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Topics - gmac

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Yeast and Fermentation / White Mould Issue
« on: August 09, 2013, 09:05:59 AM »
A while ago I asked a question pertaining to star-san and if I should switch up my sanitizer.  The consensus was no. But, for a long while I've been having this strange, thin white mould start to show up on my beers, particularly if they are left for a while without being kegged.

Today I went to keg an EIPA that I have which has been sitting in the bucket for some time now.  I just didn't have fridge or keg space available to deal with it. When I opened it I saw the white film so I thought I'd ask some questions and take some pictures.

Now I've had this before and I've gone ahead and drank the beer and I'm going to do the same with this one.  There seems to be no off-flavour, no detectable odour or any other real issue that I've seen.  I do siphon out from below and leave the last inch or so in the keg though to minimize bringing this film into the keg.  I have not seen it in a keg that has been in the cold.

I did try something else.  Several months ago I had a vial of WLP Mexican Lager that was past it's due date and I tried stepping it up to make a starter.  Along the way I noticed the white mould starting so I didn't go any further with it but I did leave it to see what happened.  This photo is about 4 months worth of growth.

Sorry for the lousy quality but cell phone through glass doesn't work well.  The starter has no real smell even after all this time and the mould just sits there in a fluffy head of mycelium.  This jug was washed thoroughly, star-san rinsed and the vial added, that's all. 

I'm going to probably dump all my plastic buckets but I get this in glass too.  I think that it's just in the air everywhere and with enough time it starts to show up.  I do know that I need more kegs so I can get it into kegs and into the cold faster but I'd like to get rid of it entirely if I can.  It doesn't matter if I use a fermentation lock or just tin foil over the carboy mouth but I always use a fermentation lock on buckets with either vodka or rye in them.
Any one else ever see this and any thoughts on what to do?

Yeast and Fermentation / First Stir-plate Starter
« on: August 06, 2013, 12:33:52 PM »
I am doing my first stir plate starter today and I was wondering a couple things.
My normal process is just to put a 2L starter in a gallon jug and shake once in a while until the krausen is clearly done, cold crash and pitch.  This normally takes me 3 or 4 days depending on the yeast.  But, with a stir plate, does the yeast finish quicker?  And how do you know it's done?  I'm assuming that the constant agitation results in no visible krausen because the CO2 generated is de-gassed pretty rapidly and this you don't get that big head of krausen but am I wrong?  I did a 2L starter in a 2L flask so I hope I'm right or I'm gonna have some serious spillage.

BTW, first time using WLP013 London Ale.  Major foamer when I tried to get it into the flask.  The CO2 in solution blasted out resulting in a lump of yeast foam that was darn hard to get out.  First time that I've had this problem although I expect it's happened to others before.

Pimp My System / My system needs pimping
« on: August 02, 2013, 07:13:06 AM »
I bought a 150 qt cooler and 30 gal boil kettle and I've been trying to do some bigger batches (20 gals).  But 30 lbs of grain with 45L - 60L of water gets heavy.  So, this is how I've been doing it but it's a pain in the arse moving stuff around.  I like batch sparging and for now I want to stay on that platform but does anyone have any other suggestions for ways to set up a larger batch sparge system?
Here's what I've been doing so far.  It works but it's clumsy.

The Pub / Lemonade
« on: July 27, 2013, 08:01:02 AM »
So this is as far from brewing as you can get but I'm actually pretty happy.
8 cans of frozen concentrated lemonade, a bottle of 100 proof absolute, a chunk of ginger and enough water to fill my 3 gal cornie.  Put it on at 30 PSI. 
Just vodka and lemonade but having it on tap makes it so much cooler. 

All Things Food / Pickles and other fermented foods
« on: July 23, 2013, 07:07:09 AM »
I'm making a batch of kosher dills today and I thought maybe we should have a pickle thread.  Since we moved, this is the first time we've been able to have a big garden and although the weeds have been a problem, i'm looking forward to pickling cucumbers, hot peppers and green beans.  Plus I over planted my tomatoes big time so I'm going to be needing some good salsa recipes and I may even try tomato juice but we shall see.
Anyone else have anything going into brine or vinegar these days?

Equipment and Software / Star-San Dependence
« on: June 24, 2013, 03:02:52 PM »
I've been using Star-San exclusively now for a couple years.  I'm starting to wonder if I should try a different sanitizer in order to avoid any sort of resistance development with the bacteria in my system.  I have a keg of IPA that has a distinct phenolic flavour reminiscent of smoked malt and it must be an infection but I can't say for sure that I did everything perfect when I kegged the beer so I can't really blame the sanitizer.
Do you rotate your sanitizer?  Should I try iodophor or something different just to keep the bacteria guessing?

