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Topics - jkirkham

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Equipment and Software / Thermowell pops out
« on: February 13, 2018, 04:18:44 PM »
I am new to using thermowells and the one I have made of silica can be a pain.  It usually only occurs at the start of fermentation when the carboy and silica stopper are wet.  I haven’t found a remedy or way around this yet. I try to make sure the carboy hole is dry but if I’m pitching liquid yeast usually I get some yeast on the side. And I have to wipe the yeast off to get the thermo well to stick.

Has anyone else had a similar issue to this?

Yeast and Fermentation / High temp fermentation
« on: February 01, 2018, 06:58:00 PM »
I was wondering the effects of a high temp on a beer post primary fermentation.
I have a sour going, it is in secondary and i fermented the beer at 85*. Because I needed my temp controller I allowed the beer to lower its temp to 68*up to 72* because the controller was for a neipa.

I just left the temp probe out after I transferred the neipa, but the heat wrap on, because I wanted to clean and sanitize the thermwell probe. I left the probe alone for a day and when I put my thermwell probe back in the sour the reading was at 94*.

Could anything bad happen from this? The temp is back down In the 80s. Around 85*.
Can off flavors be created from too high a temp?

I used 3711 yeast. Brett b. And a Belgian sour mix.

Thank you for discussing.

All Grain Brewing / Clarifying agents
« on: January 18, 2018, 01:17:19 AM »
I am wondering the difference between some clarifying agents. I typically use whirl flock at 10 minutes or so and have also used gelatin in secondary instead of whirlflock. Never in a keg.

Are there benefits to using more than one clarifying agent when you brew and move on to kegging or bottling?
I am in the process of fermenting a lager and have have great success with clear beers in the past. 

I used whirl flock for this recipe and have never used two agents in a beer before, should I? Or is it unnecessary?

Homebrewer Bios / Short journey
« on: January 10, 2018, 11:17:14 PM »

My name is James and I bought my first kit back in 2006 when I was 21. I didn’t really make a lot of beer then, was more interested in drinking different beers than macros.
In 2014ish I started getting back into Brewing. More and more breweries were coming around. I joined a homebrew club which I am now the Vice President of, I won homebrewer of the year last year.

Brewing is my fun hobby and so is drinking. My dog helps be brew too. When I was in college a wrote a thesis on craft breweries. You can find it online if you google beer and my name. An organizational analysis. I do not know too much about the technicals of beer. But I am learning. I recently finished John palmers book. I have a ciecerone beer server certification and should take my BJCPStyles exam.

Anyways, I’m here to ask questions and chime in with my experiences. I use a three tier gravity system that was the old pilot system of a brewery where I live. I make 5 gallon batches, use a keggel for my hot water tanks, a rectangular cooler for my mash tun, and an 8 gallon pot for my boil. I crash with a 50’ copper wort chiller and use a hop spider. Most the beers I make I keg, and then put in an extra refrigerator that has 3 taps and room for 3 kegs and one fermentation vessel. I also do warm fermentation’s on temp control.
 I feel like 18 months ago I wasn’t Brewing at the consistentcy at which I am now, obv. Because I brew about every 3 weeks.

Many people just gave me equipment and helped me out. My favorite beers to make are Saisons

Anyways, cheers.

Homebrew Clubs / Club membership cards
« on: January 08, 2018, 05:58:06 AM »
Hello all,
I recently became the VP of my homebrew club, The mountain top mashers, located in Flagstaff, AZ. I was wondering if any other clubs had ideas for cheap membership cards, not like a piece of paper cheap, but maybe like a piece of copper you can bang with a hammer and stamp.

Any other ideas?

All Grain Brewing / NE IPA
« on: January 08, 2018, 05:42:12 AM »
I am wondering how important hops are for a NE IPA. I am in the process of fermenting my first one and have already told myself I’ll never make another because the amount of hops.

I used .75oz Citra at 60 minutes and .25 citra 1oz ekuanot and mosaic at flame out, another .5oz at 10 min flame out and the same at 20 minute flame out.

I still have to dry hop twice.

Can I make something similar without all these hop additions. Like just dry hop with higher amount? Or more hops in hop stands?

Just wondering.

Yeast and Fermentation / Fermentation temps
« on: December 24, 2017, 11:20:11 PM »
Hi all, happy holidays.
Today I brewed an experimental beer with built up dregs.  The bottles had 3711 yeast Brett b and the Belgian sour mix pack.  I pitched the yeast earlier today and am playing around with fermentation on this sour mixed culture beer.
I crashed the beer down to 78* after boiling and my carboy read 72* after i transferred over and when I pitched, this was verified by a temp probe in the carboy. The yeast starter was at room temp (64*) and I have since turned the temp up using a heat wrap on the temp controller to 75* (the high side of 3711). 
I have never had this level of sophistication in temp control before and was wondering about outcome related to warming or possibly cooling the fermentation.
The fermentation has not taken off yet and I am curious about raising the temp into the 80s when primary starts to slow down. 
Thoughts and opinions welcome.

Yeast and Fermentation / Building dregs up
« on: December 20, 2017, 06:53:47 PM »
I have made many starters before but have never tried to build up dregs until last night. Maybe not enough time has passed.

I used a pint of water and a half cup of dme, boiled and cooled, and added some yeast nutrient before I pitched 3 dregs from different bottles. I was trying to build a sour culture that is a mix of 3711 and Brett b. And two bottles that used 3711 and white labs Belgian sour mix. When I poured the dregs out of the bottle the solution was brown.  Two of the bottles have been sitting around quite a while. I let this starter sit on a stir plate for a while and it’s been sitting over night but no noticeable activity.

