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Messages - BP79

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31
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentation never started
« on: November 15, 2013, 12:41:14 PM »
Haha, yeah I was trying something different! 

I mashed 90 mins @ 148 using 21.5 lbs of grain with about 6.3 gallons of water, batch-sparged, then did a 90 min boil, yielding 5.5 gallons in the carboy.  OG was 1.090, last check was 1.084.  I use this refractometer, which I'm starting to get the feeling is garbage:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/RSG-100ATCc-Black-Brix-Beer-Sugar-Wine-Wort-SG-0-32-Refractometer-HOME-BREW-/370899538292?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item565b55d174

I have a 60-quart square igloo cooler that I use as a swamp cooler that holds temps pretty well... but I don't have a thermowell so I have to measure the outside water temp instead, hence the pitching 5 degrees so on the cool side.  Temp has been at 64 since Sunday. 

I've read stories that brewers have found crayons and other kid toys in their carboys, but I have a hose clamp around the carboy clamp to prevent that. 

32
Yeast and Fermentation / Fermentation never started
« on: November 15, 2013, 12:03:11 PM »
I brewed the Imperial Stout recipe below 6 days ago, pitched a big starter of WLP007 per Mr. Malty - then adjusted it according the advice of several people here (thanks Mort, Jim!).  Aerated with an aquarium pump and obtained an OG of 1.090 (target of 1.099), then pitched @ 62 and was going to let it warm up.

After less than two hours the airlock was bubbling away, and there was a good 1/2" of krausen too.  But overnight activity died, and since then nothing.  The krausen has collapsed and the my gravity only fell a few points.  The weird thing is the surface is 'clean', i.e. no bacteria (at least to the naked eye), and it smells nice and chocolaty. 

I soaked the glass carboy overnight in PBW and remember washing it out very thoroughly since this was the first time I used a glass one and thought it was a good arm/shoulder workout given how heavy it was.  And I even let my 2.5 yr old daughter put in the Starsan b/c she likes seeing bubbles.

I pitched another starter after 4 days of nada as a Hail Mary and still nothing.

Any thoughts as to what I could have done?

14.43   2-row pale
1.99   floaked oats
1.54   chocolate malt
0.93   15L crystal (used 20)
0.90   black malt
0.90   roasted barley
0.82   Carapils mal

33
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Step-up starter
« on: November 08, 2013, 10:22:05 PM »
The recipe says to mash @ 148 for 90 minutes and to pitch WLP007 @ 68.  I use an aquarium pump for 5 minutes (overkill?) to aerate.  And yup to all grain and a refractometer.  A few points here and there is good enough for me... but clearly 1.040 indicates something is wrong during my process.

14.40 two row
2.00 flaked  oats
1.54 chocolate malt
0.93 15L crystal
0.90 black malt
0.90 roasted barley
0.82 carapils

21.5 lbs total grain bill.

34
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Step-up starter
« on: November 08, 2013, 11:42:13 AM »
Geez, yes, I meant attenuation, not efficiency.  My OG's are usually where I expect them to be, but my FG's constantly stall around 1.040 and I've been told I'm not pitching enough yeast.

So in your opinion, Norther Brewers's guide isn't too useful?  I had a feeling a 1/4 L wouldn't really do much.  I'll take your advice and add another 1L into the flask.

Regarding the time, I'll let it ferment in the primary for 5 weeks, then straight to the bottle, then I won't drink for at least months... if I'm patient.   

35
Yeast and Fermentation / Step-up starter
« on: November 08, 2013, 10:39:51 AM »
My efficiency tends to be consistently low for my big (>1.080) beers), so members here have suggested I'm not pitching enough yeast.  Using a stir-plate, Mr. Malty says I need 366mm cells @ 1.4L using 2 vials of WLP007 for my next stout.   I double checked the calcs and I agree based on:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/YeastPitchingRates.pdf

Last week I made the first starter and put it in the fridge for 4 days.  Monday night I decanted that, made a 250ml starter, and poured that into the flask.  I'd say the cake is around the 500ml line on the flask now, with barely any liquid noticeable.  Is that all there is to it?  Such a small amount of sugar from the second step is all that's needed for the yeast to get to the target number? 

36
Equipment and Software / Re: Kegerator faucet location
« on: November 02, 2013, 08:19:59 PM »
I've been scoping out a fridigaire frc445gm 4.4cubic foot mini fridge. I live in Hoboken so space is a premium. Conversion kit will be from beverage factory or maybe Williams, and I'm going to treat  myself to a nice tap from Perlick. I've also never heard of a faucet lock, but I'll definitely add that to the setup.

