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Messages - surfin.mikeg

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Yeast and Fermentation / lager starters?
« on: October 20, 2013, 08:18:38 PM »
How do you put together a strong stater for lager yeast?

The background to this question is that I recently did a 2L starter of Wyeast 2206, bavarian lager.  My first lager where I've had good temp control (6 gallons of doppelbock, ~1.080).  From what I'm reading, the starter should have been a yeast cake of 3/4 to 1 inch in thickness that corresponds to 5L of starter. 

That's a big starter for me.  If I understand correctly, the process for building that would be something like so:

2L starter:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
add 2L more of wort:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
add 2L more of wort:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
brew, pitch at 50+ degrees

Am I over thinking this? I'm at day 8 after pitching, 53 degrees, and the batch still has krausen with a full flocculation.  Not that there is a problem, just curious as to what people do for a stater in the context of colder fermentation.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: combining old yeasts
« on: October 20, 2013, 07:59:41 PM »
I've done this and have had it not turn out well.  I suggest tasting before pitching.  Its easier to simply buy fresh yeast.

Equipment and Software / Re: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« on: October 04, 2013, 10:25:28 AM »
My kettle has a nice 'tea-colored' staining in it.  I just give it a scrub to remove any trub after the brew and put it away to dry. 

Same here. Very easy to maintain.

I use both and keep the light stain. For scrubbing out the boil lines, steel has been easier to clean.  It comes right off where the alum requires a bit of scrubbing.  Just a data-point in the discussion.

Equipment and Software / Re: Directly heating Erlenmeyer flasks
« on: October 01, 2013, 08:13:37 PM »
Is it necessary to prepare starters with a full boil?  Avoiding the flask boil-over is hard to manage, and realizing I never thought to use a smaller burner.  Seems like sanitation-wise being above 180 is necessary, and thus holding in the 195-200+ degree range should be more that sufficient.

Ingredients / Re: Dry hopping
« on: September 26, 2013, 09:21:29 AM »
When its time to bottle I line my bottling bucket with a paint strainer bag to catch any hop debris that passes through the siphon. I then let it sit for a couple of hours to let a lot of the fine particles drop below the level of the spigot. This keeps most of the hop debris out of the bottles.

That last bit of hop debris:  I bottle that as well, as it'll settle. After a month it's one bottle that's got a strong hop profile.

Ingredients / Re: Dry hopping
« on: September 25, 2013, 06:02:15 PM »
I like 2 to 4 oz per 5-6 gallons in PA/IPA brews and am yet to say that I added too much hops.  It affects both aroma and flavor, I add after racking and leave it in until bottling.  The one thing I would suggest is dry-hopping one type at a time so you can get an understanding for the flavor profile.  Some blends need time to smooth out while some beers loose the hop aroma over time, so experiment and sample as you go.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction Tips?
« on: September 25, 2013, 03:30:15 PM »
I've insulated mashtuns (using redwood) but only get success with that in windless and somewhat warm environment (outside is usually 55-65 degrees and gusty).  I'm back to using coolers as temp is easier to control.  The tip of having boiling water on the side is something I'll follow.

AFAIK, decoction and doppelbock comes down to two camps. Kinda need to see an n-factor experiment to validate.  Randy Mosher writes (Radical Brewing) that the mash-in temp needs to be 95 when there's a lot of Munich (and good water quality, i.e., PH), where as others say mash in once at 155 (re:

BTW, Here's the recipe so far, thinking that I should sub Vienna for the Pils.  Looking for an OG around 1.079:

10 lb, 64% Dark Munich
5 lb, 32% Pilsen
8 oz, 3% CaraAroma
3 oz, 1% Chocolate  // for fun, maybe remove

1 oz German Opal, 60 min  ~ 8.5% AA
.25 German Opal, 20 min
.25 German Opal, 5 min

All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction Tips?
« on: September 24, 2013, 05:24:00 PM »
Thanks guys, I'll roll with the Hochkurz double decoction and see how it goes.  I figured I'd pull enough wort to where the grist is still covered and have better temperature control using a cooler as the primary tun. 

