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Messages - kgs

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: how do you make a yeast starter?
« on: February 13, 2011, 11:05:31 AM »
The Homebrewopedia offers a yeast starter recipe ( ). That said... several small observations:

* Its recipe for a yeast starter recommends 1 cup DME to a quart of water. Using Beersmith, if I go with 1 cup DME weighing .4 lbs, that works out to 1.071 OG -- pretty high. I can get to 1.045 OG if I assume 1 cup DME = .25 ounces.

* Providing weight for the DME in this recipe (in both US and metric) might encourage new brewers to make critical measurements by weight, not volume. DME is a hard thing to estimate by volume, especially for such a small amount of wort. I'm not saying don't list a volume measurement... just suggesting someone with credibility might want to add weight measurements to this fairly important recipe.

* Some interesting SEO: a Google search for "making yeast starter" or "yeast starter" doesn't yield a link to anything on the domain for the first twenty results--even though most of Google's results for these search phrases are related to brewing. If I force a site search ("making yeast starter"), it's the 7th result. If I remove the verb "making" and force a site search, it's the third result. I have to force a subdomain site search to make it the third result  ("yeast starter"). Shouldn't the AHA's recipe for yeast starter be *the* first result in any general Google search?

Now back to the work stuff I've been avoiding...


One thing this podcast will inspire me to do is set my timer and stir every 15 minutes.

I haven't listened yet, but I never stir during the mash.  What's the supposed benefit?

I'd have to listen again since my attention faded in and out (I was playing this podcast through my car stereo, at one point barely dodging a truck suddenly backing into an active lane of big-city traffic), and if the answer was scientific I probably tuned it out anyway, but I'm guessing stirring is saturation insurance--like the same reason you gently mix a cake batter for a minute or two after adding the last ingredients.

I've been reluctant to stir because I don't want to incur temperature loss. But I'd at least try it to see if a known recipe could pick up some efficiency. Three "stirs" with a warm spoon at 15, 30, and 45, just to see what happens. (Though since I don't crush my own grain I lose an important variable.)

Of course, efforts to boost my efficiency will be unnecessary when I get my blue mash tun.

I listened to the show today--really good. The 30-minute and 60-minute beers were drinkable, and the 60-minute mash tasted the best.

I often wonder what the upper limits of mashing are. I also liked Kai's point (or what I thought I heard was his point) that what people think of as the benefits of mashing-out may really be due to a longer mash.  One thing this podcast will inspire me to do is set my timer and stir every 15 minutes.

Events / Re: SF Beer Week and Toronado Barleywine Festival, 2/19-2/21
« on: February 12, 2011, 08:11:26 AM »
KGS - We have been 3 times to the Barleywine fest.  It can be a total zoo the first day.  Second day has more breathing room but the highly rated ones are gone by then.  I would recommended it for research purposes.

Thanks; it's great that it's on a 3-day weekend. Since we live on the route for the 6 Masonic (runs right past it) I may go over late Saturday afternoon, prepare for zoology, and sip for an hour.

Drew, have fun!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: White House Homebrew
« on: February 12, 2011, 07:18:24 AM »


Which if everyone can keep a sense of humor and perspective would be an outstanding name for that beer.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: US-05...Is One Packet Enough?
« on: February 12, 2011, 07:13:50 AM »
I hear ya Dean. I don't always accept the party line or convention. In fact some of my methods might seem unconventional but they work for me. Had to learn through experience some things have a wide latitude and others don't. I try to work within the boundaries I've set for myself. 

Agree with Euge and Dean. Part of the joy of homebrewing is testing the bounds of the party line or convention. I have twice successfully used a starter method suggested by one homebrewer at the LHBS (someone whose advice generally makes sense) where I make a starter in the carboy and pitch the wort on top of it. I was skeptical, and I had arguments against it (not enough depth for the starter, layer of oxygenated beer you can't really pour off easily, etc.), but the ease of it was tempting so I tried it, and the two times I used that method, the fermentation took off like a rocket and the beer turned out great.

But mostly I pitch an unhydrated packet of US-05 into wort at or just under 70 degrees f, and it works out fine, and if there are millions of tiny screams as yeast cells die, I don't hear them. Especially for my 3-gallon batches of ale or stout, there's no reason one packet of dry yeast isn't plenty. The next time I do a "repeater" I may reconstitute the yeast in 90-degree water and time the fermentation to see if it is all that faster/heartier. That said, a few dead cells seem a reasonable tradeoff for eliminating a possible contamination opportunity at a vulnerable point in the brewing process, post-brew and pre-fermentation.

