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Topics - mpietropaoli

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All Grain Brewing / Too much caramunich, doh!
« on: September 27, 2012, 03:45:11 PM »
Making Jamil's standard saison today:

10.5# pilsner
.75# wheat malt
.75# munich
1# table sugar

it is supposed to have 2oz of caramunich, but instead I measured, milled, and then MIXED with the rest of the grain .75 LBS (12oz) of caramunich. Yes, six times the recipe (but still under 6% of the total grain bill; 5.4% of total fermentables).

I know caramunich will add body, caramel, and sweetness (the latter very NOT appropriate for the style), HOWEVER, here is the catch:

I am planning on doing a secondary fermentation with this beer with 3-4lbs of fresh cranberries for our brewing guild Christmas party. Would this sweetness help to balance out the tartness/sourness of the cranberries, or will it simply just be too much? The good thing is, I have kind of written off hitting my color completely, as I've read around the interwebs that cranberries will add a brownish color to the beer anyway.

Could I/shouldni kick up the table sugar or add a half lb of honey to further dry?  I was planning on doing 90 minute mash at 147 anyway.

Yeast and Fermentation / Very quick high krausen with S-04
« on: September 18, 2012, 09:28:04 PM »
Wow, did a double brewday with 2 american IPAs (both around 1.062).  Pitched about 1 cup of pure slurry into each, harvested from a 2L starter of new S-04.

Pitched on Sunday morning at 64 degrees, had visible airlock activity within 4 hours (temp maintained), went to go top crop some this afternoon, and boom, the krausen had already dropped....on both fermenters!

Has anyone had a krausen drop within 48 hours?  I know I borderline overpitched, but that is damned quick!

Yeast and Fermentation / Band Aid Beer
« on: August 28, 2012, 03:27:50 AM »
I have never had this phenolic before, and, as a dues-paying member, I'm going on a rant that's full of rhetorical questions...

Trying to find where in my process this could have happened...have made a few changes recently:

1.)  went to a BIAB set up.  Forgot to rinse the bag that I ordered from BIABrewer since i can't sew for crap.  Could there have been some chlorine used to wash the bag?  The manufacturer said no way.

2.)  maybe my under sink charcoal filter is due for a change?  HOWEVER, made a steam beer 7 days before that turned out great. 

3.)  I could have rushed this beer off the yeast.  Primary at 65 for 4 days, raised up to 75 for another 6 days, cool to 50 before racking to keg.  Was trying to get it ready for Labor Day weekend

4.)  Don't think I underpitched.  Used a 2000ml starter of US-05 (last used about 6 months ago).  Starter smelled a little sour, so decanted. 

5.)  Went to a partial chill set up where i use the IC to get it down to ~120 or so, then throw it in the ferm chest and let it get down to pitching temp, then transfer/aerate into a new fermenter

6.)  Its Jamils American Wheat, and wheat supposedly contains more ferrulic acid than other malts...(used white wheat malt)...I don't make a lot of wheat beers, is there a mashing procedure thats different?  (I would think not with BIAB/no sparge, as I don't even need rice hulls).  Also has 3lb rye malt.  Maybe I simply overdid the rye?  This is what he suggested!
7.)  Did a 75-minute mash, per the BIAB mavens.

8.)  This one's weird:  I had some 3 year-old pH strips, and in the steam beer I made, they read that the pH was in the 3's AFTER using 5.2 stabilizer (which I've since stopped using per Denny Conn).  However, the steam is great (so far), and an actual pH of 3 would have been vile...I know pH being off can cause this phenol

I guess if there are this many potential culprits, I need to nail down my processes a little bit.  HOWEVER, I am not typically getting off flavors, and my palette is getting better (BJCP in February!), and my wife's is excellent!

Here's my real question:
IF you were a complete maniac and wanted to try to salvage this beer, how would you feel about boiling a few ounces of orange/lemon peel, straining, and dumping the 1-2oz or so of then-cooled water with the zest flavor into the keg?  Cuz I did that.  Might do it again tomorrow if the beer doesn't get right. 

Oh did I also mention that I tried to weigh down a hop bag that was already in the keg by removing it, tying an outer layer cheesecloth around it, only to have the outer layer fall apart once the thing got back into the keg and the weight (a small glass votif holder) hit the bottom of the keg with a mocking 'klink'?

