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Messages - kylekohlmorgen

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Infection and what to do about it
« on: January 11, 2016, 07:10:03 AM »
Naturally fermented ciders are a beautiful thing. I know you dig on mixed fermentation. Might as well let 'er go. Or split off a portion for stabilization now, and allow the other portion to mature.

You can always sulfite and backsweeten the later.

If you used unpasteurized cider, the bugs came from the cider, which means you have truly 'wild' yeast to play with now!

Equipment and Software / Re: SS Quick Disconnect Sanitary?
« on: December 08, 2015, 03:40:52 PM »
....Technically, anything that's threaded isn't sanitary...


Threaded tri-clamp adapters drive me nuts.

QDs aren't sanitary (technically speaking), but if you're sanitizing with heat and thoroughly cleaning them, you should be okay. I wouldn't give this advice to professional brewers, or any Food & Bev manufacturer, because the cleaning frequency wouldn't be as rigorous in constant use.

I'll also add my opinion about camlocks: they suck (at least for me). I hate mine, and I wish I would have sprung for stainless QDs.

Since we're talking sanitary components: if you're adding valves, go for the 3-piece stainless. If you can't take them apart, they will collect crud.

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermentation Heaters...
« on: December 08, 2015, 03:30:26 PM »
My 12.2 gal MoreBeer conical is in two nested collapsable trash cans.  The larger can is the cover and lifts off very easily for access.  Inside the bottom is a space heater controlled by a Ranco controller with the probe in a thermowell inside the wort.  This baby lets me easily ramp my Saison temperatures up into the stratosphere, even when my basement is in the 50's.  Hence, the name Saisonical.

Space heater + nylon = scares me.

I use an aquarium (fish tank) heater.  I put the carboy in a water bath in a rubbermaid bin and put the heater in the water.  I haven't been able to acheive the 90 degrees people say 3724 really likes, but it warms up well over ambient.  I still worry about the thing shorting out, or melting through the bin.

I like where you're going with that.

Maybe the perfect excuse to pull the trigger on a sou vide cooker?

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermentation Heaters...
« on: December 08, 2015, 03:12:45 PM »
Sunbeam heat pad without the safety auto-off feature. Taped to the inside wall of chest.



I don't know if mine has a safety auto-off feature, but it is designed to run constantly, in direct contact with a person, as they sleep. I feel pretty safe about it.

The machine-washable cover is also a huge plus.

I wrap mine around the bucket/carboy and secure with a bungee cord that's not too tight. If I'm going for heating only (either with saisons or just keeping the fermentor warm during D-rest), I'll wrap a blanket around it and secure that with the bungee instead.

Very consistent and relatively inexpensive ($20?), especially when combined with a thermowell. Although not necessarily required, I think it improves control, especially in fast or high-temp fermentations.

Since my basement is ~60F in the winter, heating is absolutely required for proper temp control.

I wrote an article for the latest edition of BYO (Jan 2016) on this topic. It covers most of the questions you posted. Even adding weird s***.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Equipment and Software / Re: Cold crashing alternative
« on: November 10, 2015, 11:12:20 AM »
Denny - I've experienced #1 with English, lager, and Kolsch ale strains. The lager was the last straw. It wasn't side-by-side, but it was the same recipe, brewing and fermentation schedule. Cold crashed beer was noticeably inferior.

I think I've also experienced it in a saison, but I couldn't rule out other variables.

#2 is more a physical than a sensory observation. When all of the liquid in the airlock gets sucked into the carboy after cooling, there is obviously air introduced.

Overall - NOT cold crashing has NOT negatively affected my beer or process. OTOH, a slow rise in temp to finish fermentation followed by a slow steady ramp down to maturation temp has, IMO, made huge improvements. Other than a short gain in time, I don't see any benefits in a cold crash vs slowly cooling.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottling with juice/syrup
« on: September 29, 2015, 06:22:13 AM »
I've never primed with an alternative sugar source, but I've been considering it for a beer that is in process now, so I'll share some references with you. Hopefully we can figure it out!

