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Messages - paul

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Questions about the forum? / Re: Most recent thread view?
« on: December 10, 2011, 06:02:09 AM »
Never mind, a little searching answered my question.  If anyone else is interested, the "unread" link near the top right of the page seem to do what I was looking for:;start=0

Questions about the forum? / Most recent thread view?
« on: December 10, 2011, 05:54:21 AM »
Is there a way to see the most-recently-commented-on threads, regardless of category, besides the most-recent post view?  That view becomes less useful when there are multiple new posts per thread.  In order to see the most recent threads, you have to scan through several pages.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« on: December 07, 2011, 04:15:43 AM »
I'm in the midst of my first all-brett fermentation, so take my advice for what it's worth...

My beer started at 1.053 and finished (?) in two weeks at 1.008.  I only used 0.4 lb acid malt, so I don't think pH is the problem (unless it was too low as Hoser suggested).  Did you pitch a big enough starter?  Note the White Labs vials contain a pretty low number of cells, optimized for use in the secondary, not the primary.  I pitched a vial of brett lambicus and a vial of brett brux using a two-step starter.  Assuming the Mr. Malty calculator works for brett, I think I pitched a std ale rate. 

Also, what's your temp?  I pitched at about 65 F.  The fermentation did take a little longer to start, maybe 24-36 hours.  It wasn't vigorous fermentation, and when it started to calm down after just a few days, I started to increase the temperature up to the mid 70s.  At this point I got a second, more vigorous fermentation, and foam kept coming out of the air lock.

So, I'd say check your pitching rate, and perhaps add more brett if you think it was low.  Also, you could try warming it up a little.  I don't think brett will produce many fusels, so my understanding is a warmer temp is OK.

The Pub / Re: iro·ny
« on: December 02, 2011, 03:37:07 PM »
To me, the back inside rim is illuminated, indicating light from the front.

I also think jacked-up Priuses could be used a whole new genre of monster car shows.  I'm sure some people would love to see them driving over Hummers!

The Pub / Re: iro·ny
« on: December 02, 2011, 03:26:53 PM »
It's definitely photoshopped.  Look at the where the light appears to be coming from.  For the car, its entire front is in shadow and right side it in light, indicating the light is coming from behind the car and the right (from the viewer's perspective).  But on the wheels, it's clear that light is coming from the front.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Benefits of a 90 minute boil?
« on: May 18, 2011, 03:59:09 AM »
Returning somewhat to the original question about the benefits of a 90-minute boil, are there benefits to a longer boil?

I've recently done a series of beers with primarily pilsner malts, and the first two still came out with some DMS, despite a good rolling boil and pretty rapid cooling with immersion chiller.  As I pondered this with a few people from my homebrew club, one or two of them suggested they typically boil even longer than 90 minutes, close to 2 hours, for pils-malt beers.  Note that we are at 5,000 ft, and wort boils at 203, not 212 F.  At least one person's perspective was that at this lower temp, it takes longer to drive off the DMS precursors.

Also, this wiki a 100-minute boil is suggested for DMS elimination.  I assume this is for sea level.

I can report that my first to pils-malt beers, boiled for 90 minutes, have some DMS, but my third beer, boiled for 105 minutes does not. 

Does anyone have any thoughts about this?  Is 90 minutes enough, particularly at higher elevations?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: No Foam with Star-San
« on: February 27, 2011, 04:13:05 PM »
It doesn't just foam on its own, it only foams with agitation.  Put a little in a bottle and shake and it should foam.  (Not that it needs to foam to work.) 

I can confirm that I've measured a pH of 3 even when it's cloudy.  On the other hand, it seems like I need to use 1.5 times the normal dose to get to that pH.  The water here isn't very alkaline, yet it seems like I need more Star San than the bottle calls for.  Anyone else notice this?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: lightbulbs
« on: February 13, 2011, 06:13:16 PM »
A lot of posters have suggested the skunking is caused primarily by UV light.  I was interested in this question recently, and it appears that it's visible light that causes the problem.  Here's my question and some responses:

Since visible light seems to cause the problem, and we all want to be able to see the beers in the reach in coolers, it's going to be tough to completely eliminate the problem.

But LEDs seem to be a good option for liquor store coolers for a variety of reasons:

They work well, actually better, at cold temperatures.

They put out less heat, so there's less load on the refrigeration.

They are highly directional, so designers can direct just enough light to where it's needed.  This minimizes bright spots in some parts of the coolers, and dim spots in the other.  Keeping the average light level down should minimize skunking.

Motion sensor controls can turn off the LEDs when no one is around.  Why subject the bottles to light when there's no one there to look at them?  The local grocery store has been retrofitting their reach in coolers with this system and it seems to be working fairly well.  I think LEDs do a little better with frequent switching than fluorescents.

Here's a couple articles about the technology:

Does anyone know if the Brewer's Association is taking a position on this?,0,7042280.story

Seems like it could open up distribution for craft brewers and make it easier to get out-of-state beers for craft beer drinkers.

Ingredients / Re: Wavelengths of light that lead to skunking?
« on: July 06, 2010, 04:52:12 AM »
Hmmm.  The article gives conflicting information.  First it states that light with wavelengths of 350-550 nm causes skunking, then it states that UV light is the problem.  If the range is accurate, it probably isn't reasonable to try to design a light source to avoid it.  I don't think stores would want reddish yellow light in their reach-ins.  But if the problem is predominantly UV, LEDs should do the trick, or at least minimize the problem.

Or maybe brewers could stop putting good beer in green bottles. >:(

Ingredients / Wavelengths of light that lead to skunking?
« on: July 02, 2010, 05:47:49 AM »
Anyone know what particular wavelengths of light lead to skunking?  Is it all of the visible spectrum, or just a portion of it?

The reason I ask is if it's only certain wavelengths, this might be another reason to consider LED lighting for reach-in coolers...more energy efficient, less heat output, and the possibility to select LEDs that lack the offending wavelengths.

Yeast and Fermentation / Predicting yeast cell counts
« on: June 16, 2010, 04:34:47 AM »
Can anyone recommend any good books or other resources for me to learn more about yeast propagation?

Specifically, I’m interested in understanding a little more about predicting yeast quantities resulting from starters.  I’ve got a vial of White Labs yeast that is pretty close to its expiration date.  The Mr. Malty pitching rate calculator says it’s only about 20% viable at this point.  It also shows that even with a starter on a stir plate, I can’t scale this up to a good pitchable quantity without adding another vial.  Then I tried the Wyeast calculator, which allows for two-step starters.  According to it, I can make a 1 L starter, then add another 1 L and get to the target pitch rate.  Curiously, simply doing one 2-L starter doesn’t cut it; it results in 40% fewer yeast cells than doing 1 L plus 1 L.  I’d like to understand all this better, and not have to rely on web calculators.


General Homebrew Discussion / FWHing and batch sparging
« on: March 13, 2010, 04:24:17 AM »
The only times I used first wort hopping was back when I fly sparged, which took 45 minutes to an hour to complete the sparge.  Now that I'm batch sparing, I'm done in probably half the time or less.  Does that reduce the effectiveness of FWHing?  Should I slow the sparge down?


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