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Topics - hopshead

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Brief Brewing Background
I have been homebrewing for 9 years (8 of that all grain).  I brew 24-26 times a year (every other weekend) and I usually make 5-6 gallon batches.  For the last 3 years I have been top cropping ale yeast with various different procedures.

Top Cropping Procedures
My current top cropping method isn't very technical and I recently lost a batch of beer so I want to hear from the yeast wizards out there if there is anything they would change.

Typically 48 hours after pitching my yeast, I use a sanitized (starsan) measuring cup and lift the lid of my brewbucket and carefully scoop the yeast on top of the beer and put it in a re-purposed 8 pound size PBW plastic jug (sanitized with starsan).  I always put the plastic jug on a scale (set to measure grams) and I try to collect 100 grams of the foam from the beer, but sometimes I fall short because I pulled all of the foam already.  Then, I sanitize the valve on the brewbucket and pour in about a pint of beer on top of the yeast I collected.  The lid to the plastic jug is fitted with an air lock and I screw this on and let the beer ferment in the small jug for 2 days, then refrigerate.   About 1-3 days in advance of a brew day, I make a 1 quart starter and pour this into the jug and to wake the yeast up and have some (although who knows how much) cell growth.

Now to the beer I lost... I had been top cropping WLP001 since July 2014 and the 15th batch went bad.  All previous batches of beer were good, but I did notice a house flavor developing.  I am not sure if I had bad cleaning and sanitation that led to the bad batch or I slowly picked more contaminates in the yeast that finally took over the pitch.  At any rate, I think going that many generations might be to many so I will start buying a new pitch sooner.

Let me know if you have any questions and thanks in advance for any advice you may have.

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Beer Travel / San Antonio
« on: June 09, 2014, 09:58:11 AM »
I will be in San Antonio near the Rivercenter next week while on business travel.  Are there any beer destinations or local beers that I must try while there? 

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I have a SS brewing bucket and thought about buying a cooling jacket from cool zone (link below) for fermentation control.  Has anyone used this system, if so what do you think?

http://www.gotta-brew.com/products/cool-zone-cooling-jacket.html

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Equipment and Software / Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« on: September 27, 2011, 05:53:43 PM »
I have a barley crusher  and have hand cranked grain for about 5 years.  At some point in time, I will have to replace my grain mill.  But, I also want to buy a drill and hook it up to the grain mill - I am tired of the hand crank.  I wanted to know about homebrewers  experiences using drills to power their mills, and what kind of drill should I buy?  I really know nothing about the various power tools out there and I feel lost looking at all the models speeds etc. for power drills.  All I can say for sure, is that I am leaning towards a corded drill and I prefer to have it cost less $100.  Let me know what you all think and thanks in advance.

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Beer Recipes / Recipe Ideas for the Hophead
« on: September 11, 2011, 12:40:55 PM »
As my username suggests, I LOVE hoppy beers.  I have been homebrewing for 5.5 years now and for the last 2.5 to 3 years, I have always had a very hoppy beer on tap/bottled or fermenting.  An american pale ale/IPA (but with higher hopping rates that bjcp style guides) is my favorite. 

I want to get some "interesting" recipe ideas from the forum.  But, I know that I will not be happy with drinking a malty beer.  All my recipes generally average a ratio of IBU to GP of 1.0 to 1.5.  Essentially, I want to experiment with different flavors for my hoppy beers.  Got any suggestions for the insane hophead?  Let me have 'em and thanks in advance.

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Ingredients / Patented Hops
« on: December 29, 2010, 11:26:43 AM »
Can anyone explain to the uninformed (read... me), how the patents for hops work?  Specifically:

1)  What exactly do the patents cover?  (only grown by a particular farmer, royalties to inventor if grown by others,etc.)

2)  How long are the patents good for?

3)  What happens when the patents expire?

4)  Cascade hops are not patented, did they use to be?

5)  Will we ever be able to buy, Amarillo, Citra, and Palisade )etc.) rhizomes?

Thanks in advance from a curious home brewer. 

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Yeast and Fermentation / Can you top crop WLP051?
« on: September 22, 2010, 06:06:10 AM »
I want to try the Cal Ale V, WLP051 to see if I like it better than WLP001. I ferment in buckets and that makes it easy for me to top crop and get more pitches from a purchase of yeast. But, I don't know what the 051 ferment looks like, will I be able to top crop it?  Also, in general tell me what your overall thoughts are for this strain of yeast.  Thanks all.

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Beer Recipes / Oaked and bourbon soaked IPA
« on: November 27, 2009, 09:50:27 AM »
So, I love IPAs. I was curious and wanted to tweak some IPA recipes. After reading Vinnie's article in Zymurgy about the Pliny, I was curious about Vinnie's "cube of oak" he used to add to some IPAs with the dry hops. I think I want to try this, dry hops along with with oak cubes/chips. Has anyone done this, what did you think? I also thought about bourbon infused IPAs with the cubes of oak. A smooth bourbon though, like Maker's Mark. Am I nuts, tell me someone has tried it and liked the results. I was also thinking of the base recipe being more like Jamil's West Coast Blaster.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Auburn University Homebrew survey
« on: November 11, 2009, 04:41:58 PM »
I remember participating in a homebrew survery earlier this year for some research at Auburn Univ.  Does anyone know what ever happened with that?

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Homebrew Competitions / Denny - Mailing Homebrew
« on: November 05, 2009, 07:37:50 PM »
Denny I read on a forum on the "interwebs" somewhere that there was work in progress to make it "easier" (i.e. "yeast samples") to mail homebrew for competitions.  Has the AHA worked on this and if so what is the status.

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Yeast and Fermentation / Question about yeast storage
« on: November 04, 2009, 05:52:30 PM »
Recently, I have started re-using yeast from batch to batch by getting (top cropping) ale yeast.  Currently, I brew every two weeks and my procedure has been this:  Brew one day on the weekend, then the next day make a 2 quart starter with DME and top crop 1 cup of yeast and put that in the starter.  After the starter ferments out (about 4 days or so) I chill the whole starter for a little over a week until I brew again, in which I let that starter warm up to room temp and pitch the whole volume in the beer.  So far, about 7 or 8 batches, I have had good results (using White Labs WLP001).  Next May, my wife and I are expecting twins and this will most likely greatly limit my homebrew days (not every other week like it is now).  I have been planning ahead, a I likely will double my all grain batch size to 10 gallons and brew once a month if time permits.  Now, finally to my question, will the yeast keep in the starter in the fridge for 3 weeks?  Or, should I learn how to somehow keep the top cropped yeast on an agar?  I am just curious.  I would rather not buy a new pitch every brew day.  Side note:  as of now, I plan to buy a new pitch everytime I re-order bulk ingredients, just in case the yeast I am using starts to "genetically" drift.  Thanks in advance guys and gals.

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