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Messages - erockrph

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« on: October 15, 2014, 11:38:50 PM »
Was it a single-step or a two-step starter? What was your starter gravity? 

A lot of brewers make the mistake of brewing a big beer with yeast grown in 1.040 gravity wort.  Pitching a culture grown in 1.040 wort into 1.087 wort seriously stresses the yeast cells.   A better approach is to pitch the vial into 1L of 1.030 gravity wort, wait twelve to eighteen hours, chill and decant the supernatant (a.k.a the clear liquid that lies above the slurry), and then pitch the slurry into 3 liters of 1.060 wort.  Using this process, we are also increasing osmotic pressure with each step.
I'm not disagreeing, as my own experience with pitching slurries from 1.060ish beers has been quite successful, but I am curious what the biology is behind this. Is there a mechanism that the yeast has to acclimate to higher osmotic pressures?

There are no hard and fast rules, but I would say that in most cases the mistake is making a high gravity starter.

The starter was well within the ratio of growth (4X at most). The gravity was low, the way every yeast lab propagates yeast.  The idea is that you can pitch the correct number of cells, grown in ideal conditions (LOW GRAVITY WORT).

Whether or not this is always true is another deal.  540 is one of the few where I've had any problem at all with starter grown yeast.  However, I would never encourage someone to make high gravity starters.  But obviously certain yeasts benefit more than others from growing in brewing conditions.

I think the key here is the recommendation to pitch at 12-18 hours, and not after the starter has fermented to completion. I think the alcohol content in the starter is probably the biggest detriment to yeast health. By pitching earlier in the process you will avoid some of that alcohol.

Kai ran an experiment a few years ago comparing yeast growth (per gram of extract) vs starter gravity. He saw virtually no difference between a 5,7 or 10 Plato starter wort on yeast growth, and they were all at nearly 100% viability. A 20 Plato wort did see a 33% lower growth rate and was about 90% viable. He attributed the lower viability to the alcohol content. It's unclear where the break point is between 10 and 20 Plato where yeast growth and viability start to tail off in a starter, but even at 20 Plato the results weren't disastrous. It stands to reason that a 1.060 starter isn't going to be horrendously detrimental to yeast health.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Hop stand newbie advice
« on: October 15, 2014, 11:06:30 PM »
What kind of beer are you planning on brewing? IPA, I'm assuming?

For a grain bill, I'd use all of the Pearl and a half pound of the CaraRed. If you want more gravity, use some table sugar.

For the hops, there are a few different ways of handling it. Depending on the AA%, the Magnum might not give you enough IBU's as a 60-minute addition. I'd target about 60-70 IBU on a typical IPA that we're going to crush with late hops like this. :D  I've never used Citra or Nelson as a bittering hop (sacrilege!), so I couldn't say which one to use to make up your IBU total. I guess Citra, since you have more of it.

For the hop stand, I'd chill to 170 F. Save 2 oz of Citra and 1 oz of Nelson for the dry hops, then add the rest in. Stir until everything is dispersed in the wort. Cover and let it sit for 45 minutes or so. Stir whenever you think of it (every 5-10 minutes). After the hop stand, chill and ferment as usual. I dry hop in the primary about 7-10 days in. Others do it in secondary or the keg. Choose whichever you prefer.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Another BIAB thread
« on: October 15, 2014, 10:46:46 PM »
I just finished my biab. It went pretty well. I definitely have a few factors to dial in. For instance I forgot how much slower my 5 gallon pot on the electric stove top boils off wort than the 15 gallon pot on the propane. On the plus side I was happy how well my mash held temp. I'm m pretty psyched because this is proof of the concept that I can make a batch of AG every week and still have time on the weekend for other interests.
Great to hear!

All Grain Brewing / Re: BIAB and OG (yes another BIAB thread)
« on: October 15, 2014, 10:44:40 PM »
If your preboil is way off, then that's where I prefer to add DME. If you're in the same ballpark, then you might as well wait it out until your boil is done. I'd rarely consider adding DME if I'm within 2-3 points on a small or average beer. In those cases I just make a note of it and try to adjust for it next time (usually by adding more base malt).

I'm of the school of thought that DME (like sugar and honey) is of extremely low risk for harboring contamination. I've added it in dry and cold on a few occasions with no ill effects. But if you're able to add it on the hot side, all the better.

Once your system is dialed in, if your gravities are off on a couple of batches, then its time to start looking into things that may be affecting your efficiency (such as your crush on your grains).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How Do Fermentables Affect Flavor?
« on: October 15, 2014, 10:31:50 PM »
I'll second that and expand on the concept of yeast flavor/aroma contributions.

It was a huge eye opener for me the first time I split a wort and used 2 different yeasts then compared the results side by side.  They seemed like they could NEVER have been from the same boil.

Most newbies totally underestimate the contributions that yeast make to the flavor and aroma of a beer.  So much so, that other than the obvious roast/caramel/bread/toast that you get from the various specialty malts, the yeast is what really defines the flavor profile of the beer.

+2 - The best way I like to describe this is lagers. Even though the hallmark of a lager is a clean fermentation with minimal byproducts, lager yeasts still leave a fingerprint. You can still tell that a beer is a lager by the taste of it. And there are a wide assortment of lager yeasts. If the yeast didn't affect flavor, you'd only need one or two.

