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Topics - rbowers

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1
General Homebrew Discussion / Lactic acid and ph adjustment
« on: August 09, 2015, 07:52:26 AM »
Going to brew my first Berliner weisse today and had a question about using lactic acid to adjust pH.  I will be souring the wort with L. Brevis for 4-5 days and boiling again prior to adding the primary yeast.  From what I've read, it seems to be suggested that the pH of the wort is lowered to 4.5 or so prior to adding lactobacillus to facilitate its growth as well as prevent other nasty bacteria from taking hold before the pH can be lowered by lacto. 

Is there any way to calculate how much lactic acid (88% strength) to add to ~11 gallons of wort to get the pH down around 4.5?  I guess I don't know my starting pH yet (assume 5.3-5.5 maybe???) which I'm sure affects the answer.  Just looking for additional advice.  Is this just kind of a "test and see" type thing?  What's a good increment to start with?

2
Yeast and Fermentation / Lactobacillus and starsan
« on: August 07, 2015, 12:26:58 PM »
I had a lacto starter all set for a Berliner Weiss brew day for next week.  I had some star San solution in the airlock and it appears (after placing in fridge to keep) that some star San was sucked back into the starter.  Knowing that starsan is an acid based sanitizer is there any reason to think adding a small portion to the starter by accident will annihilate the lacto which probably was already in an acidic solution from the lacto fermentation?  It was about a 1.75 L starter.  Concentration of the starsan solution unknown- just eyeballed it.

3
Yeast and Fermentation / Lacto Souring
« on: July 18, 2015, 03:59:30 PM »
Planning on brewing a Berliner Weisse and souring using lactobacillus brevis.  I wanted to try kettle souring (well actually "fermentor souring"), tossing a starter of pure lacto into the wort for a few days until appropriate sourness obtained.  It sounds like getting a really oxygen deplete environment is best for this part and I contemplated doing this in a CO2 purged corny keg.  My question is: should I expect significant CO2 buildup?  Will it be enough to simply burp the keg every 12 hrs or so?  From my research is sounds like L. Brevis can be heterofermentative and produce both alcohol and CO2, just not sure how much.
 Benefits to doing this in the keg would be easy sampling (just put a picnic tap on keg) to hit the sourness just right.  I'm not looking to make some co2 bomb in the garage though.  Any thoughts?
Also is there any benefit to boiling after the lacto is done to sterilize wort?  I don't mind some continued acidification/souring of the wort to go along with the primary sach fermentation.  Can't think of any other reason to do this step.

4
Beer Recipes / Hefe + Berliner Weisse big batch
« on: May 20, 2015, 11:34:04 AM »
I get less and less time to brew these days so when given the chance I have been trying to get two batches in.  This is easiest to do if I can brew two batches from one base beer.  Lately I've been contemplating a Hefeweizen/Berliner Weisse combo.  Both can have similar malt bills.  I would boil the entire batch briefly, pull off the Berliner portion after minimal hopping, then continue on with a full boil for the Hefeweizen.  This would result in a lower OG for the Berliner and a higher one for the Hefeweizen which would fall in line with typical characteristics of both styles.  Has anyone else done something similar or have comments on if this can work.  I'm also open to other combo suggestions.  This would be my first attempt at either style.

5
Kegging and Bottling / Force carbonating temperature
« on: May 19, 2015, 05:18:59 PM »
I have always kept my CO2 tank inside the keezer and force carbed the beers at a corresponding pressure knowing that both the beer and CO2 tank were the same temperature.  I need to move the tank out of the keezer now for needed room, so it will be closer to ambient (~75-80F) temps.  Will this affect anything or do I just set the dial at my usual number based on corresponding beer temp?  Probably a stupid question but thought I'd ask.

