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Messages - johnnyb

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stater without a stir plate
« on: August 30, 2015, 04:32:54 PM »
I do not see how my method would not work with 1450.  I used it many times when the culture was known as CL-50. 

My method is yeast strain agnostic.  Pitching at high krausen makes a significant difference in the number of viable cells that need to be pitched due to the fact that one is not pitching quiescent cells with low or darn near depleted ergosterol and unsaturated fatty acid (UFA) reserves.

With respect to a stir plate producing more viable cells, that's completely bunk.  Maximum cell density is maximum cell density.  A starter that is stirred and allowed to ferment to completion will contain more cells than a non-stirred starter that is pitched at high krausen, but it will not contain a significantly higher number of viable cells than a starter that is pitched at high krausen, and high krausen cells are in better health; therefore, they experience a shorter lag phase.

The cold hard truth is that stir plates were not designed for, nor are they used in yeast culturing outside of the home brewing community (orbital shakers are used in labs).  Their use in home brewing is based on "brewing by buddy," that is, my brewing friend uses a stir plate; therefore, it must be the way to do it.  This behavior is no different than "management by magazine" or "management by golf course" in the corporate world.

Yeast cultures grow at a rate of 2N, where N is the amount of time in minutes that have elapsed since the end of the lag phase divided the replication period (approximately 90 minutes for ales), which is why the growth phase is known as the exponential or log phase.  Any method that does not increase the viable yeast cell count by a factor of at least two is insignificant.  I have yet to see a repeatable published study using a stir plate that produces a two-fold increase in viable cell count over a well-aerated culture. 

The reason why a well-shaken starter works as well as it does for being such a low-tech method is because it takes advantage of physics and chemistry.  A gas dissolves into a liquid at the interface between the gas and the liquid; hence, surface area is critical to O2 pickup.  A gas-liquid foam has a very high specific surface area.  By shaking the medium until it is almost all foam, we create an amount of surface area that is impossible to replicate with a stir plate and an Erlenmeyer flask, and we do it at the beginning of fermentation when the O2 load on the medium is highest due ergosterol and UFA synthesis.  Bubbling a gas through a liquid with tiny bubbles creates the same kind of effect, but much less efficiently.   

The gas-liquid interface shrinks in an Erlenmeyer flask as the volume of media increases.  Stirring the culture fast enough to create a vortex increases the size of the interface between the liquid and the gas as well as creates a vacuum that helps to overcome the geometry of an Erlenmeyer flask, but it does so by increasing the amount of shear stress placed on the cells.  That's why stirred starters smell off when compared with non-stirred starters.  A lot of home brewers mistakenly equate the odor with continuous aeration, but no O2 is entering the flask after the culture starts to outgas. The geometry of an Erlenmeyer flask almost guarantees it, and  CO2 dissolves more readily in a liquid than O2.

I was wondering about the bolded because some people recommend periodically shaking. Once the culture is kicking off CO2 wouldn't shaking just put CO2 into solution?

I've been using 15 seconds of pure O2 just prior to pitching -- then leaving it alone -- and having great results. My starters are reaching high krausen in 5 to 7 hours, and I'm seeing fermentation activity within hours of pitching into the wort.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Getting Smegma out of Better Bottles
« on: August 30, 2015, 09:10:44 AM »
I get blow off every time. I ferment 5.5 gallons in a 6 gallon better bottle.

1 - add some hot water and shake the crap out of it to get some of the low hanging fruit.
2 - fill with hot pbw or oxicean. I use oxiclean. I add about the equivalent of 2 scoops of pbw. Let sit for an hour
3 - dump all but a quart out. I will stop from time to time to shake the crap out of it.
4 - jam a soft cotton cloth into the bottle and shake and swirl it around to get all of the surfaces.
5 - rinse well.

Same deal -- 5.5 gallons on a 6 gallon better bottle.

I'm using basically your exact method. (Either you or someone else posted it earlier in the thread.) I'm on the 3rd or 4th full cycle with the current bottle and have only now almost gotten everything. Maybe the hefeweizen yeast that was in this one is just particularly sticky?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Getting Smegma out of Better Bottles
« on: August 30, 2015, 05:09:35 AM »
I'll add a bit of powdered dishwasher detergant to the oxyclean soak, it seems to help.

I'll try it -- thanks.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Getting Smegma out of Better Bottles
« on: August 30, 2015, 05:08:38 AM »
I never have a real issue. If I need to, I can have a better bottle cleaned in < 20 minutes. My normal routine is about an hour, sometimes two.

