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Messages - nateo

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Other Fermentables / Re: Acid in cider
« on: March 15, 2012, 03:06:44 PM »
I've never actually used tannin powder. I get my tannins from oak chips and black tea. I tried Earl Grey last time, and it turned out to be my favorite so far, at one bag per gallon. You can't taste the tea, but the bergamot gives the cider a slight floral/citrus note. Pretty subtle, but it's there if you look for it.

Do winemakers use a formol assay or use a spectrophotometer typically?

I believe formol is common in small wineries. I've read spectro is prohibitively expensive on a small scale.

Fermaid K has something like 17ppm YAN as does Wyeast's BCN – not sure about servo.

I know GoFerm doesn't have any inorganic nitrogen, because Lallemand says in the website that no DAP should be used during rehydration. I think Servo is similar to GoFerm because of this, from the White Labs website: "Servo is yeast and is propagated in a micronutrient rich environment then, and is killed off prior to packaging."

Also, this: "Our nutrient (WLN1000) has amino acids, so if your wort is deficient in nitrogen, our nutrient helps a lot. When trying to grow more yeast as done in propagation, our nutrient can really help. But most of our customers use Servo. It has a lot of usable zinc and zinc is a great source of fermentation power. If that doesn't work, it may be a nitrogen problem, and they try our nutrient."

Other Fermentables / Re: Acid in cider
« on: March 15, 2012, 11:38:01 AM »
The other thing is that in most traditional ciders, about 4-6 months after fermentation is complete, there is a secondary malo-lactic fermentation, where malic acid is converted to lactic acid. lactic acid is said to be a smoother tartness, and not quite as harsh as malic acid.

Just my 2 cents.

Traditional ciders are also made with apple varieties that aren't readily available for most people. All of the grocery store and apple juice type of ciders are "dessert" apples, not cider apples. Even most orchards that make apple cider use dessert type apples. If you can't get the right mix and amount of acids and tannins from your apples, you need to add some yourself.

Granny Smith is the notable exception. It's a dessert apple, but it makes a decent single-variety cider.

Other Fermentables / Re: Acetic acid curiousity question
« on: March 15, 2012, 08:16:28 AM »
I know sulfites will kill the acetobacter with sulfur dioxide (SO2). The sulfur dioxide enters the cells of bacteria and wild yeast and disrupts enzymes. The kinds of yeast winemakers use are more tolerant of SO2 than wild yeasts, but I don't know why. How effective metabisulfite is depends on the pH. Lower pH will result in more molecular SO2 (the kind that can enter the cells).

Other Fermentables / Re: Acid in cider
« on: March 15, 2012, 07:38:27 AM »
Keep in mind pH and titratable acidity are different. Certain acids like malic are perceived as more "sour" than, say, lactic. Malic acid is associated with crisp freshness in fruit. Citric acid isn't too hard to find for canning, and you can probably get malic, tartaric and lactic individually at your LHBS.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Batch 500
« on: March 14, 2012, 01:29:00 PM »
Why the need for a glucan rest?  After all isn't one of the signature features of rye or wheat the silky mouthfeel and big body?  I only ask because I recently heard an experience judge say a rye beer needed a glucan rest.

The glucan rest doesn't get rid of all the glucans, just enough to turn it from glue into wort.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Batch 500
« on: March 14, 2012, 11:25:56 AM »
Lots of rice hulls! I typically use a pound of them in a wheat beer for a 5 gallon batch.

Stuck sparges aren't as big of a deal as getting a decent crush on my wheat malt. I usually take extra care to condition the barley malt portion, and crush a little coarser than usual to leave the husks as intact as possible. I then have to run the wheat malt through my mill 3 times to get a decent crush. I get about 10% lower efficiency when using a large amount of wheat. If I crush finer to get better efficiency, then I run into slow/stuck sparge issues.

The wheat malt I have is also pretty high in protein and glucans, and is undermodified, so I need to at least do step mashes, and sometimes decoction mashes to get the wort flowing well. It's not a big deal, but it adds a couple hours to the brew day, and leaves me wondering why I don't just buy some malt extract.

this is an interesting idea. However you are only looking at 1 nutrient. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to find a yeast nutrient with low or no N but I have noticed (in a very unscientific way) better results when using nutrients then when not, at least with big beers.

