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Messages - friarsmith

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I usually tip my hefe/dunkelweis kegs upside down for a few minutes prior to serving.  Judging by before and after-tipping pours,  any yeast on the bottom of the keg goes back into suspension for a while.  I'm too lazy for keg shaking and prefer to save my energy for 16 oz. curls.

Kegging and Bottling / Bottling Under CO2 and Beer Maturation
« on: March 02, 2010, 08:52:33 AM »
Background: I have kegged a light lager that used WY2112 steam beer yeast.  It finished out in primary after 21 days and it’s been kegged and refridgerated 8 days as of 3/2/2009.  I carbonated it gradually from 2/28 to 3/2 up to 2.2 volumes.  The beer needs to clear out a little and mature under carbonation, but tastes good given its youth.  I would like to fill a few bottles with my bottling gun and drop them off this weekend for a competition in a few weeks.  I need to make the drop this weekend as I’ll be passing through the area of the competition, and I’d prefer not to ship later on.

Question:  Assuming I use the b-gun correctly, would you expect the beer I bottled today to mature and taste/appear similar to the kegged portion in a few weeks?  Thanks for any thoughts/advice/feedback

All Grain Brewing / Pimp My Hefe
« on: March 01, 2010, 09:10:59 AM »
I submitted a 6D-American Wheat beer to three competitions last summer. See recipe below.  While the feedback was positive, 5 of 6 judges said it lacked a grainy or bready characteristic to round out the flavor mouthfeel.  The beer was well-received by friends and spouse.  I particularly like how the Perle hops and Corriander combine, and also dig the contrast between the slight residual sweetness of the honey malt with the tang of the Clementine orange peel.

If I tweak the grain bill according to the judges feedback, would you suggest replacing a portion of the American 2-row with Vienna Malt, perhaps 2.5 lbs each?  Or perhaps changing the mash temp?  Thanks!

12 gallons
15# Wheat Malt
5#  American 2-Row
0.5# Torrified Wheat
0.5# Honey Malt
0.25 teaspoon Corriander @ 5 mins
Orange Peel @ 5 mins (two one inch diameter pieces)
1.75 oz Perle pellets @ 60 mins
1.00 oz Hallertau pellets @ 5 mins
Wyeast 1010 American Wheat (Slurry from 2 packs in a ~24 hr starter)
Mashed at 150 for 90 mins
14 days at 68 degrees PF, then kegged
1.052 / 1.010

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermenter geometry?
« on: February 04, 2010, 01:53:35 PM »
BYO had a good article on open fermentation that touched upon fermenter geometry (see link).  I am lucky that my first choice for fermentation is my conical, but when that's full and I just have to brew, I will ferment beers in my 15 gallon Polarware kettle which is about 19" diameter x 15" tall.  That's pretty close to a 1:1 ratio mentioned in the article, or close enough for me at least.  Here's what I've noticed about the kettlementor and some tips:

* 30%-40% faster fermentation in the kettle.  In four 10-gallon batches of IPA (two fermented in conical, two in kettle) brewed over the course of three months but with virtually identical recipe/brewing/ferm-temp each time, my 1.064 IPA finished out to 1.014 in 11 days (both times) in the conical versus 5-6 days for both batches fermented in the kettle.  I won't bore you with more details, but I've experienced relatively the same thing with Saisons and Hefe's.

* Slight increase in phenol & ester production.  It's hard to quantify this, so you'll just have to try.  Just choose a beer that benefits from some ester flavor/aroma.  You can minimize the esters somewhat by aging the beer in a refridgerator.  I have received high scores on beers fermented in my kettle and don't recall ever being "dinged" for too much ester character.  Would I ferment a Bohemian Pilsner in a kettle?  Probably not.  You can do it with lots of ale styles though.

* If your kettlementor has drilled/threaded valves, you might want to clean them out from the inside with a toothbrush prior to a final saniztizing rinse.  Those threads collect a lot of gunk.

* I place a 5 lb weight on top of the lid to keep any foreign particles out and hold a decent seal.  That does allow for some CO2 seepage.  I have also used masking tape around the lid as an added precaution, but I'm not sure it's really necessary.  Please note, in a 15 gallon squatty kettlementor, a 10-11 gallon batch is not likely to have krausen up to the lid (at least I never have).

* Because of the wide surface area, the trub is evenly and thinly distributed so I don't get much (if any) running out when I transfer the beer to kegs or secondary.  I transfer beer out the spigot, through a tube into the next container.  Simple.  A few minutes before transferring, I usually put a little half-inch thick piece of wood under the kettle on the spigot side to lift up that side.  That encourages the trub to float away from the valve.

Considering all the wierd and wonderful vessels that have been used for fermentation over the years, I don't think it's worth stressing too much over a nicely sanitized covered steel container, whatever it's shape may be.  Use good brewing practices, keep everything sanitary, and you'll most likely make great beer!

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