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Messages - narvin

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wort aeration needed?
« on: December 29, 2010, 09:15:56 AM »
I am in the camp that aerates.  Even though you've created a population of healthy yeast with high sterols, they can still use more sterols as they acclimate and multiply in the lag and growth phases.  This is especially important with higher gravity worts.  

The good thing is that you indicate that you've made a large starter.  Have you compared that estimated yeast population to one of those pitching guides such as Mr. Malty?  If you're overpitching, then the need for aeration is reduced.  If you're only marginal, then aeration is still warranted.  

Remember that the effects of aeration only last about 30 minutes according to the new book on yeast.  The yeast consume oxygen very quickly according to that book.

I definitely overpitched on the Porter by at least 10%, since it ended up being a lower gravity than I expected due to a mistake.  And although I'm usually pitching according to Mr. Malty for the Belgian ales, there are some breweries (Duvel, for example) that purposefully pitch below the standard ale rate of .75 million cells/ml/plato.  Going forward, I plan to use proper pitching rate and aeration for American or British ales, but I think I might keep experimenting with the pitching rate/aeration balance for Belgians.

Yeast and Fermentation / Wort aeration needed?
« on: December 29, 2010, 08:34:35 AM »
I'm starting to question whether I need added aeration at all for ales.  I make large, aerated, stir plate starters, so I always end up with healthy yeast. For my Belgian beers, I think I get a better flavor profile when under-aerating (and still very high attenuation - 85 - 90% on beers with sugar).  I just made a Porter with WLP002, and other than splashing in the carboy, I did no aeration -- I didn't use my aquarium pump and stone. The result was great attenuation, a clean profile with just a hint of fruity esters, and less work.  I suppose I could get the same result with a smaller starter and aeration, but what's the point?

Beer Recipes / Re: ESB recipe?
« on: December 28, 2010, 09:27:51 AM »
After searching through a bunch of recipes online, I decided to combine a couple. How does this sound:

8 lbs. Extra Pale Liquid Malt Extract  
12 oz. Crystal 60L
2 oz. Victory Malt  
2 oz. Aromatic Malt  

1.25 oz. Target - 60 minutes
.5 oz. Northern Brewer - 15 minutes
.5 oz. East Kent Goldings - 5 minutes
.5 oz. Challenger - 5 minutes
.5 oz. Challenger - dry hop in secondary

Wyeast London ESB ale yeast

The only thing outside of ESB guidelines (according to is my expected fg is 1.018 and guidelines call for 1.016. Any suggestions on how to bring that down? Or does it not really matter?  


You won't know what your FG is until you make the beer.  Any tool that tries to estimate it is just making a SWAG.

If you know from experience that your LME with that much crystal malt won't ferment down below 1.018, I would replace some of the extract with sugar. This works for any beer, and it is within the style guidelines for an ESB as well.   1/2 - 3/4 lb. of plain table sugar would work fine, but you can also use corn sugar or something like Lyle's Golden Syrup.

You can bag your hops, or make a hop stopper:

Narvin thanks for the tip.

I have reviewed the hop stopper and it looks like it will help with keeping the hops and trub under control.  I have ordered the 12 x 24 screen mesh and plan on building a hop stopper before I brew again.

So far this afternoon I have forward and reverse flushed the Therminator several times with extreamely hot water and used PBW in both directions also.  It looks like when I use the PBW, that it tends to dislodge the blockage.  It is amazing that the hop flakes keep on comming out.  So I decided to leave a solution of PBW inside the Therminator over night and will flush several more times tomorrow.  Hopefully this will clean out the plates.  Once that is completed I plan on flushing with Star San and then flushing with fresh water.   I will place the Therminator in my fermintation cabinet to help dry it out internally.  This has been a pain in the brew pot.

Again, Thanks for the Tip.

Hmm... looks like my link is dead.  You may have seen it before it disappeared, but for anyone else interested, the 12x24 screen I ordered was this:

I folded it in half, dog eared two of the corners outward where they came together to leave an opening for a dip tube, and then folded the remaining edges over twice and tapped them with a hammer to seal them. Other people have used stainless thread to seal it, but that seems like a major pain in the ass and completely unnecessary.  A ss worm gear clamp keeps the mesh on the dip tube.

