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Messages - trentmark

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: PBW solution longevity?
« on: December 02, 2014, 04:41:53 PM »
If you mix PBW according to the directions how long will the solution remain capable of destroying microorganisms? Can you keep it for a month and still have it be effective?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

PBW does not destroy microorganisms. PBW is a non-caustic alkaline cleaner intended for organic soil removal. It will clean out carboys, brew kettles, etc of organics. It should be a one use cleaner. I have heard of using PBW as a soaking cleaner in various carboys. You might be able to transfer the solution from carboy to carboy to continue to remove organic soils, but it is more effective to make up a fresh batch every time.

Acid 5 is a nitric/phosphoric acid blend used to remove inorganic soils such as beer stone. Be careful using this acid. It can hurt you. Gloves and goggles are required for safe use.

StarSan and SaniClean are acid anionic sanitizers. They are not cleaners. The vessel should be cleaned with PBW, either by soaking overnight or with mechanical scrubbing. Rinse well. Then just before liquid id added, StarSan, diluted to the correct ratio, should be used to coat the inner surfaces of the vessel. A 10 minute contact time is plenty. Then you can transfer in the liquid. DO NOT RINSE.

If you dilute Star San with distilled water the mixture will last for quite a long time. You can check pH or contact Five Star to get a titration kit to accurately judge the effectiveness of the solution over time. The titration kit will also test for PBW.

This is good advice.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Brett puzzlement
« on: December 02, 2014, 04:27:24 PM »
I know this is going to sound crazy but it has worked consistently to stimulate Brett several times for me. Try adding some pelletized hops. I often brew (sometime award winning) saisons finished with Brett and a little dry hopping does this style a favor. The first time I realized the effect, I had a secondary pitched to Brett for about 2 weeks with no apparent activity. A couple of days after adding the dry hops, fermentation activity was apparent. I've repeated this process at least 5 time with the same results. After adding the hops, final gravity is reached in about 4 weeks. I've done this with Brett pitching gravities from 1.008 to 1.015 to finish from 1.002 to 1.004. For my taste, I use Brett fermentations at 60F, so your temp is fine (more funk, less fruit at higher temps). I normally use 0.5 to 1 ounce of Saaz.

My theory is the pelletized hops have trapped air in the pellets and this stimulates the Brett.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: dry yeast cell counts
« on: November 17, 2014, 07:35:58 PM »
I don't use dry yeast very much, and am using it for an apple ale this weekend- using s-04.

seems like much variability in consensus of cell count per gram of dry yeast. for my 1.050 apple ale, target pitch is 185BB. 2 packs of s-04 at 6BB (manufacturer count) would require me to pitch 31g or almost 3 packs.

are the  manufacturers estimates solid or should i use higher average cell count per gram?

Here's a link that explains the difference in counts:

To summarize, Danstar (and perhaps other dry yeast companies) use plate counts to determine the number of  live cells. Plate counts are reliable to determine live cells because dead cell won't grow. The problem is that it is impossible to plate single cells consistently because they tend to stick together. So when counting what appears to be colonies formed from a single cell, often two or more cells formed that colony. According to Danstar, "For Nottingham yeast the average cell count under the microscope is around 20 to 30 billion cells per gram dry yeast." That leaves it to us to determine viability.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: hemacytometer recommendation?
« on: November 17, 2014, 07:11:17 PM »
I got one from Ebay for about $40... said it had silvered lines, but it doesn't. Waiting to hear back from the seller. The lines are visible, but barely - have to play a lot with the contrast.

Now I just need to get my procedures down and become more consistent.

If you don't get used to it, try a bright line hemacytometer:

The difference is like day and night or bright and dark.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Was it something I did?
« on: April 24, 2014, 03:46:30 PM »

I'm brewing 2.5 gallon batches and I use a 5 gallon Igloo water cooler for a mash tun.  When I was cleaning up, I filled the cooler with cold water to cool the grains down.  Just on a whim, I got the hydrometer out and took a reading of the cold grain mix.  I got a reading of 1.004.
Here is my question.  I realize I'm not ging to get ALL the sugars out of the grains, but I was kind of surprised there was still that much sugar left.  Or, would that be a 'normal reading' and I'm seeing a problem where none exist?
If anyone has any insights, I would be grateful.  Thanks.