Events / Re: SF Beer Week and Toronado Barleywine Festival, 2/19-2/21
« on: February 11, 2011, 12:12:56 PM »
I'll be there at some point, but I'll be playing chaperone to the club since we have to leave to be at Anchor Brewing a 2PM for the California Homebrew Club of the Year Party.

That is so cool! And I'll miss you no matter what, since I'm not hardcore enough to attend a barleywine tasting that early in the day. ;-)

General Homebrew Discussion / Diastatic power of toasted oats?
« on: February 11, 2011, 07:09:48 AM »
When using toasted oats (lightly browned in the oven) for an oatmeal stout, should I factor in any reduction of diastatic power?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: 1.022 versus on 1.016 on an oatmeal stout
« on: February 11, 2011, 07:07:46 AM »
Update: even finishing higher than anticipated, or maybe because of it, this stout has turned out wonderful. A couple weeks in the bottle it had a very pronounced coffee flavor (which I actually liked; I had used a cold extract of fresh-ground, recently-roasted Peet's French Roast decaf) and the body wasn't quite there. Now the coffee is in the background and the mouthfeel is terrific. I may use a starter based on a liquid yeast next time just to see where it takes me, but I certainly would do this again with the dry yeast, high finishing gravity and all.

Thanks for the observation about the oats providing a lot of unfermentables--when adding oats I hadn't factored that in.

Events / SF Beer Week and Toronado Barleywine Festival, 2/19-2/21
« on: February 11, 2011, 06:59:03 AM »
My better half isn't interested in beer (nobody's perfect...).  I would feel silly going to a bar by myself to taste barleywine, and haven't found a "beer friend" interested in spending an hour or two that Saturday or Sunday  tasting barleywines at the Barleywine Festival at the Toronado Pub on Haight (see ). I'm really interested because I'm planning to brew a Christmas barleywine so I'm shopping for the right taste.

There are other events happening in SF Beer Week (though only on the weekend) I'd be up for if anyone else were interested in an ad hoc AHA meetup.

(Gotta love a "beer week" that's 10 days long :-) )

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: White House Homebrew
« on: February 11, 2011, 06:43:34 AM »
This whole thing is really cool, and if an AHA rally at the White House were possible, in this or ANY presidential administration, I would hope that we'd be grownup enough to set aside differences and flock to an AHA rally at the White House regardless of our political affiliation. That's a big part of the joy of homebrew: it brings us together under the common banner of our love of homemade beer.

As I wrote on Twitter a few months back when a "homebrew buddy" and I were disagreeing on a political point, "We may not agree about everything, but we can agree that malted barley wants to become beer."

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing This Weekend - 2/4 Edition
« on: February 06, 2011, 08:07:09 PM »
After dropping off a care package of Amarillo APA for a neighborhood non-SuperBowl party, did "research" with some friends at Social Kitchen and Brewery which has been hit and miss but right now is featuring some great strong beers for San Francisco Beer Week. Really liked The Giant S'more, but glad I ordered a small glass of it.

Feel better, Denny... my doctor refers to the "A-Word" (aging).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hop mess.....
« on: February 06, 2011, 07:51:03 PM »
I'll investigate this. The wire is probably the safest bet.

it's been a very long time since my USAF days, but once upon an airplane, when I was a jet mech, I could safety-wire just about anything into place.

and my Turtle Rye PA (Terrapin clone).  ...

Oh, do share. At my previous job I arranged a conference in their home town, and having Terrapin on tap was one of the major benefits.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hop mess.....
« on: February 05, 2011, 08:06:59 PM »
How about putting one of these stainless steel scrubbies around your pickup tube?

Those make excellent column packing.

Ah, I have often wondered...!

I have used these when racking from a primary into a bottling bucket. It's shocking how much these strainers pick up even when I think I'm racking clear beer.

That said, for the last several batches, I have been pouring the cooled wort through a 12" mesh strainer into a sanitized bucket and then funneling it into a fermenter. I didn't think the strainer was fine enough to catch the pelletized hops, but durned if it doesn't--in fact, I have to use a sanitized spoon to scrape aside hop stuff so the wort will keep on flowing. I have a theory that "sparging" the wort through the hop debris also gives the wort one last bump of hop goodness. It certainly has reduced the amount of trub in the fermenter. I regret not having brewed something to rack onto the last yeast cake -- it looked perfect. My fermented beer also looks much clearer.

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