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Messages - hopshead

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Top Cropping crash course?
« on: December 09, 2015, 04:41:26 PM »

2. How much can be harvested from each skim, and how many times can one skim from a single batch? In other words, does removing the entire yeast head affect the donor beer's fermentation?

Many brewers skim their crop when the wort hits 50% apparent attenuation.  I recently discovered that this practice is not optimal with true Yorkshire strains.  The mid-head has to be "beaten" back into the wort, or one will end up with a diacetyl bomb.  I am now waiting until the end of fermentation to take my crop when using Yorkshire strains.

I just used for the first time White Labs Burton Ale (WLP023) I wonder if it is a "Yorkshire" type?

I cropped this at 48 hours.  I checked on it at 24 hours after pitch as that is the ballpark 50% attenuation time per White labs ( ).  But, at 24 hours the yeast on top was very foamy and didn't look dense enough to harvest.

At 48 hours the crop was much better (I didn't discard 1st skim but this is a practice I need to start doing).  This morning, 60 hours after pitch, the yeast was blowing off through blow off tube (SS brewbucket).  I am now thinking that the stuff blowing off is really what I wanted to harvest. 

I hope I like this strain, it appears to be a true top cropper, and easy to spot when "it's ready" to harvest.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 1272 American II
« on: October 16, 2015, 07:07:55 PM »

There is a picture of my top crop plus some beer in a gallon glass jug for what it's worth.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 1272 American II
« on: October 15, 2015, 02:11:26 PM »
I top cropped the yeast about 30 hours after pitch.  I will make another starter to go on that harvest and pitch an IPA that I will brew this weekend.

How much thick slurry did you get obtain when the culture settled down?  If you cropped a little green beer with the yeast and you have at least 70 milliliters of slurry (preferably 100ml), you are good to go without making a starter.  Top-cropped yeast is basically all yeast after the brown head has been removed.  A milliliter of pure yeast contains upwards of 3 billion cells.

I will take a picture of it when I get home and post here.  I measured the "crop" by weight and collected 71 grams then added a little bit (maybe a pint or so) of "green beer."  I let that ferment out for 4 days or so (probably too long, I just forgot about it) just so the yeast is stored under beer.  It has been sitting in my fridge for about a week now.  I bet that there is plenty of yeast for the next batch already in what was collected, but I am guessing that I need to wake up the yeast and get them eating at sugars in the starter just before I pitch the next batch. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 1272 American II
« on: October 15, 2015, 01:29:48 PM »
I recently brewed with the White Labs version, WLP051.  Two weeks ago I made a shaken not stirred starter, and pitched it to an American Stout about 20 hours later.  I top cropped the yeast about 30 hours after pitch.  I will make another starter to go on that harvest and pitch an IPA that I will brew this weekend.  I am very excited to brew this IPA with the second generation of this yeast.  I haven't kegged the stout yet, but I am hopeful it will be great.

What is interesting is that the most popular lager yeast culture in the United States during that period was Carlsberg Unterhefe No. 1 (a.k.a. Carlsberg Bottom Yeast No. 1).  J.C. Jacobson (owner of Carlsberg) was generous with Emil Christian Hansen's discovery and the design of the Carlsberg pure culture propagator.   The strain is available today from CBS-KNAW as CBS 1513.  A descendant of the strain is available as Wyeast 2042 Danish Lager.  This strain came from the old American brewer formerly known as the Miller Brewing Company.  I am willing to bet that AB's strain is a descendant of Carlsberg Bottom Yeast No. 1, as are a large number of production strains that are currently in use.

It's information like this that I love reading.  I don't know how much time it takes to research yeast origins, but I am sure it is a lot.  Thanks for contributing information like this, fascinating....

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« on: September 23, 2015, 02:33:43 AM »
Interesting discussion on open fermentation.  So do you all think a blow off tube not immersed in a sanitizer (closed system) would mimic an open fermentation?  Do you think WLP 051 would beca good open fermentation type of yeast?

Yeast and Fermentation / Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« on: September 21, 2015, 01:30:54 AM »
I have a SS brew bucket and I usually use a blowoff tube with one end submerged in a bowl of sanitizer.  I was thinking of not submerging the one end in sanitzer for the first 48-72 hours to simulate an open fermentation without exposing the top of the beer since the lid is on. 

Has anyone done this?  Do you see any pit falls with this?  Also, if you have done open fermentations, what yeast is your favorite?  I may try WLP051 first (been meaning to give this yeast another try anyway).

WLP-022 is also a top cropper.

I just top cropped the Essex Ale for a second time this weekend.  It is EXTREMELY different looking than the Cal Ale I was using.  Very dense and I easily collected 80 grams of yeast.  After collecting the yeast, several hours later, a new krausen formed and could have been cropped again if I wanted. 