Basic Brewing did an experiment with alternative priming sugars in October 2010:

Zot O'Connor did a priming experiment with cider based on the BBR podcast. They tasted the results on BBR in June 2011:

If you can do this in a keg, it is definitely ideal. For my fruited sour beers, I put the fruit in a fine-mesh bag, drop them into a clean/empty keg, purge a few times, and then transfer the beer. You allow residual or priming yeast to ferment the sugars in the fruit, and if you vent excess pressure very slowly, you retain a lot of the fruit aromatics (unlike refermentation in a carboy). After refermentation is complete, you can transfer to another keg and add priming sugar for bottling or force carbonate.

If no keg, a few things to consider:

1. Consider another dose of fruit in the fermentor as opposed to the bottle. Unless you press the fruit, you'll end up with a lot of pulp in the bottle. A cooler conditioning temperature will slow refermentation and allow you to retain more fruit aromatics.

2. I would figure out the sugar content of the juice using a refractometer. Thaw them, juice them, and sample from the juice. Try to minimize oxygen pickup through the process (which is tough).

3. I would make a separate simple syrup solution and blend that with the thawed juice, rather than boiling the juice. Boiling the juice will deteriorate those aromatics you're trying to keep in the beer, and it could cause a permanent pectin haze in the beer. If this is a 'clean' beer (no brett/bacteria), you can sulfite the fruit to reduce the risk of contamination, or just keep it cold and drink it fairly quickly.

4. Use the heavy-duty bottles, just in case you make a math error  :o

5. Have you dry hopped with Azacca before? I don't care for Azacca, personally, and I think the grassy/stemmy quality would highlight the vegetal qualities of the fruit. You might try dry hopping a few of the bottles to test this part of the recipe.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3726 fermentation time
« on: September 17, 2015, 11:10:30 AM »

Have either of you gotten the Reptile Tape wet? How does it hold up?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3726 fermentation time
« on: September 15, 2015, 01:44:18 PM »
I knew I'd get some flack for bucking the 'knowns' set forth by forum lore.  ;D

I also disagree about the irrelevance of fermenting warm...

Fermentation temperature is absolutely relevant. My suggestion was to go lower if the warmer temps can't be consistently maintained.

Fermentation is affected by several factors other than fermentation temperature. I don't ferment warm because its more problematic than helpful for me. If it works for you, by all means, keep doing it, but don't be afraid to try different methods.

One of the problems I've had with warm fermentations is an ethanol aroma/flavor. Jim's experience with 3724 is spot-on with mine: I've fermented 3724 warm then had to wait several weeks for the harsh alcohol flavors to dissipate. Could be the case with 3726 as well, but time will tell. Carbonation and bottle conditioning (plus tasting the beer at serving temps vs 80F!) also helps.

I also love 3726 for bottle conditioning because it drops like a rock. Might as well use it if you have healthy slurry or if you intend to buy more. I also need to stock up since its rolling off the seasonal schedule soon!

What kind of heat pad are you using? Maybe mine is just weak! Also - how are you monitoring temp in the fermentor? I like a thermowell for measuring during primary, but I'm considering moving it to the side during conditioning.

Equipment and Software / Re: My latest effort to eliminate oxidation
« on: September 11, 2015, 11:27:18 AM »
I think this is a good start, but I don't see how it reduces oxygen pickup vs. just dumping hops into the keg.

The container is not under pressure, so its less of a 'purge' and more of a blow out with CO2. You will absolutely reduce some O2 in the container, but considerably less than with a pressurized purge.

With CO2 purges, you are mixing the CO2 with air, diluting the O2 concentration. In a keg, hop cannon, or other pressure vessel, you can increase the vessel pressure with CO2, proportionally decreasing the concentration of O2. In a non-pressurized container, you're pretty much relying on displacement by gas flow through it, meaning you're using a LOT of CO2 to mechanically displace some air. Because its not sealed, oxygen quickly flows back in after air flow stops to regain equilibrium inside and outside of the container.

I also think you might inadvertently blow a bunch of hop dust everywhere.

You might have better luck displacing O2 with a heavy inert gas like Argon. Since your SiL is a welder, he might be able to help you out here :). Still, the inversion of the unsealed container will inevitably force the heavy gas out and the light gas in.

Better still is to add the hops to a purged and empty keg, purge it a few times after adding hops, then transfer the beer on top from another keg. I think this method tops all others in terms of O2 reduction, including the 'hop cannon' used by several pro breweries. Pro brewers can't do it this way because they need hops to distribute throughout their tall vessels. Our surface area/volume ratio is much larger, and if you want more you can just tip the keg over.