Oh did I also mention that this is my first time kegging after 3  years and 40+ brews?

If this beer doesn't turn into methlamine I will be lucky.

Kegging and Bottling / Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« on: August 23, 2012, 12:51:27 AM »
TLDR: whats the quickest way to carb a beer (carbonation stone?) and how should I travel with it (carbed or uncarbed, or doesn't it matter)?

So I decided to try to get a beer ready for Labor Day weekend. Spending the weekend by a lake, all I could think of was some solid suds to enjoy with friends. So, I brewed a session American Wheat on 8/15, thinking it would be fully fermented by 8/25, and I'm leaving for the lake on 8/30.

As it happened, my LHBS had a special on cornies, so I picked one up with hosing, new o-rings, quick connect in/out, and some other stuff. A guy in my club traded me a 5 gallon CO2 tank, and loaned me a regulator. What better time to get into kegging!? Like when a thousand other things can go wrong (though I do have a backup steam that is fermented and ready to drink, minus carbonation).

My two most-pressing questions:

1.) What is the quickest way to carb it and does it work? I don't have means for refrigeration or getting it to serving temp. I have read about the methods where you attached, set your regulator to 30 or so PSI, set it sideways on your knee, and roll back and forth every hour or so for 24 hours. (please correct me if any of this is inaccurate...complete kegging n00b). I may be able to fit the keg, once filled, in my fermentation chest, but it would probably only get down into the 40's, as I have an Octoberfest in there with the temp controller set to 50 degrees (on the fermenter).

2.) I have about a 5 hour drive ahead of me to get to this lake. My plan is get the keg there, pack it in a container with some ice, and let it sit for 24 hours or so to settle out and get down to temperature. I will have to rotate the ice all weekend to keep it cool, which isn't a huge deal...hopefully it will be good enough to kick pretty quickly! If I am doing the 'quick carb' method, should I just wait until I get there, or do it at my house?

Many thanks in advance, and my apologies if there is already a thread out there, couldn't find much on here...

If memory serves, I believe that is is in the first 48-72 hours of pitching yeast. This is when they are most active in producing phenols, fusels, esters, etc., and if you want to minimize those, make sure to keep a 'leash' on the yeast by regulating the fermentation temp. I do this with a temperature controller probe insulated with styrofoam, duct-taped to the outside of the fermenter.

I ask the question because I only have room for two vessels in my fermentation chamber/lagering fridge. Currently, I have a California Common in there, and the yeast was pitched Saturday night @ 9pm (pitching + 84 hours at the moment) at 64 degrees. The yeast is actually Wyeast 2204 Bavarian lager.

I have a bit of an aggressive brewing schedule coming up. I am planning on brewing a hoppy american wheat tonight, THEN I am brewing an Oktberfest with my wife on Sunday. Bottom line, I need to have the Oktoberfest set to 50 degrees on Sunday, meaning that the ferm fridge will likely have a lower ambient temp.

My current plan is to brew the wheat tonight (estimated OG of 1.051), pitch a stepped-up US-05 starter (as I need a quick and vigorous fermentation, this wheat is going to be kegged in 12 days) at 66 degrees, then on Sunday (pitching + 4 days), remove the wheat, leave it in the basement (ambient temp of ~74 degrees) to finish up.

The only issue with this plan is that I would need to remove the California Common tonight, as if I tape the probe to the wheat, the freezer will likely get down really low to try to stabilize the fermenter temp AND I would need to do the same with the wheat to make room for the O-fest.

Clear as mud? I'm just trying to minimize unwanted esters, phenols, fusels, etc., and was hoping that I could let these fermentations go after a few days. Alternatively, I could rig up the <shudder> swamp chiller.

Made a starter with one cup of pale DME, 1.5 qts of water, boiled for 10 minutes, cooled to 75 degrees.  Pitched one package of Wyeast 2206 - Bavarian Lager at 7pm last night.  Do lager yeasts take longer to grow than ale yeasts?  Was planning on trying to decant/step this up tonight for a brew on saturday. 

If one pound of DME = 40 gravity points, and a pound is about 2 cups.  Wouldn't one cup in 1.5 quarts give me a gravity of (something really high)?   After some evap, there is only about 200ml of starter wort in my flask.  No white stuff on the bottom, stir plate has been stirring for ~18 hours....

