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Messages - benamcg

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Ingredients / Green apple taste in young, big beer with turbinado
« on: February 15, 2011, 02:08:35 AM »
Brewed a 10 gal. all grain batch of Imperial IPA at the end of January.  I had 28 lbs of malt (pale, crystal, flaked barley, special roast) and 3 lbs of turbinado sugar (to add gravity without the body).  Ended up being more like 8-9 gals in the fermentor- Needless to say I saw a new part of my hydrometer (1.114).  Pitched a lot (800 mL) of washed yeast (one because of the size, two because it was almost 2 months old).  Just transferred to the keg after dry hopping (FG= 1.010).  As usual, I drank the FG sample.  It tasted a little like green apple.  I am quite meticulous about my "lab practices" so I do not expect an infection (although it was the 1st thing to cross my mind).  Second thought was "young beer", and the third thing too cross my mind was the possibility of the effects of the turbinado (these two thoughts are what I am leaning towards - knowing that both should mellow with time).  I guess another possibility could be the yeast- but they did their thing. 

I would love to hear anybody's thoughts on the subject.

Ingredients / Re: More yeast flavor in beer?
« on: February 09, 2011, 03:41:38 AM »
I was using the White Labs Witbier strain.  Conditioned for 4 weeks in glass carboys.  At the time of bottling, the beer was probably in a keg for another 2 weeks (6 weeks total).

Ingredients / More yeast flavor in beer?
« on: February 09, 2011, 02:43:04 AM »
I got knocked in a competition recently that stated that I didnt have enough yeast character in a Wit.  In an effort to make better beers (or beers closer to style), how would one recommend getting more yeast flavor in the beer?  I am not filtering yeast.  Would you inoculate bottles? Seems a bit much to me.....

I just got back some results from a competition that stated my beers were slightly under-carbonated for the style. This was the first time I sent bottles to a competition that I bottled with my Blichman Beer Gun. 

I have never worried 1) about carbonation in kegs (obviously just turn up or vent) or 2) in competitions (usually got bottle condition half the batch).  However, I would rather use my Beer Gun and would like to know what I could do to hit achieved carbonation levels.  I carbonate in kegs using beer charts, have the advantage of cold (36 degrees) and time before bottling. 

I believe that it may do with the process of filling- but I (believe that I have followed the instructions to a tee.  I chill bottles, dispense aroung 3-5 PSI, and cap immediately.  I think that somewhere in the dispensing/filling process I must be doing something wrong.

I believe that this requires a gas physics style answer and not necessarily a brewing technique issue.  In both beers I had either 50% wheat (a wit) or 5-10% Flaked Barley which should if any thing, help with head retention.
Any help would be appreciated.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Is My Washed Yeast Too Old
« on: January 29, 2011, 02:34:29 AM »
Thanks for the advice- I do have a foam stopper and will now be using it. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Is My Washed Yeast Too Old
« on: January 29, 2011, 02:22:15 AM »
Went to make a 2 L starter tonight with washed yeast.  I didnt think about it until I pulled it out of the fridge, but the yeast washed on Dec 4th.  I have 800 mL of nice looking yeast, but according to Mr Malty, I am way short (by about 1200 mL).  I placed it in the starter beaker (on a stir plate) and less than an hour in, got some nice frothy head and good airlock activity (could this solely be from the stir plate?). 

I have about 24 hrs before pitching, and I dont have anymore DME to make another starter.

1) Do I pitch it anyway (and hope for the best)


2) Add non starter (or started) yeast from yeast washed last weekend to the cooled wort?

I am leaning towards pitching the older washed yeast anyway, and if the activity is not great (within 4-6 hrs.) , pitching the back-up non-starter yeast.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Plate Chillers and Gravity Feeds
« on: November 16, 2010, 10:59:27 PM »
I use a Bazooka screen along the periphery.
I whirlpool and let it settle for 15 mintues, then transfer.

Do you use an elbow or something with a straight Bazooka to get it to the periphery?  The Bazooka I have for the mash tun/lauter tun (its a T) is pretty rigid (plus the T wouldnt be a good design for where the material will sit in the kettle).

