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Messages - James Lorden

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1
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Helles smells like Play-Doh
« on: December 20, 2011, 02:47:02 PM »
Diacetyl is a week spot for me, but I don't detect it.  Based on the pitching rate, the temperature control, and the length of time in contact with with yeast after fermentation had completed - if there is diacetly...there shouldn't be ;).  I would also point out that this beer is not a failure, it's still pretty good.

Autolysis is an interesting idea (although this doesn't remind my of the "classic" descriptions).  This was only my second generation with this pitch.  It did sit in a 36 degree refridgerator for about a week before being repitched - but I've gone longer then that with this yeast before.

2
P.S.  Can I deduct my AHA dues?  ;D

If you can make the argument that brewing is a source of revenue for you then I'd say you could; however, you may run into some other issues with some other branches of government so I wouldn't recommend it!

3
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Helles smells like Play-Doh
« on: December 20, 2011, 01:59:17 PM »
The beer is crystal clear and even though I got efficiency in the 80's I still did an iodine test out of force of habit.  I am wondering if it has to do with the maltster.  The pilsner is Best Malz (first time I've used it - usually use weyerman) and the munich (only 5%) is a light belgian variety.  Both were sacks that I purchased so I know they were fresh.

4
General Homebrew Discussion / Getting ready to say good bye for a while.
« on: December 20, 2011, 01:55:17 PM »
As some of you know, I am an accountant and we are quickly approaching my busy time of year (actually it has already begun).  As is the case this time every year, I will be starting a brewing hiatus very soon until the spring.  Have no fear, all the kegs are full and I am well prepared for this time off!  I look forward to rejoining the conversation here in a few months.  Everyone have a happy holiday season!

5
General Homebrew Discussion / Helles smells like Play-Doh
« on: December 20, 2011, 01:50:44 PM »
I have an unusual aroma in a helles that I recently made  I would describe it as Play-Doh or possibly wet flour (like bread dough before the yeast begin to rise.  I have never come across this smell before and I have made this recipe 3 other times.  In this case there were some strange things that happened on brew day because I was fiddling with my process a bit but fermentation went as expected.

Details:
10 gallon batch
95% Pilsner, 5% Munich, 19.5 IBU's from pearle at 60 min , .5oz hallertau at 15min

Shooting for 1.048 OG but ended up with 1.054 (efficiency of 82% due to process changes was higher then expected)

Yeast - repitch of wlp 830 from a 6% oktoberfest, pitched at 46 raised temp 1 degree per day to 50 and fermented for a total of 4 weeks.

final gravity is 1.008 (6.03%ABV) - in previous batches with old process FG was 1.011 for 4.85% ABV.  Fermented in Morebeer cooled conical.

The slightest bit (maybe a few ounces) of star san might have been sucked through the blowoff into the beer (10 gallon batch)


Anythoughts on the play-doh / wet flour aroma?  Thanks guys.


6
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Should I Rack to Secondary
« on: November 23, 2011, 11:07:11 AM »
There are certain scenarios where I still find a secondary to be useful:

1) When looking to harvest yeast AND using a fining agent.  I will often rack to a secondary and add finings so that I can collect yeast from the primary that hasn't been tainted with the fining agent/

2) Beers that will sit for a long time.  Sours and Wood aged beers.  I like to transfer relatively clear beers to carry over as little yeast as possible while the develops.  Trying to avoid autolysis flavors.

3) Dry hopping.  To me, this is similar to a commertial brewer dumping the tank.  If I am repitching then I don't want all that hop matter in the cake.  Also, as the hops drop and settle on the yeast those critters can suck up some of the oils that you want in your beer.  The less yeast in the carboy the better so I will transfer to a secondary then add hops.

7
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« on: November 21, 2011, 07:01:28 PM »
Has anyone who tests their mash pH found it to be helpful?


Yes, as I said in the original post - when I do a partial mash where I'm more interested in mash pH and not so much in mineral content - I find it very useful.  Partial mashes have some whacky grist ratio's and it works for me to consistently come in around 5.4

8
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Is PBW safe?
« on: November 21, 2011, 04:34:23 PM »
A few years ago on the brewing network a guy from five star drank star san...

9
All Grain Brewing / Re: FLOW RATE INTO BOIL KETTLE
« on: November 21, 2011, 10:58:16 AM »
I generally use a pint glass and set my flow rate so that I fill the cup up once every thirty seconds (using 15 gallon morebeer pots for 10 gallon batches)

10
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Gelatin Q's
« on: November 21, 2011, 07:53:01 AM »
Here is a good source:

http://www.practicalbrewing.co.uk/fining/page6.html

Make sure the beer is a cold as possile when adding gelatin.  The more chill haze you form the more can be fined out!

11
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: When is a starter done?
« on: November 21, 2011, 07:44:37 AM »
Generally what I do is make a starter well in advance.  Let it finish out and put it in the fridge for a few days.  On brew day when I run off into the fermenter I will decant the starter beer out of the flask and replace with the new wort that I just made.  This will go back on the stirplate to get the thing going.  Generally I let the beer sit overnight then the next morning I will pitch this new active starter made using the wort from the batch I just brewed.