Beer Recipes / Late Oktoberfest...steam as a starter?
« on: August 07, 2012, 01:33:42 AM »
TLDR version: 1.). Will a German lager yeast, like wlp830 produce enough esters for a steam, if fermented in the low/mid 60s?
2.) is 7 days enough time with this yeast to service a 1.054 ish steam
3.) any issues with using a yeast cake for a lager

So my wife got me a blichmann burner as a one year Anni present, and designed a label for us to make a beer together.  She likes o fest, so we decided on doing that.  Been researching them a bit, and it looks like, based on jamils recipe, that we should be able to get it done and lagered in time for the month that bears its name. 

My question is, instead of doing a boring old yeast starter, could I just make a steam beer with the Bavarian lager yeast (ray Daniels says its an appropriate yeast for the style, and I have an assload of northern brewers in the freezer)

My only worry would be that the steam wouldnt be done in time, if we want to brew our o fest on august 18th.  I would need to brew the steam by the 11th at the latest to give the yeast time to ferment.  I hate rushing yeast personally, and tend to leave beers in the primary for 3-4 weeks now. I'd probably ferment the steam at around 60-64 with a d rest at 70 for a day or two.  Bottom line: the steam won't have much time I the primary, even if I brew on Wednesday of this week.

I should also mention that this is my first lager.  I do want to make sure I have plenty of yeast and would need an extra day to get the yeast cake down to pitching temp for the marzen (~50).

Doing a steam (even extract for expediencys sake) would also let me test my system for the ever-finicky and foreboding lager. 

Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated!  (ESP those directed toward lager brewing for lager novices)

First time using a blowoff tube as I'm trying to fit two ale pails in my ferm chest...just filled a clean, sanitized bottle with starsan and ran a tube into it.  Pitch day+8 on. A 1.062 biere de garde, started ferm at 66 degrees, ramped up to 70 slowly when it slowed.  Just noticed a weird sticky substance on the end of the blowoff tube.  Bit of a solventy aroma coming out of the airlocks, but primarily nice and carmelly.  Anyone ever see this or have a critique of my blowoff tube vessel?

Yeast and Fermentation / Biere de garde fermentation temp
« on: July 19, 2012, 01:30:07 PM »
-TLDR version of the questions:  How long could/should you keep fermented beer on the yeast at 72 degrees after reaching an appropriate final gravity before racking/bottling to minimize off-flavor compounds (I’m particularly gunshy about diacetyl and acetaldehyde)?
-Does biere de garde benefit from cold-crashing, and if so, can I cold crash on the yeast, or do I need to rack to a carboy?
I brewed a 55 gallon batch of biere de garde with my homebrew club this past Saturday.  We came out a little light on FG (1.061, compared to recipe target of 1.067), and also had an issue with our plate/pre-chiller set up, and only got most of the wort down to the mid-70’s/low-80’s.  We split up the wort (each guy got 5 gallons).  I had to leave early, and the guy who hosted pitched a cup of Brewer’s Art Resurrection (dubbel) yeast at about 75 degrees, and kept it in his basement, ambient temp of about 70.  Came back a day later, fermenter temp was about 75 with vigorous airlock activity.  Took my fermenter and another for a fellow member and put them in my ferm chest, and dialed back the temperature.  Per Jamil’s recipe, I set the controller to 66 degrees, and placed the probe on the outside of my fermenter (ale pail) with styrofoam/tape on the outside to insulate it from the ambient temp inside the ferm chest.
Jamil says to raise the fermentation temp by one degree or so per day once fermentation slows until you are at 72.  As I noticed airlock activity slowing (I didn’t take a gravity reading) two nights ago, I let it creep up to 67, then 68 last night.  I plan to take a gravity reading tonight.  Also, in Chris White’s book, he notes that a great technique achieve proper attenuation is to pitch on the warmer side (mid/high-70’s), let fermentation start, then ratchet it back to your desired temp (as we did here, somewhat accidentally).  The only caveat is that if you do this, you need to raise the temp back up at the end of fermentation to clean up these compounds.
Here are my questions: I have been operating under the wisdom that as homebrewers, we should not take beer off the yeast for at least 2 weeks.  Even if the krausen subsides and FG is reached, leaving the beer on the yeast can ONLY benefit the beer (autolysis seems to be less of a concern with today’s yeast strains).  However, I am new to temp control, and I know commercial brewers regularly have primary fermentations in the 6-7 day range.  Also, I would like to cold crash this for at least a month.  Should I take it off the yeast before doing so?
thanks in advance!

