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Messages - benamcg

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Started washing my yeast...
« on: August 04, 2011, 02:02:16 PM »
I am surprised that more people dont rinse yeast.  I would say that as long as you employ Good Lab Practices it is the bee's knees.  A big factor is saved costs: I have definetely cut costs on the 20+ (12 gal.) batches that I have brewed this year. 

Dividing the yeast from a batch I am only on the 6th generation (since each batch makes more yeast than needed for one batch) and have seen no decline in % attenuation.   The yeast I rinsed last night = 83% attenuation.  I keep records on the characteristics of the yeast (time to ferment, volume, etc.) and have observed healthy fermentations and no off flavors. I had originally planned to buy fresh yeast once a year.  I am not sure that I will at this point. 

Since adding a Therminator to my operation (and therefore a strainer/hop sock in the kettle) my Primary is super clean, beer is much clearer, and multiple rinses dont seem necessary.  (i only dry hop in the secondary, too).

Two weeks ago, I made two 12 gal batches in 2 days.  One was straight pitched yeast (pulled out of the fridge, brought to room temp) the other was put in a starter from Beer #1 mash run off.  I didnt notice any differences in the time to ferment (primary) or time it took to become active.  I am not sure that I will be making starters in the future because of this.(unless the yeast is > 1.5 months old.  I think 2 months is longest I have gone before pitching rinsed yeast (no ill effects, just not comfortable going longer).

I am wondering about how to use the Mr. Malty calculator for washed yeast.  Should I treat it like liquid yeast or slurry?

The reason I ask is that I have been washing my yeast and storing it for up to two months.  I store it in 2000 mL Ball jars- the yeast portion ends up being about 400-500 mL.  The final product looks like a massive White Labs vial. The online calculator says that the liquid yeast is 54% viable after 2 months, and the yeast slurry is only 10% viable.  I assume that the washed yeast is the slurry.  However, I have seen no ill effects of time to ferment or attentuation that would be indicative of 10% viability.

Secondly, if washed yeast is somehow different from a vial of yeast, what magic is done to increase the viability? 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast cake rehydration
« on: April 06, 2011, 06:02:21 PM »
So, given this information would overpitching be OK for styles where you dont want an estery, fruity taste?   I make a lot of IPAs with higher amounts (than recommended according to the Mr. Malty calculator) of washed California Ale yeast slurry - and I dont want a high amount of esters in flavor.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Surface Sterilization of Dry Hops
« on: March 14, 2011, 10:25:17 PM »
Thanks for the quick response- I should have posted yesterday. I worked at a 10 BBL brewpub in Mass (nameless to protect the innocent, although their dry hopped beers are still excellent).  Sanitizing seemed logical at the time.  Thanks to one and all for saving me some extra time from here on out.  For the record, I did transfer the water along with it. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Surface Sterilization of Dry Hops
« on: March 14, 2011, 09:31:56 PM »
I am frequent dry hopper.  Something that I always do that I learned in my days of commercial brewing is to "surface sterilize" (for lack of a better term) the hops.  I basically bring a pot of water to a boil, drop the hops in, and essentially nuke any nasties, before adding to the secondary.  Then Iput the hops in the carboy, and let the hops cool before racking on to the hops.  At the brewery we would place the hops into a bag, place the bag in a grant, and run boiling water over the bag for a few minutes before adding to the secondary.

After doing this 50+ times at home, I began to question if this is necessary.  Any thoughts, pro or con?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Overchilled wort + Yeast
« on: March 03, 2011, 11:49:07 PM »
Man, I gotta get me one of these Therminators and drill my kettle for a ball valve. 

I really struggled with the thought of buying a Therminator-
Therminator= $200,
+ $20 for backflush assembly,
 + 40 for weldless conversion kit
+ $12 for a titanium nitride drill bit (plus the stress of possibly ruining my kettle)
+ $40 in part to build a hop stopper
+ $15 for quick connects
+ $5 for attachments they dont sell (hard to hook a male thread outlet to a male thread on a garden hose)

= in the end......I think it might be the best piece of brewing equipment I have ever owned.  Its truly amazing.

Yeast and Fermentation / Overchilled wort + Yeast
« on: March 01, 2011, 04:41:38 PM »
I inadvertently overchilled my wort (48o F) when using my Therminator for the first time (that thing is amazing....too amazing).  I brought the carboys into a nice warm room, but fermentation (even with a nice starter) didnt seem to be at the activity level (airlock activity) that I am used to until 36-48 hours in. 

Any issues or off flavors associated with a lag like this? It is an IPA, OG 1.068, plenty hoppy. I would expect that any nasties that may have been in the air would also not be active at that low range.   