The reason I like the hop stopper is that it has a large surface area, so you can use a finer mesh than a bazooka tube.  I personally have had little luck with pellet hops and the bazooka... a whirlpool helps, but once the liquid level gets low the trub becomes unsettled and ends up going right through the mesh.  I have heard that cold break can clog the hop stopper, but with a therminator you shouldn't need to recirc anyway.  Just send the output straight to your fermenter... the point of the plate chiller is to get to within 2-4 degrees of your ground water in one pass.

Another tip: If you still have debris in your therminator and don't feel comfortable with its level of cleanliness, you can bake it in the oven for an hour or so to kill any bacteria in there.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: I LOVE MIKKELLER
« on: December 28, 2010, 09:08:49 AM »
Mikkeller beers are always interesting due to his passion for experimentation.  When it comes down to what I think tastes good, though, I'm personally a little tired of "American style cutting edge brewing" when it means a kitchen sink beer with way too much alcohol, herbs, or spices. The Belgian beers I've loved were always fantastic due to balance, even when talking about a 10% beer. 

I'm hoping that this is just a phase that many new brewers are going through, much like a new beer geek who is obsessed with hop bombs.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Does WLP002 develop a large Kraeusen?
« on: December 21, 2010, 05:06:14 PM »
The yeast I hear a lot about with open fermentation is Ringwood (wlp005), also an English strain.  A local brewpub open ferments, rouses and aerates with a paddle during fermentation, and is done with primary fermentation in a few days.  They even crash cool  after primary.  Seems to go against conventional wisdom, but I taste very little diacetyl in their beers.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Does WLP002 develop a large Kraeusen?
« on: December 21, 2010, 01:32:10 PM »
It looks like egg drop soup on the stirplate after a day or two... really easy to tell when the starter is done.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mashing confusion
« on: December 20, 2010, 12:42:29 PM »
I guess I don't understand why people think there should only be one way to brew.  Why does it bother people if someone else step mashes or does decoctions?  If you are able to control your processes on your system to get the kind of beer you want, who gives a rip what someone else does?

This is the basic problem I have with the spreadsheet crowd.  If you know how to use it and it works for you, that's great.  But to then extend that to say that everyone should do that is a leap of logic that is entirely without support.

Anyone who has ever taken formal logic will recognize immediately the problems with people mistaking "there exists" for "for all".

There is more than one way to brew.  Accept it.  You'll live a happier life.

Well said. And if the science minded experts want to ignore other people's results, then that's their loss.

Not ignoring your results... just your conclusion  ;D.  Your step mash most likely has a longer time, higher water to grain ratio, and too many other different variables versus a single infusion mash to determine any cause and effect relationship.  If you like the beer you make, I wouldn't change your procedure.  But I doubt you have identified what is actually going on.

The Pub / Re: Captain Beefheart R.I.P.
« on: December 20, 2010, 10:27:45 AM »
RIP.  Hoping that his life in the great hereafter is fast and bulbous.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Out?
« on: December 17, 2010, 03:57:02 PM »

And regarding the issue with Batch spargers, they are draining all the wort from the bed.  Recall that I mentioned that the water pressure acts on all surfaces.  As we drain the bed, then a portion of the bed is above the liquid surface and instead being partially supported by the water pressure, that grain is applying all its soggy weight to the rest of the bed.  That can certainly compress the bed and is a good reason why you should not perform batch sparging.  Don't drain the bed until the final runoff.

This is a good reason why you should not perform batch sparging?  Really?  Even if people who batch sparge all the time generally have no trouble with grain compression during lautering?  And even if they did, would it not be prudent to investigate ways to mitigate this problem (wider, shallower mash tun, or rice hulls) before coming to this conclusion? 

It really amazes me how many scientists let their preconceptions color their results.

The Pub / Re: Language Revived
« on: December 15, 2010, 04:27:25 PM »
"Whom the f**k do you think you are?" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Plus it's wrong. :)
I think not.  Something about a rule with the verb "to be" the subject and object are the same tense or something.  Who can remember grade school?

Whom do you love?  <----- CORRECT.  I love him.  Him is the object, so it is whom.

