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Topics - Richard

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Kegging and Bottling / CO2 Stratification
« on: February 16, 2018, 09:48:02 PM »
There was a recent thread about purging of kegs where the stratification of CO2 in kegs was questioned. One post says that we would all be dead if CO2 sank down and formed a blanket below oxygen. Here is a link to an article in Science magazine which describes exactly that in a geologically active region in ancient Rome.

Here is an excerpt:
 Pfanz and his colleagues measured the CO2 concentration in the arena over time. During the day, the sun’s warmth dissipates the gas. But at night the gas—slightly heavier than air—billows out and forms a CO2 “lake” on the sheltered arena floor. It is particularly deadly at dawn, when the CO2 concentration 40 centimeters above the arena floor reaches 35%, enough to asphyxiate and kill animals or even people within a few minutes, Pfanz says. But concentrations fall rapidly with height.

CO2 stratification is real and can be deadly (or useful, if you are careful).

is there any relation between the quality of the krausen on fermenting beer and the foam on the finished beer? Sometimes I see what I call creamy or gooey krausen and sometimes I see very delicate, lacy foam in the carboy. Is the character of the krausen any indicator of the character of the foam that will be seen in the glass when the beer is finished? So far I haven't seen any correlation.

General Homebrew Discussion / Does grain absorption depend on crush?
« on: December 10, 2017, 05:47:53 AM »
This question was raised on the BeerSmith forum, but has not been answered. It was asked in the context of BIAB, where some people grind very fine. Does that make any difference to how much water is absorbed by the grain?

General Homebrew Discussion / Microgravity Brewing
« on: November 28, 2017, 11:36:55 PM »
No, I'm not talking about extremely weak beer, I am talking about brewing in outer space. Budweiser has announced that they want to be the first beer on Mars, and they are sending some barley to the International Space Station as the next step ( )

The articles I have seen have focused on the problems of growing barley and hops, but not on the challenges of brewing beer. Mars itself has a gravity about 1/3 that of Earth, so brewing there might be similar to the way we do it, but on a space station or ship with essentially zero gravity, there would be a number of issues. Here are a few I thought of. What else?

    You wouldn't be able to lauter in any normal way because you have no gravity to help separate wort from grains.

    Boiling would be odd, with bubbles just sitting in the middle of the liquid without anything to make them rise.

    Break material and hops would not settle out in the kettle.

    You would not have krausen rising or CO2 venting off the surface during fermentation

    Yeast would clump together but would not fall to the bottom of the fermenter on their own.

    Pouring a glass and drinking it would be a different experience because the bubbles would not rise and create foam on the surface. You would just get a glass with all the carbonation still in the liquid. Astronaut's sinus passages tend to clog in the absence of gravity, so the  carbonation would behave differently and would not carry flavors up into your nose. The beer would be lacking in taste (but it's Budweiser anyway, so you might not be able to tell).

Most of these challenges could probably be met with some combination of centrifugal force, liquid and gas pumps and filters, but it would be pretty complicated. How do you take a sample from a spinning fermenter?

Any other issues or challenges? Any brilliant ideas on how to conquer these?

General Homebrew Discussion / Dry hop time: how much does cold crash count?
« on: November 28, 2017, 05:02:57 AM »
If I add dry hops to my fermenter, then cold crash 3 days later and keep the beer cold for 3 days, does that count as 6 days of dry hopping or only 3 days? It seems to me that since the cold crashing drops all the hops to the bottom and slows down all chemical processes, the cold time should not count as much as the warm time for the hops to contribute flavor and aroma. On the other hand, the hops are still in contact with the beer and still contributing flavor compounds, just at a lower rate. How do the cold days rate relative to the warm days when tallying days of dry hopping?

Commercial Beer Reviews / Gordon Biersch Chum dry-hopped Irish Red Ale
« on: November 13, 2017, 03:25:18 AM »
Gordon Biersch, in San Jose CA, has made a beer to honor the San Jose Sharks hockey team. It is called Chum, and it is an Irish Red Ale. I love the wordplay, but I really don't like the beer. It has a taste that I really don't care for. Can anyone tell me what that flavor is and/or where it comes from so I can avoid it in the beers I brew?

From the website at :

This dry-hopped blood red ale features a rich malt bill, complemented by a spicy hop aroma from imported Hallertau and Tettnang hops. A smooth yet powerful beer just like the San Jose Sharks lineup. This ale will leave you circling for more.