Equipment and Software / Re: Blichmann Therminator wort chiller
« on: February 27, 2011, 08:51:48 PM »
I just tried my Therminator for the first time ever.  Amazing.  My wife doesnt want to hear me talk about it any more.  Took 7 mins to chill 10 gals! Shortened the brew day considerably.  Truly amazing product (I wish I work my Beer Gun as easily).
My only problem is it took the wort down to 48 degrees! 


Equipment and Software / Re: Drilling through my kettle .....
« on: February 16, 2011, 01:40:31 AM »
Update: Success!

Thanks to one and all in this amazing community.  Much appreciated.

I ended up just placing the kettle in the tub, running water occasionally, going slow- the kettle, the hole, the bit and the drill all came through well.  Thanks for the tip on placing the valve under one handle (looks slick).  The bit (cheapo/ebay titanium nitride- $11.95) looks like it could go again.  Also, no rough edges on the hole.  The weldless kit is also holding strong- no leaks!

Thanks again

Equipment and Software / Re: Drilling through my kettle .....
« on: February 15, 2011, 02:58:58 PM »
I have a 18 V cordless drill, but what speeds should I run it at?

When I did this I had problems using my 18V cordless.  I could get up to about a 7/16 hole before it would freeze up.  However, several others have reported no issues with an 18V cordless.  My kettle is on the heavy side so that may have been the issue.

I eventually used a borrowed corded drill to finish it up.

I have similar issues with my grain mill- I usually end up repeatedly switching out batteries. 

I should have specified that my kettle is the 60 qt Bayou Classic.

Ingredients / Re: Green apple taste in young, big beer with turbinado
« on: February 15, 2011, 02:56:43 PM »
Hey!  I was just reading that acetaldehyde has a boiling point of 70 F.  Then I went to Wikipedia which confirms that it boils at about 68 F!  In other words, if you warm up your beer to about 75 F for a few days, similar to a diacetyl rest, I would imagine that at least some of the acetaldehyde will bubble out.  So the trick here might be to WARM up the beer, NOT COLD CONDITION.  I don't see why this wouldn't work.  It might not be 100% effective, but should be at least partially helpful.  It can't hurt to try!

I think that if the taste doesnt go away I will give it a shot. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Drilling through my kettle .....
« on: February 15, 2011, 11:55:57 AM »
Start with a 1/8" bit and just drill a small pilot "divot" so the step-bit doesn't wander on the surface of the kettle when you start to drill

Some people have recommended tapping a punch into the kettle to make the divot.  But you are saying I could do this with the bit?  I am worried about the punch ended up damaging or denting a larger area than the intended hole.

Ingredients / Re: Green apple taste in young, big beer with turbinado
« on: February 15, 2011, 11:51:11 AM »
Seems like you had really good performance,  What were you timings, How long prinary, secondary etc.

Normally I transfer to a secondary for dry hopping (and normally I use flowers)- this time I switched up protocols.  I pitched on Jan. 29th, let the fermentation go (went strong for several days with little lag- everything seemed fine), added pellets on Feb 5th, and transferred to keg on Feb 14th.   

I do prefer a transfer to secondary (clean vessel), but after reading lots of posts against it, I decided to give the no transfer a try.  We will see.

Equipment and Software / Drilling through my kettle .....
« on: February 15, 2011, 03:52:14 AM »
I will be drilling through my SS kettle to attach a weldless valve kit so that I can begin to use my Therminator. 

I have all the equipment ready to go, including my titanium nitride step bit, but am trying to solicit advice from someone who has done this before proceeding.  I keep putting off the operation thinking that I am about to wreck a perfectly good kettle.

I have a 18 V cordless drill, but what speeds should I run it at?

Did the finished hole require smoothing?  If so, with what?

What did you use for cutting fluid?  I dont want to have greases in the kettle or anything that could be problematic.  I am not looking to use the bit again if that matters (i.e. if I dont need to use cutting fluid?).



Ingredients / Re: Green apple taste in young, big beer with turbinado
« on: February 15, 2011, 03:41:03 AM »
Yoiu said it is young.  Give it some time.  I hope you have some yeast to clean up the green apple.  I have used sugars up to 20% and there were no problems

How much yeast is needed to clean up the green apple?  I transferred half of the batch (1 carboy) to a keg.  Obviously there is some yeast in there, but it is not sitting on the yeast cake anymore.  The other carboy will get bottle sometime this week and is still on the yeast cake.  I would think that the longer it sits on the yeast cake, the more likely off-flavors would develop from sitting on beat-up yeast.     

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