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Messages - thcipriani

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC SQLite Dataset
« on: May 02, 2015, 04:38:40 PM »
Cool, want to have a look. Downloaded the code, but where is the data with the recipes etc.?

It's all inside the
Code: [Select]
nhc.db file. You'll need sqlite to read the data:

SQLite is a super lightweight database that is way way way easier than something like mysql or postgresql, also the code is Public Domain ( which is neat :)

Once you have sqlite installed you can do something like:

Code: [Select]
sqlite3 nhc.db
From then onward you should be able to use simple sql syntax to query the data.

General Homebrew Discussion / NHC SQLite Dataset
« on: May 02, 2015, 03:11:54 PM »
Seems like as good of a place as any to post this info.

I've collected the NHC gold medal winners dataset into a sqlite database to allow some rudimentary data science + easy, open, access.

Now answering weird one-off questions about NHC winners over the past decade is simple:

How many winning recipes in the past decade used SafAle yeast?

Code: [Select]
$ sqlite3 nhc.db 'select count(*) from recipes where ingredients like "%safale%"'

What is the most common batch size?

Code: [Select]
sqlite3 nhc.db 'select vol from recipes' | cut -d'(' -f1 | sort | uniq -c | sort -rn | head -5
     77 5 Gallons
     44 6 Gallons
     35 10 Gallons
     24 5.5 Gallons
     14 12 Gallons

You can even use the data to create interesting plots that can answer questions.

Has the average gravity of a batch changed over the years?

All the code and info is available at:

Enjoy everyone! Cheers!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast starter time question
« on: October 13, 2014, 01:18:12 PM »
Minor thread hijack about starter gravity. I asked Chris White about this via email right before his yeast book came out (because I'm an impatient bastard)

Here is his reply:

Hello.  Thank you for your comments and for using our yeast.  To really eliminate the crabtree effect, you need to be down under 1.010, and slowly feed the yeast sugar.  But 1.025-30 is still a good range, and I think it is a good compromise to good yeast physiology and good fermentation.  So I think that is the best gravity, and brewers wort with grain, liquid, or dry malt are all good.  Thank you, enjoy the book,



Equipment and Software / Chillin' in the Summer
« on: June 30, 2014, 08:07:52 PM »
Whirlpool chiller + $15 submersible pump + 20lbs of ice = 58°F wort on a 100°F day

All Grain Brewing / Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
« on: February 22, 2014, 04:53:21 PM »
Tyler, did you count cells to verify how much you were pitching?

Yes, I do hemocytometer counts to verify pitching. I don't, however, do any viability testing for starters made from fresh smack-packs, so there is likely some variability.

I also try to keep tight controls on other measurements. My temp is controlled with a 2-stage Ranco, fridge and ferm-wrap to ±1°F and the O2 was measured with a Milwaukee DO Meter.

I posted my discussion regarding 3068 with Wyeast on this forum previously; here is the link to that thread:

As I said, it's not popular advice to say, "pitch less yeast", but I'd try that before I'd try buying all new equipment, especially if your other beers are coming out fine. Those phenolic yeasts are very particular about pitching rate in my experience.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
« on: February 22, 2014, 10:33:35 AM »
Although it's probably not a very popular thing to suggest, have you tried playing with the pitching rate at all? I had tons of problems with my hefe, felt like I tried everything—ferments from 60°F to 75°F, O2 rates from 8ppm–14ppm.

Finally, I tried 20E6 cells/mL and that was the worst yet! Then I tried pitching at 6E6 cells/mL and all my problems went away. Had a conversation with Wyeast and they said that they found the same thing—pitching much higher than 6E6 for hefes I causes problems. Just my experience.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Distilled water brewing
« on: January 26, 2014, 10:01:21 PM »
So my initial idea was to brew 3 batches this weekend—one with distilled water, one with 25ppm calcium and one with 50ppm calcium. I haven't brewed in, oh, I don't know, 4 months, and the last time I _did_ brew was on totally different equipment, so how hard could that be, right? Right? RIGHT!?

So, anyway, I got two batches done: Distilled and 50ppm calcium.

A few hiccups, nothing major, some trouble holding mash temp. There has been some delay in fermentation as I've only had single-stage temp control, and, initially, I was banking on the wrong stage (i.e. room got too cold, not too hot). This post, however, primarily focuses on the mash.

Write up here:

Any notes on methods, layout and process very welcome.


All Grain Brewing / Distilled water brewing
« on: January 19, 2014, 07:52:53 PM »
I've always heard that you need 50ppm calcium in your brewing water to produce good beer. I've read it in the water book and on this forum, but I've never heard the genesis story of this heuristic. Does anyone know? (seriously, not just a question that serves a rhetorical purpose)

Not having 50ppm calcium can cause:

* Your mash not to convert
* Your beer not to ferment
* Your finished beer not to clarify

I know I've brewed beers using < 50ppm calcium and I think that I could brew with distilled water.