If you want to keep plugging away with the mini-hop-cannon project, I'm sure we could think of some ways to install it into a closed, purge-able location. We'd have to call it  a 'hop-sparkler' or something, though. (Trademark/patent pending)

Sorry for the long-winded answer and half-science babble. I've had some free time at work lately  :o

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Pulling Yeast
« on: September 11, 2015, 10:04:53 AM »
Pulling yeast from the bottom of a fermenting batch won't hurt.

Why not pull off the yeast and repitch into the Oktoberfest?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How old can yeast be and still have a chance?
« on: September 11, 2015, 10:00:27 AM »
Is it worth the effort to try? Let's say you spend 20 min per step + the cost of DME, that to me is more than the cost of a fresh pack. If the yeast is hard to come by or a seasonal strain, I'd do it.


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3726 fermentation time
« on: September 11, 2015, 09:59:35 AM »
The problem with pitching so warm is that you have to keep the temperature of the fermenting beer from dropping after high krausen.

It sounds like you started at 80F (above ambient temp), fermentation warmed the beer a few degrees when it took off, then the beer began to cool as fermentation slowed down, which encouraged the yeast to flocculate, slowing attenuation. It doesn't help that 3726 is a fairly heavy flocculator.

This was my crux when I started fermenting saisons in my basement - I had to not only get the beer warm but keep it warm. 5 gallons of beer does not hold 80-85F in a room that is 65-65F.

I love 3726 and it has become my house saison yeast (until it rolls off as a seasonal and I neglect my slurry), but these recommendations could be used for brewing saison with any strain.

Here are my recommendations:

1. Stop fermenting so warm. Its not necessary with proper temp control, especially with 3726. For this yeast, I found that starting at 67F and allowing free-rise (or slowly heating) into the mid 70s produces a balanced set of yeast-driven flavors and allows complete fermentation in short order (7-10 days). Higher temperatures don't produce better results but do make it harder to control temperature at the end of fermentation.

2. If you have a fermentation fridge, invest in a $20 heating pad like the one below. With a 2-stage controller, it works wonders up to ~85F. I mostly use it to keep the fermentor temp constant as fermentation slows, but I've also used it to slowly warm the fermentor when fermentation doesn't produce enough free-rise. Glass carboys keep enough heat in, but plastic buckets often need a little help getting to that 70-72F.

3. If you don't have fermentation temp control, start fermentation below room temperature (65-67F) in a cooler portion of your house. During or immediately after high krausen, move the fermentor to a warmer part of your house and wrap tightly in blankets. You can use the heating pad to keep it warm, but it takes a lot of manipulation and can easily overheat your beer.

4. Provide adequate oxygen. With 3726, I've seen longer fermentation times when I've shaken to aerate vs. oxygenating with a stone. Perhaps its correlation instead of causation, but more O2 won't hurt.

5. If you don't have fermentation temp control, use a glass carboy. It is a better insulator than plastic and can help moderate temperature loss.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Belgian Brown Ale and the BJCP
« on: June 27, 2015, 06:19:40 AM »
The AA% doesn't matter as much as what it tastes like.

The stats may fit but that doesn't mean the flavors fit. When you say 'Belgian Brown, I think of a brown porter-esque grain bill (coffee, chocolate) as opposed to a traditional BDS recipe (burnt sugar, figs, raisins).

If it doesn't fit in 18E, just go with what it does taste like. If it tastes like a 'Belgian Brown', 16E or 34B (Mixed Style Beer) as we transition to the 2015 Guidelines. 

You're saying that the beer is brown but the malt character isn't noticeable? Can you share your recipe? Unless you just used a little bit of roast malt to change the color, there should be some malty flavors in there somewhere.

I like to condition my Belgian ales because I do think they change over time. The 'rough edges' soften, the malt and yeast flavors become more integrated, and clarity improves.

You won't get more malt flavor with age, but you might get a higher perception of flavor as the edges soften and particles settle out. Conditioning time depends on several factors, but a few months wouldn't be unreasonable.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How much food do Brett and pedio need?
« on: June 23, 2015, 06:43:51 AM »

I can't get RR up my way. Send me a bottle and I'll see if I agree with you  ;D


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