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Messages - rbowers

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Yeast and Fermentation / Keeping cultured yeast/bugs alive over time
« on: November 30, 2017, 04:27:49 AM »
What is the best way to sustain yeast/souring bacteria alive that are cultured up from bottle dregs?  I have grown up a fair amount of yeast and presumably souring bacteria in a series of small flasks by combining bottle dregs and low gravity starter wort with the intention of adding it to a series of beers down the road.  I have already done this with one batch but am wondering how I can keep the culture I grew up from bottle dregs alive over several months.  The cultures were grown up from 2 Russian River and one Wicked Weed bottle.  The Russian River I cannot easily obtain so looking to keep it going if possible. 

I have been feeding it every 1-2 months with fresh low gravity wort after decanting off the spent wort (which tastes pretty good).  Is this ok to leave at room temp and just keep feeding it or should I be leaving them out a few weeks then cold storing in the fridge after each feeding?

Growth/fermentation is obviously happening as activity is seen in the airlock, the wort changes sour, and the yeast/bug cake seems to be increasing with each feeding.  However, are the majority of these cells dying over time?  Would it be better to plan ahead better and pour off some fresh slurry from a storage flask, add fresh wort, and dump that whole new flask in the beer after allowing for 1-2 weeks of growth?

I know to expect the ratios of yeast (brett and whatever sacc may be alive) as well as bacteria to change over time so results won't be consistent but still a fun side project.

Beer Recipes / Re: Critique 1st attempt at English Dark Mild
« on: November 29, 2017, 04:14:25 AM »
Ok a few tweaks.
LHBS was somehow out of English Ale yeast so picked up a packet of West Yorkshire Ale instead as it seemed to carry relatively similar stats and was suggested as a good, but maybe different, substitute.

Mild Malt 6.5lb
Pale Chocolate 5 oz
Crystal 60 6oz
Crystal 150 5 oz
Black Patent 2oz

See how this goes. Appreciate the help.

Beer Recipes / Critique 1st attempt at English Dark Mild
« on: November 26, 2017, 09:10:28 AM »
Haven't made this style before and using mild malt which will also be a first.  Just looking for any input or tips on ratios as well as planned mash temp considering low attenuating yeast.  Mainly struggling around a balance of mild malt (leaves more sweetness), % of crystal malts and other non-fermentables, a lower attenuating yeast (63-70%), and an ideal mash temp (150 vs 154 vs even higher).  Final goal is an easy drinking but highly flavorable session ale

6 Gal Batch

7lb Mild Malt (89%)
Pale Chocolate Malt 4oz (3.2%)
English Medium Crystal (60-70L) 4oz (3.2%)
Crystal 120 3.2 oz (2.5%)
Black Patent 2.5oz (2%)

EKG 0.85 oz (~19 IBU)
WLP 002

OG: ~1.037 @78% efficiency

Mash at 152 x 60 min, Mash out 168F
Pitch & Ferment 65F x 1 day then rise 1F daily up to 68 and hold until complete

Water Profile: Ca- 75, Mg-6, Na-9, Cl-44, SO4-63, HCO3-49

Read quite a few articles about other potential specialty malts including brown and amber malt but I have also not used those before.  Thoughts?

Equipment and Software / Sanitizing wort chiller/thermometer setup
« on: November 11, 2017, 02:15:15 PM »
I finally decided to install an in line thermometer on the exit of my shirron wort chiller to monitor wort temps during my chilling process.  I have used a shirron plate chiller for years with fairly good success but have always had temps in the high 70s and 80s at the end and had to wait or place the fermenter in an ice bath to get the final temp drop to mid 60s.  Part of this is the ground water temp I use to chill (mid-upper 60s) but I was hoping that adding a thermometer to the line and a ball valve to control flow that I may optimize it further.  So this whole thing is screwed together on a SS t-piece.  PLumbers tape used to stop leaks.  It has quick disconnects to take it off and on the chiller. My question is what is the best way to sanitize this rig?  Taking it apart, re-taping everything, etc is going to be a bear.  Is running hot wort thru the chiller and the rest of the tubing for 5-10min sufficient (running it back to the kettle and then when ready to chill directing it to the fermentor as I turn on chill water)?  Should/Can I submerge the entire thing in Starsan?  Can brewing thermometers be submerged (essentially came from a weldless setup for a kettle thermometer I had lying around)?