Servomyces and GoFerm (I think) have relatively low nitrogen levels, but I think they still have some. I can't find specifically what they contain, but the descriptions of how they're made sound very similar. I'm completely on-board for having proper yeast nutrition, don't get me wrong. My gut is telling me that yeast nutrients that also contain additional nitrogen and ammonium salts like Fermaid-K wouldn't really be appropriate for wort fermentations, and something like Servo or GoFerm would be better.

In the kind of beer fermentation you'd need additional nutrients (big beers), you probably wouldn't be able to detect vitamin/mineral faults anyway, as long as you didn't add way too much. Without a lot of lab testing, you're just guessing if your wort needs extra nutrients or not. I "just guess" on a lot of brewing-related issues, like yeast counts and AA% for my hops, so I don't know why this makes me uneasy.

As an aside, I've read that winemakers that don't like to deal with formol titration to determine nitrogen levels just use their nose, and add nutrients if the yeast starts throwing sulfur. 

The more I think about it, the less adding nitrogen to beer fermentation makes sense to me. I haven't found many hard numbers for yeast available nitrogen content in wort, but one study found a typical range to be 1-2g/L, or 1000mg/L - 2000mg/L.

Brewers' yeasts' nitrogen requirements aren't published, but wine yeasts' are. The "standard" winemaking yeast available nitrogen recommendation at 28 Brix (1.120) would be 375-425mg/L. Wine yeast nitrogen requirements vary pretty widely, with some needing nearly twice as much as others. I assume beer yeasts are similar in that regard. Even if the yeast needed twice the nitrogen, that'd only be 850mg/L, well below the minimum reported amount of yeast available nitrogen in wort.

In order to need nitrogen for a wort fermentation, you'd need to have a very nitrogen-deficient wort, and a yeast with exceptionally high nitrogen needs.

EDIT: Thanks MX, fixed it. Nitrogen =/= nutrients.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Batch 500
« on: March 14, 2012, 06:55:54 AM »
I really love wheat beers, but I hate brewing with wheat. Milling it is a PITA, and stuck sparges are a PITA. I'm thinking about going back to extract for my wheats just so I don't have to deal with it. Before I switched to AG, though, I made some great wheats with wheat LME.

Yeast and Fermentation / Why does acidity impair yeast performance?
« on: March 13, 2012, 05:07:42 PM »
I think it has something to do with the H+ ions disrupting proton ATPase, and secondary active transport, but I only have a fuzzy (at best) understanding of microbiology.

I would be incredibly careful adding nutrients, if you do. Wort has a really high level of yeast available nitrogen (relative to any other growth medium). Too much nutrient will cause off-flavors, and if you add too much at the wrong time and the yeast can't use it all, it could potentially feed bacteria.

Adding O2 multiple times keeps the yeast in growth mode. They make like 33x more alcohol per cell during the growth phase than during the stationary phase. This is related to incremental feeding of nitrogen, but again, be careful not to overdo it.

I have always wondered about the whole incremental feeding thing, not understanding how it helps to feed incrementally when the net effect is the same level of alcohol. But if it's an issue of osmotic presure that makes sense to me. as the gravity goes down you can add more sugar without exceeding the presure threshold! thanks nateo!

Whether or not osmotic pressure matters really depends on the health of the cell walls, but even healthy cells have trouble over 1.120. I've read (don't remember where) that osmotic pressure inhibits fermentation even down at like 1.060 if the yeast have poor cell membranes. The pressure will literally squeeze nutrients out of the yeast, like squeezing a wet sponge, only instead of water, nitrogen comes out, inhibiting their fermentation performance.

All Grain Brewing / Re: multi-batch, combined fermentation question
« on: March 13, 2012, 09:58:32 AM »
AFAIK, the main reason pro brewers do what you're talking about is that it simplifies yeast propagation. It's easier to grown enough yeast for 1bbl than 10bbl.

I don't see any particular problem with this. I'm a big fan of incremental feeding in general. I wouldn't aerate the subsequent wort you add. The yeast should be done growing by then.

I'm also time-poor, since I have to work 12+ hours a day, almost every day. I'm considering going back to extract and steeping grains just to get more brewing done.

I would consider doing incremental feedings. Osmotic pressure starts to be an issue around 1.120.

If I were going to brew a beer that big, I'd start it at whatever OG I could easily get, let it ferment a good bit, then add malt extract to make up the difference in gravity. It will be kinder for your yeast and easier to achieve.

I would also use a good amount of simple sugar, maybe 10-15% of fermentables. Attenuation is going to be your biggest issue with a beer like that.

Here's the link Hopfen was talking about. That page was a godsend when I started making bigger beers. Before I found that my big beers sucked.

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