Before doing any sort of experiment with a full batch of beer, I figured I should first try to determine if a mash would convert using distilled water. I knew I wanted to take a gravity reading, and I also knew that my hydrometer tube is ~200mL, so I started with 300mL distilled water. I added 150g grain to keep to roughly 1qt/lb.

I wrote up this little test here:

**tl;dr**: The mash _did_ convert...eventually.

I want to try some 1 gallon experiments using 0ppm calcium (distilled), ~25ppm calcium and 50ppm calcium waters and monitor their mash, starting gravity, final gravity, fermentation, clarification and, ultimately, flavor.

Thoughts? Anyone besides me think it's a cool idea?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fusel alcohols
« on: October 02, 2012, 09:18:42 PM »
An excess of FAN will cause fusel alcohols—low molecular-weight proteins are also foam-negative. Might be something to look into if you're seeing low head and hot alcohol.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Microscope
« on: September 03, 2012, 04:54:54 AM »
Be sure to check eBay.  I spen $40+shipping on a cheap student microscope that I've used for the past 3 years.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
« on: July 23, 2012, 06:31:58 AM »
I do cell counts for every beer and I can tell you that the calculators are right within a range, but sometimes you'll end up with 100E9 cells total in a 2 liter starter.

How are you determining the viability of the cells?

I don't. I'd like to order methylene violet one of these days…

Excuse: Kai's reply in this thread about why he doesn't stain

All Grain Brewing / Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
« on: July 22, 2012, 10:04:46 PM »
At best, it's mainly guesswork determining the initial viable cell count, which makes the starter size question, also guesswork.  I seem to recall Denny not worrying too much about this either.

I do cell counts for every beer and I can tell you that the calculators are right within a range, but sometimes you'll end up with 100E9 cells total in a 2 liter starter.

You can use visual queues to tell you when you are getting starters with a low count—they're the 1 starter out of 100 that leave you questioning whether the yeast is just dead.

If you want to pitch at the rate given by the calculator then is usually right there give or take 30E9 cells. I actually use a 1.020 starter wort with a shaker at 120RPM, so any variability I get is probably from that difference.

On pitch rate?  Honestly, I really don't worry about it very much.  I normally use one XL smack pack of 3068, and may or may not make a starter.  When I make starters, I'm usually making a 1L one, so I'm more interested in getting the yeast active and ready to go than I am in getting a large cell count increase.  I guess I'd agree that repitched 3068 seems to suck in comparison to fresh.  I thought it was because the yeast was unstable (since the beer does seem to go off faster than other styles) but I'll buy the cell count explanation.

Are you talking specifically about weizens here? I get the impression from your book that you mostly do 1L starters and repitch.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
« on: July 20, 2012, 10:27:01 AM »
Also, the Eric Warner book quotes many modern German breweries pitching roughly 7E6/mL.

Which book? In German Wheat Beer he states pitching rate should be 10-15m/ml on page 71, and again on page 97.

FWIW he also says you should experiment with fermentation parameters to dial in the flavor you want, but he only lists stuff like temp, open/closed vessels, and wort gravity. He doesn't suggest the pitching rate is one of the variables you should adjust.

For anyone interested, here's an experiment Kai did on this topic:

Thought it was German Wheat Beer—definitely in Brewing With Wheat—the part where he talks about Franziskaner (also, possibly, in the section on New Glarus—I'll double check all these sources when I get home tonight).

In any event, when I did my 20E6/mL vs 6E6/mL I emailed Wyeast and it jived with some experiments they did. Hopefully, they won't mind me posting the text in the entirety (hopefully no one on this thread mind, too :))Text below:

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:40 PM
To: Customerservice
Subject: Question From Wyeast Labs website for I have general question.


I have a question that pertains to Wyeast 3068 and other of the 'plastic' yeasts that may produce sulfur. I know that these yeast have a propensity to produce sulfur; however, I don't know what makes certain fermentation schemes produce a greater amount of sulfur.

One of my current theories is that older yeast cells have a greater propensity to produce sulfur. I recently pitched a (12°P) hefeweiss beer with 20 million cells/mL and that fermentation was very sulfury. I'm using that information along with a a paper I read from the MBAA recently (it was from 1999, IIRC) that said a beer with a higher pitching rate has a greater amount of older cells in the finished beer since the final cell volume of the finished beer was the same regardless of pitching rate.

Can you provide any info on the 3068 yeast and sulfur  production. Also, can you confirm that these yeast are slightly more elongated than the typical round fat yeast cells when viewed under a microscope. Or is the slightly elongated appearance indicative of something else?


Tyler Cipriani 80501

On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 9:40 AM, Labservices <> wrote:
Hey Tyler,

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you.  We don't have info on sulfur production specifically related to 3068.  One thing we know is  3068 does not store well after fermentation.  It will die off quickly.  This coincides with your info on population dynamics with respect to older populations of yeast when using higher pitch rates.  For this strain, it is advised to use low pitch rates around 6 million cells/ml to promote ester production, specifically isoamyl acetate.  At the pitch rates you mentioned, this ester will be at low levels.  Possibly so low that you will not get the banana or bubblegum aromas desired with this strain.

