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Messages - thcipriani

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparge Water Temperature and pH
« on: August 26, 2011, 09:01:10 PM »
anecdotally, I've noticed a difference when I don't use acid in my sparge and my sparge temp gets over 180F - just offering another opinion.

Is that water temp or grain bed temp?

Sorry for the ambiguity - that's sparge water temp. My grain bed never gets over 170. My typical process is single infusion, no mash out, so I tend to end up in the mid-to-upper 160's by then end of the sparge.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Danstar dry yeast, prices are nuts!
« on: August 25, 2011, 09:15:16 PM »
Either way, if their new packaging helps prevent fiascos like the one from a few years back from happening I say the new price is well worth it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparge Water Temperature and pH
« on: August 25, 2011, 09:08:47 PM »
I'll be Devil's advocate on this one - I've noticed a more tannic character in beers where I climb over 180F on my system without sparge water adjustment (I use RO typically and I keep my mash pH between 5.3 and 5.6) - even though, given that I typically use single infusion, my grain bed NEVER climbs over 170F. Even though I'm COMPLETELY NOT supported by any literature I can find - anecdotally, I've noticed a difference when I don't use acid in my sparge and my sparge temp gets over 180F - just offering another opinion.

Other Fermentables / Re: Staggered Nutrient Addition Rates
« on: August 23, 2011, 07:48:42 PM »
What I think is interesting is if you compare Ken Schramm's article to the BJCP mead guidelines.

Both seem to agree that you need ~350ppm YAN in your must; however, Ken's article seems to advocate for putting in 350ppm YAN up front, "Addition of 3 grams (approximately 0.75 teaspoon) Fermaid K, plus 4 grams (1 teaspoon) DAP per 5 gallons of must with  vigorous aeration at the end of the lag phase" (Shramm 24) and then supplementing that initial dose with smaller 1g/ea. FermaidK and DAP additions + stirring over 5 days - every 12 hours.

Whereas, the BJCP mead study guide seems to advocate the addition of 350ppm FAN over the course of the entire fermentation, "1 gram diammonium phosphate (DAP) and 0.5 gram Fermaid-K (Lallemand’s micronutrient blend) at pitch and at 24-hour intervals for three days" (BJCP 85)

There are, of course, some different ideas as well. I've tried it both ways (as well as the Kris England presentation method of 4.5g fermaid-k and 2g DAP every other day for a week) - all are great methods it seems. I think as long as AT SOME POINT FAN is at, or over, 350ppm - you're good.

Also, I'm using the Wyeast wine nutrient in this latest batch as an alternative to Fermaid-K - contributes 15ppm YAN at .5g/gallon + zinc and no urea - something to consider.

Wow...long pseudo-answer.

FWIW the cleaner ale strains (think WLP001) tend to show less fermentation differences at higher temperatures than estery or phenolic strains like 002 or 530 in my experience.

I tasted a split batch of cream ale made with 001 at 65F and 001 at 75F. You can definitely taste a difference side-by-side (the one fermented at 75F had more acetaldehyde/esters) but the differences between the two beers weren't really prominent. If I'd have tasted the beers a week apart, I probably wouldn't have noticed.   

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Hop Clog Woes
« on: August 23, 2011, 07:03:48 PM »
I've heard good things about the surescreens for whole hops.

Personally, I tend to use pellets in my system and I just use a giant teaball. There are a few bits here and there at first but in a couple weeks it'll clear nicely.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Head retention in German pils
« on: August 14, 2011, 08:26:23 PM »
Never had a problem with head retention on any beer. I've always associated proper head and proper head-retention with proper pitching rate. Make sure you're using the pitching rate calculator as a starting point and adjusting your pitch rate up or down depending on your desired results.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry Question
« on: August 09, 2011, 02:12:02 PM »
I think your 4g CaSO4 and .25g NaOH is probably a reasonable plan of attack.

My understanding about Camden tablets is that they won't affect Chloride levels - if so only negligibly. I know that metabisulfite is a powerful reducer - not sure what it reduces chlorine/chloramines to - either way I wouldn't worry about it.

I'm not sure what I think about Cl:SO4 ratio - I saw Colin Kaminski (co-author of the upcoming water book) talking about dosing beers with CaCl2- and CaSO4-spiked water post ferment to give you idea of the affect. Haven't tried it, but I'm going to - just to see if I can tell a difference. He suggested using 1tsp/pint of CaSO4 and 1/4tsp/pint CaCl2 since the gypsum doesn't dissolve too well.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Transferring to Lauter Tun
« on: August 09, 2011, 01:50:42 PM »
I mash in a 10 Gallon Gott cooler - in a setup probably fairly similar to what you've got - and I think I'd either infuse with boiling water in the cooler, do a decoction mash to hit my temps, try a combination of those two techniques or, most likely, stick with my SOP and single-infusion mash.