Equipment and Software / Re: Plate Chillers and Gravity Feeds
« on: November 16, 2010, 10:51:00 PM »
Install a weldless fitting & ball valve to your kettle.
It's easy & cost effective.

Seems like great advice.  Can you use a Bazooka T on the inside to keep out hop material and cold/hot break material?

Equipment and Software / Plate Chillers and Gravity Feeds
« on: November 16, 2010, 07:05:50 PM »
I am looking into purchasing either a Shirron Plate Chiller or a Therminator, to be used in a gravity fed system.

In my research I have noticed that all plate chillers ability to chill is affected by the speed of the wort entering the chiller.  In most video demos I have seen, the person usually adjusts the valve on the kettle to slow the speed down.

I would like to know if I it is possible to use a use a gravity feed from a non-valved kettle with a plate chiller. I guess the problem would be how to start the siphon (suck from the outlet side?).  I would prefer to avoid having to buy a new valved kettle- since my current 15 gal Bayou Classic is great for my batch sizes.

Any help would be appreciated.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Odd precipitate
« on: November 10, 2010, 03:38:59 AM »
The point is well taken on the photo.  Although it doesn't show much now that it is knocked to the bottom.  I believe that it was yeast in suspension, and that the sediment on the bottom is mostly pelleted hops.  As I said, it has been cold in the cellar.  I am not overly worried about contamination.

It would be nice if you could paste in a photo directly in, rather than have it go and sign up for a photo sharing site. My other beef with this site -I find the "First Kit" next to my name somewhat degrading ....maybe if I post a few LOLs on people's threads I can get it upped, and have the appearance of having some knowledge on the subject (despite having commercial experience and more than a decade at home).  Other than that, I thank everyone immensely for sharing their thoughts.

Yeast and Fermentation / Odd precipitate
« on: November 09, 2010, 12:57:49 AM »
I am wondering if anyone can help me with an odd looking precipitate that I had in a secondary fermentor. 

I made an IPA, that was transferred from 2 6.5-gal glass carboys (primary fermentation) to 2 5-gal glass secondaries.   
I dry hopped with pellets.
I placed the secondary in my beer cellar (where lately the temps probably dipped below 45 F). 

There is a layer of sediment/yeast in the bottom of the carboys, but what was floating in suspension was somewhat stringy/snot looking.  I guess the carboy is smooth inside, but oustide it is not perfectly smooth.  The outside of the carboy is somewhat ornate, raised in square patterns, that typical of other carboys I have seen (if this makes sense).  The snotty suspension was hanging out inside the carboy mostly in the same pattern of the square ribbing outside. What is weirder is when I knocked the carboys gently the snot slowed dropped to the bottom of the carboy.  After a few minutes, the beer appeared quite clear, and there was a less dense snotty layer about the dense sediment layer in the bottom of the carboy.

Maybe its not that odd, but maybe I hadn't observed this before since my 6.5 gal fermentors are "jacketed" with styrofam, and these two secondaries are unjacketed (I do cover them with trash bags so no light hits the beer). 

Any guesses?  Same proteins responsible for chill haze?  I did not get aggressive with the siphons at any stage, but I guess there could be some hot or cold break left.
Very odd patterns to the precip.

Yeast and Fermentation / Washing/rinsing and Re-Using Yeast
« on: October 30, 2010, 06:53:03 PM »
I recently washed or rinsed (depending on who you ask) the yeast from 2 6-gal glass carboys.  I allowed the trub to settle in 2 separate jars, then transfered to a couple of secondary settling Ball jars.  What I have now is a beer/water layer on top of beautiful looking yeast.   

In the past, I pitched everything I harvested equally into 2 carboys.  However, from my rinsing it looks like the equivalent of 10 White Lab vials (not including the beer water- just the solid yeast portion).

My questions are:
1.  How much should I repitch? and

2. How do I determine if?  Weight?  If so, I could weigh the Ball jars and compare to an empty one of the same size.  Or fill an old yeast tube and pitch that into a starter.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated,

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