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Topics - Richard

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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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General Homebrew Discussion / Hoppy beer without hops
« on: March 20, 2018, 04:35:54 PM »
Scientists have engineered brewer's yeast to produce linalool and geraniol, molecules that are key parts of the hop flavor profile. This allowed them to produce beer with hoppy flavor without actually adding hops. I hope the links to the articles below will work for people without subscriptions.

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?

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