MOREBEER sells these rigs already pieced together (I just had the parts left around from prior projects) so I know people use it, just looking for good advice on sanitation.  Thanks

All Grain Brewing / Water adjustment question
« on: October 24, 2017, 02:31:21 PM »
Been toying around with water adjustments and trying to gain more understanding of the various variables.  My water after carbon filtration is a fairly blank canvas: Ca= 2, Mg = 0, Na = 13, Sulfate = 0, Cl= 7, HCO3 = 13.  pH is 7.8.  I recently listened to the Homebrew network podcast series on water adjustments and they describe doing all your adjustments as expected for the mash water BUT NOT adding any adjustments to sparge water, rather adding those salts to the kettle following the sparge and before the boil.  Part of the reasoning on this is a lack of solubility of the salts in sparge water (which I have experienced in previous batches).  To that end I will be adding the salts to get my planned profile to the mash and then tossing in the sparge salts after the sparge into the kettle before the boil.  I am also messing around with BrunWater spreadsheet and it mentions some acid additions.  The mash will require 2.9mL of Lactic acid (88%) to the 6.4 gal mash water to hit pH 5.3 (this calculation accounts for a malt bill for a fairly light colored saison of 6 SRM).  It also mentions a sparge acidification and this gets me to my question:

?If I am not adding the salts to the sparge water should I add the recommended lactic acid to the sparge water?
?If not, should I add it with the salts to the kettle once sparge is completed?

Again, baseline water pH is 7.8 so not abundantly alkaline so tempted to just leave it out but if I do am I missing any benefits of it in the kettle once all is said and done?  I may be too deep in the weeds on this but looking for advice.

Equipment and Software / Spunding Valve
« on: September 25, 2017, 07:25:18 PM »
Been trying to think of an ideal setup to age a sour beer in a corny keg following primary fermentation that would allow a small amount of pressure to remain on the beer (a few PSI) and minimize O2 as well as allow for easy sampling over the planned several month souring/aging process.  I fear with carboys I will have an excessive amount of O2 exposure with sampling as well as a more cumbersome sampling process with a thief several times over the course of a few months.  The idea of using a corny keg slightly pressurized to keep O2 out and ease of sampling with a picnic tap (or similar) and a shortened dip tube came up.  Then I worried about excessive pressure building up as Brett/bacteria works their way through residual sugars if I were to forget to pull the relief valve often enough.  I came across this valve on More which seems to offer a potential solution.  I could set the PSI fairly low (3-5) and any excess CO2 would simply blow off with no risk of O2 entrance.  Does anyone have any experience in a set up like this or does it theoretically make sense?  We are sometimes away from the house for weeks at a time and this would be seemingly a good way to set something and not have to worry about it too often.  Any idea of how Brett and bugs act under a very low PSI head pressure?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Sour Primary Yeast
« on: September 21, 2017, 05:47:32 AM »
Well took a reading and its still 1.040 so basically that yeast was non-viable.  Tasted pretty strange too- not just like sweet wort and certainly nothing like a clean fermenting english yeast strain.  So I won't be pitching that.  I guess I am down to pitch a packet or two of newly bought yeast or pitch the 1056.  Thoughts?

Yeast and Fermentation / Sour Primary Yeast
« on: September 21, 2017, 05:28:39 AM »
Looking to brew up the wine barrel sour red recipe in American Sour Beers.  I had originally planned to use the recommended Wyeast 1968 London ESB strain and actually went as far as to get the starter all prepared (1.040 1.5 L on stir plate x 48 hrs at room temp) but now looking at the finished starter it is very cloudy (despite overnight in fridge) and what is normally a nice yeast cake on the bottom of the flask is looking substantially less than normal.  This is my normal process and have never had an issue but also never used this yeast before.  It is described as highly flocculant but seems to be doing anything but that.  Brew day of course is this evening and not many options in near future.  Was going to ferment clean for 5-6 days then transfer with Roselare and some dregs from Russian River bottles I have grown up a bit with small starters the last few weeks.

The wort will be ~1.060, similar to how described in book.  Mash at ~157-158 x 60 min to leave some residual sugars for bugs to work on.

1) Any thoughts on the above yeast starter and its viability?  I suppose I could taste it and take a gravity reading.
2) Back up plan would be to either pitch some Wyeast 1056 I have laying around that was washed from previous batch (I have plenty) or run out and buy another packet of lower attentuating yeast.

The only difference was I ordered the 1968 yeast online, took several days to get here so not sure if it wasn't so viable to begin with.  It is now ~3 months past its original date of packaging.

If I do buy another pack of yeast there will be no time for a starter- is this a concern given the overall plans for this to be a sour beer with lots of highly attenuating stuff pitched later?
If I go with the 1056 should I expect it to be less sour in the end with it's higher initial primary fermentation attentuation or would such a high mash temp likely keep plenty of food (and sour potential) left over for the bugs.