Since I use a conical for lagers this also gives time for trub to settle which I dump just before pitching (but that is a topic for a different thread  :))

12
All Grain Brewing / Re: Racking under CO2
« on: November 21, 2011, 07:36:39 AM »
I can post pictures if needed:

First, I fill my keg with sanitizer then I use CO2 to force the sanitizer out into a bucket.  Now I have a sanitized keg that is full of CO2.  I generally have the keg on a table above the recieving bucket so only need about 1 psi after the thing gets flowing since the siphon action is doing most of the work.

Next, I have a carboy cap with a stainless racking cane that goes onto the carboy with a black beverage out ball lock QD on the other side of the tubing.  In the other hole on the carboy cap I have inserted one of those white gas line QD's  ( http://morebeer.com/view_product/17400/102238/Beer_Gas_Tubing_Quick_Disconnect_-_1_4%22_Barb_x_Female_Shut-off ).  Note I just used this racking cane apparatus to empty sanitizer out of my keg so all I am really doing is taking the racking cane out of the bucket of sanitizer (ball lock QD still attached to keg) and putting it in the carboy.  Again, I elevate the carboy so as to utilize the siphon action so that I can apply as little pressure as possible.  Next, I remove the pressure relief valve on the keg.  Then, I attach my gas system to the QD on the carboy cap and push into the keg.

I agree with others that the carboy cap should pop off before pressure build up becomes dangerous (DO NOT TRY TO SECURE IT TO THE OPENING OF THE CARBOY IN ANY WAY).  That said I would not recommend this method to anyone since it is dangerous and I am a fool for doing it - (a fool that likes to drink beer that has never touched Oxygen  ;) )




13
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Suddenly Chill Haze
« on: November 17, 2011, 01:39:03 PM »
I think its your gelatin that is causing this.  I would put the gelatin in cold water and warm it up rather than adding to hot water.  I don't think its supposed to completely melt/dissolve, just become hydrated.  Or leave it out of the next batch entirely, after all its obviously not doing what is is supposed to.  I use Fermcap and have clear beer, I've used whole hops and pellets, I've pitched plenty of trub, none of that automatically makes a beer cloudy.

Thanks, I will do some additional gelatin research and report back the findings.  It's amazing how many different oppinions there are on how to effectively use the stuff for clarifying beer. I wouldn't say that it's not working because it's going a great job of quickly clearing out yeast.

14
The Pub / Apple : iTunes Match : Review
« on: November 16, 2011, 11:18:51 AM »
Yesterday I signed up for Apples highly anticipated iTunes Match service.  This service takes all of the songs stored in your iTunes library and puts them in the "cloud".  These songs are then available to play back at a high-quality 256-kbps on all of your computers and mobile devices (even if the original song you had in iTunes was of a lower quality).

The idea is great but I have had some compaints since subscribing.

First, I thought that I would be able to stream the songs from match to my iPhone.  This is not the case, after turning match on, your phone wipes all old songs out of memory but when you try to play a song from the cloud it doesn't stream, it downloads to your phone.  You can listen to the song as it downloads, but so far my experience has been that, on a 3G cellular connection, the download is slower then the playback.  I am guessing that the download is slow because the file has been upgraded to a higher quality (larger file).  As such, listening to songs on my ride to work today was very frustrating with lots of breaks in the music.  

Another odd point, this song that downloaded now stays on your phone.  One of the initial reasons I got match was because I wanted to free up some space on my phone by eliminating music.  Now it looks like, if I want the music to play seemlessly, I will need to download all of the songs again.  Whats really odd is that, since the quality of many songs has been upgraded, this will cause me to have even less available space on my phone then I did before!

On the Mac computer I CAN stream songs as opposed to downloading them.  This is great and allows me to delete all of the old songs.  Unfortunatly this is unnecessary - I am not concerned with space limitations on my Mac, it's my mobile devices that are running out of room!

I would point out that in my house I have a great wifi connection and the playback from match on my iPhone is seemless.  This is nice, but unnecessary.  In fact its redundant because in the past when I was at home I NEVER needed to have any music stored on my iPhone (or iPad)!  I could utilize Apples Home Shareing capabilities (which allows you to stream music from your computer to any iOS devices) to achieve the exact same result.  One better, when using Home Sharing, a copy of the song I just listened to wasn't left on my iOS device.

The one fix that I think could make iTunes Match alot better? - iTunes Match has to have the ability to stream to iOS devices and - like Netflix - the stream needs to adjust quality to the speed of the connection to avoid pauses in the playback.  This will allow me to free up space on my iOS device but still give me access to my entire music library. If I want to, I can still download a high quality copy of any of my favorite songs that I feel I want a prestine version of on any of my mobile devices.

Anyone else using match?  What are your thoughts?

15
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Suddenly Chill Haze
« on: November 16, 2011, 08:38:44 AM »
I see where you are going with this, and no, I do not check the pH of my final runnings to determine when to stop fly sparging.  I used to but after enough batches I just sort of new that it wouldn't be a problem.  Perhaps worth a double check on the next few batches. 

If it is a tannin extraction causing the haze it's not showing up in the flavor or mouthfeel since the beers still taste the same.

I will test the permanent haze tonight.  I have a tripel (SRM 5) with the haze issue.  I will take a picture of a glass right off the tap and then another after it approaches room temperature to see if the haze disipates.

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