar​
14 g Magnum (12% AA) for bitterness​
28 g Cyro Citra (25% AA) for aroma / flavor​
1 sachet Lallemand New England​

Process
[1] heat water to ~ 140F, add gypsum, DME, sugar​
[2] boil for 5 min​
[3] flame-out: add Magnum hops (bittering addition)​
[4] let stand until wort drops to ~ 177F (~20 min); add Citra hops (flavor/aroma addition)​
[5] let stand for ~ 20 min​
[6] chill, let trub settle, pitch the yeast.​

Notes
With my (induction cooktop) 2.5 gal BIAB batches, I know how much heat my kettle loses with various amounts of insulation. I wrap the kettle with Reflectix. During the mash rest, I cover the lid with a bath towel. And the malts assist with temperature stability. Mash temperature will drop a couple of degrees over 45 min mash (a little more in the winter, a little less in the summer).

In step 4, kettle sides are wrapped, lid is off.

In step 5, kettle sides are wrapped, lid is on and covered with a bath towel.

For this DME-based batch, step 4 went from boil (208F) to ~177F in about 20 min (so the bittering addition should be reasonable). Step 5 went from ~ 175 F to 165F in about 20 minutes (and the flavor / hop addition should also be reasonable).
 
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Hoochin'Hank

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Early review: just tried a half-bottle of the chocolate porter (yes, I'm cheap enough to cap a half-filled bottle from the bottom of the bucket). Nicely carbonated already, happy with the chocolate flavor, but the cold-steeped black patent maybe was a dumb idea, because there's no roasty bite to this at all.
Final review on the chocolate porter...

Sipping the last (*sob*) bottle right now, it's very tasty. I'm going to make this again, with three changes:
#1 Make an at least 3-gallon batch!
#2 Keep the cold-steep black patent, but do a regular steep of some (4 oz?) chocolate malt (briess 350L) along with the cara40L.
#3 Wait a little longer before drinking them!

I'm going to be very close to NB's St Paul store this week, should I try a different yeast on this recipe? So maybe...

#4 Try something besides S-04?

cheers!
 
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An update to
Citra Hop Steep
brewed on Nov 19 (two weeks ago). In addition to the "post boil" temperature control, this batch included a relatively fast fermentation (New England hit FG in 7 days) and relatively fast bottle condition (experimenting with CBC-1 at 75F).

I'm pleased with the result from the "post boil" temperature control. When I come back to this recipe, I'll probably change the 'bittering' addition (21 grams rather than 14), lower the "hop steep" temperature to 170F, and add a 2nd hop to the steep.
 
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Brewed a refinement of my hop steep process (#33) with the changes I mentioned in #35.

Centennial Hop Steep

Size:
2.5 gal; OG: ~60 FG: ~13 IBU: 🤷‍♂️ SRM: ~ 8

Ingredients

2.5 gal "no minerals' water + 1 g gypsum
3 lb DME (Briess Pale Ale)
8 oz sugar
28 g Magnum (12% AA) for bitterness
28 g Centennial (10.3% AA) for aroma / flavor
Split fermentation with US-05 / K-97

Process
1. heat water to ~ 140F, add gypsum, DME, sugar
2. boil for 5 min
3. flame-out: add Magnum hops (bittering addition)
4. let stand until wort drops to ~ 172F (~25 min);
5. add Centennial hops (flavor/aroma addition)
6. let stand for ~ 30 min (temp drops to ~165F over 30 min)
7. chill, let trub settle, pitch the yeast.
8. initial fermentation at ~63F;

With my BIAB batches, I maintain a stable temperature by wrapping the 4 gal kettle with insulation (Reflectx) and covering the lid with a bath towel. With that background knowledge, I can control the temperature drop (step 4) by insulating the kettle but leaving the lid off and maintain a temperature (step 6) by wrapping the kettle and covering the lid.



eta: Adding the DME at 140F offers the opportunity to re-run a side experiment on 'hot break' with certain brands of DME. The results (example pictures below) were confirmed once again with this batch.

It's been a while since I did this side experiment with Muntons DME. The last time I did it, I got different visual results. I may order some Muntons DME early next year.


Example: visual of "hot break" (while heating)
1648554124257.png


Example: visual of "foam" (start of boil)
1648554166580.png
 
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An update to

brewed on Nov 19 (two weeks ago). In addition to the "post boil" temperature control, this batch included a relatively fast fermentation (New England hit FG in 7 days) and relatively fast bottle condition (experimenting with CBC-1 at 75F).
What's proper way to use CBC? Put it in the bottling bucket along with the priming sugar? Or add it to fermenter first, let it settle to a possibly lower final gravity, and then bottle with priming sugar?
 
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What's proper way to use CBC? Put it in the bottling bucket along with the priming sugar? Or add it to fermenter first, let it settle to a possibly lower final gravity, and then bottle with priming sugar?
I dose individual bottles, so I can't speak to how to do it with a bottling bucket.

For dosing individual bottles:
  • Historically, with my "6-pack" and "12-pack" barley wine batches, I'd add 0.1 gram of CBC-1 per bottle. I would weight that with a jewelry scale, along with the sugar.
  • For my recent "fast bottle condition" tests, I used a 1/32 tsp measuring spoon (aka a smidgen) - which is roughly 0.1 gram.
 
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Update on ...
Brewed a refinement of my hop steep process (#33) with the changes I mentioned in #35.

Centennial Hop Steep

The split batch (US-05, K-97) was fermented in a pair of Little BMBs. I was curious about color while fermenting (same wort, different yeasts). Color was different between the two fermenters both during and after active fermentation. Yet more confirmation that color can not be measured in the fermenter.

The US-05 batch has cleared, so it's time to bottle. Color came out as estimated for Pale Ale DME (and while in the "deep gold" / "pale amber" range, the color is still within range for APA/IPA competition style).

In 2023, I will minimize the number of dry strains I brew with. K-97 won't "make the cut". It's probably due the way that I brew.
 
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Update on ...
Brewed a refinement of my hop steep process (#33) with the changes I mentioned in #35.

Centennial Hop Steep
First bottles came out 'as expected' (in a good way) using US-05 and Centennial.

Next steps? Maybe lower the hop stand temperature to 160F to 165F. Maybe a split batch with a blend of hops (Citra + ? + ?) and different strains of yeast (Verdant? New England? Nottingham?).
 
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