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Messages - erockrph

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1546
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 2278 for hop-forward lagers
« on: September 23, 2015, 11:46:53 AM »
Mandarins Bavaria is one of my favorites, but the oil content is about 1%, much less than one like Citra and Mosiac. Use more to get the aroma.
This was my first time using Mandarina in this quantity, so I wasn't quite sure what I'd get out of it. I guess my point was that I'd reserve judgement on whether this yeast pulled out some hop flavor until I brewed with more potent hops.

I did like the hop character I got from this brew, but I think I got as much black tea as citrus. I used about 1oz/gallon of MB and 0.5oz/gallon of Apollo in the whirlpool.

1547
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 2278 for hop-forward lagers
« on: September 23, 2015, 08:29:34 AM »
I have a two gallons of a Pilsner left in a keg.  Fully lagered and serving.  What do you think about an aggresive dry hopping?  In particular, the introduction of O2 to a lagered beer.  I have another lagering keg of the wonderful Pils so I am not concerned if it doesn't work.  I have been wanting to try out a hoppy lager for a long time.
I don't see an issue at all with dry-hopping a lager post-lagering. Plus, if it's in a keg you can purge with CO2 to keep O2 exposure to a minimum.

1548
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« on: September 22, 2015, 07:54:46 PM »
Interesting discussion on open fermentation.  So do you all think a blow off tube not immersed in a sanitizer (closed system) would mimic an open fermentation?  Do you think WLP 051 would beca good open fermentation type of yeast?
I don't know if WLP051 is a great choice for open fermentation. It's a fairly clean strain. The strains that are the best candidates are generally more estery strains like English or hefe strains.

1549
Yeast and Fermentation / Wyeast 2278 for hop-forward lagers
« on: September 22, 2015, 07:51:58 PM »
I've been chasing my white whale for a while now - a hoppy lager that has the malt and fermentation character of a lager but the hop character of an APA. I've never quite been able to nail the balance I've been shooting for, but I think I found the missing piece in Wyeast 2278.

I recently brewed a lager using mainly Red X malt with a splash of Pils, with Mandarina Bavaria and Apollo as my hops, and using 2278 for my yeast. The beer finished crisp and dry, with a nice snap to the bitterness, but the malt flavor still came through and it left some richness in the mouthfeel. As a bonus, it had dropped quite clear on its own after 3 weeks in primary.

Hop flavor isn't as much as I had hoped for, but that might just be from my hop selection (which was primarily Mandarina), and quantities. I'm looking forward to trying this again with some more potent hops and a 80:20 Pils/Munich malt bill.

If you're looking for something different than Chico for an APA, this yeast would probably make a nice choice. Using an accelerated lager fermentation schedule you could have something ready in close to the amount of time needed for an ale yeast. It's probably the best option of all the lager yeasts I've tried for an IPL as well.

1550
Equipment and Software / Re: Kenmore Elite Freezer Conversion
« on: September 22, 2015, 07:18:44 PM »
I have the Johnson A419. Super easy to set up and has worked great for me. At first I just used it for my keezer but have now started using my keezer as my lager chamber too. I am very pleased with the product and the price is worth the ease to me. Set it to the temp you want and forget it. Can't recommend it enough.
+1 - I use mine on my chest freezer that is a lager chamber/keezer, and it works perfectly. Set the thermostat on the freezer as low as it will go and the external controller will turn it on/off as needed to maintain temp. Easy as pie.

1551
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Goosing the Mash? Brewday issues
« on: September 22, 2015, 05:21:40 PM »
Appreciate the tips - the boiled water + cold water/ice are good ideas. The chalk did do the trick but it was after I added about 2.5 grams of it so probably not ideal, baking soda is a good idea - does it affect anything besides pH?

Yea, the detergent was a bonehead move. I was mashed in before I remembered running it thru a couple water cycles was on my to do list. But I didn't detect anything in the post-boil wort so maybe I got off in the clear. Either way the batch was really low gravity (~1.030 table saison) + small volume so I used only 3.5# of grain coupled with hops I've been meaning to use up and dry yeast. So if it ends up bad it's a cheap dump at least.

Try pickling lime to raise pH.