Lots of questions....Thanks

Ingredients / Cryo Hops
« on: August 27, 2017, 05:52:32 PM »
Can anyone recommend the best method to containing cryo-hops/lupulin powder while dry hopping?  I anticipate dry hopping in a corny keg.  Standard hop sock I imagine is way to permeable.  Id seen pantyhose suggested before.  I imagine an actual mesh bag may also be a little too permeable.  I have one of those stainless steel dry hopping tubes but also a little concerned about how fine this powder may be.  Anyone have any experience with these type hop products?  Is dry hopping not even a good idea with this?  Going to throw some in at flameout/whirlpool for an APA this week. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Ss Brew Bucket Thermowell
« on: July 17, 2017, 07:37:06 PM »
So I guess my question is more about the best place to measure temps within a fermenter.  Is the top two inches of wort going to be much different than 8-10 inches down in the fermenter

Equipment and Software / Ss Brew Bucket Thermowell
« on: July 17, 2017, 01:20:13 PM »
Finally committed and bought an Ss 7 gal stainless brew bucket.  Very excited about this.  I also picked up one of the thermwells to install as I will be using a Johnson controller to control fermentation temps. 
Does anyone have any recommendations on where to place it on the brew bucket?  Initial thoughts were on the side but out of the way of rotating racking arm but now thinking maybe in the top is better.  This seems easier and also will allow me to wrap a fermwrap heating element around the outside during the cooler months a lot easier.  It will submerge the probe down to about the 4gal mark if installed up top which seems sufficient as I more or less always will brew 5.5 gal batches.  Any thoughts?

Equipment and Software / Auber Instruments Brew Panel
« on: December 22, 2016, 04:25:48 AM »
Does anyone have potential feedback or review on the electronic brewing system from Auber Instruments (link below).

Continuing to research electronic brewing system options and while this is not quite the definitive system on "The Electric Brewery" site, it may offer what I need (at a more acceptable cost).  The system will be a HERMS 3 tier system using 3 keggles with the PID controller working to maintain the HLT temp with a continuously recirculating wort pump through the HERMS coil- basically just as they do on the electric brewery website.  The MLT temp can be monitored by a separate thermometer with the assurance that the MLT will never overshoot the HLT temp.

The other option would be to purchase a tower of power module from Blichmann to do the same thing however I like having the independent controls for pumps, alarms, etc all on one panel. 

Just curious if anyone had experience with this panel or can comment on things from auber instruments in general,  Thanks.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: FG still to high
« on: September 13, 2016, 05:10:12 PM »
Sounds good.  Thanks for the advice.  I have never done one of those tests before but basically sounds like I just draw off some wort, add a bunch of yeast (any particular type?), stick it on a stir plate and see what it drops to?  Safe assumption to go with maybe a more attenuating strain (US05-have some lying around) and if I do get a few points out of it, pitch the same into the remaining beer?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: FG still to high
« on: September 13, 2016, 09:50:14 AM »
How about champagne yeast?

It was a 15 gallon batch brewed on a brew easy system at LHBS (wanted to give the system a try).
Toasted quick oats 3lb
Roasted barley 3lb
Maris otter 24.75 lb
Crystal 90 1lb
Chocolate 2.5lb
Victory 1.5lb

Was supposed to mash 152F X 60 min but as I said things got screwed up early on.

Yeast and Fermentation / FG still to high
« on: September 12, 2016, 07:40:23 PM »
So I brewed up a large amount of oatmeal stout 3 weeks ago and split the batch across 3 different yeast strains- WLP005, WLP540, and Wyeast Denny's Fav.  The brew day went a little off course with initial mash temp way too high at 159 but we got it down to 152 after a bit and let it sit there for at least 60min.  At 3 weeks all signs of fermentation have long since stopped and the gravity readings are hanging at 1.023-1.024.  OG was ~1.067. 

I plan to recheck it again in a week but assuming I'm at or near the end here is there any way to reduce that gravity a it further?  It's definitely a bit sweeter and heavier than I'd like.  Done some perusing and seen ideas such as Beano (may drive it too far the other way), adding sterile and deoxygenated water, etc but a lot of these don't seem to have a lot of solid support.  Also, I had planned on adding some post fermentation flavor with coffee, cacao nibs, maybe even oak (not all together, but in individual batches).  Any chance any of those will add a drier impression or taste to the beer?

Hoping there is a way to salvage this beer otherwise it's going to take a long time to drink all this heavy stuff.

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