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Topics - Richard

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Yeast and Fermentation / Diastaticus
« on: June 20, 2019, 01:56:51 PM »
I just read the article in the latest Zymurgy "Dealing with Diastaticus" and found it to be very helpful and informative. The article mostly considered Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. diastaticus to be the result of an infection or contamination, but did briefly mention that it might come from "non-standard" yeasts. I brewed a batch of Sierra Nevada Resilience IPA in January and used one of the suggested yeasts, Imperial A24 Dry Hop. The Imperial web site says that this yeast contains a strain that tests positive for the STA1 gene and is considered to be Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. diastaticus. I read that but didn't know what the implications were. I ended up with highly over-carbonated beer. I won't be using that yeast again.

Now I need to get out the iodophor and clean everything that was touched by that yeast.

Ingredients / It's the best beer I have ever made...but why?
« on: June 02, 2019, 05:55:04 PM »
I recently made a California Common, using a variation on a recipe I have used several times before. The previous brews have been excellent, but this one was outstanding. It has gotten rave reviews from everyone who has had it, and several people have called it the best beer they have ever tasted. Now I am trying to figure out why it came out so good. I used the same hop schedule, same yeast, same fermentation temperature, etc. I did make some changes to the malt, and the answer must be there, but I made several changes. I had used generic 2-row base malt previously, but this time I used expensive local craft malt: Admiral Pils from Admiral Maltings ( I also changed the specialty malts a bit because I had some odds and ends lying around. The overall amount of specialty malts was the same, but the recent one came out a bit darker. They had essentially the same OG and FG, within a point or two. Here is the final comparison:

Previous beer      Recent beer
10 lbs 2-row10 lbs Admiral Pils
1 lb C6012 oz C60+ 4 oz Caramel Aromatic
1 lb Munich12 oz Munich Dark + 4 oz Munich Light

So the question is: did I just hit a perfect sweet spot with the balance of specialty malts, or did the base malt make a huge difference? I know that the only way to really tell is to brew it again while changing only the base malt or only the specialty malts, but that could be many months away. My guess at the moment is that the difference is due to the base malt, but my wallet is hoping that it is not.

Zymurgy / Can't comment without a Facebook account !!???!!
« on: May 18, 2019, 08:26:56 PM »
I was reading the article on dimethyl sulfide off-flavor that is featured on the AHA home page today. I spotted an error and wanted to point it out in the comment section, but the only way to comment is to log in with a Facebook account. I am a member of the AHA with an AHA online account, but I can't use that to comment. I need to have a stinking Facebook account! Talk about leaving me with an off-flavor!!!

The New York Times reported today (see the link below to the article) that AB Inbev announced their purchase of the homebrew supply company MoreBeer, along with negotiations to purchase Lagunitas Brewing from Heineken. AB recently purchased Northern Brewer, another major supplier to homebrewers, setting off speculation that they were trying to take over the homebrewing market. This latest move has only further fueled the speculation and concern by homebrewers across the country. AB Inbev spokesperson Anita Knapp denied this and says there is no need to worry. “We are not trying to take over the world, just the first half of the alphabet. Although the purchase of Lagunitas wil be difficult we hope that we will soon be able to proceed to acquire Kona Brewing and Jaded Brewing, for some diversification. The plan will end after we purchase Bell’s because we clearly don’t need another A. Please note that Sierra Nevada has never been on our radar and never will be.”

See the article at

General Homebrew Discussion / Cold crash - how cold is cold enough?
« on: March 22, 2019, 02:03:25 AM »
I have been testing a new cooling system and although I am pleased with its performance overall, I am a bit disappointed in its lowest achievable temperature. My old system could cool down to 34 F, but the new one can only get to 36 so far. Is that good enough? I can work on getting it lower, but it would be quite an effort. I usually keep the beer at the low temperature for 3-4 days before packaging.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Stale beer direct from brewery
« on: February 13, 2019, 05:44:04 AM »
My son just came back from a short trip to northern California. He found a new small brewery/brew pub in the town he visited and brought me back a crowler (a large can) of their Centennial IPA. I eagerly opened it and immediately tasted the sicky sweet, sherry-like taste of oxided/stale beer. My son tasted it and agreed that it was bad and didn't taste like what he had on tap there. This was purchased at the brewery and delivered to me only a day or two later. What a disappointment! They are obviously not doing a good job of packaging and storing their beer. I don't want to name the brewery, but I am wondering if I should contact them and let them know how bad it was.

Beer Recipes / Error in Sierra Nevada Resilience IPA recipe
« on: February 08, 2019, 04:08:54 PM »
In November, the AHA website had a recipe for Sierra Nevada Resileince Butte County Proud IPA:

The recipe calls for 11 lbs of base malt and 1.25 lbs of crystal 60L to yield an OG of 1.065 for a 5 gallon batch. As I was planning my brew I realized that this would require a mash efficiency of something like 90%, which is way higher than I get. I decided to increase the amount of base malt to 12.5 lbs, which would give me the correct gravity while still keeping close to the ratio of 90%/10% for the base/C60 blend.

Yesterday I saw a recipe for Resilience on the Brew Your Own magazine web site:

I looked at it and found, much to my satisfaction, that it calls for 12.5 lbs of base malt and 1.25 lbs of C60, which is exactly what I used. 

So far I have had the Sierra Nevada version and a cask ale version from a local brewery. I look forward to tasting my brew in another week or so.

