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Messages - oly

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Preparing the yeast
« on: March 22, 2013, 05:27:51 PM »
As it says in your instructions, this is a wyeast smack pack. The smack pack allows you to "proof" your yeast before brewing, so that you know your yeast are viable before pitching. The pack swells and you know your yeast are viable.  Sometimes during shipping the yeast will be subjected to high temps and maybe kills it, so they want you to proof it before you brew.  It seems that the "few days before" recommendation is to cover their a$$. If you wait until brew day and you're mashed in and find that the yeast is dead, you're sort of screwed unless you can get more yeast, and someone would be on the hook for a wasted batch of beer. This seems to be a related to the mail-order side of it, as they seem to assume the worst case, that you have nowhere else to get yeast on brewday if yours are dead.

If I smack the wyeast at all, it's 3-6 hours before pitching. I wouldn't want to do it days ahead of time and let it sit around. Maybe that's fine, maybe not, I don't know.  If you have a local shop that stocks that yeast, I'd proof it on brewday. In all liklihood it'll be fine but if not then at least you can run out and get a replacement and not waste your wort. If you have noplace nearby to get a replacement, it might be best to take their advice and proof before you mash in.

As others have said, you may need a starter anyway based on your volume and OG in which case you'll know days ahead anyway when you get your starter going.

Beer Recipes / Re: Rough Draft
« on: March 20, 2013, 05:49:07 PM »
Over in the recipe section at Tastybrew there is an all Columbus IPA called Powderhead. I've made it more than once and it's good. It has 1.071 and 92 IBU, some of those as FWH (no 60min, just FWH 30min 5min and DH). Might be worth checking out.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: bucket lids
« on: March 03, 2013, 10:18:21 AM »
I've done it with hefeweizen a couple of times. Left the lid just sitting on the bucket, lifted it a few times a day to be quasi-open fermentation. No infection and beer came out great.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: t-58 refermentation
« on: February 22, 2013, 01:21:08 PM »
Couple of things to consider.  Is it finished fermenting?  If it is finished (same gravity reading over several days) then add sugar at bottling.  If it is not finished, I would recommend waiting for it to finish, then add sugar at bottling.

Another thing, what is the estimated attenuation of the primary yeast vs. the T58 bottling yeast. If T58 attenuates more than the primary yeast then it will take the gravity lower in the bottles and you need to account for that when calculating the amount of priming sugar to add.

If it is not finished, and you want to bottle it, it is really a guessing game to decide whether you need sugar or not. Too many variables to guess at, unless you have a lot of experience with that recipe, those particular yeasts, and their relative ability to attenuate.

Also, the priming sugar should not impart any residual sweetness. It should all ferment, unless the yeast is pooped out, but my experience with T58 is that it will be fine in a 1.080 beer and will ferment all the priming sugar.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Accurate thermometer
« on: February 14, 2013, 09:59:17 PM »
At work we have a NIST-traceable calibration block that is used to cal all the thermometers used at work, so I can check mine in that block.

But that's a pain  :) so I just got one of these:

$30 for a waterproof nist-accurate 10" probe lolipop thermometer. works great.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Refactometer
« on: February 13, 2013, 12:40:31 AM »
I use this calculator:

The several times I checked it with a hydrometer it was very close. Close enough  :)

But even given the inaccuracy of the refractometer FG measurement, I still think it's a great tool. After all, when I measure FG, I'm less concerned with the absolute accuracy of the FG reading, than I am in just monitoring fermentation completion.  Unless I've completely screwed something up (pitch rate, oxygenation, ferm temp), I know it's going to finish.  So pragmatically, the FG reading is just a reading of "how done is it", i.e. is it still dropping??   The refractometer is as good a monitor of this as is the hydrometer.  If I get a reading of 8 brix for 3 times over a week, I know it's done. Whether it's 1.012, 1.011, or 1.010, doesn't really matter.

I've been using one of these cube coolers as my mash tun for 5 years. Mine might be a bit smaller than what you're looking at (mine maxes out at 15gals) but it's a cube with the drain hole in the odd 45degree slope area. I have always liked it. I made a palmer-style copper pipe (slotted tubes) manifold. Using some creative elbows and the high-temp silicone tubing crammed through the drain hole there are no leaks. There is virtually no dead space as the manifold functions more or less as a syphon and pulls out every last bit of liquid, even though the drain hole is raised up off the bottom. The lid is well insulated, but I do add some towels to the top and it holds temp, losing 1 degree over 60mins.  I started out fly sparging but now I batch. I don't see why you couldn't use a braid if you wanted to skip the manifold. I'd add a pic but it's currently full of grain for tomorrow's brew  :)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What are you tappin'?
« on: December 12, 2012, 03:13:59 PM »
My Complicated Blonde that I got to brew at a local brewpub just got kegged last night and is carbing comfortably. I wanted to do a batch on my home system to see how it translates. Seems a bit darker at this point. Split the batch between WL001 and WY1450 to compare. 