More than anything else, yeast is what defines the "house flavor" for most breweries. Even cleanly fermented beers with a clean yeast strain leave behind a fingerprint.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cleaning up Diacytel
« on: October 15, 2014, 10:18:17 PM »
Diacetyl will clear with raing the temp to upper 60's for a couple days.  Under attenuation may require a repitch at high krausen to get it to finish.
+1 - if it doesn't clear on its own, then you're best off using an active starter rather than just pitching dry yeast. It doesn't have to be a big one, but you do want to make sure the yeast is already wide awake. You could even pull off a liter or so of another beer at high krausen and add that instead.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bru'n water PH using German Melanoiden
« on: October 15, 2014, 10:15:01 PM »
If you're experimenting, try crushing the Melanoidin malt separately. Dough in without the Melanoidin, check the pH, then add the Melanoidin and recheck pH. Run calculations through Brunwater (and maybe Brewer's Friend, too) for the same recipe both with and without the Melanoidin. It would be very interesting to see how each one compares.

One other thought - are you using a specific base malt in these recipes that may be different than what you typically use? For example, if these are lagers, then maybe you're using a lot more Pils or Munich than you would typically use in other brews.

For me, the differences between Brewer's Friend and Brun'water have been miniscule (.02-.03 at most). I made sure to compare the water profiles for three or four different recipes between the two before I felt comfortable usiong them interchangeably.

Since I use Brewer's Friend for my recipe design, I typically use their water calculator. I use Brun'water when I'm looking to try out a new water profile, but then I generally use Brewer's Friend to apply it to a specific recipe.

I agree that the Brewer's Friend interface can be a bit awkward. Maybe you're not inputting something the same between the two?

One other point of note - I don't sparge, so water calculators are a bit simpler for me. I can't comment on whether something is going on with the sparge calculations.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« on: October 14, 2014, 09:25:51 PM »
Lager starters can take a while to get going, IME. They don't always look like they're doing much, either. Just ride it out. I'm sure you'll be fine.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bru'n water PH using German Melanoiden
« on: October 14, 2014, 09:23:57 PM »
My thought is that Melanoidin is simply Munich malt on steroids, and Munich malt was developed to provide some acidity to counteract the carbonate water of Munich.  I read this about Munich malt many years ago....maybe Noonan's Brewing Lager Beer?  At any rate, my experience is that Munich malt indeed does provide significantly more acidity than pilsner malt. So I am not surprised by your results.
I was thinking something similar. Melanoidin/Aromatic malt is like extra dark Munich rather than a crystal malt. I use Kai's water calculator on Brewer's Friend and it handles Aromatic as a "Roasted Malt". I'm not sure how this compares to Brunwater, or what the calculation is behind the scenes. I do use Castle Aromatic in a lot of my maltier beers, and my pH is always in the ballpark I'm shooting for.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Another BIAB thread
« on: October 14, 2014, 09:26:02 AM »
I've heard not to squeeze the bag. Is that just out of fear of it ripping? I think the bag should be squeezed and I squeeze the heck out of it when I use a bag for fruit in melomels so I don't think that's a problem. I've been going finer and finer with my crush anyway. I'll probably try no sparge first if your getting those numbers.

It's the mythological fear that squeezing the bag will release tannins from the grain.

I suppose if you are using a cloth bag there is some risk of tearing the fabric but any nylon or other manufactured product should not rip open unless you are really going to town squeezing that thing or the seam has come loose. In four years of using the same nylon bag and squeezing the heck out of it I haven't had a problem.

I've ripped a couple of nylon grain bags from oversqueezing, but a good voile custom BIAB bag shouldn't have any issues. If you're using a coarse-mesh bag (such as muslin), then you could potentially squeeze some husk material out of the bag and into the boil. But if you're using a tight-mesh bag there should be no problem.

The Pub / Re: Subliminal advertising
« on: October 14, 2014, 07:10:15 AM »
I think it was better when CAMRA did it back in 2001

Is it blurry because she was cask conditioned?


Beer Recipes / Re: double IPA
« on: October 14, 2014, 07:07:35 AM »
for sure going for a high sulfate water. using the bru'n water pale ale profile.

I do have more hops. I've got

(converted to ounces for the metrically disinclined)
6 oz centennial
6 oz citra
5 oz cascade

I've got some willamette and maybe a bit of magnum, and a few other odds and ends as well but I don't want to go crazy.

I'll up the whirlpool amounts. and the whirlpool time.
I think your blend is pretty good. I wouldn't mess around with other hop varieties - just up the amounts. The only exception is if you have something dank/piny like Chinook/Columbus/Simcoe. The varieties you're using are pretty citrus-forward, and Cascade can be pretty floral sometimes. A touch of pine on the palate might be a good counterpoint.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Another BIAB thread
« on: October 14, 2014, 06:54:43 AM »
Also, you can go a lot finer on your milling with BIAB since you really don't need the filter bed to runoff the mash and sparge. 

Eric - are you getting those efficiency numbers with at the same mill gap as if you were going to do a normal mash/sparge?
I haven't done a normal mash with sparge since I got my mill, so I can't really say. My gap is set to whatever a green Dunlop Tortex guitar pick is. I think it's 0.039

I do squeeze my bag pretty thoroughly, so I'm sure that accounts for why my efficiency is so high. I spin my bag until it is taught, then put it in a colander and press down on it while wearing a silicon oven mitt. At some point I'll probably get a cheese press and will multitask it for bag squeezing as well.

All Things Food / Re: dinner ideas
« on: October 13, 2014, 09:34:29 PM »
My go-to is Steak au Poivre. Flaming off the alcohol always looks cool (but can be scary as hell), and it's pretty simple.

Tangent - I've always meant to try this recipe with pork chops and cacao nibs instead of steak and peppercorn.

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