37
Equipment and Software / Kegerator faucet location
« on: November 01, 2013, 10:56:52 AM »
What's the consensus on where everyone installs the faucet?  I'm leaning towards putting the faucet on the door, this way I can keep the top clear for storage.  My one concern is my 2 1/2 year old daughter, who already loves the smell of hops.  I figure to get around that, I'll just put the whole fridge on something sturdy that I can double up as storage... condo living in the city has its limitations. 

Any pros/cons of going with the door route?  I see the biggest pro would be not cutting cooling lines on the top and killing the fridge.   

38
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Poor WLP002 attenuation: raise temp to fix?
« on: October 14, 2013, 06:51:15 AM »
Got the FG down 5 pts to  1.035 with the additional yeast and warmer (70) temperature.  I'll take it.

39
Equipment and Software / Re: thermowell & blow-off valve set-up
« on: October 08, 2013, 07:10:00 AM »
Cool, so you replaced the SS rod that came with the hood and replaced it with this one?

http://www.brewershardware.com/12-Stainless-Steel-Thermowell-TWS12.html

40
Equipment and Software / Re: thermowell & blow-off valve set-up
« on: October 07, 2013, 09:33:56 AM »
I'm embarrassed at my Googling skills. It seems this will work with my Better Bottle just fine:

http://morebeer.com/products/hood-thermowell-3-5-6-65-gallon-smooth-neck-carboys-15.html

 

41
Equipment and Software / thermowell & blow-off valve set-up
« on: October 07, 2013, 08:13:29 AM »
I finally want to start measuring fermentation temperature more accurately.  I currently use a swamp cooler as my fermentation chamber, measure the water temp, and tack on 5-8 degrees as my assumed internal carboy temperature for the first 4-5 days.  My blow-off valve gets a lot of use.  Has anyone here built a thermowell - blow-off valve combo?  I was thinking of just drilling a hole through the rubber stopper, putting a 12"-15" SS rod through it, and sealing the top and bottom of it with silicone.  Does that seem like it'll work?       

42
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Poor WLP002 attenuation: raise temp to fix?
« on: October 03, 2013, 06:46:08 AM »
Rousing it was like mixing caramel with a plastic straw.  I ended up taking the day off from work, took a trip to my LHBS, and made another starter last night.  I'll check back later next week let you know how things work out. 

FWIW, the temp stayed at 153 over the course of mash... but that's probably in jeopardy given my thermometer accuracy.  I usually use 001/007, but given I've had this happen before, I think I need to do some serious homework before my next big brew. 

43
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Poor WLP002 attenuation: raise temp to fix?
« on: October 01, 2013, 11:22:52 AM »
Adding some safale 05 was on the top of my list of fixes.  I should have prefaced that my fermentation chamber is a big square igloo cooler filled with ice packs and water, so while the water temp outside the carboy started at 59, the internal temp was probably closer to 65 once fermentation started.  I even mixed the grains for 10 minutes because the grain bill was so large (22.5 lbs).  I'll pitch some more yeast and will let you know what happens. 

This is also the third time this has happened to me in the past year or so, esp for my bigger brews, so perhaps my thermometer is el cheapo and it's time to get a new one.

As always, thanks for the tips.

44
Yeast and Fermentation / Poor WLP002 attenuation: raise temp to fix?
« on: October 01, 2013, 10:44:19 AM »
2.5 weeks ago I brewed what was supposed to be a 1.100 OG ale (June Zymurgy Lagunitas Brown Shugga' clone).  My 60 minute mash was 2o under, @ 153o instead of 155o.  I used a stir plate and pitched a 1800mL starter, per Mr. Malty, at 59o, and have slowly been warming it up since then.  It's currently up to 66. 

My issue is I've been stuck at 1.040 for about 5 days now.  I added some yeast nutrient and roused the cake twice.  I'm probably answering my own question, but could being 2o under lead to such a difference in readily available sugars that my FG could end up being so high?  Should I raise the temp to the low 70's?

45
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentation Accident
« on: August 23, 2013, 07:41:16 AM »
This happened to me last year, but I ended up with a cracked carboy!  Like everyone says, it's no biggie at all.  See the thread below.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=11727.msg147918#msg147918

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