Whom do you think you are?  <------ INCORRECT.  This one is tricky.  The verb "to be" (are) is a linking verb, and it links a subject and its compliment noun.  It cannot have an object.  The answer would be "I think I am he", hence you would use who here.  This is the same reason that you should say "This is he" when someone asks for you on the phone.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Want a bigger better bottle?
« on: December 15, 2010, 01:46:03 PM »
Why Doesn't BetterBottle . .    

. . . make a 26.5 liter (7 US gallons), or larger, PET carboy? – We are frequently asked, "Why not make larger PET carboys; they would sell like hotcakes?" The simple answer is that we would love to make them, if they really would sell like hotcakes. Making BetterBottle carboys involves highly sophisticated technology and production machinery and keeping the price competitive requires large production volumes and extremely efficient shipping.

There are many reasons why BetterBottle carboys have replaced glass, but our customers rank the top three as: 1) Safety, 2) Weight, and 3) Ease of cleaning, in that order. 22.7 liters (6 US gallons) of wine or beer weighs approximately 22.7 Kg, (~50 lbs) and 26.5 liters (7 US gallons) weighs approximately 26.5 Kg (~60 lbs). Winemakers and brewers cheered when 22.7 liter BetterBottle carboys, weighing just 0.68 Kg (1.5 lbs), replaced 22.7 liter glass carboys that weigh about 7.7 Kg (~17 lbs), because 30 Kg (~ 51 lbs) is as much as most people are comfortable lifting onto a counter or shelf.

Empty carboys cannot be nested the way pails can and the dimensions of BetterBottle carboys are selected with a great many parameters in mind, besides the obvious requirement for functionality. The carboys are sized so they can be efficiently palletized and so the pallets will fit into all kinds of shipping containers and trucks, with a minimum of wasted space. They are also sized so bulk-pack cartons are a just below the "large box" point at which parcel carriers charge extra. Making BetterBottle carboys a fraction larger than they are could increase their store-price significantly.

From everything we can determine, there will not be enough demand for larger carboys to offset significantly higher production and shipping costs, and they will fail as products. That being said, BetterBottle is busy working on a practical solutions that are compatible with existing BetterBottle carboys (keep checking back).

. . . make a PET conical fermenter? – Large-scale, conical fermenters, used in conjunction with filters, are definitely effective; however, on a small scale, things do not work out so well. We tested a prototype of a transparent, PET conical in our development lab and we saw what cannot be seen in opaque, or translucent, conicals. Fine particles settle on the sloping walls of the conical section and remain "stuck" there, until the liquid level reaches them during racking. Then, they contaminate the clarified wine or beer. Racking was not nearly as clean as it is with our standard BetterBottle carboys and racking adapters. There is a reason for drawing clarified wine or beer from above the sediment during small-scale racking. Nevertheless, a conical made of our PET would have many advantages compared to conicals made from polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyvinyl chloride. The PET conical would be essentially impermeable to oxygen, would not stain, would not add or transfer flavors, would be transparent, and would be a great deal easier to clean. Unfortunately, a PET conical would also cost more, making it quite impractical in view of the fact that BetterBottle racking-carboys perform better in any case.

. . . make a PET pail? – Pails made from plastics that are permeable to oxygen and that scalp flavors and stain certainly are not ideal as primary fermenters. So, why doesn't BetterBottle make a PET pail? Because it would be so prohibitively expensive, using existing technology, that stainless steel pales would be cheap by comparison. That being said, BetterBottle is constantly looking at options for making the equivalent of a Better Pail and the technology may become available in the not too distant future (keep checking back).

Ingredients / Re: Palmer Spreadsheet Error
« on: December 15, 2010, 12:30:40 PM »
I use Kai's spreadsheet.  Don't you all want to be cool like me and use it too?   ;)

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Want a bigger better bottle?
« on: December 13, 2010, 12:05:11 PM »
I really don't have any need for 6.5 gallons over 6.  I'd use a blowoff tube either way just in case.  Two 6 gallon better bottles fit just right in my chest freezer, also.

As for cleaning... throw in some PBW.  Dry hopping... throw in the hop pellets without a bag.  And carboys are easier to start a siphon on without disturbing sediment using a carboy cap.  Plus I don't have to worry about a bucket not sealing airtight for a long lagering period.

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