Can you make a better beer with a multi-step mash? Maybe. I'm not sure that I could. I don't have any practice with that technique. I wouldn't try what you're proposing because I'd likely never use this technique and would, therefore, never get good-enough at this technique to make better beer than I could with my standard technique. My new mantra is, "Don't fight your system".

I say all of this with the caveat that recently (about a year ago) I decided to branch out and try a ton of new techniques. I think what I found, after 40-some-odd batches of experiments, was that all of these techniques can make amazing beer; however, none of these techniques are the secret to making amazing beer. The secret to making amazing beer, I feel, is perfecting a process that works well for your system. That's my current brewing philosophy FWIW.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Transferring to Lauter Tun
« on: August 07, 2011, 05:47:49 PM »
while most modern grains are well modified that doesn't mean that a step mash can't offer some benefit. For one thing the glucose/maltose balance is effected by mashing regimen among many other important

My concern would be oxidation of the mash - I think if you could do a gentle transfer you'd be fine; however, I think it's a reasonable idea for you to evaluate why you're step-mashing. If you're doing it for fun or authenticity, that's fine; however, there are better ways to improve your beer.

As was noted above, I think you could probably get away pitching your whole 2-liter starter at the height of activity in something like a stout or something with enough flavor to hide it. I saw the 10% rule in Dr. White's and JZ's yeast book and was a little surprised - I remember back when Jamil was winning Ninkasi's and said multiple times that he just pitches his whole starter after about 8 hours. Pitching at the height of activity is definitely something to consider when you're brewing on short notice, but I tend not to do that too much anymore.

What I've been doing is a combination of decanting and pitching at the height of activity - I saw this in Zymurgy and it's apparently Jamil's revised process. I pressure cook starter wort and I do 3 sizes - 500mL, 1L and 2L. I use the 1L and 2L as you'd expect - the 500mL I save for brew day. I let my starters ferment out, then let them sit out for 8-12 hours to rebuild glycogen reserves then refrigerate until brew day. Morning of brew day - sometime when I'm heating sparge water - I'll decant my starter and let it warm back up to a reasonable temp (or until I get my mash pH set - whichever comes first) then I'll throw 500mL additional wort on the settled yeast and I pitch that whole thing. I only do this with ales. This is a technique that's been working amazingly well for me - fermentations have been pretty amazing - quick and complete.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Management?
« on: August 04, 2011, 07:35:12 PM »
The easiest way to give a rough estimate of the number of yeast cells you had in your slurry is to do a sedimented cell volume:
Of course it's easier with a microscope and hemacytometer

I'd recommend looking into the Yeast book by Chris White and JZ for your other questions.

Equipment and Software / Re: blichmann burners
« on: August 04, 2011, 07:00:11 PM »
I really like mine; however, unless you're getting a stand I would just get a banjo burner.

Banjo uses the same burner - I'm skeptical that the stand makes as much difference as Blichmann claims. Diminishing returns for the excess change unless you're building the stand piece-by-piece.

Also, my beef is that there's this 2-3in gap between the top of the stand and the bottom of the pot - when it's windy I have a hell of a time keeping a boil. This wasn't a problem when I had my Bayou Classic.

Equipment and Software / Re: Milwaukee pH meter issues
« on: July 28, 2011, 10:00:14 PM »
I actually emailed Kai this question about a year ago - hopefully he won't mind me sharing his answer in full here:
I just used the meter and what you are seeing is normal. You need to swirl the probe around to get a stable reading. In a lab you would put the sample on a small stirrer.

The probe acts like an acid itself and changes the pH in its vicinity. That's why you have to keep it moving a bit to  disturb the layer of changed pH solution that formed around the probe.

Quick thought on the siphon - sometimes my hose clamps will poke holes in my tubing - have you removed the hose-clamp recently and checked the tubing? Try replacing the tubing with some tight-fitting tubing (5/16" ID) and ditching the hose clamp maybe?

As far as the gushers are concerned, my only nugget of wisdom is to make sure you're stirring really well - not fast or vigorously - just thoroughly - get the sugar solution nice and even. Maybe try carb drops - limit your variables.

If you really think you have an infection try a Wort Stability test - collect wort from the kettle into a sterile container and see how long it takes to start spontaneously fermenting. If your wort makes it 4-5 days without showing signs of fermentation then your infection's somewhere on the cold-side, else, it's in your chilling or racking to the kettle.

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