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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: dons on June 28, 2011, 04:20:21 PM

Title: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: dons on June 28, 2011, 04:20:21 PM
Okay, I got your attention.  

After a discussion with a friend, we ended up with this issue.

Being frugal, we want to make the most beer possible - within the recipe.  The question is this:
A lot of people (those with 5 gal carboys, anyway) suffer from loss of potential beer with an active blowout
process.  I just lost nearly a full gallon (another story for another time).   IF, to avoid that, say a person did a strong, long boil and ended up with 4 gallons of wort.  Then after 3-4 days when the blowout has subsided, COULD he add a gallon of water to the primary and end up with the beer the recipe intended?

Taken it to an extreme level of silliness one might end up with the soft-drink syrup process - which I know is just, ummm, silly.  But to the extent above, would there be anything lost?
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: majorvices on June 28, 2011, 04:25:26 PM
You should be using 6.5 gallon carboys. You won't lose nearly as much beer. I have 6.5 gallon carboys and almost never have a blow off and rarely loose more than a quart (and I fill them up closer to 5.5 gallons). Also, to control the amount of blow off pitch a proper amount of yeast at the proper termp, aerate properly and maintain proper fermentation temps. Believe it or not making a starter and pitching cooloer and fermenting cool will remarkably decrease the amount of blow off.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: ccarlson on June 28, 2011, 04:31:18 PM
To answer your question, I think you could do what you proposed, if you take this into account with your hop utilization. Be sure and use boiled and chilled water to top off.

Also, while I personally don't care for the stuff, you could also use a foam control product.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: majorvices on June 28, 2011, 04:45:13 PM
Yeah, agree you can do it that way but you simply shouldn't have to!
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: tschmidlin on June 28, 2011, 04:56:14 PM
You can also brew 4 gallon batches and avoid having to get new carboys.  On the other hand, you can add (boiled, cooled) water like you suggested or you can add carbonated water to the beer when serving.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: ccarlson on June 28, 2011, 04:57:36 PM
I like this idea and I have the same problem. Several carboys and they're all 5 gallon ones. I rarely use them anymore, but this gives me some options.

One other thing, keep in mind that a more concentrated wort will generally result in a more active fermentation.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: b-hoppy on June 28, 2011, 05:07:52 PM
I used to have the same problem but switched to using two carboys for the ferment.  I know it's a little more cleaning but I never worry about foam overs any more.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: denny on June 28, 2011, 05:13:50 PM
It's obviously a personal subjective decision which way is easier, but I think I'd go with either bigger or more fermenters and deal with the issue at the source.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: ccarlson on June 28, 2011, 05:56:25 PM
It may be a money issue. We aren't all endowed with an abundance of disposable brew money and have to make the most of what we have. At least that's my case.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: Joe Sr. on June 28, 2011, 06:22:23 PM
It's not "disposable."  It's an "investment." 

It's easier to justify that way.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: weithman5 on June 28, 2011, 06:23:56 PM
scale back the batch size would be the easiest
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: yugamrap on June 28, 2011, 06:29:35 PM
Try one of these: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-equipment/fermenting-equipment/buckets/7-9-gal-fermenting-bucket.html

It will hold a 5.5-gallon batch without substantial loss to blow-off.  It's easy to carry.  It won't shatter.  It's easy to clean.  With proper care it'll last at least a couple years.  I get a new one each year as a holiday gift and retire the oldest one in the fleet.

Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: tom on June 28, 2011, 06:42:00 PM
That's exactly how the big boys do it to maximize the use of their equipment.

The water you add should be sanitized and de-aerated (i.e. boiled and cooled).
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: Slowbrew on June 28, 2011, 08:11:44 PM
Try one of these: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-equipment/fermenting-equipment/buckets/7-9-gal-fermenting-bucket.html

It will hold a 5.5-gallon batch without substantial loss to blow-off.  It's easy to carry.  It won't shatter.  It's easy to clean.  With proper care it'll last at least a couple years.  I get a new one each year as a holiday gift and retire the oldest one in the fleet.



+1

This was my first thought.  Far easier to buy a bucket and get enough head space to handle the problem.  You can still use the 5 gal. carboys for secondary fermentation if needed.