Regarding your question about gravity after mixing water with the spent grains; if you filled the cooler with water, I would guess that's a pretty high reading as you must have diluted the grains with maybe 2 or 3 gallons of water. That said, it is common to take gravity readings toward the end of the sparge (undiluted runnings). The final runnings should not be allowed to go below 1.008 as below this point tannins can be extracted from the grains creating astringency. Above this point you are loosing efficiency. A few points higher will not have much effect on efficiency but in my experience with light Belgians, lower will create astringency. I try to stop my sparge anywhere between 1.012 and 1.008. Also, the pH of your final runnings should be below 6.0 to avoid astringency.

I believe in the 4 - 7 rule. After propagating yeast from slants for years with out a good idea of the number of cells I was pitching, I finally invested in the equipment to count cells. I was not only surprised by the number of cell being cultured but the difference the fold increase made in the yield factor. Below are the data from an increase from a slant to a 4000ml culture. I began by dilution streaking onto an wort-agar plate and selecting 5 good size colonies to inoculate the 10ml culture. The next steps are outlined below. The volume for each step is a total of the wort plus the inoculum from the previous step. For example the 100ml culture was 90ml of wort with the 10ml culture added. You will notice the first step was 10 fold, the next step was 5 fold, and the final step was 8 fold. Also note the yield factor for each step and how the 5 fold increase achieved the greatest yield factor with only a small drop in the 8 fold increase. You may also conjecture from these data that when making a 2 liter starter from liquid yeast we are making 5 or 6 fold increase as the 500 ml culture produced 1.4 billion cells. Please keep in mind there is an error factor (amount unknown to me) when counting with a hemocytometer. So there may not be a significant difference in say 40.7 million and 37.7 million, thereby the yield factor 30.85 may not be significantly different from 33.60. I would guess the other yield factors are different. Sorry about the table format, I could not make the insert button work. I hope it comes through readable.

Culture  Cells/ml          Total Cells             Cell/ml                   Total Cells             Yield Factor                   
(ml)     at Pitch            at Pitch               at Finish                   at Finish

10   10,075,000         100,750,000           144,000,000        1,440,000,000            16.75                                              
100   14,400,000       1,440,000,000           194,000,000       19,400,000,000            22.45
500   40,740,000      20,370,000,000           287,500,000      143,750,000,000           30.85
4000   37,734,375    150,937,500,000           306,500,000    1,226,000,000,000           33.60

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Brett gear
« on: March 06, 2014, 06:32:16 PM »
Brett creates s film which makes it more difficult to clean and sanitize away than brewers yeast. I would probably stick to something solid vs plastic unless you want to dedicate it.

This is a good read for anyone using Brett:

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Denny's Favorite Fermentation Temp
« on: February 03, 2014, 06:08:04 PM »
By raising the temp at the end of fermentation you encourage the yeast to finish cleaning up and really fully attenuate by making them more active and because you kept it cool during the reproductive phase they didn't produce fusel alcohols or too many esters. so you end up with a really clean flavor and aroma. Some yeast strains are more prone to dropping out early and some will stall and not finish fermenting the available sugars if kept too cold.

In addition: With my system, the temperature of the fermentation rises ~5 degrees F by log phase. As activity decreased the temperature also decreases. My approach it to slowly increase the temperature after the fermentation has peaked.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Microscope for Yeast counting and propogation
« on: February 03, 2014, 05:40:53 PM »


I just bought one similar to this but Binocular. Works good for under $200 it's not a Zeiss but works fine for counting yeast cells. Check out the AmScope website for this or the one above (I think). Similar pricing to Amazon, free shipping and you are buying from the dealer.

Lesson learned on hemocytometers: There are cheap (~$20), midrange (~$70), and high end (>$200)available. Don't get the cheap one! It's almost impossible to see the grids. I bought a cheap one then had to buy the midrange. Works fine. Make sure it has a mirrored surface. 