Based on S. Cervevisiae posts in this thread, I may be top cropping too soon however.  In this second harvest, I skimmed the braun hefe and discarded around 16 hours after pitching.  The actual harvest was about 24-26 hours after pitching.  It may take me a while working with this yeast to figure out the "right" time.  But so far I have been impressed.

I also agree with storing yeast under fermented beer, not water.  A couple of years ago I was storing under water (still harvesting Cal ale at the time), I lost batches of beer due to spoiled yeast very quickly (4-5 generations). 

I brew every other week, so in my process, I collect some wort from the fermenter (through the valve of the SS Brewtech bucket) to let the top crop ferment (about 2-3 days), then I store in my kegerator for about 7-8 days, then make a quart to 2 quart starter for the yeast to feed on a couple of days before the next brewday.

Before fermenting in the bucket, I was top cropping from a carboy.  Get an orange carboy cap and insert a racking through it so the end sticks into the krausen.  This is basically a forced blowoff.  It works, but it takes longer to collect.


I remember seeing something about the braun hefe.  I guess I will skim and discard at 24 hours and skim for repitching at 48.  I am making a starter now with WLP022 (essex).  They say that is a top cropper.  Anyone have experience top cropping this strain?

Ahh, well that makes sense.  Time to experiment with "true" top croppers.  Thanks for the help.

Brief Brewing Background
I have been homebrewing for 9 years (8 of that all grain).  I brew 24-26 times a year (every other weekend) and I usually make 5-6 gallon batches.  For the last 3 years I have been top cropping ale yeast with various different procedures.

Top Cropping Procedures
My current top cropping method isn't very technical and I recently lost a batch of beer so I want to hear from the yeast wizards out there if there is anything they would change.

Typically 48 hours after pitching my yeast, I use a sanitized (starsan) measuring cup and lift the lid of my brewbucket and carefully scoop the yeast on top of the beer and put it in a re-purposed 8 pound size PBW plastic jug (sanitized with starsan).  I always put the plastic jug on a scale (set to measure grams) and I try to collect 100 grams of the foam from the beer, but sometimes I fall short because I pulled all of the foam already.  Then, I sanitize the valve on the brewbucket and pour in about a pint of beer on top of the yeast I collected.  The lid to the plastic jug is fitted with an air lock and I screw this on and let the beer ferment in the small jug for 2 days, then refrigerate.   About 1-3 days in advance of a brew day, I make a 1 quart starter and pour this into the jug and to wake the yeast up and have some (although who knows how much) cell growth.

Now to the beer I lost... I had been top cropping WLP001 since July 2014 and the 15th batch went bad.  All previous batches of beer were good, but I did notice a house flavor developing.  I am not sure if I had bad cleaning and sanitation that led to the bad batch or I slowly picked more contaminates in the yeast that finally took over the pitch.  At any rate, I think going that many generations might be to many so I will start buying a new pitch sooner.

Let me know if you have any questions and thanks in advance for any advice you may have.

Beer Travel / San Antonio
« on: June 09, 2014, 04:58:11 PM »
I will be in San Antonio near the Rivercenter next week while on business travel.  Are there any beer destinations or local beers that I must try while there? 

I have a SS brewing bucket and thought about buying a cooling jacket from cool zone (link below) for fermentation control.  Has anyone used this system, if so what do you think?

Ingredients / Re: Bravo, El Dorado
« on: June 02, 2014, 08:26:34 PM »
I used El Dorado hops for the first time and sampled the beer this past weekend with some fellow homebrewers.  For a point of reference, here is the recipe to the IPA (tasting notes below the recipe)

18 pounds 2 row (96%)
0.75 pounds carpils (4%)
mashed at 153F for 60 minutes

1 oz Millenium 12.9% 60 minutes
1 oz Willamette 4.2% 20 minutes
2 oz El Dorado 15.6% 20 minutes
1 oz Willamette 4.2% 10 minutes
2 oz El Dorado 15.6% 10 minutes
1 oz El Dorado 15.6%  0 minutes

WLP001 (top cropped - 2nd generation)

Original Gravity 1.064, Final Gravity 1.010, IBU 84 calculated

Tasting Notes:
There wasn't as much aroma as expected.  I needed a good carbonation after kegging to get a faint hop aroma.  I smelled a slight tropical hop aroma.  My fellow homebrewers thought the aroma was closer to watermelon rind. 

The taste was very pleasant with no harsh bitterness.  I quickly picked up the taste of the El Dorado hops as most closely resembling a pear.  This was seconded by one of my friends.  It is possible that the Willamette hops played into taste, but largely I felt the El Dorado dominated.  It is a very palatable hop, but it isn't an aggressive one.  I think this would be a good base of hop oils with other combinations of hops.  Definitely one to tinker with in IPA recipes.

Make a two stage starter.  See if that yeast is good before you buy more.

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