Today I was moving a carboy that had been cooled to 34 F for several days, and as I moved it a bit there was gas bubbling out of the airlock. I have noticed on many occasions that fully-fermented but non-carbonated beer has quite a bit of CO2 in solution which will come out if there is a bit of agitation. Usually the concern during cold crashing is that oxygen will be sucked in, and there are various schemes to avoid this.  I wonder if a little bit of jiggling now and then would cause enough CO2 to come out of solution too keep the pressure positive and avoid any suckback. With an S-shaped airlock it is easy to see which side has the higher pressure. This would be a free and easy solution, and it could possibly even be automated. Am I missing something?

Ingredients / Null availability of Viking Null-Lox malts
« on: December 12, 2018, 10:28:32 PM »
In a thread from July ( ) narcout posted that MoreBeer was selling all 38 varieties of Viking malt. After reading the article on LOX-less malts in the new edition of BYO magazine ( ) I decided to check into their availability. MoreBeer now lists only 36 varieties of Viking malt, and they do not have the Viking Pale Zero or Pilsner Zero. I went to the Viking web site, and they no longer list the Pale Zero as one of their products, although they do still list the Pilsner Zero. I wonder what is going on.

Ingredients / How to make beer the color of Erik the Red's hair
« on: November 19, 2018, 02:53:10 AM »
I would like to make a beer using Viking malts and Omega's Norwegian yeast, and I would like it to have the orange color of Erik the Red's hair. I haven't used Viking malts so I don't know their color contributions. What combination should I use to get the classic color of red hair? I was thinking:

10 lb 80%  Viking Pale Ale Malt (3.0 SRM)
1 lb     8%  Viking Red Ale Malt (40.6 SRM)
1 lb     8%  Viking Vienna Malt (4.3 SRM)
8 oz    4%  Viking Caramel Pale Malt (5.1) SRM

8.5 SRM net

I am not sure about the balance between Red and Vienna, or whether Light or Dark Munich would be better, or if the Golden Ale malt would mix better with the Red to produce what I want. If anyone has experience with these malts, please help.

If all else fails, I can purchase some of each of the malts and do some very small scale color tests.

The #CampFire is burning near Chico and Sierra Nevada has closed their brewery until further notice.

Yeast and Fermentation / What to do with a pre-smacked yeast pack?
« on: August 11, 2018, 10:29:07 PM »
I purchased a Wyeast smack pack at the store yesterday and wasn't paying a lot of attention to it at the time, but when I got it home it appears that it has already been smacked. It was refrigerated, so it is not puffed up as much as one that is smacked and left at room temperature, but it is more puffed up than the usual ones. I can't feel the inner packet inside, either. What should I do with this? Can I warm it to room temperature and pitch it into a conventional or SNS starter just like a regular freshly-smacked package?

Yeast and Fermentation / WLP028 krausen won't fall
« on: May 31, 2018, 03:03:31 PM »
I am brewing a Scottish Ale with WLP028 Edinbugh Ale Yeast, and the krausen isn't falling. The gravity dropped to 1.017 (right on target for FG) within 5 days, and there was a 3" - 4" layer of "gooey" krausen on top at the peak of fermentation. There has been no noticeable airlock activity or change in gravity in the following 5 days. The krausen has thinned to about 1/2", but it is still covering the whole surface. I bumped the temperature up from 67 to 70 on day 7, but three days later there is no change. I am now running the temperature down to 60 to see if that will encourage the krausen to drop out. Anything else I can do other that wait it out? Is this typical behavior for this yeast?

Yeast and Fermentation / Any experience with WLP845 ?
« on: April 29, 2018, 04:30:58 AM »
I was perusing the White Labs yeast list and ran across this one. There is almost no information on it. Has anyone used it, and if so can you share some results?

There is a new method of yeast starter growth that produces healthier, more vigorous yeast than you have ever had before. This method is called Sinusoidal Continuous Amplitude Modulation (SCAM). You may have heard of the Shaken Not Stirred (SNS) method that is considered by some to be superior to the use of stir plates. This new method uses a stir plate, but it is not your father's stir plate! The key to this process is the use of a stir plate which has the stirring velocity and frequency continuously changing in a sinusoidal form, hence the name.

All athletes know that the key to building fitness is repeated cycles of stress and recovery. Too much stress and you just break down, too much recovery and you lose ground. The key is the combination, and that is what this method provides for yeast. Ramping up to a high velocity gets the yeast up and moving vigorously and promotes healthy gas exchange at the surface. Too much spinning can be stressful, though, so this method ramps down the speed to allow the yeast to rest and recover a bit, but before they have a chance to get flabby the velocity starts up again at the start of another cycle.

But wait, there's more! The yeast would soon adapt to a basic sinusoidal modulation, which is easily predictable. To make things more interesting the frequency of the modulation is varied in a way that produces Bessel sidebands that are unprecedented in stir plate history. By modulating the ampltude and frequency with incommensurate frequencies the pattern produced is highly variable and nearly chaotic. The one certainty is that this will produce very robust yeast that can adapt to any wort into which you pitch them. These yeast will never get bored! They are in a continuously-changing environment that is stimulating and challenging but also gives plenty of downtime. Even the strongest Russian Imperial Stout wort will be no match for yeast grown with this method. They will laugh at even the strongest wort and ask for more. You will get the most vigorous and thorough fermentation you have ever seen, regardless of the yeast strain.

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