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Topics - gmac

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I have spunding valves for my brewhemoth conicals and I've used them a time or two when transferring beer under pressure to reduce O2 and also to move beer against gravity when it gets near the bottom of the conical. But, as I understand them, they have a pressure release that would allow for the beer to off-gas at a certain PSI.  I have also heard repeatedly that larger breweries can get by with fermenting warmer because beer fermented under pressure has less ester formation etc and produces a cleaner ferment. 

So, I am curious if it is possible to set this valve to maintain a certain vessel pressure that would replicate the pressures or at least some of the pressures that a large tank would exert on the beer.  I don't know what pressures the conicals are rated for, when I keg, I've been running them at or below 5 PSI so that I don't move the beer to quickly and also to avoid over pressure.

Does anyone actually know what the osmotic pressure would be on yeast in a large tank and what pressure might simulate that?


I made 15 gals of Kolsch.  It is pretty good but my neighbour wants a beer similar to an Apricot Wheat that we get in Quebec.  I don't have any wheat beer or plans in the short term.
But, I found Mango juice the other day in the grocery story (frozen concentrated).  I've used frozen raspberry before, 3 cans in 5 gals and it was a nice fruity beer.  I'm thinking of doing 3 cans of this into 5 gals.  But, I don't have a glass carboy so here's what I'm thinking.

Add the 3 cans of juice to the cornie and rack the beer on top. I would put a quick connect on the gas in and put that into water to make a blow off-tube (the sugar in the juice will start a secondary fermentation).  Because I don't move my beer once it's finished, I was thinking of just putting the finished keg (once bubbles slow) into the keg freezer and let it crash and serve directly without re-racking.  I don't expect it to last too long.  Anyone see an issue with this?  I may even pull the blow off after a day or so and let it naturally carbonate but I expect that if I go 100% enclosed it may be substantially over carbonated.

Kegging and Bottling / Star-San in beer. How much is too much?
« on: May 09, 2014, 09:08:58 PM »
Being a moron, I started to keg a beer from a conical and forgot to remove the blow off tube. I may have sucked up some sanitizer. Not sure and if so, not more than 1/4 cup in 13 gallons.
Anything to worry about?  Beer tastes fine.

Yeast and Fermentation / Baking with brewers yeast???
« on: May 08, 2014, 01:54:50 AM »
I'm making a starter and it smells awesome and I just wondered if anyone has ever tried baking bread (I was thinking pizza dough) using brewers yeast?  Might be a waste of time but I could see adding actively fermenting beer to a pizza dough recipe and it being pretty tasty.

As an aside, I was making sweet potatoes on the weekend and we didn't have any brown sugar (I was surprised).  i usually mash them with brown sugar and butter.  Anyway, I used DME instead it it was really good.  Going to be doing that again for sure!

Yeast and Fermentation / Calculating Steps in a starter
« on: May 08, 2014, 01:37:31 AM »
I am making a 15 gal batch of Kolsch using WY2565.  My pack was a few months old and Mr. Malty calculated it to be around 25% viability.  I made a 500 ml starter at 1.040 and put it on the stir plate.  I let it ferment out for a couple days, activity was slow but evident.  After I figured it was just about done, I added another 1500 ml of 1.040 starter and it took off like crazy (did not decant, just added more). 

I cold crashed it for several days and decanted the very clear beer off the top today.  I would estimate that there was  100 ml or so of yeast, not really sure how to tell since my flask isn't graduated that low.  I added another 1000ml of 1.040 wort and fermentation went wild, huge thick krausen in less than an hour even though it's on the stir plate.  There is probably 3 inches of krausen.

But, here is my question.  Do you think that there is enough yeast there to do 15 gals?  I have only used Mr. Malty but I really wish that there was a stepping up calculator that would let you work up to the amount you need from a limited number of vials/packs.  I can either do one more decant and add more wort or if there is enough it can go right in. 

The Pub / Happy Star Wars Day.
« on: May 04, 2014, 04:46:25 PM »
Watching Empire with the boys. Should have tried to watch all 6. Maybe next year.

Homebrew Competitions / BJCP moving up the ranks question
« on: May 01, 2014, 12:26:59 PM »
I'm a bit confused by exactly what exams are required to move up to National. I don't have enough experience points yet but I can't really figure out what exams are required.
Can someone please fill me in on what exams are necessary? 

Ingredients / Watering down beer
« on: April 24, 2014, 12:23:50 PM »
I made a German Pilsner a couple weeks ago and overshot my gravity by about 0.012. I didn't have anymore distilled water at the time and couldn't get any so I fermented as it was. It's now finished and I'd like to add 2 gals of water to it in order to bring the volume up and alcohol down. It is currently about 13.5 gals.

Should I boil, cool and carbonate the water first and then rack the beer onto the water in the keg or can I just add boiled, cooled water directly to the fermenter?  I'm not that worried about O2 because the fermenter has a lot of CO2 in it still and I'm going to be pouring in through the CO2. I am even considering just adding distilled direct from the jug because I doubt that there are many bacteria in commercially prepared distilled water either.