I have used Hallertau hops before and they are not the issue. It is either something in the malt bill or the Tettnang hops. I think it is in the malt, but I'm not sure.


General Homebrew Discussion / Any reason to cold crash a stout?
« on: October 28, 2017, 03:07:08 PM »
Does cold crashing do anything other than help to deliver clear beer? I have a stout that is so dark that clarity doesn't matter, so I am thinking that there is no point to cold crashing. I bottled a dark brown beer a couple of weeks ago that used WY1335 yeast that I cold crashed for a few days, and it hasn't carbonated properly in the bottles. I am wondering if I took too much yeast out of suspension with the cold crash. I used the same procedure I have many times before and this is the first time I have had a problem.

All Grain Brewing / How to get pH of modified from Bru'nWater
« on: October 18, 2017, 11:00:29 PM »
I use Bru'nWater to choose my water modifications, but I like to take the finished profile and put it into BeerSmith so I have all the brewing information in one place. BeerSmith wants a pH for the water, but Bru'nWater doesn't give me that, it only gives me a mash pH. It seems like it shouldn't be hard to get the pH of the modified water from all the Bru'nWater inputs, and I was surprised that it isn't there. Am I missing something?

Yeast and Fermentation / Vigorous fermentation with no krausen -- why?
« on: August 09, 2017, 09:49:53 PM »
Two of my last Irish Red Ale brews have fermented vigorously but without any foam. The first one finished fermenting in 24 hours, and the carboy had a lot of swirling and upwelling action going on. It almost looked like it was boiling, but the temperature was 67 F. I decided I must have pitched too much yeast and that all of the motion essentially stirred all the foam back into the liquid. The beer tasted fine, so there was no infection or contamination. I did several more brews that went normally, then I tried the Irish Red Ale again. This time I made a much smaller starter. When I shook the carboy to aerate the wort I noticed that it did not get a thick foam cap on it as I am used to seeing. This time the fermentation was slower, and there was a bit of foam, but again no thick krausen layer. There was a bit of the brown gooey stuff that forms on top of the krausen and then gets pushed to the edges. The beer tastes fine, so there is no infection or contamination.

The one thing that these two brews have in common that is different than the others is that I used Malting Co. of Ireland Ale Malt for the base malt (8-9 lbs out of 12 total). This malt is supposedly very low in protein, and I wonder if that can be causing the lack of foam. I used WLP004 Irish Ale Yeast, but I have used that yeast before and had no strange behavior, even with this same recipe with a different base malt. Has anyone else had this issue? Has anyone else used this base malt? Any other ideas? ???

Ingredients / How long does ClarityFerm take to work?
« on: June 05, 2017, 11:02:40 PM »
I don't want to start a war about whether ClarityFerm "works" to give clearer beer or to reduce gluten. I use it, and will continue to use it because my wife is gluten intolerant but can drink my beer without problems. The question is how long it takes this enzyme to complete its job. I usually start serving my batches 4 weeks after brewing: 2 weeks for fermentation and 2 weeks for bottle conditioning. I have noticed that sometimes clarity continues to increase with time for the next few weeks. Is this the ClarityFerm continuing to cleave proteins, or has that long finished and am I seeing the result of more flocculation of yeast? I have read lots of information on ClarityFerm, but nowhere have I seen anything about how long it takes to work.

I have an old (Oct 2015) spec sheet for US-05 that states the optimum fermentation temperature range is 59-72 F. I just downloaded a new one (Nov 2016) and it says the optimum range is from 64-82 F. This is a substantial change. Did the yeast change at all, or did someone just re-write the data sheet? Everything else on the sheet seems the same, so my guess is that someone re-defined the optimum range and that the yeast is the same. Why would they do this? What would cause them to re-define what is optimum? Have people's tastes changed in the course of a year?


Yeast and Fermentation / How cold to cold crash?
« on: November 11, 2016, 05:41:15 AM »
I use an Irish moss/carageenan fining agent in the boil, and I use ClarityFerm to eliminate gluten during the fermentation. The latter is also supposed to eliminate chill haze. My homebuilt temperature control system (swamp cooler with thermoelectric chiller and PID loop) can only cool to about 45-50, so I usually cool my carboy down to 50 for 24-48 hours before bottling. That seems to give a very compact yeast cake and clear beer. Is there any advantage for me to go lower?

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