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Messages - seajellie

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61
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottled tastes better than Kegged.
« on: March 02, 2011, 12:43:51 PM »
Good points too Paul. I try to be meticulous, but I bake bottles until they are probably sterile. Hard for a cobra tap and plastic hose to compete against that. I recently switched to Perlick faucets so will have to try this again.

62
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottled tastes better than Kegged.
« on: March 02, 2011, 11:58:03 AM »
cynics!

heh heh, true enough. One should never rule out imagination in my case.

Still I think it's a real effect. The carbonation is one I definitely forgot. Although I've noticed this effect with "equally" primed samples as well (hard to exactly control that).

Will have to do a real scientific test some day.

There's another factor, and that is individual taste thresholds. My main drinking friends and I all greatly prefer "smoother" brews, like German Lagers, over the big American styles like double IPAs, for example. Could be a simple matter of different sensitivities or slightly higher taste perceptions of some chemicals on an individual level, or perhaps even a certain preference for slight "oxidized" flavors. I seem to always prefer my ales after they have conditioned for a long time, even the occasional IPA that I make.

63
Kegging and Bottling / Bottled tastes better than Kegged.
« on: March 02, 2011, 11:00:26 AM »
 ;D

And what do you think?

I find that for my home brew, packaged with my system and my techniques, and for the taste buds of those that sample my wares, that the bottled samples consistently taste better than the kegged versions. Sometimes dramatically so. (This assumes the beer is otherwise treated the same; that is, force carbed or primed, or cold conditioned the same, same drinking vessel, etc.)

I had a stunning reminder of this just days ago. I made a lightly smoked porter last fall. It was an "improved" version of something I've made a couple times years ago, when I only bottled. This version was force carbed in a keg. I had very high expectations for it; but It was only a good, decent, very drinkable beer. It lacked a depth of flavor, richness, and nuance that should've been there. So I bottled some up recently to give to friends (used a cheap cobra tap-racking cane setup, force carbed).  I heard some big compliments back. Surprised, I tried a bottle. Wow. A completely better beast. I compared head to head with a friend who agreed (granted, it was not a blind test).

This is not just with dark beers IME. I noticed the same thing with an English Pale Ale last fall. I could not detect any of the fruity ester smell and flavors that are typical of this yeast; but when I bottled it, they were there, very noticeable, and very appealing.

Assuming I'm not off my rocker, I can think of four reasons for this consistent experience:

1) Oxidation. Kai and others have noted that for big dark beers, oxidation can bring "improved" flavors, or at least the flavors typical of what we expect for styles like dopplebocks. I think this probably holds true for lighter styles as well, within limits. Also, it's well known that oxidation is key for the development of red wine, and last I checked, they weren't using any chocolate malt in those. So a little may be a good thing for many styles.

2) Head space. Someone who has studied gas-liquid physics more recently than me should chime in here. You have one inch of head space in a bottle, say this is 8% of the total volume. You may have 15 inches of head space in a corny keg, and this could be a huge percentage of the total volume. I would expect that volatile aroma and flavor compounds could escape from solution (beer) into the keg head space with much greater ease than in the bottle.

3) Gravity. Unpleasant compounds in a bottle only have to drop six inches or so to precipitate out. In a keg, these same compounds may have to travel much further.

4) Dip tube location vs. top of bottle. You can leave most of the dregs behind in a bottle, but in a keg, regardless of how clear your beer may seem to be, I find it hard to believe that a dip tube located a millimeter above sediment, under pressure, is not going to pull some of that stuff into your glass. Regardless of whether it is forced or primed.

I have of course had better beer in kegs than the bottled version on occasion; but for me, in every one of those cases, I can point out that the bottled version got less favorable treatment than the keg. For example, maybe the keg got to sit all comfy in a fridge for six months, while the bottles had to sit in the cellar at 58 to 65 degrees during that time.

Very interested to hear from others on this.

Unfortunately for my taste buds, bottling just takes too much time so it's going to have to be a part-time pleasure!

64
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Summertime Lagers
« on: February 17, 2011, 07:48:35 PM »
I'll be making my first ever CAP this weekend, with the yeast from a WL800 Bohem Pilsner. So this summer I'll have a parade of lagers from light to black to kick back with, including a couple "open" fermentation experiments that so far (in secondary) are pretty yummy.

On the Megra Modela discussion, I've had at least two bad ones in bottle in years past actually! Total fizzy water. Maybe a wild yeast infection, as there wasn't a prominent odor with it. I think the last time I tried it was four years ago because of that. 

65
Kegging and Bottling / Re: Acetaldehyde post bottling
« on: February 08, 2011, 08:31:21 AM »
I also find the following sentence from the diacetyl section odd:

For that reason, lager breweries often employ a diacetyl rest, which involves holding the beer in the 60-65 °F range for a few days after racking to the conditioning tank.

I have no idea how most of the lager breweries do it, but it certainly seems that most of the home brewing literature recommends doing the rest on the yeast, in the primary, before the final attenuation is reached. Personally, I usually wait until primary fermentation is just about over.

