Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

IPA brewer in MN, teach me!

OK…This is going to sound kinda like I’m a creeper, but trust me, I’m not.

I’m in the process of going all grain because because from what I read I should be able to make better beer than extracts with AG. I want to brew beer like I get in the store, or at least close. All my extracts seem to taste the same and I’m would like to know if there is anyone who is an IPA / hop head in the MN metro area brewing in the next few weeks that has the same tastes that believes they are brewing like I want to brew and would be willing to help me start on the right foot with AG and would not mind me helping out and showing me the secret to brewing great AG beer.

So if you believe you brew beer like the big boys, or even like Steel Toe :slight_smile: and would not mind me helping in the next session…or at least drinking your beer that is like the big boys you made…I would be forever grateful. I hate to spend all this extra money to go AG and find out I just wasted my money.

Garret

AG is intimidating, but simple after you do it. Just like extract. I was nervous doing my 1st extract, and then AG.

Watching and helping someone brew is an excellent idea. Most people enjoy having others around to “talk shop”.

Good luck!

First off, there are plenty of ways to improve you extract beer before jumping to all grain that will help you in you all grain beer in the long run. If you are doing these things skip directly to all grain. If not, think about these first.

Do you make yeast starters?
Do you do full boils for extract batches?
Do you have a chiller (either immersion or plate) to rapidly cool your beer?
Do you have a way of controlling fermentation temps?

Ok, so if you have those things down I would suggest looking into Northern Brewer or Midwest Supplies for an all grain brewing demonstration. They regularly hold free classes.

[quote=“inhousebrew”]First off, there are plenty of ways to improve you extract beer before jumping to all grain that will help you in you all grain beer in the long run. If you are doing these things skip directly to all grain. If not, think about these first.

Do you make yeast starters?
Do you do full boils for extract batches?
Do you have a chiller (either immersion or plate) to rapidly cool your beer?
Do you have a way of controlling fermentation temps?

Ok, so if you have those things down I would suggest looking into Northern Brewer or Midwest Supplies for an all grain brewing demonstration. They regularly hold free classes.[/quote]

All great points, Thanks!

Do you make yeast starters? - Yes, when I need too.
Do you do full boils for extract batches? - Not yet. Need bigger kettle.
Do you have a chiller (either immersion or plate) to rapidly cool your beer? - No, but I get it down to temp in 20 minutes in the sink with a partial boil.
Do you have a way of controlling fermentation temps? - No. I drop it in the basement at an ambient 63ish and let it do it’s thing.

So you believe by doing a full boil and using an IC will improve the taste and make them not all taste the same?

I really can attempt the AG alone…really what I was looking for was someone to show me how they do it and share a taste of how their turns out I guess. I’m starting to feel like I’m spending way too much money for them all to not taste anything like what I buy and tasting the same.

So who want s to share a sample …LOL… I need proof I’m just a poor brewer… :slight_smile:

Thanks for the replies.

I would put fermentation temp control over the partial/full boil and chiller. every yeast strain likes a different temp range and being able to put it on the lower end of its temp range will always give you a better beer.

I brew extract IPA’s all the time and never get any complaints.

[quote=“shizzy”]I would put fermentation temp control over the partial/full boil and chiller. every yeast strain likes a different temp range and being able to put it on the lower end of its temp range will always give you a better beer.

I brew extract IPA’s all the time and never get any complaints.[/quote]

So you are saying my ambient 63 that never changes is not good enough?

well…

63 is fine, but what temp is the beer fermenting at?

I brew extract and I can for sire taste the differences in flavor from one recipe to the next.

Here’s my disclaimer; I don’t use a fermentation chamber either and still make good beer. It is a big investment for a freezer and temp controller. That said, I know it would help me out.

What is it about your IPAs you don’t care for exactly? And what beers are you comparing them too? Are they finishing high? If so you could try adding some corn sugar to the recipe to thin it out a bit because extract can tend to finish higher than AG. The lower the gravity the less sweetness and the more the hops shine. Are they not hoppy enough? If so try adding some more dry hops or get a kettle and do a full boil because you get better hop utilization that way with a lower gravity wort. Or get some gypsum and add a bit of it to your water. I’ve never done this but I guess it is supposed help with your hoppy beers.

I would also always do a yeast starter if you can. It really can help the finished product and it is better to overpitch than to underpitch.

Tomorrow. Or you could just go to the store to ask some questions to the staff, they are always awesome.

Going All Grain

8/19/2012 (11:00am-3:00pm)

Go All-Grain! Learn how to brew with our knowledgeable staff in a small group environment.
We’ll brew a batch of beer so you can visually see the process from beginning to end. This class will demonstrate a single infusion all-grain batch and cover topics relevant to all-grain brewing. Questions encouraged. Class size limited so please call or stop in to reserve your spot. Receive a free pint glass and get 10% off the purchase of all grain equipment and ingredients.
$15 General Admission

Or this is at midwest.

Advanced Extract Brewing
Saturday, August 25th @ 10:30 a.m.
LENNY PASSOFARO
Lenny has been with Midwest for years and years, and is constantly brewing beer at home. He’s had a lot of experience and has learned a few tricks along the way. He’ll be doing a class to share those things. If you’ve started with a couple batches and are unsure about a few parts of the homebrewing process, or if you’re just looking to make your homebrewing a little more advanced this class is perfect for you. Lenny will also be able to answer your questions, so bring plenty of those along, as well! Call to reserve a seat!