Ingredients / Please critique this American coffee stout
« on: March 20, 2012, 01:41:16 PM »
Based on jamils American, with moshers suggestion of IPA hopping schedule, and cold-steeped coffee. 

10.8 lbs light dme
1 lb black roasted barley
.75 lb choc malt
.75 lb crystal 40
1oz northern brewer 60 min
1oz Amarillo 10 min
1 oz simcoe 5min

US05 at 67
Coffee extract and 1oz each Amarillo simcoe in 2ndary for 10 days

Beer Recipes / American coffee stout recipe critique
« on: March 20, 2012, 01:22:56 PM »
Based on jamils American, with moshers suggestion of IPA hopping schedule, and cold-steeped coffee. 

10.8 lbs light dme
1 lb black roasted barley
.75 lb choc malt
.75 lb crystal 40
1oz northern brewer 60 min
1oz Amarillo 10 min
1 oz simcoe 5min

US05 at 67
Coffee extract and 1oz each Amarillo simcoe in 2ndary for 10 days

Yeast and Fermentation / Bottling with more yeast
« on: February 28, 2012, 05:50:00 PM »
First time poster!  My biggest beer ever.  Trying to decide whether i need more yeast at bottling in order for it to carb.  Not only is the answer probably "yes", but it is also probably a 6-12 month cellaring that will make this beer truly shine.  Brew Day +38 days I have 86.4% apparent attenuation and booze north of 10%.  This beer tastes fantastic right now, but a little hot.

Le Marteau
18-D Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Author: MCP
Date: 1/19/2012

Size: 5.4 gal
Efficiency: extract
Attenuation: 86.4%
Calories: 290.33 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.088 (1.070 - 1.095)
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (1.005 - 1.016)
Color: 7.18 (3.0 - 6.0)
Alcohol: 10.06% (7.5% - 10.5%)
Bitterness: 33.3 (22.0 - 35.0)

3.3 lb CBW® Bavarian Wheat Liquid (Malt Extract)
3.3 lb CBW® Golden Light Liquid (Malt Extract)
2.5 lb CBW® Golden Light Powder (Dry Malt Extract)
1 lb Acidulated Malt
2 lb Corn Sugar
4.1 oz Candi Sugar Clear
.5 oz White Pepper - added during boil, boiled 5.0 min
.6 oz Corriander crushed - added during boil, boiled 5.0 min
1 ea Orange Peel - added during boil, boiled 5.0 min
1.0 ea White Labs WLP566 Belgian Saison II
.25 oz Warrior® (16.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
.5 oz Northern Brewer (8.0%) - added during boil, boiled 30 min
.5 oz Northern Brewer (8.0%) - added during boil, boiled 15.0 min
.5 oz Northern Brewer (8.0%) - added during boil, boiled 5.0 min

Ambient Air: 70.0 °F
Source Water: 60.0 °F
Elevation: 0.0 m

32 OUNCE Starter made with one cup DME 2 days prior to brewing, high flocculation @ 68deg ambient temp
added corn sugar and DME at beginning of boil
two cans of 3.3lbs lme @ 10
Total post-boil volume of 2.8gallons
~31-32Brix - anticipated undiluted boil gravity of 1.130 SG
Diluted to 6 gal volume, OG of 1.088

Fermenter temp of 73 after 24 hours, vigorous airlock activity
BD+9 still visible airlock activity, fermenter temp holding steady at 68 since BD+1
BD+ 13 still visible airlock activity; observed thin layer of yeast on top of fermenter, gravity down to 1.030 (65% AA)
Sample taste @ BD + 13 minimal saison characteristics, likely due to relatively low fermentation temp (68deg), still sweet up front

visible airlock activity after 3 weeks (2/11/12)
moved to 75 degree ferm control on 2/23/12
Gravity at 1.012 on 2/27/11 (BD+38)- white pepper, heavy citrus, some saison characteristics in nose; sample tasted far drier, lightly cloudy deep gold color significant alcohol heat

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.17

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