This weekend I'll start the first round of dry hopping for my Backyard IPA which is made from 100% of the hops grown in our backyard last summer.  It's basically the Pliny Clone grain/hop bill with my hops subbed in.  I used Willamette, Mt. Hood, CTZ and Cascade. Can't wait to try it!
I grew a wild hair on this batch and decided to pitch half of the wort with WY3787.

Which brewpub made your recipe? When are they serving it?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: stuck at 1.020
« on: November 21, 2012, 12:30:48 AM »
I'm sure thetooth meant:  I highly recommend "NOT" sparging with boiling water.  :)

You'll do much better to keep the grainbed < 170F which usually works with sparge water at ~ 185F, so as not to pick up tannins.

What yeast are you using? That may be a contributor if you're using a low attenuating yeast. Something like US05/1056/WLP001 should get you to 1.012 with that grainbill. Also, you might check on about the appropriate starter size, to see if 3 quarts is sufficient for your 15gals at 1.060. You might  need a bigger starter.

I also agree with thetooth that, with your grainbill you might as well do single infusion around 150-152 and baseline your beers' FG that way.

Equipment and Software / Re: GIve Up on ProMash??
« on: October 15, 2012, 06:59:33 AM »
I cannot figure out how to update the “Actual FG” on a brewing session. 

In your brewing session, open the "fermentation" tab. Enter your measured final gravity there, and it will show up as "actual FG" in your session window.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Re: Problem with keg hopping
« on: September 25, 2012, 08:31:12 PM »
too much copper is not good for you and in a low pH environment like beer there will be a significant amount of leaching
Thanks for that info. A little reading and i'm getting that copper scrubby out of my beer!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Re: Problem with keg hopping
« on: September 23, 2012, 10:06:27 PM »
I had this problem a couple batches ago. ended up attaching the bottom of a metal tea ball to the end of the dip tube with a piece of grain bag and a rubber band. the tea ball held the bag away from the end of the tube enough that it didn't just clog up immedietly. worked fairly well.

In the absence of a surescreen or a tea ball, a copper scrubby rubberbanded to the dip tube works well as a screen for whole hops. Not sure if this would solve your pellet hop escape problem.
I wouldn't use copper in finished beer, but a stainless steel scrubby would work well.

What's the concern? Will the copper corrode?

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Problem with keg hopping
« on: September 21, 2012, 05:13:05 PM »
I had this problem a couple batches ago. ended up attaching the bottom of a metal tea ball to the end of the dip tube with a piece of grain bag and a rubber band. the tea ball held the bag away from the end of the tube enough that it didn't just clog up immedietly. worked fairly well.

In the absence of a surescreen or a tea ball, a copper scrubby rubberbanded to the dip tube works well as a screen for whole hops. Not sure if this would solve your pellet hop escape problem.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Amount of Wyeast Nutrient in starter
« on: September 20, 2012, 09:55:17 PM »
Just curious as to how much benefit you get from the yeast nutrient addition.  I have not done this yet and after my current porter batch blowing through the fermentation lock 4 times in the last 3 days, I wonder if I need to ever add yeast nutrient.  Current wort temp is 64 degrees so it is not over heating.  I do make a 2.5L starter of about 1.040 SG, give it a swirl everytime I go by and have always had good fermentation starting within 12 hours.

My understanding is that adding the nutrient is more about assuring yeast health in the case that you want to harvest the slurry for re-use, than it is about getting a good fermentation in the beer you add it to.  I think for normal gravity beers (~1.060 or lower) you can get away just fine for that beer without any nutrient, but if you want to harvest that yeast then nutrient is a good idea.  For big beers, nutrient may be a good idea whether or not you are going to harvest the yeast.

I don't have any reference to point to for this info, it's just what I've gleaned from various reading. Maybe someone else can chime in as I've wondered the same thing myself.

Yeast and Fermentation / MrMalty question: yeast harvest date?
« on: September 10, 2012, 04:26:04 PM »
I'm going to be re-pitching from slurry for my next batch. The MrMalty calculator says I need ~400B cells.  The beer I'm harvesting from has been in primary, on the yeast for 55days. I'm going to pitch the slurry to the new wort the same day I 'harvest' the yeast. So the calculator says I need 200mL of slurry to get the 400B cells. But I'm just thinking, this yeast has been sitting at the bottom of primary for a long that harvest date really accurate for predicting the viability?  If I just play around and say it was harvested 25 days ago, then I would need twice as much slurry.

So, I'm just trying to figure out, is the viability of the yeast slurry a function of when I harvest it? OR is it more a function of when it finished fermenting and settled out? They yield significantly different answers for required mL of slurry for re-pitching.

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