I haven’t actually read all of this link but even all grain brewers can have trouble with IPAs. There are some good tips in there to think about.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=111939&start=0

[quote=“inhousebrew”]Here’s my disclaimer; I don’t use a fermentation chamber either and still make good beer. It is a big investment for a freezer and temp controller. That said, I know it would help me out.

What is it about your IPAs you don’t care for exactly? And what beers are you comparing them too? Are they finishing high? If so you could try adding some corn sugar to the recipe to thin it out a bit because extract can tend to finish higher than AG. The lower the gravity the less sweetness and the more the hops shine. Are they not hoppy enough? If so try adding some more dry hops or get a kettle and do a full boil because you get better hop utilization that way with a lower gravity wort. Or get some gypsum and add a bit of it to your water. I’ve never done this but I guess it is supposed help with your hoppy beers.

I would also always do a yeast starter if you can. It really can help the finished product and it is better to overpitch than to underpitch.[/quote]

I feel the initial taste of my beers seems the same. I love IPA’s and that is about all I brew. From the store I drink Two Hearted, and yes, I just did the clone and it’s no where near tasting like the original. Ranger from NBB, Saga from Summit brewing and tons of west coast IPA’s, Lagunitas, Ballast point, Stone, Iron Fist, Marin just to name a few…

The brew sits in the basement and is usually about 66-68 degrees in the carboy and the temp in the room is 63ish. It’s been a bit higher lately due to the air being off, but the temp on the carboy never goes over 68/69. so I assumed this was OK.

Curious with the information contained in this post. I have been doing all grain batches for quite some time. Have made some killer beers and some not so killer beers. For the most part I have been fermenting with an ambient temperature of 60-64 degrees putting my carboy +6-10 degrees with the yeast activity. As of lately I have been introduced to the swamp cooler technique but have yet to use it. I was also curious if anyone has used those Cool Brewing collapsable fermentation coolers? Ideally I am still leaning towards maybe adding another mini-keezer for consitatant round the clock temperatrues but not exactly sure how big/small I would need. Any suggestions on sizes? I am usually brewing between 10 and 20 gallons. Or since I do already have a 9 cf keezer, is there any way to partition it off in sections so I could ferment and keep kegs cold? I guess maybe I should be lagering instead!

Moving to AG definitely increased the quality of my beer. If you continue to improve your process and equipment, your beer will improve. It’s hard to say that just switching to AG will make better beer; I think you have the possibility to make better beer, if you actually do or not is a result of your capabilities. I also am of the IPA loving crowd; I have brewed some pretty good ones and some average ones. I’m still learning, and I am pleased with the improvements I have seen since switching to AG.

My suggestions,
Swamp Cooler, I use a cube cooler with a bit of water and switch out ice packs. I hold 60-64 degrees, fermnetation temps.
If your going AG, start learning your water and how to manipulate it. I use Bru’nWater and love it.

Buy a pH meter.
Batch Sparge
http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/

If you are looking for someone to learn from, check out DonOsborn on Youtube and Donosborn.com He is a homebrewer from st. paul and i bet he would let you learn from him, he has several great videos on his youtube channel that go thru the entire brewing process including building a mash tun and everything. I learned how to build a mash tun from him and how to brew all grain, then sent him my beers for critique, actually kicked off his “reader reviews” series of videos.

cheers and good luck! All grain is more work but it is fun to be able to make drier beers, seems like extracts tend to stay sweet.

[quote=“drawdy10”]If you are looking for someone to learn from, check out DonOsborn on Youtube and Donosborn.com He is a homebrewer from st. paul and i bet he would let you learn from him, he has several great videos on his youtube channel that go thru the entire brewing process including building a mash tun and everything. I learned how to build a mash tun from him and how to brew all grain, then sent him my beers for critique, actually kicked off his “reader reviews” series of videos.

cheers and good luck! All grain is more work but it is fun to be able to make drier beers, seems like extracts tend to stay sweet.[/quote]

Ha…I actually just watched a bunch of Don’s stuff just yesterday…I REALLY liked the no sparge video and I will for sure be trying that. I think it’s just time to get a bigger kettle and play around a bit and see if I can make it work.

I have a suggestion and it is to try partial mash brewing while paying attention to ferment temps and all the other good advice so far.

if you actually start to nail yeast, chilling and ferm temps, you will go a long way to making totally outstanding beer with extract, no matter what anyone says about all grain being better…it won’t be any better if you don’t rigidly control your temps based on ambient and what the fermentation is doing.

the cheapest advice for temp control is to either use a swamp cooler and hope for the best, or refrigerate while using a temp controller and heat wrap, so that you know for certain that you are keeping that beer right @ 63 or whatever your yeast calls for.

not all yeasts are so picky, but you can easily be hitting 70+ with your basement temp being 63; probably not a bad idea to go for a swamp cooler and let your beer sit a minimum of two to three weeks if you don’t like to fiddle with readings every day.

have fun

I’d let you come “help” me next time I brew an IPA, however with 3 gallons of a delicious IIPA left on tap right now and 10 gallons of others (a Belgian Blonde and a Stone Ruination clone) occupying my fermenters, I probably won’t be brewing again until September some time. Oh… and I tend to brew during the night, starting around 8PM. If that doesn’t bother you, then by all means, come on over.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com