Are you having blow-offs where all that gunk ends up pasted to the top of the better bottle? I've used them for 5 batches now, and 3 of them cleaned right up no problem. Two of them have been ridiculous multi-day clean-ups with several soaks in several different solutions.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Brown Stain in Corny Keg
« on: August 29, 2015, 05:11:28 PM »

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Getting Smegma out of Better Bottles
« on: August 29, 2015, 04:16:20 PM »
Craftmeister alkaline cleaner.  It cleans better in cold water than PBW does in hot water.

I've got another better bottle giving me a problem, and this isn't doing the trick either. The stuff is stuck like super glue. I'm on my 3rd soak and have barely made a dent in it.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Brown Stain in Corny Keg
« on: August 29, 2015, 04:10:44 PM »
I guess it could be rust, but it sure doesn't look like rust. I can't imagine what else it could be though that wouldn't have come off with the cleaners that I've tried.

Can I use phosphoric acid? And if yes, how much should I dilute it?

Beer Recipes / Re: Raise SRM
« on: August 29, 2015, 12:25:05 PM »
Ok, that makes sense.

I'm fairly comfortable going with the predicted value of the malt addition based on SRM calculations, but then again I'm not super picky if I end up a tad off in either direction.

Kegging and Bottling / Brown Stain in Corny Keg
« on: August 29, 2015, 11:59:49 AM »
Just getting around to cleaning some corny kegs a friend gave me, and I have one with a brownish stain in the bottom that I can't remove. It is probably a spot where a bit of liquid (assuming beer because he was a brewer but who knows) pooled for a long period of time. It's not a solid brown spot. It's more like sort of haphazard rings of various shades of brown and roughly 3" across.

So far I've tried PBW, Craft Meister Alkaline Brewery Wash, and StarSan with no luck.

I just want to use this keg for periodic cleaning of beer lines, so I'm not sure if the stain is a big deal. But I would feel better if I could get it cleaned up.

Any ideas? 

Beer Recipes / Re: Raise SRM
« on: August 29, 2015, 11:37:52 AM »
How is sinamer any easier than just using a bit of dark malt in the sparge? Seems about the same amount of effort to me.

Homebrew Weddings / Brewed for Small Wedding This Summer
« on: August 29, 2015, 11:34:03 AM »
I brewed two beers for a small wedding this summer. The bride and groom to be came over to help on brew day and brought some nice local honey that they wanted to use. We brewed an American IPA and a Honey Rye.

The wedding was at the beginning of August. I was planning on just serving them old school out of a plastic tote bin full of ice, but the temps were forecast for the mid 90's and I was worried about the lines foaming. I ended up using the tote bin system, and then I got a cheap Styrofoam cooler to coil up the lines in and drilled holes in it for the picnic taps. Filled it up full of ice and it kept the lines chilled and pouring without foam.

They also bought a keg of Yuengling, but it went pretty much untouched until my two kegs floated.

I've brewed for many parties, but was surprised how nervous I was about screwing something up for the wedding. I'm glad everything went smoothly and both beers came out great.

Beer Recipes / Re: Raise SRM
« on: August 29, 2015, 08:25:19 AM »
I'll have to check out Midnight Wheat when the small supply of Caraffa II I keep on hand for darkening is gone.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: British Ale Yeasts
« on: August 28, 2015, 06:58:49 PM »
Wow, some great replies! Thanks all. I'll need to go through this carefully before choosing which one to try first.

Beer Recipes / Re: Raise SRM
« on: August 28, 2015, 06:57:34 PM »
My go to is Caraffa II added during the sparge. (I batch sparge.) Usually anywhere between .5 ounce to 2 ounces depending on how much color is needed.


Yeast and Fermentation / British Ale Yeasts
« on: August 27, 2015, 06:56:36 PM »
I stopped drinking British style ales years ago but recently I tried a nice English pale ale and enjoyed it. I'm getting a bit sick of APA's and AIPA's so was thinking of brewing an English pale soon.

All I know is I do not like the Ringwood yeast because a local brewpub uses it for almost every beer in their lineup and I got sick of it. And I once tried Safale S-04 for an ESB and it produced a sulfur bomb. (Which apparently did get a bit better with age according to the friend I left the keg with.)

So any ideas for what yeasts I might like for a nice English pale ale? Something with some character but not super duper fruity would probably suit me.


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