All Grain Brewing / Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« on: December 14, 2012, 04:26:49 PM »
Water chemistry boggles my mind. I have been trying to build mash and sparge water from RO water. The RO water from my local water store has a pH of 6.5 and typically has 30 ppm of god only know what. I have been using an online spreadsheet to try to calculate salt additions but I don’t feel good about the results. My mash pH comes in a little high at 5.6. Since I am trying to extract a highly fermentable wort, I am shooting for 5.4. I have not been treating my sparge water and the sparge is fine reaching 5.7 by the end. I fly sparge.  However, my boil pH is high at 5.5. I have been lowering the mash pH to target and the boil pH to 5.1 with acid. I am getting excellent extraction efficiency but the final product seems to be a little harsh, from the hops I think. This weekend I am brewing a Saison. I have a full line of salts and an accurate balance. Could someone recommend mash and sparge water salt additions for this grain bill and hop profile: 59% Begian Pils-2L, 9.82% Vienna-3.5L, 9.82% Munich-10L, 4.91% flaked wheat-1.6L, 2.15% Special B-180L, 2.15% Special Roast-50L, and 12.27% dextrose. I expect a SRM of 8.7. Hops will be 3 oz. of Kent Goldings – 60 minutes, 2 oz. of Styrian Goldings – 15 minutes and 2 oz. – Styrian Goldings at flame out for an expected IBU of 32.5 (Tinseth’s method). I expect an original gravity of 1.057.  This is a 12 gallon batch and I will use 4 gallons of mash water up to 15 gallons of sparge water. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP 510 Bastogne Ale Yeast
« on: October 19, 2012, 10:21:10 PM »
Sorry for the typo on my earlier reply; As posted it's  "Bastogne" Belgian Ale Yeast

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP 510 Bastogne Ale Yeast
« on: October 19, 2012, 09:49:31 PM »
Earlier this year my Belgian Pale Ale was selected by a brewery in Seattle (Ruben's Brews) to brew commercially. For that beer I use an isolate from a bottle of Orval I have had for over three years. Because we could not pull off the logistics of increasing my isolate to 5 bbl pitching size (I'm from CA) we substituted WL Bagstone Ale yeast for the commercial batch. Although I have not tasted the Ruben's Brews version, Adam (owner and brewer) says it came out great. I am sure he would have mentioned any brett as it would be considered off for this style. If your in Seattle, check out Ruben's Brews and my Belgian Pale.

All Grain Brewing / Looking for boil tips
« on: October 18, 2012, 05:28:03 PM »
Boiling 14 gallons in a 15 gallon pot is a challenge. For my last batch, I collected 13 gallons of wort then 30 minutes into the boil I added 1 gallon of boiling water just prior to the first hop addition. This approached worked fine as far as hitting the required amount of boiled wort. Question: Are there any problems to this method regarding the finished beer? Also: Does anyone have other solutions to boiling in an undersized vessel?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Brett C and a 1.011 Saison?
« on: September 28, 2012, 04:29:14 PM »
I have been working on developing an Orval clone for a couple of years and finally achieved what I wanted and I think what you are looking for. Here is what I did. For a 10 gallon batch: Using the grain bill of a dark saison and a yeast cultures from Orval and Moinette the beer reached 1.006 after the primary fermentation. After 3 weeks in a bright tank the beer was cold crashed at 32 degrees F (with gelatin) for a week. 3 days before bring the temp  up to 56 degrees F  a 1500 ml starter of Brett C (White Labs)was prepared. Transferring the beer to fresh, sterile, purged carboys, I pitched the Brett. After allowing the Brett work for 1 month at 56 degrees F, the gravity was down to just under 1.005 and I bottled using a fresh pitch of my Orval culture and bottle conditioned for 3 months at 56 degrees F. Six months after pitching the Brett, this was the best beer ever (my opinion). It is also my opinion that allowing the Brett to do it's work at cool temps creates the flavor profile you have described.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Transfer to secondary with March pump
« on: September 28, 2012, 04:00:10 PM »
Thanks for all the informative replies. morticaixavier is correct, foam was my biggest worry. I think Kaiser is right in that CO2 escaping from solution caused the foam and also explains the lower than expected carbonation. Perhaps majorvices is on to something with the possibility of losing volatile aromas along with CO2. In addition, the loss of CO2 makes fine tuning carbonation a shot in the dark. This turned out to be a pretty good beer but I am into brewing great beers. This recipe won first place in Catagory 18D at both the 2012 World Cup of Beer in San Francisco and 2012 Peak-to-Peak ProAm in Colorado. I have entered this batch in the Dixie Cup in Houston and will be interested in seeing the scored sheets. Since I am not set up to transfer with CO2, I am going back to transferring by siphon.

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