Is my yeast dead? Not enough time passed?
There is no white layer of yeast at the bottle of my flask, it’s more beige color, and not very thick.

I have more of the same bottles if fresh dregs are required, I would like to try a mixed fermentation sour soon though.
Any advice on building and using dregs would be helpful.

Ingredients / Using sodium, Gose style
« on: December 19, 2017, 08:41:27 PM »
I have never made a Gose and am going to attempt. From what I read so far sodium is a key component but I have not read when to add the ingredient. Is it best to add at bottling or during the end of the boil? I will not be bottling this beer. Are some salts better than others ?

I am planning a 90m mash and acid mashing at 45m. That’s what the only Gose recipe on AHA has, but I am tweaking the grain build.

My main question is the salt addition as well as the type, kosher?

Kegging and Bottling / Cleaning your bottling gun
« on: December 02, 2017, 08:09:08 PM »
My friend bottled a Brett beer with the last straw bottling gun and never really cleaned the gun after the fact. I am using the gun to bottle three different beers and wanted some input in cleaning to avoid Brett contamination. I plan to run hot water with pbw through the gun and then starsan. I am hoping that 3 gallons of both pbw and starsan will be enough to kill the Brett.

Does anybody have any input for cleaning Brett out of a bottling gun?
I have cleaned carboys I used Brett in and have not had a problem with newer beers being contaminated after long soaks.

Yeast and Fermentation / Soy sauce stout
« on: November 07, 2017, 06:00:29 AM »
I brewed a milk chocolate oatmeal stout on 10/24 and today 11/6 I transferred the batch to a secondary. I tasted some of the beer and it taste like soy sauce. I was wondering how this happened, or causes for this. I mashed in low but raised the temp to 152* and used dry yeast, Windsor from Danstar/lallemand. The beer fermented between 63-68* which is my house temperature. And it looked to have completed fermentation in 4 days.

I rehydrated the yeast and used two packs because I was shooting for 8%abv.

The following was my grain build and hop schedule.

12lbs maris otter
2 chocolate
1 black
1 crystal 75
1 flaked wheat

East Kent holdings at 60 and 20 min (1oz each addition).
15 minutes 1 lb lactose
15 min whirlflock and yeast nutrient
10 minutes fuggle
5 minutes fuggle

I ended up boiling for 75 minutes. And I added oxygen from a tank prior to pitching the yeast.
Is there a way I can clean this up? And thoughts on why it might taste like soy sauce?

I have read about the yeast dying and people have blamed the chocolate malt.
Looking for advice and feedback.

Thanks for helping.

Beer Recipes / Acid malt Berliner Weisse
« on: August 04, 2017, 10:44:03 PM »
I am interested in making a fake Berliner Weisse style and had a few questions.
Most of what I read says 10-20% of the grain build would require acidulated malt. The other 90-80% Pilsner and some Wheat.  One recipe I found recommended 3lbs acid malt with 2lbs Wheat and 9lbs pale.  I was going to use Pilsner instead of pale malt.

I do not plan on using any lacto bugs or lactic acid, I really just want to play with the acid malt.  Some things I have been reading say I do not even need to boil this, some say boil for only 15 minutes.

Here is my current plan for a 5 gallon all grain batch.
Use distilled water.
Mash in Pilsner and Wheat malts for 30 minutes at 156* at 30 minutes add acidulated malt to lower Ph, mash for another 30 minutes. Rinse grains at 170*
Achieve boil and pitch 1.0oz Mittelfruh at 20 minutes.
Crash and pitch a farm house style strain.

Does this sound bats*** crazy, or does anybody think it can work?  I am just looking for a very light and tart beer.
Comments, suggestions?

Yeast and Fermentation / Alt beer wyeast2124
« on: July 19, 2017, 09:06:43 PM »
Yesterday I made what I hope turns out to be an altbeer or if passable some form of bock.
I step-mashed this beer at 134* and mashed out around 170*. My boil went on for 120 minutes and I added hops at 60 20 and flame out. At 10 minutes I added whirlflock and some yeast nutrient.
This ended up being a 5 gallon batch. I missed my gravity a bit. It read 1.040 after I crashed it to the 70s.
Because the yeast activator (smack pack) was the same temp as the cooled wart I pitched the yeast as the worth continued to crash. It is currently around 58* but does not look very active.
I plan to keg this beer and slowly crash it down to 34* after primary.
Because I am not using the wyeast1008 German ale yeast, what might I expect from this?
Should I do a diacetyl rest because I am using a lager strain?
Please let me know what sounds best. This is for a September comp and I was late in planning. My homebrew shop was also out of the yeast I needed.

Kegging and Bottling / Brett and sour beer bottling
« on: July 15, 2017, 09:10:03 PM »
I have two beers I will be bottling in a few months and am looking for help/information on how I might be able to condition these beers.

First I have a saison that stalled at 1.020 using 3711 yeast. I added brett b after moving the batch into secondary. I want to bottle the beer in mid August for an October competition. In the secondary the beer looks to be infected. Almost like a moon colony or something. How should I bottle condition this beer? Or what should my next steps be? I use 750ml bottles and my last beer I bottled I used yeast and sugar to carbonate.

The second beer I have is also a saison but with wlp550. I just brewed this and it is still in primary. I want to spike this with wlp655 after it finishes.

Should I bottle these two beers in a similar fashion? I do not have a bottling gun and use an auto syphon and bottling bucket.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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