6
Equipment and Software / Shurflo pumps for cold transfers
« on: May 06, 2015, 11:35:16 AM »
Does anyone have any opinions regarding the shurflo pumps you can find on some of the online shops?  I have a bad back with a few bulging discs and lifting carboys for gravity induced transfers from primary to secondary or secondary to keg are difficult/not ideal.  I have transferred under small amounts of CO2 pressure and while effective this is somewhat cumbersome and seems a tad risky.
Specifically does anyone have any recs regarding how easy these are to clean?  I've got some brett beers floating around from time to time and would hope to be able to sanitize the pump by circulating some starsan or the like for awhile. 

The prices on the online shops are prohibitive but amazon appears to sell the same pump for way less.

SHURflo Industrial Pump - 198 GPH, 115 Volt, 1/2in., Model# 2088-594-154

Any thoughts?

7
Yeast and Fermentation / Jolly pumpkin dregs
« on: December 19, 2014, 08:23:55 AM »
I managed to acquire several bottles of Jolly Pumpkin (big fan) of which I am hoping to harvest the dregs and add to a little wort to sustain them until I'm ready to toss into some wort.  Does anyone know if the yeast and/or bugs located within the bottles are all the same or different for each bottle?  Do sour beers like Jolly Pumpkin typically contain live cultures of lactobacillus or Pedio?

8
Yeast and Fermentation / Belgian Saison Blend (WL568) starter?
« on: December 16, 2014, 12:28:06 PM »
Planning on brewing up a big batch of saison in 10 days or so.  I wanted to split 10 gallons into two separate 5 gal worts- half to be a traditional saison the other half to be pitched with Brett Trois/lambicus left over from a 100% Brett farmhouse that finished up fermenting (saved some of the yeast).
LHBS only had WL568 belgian saison yeast blend which came highly recommended.  I need to build it up though over the next few days for the total 10 gallons.  Since it is a blend, will making a starter alter the characteristics much of the final beer and if so would it be bad to do anyways?

9
Beer Recipes / Fruit to add to winter saison
« on: December 14, 2014, 03:21:35 PM »
I brewed up a large batch (8 gal) of the winter saison (saison d'hiver recipe on AHA website).  Treated 5 gal as per recipe but decided to add Brett Brux to 3 gal as an experiment.  The gravity after primary fermentation was fairly low (1.008) so not a lot left in terms of sugars for the Brett I added after primary fermentation.  I was toying around with idea of adding fruit to the secondary for the 3 gal for Brett to munch on and maybe add some interesting flavor but not sure what would be best.  I omitted the vanilla and cinnamon for the 3 gal with Brett.
Plan to let it sit in secondary awhile (several months).

I've considered currants, dates, and raisins but I'm in uncharted territory in terms of my experience.

Any suggestions?

Recipe is as follows (scaled up for 8 gallons)

For 5.5 gallons (20.8 L)
11.5 lb (5.21 kg) | Belgian Pilsner malt
0.60 lb (0.27 kg) | Crystal 120L
1.0 lb (0.45 kg) | Munich malt
0.4 lb (0.18 kg) | Vienna malt
0.4 lb (0.18 kg) | Wheat malt
0.25 lb (0.11 kg) Carafa malt
0.50 lb (0.22 kg) | Turbinado sugar
0.75 lb (0.34 kg) | Dark Candi sugar
1.4 oz (40 g) | Styrian Goldings hop pellets, 4.7% AA (60 minutes)
0.5 oz (14 g) | Saaz hop pellets, 3.5% AA (20 minutes)


10
Yeast and Fermentation / Washing Brett
« on: December 03, 2014, 07:30:37 AM »
I have my first 100% Brett beer fermenting (about 20 days in).  I used a 3L starter of Brett trois and 1.5L starter of Brett lambicus all pitched together in primary.  I haven't taken a reading yet but likely plan to transfer to secondary soon.  I wanted to wash the yeast and re-use if this beer turns out good as it took awhile to build up all that Brett in the starters.  Is there anything I should know about washing Brett before I transfer?  Anything different from normal sacc yeast washing practices?  I know it will be a mixed culture obviously but I am ok with that especially if the initial Brett beer comes out well.  Thanks.