Paul
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: ccarlson on June 28, 2011, 09:51:52 PM
How hard is it to boil a little longer? I think it's a good idea.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: tomsawyer on June 29, 2011, 04:35:43 PM
The only problem with brewing a stronger beer initially, is it will tend to foam even more vigorously due to more sugar and higher initial viscosity.

You might try Fermcap-S, the stuff works well to keep foaming down.  I love the stuff.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: skyler on June 29, 2011, 05:13:16 PM
At this point, I exclusively ferment in buckets for this exact reason. I only use 5 gallon carboys for dry hopping, bulk aging/lagering, and intensive fining (if I know the keg will be shook up and so I can't effectively fine in the keg and I can't fine in the primary because I am harvesting the yeast).

6.5 gallons is, IMO, the minimum size that works for a FULL 5 gallon corny keg. However, if you guys are as financially tight as it sounds... you probably aren't kegging. I would just switch to 4 gallon batches if I were you. That being said, I have tried what you describe (adding 1 gal of water to a 4 gal batch of fermented beer), and the beer came out fine.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: majorvices on June 29, 2011, 05:32:53 PM
The only problem with brewing a stronger beer initially, is it will tend to foam even more vigorously due to more sugar and higher initial viscosity.

You might try Fermcap-S, the stuff works well to keep foaming down.  I love the stuff.

In don't necessarily find that higher OG beer develop more krausen. I think it depends on yeast. Also, as I said, warmer temps, and especially warmer pitching temps tend to create more krausen IME. Seems like restraining the fermentation in the beginning (ie: pitching cooler) leads to lower blow off rates.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: The Professor on June 29, 2011, 06:02:29 PM
The only problem with brewing a stronger beer initially, is it will tend to foam even more vigorously due to more sugar and higher initial viscosity.

You might try Fermcap-S, the stuff works well to keep foaming down.  I love the stuff.

In don't necessarily find that higher OG beer develop more krausen. I think it depends on yeast. Also, as I said, warmer temps, and especially warmer pitching temps tend to create more krausen IME. Seems like restraining the fermentation in the beginning (ie: pitching cooler) leads to lower blow off rates.

Right.  None of my high grav bathes throw more krausen than the more standard beers so that shouldn't be an issue.
I think a bigger fermentor is the best answer.  I use a 7.5 gal carboy currently and haven't used a blowoff tube in more than 20 years.  If you don't want to spring for a large carboy, a bucket is a great option, less expensive and certainly less fragile than glass.
Ditch the blowout and then you won't be involuntarily ditching beer!
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: tomsawyer on June 29, 2011, 06:10:33 PM
I agree that the yeast strain is probably the single biggest factor, with early ferm temps having a prominent role.  I still think that, for a given yeast and ferm temp, you'll see a more pronounced krausen due to the higher viscosity wort.  That and theres a correlation between ferm temp and OG that can be more difficult to control with a high gravity brew.

I brew smaller batches myself so container size is not a limitation for me, a 2-4gal batch suits my consumption rate and need to brew frequently.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: denny on June 29, 2011, 07:00:22 PM
All I can tell ya is that my 1.104 quad didn't throw more krausen than the 1.054 Patersbier I made to start the yeast for the quad.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: tomsawyer on June 29, 2011, 07:40:55 PM
Leave to actual experience to ruin a perfectly good theoretical argument.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: denny on June 29, 2011, 07:43:56 PM
Leave to actual experience to ruin a perfectly good theoretical argument.

Sorry to bum yer trip!  ;)  But it sounded like you have actual experience, too, that contradicted mine.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: ccarlson on June 29, 2011, 07:56:51 PM
I agree that the yeast strain is probably the single biggest factor, with early ferm temps having a prominent role.  I still think that, for a given yeast and ferm temp, you'll see a more pronounced krausen due to the higher viscosity wort.  That and theres a correlation between ferm temp and OG that can be more difficult to control with a high gravity brew.

I brew smaller batches myself so container size is not a limitation for me, a 2-4gal batch suits my consumption rate and need to brew frequently.

I always see a small increase in krausen with heavier beers, even with the same yeasts.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: tomsawyer on June 29, 2011, 07:58:05 PM
Leave to actual experience to ruin a perfectly good theoretical argument.

Sorry to bum yer trip!  ;)  But it sounded like you have actual experience, too, that contradicted mine.