I'll have time to let it lager and so I am targeting something that'll mellow but not loose too much complexity.

I appreciate the feedback.

All Grain Brewing / Decoction Tips?
« on: September 23, 2013, 10:21:04 PM »
I need to brew a DoppelBock (club competition), and decoction is not something I've done before and I'd like to give it a try. 

I'm reading through Kai's documentation on and am thinking about a double or enhanced double decoction.  Does anyone know if I will get more complexity if I take the time to do the longer decoction?

Other questions:

Is there a recommended way for accounting for volume loss of the heated decoction, i.e., how much will it affect the pre-boil gravity?  I can plan it out but typically I end up needing to adjust either temps and times at some point.  I don't have the best heat control when stepping up a mash on an outdoor burner.

Can someone get by with using a cooler as the primary mash tun, or do both tuns need burners?

Lastly, I've never done proper checking for starch conversion, and Kai mentions testing for this.  Given that I'm working with fully modified malt, is it preferred to do this vs simply tracking time?


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pics of recent brews?
« on: September 22, 2013, 08:20:55 AM »
Taking a turn at sharing - this is the Misses first beer, "La Prima".  She took the house IPA recipe and substituted in some amber malt as well as a tiny bit of roasted barley.   The flavor of that came through, so there's an subtle mix of amber, roasted barley and Chinook hops in the body.  It's tasty.  Cascade for aroma, Centennial dry-hop.

I guess I'm an outlier: 148 batches brewed and they've all been bottled (or will be). So I vote all grain  ;D

+1.  As others have said, it depends on your goals, but also the practicality of volume.  I don't think I'll ever bottle 5+ gallons again, it takes too long. Recent brews have involved working with others to learn brewing, and so I'm finding experimenting with an all-grain brew process to be quite enjoyable in the 2.5 gallon range.  In particular, the smaller batches make step mashing easy (i.e. just add water), but that having the kettles fitted with ball-valves and "bazooka screens" (even with small batches) helps quite a bit.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Have I botched my barleywine?
« on: August 10, 2013, 06:25:12 PM »
It may have been that bottle. I opened another that I chilled and it seems fine.

It does bring up another question, though. Was there something to the fact that the brewer from the class specifically said for me to chill one for 2 weeks? The first one (chilled for 2 weeks) did not have any sediment try to sneak out into the glass, but the one I opened yesterday (chilled for 2 days) did. I made sure today to pour it without getting any sediment from the bottle. Could that have contributed to the 'off' taste?

On the two weeks thing, no idea as to what that alludes to.

Regarding the one-off infected bottle.  I have had brew infections in random bottles (5%), and what I've learned is that I need to pay attention to air quality in addition to sanitization.  The best advice I've received is to create an air pocket by use of stove-top flame in the kitchen.  The idea is to start the burners on one side, with vent, and then work on the other for bottling and starters.  Maybe overkill, but no way can I hand out a bottled beer and not know that I have 100% quality.

Beer Recipes / Re: House IPA search, round three
« on: August 07, 2013, 09:56:51 PM »
That looks really, really tasty.  Mind if I ask why 1# of crystal 10 - color, flavor?  Mosaic is crazy good; the hop schedule as is looks great.

The Pub / The Beer Hunter
« on: August 06, 2013, 09:50:13 PM »
"One weekend in Belgium changed my life"  Apparently, the last interview with Michael Jackson:

Finding out that a number of his shows are available online, these are great:

New for me, simply sharing.

(via metafilter)

For me, I hit a limit in bottling 15 gallons at a time, thus starting a kegerator buildout this weekend.

An aside was to learn that the miss'ess has been reading the copies of Zymurgy that I leave around the house.  "Best beer in America - hey, can we try that?"

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