+1 to Denny's suggestion. Baking soda will add sodium. Pickling lime will add calcium instead, it's also a more potent acid neutralizer so less is needed.
Baking soda doesn't add enough sodium to have a noticeable effect on flavor under normal brewing conditions unless you already have a lot of sodium in your water already. If you have pickling lime handy, then by all means go for it. But you should be just fine with baking soda.

And ice cubes are my go-to for lowering mash temps in a pinch. Super convenient.

1552
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stepping up a starter by gravity, vs volume?
« on: September 21, 2015, 11:00:54 AM »
You want the yeast to be as healthy as possible and the lower the gravity (to a point) the better in that regard.  There is no benefit to increasing the gravity and it might even be detrimental.
I don't know if I agree with that. If you're starting with healthy yeast from a fresh starter, then my understanding is that you can build up their tolerance to gravity and alcohol in successive generations. That certainly matches my experience, at least. For really big beers I have had great results by pitching from a yeast cake from a batch that was in the 1.060's, which was previously stepped up from a normal-gravity starter or a session beer.

AFAIK, there is no such thing as building up "tolerance".  You simply want more healthy cells, and a lower gravity will make sure they're healthy.
Actually, there is quite a bit of research showing that alcohol exposure does increase alcohol tolerance in yeast. In particular, yeast tend to alter the fatty acid makeup of their membranes in response to increasing concentrations of ethanol, and this in turn enhances their tolerance to alcohol.

As we all know, what happens in a lab doesn't necessarily translate to what happens beer. And you can't apply what happens with one yeast strain universally, either. But it works for me, so I'll stick with it.

1553
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stepping up a starter by gravity, vs volume?
« on: September 21, 2015, 09:21:58 AM »
From what I have read here, yeast growth is limited by stress and volume of starter. Only so much can grow in a specific size starter, the only difference the gravity makes is whether or not the yeast are stressed or not
It is actually limited by the amount of extract (i.e., sugar) available in solution. Here's an experiment Kai ran a few years ago. Essentially, the same amount of yeast grew in 400mL of a 5 Plato wort as it did in 200mL of a 10 Plato wort. Yeast growth and viability didn't start to decrease until he got to 20 Plato (~1.083).

http://braukaiser.com/blog/blog/2013/05/28/starter-wort-gravity-and-yeast-growth/

1554
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stepping up a starter by gravity, vs volume?
« on: September 21, 2015, 09:14:13 AM »
You want the yeast to be as healthy as possible and the lower the gravity (to a point) the better in that regard.  There is no benefit to increasing the gravity and it might even be detrimental.
I don't know if I agree with that. If you're starting with healthy yeast from a fresh starter, then my understanding is that you can build up their tolerance to gravity and alcohol in successive generations. That certainly matches my experience, at least. For really big beers I have had great results by pitching from a yeast cake from a batch that was in the 1.060's, which was previously stepped up from a normal-gravity starter or a session beer.

1555
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stepping up a starter by gravity, vs volume?
« on: September 21, 2015, 09:10:26 AM »
I've just set off a 750ml shaken starter of WLP550 ('Chouffe') planning to step that up x5 by volume in the next step, ready for a 20L 1.075 tripel.  That volume is all I can get in a glass vessel, which is where I'd prefer to keep it.

It occurred to me that I could step up more, by increasing gravity and volume, perhaps up to the equivalent of a 10x volume step: five to ten times (volume) per step is a guideline I've read.  So, two questions:

1. Is stepping up the gravity ever a good idea, rather than sticking with the standard ~1.040?
2. If I do step up gravity, can I treat the increase in SG as effective as the same increase in volume? For example, if I do a second step of 5x volume and 1.5x gravity (1.060), would that be as effective (both in growth and health) as doing  a 7.5x second step at 1.040?
Yes and yes, or at least within the same ballpark. I don't know if it is needed for 1.075, but by increasing the gravity on successive starters (I just brew a full batch of beer after step one so I at least get to drink my starters, but it's the same idea), you will grow and select for yeast that is more tolerant of higher gravities.