As for cell morphology, yes, it is very normal for the cells to be elongated.  Also, this strain is a chain-former, so it is common to see large groups of attached cells.

Let me know if this answers your questions.

Jess Caudill
Wyeast Laboratories, Inc.
P.O. Box 146
Odell, OR  97044  USA
Phone:  541-354-1335   Fax:  541-354-3449

From: Tyler Cipriani []
Sent: Friday, January 20, 2012 9:31 AM
To: Labservices
Subject: Re: Question From Wyeast Labs website for I have general question.
Hey Jess,
Quick followup question about yeast growth and ester formation. You stated that 6 million cells/ml would promote ester production; however, I've read some conflicting information about this.
During intra cellular ester formation, from my reading I've surmised, enzymatic reactions create esters using alcohol and an acid - typically, Acetyl CoA. While many authors tend to agree that increased biomass production (i.e. creation of cell walls) reduces the Acetyl CoA that is available for ester production and leads to reduced ester levels in the beer (Narziss 2005, Cone, Noonan 1996, Fix 1999) authors differ with respect to ester production and yeast growth. Fix (Fix 1999) writes that any, "increased activity on the acetyl CoA branch", whatever that means, will increase ester production while other authors (Narziss 2005, Cone) state that increased yeast growth leads to a decrease in esters since more of the acetyl CoA is used for sterol synthesis.
Is there more consensus on this topic now? Overall I'm confused about it - hence pitching a hefe (that I normally pitch around 7x10^6 cells/ml ) with double that rate - I was trying to get an increase in esters; however, the excess sulfur production made this "experiment" inconclusive.
Thanks for all your help! I just re-read my email and realized that customers like me are likely a giant pain in the ass.
Thanks Again,
Cone -
Fix - George J. Fix Ph.D, Principles of Brewing Science, Brewers Publications, Boulder CO, 1999
Narziss - Prof. Dr. agr. Ludwig Narziss, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Werner Back, Technische Universitaet Muenchen (Fakultaet fuer Brauwesen, Weihenstephan), Abriss der Bierbrauerei. WILEY-VCH Verlags GmbH Weinheim Germany, 2005
Noonan - Gregory J. Noonan, New Brewing Lager Beer, Brewers Publications, Boulder CO, 1996
Yes, customers like you are a total pain in the as[sic].  Just kidding.
I am definitely aware of the articles and text that describes lower ester production with higher yeast growth.  But, as you know, what actually happens in practice and what books say and experiments show can be completely different things.  We ran trials using 3068 at pitch rates of 3, 6, 12 and 24 million cells per ml.  The 3 and 6 had strong banana aromas, the 12 million had very slight banana aroma and 24 million and no banana, and for a completely non-technical description, tasted like crap.  More specifically, it had a strong styrene aroma along with burnt aromas.
Once we conducted these trials, we helped a ton of breweries refine the flavor profile of beers made from this strain.  Basically most of the breweries were pitching the correct amount on the initial pitch from us.  Upon repitching, they were losing the banana aroma completely.  Most were reptiching 2-3 times the pitch rate of the original.  When they reduced the repitch volumes the banana came back.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Step Mashing a Hefe...Why?
« on: July 19, 2012, 11:43:17 PM »
I was planning on making another batch of weizen soon. Over on the HBD board I saw Chris White recommends 5-7m/ml for a weizen. I've never tried pitching one that low, or as high as what Narziss recommends. It sounds like an experiment is in order. It wouldn't be too hard to do a split batch and see which one turns out better.

What I've always thought was weird is that Dan Gordon has said he pitches at 6E6/mL in a hefe AND his original doctoral project was to translate Narziss into English. Why would someone who studied directly under Narziss, who still follows the Rheinhisgibot, go against tradition/teachings like that? I really think the presentation that is quoting Narziss is MISquoting him.

Also, the Eric Warner book quotes many modern German breweries pitching roughly 7E6/mL.

I brewed 2 hefes back-to-back both 1.048—one at 20E6/mL one at 6E6/mL. The idea was that since there would be less Acetyl Co-A used in cell sterol production (in the 20E6/mL) there would be more available for the production of esters (in conjunction with alcohol)—basically, I thought that under pitching was a bad idea and I wanted to prove it to myself.

I ended up proving the exact opposite. The 20E6/mL hef was initially sulfury and then just insipid—boring, some clove, nothing much as far as yeast character really. The 6E6/mL was beautiful—great balance, really nice.

I saw some slides from Neva Parker recently that showed a very wide range of pitching rates that all resulted in the same terminal gravity. Frankly, I think that homebrewers ought to play with pitching rate a bit more. Pitching rate has become a bit too dogmatic recently.

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