Less of a side by side, just was always impressed by the amount and length of retention of the krausen in my Belgian dubbels.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: majorvices on June 29, 2011, 09:46:49 PM
I brew a Belgian White and a Belgian Tripel very regularly. I fill a 3 bbl fermenter to about 85 gallons. With the white (a 1.050 beer) the krausen often hits the top of the fermenter. With the tripel (1.080 beer) the krausen never gets higher than 5 or 6 inches or so. Same yeast, pitch at same temp. So, go figure!
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: ccarlson on June 29, 2011, 09:55:49 PM
Leave to actual experience to ruin a perfectly good theoretical argument.

Sorry to bum yer trip!  ;)  But it sounded like you have actual experience, too, that contradicted mine.

Less of a side by side, just was always impressed by the amount and length of retention of the krausen in my Belgian dubbels.

Good point. I not also see more, but it stays around longer.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: tubercle on June 30, 2011, 12:13:01 AM
It may be a money issue. We aren't all endowed with an abundance of disposable brew money and have to make the most of what we have. At least that's my case.

 They are still making 5 gallons worth of expense, just boiling it down further and then adding the additional water later. No cost saving there. If its money then just cut the cost by 1/5 and make 4 gallon batches.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: ccarlson on June 30, 2011, 12:15:04 AM
It may be a money issue. We aren't all endowed with an abundance of disposable brew money and have to make the most of what we have. At least that's my case.

 They are still making 5 gallons worth of expense, just boiling it down further and then adding the additional water later. No cost saving there. If its money then just cut the cost by 1/5 and make 4 gallon batches.

That was in response to the those who said to just go out and buy a bigger fermenter.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: Will's Swill on June 30, 2011, 12:25:54 AM
Yes, you could do a cocentrated brew.  But if this is really about retaining the blowoff while using the same batch size and same fermenters, you could capture the blowoff in a sanitized reservoir, itself equipped with an airlock, and then later pour the captured blowoff back into the fermenter.  Kinda like the reservoir on some car radiators.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: tubercle on June 30, 2011, 01:04:56 AM
It may be a money issue. We aren't all endowed with an abundance of disposable brew money and have to make the most of what we have. At least that's my case.

 They are still making 5 gallons worth of expense, just boiling it down further and then adding the additional water later. No cost saving there. If its money then just cut the cost by 1/5 and make 4 gallon batches.

That was in response to the those who said to just go out and buy a bigger fermenter.

 And I was agreeing with you. Everybody probably drinks the same amount in the long run but short term 4 gallons worth of ingredents will save a little. Might even save enough to get a bigger fermenter :D
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: ccarlson on June 30, 2011, 01:14:58 AM
It may be a money issue. We aren't all endowed with an abundance of disposable brew money and have to make the most of what we have. At least that's my case.

 They are still making 5 gallons worth of expense, just boiling it down further and then adding the additional water later. No cost saving there. If its money then just cut the cost by 1/5 and make 4 gallon batches.

That was in response to the those who said to just go out and buy a bigger fermenter.

 And I was agreeing with you. Everybody probably drinks the same amount in the long run but short term 4 gallons worth of ingredents will save a little. Might even save enough to get a bigger fermenter :D

That would work. Sorry, I didn't catch where you were going with that. ::)
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: majorvices on June 30, 2011, 02:39:24 AM
Re: Bigger fermenter argument. You can get a 7 gallon bucket for pretty darn cheap and they have their pros over a carboy. Granted, they have their cons too - but decidedly less IMO. I was one of the most stubborn SoBs out there to give up my carboys. I've switched now entirely to Better Bottles and Buckets or stainless. No more glass for me.
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: The Professor on July 01, 2011, 01:10:56 AM
Yes, you could do a cocentrated brew.  But if this is really about retaining the blowoff while using the same batch size and same fermenters, you could capture the blowoff in a sanitized reservoir, itself equipped with an airlock, and then later pour the captured blowoff back into the fermenter.  Kinda like the reservoir on some car radiators.

In a roundabout way, kind of  like what  the Burton Unions system was about too, no?
Title: Re: Beer from concentrate?
Post by: Will's Swill on July 01, 2011, 05:41:18 PM
Something like that, yes.  But without separating the yeast, although I think I've seen similar setups for doing that as well.