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Messages - erockrph

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976
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.

977
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/

978
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.

979
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.

980
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.

981
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.

982
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.

983
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...

984
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.

985
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Sierra Oktoberfest 2015
« on: September 18, 2015, 06:48:07 AM »

I just brewed 10 gallons on saturday. Essentially BCS recipe for half and the other half git the same percentages of pilsner, munich II, and vienna, leaving out the caramunich. I made the BCS version last year and could not get it to budge from 1.025, down from 1.056. It turned out darker and obviously overly sweet. The overwhelming thought from the forum was to leave out the caramunich, so now I can compare for myself. Good luck with yours when you do brew it again

I use some carahell in mine- finished 1.012 and 1.011 on two batches this year.
Yeah, something sounds off about an FG in the 1.020's. Even when I brewed the BCS recipe as-is with CaraMunich III, I finished in the 1.012 range. I have since replaced the CaraMunich with half as much Aromatic. It boosts the crusty/toasty/Munichy goodness that I like without adding sweetness or fullness.

986
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« on: September 18, 2015, 05:53:53 AM »
Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks!  I get that.  Of course my process is the best.  For me.  Not for anyone else.  But it's certainly an option that some people just never seem to consider.  Everyone brews the same way as Denny Conn or John Palmer or Jamil Z or whoever else.  It seems to me so often that everyone is set to auto-pilot.  Does it work?  Sure it works!  But so does my way.  And nobody else seems to do it my way!  Well, a few.  But not many.  It's an option worthy of consideration.  That is all.
Big +1 on this. I've developed a system that works great for me, and allows me brew 3-galon all-grain batches in my kitchen. This enables me to brew the beer I want to brew, as often as I like to brew, and makes the amount of beer that I typically consume in a reasonable period of time. If I listened to common wisdom when I started brewing, I would have never gotten into all-grain brewing and might have quit the hobby once I started getting bored with partial-boil 5-gallon extract batches.

987
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Opening Fermenter to check hydrometer
« on: September 17, 2015, 08:59:04 PM »
I'd be more worried about introducing possible contamination by putting your hydrometer right in the fermenter. If there's any active fermentation at all, then the yeast should pick up what little oxygen may be introduced. I've never run into any issues by opening the fermenter to draw a hydrometer sample.

988
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing this Weekend? 09/21/2015
« on: September 17, 2015, 04:44:29 PM »
Gotta rack my session mead to secondary and contemplate backsweetening. Otherwise, I need to clean out some kegs before I get set for more brewing.

989
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: officially on pause
« on: September 17, 2015, 04:42:57 PM »
In Alabama we can only possess (in our household) 15G of homemade beer, wine, cider, etc.

My pipeline is 2 batches deep. Most of the time, I have a 3G batch in the fridge and a 3G batch in the fermenter. So, I'm legal.
Must be tough to be a sour beer brewer in your state  :-\

990
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Winter/Garage Brewing
« on: September 17, 2015, 04:41:58 PM »
It makes sense for some people to brew large batches. If you don't drink much or have that many other people drinking your beer, then it makes more sense to brew smaller.

Brewing inside in the winter is a great idea. It adds humidity to the house and heat. I brew inside year round, probably shouldn't in the summer months though. Gets a bit humid in my place.

:)  Smells great in the house for a couple days, too!
I wish my wife thought the same way  ;D

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