Ingredients / Hop stand bitterness
« on: June 17, 2013, 09:23:57 AM »
I've been doing some heavy late hop additions and leaving them stand for about 30 mins before chilling. I'm finding a lot of extra hop bitterness that seems much greater than I anticipated. Does anyone else have this issue?  Should I chill down a bit first and then hop?
Last batch wad 10 gals and I added a 3 oz blend of Pacific Jade and Galaxy. Beer tastes good but very bitter and a bit rough which doesn't surprise me given the Galaxy.

Beer Travel / DTW actually has one good beer!
« on: June 03, 2013, 03:26:04 PM »
I fly through Detroit a lot and the beer selection in this airport, where I write this right now is terrible. But I just discovered the Heineken Lounge has Brooklyn Lager and Bell's Two-Hearted in bottles. Its a small positive in this huge negative.

Beer Recipes / German Pils - hop and malt questions
« on: June 03, 2013, 10:32:40 AM »
I'm going to do a 20 gal batch of German pilsner (or as close as I can get) but I've got a couple questions.  I was thinking of the following:

30 lbs Weyerman Pils
5 lbs Vienna malt
75 g Magnum @ 60
100 g Hallertau @ 10
WLP Mexican Lager yeast (3 vials pitched to a 5 gal generic "lager" for a starter then all of the yeast harvested for this beer.  I'm sure that some would suggest 830 or 833 but I like the Mexican Lager, seems very clean in the few lagers I've made.)
I'm looking for a crisp beer that fits into the upper end of the bitterness range, maybe in the 35 IBU area.
My usual efficiency is about 80% although I've not done 20 gals at once before. 
Water is planned to be 1/2 RO and 1/2 tap.  My tap is fairly hard although I don't have actual #'s in front of me. 

My questions are:  Will the Vienna make it too sweet?  I don't have Munich on hand so I'm going with the Vienna unless you all talk me out of it.  The other option is 100% pils (I have cara-pils and C15 on hand but I assume crystal has no place in a pils).  I am looking for a bit of complexity which is why I would add Munich if I had it on hand.

Are the finishing hops enough?  Should I mix them up with other hops or do more additions.  I have Tettnang and some older Saaz on hand.  Was considering 50/50 Hallertau/Tettnang at 10 and maybe the same amount again at flameout. 

The Pub / Amber Beer Glasses
« on: May 27, 2013, 07:50:04 PM »
Maybe the Pub isn't the place for this because it is actually beer and homebrew related but does anyone know if they make amber beer glasses?  Now that summer has sort of started here in Ontario (and I say "Sort of" because there was a good amount of frost this morning), I will be spending a lot more time outside.  I do have some plastic glasses but I'd live to find amber coloured glass glasses.  I just like drinking my homebrew out of actual glass but I don't appreciate the skunkiness that I get after 30 seconds in direct sunlight. 
Anyone have a good suggestion for skunk proof glassware?

Equipment and Software / Canner
« on: May 09, 2013, 03:14:28 PM »
I found a guy selling a two head canner for $6k.  It's over $20K new.  I know I don't need it, I know I can't afford it but I know I want it.  The idea of canning my own homebrew is really, really appealing.  I just wish that there were enough other homebrewers around here to make it worthwhile.
So, talk me out of spending too much on this thing. 

Ingredients / Ginger and Belgian Style Yeast
« on: May 06, 2013, 06:37:40 AM »
I want to make a ginger beer with a pronounced ginger flavour. I've read the threads on when to add and how much and I think I've settled on adding the juice sqeezed from 4 ounces in the last 10 mins of the boil as I want flavour but not heat.
But, I'm not sure of what yeast to use. I have a large pitch of the Wyeast Belgian Canadian (Unibroue) yeast. Do you think the ginger would clash with the phenols in this yeast?

Ingredients / Cloudy Maris Otter - how to clear my EIPA
« on: April 18, 2013, 12:44:07 PM »
A couple years ago someone (Bluesman???) made a comments about Munton's MO giving him cloudy beers.  I've got 10 gals of English IPA made with WLP007 and Muntin MO (and a bit of C40) that just will not clear up.  I make a lot of APA's with this yeast and they usually drop pretty clear pretty fast but this one just won't clear even with gelatin.  It's been cold crashed for 2 weeks now. 

So, short of filtering or waiting since I can't do one and am too thirsty to do the other, any idea what would help this drop clear?

Yeast and Fermentation / Can you over pitch a lager?
« on: March 28, 2013, 07:57:26 PM »
I've got a 5 gal amber lager with WLP833 sitting out for a D-rest right now. 
I'm going to do another lager right away, probably a 1.060ish bock of some sort.  Should I just re-pitch the entire yeast cake?  Mr. Malty says I should pitch about 230 ml of yeast from a re-pitch but I have no idea how to factor in how "clean" my re-pitch is.  I wasn't planning on trying to wash it or anything.  I would expect that there are maybe 2 cups of slurry in the bottom of the bucket, depending on how much liquid I have to use to get it re-suspended to pour.

So, long way to get to my question.  Is there any downside to just re-pitching the entire yeast cake?  I was going to chill to about 45 or so and then pitch.

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