My target was a 5% beer and I'm at about 6.5 right now. 


Equipment and Software / Filters - Who does it and what's best
« on: April 21, 2014, 03:08:38 PM »
So first off, let me say that I know that cloudy beer is perfectly fine.  I have no issues with it.  But...

I find that when I give someone a beer that isn't used to homebrew, the fact that it is often a bit hazy, maybe not actually cloudy but certainly not brilliant can impact their perception of the beer.  I often use either gelatin or biofine but I still find that my beer isn't really as clear as I'd like it to be.  So, I'm thinking of investing into a filter system.  How many of you actually filter your beer and if so, what system do you use and like best?

Beer Recipes / Brewing a Wit today
« on: April 17, 2014, 05:38:21 PM »
About once a year I brew Mdixon's Wit or Without recipe.  Makes a great wit but I always forget just what a huge pain in the butt this is.
I batch sparge but this calls for incremental steps.  So, I put it in the boil pot and boiled the wheat for 20 mins or so.  Then I added a bunch of cold water and the barley which worked out great to bring it down to the 104F acid rest stop. 
But after that I went for 122 by heating slowly, stirring and checking and missed it by a bit.  Hit about 128-130 before I got stopped heating.  Oh well, wrapped in coats and left for 1/2 an hour.
Now I've ramped it to 153 paying more attention and wrapped it up again. 
Next step is to mash out at 170. 
Then I have to put it all into the cooler, heat up some more water for sparging, lauter etc.  Seems like I've been all morning and I'm not even to the boil stage yet.
But, it makes a great beer so it's all worth it.

The Pub / Wanna see some puppies?
« on: April 17, 2014, 03:00:31 PM »
The family is getting a dog.  We haven't had one in a few years since we had to put our Lab down.  I am going with a particular breed, Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon for a few reasons, not least of which is that they are a "hypo-allergenic" breed (I don't actually believe any breed is 100% hypo-allergenic but we need a dog that doesn't shed much due to my one son's allergies.  The Lab came before the boy but now we can choose wiser).

Here's a picture of the litter we are getting a pup from.  They are a week old now. 

Ingredients / Apricot
« on: April 17, 2014, 02:19:47 PM »
A friend is home from University in Montreal where she has fallen in love with St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat and wants to know if I can make something similar.  Since I also really like that beer, I'm gonna give it a try.  But, I'm unsure what the best strategy is to infuse the apricot into the beer.

Also, notice that this starts at 15.5 plato (1.062) but ends at 5% so it must be fairly low attenuation.  Any suggestions on a yeast that would be a good starting point for this?  I'm thinking WLP002 might be a possibility but I'm not sure where to start. 

A couple years ago, I tried something like this by putting 1 gal of wheat beer onto pureed apricots.  The taste was ok but I bottled it and because it had some apricot puree that got siphoned into the bottles during the process, the apricot provided nucleation points and each bottle gushed terribly.  It wasn't really over carbonated and it wasn't contaminated so I'm pretty sure it was the apricot like I said.

Any thoughts on a better strategy to make this work?  I'm doing all 15 gal batches now so I'd probably do a big batch of wheat and then do at least 10 gals in secondary with fruit under the assumption that if it works, I'd want a decent amount to have on hand for the whole summer.

Please let me know what you all think.

Yeast and Fermentation / Time before pitching.
« on: April 16, 2014, 02:51:51 AM »
I brew in the cold garage and often leave my beers overnight in the cold before pitching the yeast. I like how the hops and trub settle out before I put it in the fermenter. Now I'm using a conical and I'm letting things settle and dumping trub before pitching. I'm curious if others do this and if its a good idea at all. I used to pitch immediately after chilling under the assumption that having the yeast in the fermenter would out compete any bad bugs. Am I making a mistake letting it sit? 

Beer Recipes / Thoughts on an IPA
« on: April 12, 2014, 03:58:38 PM »
I don't make many IPAs, more of an APA guy but I'm thinking of trying a bigger, hoppier brew.

For a 10 gal batch at 80% efficiency I'm thinking of starting very simple with:

20 lbs 2 row
5 lbs Munich
1 lb C40
3 oz CTZ 14%aa @60
2 oz Centennial @ 10
2 oz Cascade @ 10
2 oz Centennial @ 0 stand 20 mins
2 oz Cascade @ 0 stand 20 mins
2 oz each Cascade and Centennial dry hop for 7 days.

I have most other common hops so if I should change them up, let me know.
Let me know if I'm on the right track.

Yeast and Fermentation / When to pull yeast out of a conical
« on: April 07, 2014, 07:29:11 PM »
I'm excited to try pulling yeast out of my conical for the next batch.  I only pitched it yesterday so I know I'm ahead of myself but do you all let the beer finish entirely before pulling yeast or do you pull some while it's still fermenting?
This is a lager that I'm doing with the intent of pulling a good pitch for a marzen but I don't want to sacrifice the quality of this beer by pulling yeast too early.  But, how important to this brew is the yeast that has settled into the cone already anyway?
When would you pull yeast for a subsequent batch?

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