66
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Frigid Weather Brewing
« on: January 31, 2011, 07:43:32 PM »
dmzlater, you can still do your 5 gallon batches outside without risking your neck with the hot wort carry. I used to do that too, and feel myself very fortunate that I never got hit with a disaster.

Set yourself up with a cheap submersible pond pump. For less than 30$, I got a Sunterra 320GPH model that does the trick of recirculating cold water from a cooler through my standard issue wort chiller. I needed a small section of half-inch ID hose to connect it. Works great outside in the frigid temps. If there's no snow around to chill the water down, I can put the water & cooler outside over night in these temps. The instructions say not to use the pump in temps below... 45 I think? But I've not had a problem so far (ten batches) despite dumping loads of snow into the cooler. Maybe the key is that the pump is nice and warm inside the house before use, and isn't submerged in the cold water for more than an hour.

I'll also use a block of sterile ice in the kettle if need be. Also, if I keep my garden hose inside the house, I find I can use it to feed the initial chill until the outdoor temps hit 10.

A post from euge got me thinking; he puts his wort chiller in at flame out. So adapting that trick, I pre-sterilize it in a spare kettle with a bit of boiling water, then let it freeze up outside in the garage. At flame out, it goes in and drops temps a lot.

Additionally, if you aerate your wort outside using a sterile filter, you can really drop the temps fast once in the fermenter.

At the least if you can't do all these tricks, some combination of them will bring the wort temps down below DMS threshold (140) and skin melting threshold (don't know and don't want to find out) before your carry down the steps!

All in all I love brewing in the cold; so much easier to hit lager pitching temps with minimal fuss.

67
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Forced Fermentation Test
« on: January 27, 2011, 06:40:19 AM »
Right you are Kai, of course. I was aware last night that apparent/actual attenuation would affect the numbers, but I didn't think it would be by as much as 0.002 since we were dealing with only a portion of the OG. I was too uninspired (or lazy) to do the math properly, but that's an important difference considering the purpose of this exercise. Cheers!

I was also thinking other (unknown) factors could affect the result so that stopped me from going further. One possible factor being maybe WL833 can deal with a small portion of the higher saccharides better than wine yeast. I know most of these won't get metabolized at all. And a bigger one was this odd fact I found on Danstar's site too. And those wishing to train yeast in their spare time may be interested in this wine yeast which acts very much like a beer yeast. At the risk of getting anyone started on yeast taxonomy....

There is one very famous wine yeast that is both POF negative and can ferment maltotriose. It is probably the largest selling wine yeast strain in the world. It is Lalvin K1-V1116. It was used in a beer kit for several years and it was the yeast of choice in a Canadian brew pub for several years.

That threw me, because my memory was telling me that I had used a yeast with a very similar number to that -- a possible relative, if not in fact that same yeast. Which only takes me down all sorts of new roads.

all in all, I think I'll just use bread yeast next time like Kai  suggests  :)

68
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Forced Fermentation Test
« on: January 26, 2011, 08:04:40 PM »
Thanks for the replies and good info everyone. I never would've guessed that bread yeast could act as a delegate for beer yeast better than wine could.

I found numerous sources putting the percent of maltotriose in beer wort to be around 13 - 14% (Malting and Brewing Science says 13.6% is typical). I did not see any info that indicated that Munich malts were an exception to this number. Briess puts most of their LME's (including the Munich) at 13 or 14% maltotriose. Their black malt LME was considerably lower at 8%.

So I guess I could put a rough FFT for this test at 20 - (56 x .136) => 1.012 or 1.013. roughly.

To quote from Danstar's website:

Beer yeast usually can ferment maltotriose, most wine yeast cannot. To me there is no big deal if the yeast cannot ferment the maltotriose. The mashing procedure can minimize the amount of maltotriose present in the wort and the unfermented maltotriose just gives you more body, mouth feel and perhaps a slight sweetness.

Turns out, this is one of two main ways to tell wine yeast from beer yeast. Here's the other, also from Danstar:

1. Phenol off flavor or POF test. Most beer yeast are POF negative. A few of the wine yeast that I have tested were POF positive.

FWIW, the FFT with wine yeast tasted unpleasantly familiar; it reminded me of bad home brew I had back in the 1990s, and which was the reason it took me a long time to try out this hobby! A bit like apricot bread that was funky.


69
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Forced Fermentation Test
« on: January 26, 2011, 07:22:56 AM »
Apologies for the thread drift, but does anyone have experience using wine yeasts to do a FFT?

I had been under the impression that Belgian beer yeasts and wine yeasts were genetically, possibly, not all that distant from each other. And most wine yeasts have very high levels of alcohol tolerance. So I thought I could use a dry wine yeast to do a FFT on a dunkel. I always have lots of extra wine yeast around, and it was my first go at using 100% munich malts and so wanted to monitor the ferment.

The FFT stalled at 1.020; the dunkel fermentation (with WL833) is now at 1.016 and appears to still be going. I think I did the procedure correctly, so this appears to be a simple case of the wine yeast not liking those munich malts. The OG was 56 so the alcohol level is well within the tolerance for this Lalvin yeast (k111 I think).