I'm sure there is a gravity range for starters where gravity and/or alcohol becomes high enough to affect yeast growth, but I suspect that it isn't much of a factor in the 1.060 range. Generally speaking, yeast growth is based on the total amount of extract, rather than volume. So multiplying the volume by the gravity as you are doing should provide a good estimate.

1556
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« on: September 21, 2015, 08:12:01 AM »
I have a friend who swears by "open" fermentation. In reality it's tin foil loosely covering the fermentation bucket. He does this for all British and Belgian styles he brews. Really the only beer he doesn't do this for is hop-aroma or hop-flavor forward beers such as west coast IPA due to the higher potential for oxidation. I do a modified version of this for my saisons. I'll put tin foil loosely covering the carboy or bucket until approximately the peak of high krausen and then slap the airlock on for the remainder of the fermentation. Supposedly some saison yeast strains are sensitive to CO2 back pressure. Since doing this I've never had a stall out on a saison yeast.

As far as best yeast. I think anything that's meant to give character through ester formation so many of the British Ale and English Ale strains would be appropriate.
I go one step further and just stretch a sanitized paint strainer bag over my 6.5-gallon bucket. This assures that there is no backpressure and doesn't provide any barrier for offgassing CO2 to diffuse out of the headspace. It's certainly not the same as something like a Yorkshire Square, but it's about as close as a homebrewer can get without building a more customized setup.

I haven't done a side-by-side with a closed fermenter, but I like the results I've gotten with English strains using this method. I've also heard it works well with hefeweizen strains.

1557
Great experiment -- sounds tasty!

More interesting to me would be the difference between 180 grams and like 270 grams and 360 grams (in 11 gallons).  That's the frontier that needs to be explored.  We knew 60 grams would be relatively wimpy.  But where is that point of diminishing returns, exactly?  I'll go by ounces here because that's what I know: commercial brewers usually/always seem to peak at 0.6 to 0.75 oz per gallon.  What if we used a full ounce per gallon, what does that do?  Can you really cram more flavor in at that point, or is it just a big waste of beer lost in the hop trub?  Next time (I'm sure there will be a next time, yes?!).
Agree with this 100%. The results so far match my experience rather closely. If you do end up running a followup xBmt to test the high end of the dry-hop range, it will be interesting if you hit a point where the tasters start noticing grassiness or harsh vegetal bitterness.

You also mentioned how quickly the hop character dropped off over time. That also matches my experience for beers relying on a heavy dry-hop addition. I find that hoppy beers that rely more on a large, long hop-stand hold up a lot better over time.

1558
Questions:
----------
- is one ounce of hops enough? I see some people use as much as 2 ounces in a gallon.
- I have a high quality burr grinder for my coffee. Could I use that to grind the steeping grains without fearing tannin extraction? I would hate to get my mill and drill from the basement for a lousy 60 grams of grains. Or could I freeze 60 gram packages of milled grains?
I think an ounce would be plenty. That's what I typically use and I've never thought I needed any more if I'm just taste-testing.
I'd be concerned about grinding the husk too fine. If you're planning on doing several batches, then I'd mill a bunch (or buy some pre-milled; this is just a taste-test, not a competition entry)

One more question. I am going to make  the transition from bottling to kegging. But I guess it doesn't make sense to put 4 liters of beer in a 20 liter keg, now does it?

Are there 5 liter kegs that can be used for this? Does anybody know/use this type of system? https://homebrewshop.be/en/mini-kegs/767-starter-set-profi-tap-basic-mini-kegs.html - apparently you have to prime them with sugar...
I still bottle these batches since I usually brew a bunch at a time and don't have that many kegs free. Otherwise, there's no issue with filling a keg part-way full.

1559
The Pub / Re: May the force be with my beer...
« on: September 18, 2015, 11:07:02 AM »
OMG... I've never really wanted a drone until right now...

1560
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How to Save a Bad Batch of Beer- Part 2
« on: September 18, 2015, 06:54:40 AM »
interesting article - but i've always been of the mindset to just dump and brew again - happens only once in a while but I've rarely been happy with 'fixes'
Agreed.I find the amount of effort needed to fix a batch is generally disproportional with the end result. If it's a small problem then I just live with it and tweak things on a rebrew. If it's a big issue I'd rather just start over.

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