11
Yeast and Fermentation / 100% Brett First Attempt
« on: November 04, 2014, 01:34:42 PM »
Going to try a 100% Brett fermentation and needed some help.
I was going to use the recipe from the AHA website (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/homebrew-recipe/beer-recipe-of-the-week-100-brettanomyces-belgian-specialty-ale/) which describes using a mix of two different strains of Brett.
Questions:
1) will the Brett perform well at the low temp recommended (65F)?  Seems well below the optimum temp recommended by white labs.
2) will Brett Brux Trois strain also work well for a primary fermentation (if I can't get my hands on Brett brux/lambicus)?
3) there seems to be a lot of variety in how fast I should expect these to ferment out- some say months, others something not too longer than a typical ferment schedule.
4) are starters necessary?

Thanks.

12
Equipment and Software / Heating element for HLT
« on: August 12, 2014, 07:19:45 AM »
I am slowly working towards increased control of my current brew system and wanted to add an electric element to my HLT thru which a 50ft herms coil circulates.  I have little to no knowledge of electricity and prefer to buy a prefabricated model.  I was looking at the blichman 120V boil coil 10 gal models.  The HLT will likely end up being a old 15.5 gal keg but would only hold 10-12 gallons for the HLT and herms coil.  My question is does anyone have experience with these?  Will it work well on a old keg for an HLT?  Again, not looking to boil water obviously in the HLT but more hold temp between 150-180F.  Would use a Johnson controller to do that.  The heat efficiency calculation blichman lists states it would have an efficiency of ~1-1.5 degrees F per minute heating capability which seems reasonable.  Ideally I would opt for a 240V model but that incurs the cost of creating a new outlet which I'm not too interested in.  Any thoughts?

13
Kegging and Bottling / Super carbed keg
« on: June 10, 2014, 12:06:01 PM »
I kegged a RIS a few months ago and planned on letting it sit in basement around 60F for awhile before ultimately carbonating it further and drinking it. When it went into the keg the gravity was around 1.030 down from 1.10. I periodically checked to make sure it was holding pressure and never had a problem.  Today I put it into the kegerator and it is acting like it is pressurized way above normal.  I guess it may have gotten shaken up a little bit in tranfer but not like we rolled it down a hill.  Hooking it up to a gas line, the beer shot back into the gas line despite about 20 psi on the line.  I have disconnected the gas, tried pouring off some through the beer line and pulled the pin several times to try and off gas it a bit but eventually it starts shooting foam out the pin.  Also whatever I pour off is almost pure foam and coming out rather violently.  Any chance this is infected?  Doesn't particularly taste bad or off.  I also thought terminal gravity had been reached or at least very close to it (it had about a month to ferment in the carboy).  Any suggestions? 

14
Kegging and Bottling / Trouble with gas posts
« on: September 07, 2013, 07:20:17 PM »
I have a few ball lock kegs that seem to mostly have these gas posts with a star pattern.  I'm not too happy with them, they are infuriating to try and get off as I can't use a socket wrench (works fine with the liquid posts which have typical shape), and would love to find a replacement or better way to get them on and off.  Any idea what type these are?  Tried looking on keg but can't find any manufacturing marks to describe the keg (Firestone, challenger, etc).  I bought a matching gas post compared to the liquid post (it is def a gas post) but the threads are different I guess cause it won't screw on.

15
Yeast and Fermentation / Bugs in the bottle
« on: May 06, 2013, 06:38:56 PM »
Just bottled my first attempt at a Flanders red, 5 gal batch.  It spent 8+mos in the secondary, pellicle seemed to drop out so I decided to bottle.  SG was still a little high (not sure how much 3/4cup priming sugar would add to that) at 1.014.  Can I expect the yeast and bugs to continue to metabolize leftover sugars/dextrins and it to further drop over time or am I pretty much done beyond carbonation.  Also hoping it sours a bit more with time. I also threw in champagne yeast at bottling to help carb it up.

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