Kai recommends using bread yeast.

70
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: totally random
« on: January 25, 2011, 06:46:24 AM »
and on that subject, watch out for your thermometer too, as a vital piece of gear that is not always accurate. there are good threads out there on purchasing an accurate one. This will become more important to you as pitching temp and mashing temp take their inevitable hold on your fascination...

I did all grain for two years before I realized my thermometer read 8 degrees too high. man, did i have some dry beers back then....

71
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Hydrometer reading
« on: January 21, 2011, 07:45:35 PM »
Seems like a waste of good beer to keep dumping it down the drain when I'm done.

Most folks drink theirs, for educational reasons. Over time you develop a sense for what the final cold-and-carbonated beer will taste like.
But do be careful, there may be alcohol in the sample.  ;)

Indeed. I had to do that very thing this morning at 9:00 to check my semi-open dunkel fermentation, which is sloooowwww. Fun way to start the day, buzzed on coffee and yeasty dunkel.

If the fermentation has a long way to go, I'll dump the sample into my wort collection jar (for starters) in the freezer.

And yes, Denny is very right about possible infections in fermentor spigots. If it's plastic, getting inside to clean it out is next to impossible and I don't trust on "star san creep" to be an effective sanitation mechanism if it can't be physically cleaned, first. This problem ruined several otherwise excellent beers I had made, until I finally found the problem. Yes, I'm still bitter about it.

For that reason, I put removable ball valves on my plastic fermenters. Much easier to have peace of mind about sanitizing those!

72
Beer Recipes / Re: Schwarzbier recipe check
« on: January 15, 2011, 01:00:00 PM »
Pawtucket Matt, did you make it? Have you sampled it?

I really enjoy exploring this style, and make at least one every winter. On Jan 6, I ventured forth again. This time I decided to push the limits of the style because my previous versions were ridiculously smooth (in a good way, of course ;-)

After looking at JZ's recipe, I went with 8 oz cara III special and 4 oz choc 375. Now as if that weren't risky enough for a 5-gallon batch of schwarzbier, I also had a mistaken impression of my water chemistry. It has far more mineral content than the six year old city water report (Ann Arbor) documents, as evidenced by the Ward Labs report I received just two days ago.

I sampled my schwarzier last night.

Stout.

Argh. Too much work for a stout!  

Eh, well, I guess I don't have to bother lagering it now. Although I probably will as I'm curious if it smooths out some. But it's just too much roast. Lesson learned. The presence of roast barley in JZ's recipe is curious to me, but then I should research the style more, in situ of course.

Better luck with yours Matt!

73
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentation Temps
« on: December 31, 2010, 08:45:11 PM »
I'm guessing that lagers at 50 degrees ambient are less likely to drive the temp much beyond 50, when compared to ale yeasts sitting at 72 ambient pushing that ferment past 72, all else being equal. No data or science to support that, just my wag at this point.

This same question has really been bugging me over the last year, so I recently installed a thermothingy on my plastic bucket fermenter. In two lager ferments sitting in a controlled fridge in the basement, neither batch got more than 2.5 degrees above the current fridge temp at any point in fermentation (ferm temps 48 - 51 at all times). This was measured on one NIST certified thermometer, and one calibrated to that one. The probe was sitting at the 3.3 gallon mark in a five gallon batch, almost dead center of the bucket. The controller was not attached to the fermenter internal probe.

I'd expect that an ale fermentation at 72 is significantly more exothermic due to the higher metabolism, and that the heat can't be dissipated as quickly. Of course, there are other factors: OG, fermenter geometry and material,...

oh jeez, it's almost new year's. how ironic that a hobby that makes you a sure invite to parties is also the same hobby that can drive you into a trappist monk-scientist mode. Happy New Year! I'm off.

74
All Grain Brewing / Re: Schematic
« on: December 29, 2010, 07:35:47 AM »
If you haven't picked up your new cooler yet, be sure to check the dimensions of the plug before you buy, because it affects how you modify it.

MY 5 gallon round cooler has a weldless spigot on it, cost somewhere around 30$.

My 72 Q chest cooler has a thick wall which actually helped modify it. It uses a number three stopper and a plastic inline valve. Cost, somewhere around two bucks!

75
Kegging and Bottling / Re: funky taste after sitting in keg since summer
« on: December 19, 2010, 07:33:17 PM »
As mentioned, the cooler and more stable you can keep it, the better. And if that means you have some cellar or basement space that is more stable and cooler then use that.

It can work. I rarely brew between May and mid-October, so during those months I'm drinking from kegs and bottles from batches made the previous winter (or even the one before that). I don't have cold space for all this and they spend lots of time in the cellar at 55 to 65, and those temps change very slowly.

There's definitely flavor change over this time but it's not bad at all usually (and sometimes, they improve).

Some general rules of thumb if you plan to do this: sanitation is super important; use CO2 to rack and avoid oxidation; try to get it below 60 and keep it there.

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